Emerson Berengar, Turlough O’Hagan, and Ishaan took the trail to the Old Bandit Camp. Directly south was Khofi Springs, the last known location of Lydia, Emerson Berengar’s sister.
Ishaan had lots of questions that Turlough O’Hagan was happy to answer. They hit it off very well. It was found That Ishaan was from Vijaypura, a faraway place with a rich culture. He was a mercenary under a man named Chandra.
Ishaan spoke fondly of dying in battle to regain lost honor and Turlough listened intently.
“Ishaan,” Said Turlough, “a man can do a lot of good for himself if he keeps on living.”
Ishaan was resolute. ” I lost a battle fighting with Chandra. We sought to regain our honor. When we went to battle to die as one, I survived. I loathe my own skin for it. It is why I chose to come and help the Brother find his sister.”
As they walked through a meadow, a bluejay announced the trespass and flew away. Turlough froze and lifted a hand. In a whisper, he stated, “Minions, nine of them.” Ishaan was amazed. “You can tell that from a bluejay?”
In a slow, measured movement, Emerson smiled and pointed. In front of them were nine minions like the ones Lord Rainport had assembled during the civil war. They were overtaking them on the trail.
Ishaan let out a whoop like no Heron man ever could, dagger in one hand, sword in the other. Like the bolt of a crossbow, he was upon them, fighting like a mad man. Turlough and Emerson were shocked and joined the melee.
As the minions fell, they turned into cloth. Turlough looked at the fallen, and then at Ishaan. “By O’Hagan lad, you fight well, but ye must be learning to share, young man.”
All nine fell before the three. All that could be found as evidence of a struggle was nine black circular tubes of cloth.
“Minion Hosen!” Proclaimed Turlough. Emerson and Ishaan laughed. The words together sounded ridiculous.
As they went on, they saw shepherds headed west. “Ah,” said Emerson. “That explains it. Minions do not fight well around shepherds for some reason. That must be why they fell with such ease.”
Ishaan looked longingly at the passing flock. “You keep going, I will catch up with you shortly.”
Turlough and Emerson nodded and continued. Ishaan was good to have around in a fight. The minions might have posed a significant threat to the two of them alone.
Turlough was thoughtful. “Emerson, how did you come to have a sister of a sudden? We have talked much and I never did hear such a thing.”
“It’s not that complicated. Me and Netty went to a fair a while back and watched this young lady on a dunking stool. Now, they are usually for punishment, but she dunked once just for fun.”
“That’s different,” replied Turlough.
“Indeed. So I was sitting there laughing with Netty about it when she pointed a finger at me. She says her name is Lydia and she heard my nickname was Brother. A large crowd was gathered. I assured her I got that nickname because people say oh brother when they see me and the crowd thought that was delightful and laughed.”
Lydia now, she wasn’t laughing. She looked at me and said, “I am in the King’s service and loving it! You’d take a dunk for the king, would you not?”
Emerson wiped his brow. ” Now, I was in a fix. To say no was to say I did not like my service to the king. To say yes was to be dunked. Now that Lydia began to shout Brother, Brother and everyone followed suit, even Netty, my wife!”
Turlough laughed. “Then what happened?”
” I stood forward, and in a form that Galvin the Bard would admire, I proclaimed, For the King!
In unison, the crowd shouted, for the king!”
“I turned to Lydia, who I had not met before. I yelled, I dunk today for the king, and If my name be Brother, she be a snot nosed little sister!”
“The crowd laughed and Lydia put her hands on her hips, frowning.”
Anyways, they lashed me to a chair, Netty helping! I could tell it was in good fun so I was a good lad about it. As they lifted the stool in the air, I said, “not once, but eleven times!”
Turlough raised an eyebrow. “Why eleven?”
“I dunno, just came to me at the time. They dunked me eleven times and I was shivering, it was so cold. Fairs are like that, It was actually sort of fun!”
Turlough frowned. “That’s a wee bit wild for my taste. So, how did she become your sister?
“Well now, she put on that she was dunked for fun but she was actually in trouble and didn’t think I would do it. She told me that she wished for me to be her brother if that’s the kind of length I would go to for the king and a snot nosed girl’s dare.”
I agreed to be a brother to her, not even knowing the lady. Time passed and me and Netty were invited to Khofi Springs by a Lady Lydia. We met her family and found them to be likable for royalty. I was officially proclaimed Emerson, Brother to Lydia by her kin.
Turlough shook his head. ” Now, Emerson, truth is stranger than fiction. That there was quite a yarn you spun.”
Emerson pushed his hat back and looked at Turlough, grinning. “And every last word of it is truth I tell you!”
Ishaan returned with several heavy looking bags of sewn skins, huffing and puffing. Turlough was curious. “What do you have there, Ishaan?”
Ishaan was beyond pleased with himself. “Sheep’s milk! We need to drink it fast or it will curdle.”