Emerson Berengar could ride, but preferred walking.
He could read the sign clearly. The tracks were headed northeast.
It had been one year and some months since the Beast had been exiled from La Longi. He looked back at the blur of events that had occurred. Resettling a ruined town, fighting pequin, brigands and Heron, training convicts how to farm, and relocating his family were just a handful of events that ran together in his mind. He walked along a stream and his thoughts drifted to his childhood.
His father was quite particular about a few things growing up and the landscape triggered a memory. The words echoed in his mind. “Son, when you are walking by a stream, keep your eyes open for sticks that beavers or musk rats chewed the bark off of.
“They season well and are nigh well unbreakable. Good for chasing a varmint off with.”
He looked at a stout branch about three feet long that fit the description. He felt the weight and balance and it felt good in his hands.
It was peaceful on the trail but the short respite ended quickly. The tracks veered off towards Silverfinch.
Brother heard music playing at a central building and stepped inside. At least a dozen rough looking men were seated. The unmistakable smell of Screaming Peaches and smoke accented the room.
He recognized Clive Darkwing and Sheriff Crimsonhart immediately. The music stopped and all eyes turned towards Emerson.
“I am looking for Lord Rainport.”
Clyve Darkwing, the owner of the establishment, had a habit of rolling herbs in paper and smoking it like a pipe. He took a drag and smiled.
“Who? Can’t say I have heard the name.”
Brother smiled back cheerfully.
“Before he died, my father said “Son, sometimes there is no talking to folks. You might just have to beat them with a stick.”
“I never knew why he said that… until now.”
A large foul smelling man with bleary eyes rose from his chair. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Brother struck the man on the thigh with the stick. The brute maintained his balance and swung wildly at Brother and was struck again on the opposite leg. He fell to the ground yelling the foulest of expletives.
“There is no middle ground here folks. You tell me where Lord Rainport is and you won’t get hit with a stick.”
The men in the bar hunkered down with their drinks. A few slipped out the door. Brother turned toward Sheriff Crimsonhart. “You tried to kill a messenger warning of the siege. Perhaps you know where Lord Rainport is.”
The corrupt sheriff swiftly drew his sword. He was faster than he looked, but not fast enough. Brother stepped inside and struck the man on the shoulder causing his sword to drop. Without hesitation, he struck him again on his neck. Sheriff Crimsonhart dropped like a bundle of pequin hides to the floor. Clyve Darkwing fled out the back door as did the remainder of the men inside.
“Where is everyone going? I’m just asking a question,” Pleaded Brother.
Brother taught the men of Silverfinch with his stick, but never did get an answer as to the whereabouts of Lord Rainport.