Author Topic: Wolves of War: House Dodger  (Read 2504 times)


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Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Topic Start: June 29, 2017, 03:34:02 AM »
(Business handled in Shinnen, they refit in Askileon after a long trip. On the coast of Garuck Udor, a welcome party awaits)

The march back to the Silver City was uneventful until they reached the bridge of Ciarin.

It was always a breathtaking sight, the ancient bridge; stretching across the great Strait of Ciarin, miles long, it dominated one's vision and imagination as soon as it came into view.

Yet it was not the bridge that occupied Heimar's thoughts as the Ravens marched along the coastal cliffs, but the bright and many-colored mass that shifted and danced around the small village at the bridge's northern end. Step by plodding step the colors became shapes, the shapes figures; men and horses and camels and carriages.

An Udorian caravan. And from its size, it was not difficult to guess to whom it belonged.

The shape of Fabri men Bolkos was easy enough to discern, even from a mile out. No other man of such girth could have handled a horse with such grace, wheeling and cantering his proud Udorian stallion at the head of the caravan train, kicking up a cloud of dust to greet them as his followers assembled.

Sir Kilhorn rode ahead to greet the greatest of the Udorian merchant-lords, his cousin's father by law. He motioned for Heimar and Malkin to join him. With a shrug to Tusk and Rather, Mama and Kipping, Heimar spurred his horse to catch up.

Lord Fabri was a rare man, the kind of man whose weight only added to his gravitas. He sat upon his graceful Udorian steed as if born in the saddle, his prodigious belly resting comfortably upon the horse's back, his eyes sharp and unwavering. He smiled broadly as Sir Kilhorn approached, ignoring the two soldiers at his side.

"Ah, cousin," he exclaimed, extending an arm to embrace Sir Kilhorn as their horses drew within reach of each other. "I am hearing of your victories day and night. I trust my kinsmen in the northern desert showed you appropriate hospitality?"

Sir Kilhorn replied something in his usual rasping whisper, which sent Fabri into deep, sonorous gales of laughter. Heimar shook his head; while most men shivered to see Sir Kilhorn, Fabri seemed to find him endlessly entertaining.

"Ah," Fabri cried suddenly, "I had almost forgotten. Talea, my daughter! Come show our Knight our newest kinsman." With this he snapped his fingers twice, as if summoning a servant, and from behind him a camel lumbered forth, led by a dark-skinned driver. Upon its back was a huge and colorful hawdah, a kind of large box meant for comfortable human transport, its sides draped richly in multicolored textiles.

Heimar's heart skipped a beat, for he knew that within it was one of the greatest beauties of the world. He had been everywhere from the utmost shore of Morek to the Fissoan Isle and never seen her like. He had lain with the finest women of the finest brothels from north to south, and yet he knew he would never taste such perfection.

Talea men Fabri, wife of Lord Jonn Dodger, drew back the hawdah's curtain with a flawless hand. Her head was covered in silk and golden thread, her neck and wrists blazed with jewels of a dozen hues. Her eyes were dark and heavy-lidded, rimmed with black kohl; her lips were full and moist and expressive; her cheekbones high and noble.

Yet it was what she held in her arms that drew Heimar's gaze. A tiny figure wrapped in bold red linen, its wrinkled face greeting the Ciarin sunset with a squalling cry, its miniature hands balled in miniature fists as if ready for a fight. A born warrior, a son of the Isle and Garuck Udor both. Lord Jonn's son.

Talea presented the child in hushed tones to Sir Kilhorn, who regarded the babe as one might a chicken or a duck at market. He quickly turned to converse with Lord Fabri, and the two rode off a short distance to discuss matters unheard.

Heimar waited until their backs were turned before easing his mount toward the hawdah. Talea smiled to see him, and his heart threatened to give out entirely.

"Captain Heimar," she greeted him smiling, her Udorian accent only slightly thicker than her father's. "So good to see you after such time."

"M'lady," he replied with a slight bow. He could not take his eyes from the child. "May I?"

"Of course," she said, holding the baby out for his inspection. Heimar extended a callused finger, which was quickly grasped in a tiny, chubby hand.

"So strong," he murmured, overwhelmed. "What have you named him?"

"Jonn Shintuk," she replied smiling, wrinkling her nose as if the words themselves were odd and wondrous. "As his father wished, should the child be a boy. His people have such strange names." Her laughter was like windchimes in a gentle breeze. Heimar could only stare as the baby pulled at his finger, eager to explore all the wonders of a new and unfamiliar world.

His reverie was broken by a deep and commanding voice behind him. "Ho, Lurian! Who dares approach my sister?"

Heimar wheeled his mount to face the source of the challenge, and his face broke into a smile to see Telos, eldest son of Fabri, and sometime soldier in Lord Jonn's Ravensguard. "Ho, Udorian," he replied, "who dares let months pass without word to his comrades?"

Telos laughed, and they embraced over the manes of their horses. A glint of steel caught Heimar's eye, and he raised Telos' saddle-blanket with a quizzical eyebrow raised. Telos shoved Heimar's hand away with a disapproving grunt, covering once more a wicked-sharp killeen, the deadly saber of the Udorians.

"We have some matters to take care of," he murmured in a gruff whisper. "This night I ride with you."

Heimar did not have time to press his old friend for more, for Sir Kilhorn was suddenly behind him, tapping his shoulder. "Come," the yellow-eyed Knight rasped, "there is work to be done."

Heimar did not want to know, but he asked anyway. "What is it, my liege?"

"Unwelcome competition," Sir Kilhorn rasped, and with that he wheeled his steed and rode back toward the column. Telos nodded, and they both spurred their horses.

Heimar took one last long look at the baby, fading off into the distance, before he and his mother and the hawdah were all lost in a cloud of dust.
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.