FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 1 Part 8a

FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 1 Part 8a

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Part 8) Mokha


The White Road came to an end, or at least the cleared section they had been travelling along came to an end, while the rest of it was buried under many feet of earth that rose before them. A lesser trail continued north while a stone road of a different construction ran northwest, that was the road that Tipper and Adwin had already started along, towards GreensBridge. Mokha had stopped and he looked back down the ancient white stone road.

The White Road had been built during the time of the Second Kingdom of Elquin, the time of the half elves, over two thousand years ago. Though some sources claimed the road to be much older. The section they had travelled was maintained by the wild elves as a safe passage for travellers to cross their territory, running south to north. They were less than a couple hundred yat from GreensBridge, less than fifty yat from the banks of the East Sister River. The original road was said to have spanned over half the continent, running east to west along the foothills of the Great Barrier Mountain Range and running north to south at two different points, from the northern foothills to the southern coast of the continent.

Mokha had never thought he would have travelled along the migratory path of the wild elves or seen a world tree. He was also surprised by the things he had learned about and from Tipper. Surprised he had started forming strong bonds with his two companions, they were not the sort of folk he usually associated with, Tipper being too gruff and disciplined and Adwin too full of youthful innocence.

Yet here he was, nearly back to where he had started in the spring. Then the hope had been that he and Shak could make it to Elquin, on a quest to extend their lifespan, with a cart load of drugs and food. They had not even made it half way to their destination and Shak was missing, very likely he was dead. That sad irony made Mokha smile, he hoped it was not true, hoped Shak would find his was back to civilized lands. Mokha himself, having travelled full circle, and along the way had met someone descendant from the half elves and now Adwin had fruit from the world tree, either of which might help him obtain his goal.

He gave the reins a flick and followed after his truly amazing companions.



They had made camp along the road, not the only ones to have done so, as their was light from a fire further northwest, a couple yat further along the road. Tipper fretted about that despite Adwin’s very logical point that they were moving closer to the city and as they did so, should they not expect more traffic. She had turned in early, leaving the two of them sitting by their own small fire.

Mokha played quietly on his lute, playing through the piece he had crafted over the last couple of eight-days. He was unsure what to call the pretty tune, but was sure their were no words to be written for it, he had been toying with the name, FreeHolds Ramble. Yet he was still undecided.

Adwin, sleepily staring into the fire asked him, after he finished playing through the tune, “What are you going to do in GreensBridge when we get there?”

“Likely find some place to work through the winter and do some research. But, first I think I’ll go on a week long bender and blow off some steam. What of you?”

“Not sure, I guess it depends on what Tipper is doing. But I really want to see the city, all the old Eldra structures, the docks and markets. I hadn’t thought about getting work, though I’d guess I’ve more than enough to see me through the winter.”

“Likely, especially if we sell the horses. But the city is expensive to live in and the winter feels much longer than it actually is.”

“Well yeah, that’s winter for you.”

“Perhaps we should consider a small townhouse of tenement rental for the winter, it would be a good way to stretch out resources.”

“People rent houses in exchange for money? Wow, everyone must be rich.”

Mokha laughed, “Not so much so, there are many more poor people in GreensBridge than rich people.”

“But if folks have to rent their housing, isn’t everyone well to do.”

“Well, it’s very expensive to winter in the city, food, coal, even water depending on where you’re living, it all costs money.” Mokha put his lute away, in the case Tipper had bought him. “I think I’ll get some sleep. You alright to take first watch?”

Adwin gave a big yawn, “Should be.”

“With any luck this will be our last night sleeping by the road. Plenty of roadhouses, hostels and taverns between here and GreensBridge.”

Mokha wrapped his lute up with his small tarp and laid his blanket on the ground to sleep on. One thing he knew for sure, he would be happy to have regular baths.



Mokha awoke to Tipper singing the dawn. He lazed atop his blanket listening to her pretty voice remembering the time just before the bog witch had attacked them. The closeness he had felt to his companions in the final moments of that forever sunset, the pulsing colours and the feel of the land vibrating through them. People paid a lot of money trying to have experiences like that, funny thing though, he had not even been high. Or at least not very.

Adwin was building the fire back up. Yesterday after stopping to collect fallen branches for the third time, he had been marvelling about the bounty of wood in the area. The look of disbelief on his face when Mokha had told him that there were plenty of trees throughout the region was priceless. His assumption that everyone in GreensBridge must be rich from all the trees had mad Mokha laugh and he tried to explain that there was not enough trees for everyone in GreensBridge to burn wood for heat. Most used coal and many used whatever they could scrounge, not unlike the eastern FreeHolds.

That conversation and the one last night about renting houses showed how little Adwin understood about how vast the number of people that lived in and around GreensBridge. It would be interesting seeing his perspective change over the next eight-day or so. GreensBridge was certainly the largest city in the FreeHolds, perhaps the world, young Adwin had no previous experience wherein he could even conceptualize what he was walking towards.

Tipper walked back into the camp. “Adwin, when I woke last night to take my watch you were sound asleep, you didn’t wake up until just a little while ago. And, it’s not the first time I’ve found you sleeping on your watch.”

“Er, yeah.” Was all Adwin said in his defence.”

“The point of a watch is that someone stays up to keep eyes out for hostile animals and two legged predators.”


She threw her water skin at him, “Humans, goblins, orc.”

“Birds have two legs.” He picked up the water skin and took a drink.

Tipper stared at him, hands on hips. “Seriously Adwin, when you have the watch you’re supposed to stay away, move around, listen and watch. Dozing off by the fire doesn’t help anyone.”

“Well, when it was just you and I on the road, we did not keep a watch.”

“That was before we started running into trouble. Also, we were hiking fifteen hours a day, neither of us could have reasonably stayed up to keep watch.”

“Alright, I’ll stay awake when I have the watch. I don’t have the years of experience you do with this sort of thing.” He stomped off into the field.

Mokha sat up, “Good morning.”

Tipper glared at him. “You don’t take the watch often enough.”

Knowing better than to argue with her Mokha also went into the field to stretch and move around and to relive himself.

After a silent breakfast the trio mounted and headed towards GreensBridge. During the early morning two merchant caravans passed by heading in the opposite direction. Adwin marvelled at the size of the caravans, one was over fifty wagons with all the horses and workers that went with such a large expedition. The other caravan was only ten wagons, but the wagons were large, heavily constructed and pulled by land-striders, armed men road atop the wagons. Adwin was blown away, a fountain of question bubbling with awe and curiosity.

By the early afternoon they started passing by homesteads with vast crop fields and orchards, typically run by two or three generation of one or two families. Once the main harvest season started they would hire workers from the city and the other outlaying communities. They started to see more individuals along the road, most friendly enough, but a least a few went out of their way to let the trio and their horses pass, watching from the side of the road with distrusting looks.

More roads and pathways intersected the road they were on, sign post at some of them indicating what lay in which direction. They passed through a small village mid afternoon and another one was in sight, though not in the direction they were headed. Later that afternoon they had come to yet another, larger village, surrounded by a short gated wall with a few watch towers.

Mokha road up alongside Tipper, “Might be a decent place to stop for the day.”

She looked to the sun, “We’ve hours of light left.”

“True, but that looks like a nice place to stay and there’s a public bath over there. We might even be able to sell the extra horses for a good price as the place seems to have the corals and barns for such, I think we passed a trade house as we were coming in as well.”

“We did, but I’ll not deal with Roburns Trading Company.”

“Wow. They’re everywhere. They have a large operation in the city too, along the northern docks.”

“We likely should deal with the horses, I don’t see Adwin wanting to struggle with them as the roads get more crowded. He’s going to be increasingly distracted the closer we get to the city. For now we should keep the three we’ve been riding the most and a fourth for the supplies. If I deal with the horses do you think you can get us a room without getting into a fight?”

He waved his hand dismissing her fears, “We’ll have the nicest room and the best food tonight. We’ll bath and frolic and celebrate our successful journey to GreensBridge.”

“We haven’t made it to GreensBridge yet.” she said. Oh course she would say that, she was not the sort that liked to have a good time.

“Well, it’ll be a pre-celebration. We’ll call it a practice run for when we do actually make it to the city.”

She gave him a little smile and did not nay say him. Progress, he gave her his best smile and winked.

“Hey! Guys! I think I just saw some dwarves.” Adwin shouted from behind them.


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