Hello, Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here! Stay a while and I will spin you a tale of the land of La Longi!
“I don’t think the world is a small place. My father, Emery Berengar came from somewhere outside of La Longi and the ocean is pretty big. One day, I would like to plot a course and just sail. I could care less about politics and raising levies, I want to care for my family and make a mark on the land with my two hands in a far-off land.”
Ashton kept his mouth shut, wanting to make a good impression. He didn’t know the short little man with the absurd hat but he kept him from a Hanging Gallows branding. They called him Brother, the rules guy.
Nonetheless, Ashton raised an eyebrow. This man of royal bearing was days away from any other keep and ruled all the surrounding countryside. It was rumored that he had an unquenchable fire, raised an army that broke a civil war, and drove Carsiollians back to their own country. It was even said he knew how to train a dragon.
It was ludicrous for a man of such importance to have such a yearning.
“You are a quiet one. The Heron will like that in a man. You might could find a wife among them.”
Ashton’s ears turned bright red. “I am good on the womenfolk, for now, sir.”
Emerson Berengar chuckled. “Fair enough lad. On some days I would rather face a dragon atop my keep than watch my back with a brawling woman.”
The miles passed on quietly and Ashton could not contain himself.
“Sir, some of the men on the Netty Northwich say you raise dragons and you break men’s bones with your bare hands. They also say you fought a tribal chieftain and his men with just a knife.”
“Haha! That is an amusing statement son. Everyone knows you wear gloves when you are breaking bones.”
“Ashton, those are all stories. I grow old and pudgy near a Campfire, raising my family and farming, dreaming young men’s dreams of adventure.”
Brother paused. “I cleaned up all the Pequin around here so perhaps you could show us a thing or two about dragons. They call them thunderbirds up here.”
“They were fearsome attacking the Netty Northwich, Thane Berengar. How do you live with them?”
“We keep the alcohol to a minimum up here. They can smell it miles away and can’t help but drink it. That saves us most of the trouble. While I don’t have an accurate map to show you, any alcohol products are manufactured south of Silverfinch for this reason.”
Ashton contemplated. The vision of Baldwin Mailer was seared in his mind like it was yesterday.
“They tell me the Heron sold a breeding pair to The Alchemist and that is how my fath… er… Captain Gryll obtained them. “
“The Heron are unpredictable and impressionable at times. Those that choose to walk in evil will come up with the means to perform evil. I don’t hold it against the Heron.”
It was again quiet and Ashton was content it was such. While it was known, it was best to keep who he was to himself.
In a clearing near a creek, they stopped for lunch. Though tall and a woodsman, Ashton had a difficult time keeping the pace of the stocky Thane and was thankful for stopping for a bit.
No fire was built as to not draw attention. There were roving bandits and brigands about. Emerson Berengar handed a slab of dried meat to Ashton. It was spicy and burned the mouth to no end. “It’s pequin meat; getting harder to find these days so enjoy it.”
Ashton watched as he devoured the jerky as if it were a delicacy. “This is an acquired taste, sir. “
“Yeah, I suppose you are right. It just seems right to eat or use what you kill. We put their hides on our shields.”
“That makes sense. I have not heard of the Alchemist other than in passing. Who is he?”
Emerson’s brow furrowed.
“Have you ever lost one of your hosen? “
“No. I just barely began wearing boots.”
He has a method of stealing them and turning them into minions. I don’t understand how, but that is where your missing hosen go. Evil, merciless creatures, and when you kill them, they become what they used to be?”
Ashton laughed. “You jest sir. Let me get this straight. If I lose my hosen, they will turn into a vile creature, controlled by an alchemist? That is absurd. Who made this up?
Emerson Berengar smiled. “Oh, I don’t know, a Storyteller perhaps, but keep that blade handy, for eventually you may see one!”