Merlin 3:15 “Sortie Exchequer”
Braden and Katyenka ride on a wagon to the east with the sun of morn about to climb over trees and into their eyes having both been traveling thru the night. They ride on a padded bench of leather and wool, at the reins he slightly leans back and to the side, occasionally jostled by the road the undercarriage arching flattened bars that reflex to the unevennesses, she rests with back to the bench shoulder, her feet in his lap, a shawl over her, and her arm over the top. She holds a jaundice-colored leather-bound smallish collection of loosely gathered pages, beginning to read them as interim changes to afford the light of day. The wagon carries wheat not yet winnowed and still attached to stems, with them is their band of brethren, and a second smaller and empty wagon with a single seat for a single driver whose name is Agnar Mogthrasir, son of Geirroth Mogthrasir. Each horse has various lines of war paint and each patron modest. Agnar has the hands of a fighter and the strength of a farmer, now freelancer he is the largest of this lot.
Brad: “Read aloud for interim.”
Kat: “Care, you would not.”
Brad: “Appeal to ridicule.”
Kat: “These pages seem as recorded hunting myths, possibility is supposed actuality.”
Brad: “It is observations of heaven that built the worlds.”
Kat: “Listen this, ‘the eagle is a vulture; I will raze the tyrant and fell the beast.’”
Brad: “Aren’t we all.”
Agnar: “Mirror mere or under all.”
Brad: “At another otherwise, read us more, den-mother.”
Kat: “Well, is much nonsensical, some pages antique, others written ink-blood.”
Brad: “Seems legitimate.”
Agnar: “A hunter’s word is better trusted than childish kings.”
Kat: “All kings are childish.”
Brad: “And all queens princesses.”
Braden leans and kisses Katyenka, the wagon unevenly during a small sentimental peck of sorts as she closes the rusticated pages and puts some of her fingers into some of his hair.
Kat: “Do not sell princess for dowry, or I’ll give you another reason hadst sleepless nights.”
Brad: “I shan’t and daren’t, mine liebchen, when you look in my eyes what do you see?”
Kat: “I see my favorite childishness.”
With them and their two wagons, rides their fourth, one named Digraldi son of Thraell, his body is the same that made the dead leather heavy and heaping with earthen magic, and now so the miniscule pebbles seem to part from his horse’s path. Scouting he says little and scurrilously hums like he laughs, dissimilar and humble.
Deep ahead another rider from earlier scouts their path, in the flatland below the lowly mountains he watches a crow far ahead of him, it sways and swoons and plays in the distance of a meadow, opening its wings it glides directly downward and slips into the earth. The scouting fellow stops his horse and returns toward his compatriots. Once they are in sight small on the horizon he stands in his stirrups and largely swathes his right hand and arm, sitting and returning slowly next.
Digraldi sees him wave and turns his horse back and waves to the sixth and last to be mentioned member of their party, a rider with black leather straps the suit of warrior assuredly in saddle, trailing in the distance the rider sees the waving arm of Digraldi and starts a faint trot forward.
Digger: “He follows up.”
Kat: “Very little I’m sure.”
Agnar: “The way he spills war, he wouldn’t have us blamed.”
Brad: “I would not let him hear you speak of him so highly, noble.”
Agnar: “I see Varin without urgencies.”
Digger: “Should I pull him come this way?”
Braden: “What say you, liebchen?”
Kat: “…is only which you must.”
Digr holds a coin and flips it, holding his palm outwardly it attracts then sticks to his palm, with this manifestation Varin feels his saddle and soon his shoulder armor drawn to the party, he leans forward and high as he nudges his steed into a charge loftily residing, in this much and soon he doth arrive.
Digger: “How goes the way?”
Varin: “Vastly, save without undertow.”
Kat: “Could I hear another mischief needed? Oh please.”
Brad: “What did you see?”
Varin: “Riding on a head, a crow flew into the earth, or…”
Brad: “Or it is what, Varin?”
Varin: “Or it is irrigation.”
Digger: “A wanton word for bounty had.”
Agnar: “…and Katy can buy feline attention.”
Kat: “Graces fie.”
Brad: “Hell, I’d, pay to see that, but a bounty and a bath could be related.”
From here they travel forward where the trees and roadside part for farmland, untilled and deforested, wide and large with the hills to one side and a level earth t’other, across the level field are wagons parked where the road reenters forest domain. There a blue ox, a red bull, and a yellow ass yoked to plows await their chore to seed and sow and sheer the earth by cleave and coulter. Each beast of burden is driven by a grandfather, led by a son, and followed by the grandchildren boys and girls planting seed no more than dozen and half. Into the rows behind the children diligent as the mages approach them, two of the animals have one child on their backs each, too young to work the other tasks they wave of cordial hap and neighborly, their third pass to and fro the fields length they halt of greeting and salutation.
Brad: “Hail to thee.”
Remraf: “Hail to riders.”
Rohatsu: “Hail to riders.”
Brad: “Good weather to crop this summer?”
Rohatsu: “It snowed so heavy a mountain broke, flooded everything, ought it turns nice.”
Kat: “An avalanche you say?”
Remraf: “Reckon I never, save rains fall not by summit freeze, ditches might be dug in time.”
Varin: “When did the peak collapse?”
Reginald: “It was midst winter, Lokk said he saw it, but I don’t believe him!”
Remraf: “Reginald, behave.”
Reginald: “It is my apologies.”
Brad: “He’s alright. What woods are these?”
Remraf: “Well…I think these are the Neaera, this is Remraf farm, that’s me, and D’nahwolp ranch and hamlet a few miles ahead of you.”
Agnar: “These haven’t been Neaera for many seasons. You have no king?”
Remraf: (stretches) “Oh no, not since I was a boy, many moons ago. Where are you heading?”
Brad: “Off toward Mornaland.”
Remraf: “You’ve departed from the West?”
Agnar: “That is how we are.”
Remraf: “Then you’re on the right path, far, but the right direction.”
Slowly walking his horse again the rider from behind the trail approaches, holding stirrup and shaking the heat from his hair without smile he approaches, Jonak of Songfir, his very presence upsets the animals and frightens the farmers. He looks to them knowing they are timorous and shaken, about to pass he stops aside Katyenka.
Remraf: “Respectfully you sir put a fear into my stock.”
Braden: “Take the lead.”
Doing as Braden has instructed, Jonak punches Agnar in his shoulder as he passes and leads into the second forest-covered stretch of road, Agnar behind him into the calm of day and shaded growth. Ahead of them another wagon approaches, this one with the worn frame from carrying untethered plow now carries simply seed, Jonak discretely points to it and slows to follow behind Agnar. To share the road and move distractingly as Jonak blocks them from view if the farmer driver were to irritate him.
Let loose in fresh and growing forest air the thought of these things, for the ensorcelling Ana in the hamlet of D’nahwolp where she has been in rest.
Within the village are miners and families, more so now the mountain has avalanched and deposited new silt to sift for precious metals might ought be found, the mountain is strong and called Skatalund to the peak closest to D’nahwolp, so strong that the avalanches never damage the tunnels, thru the winter they dig new tunnels. Ana sits in town, after breakfast she enjoys making a wreath and humming with two little girls who begin to hum their own song causing her to observe with smile and joy and maternal thoughts in provision of quietude.
The village was not a dozen domiciles before Sino’s incursion, and in departure of conflagration is not but fewer, henceforth enough space, distraction, and obfuscation allows Braden to arrive and direct himself to the sentry post near the single cave entrance in D’nahwolp. The floors bedecked with smooth wood and lean-to walls ramshackle just over four rooms, the back leads into the mountain, but only to a staging room that leads directly to the main tunnel and is sealed by steel door and guarded moderately. Ana watches a boy play with a candle, lit by fire unattended, hoping to catch the flames that she extinguishes with her mind before the youngling harms himself, reigniting it with the same magic to his contemptible frustrations.
Braden and Katyenka attentively walk up the large ramp to the town office, Jonak rides slowly into the cave from another direction of the village, Ana sees him and he her without signs of affiliation, unsure and suspicious of his bleak and black demeanor she trails him. Watching as he approaches the guards inside the cove of stone by the steel door in a wall of prehistorically carved ornate designs of runes and elder symbols, with an incantation of growl and whisper the guards fall sickly before him. She moves from line of sight, around homes to the mountain face in hopes of sneaking to the opening.
Braden opens the door for Katyenka and sooner than the magistrate of this station notices the paleness of her skin and eyes with darkness around both features, Braden points his silver wand, his elbow bent and forearm up, wrist bent the wand circles, and most of everything on the official’s desk soon bestrews. The older man puts his hands in air beside his ears.
Krelc: “I want everybody to live, so I’ll tell you, everyone in this town is a miner or a hunter, here you dost.”
Braden: “Relax, grandfather, no one gets hurt, she’s going to show you some pictures, and I’m going to withdraw your argentine.”
Kat: “Do you know these symbols?”
Krelc: “These are army patches.”
Kat: “Which is closest one?”
Krelc: “Most of these here are gone; children paint them on the rocks, this one, Odessa, is probably, closest, some of these, bandits use in memorial.”
Braden hears footsteps on the wooden floor the room next, he stands by the door, when it opens Braden coldcocks a young man who falls to the floor despite a brief warning from Krelc. Ana hears the body fall knowing not what fell, she sees their first wagon empty and the second arrive with the large Agnar, both appearing legitimate as livery transportation and grains for workers in the quiet morning. Inside, she shows him sketchings of artifacts from a small patchwork book, Braden exits the storage with a small pouch, pulling out a handful of silver.
Brad: “Is it any good?”
She sparks electricity and tiny lightning faint and dark that resembles the reflection of watery waves affixed to the pale skin of her slender hand. A pure lack of emotive response from her looks, Braden looks intently eager to know, she speaks as she stands her slender figure from waist.
Kat: “Is good. Bursar needs take painful infliction; he should not look he gave no opposition.”
Braden leaves for his wagon and nods to Agnar who approaches and enters, as Ana walks to make her presence known to him.
Ana: “An eagle doesn’t catch flies.”
Braden: “For your effort you should plough the seashore.”
Ana: “Art is to conceal art.”
Braden: “The stars incline us, they do not bind us.”
Ana: “Of your sins, from one, learn all.”
Braden: “To the waves with these dogs, light is to be nourished where liberty has arisen, rights abused are still rights.”
Ana: “Such as the universe, which was created out of time, and is where you’ll be if they catch you.”
Braden: “We are all leaders, I will set their arms back, come with me and my brothers, you should not be unattended your days.”
She releases her wrist from left-hand grasp and walks silently toward their wagon.
Agnar is ever quite large and bows his neck to enter the doorway, and his stature raises the heartbeat rate of Krelc who sweats from brow by fear. He drops the large sack of wheat and stands broadly shouldered largely chested.
Agnar: “It will only hurt once; left or right face?”
Krelc: “The right I suppose.”
Kat: “Is best close eyes.”
Krelc warily and frightened closes his eyes reluctant, Agnar stretches his right arm and smites the bursar, from outside thereon a description of swift raucous pummel sound, exiting with two bags of silver like cotton pillows, in addition to what the others carry, adding them to his cart. The others leave on horseback, without the wagon Braden and Katyenka hath drawn. Ana rides with the giant Agnar in the filled wagon atop the leather tarp atop the silver as they depart, beyond the edge of town just as the last home obscures in distance and forest, Nickolas approaching town sees her in the wagon and slows his pace to halt as she passes.
Ana: “Hello sir, you need a good horse.”
Nick: “I truly do.”
Nick stands watching confused, Ana rests bestridingly situated a queen in her own right, she looks over her shoulder to be certain large Agnar and others look not her way, and folds the fingers in one hand repeatedly, motioning discretely for Nickolas to follow her.