Hello friends! This story was heavily inspired by Cassa Bassa!
Grumpet the goose honked an alarm.
Officials from La Longi were on their way to collect taxes.
The scouts had made Brother aware several hours earlier.
Netty Berengar, Brother’s wife joined him at the Campfire.
“Emerson, I have the ledger,records, and taxes prepared.”
“Thank you dear.”
A cruel looking man with beady black eyes rode to the Campfire. His black hair made his face unusually pale. He was accompanied by mounted guards.
His voice,high pitched and strained, declared,
“Thane Berengar, your taxes are due and we are here to collect.”
Brother looked up at the tax collector. “Hello, welcome to the Campfire!”
” The taxes. I am here for taxes! Not small talk!”
Netty Berengar rose from her seat with a leather bag and parchments. “Here is the paperwork and the coinage sir.”
The tax collector ignored her.
“I do not allow my women to speak in public, Thane.”
Brother smiled. Netty knew his smile preceded deadly.
” Why Mr. Tax collector, pleased to make your aquaintance!”
I’ll have you know someone calling himself Lord Rainport came this way a while back thinking he was something. The pequin ate him, leather and all the fixings.”
“You came here for taxes, and they are right there in Lady Berengar’s hand.”
The tax collector was surprised. “My Lady, I did not know…. You are not dressed as such.”
He accepted the payment.
” Let me tell you something about Northwich, friend.”
(He put a special emphasis on the word friend.)
“All are welcome in Northwich, and all have a seat at the table, regardless of rank or status. That includes the women.”
“Look around you. This land is hardly settled because it is rugged and crops are difficult to grow here. The Heron take everything that isn’t tied down, and sometimes they take the ties.”
“While we all have our duties, we all have a voice in our survival.”
The tax collector was unfazed. ” Lady Berengar has rank, I don’t think the King will approve of a common woman running her …”
Just then, Hannah Berengar ran to the Campfire.
” Daddy, Daddy! One of the Heron girls told me there will be a raid soon!”
She turned and looked at the mounted men.
“What are your names? Nice to meet you! Can I pet your horsey?”
Brother laughed. “You tell the king whatever you want. When we go to war, our women are not the ones to trifle with.”
“We are lions, friend. We protect the village and our women back us up.”
“Our power is clearly shown in the strength of our women.”
“A woman told me that. Now get out of my village.”