Hello, Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here!
It has been a long year so far and we have to stick together and encourage one another.
Without further ado, join me while I spin a tale of the Land of La Longi!
It was growing late when Ashton decided to return to the Wanton Thief Inn at Hahyrst. There was cargo to unload on ship’s light.
Hearing a voice on the trail, Ashton was drawn to see what was going on.
A man was singing the most ridiculous of songs, the lyrics unworthy of mention. With him was a crew of the strangest folks a man could ever meet carrying all manner of props and equipment headed towards Hayhyrst.
It was a fool, or jester.
“My boy, he cried, come forth and save the day, poor maiden is lost and can’t find her way!”
In a wheelbarrow was a woman dressed in long, black mourning attire. She looked dignified, proper, and serious as one could be in a one wheeler.
She was accompanied by a man with an absurd suit of clothing.
Ashton assessed the situation, noting that the men with the equipment continued down the road without them. Ashton was wary and observed the two from a safe distance so he could run if need be.
“Hello, my name is Ashton. How may I be of assistance?”
“My dear sir, Yon maiden has been abandoned in the forest like rubbish,
Push her to Hayhyrst, and of your exploits, I will publish.”
Ashton laughed. “Why, I can almost see Hayhyrst right down the path.” He looked at the maiden. “ma’am, is everything ok?”
She was woefully woeful in expression.
“I go to Hayhyrst for dinner of eggs, but I cannot, for I have no legs.”
It was obvious that she had legs, but Ashton did not find it fitting to challenge the assertion. She persisted.
“Nothing romantic, or mushy, all that I ask is to Hayhyrst you push me.”
Ashton looked at the jester. “Can you not push your friend to Hayhyrst?”
He replied simply. “I cannot, for I have no arms.”
Ashton scratched his head. Clearly, the man had arms. “Umm. Yes you do.”
“No, I do not,” replied the jester.
“I see them. They are attached to your shoulders.”
The jester pulled his arms in his shirt. “Do you see them now?”
“You two are silly. I have to get going.” Ashton began walking off.
The jester called after him.
“Push her through town, I pay you proper,
Do it at once, and I’ll pay you some copper.”
Ashton, hearing of coin, turned. “How much?”
A reasonable agreement was made and he pushed the woeful woman in the wheelbarrow to Hayhyrst.
Ashton quickly saw that the two were promoting a show at the inn and Ashton assisted, pushing the cart through the streets of Hayhyrst. They carried on the whole way, the woman lamenting that she had no legs and the man bemoaning his lost arms.
Ashton was embarrassed to be in the middle of it all, but the coin kept him motivated.
A small crowd began to follow, wondering what additional antics would transpire, and the jester gestured for Ashton to change direction with the wheelbarrow.
Arriving at the Wanton Thief, Ashton saw a crowd of paying patrons already assembled.
Sybel, the innkeeper was expecting them and beckoned for Ashton to roll the wheelbarrow right in.
After securing his coin and ensuring all his gear was intact, he settled down near a window to watch for the incoming merchant ship.
It could be minutes, It could be hours, but Ashton wanted the work and it was worth the wait. His day had been profitable, and a night’s work would sweeten the pot. Ordering a cider and securing his belongings with Sybel, he settled in.
Looking around, he saw that stage hands had put together props for the event and the show began.
In an obviously fabricated voice, A flashy young man of the troupe introduced the show.
“Ladies and gentlemen, highborn and low,
Welcome and Wanton, to today’s show!
I present words soft and hard,
Mel, and Galvin the Bard!
Still, Galvin looked absurd in his outfit, and carried a strange instrument. He wondered if he was the minstrel what kept him up the night before.
“Friends!” He proclaimed, placing a bucket before him. “To ALL ranks and stations, my services, for your donations!”
Galvin played his music and it seemed off key and contrary to anything Ashton had heard in his life. In fact, It was downright disgraceful that his music sounded that way.
The crowd clapped and cheered all around. They soaked up the very introduction all the way to the final note. It was awful. Any sane person… no… any sober person could hear it was awful.
Likely, they were full of the free ale that came with admission to the Wanton Thief.
The melodrama of the jester and his companions grated on his nerves, but Ashton endured. Perhaps his mind was fragile, but Galvin was one step above rambling to him. Mel, his friend stayed in the background for the time being.
Finally, he stepped outside for fresh air, taking in the night chill and smelling the sea. It was more welcoming than the confines of the crowded inn.
Athyes, the grocer arrived at the inn. “You ready, young man?”
“Yes sir! I probably should have rested, but I made myself useful in town today and earned a fair bit of coin.” He shuddered. “Those musicians in there are wretched.”
Athyes frowned. “Don’t be going about saying such things. It is a good way to get robbed. Furthermore, Galvin and Mel are fundraising for a just cause. Have you not heard of the wars for La Longi?”
“No sir. I have heard somewhat of far away battles, but I know little.”
The shopkeeper lightened up a little.
“There have been two wars for the throne of La Longi. First, Lord Rainport and the Alchemist tried to usurp the King, then the Carsiolians. Bloody affairs they were, and many lives were lost.
“The troupe in the inn are raising money for the families of those who served to preserve our way of life. There are those that lost limbs or are so injured they cannot work to provide for their families anymore.”
Ashton was shocked.
“My apologies, I had no idea.” He quickly changed the subject. “May I ask why we are unloading in the dead of the night?
Why can’t the ship come to shore?”
Athyes looked at Ashton, confused at the question. It was an obvious answer to everyone in his industry.
“The water is too shallow and the ship must move in haste. There are pirates about.”
Ashton was wary, and curious.
“Are you talking about the longboatmen? I know many of them.”
“Nay son, the scourge of La Longi, Captain Gryll is about, and no ship is safe along this coast. Even now, he could be just out of sight, waiting to take the merchant ship when she drops anchor.”