Tales of a Horse Thief, Part 6c

Tales of a Horse Thief, Part 6c

Previous Next


Flint had not joined Ander and Loden when they had decided it was time to find a place to drink Ander’s latest bottle. Instead he stayed at the roadhouse and had eaten a bowl of soup with some bread. Then he sought out the foresters, asked them to take a message back to Othi for him and wished them safe travels on their return home. He had also decided that short of having to follow Loden eastward, he would head to GreensBridge in the hopes of being able to consult a mage in the Arcanium regarding the situation with the Rover Hall. He was even hopeful that he might be able to convince a mage to travel back to the lumber camp with him, but he knew most city folk were not keen on the idea of roughing it in the countryside. He had noticed over the years that cities, much like booze, tended to destroy the spirit of a person.

Next, he wandered over the marshal’s tower to see Thoddem and informed him that he would be leaving sometime the following day, much depended on the caravans readiness. The marshal seemed pleased that Flint was travelling in company and had given him a message to be delivered to Lord Gambonti of Carskot. The marshal was hoping that his lord would send a large force to help him clean out the bandit hideout. He expected that Flint would be well rewarded for his efforts against the bandits, above and beyond the fee for delivering the prisoners. Thoddem had also advised him to stay on the road along the river as the inland route had seen heavy bandit activity the previous year.

As the day neared its end Flint had found a quiet spot near the north edge of Cof and had taken the time to craft a few more arrows. Despite persistent biting insects Flint had decided to camp out on the edge of the village, he enjoyed the solitude. The sunset had been beautiful and his thoughts had strayed towards family, he missed his kin and the open plains. He hoped everyone was doing well back home and that the others who were out questing had better luck than he in finding solutions or help regarding the problems in Darner’s Hold.

Flint had slept well through the night and was awake with the dawn, he ate from the land and returned to Cof Crossroads Roadhouse and Haberdashery shortly after the morning light had risen above the rooftops. He noted that many of the caravan folk were hitching teams and adjusting the loads in their wagons. Mr Dahlah stood on the porch of the road house, smoking one of their cigarillos and overseeing the preparations. Flint approached and offered a friendly greeting.

Mr Dahlah eyed him and after a moment returned his salutation, then they were discussing business, “A couple of the others have opted to stay and see if Lord Gainsly will recover sooner than the healers expect. There will be sixteen wagons departing, additionally I was able to acquire a cart to transport your prisoners in. I also have a teamster or two extra, so after the prisoners are delivered to Carskot I’ll keep the cart.”

“Thoddem said he would have the prisoners ready early, so we just need to stop by the tower and pick them up on our way out.”

“Good. If you still intend to hire on that Loden fellow I want no part of it. If he travels with us I’ll hold you accountable for his behaviour. Clear?”

“As you say.”

“Good, we’ll be departing inside the hour.”

It had been a while since Flint had heard someone use the term hour, the last time he had heard it was in GreensBridge some years back. “I’m going to the tower now, the prisoners will be ready by the time you arrive.”


At the marshal’s tower Thoddem, a couple of guards and the smith’s apprentice, a strong looking girl, were chaining the bandits together, ankle to ankle. The bandits had been divested of footwear, a couple of them had been roughed up in the last day or so and the group of them were generally despondent and seemed resigned to their fate.

Flint nodded to the marshal, who returned the greeting in kind and the two of them watched in silence as the smith worked. The job was nearing completion when one of the guards in the damaged tower shouted down that the caravan was rolling out from the roadhouse. Then the priestess Flint had dealt with at the temple grounds a couple days back showed up, obviously packed for a trip, and three of the caravan folk were with her. Along the main road Loden came into sight leading three horses.

The smith finished her work, “If one of you could double check this, I’ll be on my way.”

Flint inspected the smith’s work, prisoner by prisoner. The chain was heavy enough for the job, the clasps around the prisoner’s ankles were basic but well finished and closed with a heavy pin. When he was done he gave a nod to the marshal and said to the apprentice smith, “Looks like good work, thanks.” He offered his hand.

“Thank you.” She smiled and clasped his hand firmly.

The priestess was standing to one side, watching Flint and smiling at him. Loden had just arrived but he seemed interested in having words with the smith. Flint moved over to the priestess. “Good morning.”

Her smile was radiant and welcoming, “Good morning to you.”

“I notice you are packed for a trip.”

“Yes, I had a vision from the goddess yesterday. It seems I’m supposed to travel with you.”

“Oh,” Flint was surprised, this woman seemed to get a lot of visions from her goddess. “I’m sure the caravan will be happy to have you with them. You will be able to tend to their wounded.”

Still smiling, she nodded, “Sure, for as long as we are with them, but the vision was clear. The goddess wants me to be with you and your friend, Loden.”

Flint glanced down at the charm on his wrist, he did not see the point in correcting her perception regarding the relation between he and Loden. “Seems like there are too many goddesses interested in me lately.”

She blushed noticeably, “One should be thankful for such attention. Not every mortal is so blessed.”

“Oh, of course, I meant no disrespect.”

She smiled again and glanced over to where Loden was finishing his conversation with the young smith. “In my vision he was with us as well. My feeling is the three of us have an important task ahead.”

Flint gave a nod, increasingly uncomfortable with all this talk of visions and tasks.

Loden lead his horses over, “Good morning priestess. I never had the chance to thank you properly for the healing you and your sisters provided.”

“We are just the instruments of the goddess. Her Mercy requires our humble service. If you wish to show your gratitude you could make an offering at the temple or dedicate your life to the path of mercy.”

Loden seemed discomforted, “Until recently my life has mostly been about misery, suffering and war. It also seems the caravan is heading out, so I’ll have to pay my respects to your goddess at the next shrine or temple we come across, along the way.”

She looked from Loden to Flint, smiling beautifully. Then with an almost girlish laugh she said, “Well, I count my blessing that the goddess has seen fit to send me off with two such fine men.”

Loden looked to Flint with some confusion. Marshal Thoddem took that moment to intrude himself into their conversation, “Well, I wanted to thank the both of you again in this matter and wish you safe travels. Hopefully his lordship will see the urgency of the matter and send assistance.” He offered his hand.

Loden was quick to clasp the marshals hand, gave the priestess a wink and said, “We all serve in different ways. I’m glad I’ve been of some assistance.”

Flint also shook the marshals hand, “I’ll do my best to convey the urgency of your request to Lord Gambonti.”

The caravan was approaching along the commons and the marshal dealt with getting the bandits to their feet and the rest of them moved out of the way. Mr Dahlah’s brightly painted wagon lead the caravan and stopped a few strides past the tower. They swung down from the bench saying something to the teamster that Flint did not catch. Mr Dahlah was happy to see the caravan folk that had come with the priestess and saw to finding places for them.

Loden asked the priestess, “Have you any experience riding?”

She laughed, “Not so much so.”

“Well let’s find you a place to sit then. Come with me, I’ll introduce you to a friend of mine.” The two of them headed down the line to where Ander sat beside one of the teamsters.

Mr Dahlah returned and said, “Let’s get these scum loaded and head out. I’d like to make up some time today. We are far behind schedule.”

The prisoners were loaded into the cart and Flint was able to convince Mr Dahlah that it might be good to place the cart ahead of the wagon Ander had been assigned to, as it seemed likely Loden and he would often be in each others company. Without much further delay the caravan set off, heading down the River Trade Road. Cof Crossroads was soon left behind.


Previous Next

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *