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20 Flamerule 1372 (Late evening) - kronk9
kronk9
kronk9
20 Flamerule 1372 (Late evening)
We make it to Greenglade by next evening. Stay in forest, away from guards.

Hide in tree for two hours, with gnome guard Ivor right underneath, smoking pipe. Smoke smell like sweetleaf. It make Kronk want to cough. But I not cough.

They give up after while. We wait while, climb down, keep in forest. Serd know way through woods. Early in morning, we knock on door of little cottage, alone in woods.

Young human girl open door. She look half-asleep, but face light up when she see us. "Serd!! Kronk!!" She put out arms and hug Serd. "It's been so long."

Serd return hug. "Yes, Lilfen, I thought it was time to drop by and see how the Leeson clan was doing."

She raise hands. "Hungry as always. But we get by." She turn to hug Kronk, and other voices even younger come from inside.

"Hey, its Serd!"

"And Kronk, too! Neat!"

Four boys, age eleven to four, come out of cottage and surround us. "What'd you fight this time? Did you fight any pirates?"

"Dummy, Serd and Kronk can fight pirates any day. They've been fighting dragons!"

"Nuh-uh, pirates are way more dangerous than dragons!"

Serd wink at Kronk, pick up one of the boys. "Sure, dragons can be dangerous...but not as bad as vampires, you know."

"Wow! You've been fighting vampires?"

"Oh, sure we have. Big vampires with dark capes and pale skin and fangs like a wolf. And the two of us drove 'em back underground, licking their wounds."

"Wow!"

We hear baby cry from inside. Lilfen try to gather children into hut. "Alright, come on now, it's cold out here, let's go back inside."

"Can Serd and Kronk stay with us?"

She look at us. Serd nod. "We just need a place to sleep for a few hours, Lilfen. We don't want to be a bother."

Lilfen smile. "After what you did for little Tymor, I swore I'd give you whatever I could, whenever you needed it. Of course you're welcome here."

Inside cottage she make bowls of porridge along for us and kids. Lilfen's parents killed by night hag. She only fourteen, but she take care of five younger brothers.

Serd talking with boys, pulls out some silver trinket. "Now see, this here is the charm that we used to scare off that vampire, and when he saw it, he goes hisssss!! and draws up in a little ball like this," and he hunch over and give trinket to boys, and they get excited.

Little boy stand by table with thumb in mouth, watch Kronk. Kronk smile.

"Hello, Tymor."

He take thumb out of mouth. "Hello, Mr. Kronk." Kronk pat Tymor's head. When mother and father killed, night hag took Tymor. She had taste for children. Serd and Kronk find night hag, killed her, rescued Tymor. Now Lilfen let us stay when we need it.

He look at Kronk seriously. "Were you really fightin' vampires?"

Kronk shrug. "Only a couple. Small ones. They not follow us." Put hand on his shoulder. "Is Tymor scared?"

Boy put arms around Kronk. "Not anymore."

**************

After breakfast, Lilfen send boys out to play to let us sleep. We sleep until afternoon. When we leave, Serd give Lilfen small purse of gold, kiss her on cheek. Then he lean down to Tymor.

"Now, you've still got that little ring I gave you, right?"

Tymor nod, pull out ring on cord around neck.

"Good. Now if you ever really need me, you can just use the word I taught you, and I'll come as fast the wind can carry a man. I'll know right away when you're saying it," he point to ring on his left hand, "because I have the matching ring. But only call me if you really, really need it, okay? Now what's the word I taught you?"

Tymor whisper in Serd's ear. Serd nod. "Good. Now you be sure and take care of your sister, alright?"

"Will you and Mr. Kronk come back, Mr. Serd?"

"Oh, you'll see us around again, sooner or later, I'm sure. You be careful in these woods." He pat boy on head, and other boys all wave good-bye as we head into town.

Greenglade up in Silverwood hills. They not much care what happen in Everlund. Little village, maybe fifty people. Only one horse. And one tavern.

Serd tall for human. Hair pale and kind of long, reaches shoulders. His eyes are brown and dark, and women think he look good, even with scar on his left cheek. And one on chin--he not have beard to cover it up. He turn to Kronk.

"Let's see...it's always been my policy not to drink before sundown, has it not?"

Kronk shrug. "Yeah."

"And has the sun yet set?"

Sun still in sky, full of red. "No."

"Very well. To the tavern it is."

"But Serd say --"

"It's also my policy never to put off until later what one can do right now, right?"

"...yeah..."

"We know the sun will eventually set, right?"

"...yes..."

"So if we know the sun will be going down sooner or later, and we know I'll be getting drunk once it does, there's no reason not get started early, is there?"

I rub forhead. "Kronk's head hurt."

Serd put hand on Kronk's arm, walk towards tavern. "Well, come on then, I think you're in need of a drink."

Inside, we look for table. It crowded, maybe half of town in there. Two gnomes with silver hair in corner with elf and human, all men. The only two women were dwarves...with beards. Younger human men at center table, in nice clothes, louder than others.

Kronk know some of these people; they nod to us.

"Serd!"

Voice come from behind us. We turn and see big dwarf with thick dark hair. He hold big axe up, ready to use it. "Ye' got some nerve comin' round 'ere agin." Dwarf move chin at me. "And bringin' this dumb aff-arc with ye'."

Serd snorted. "Wulgar, put that cheese slicer away before you hurt yourself."

"Can't. Rats get a lil' excited when they see me take me hands off it." He start to chuckle, rest axe on floor. "Serd and Kronk! As I live and breathe, we han't see ye' around these parts in donkey's ages. What brings you up in these woods?"

Kronk smile. "Maybe better if Wulgar not know."

Wulgar smile back. "Maybe it is at that. Well, c'mon and sit, I can't have ye' dyin' of thirst in me own pub, Jaree!!" he yell at halfling girl with tray, "git these two a drink and make it snappy, eh?"

Halfling girl put two steins on tray and bring them over. She young, blonde, pretty eyes. But not as pretty as...Kronk shake head.

She have wide eyes, looks at us. "Wulgar, are you giving out free drinks to the riff-raff again?"

Serd raise eyebrow. "Wulgar...where did you find THIS little one?"

Corner of her mouth turn up. She offer tray to us, we take steins. "He didn't find me. I found him. Needed a place to kip for a night, and when I couldn't pay, I offered to wash the dishes. And now..." She sigh. "I don't know how he got by without me."

"Me wife still makes sure we can feed the kids. Did fine without ye' afore."

She grinned. "And how long had it been since Old Man Tamblyn had paid his tab? You bought her a dress with what I got out of him."

He chuckle, put giant hand on her little shoulder. "Aye, it's true. Jaree here cleaned up me operation in a fortnight."

"So who have we here? Wulgar knows so many people I'm running out of room in the ledger. I can hardly keep the names straight."

"What?" Serd say. "Surely you've heard of the Swiftest Sword in the Silver Marches?"

Jaree yawn. "Let's see...you're the third to claim that title...this week." Serd laugh.

"And who might you be?" she say to me.

"Kronk."

"Ahhhhhhh. I...see."

Serd catch her eye. "Don't mind my associate, he makes a hobby of being unfriendly. If he doesn't kill you in the first five minutes, it means he's taken a liking to you."

"Oh, I see." She bat eyes at Serd. "Well, if he doesn't like me, I may need someone to protect my little halfling self. Might you know of such a person, mister Loudest Mouth in the Silver Marches?"

He turn to Wulgar, eyes bright. "Oh, I like this one, Wulgar," he say as he pick her up. She giggle while he spin her around. Not notice when they knock steins off table of young humans.

One human stand up. "Hey!! Watch what you're doing, oaf!" He have shiny chain shirt, good leggings. Jeweled sword with silver hilt at side. Silly weapon, but worth a lot.

Serd stop dancing and put Jaree down. "Well, well, well. If it isn't young Drake, son of Lord Drake--or no, I'm sorry, he's merely a baron. Does he still pine for a lordship?

Drake bristle. "My father's lordship is imminent. You can call me Sir Drake."

Serd bowed deeply. "Oh I am sorry, Sir Drake. I'm sure his title is as imminent now as it was five years ago." He stand and smile. "Have they not changed your royal diaper today?"

The other humans at table look angry. Drake turn to Wulgar. "Barkeep, throw him out, him and his scarbearer friend. My comrades and I are trying to enjoy ourselves here."

Jaree pick up tray. "I'm sorry, sirs. I'll get you a free round."

Wulgar fold arms across chest. "Now, now, Jaree, no need to be courten' the business of arselickers."

Other humans at table stand up. Drake march up to Wulgar. He almost as short as Wulgar. "You shouldn't say such things to me in this town. Do you know who I am?"

Wulgar not back down. "Aye. A rowdy buncha customers who'll swiftly be shown the door if'n you don't settle down."

Humans not like that. "You won't show us anything, dwarvenskin," one of them say. Jaree watch. "We'll take our coin and find another place to drink."

Wulgar nodded. "Whyn't you do that. Closest pub is the Spring Bee in Wyvern. About half a day's journey north. P'priater is Corkaury Dardragon, buddy 'a mine."

He smile. "Tell 'im Wulgar sent ye'."

Humans not know what to do. They look at each other, frown. Then Drake yank chair from table, sit down. Not say anything. Jaree come over with tray.

Serd smile. "Well, now that the matter has been resolved, let's all enjoy ourselves--my scarbearer friend and I will sit over here," he point at table. "And Jaree? Why don't you put our first round on young Sir Drake's tab?" He pat Drake's head. "I'm sure his father can afford it."

****************

Much beer later, Serd hold up hand. "How many fingers you see, Kronk?"

Kronk lean back in chair, squint. "Six?"

"Damn, that's what I count, too." Serd shake head. "Not getting drunk fast enough. Jaree!!" Halfling come over. "We're declaring a state of emergency. Break out the dram mythal for us!"

She shake head. "Sorry, but we are a poor inn. We can nigh afford such luxury."

"What a calamity! Well, have you a Reaver Maker?"

She shake head no.

"Spellweaver?"

Shake head.

"Dwarf on the Beach?"

"Sorry."

"Purple Dracolich?"

"No."

"Fordoric's Black Label?"

Shake head.

"A Fuzzy Gargoyle?"

"No."

"Straight manticore, with a twist?"

Shake head.

"Gehenna's Unholy Toxin?!"

"No."

"Root of Veshennah?!"

Shake head.

"A bottle of Ides of Eleint, vintage 1134?!"

"Afraid not."

"Well, for chrissakes, what have you got? This ale scarcely keeps me afloat!"

Jaree purse lips. "Well...there is a case of gnome moonshine..."

"Ach, good for strippin' paint. But I suppose it'll have to do." He pound finger on table. "Bring us both a pint."

Kronk propped over stein of ale, staring at table. She look at Kronk. Shake head. "Not for Kronk."

Serd nod. "Alright, leave him be. But bring out the 'shine before it rots in the bottle." He pat her ass as she go.

"Ah, relief is but a whisper away." He lean forward over table. "Now...why don't you tell me what's been suckin' the life outta you since before you were in that cell?"

Kronk not want talk. Look at Serd. "How you find Kronk?"

"After we split up, I headed towards Flint Rock in the Surbrin Hills, met up with that Harper, Jean Lejune. We managed to, ah, discourage the party from Beliard. Then we heard tell of a half-orc turning up dead downriver from Everlund, and I figured I ought to check up on my pal."

Kronk nod.

"And when I get there, I learn he ain't dead, just jammed up in another cell. And I think to myself he might appreciate a little help."

His voice get quiet. "I also heard Thralia was in town. Heard she might have gotten her heart a little bent by some big lummox."

Kronk stare at table. Not want to talk.

Serd just look at Kronk, not speak. Jaree bring glass of moonshine, Serd take drink, make face, put back on table, keep looking. Not speak at all.

"It Ugurth," I say.

Serd nod. "Tell me."

Kronk tell him everything. He not speak, only drink shine a little. Kronk start with Thralia at Friendly Dwarf, until Serd arrested. Talk about Thralia. Talk about everything. Serd's glass nearly empty when Kronk done.

Serd shake head, empty glass. "Ah, my large friend, there are times when your imbecility approaches a scale bordering on the epic."

"Kronk...not know what that mean."

"Perhaps not. Well, allow me to rephrase it terms you can easily comprehend."

Serd can hit fast if he want to. Blow to back of head come before Kronk can think. Kronk's face hit stein on table in front of me. Then Serd grabs tunic collar. "You idiot! Thralia wanted you! Finest Sun Elf west of Anauroch! You could have had that and you threw it away?!!"

Kronk shake off Serd's hands. "You hit like girl."

"And you act like one. I've wanted a piece of that ass for years, and you let it slip through your big, meaty fingers, you dumb orc." He fall back in chair. "You disgust me."

Kronk grin. "Only ass Serd grab is his mother's."

Serd smile back. "Oh, you've just taken a very wrong turn in this conversation, my friend," and he leap across table, fists fly. We out of chairs, moving across room, punching each other...having fun. Everyone look at us, but we not care. Until Serd spill ale over Drake.

Drake and friends even drunker, look meaner. They stand up, circle around Kronk and Serd. We stop.

Drake soaked in beer. Face angry like axe blade. "Look at what you've done!" Drake get in Serd face. Have hard time, since Serd full head taller. "This outfit cost me 300 gold, and you've ruined it, you...you...commoner."

Serd raise eyebrow at Kronk. "Commoner? Think that's the biggest insult he knows?"

Drake get even closer. "Oh, I know plenty of big words. And we can back them up." His friends close around us. "So you and this uruk scarbearer can leave now, or we'll take you out ourselves."

Other people in tavern watch us, not say anything. Serd tilt head. "Really, boy? And what'll you do if we don't leave? Run home to your fat-ass daddy and tell him to throw some coin around while you sit in the corner and suck your golden thumb?"

Drake's face tighten up like slamming door. He grab stein from table, bash it across Serd's face. Serd rub corner of mouth, see blood on fingers.

Serd turn to Kronk. "Say, Kronk, what time is it?"

Kronk shrug. "Maybe midnight."

He nod. "Yes, I thought I was running behind schedule for tonight's barfight." He hit Drake in face with elbow, and everyone starts fighting.

Current Location: Greenglade, The Silverwood
Current Mood: high high
Current Music: Flying fists

3 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
vaudy From: vaudy Date: February 7th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
You might want to check up on halflings; everything I read when I was working on Rilla said they're all black-haired.

Otherwise, I like it. The scene with the kids is cute, and I like the interaction with Serd and Kronk.
(Deleted comment)
vaudy From: vaudy Date: February 7th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mmm, yeah she's probably right about the language. The kids probably wouldn't say things like "cool," and I did think some of Serd's more modern expressions were out of place, but at the same time, I don't really know what to replace them with. Which is why I didn't say anything. Besides, we use anachronistic expressions like that all the time when we actually play. So, I don't know. It does read a little weird.
waveform_delta From: waveform_delta Date: February 7th, 2007 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I discovered the thing about halfling hair color after writing the thing, I'll go back and change it.

Dandycat commented that the language is somewhat inconsistent, sometimes veering from faux-mideval to slangy modernism (esp. the kids talking and Serd 's comments after hitting Kronk). I suppose that needs modification as well, although I'm not sure how kids in the 'dark ages' spoke...

Bless you for your kind compliments; this humble author thanks you.
3 comments or Leave a comment