"We'd most assuredly deserve it, sire," fawned Jarvis. "On second
thought, we'd be more than honored to be escorted to said castle with
such esteemable fellows as you and your cronies, er, I mean soldiers!"
Jernicus and Fred vehemently
nodded their agreement. The leader looked down at them like they
were scum, but their cooperation seemed to lighten the mood. "That's more
like it!You filthy dogs shouldfeel honored. Of course you know,
there is the matter of the entry tax. Being you are lowly peasants
it is unlikely you will be able to pay," his words were laced with
disdain as he said this, a disparaging smirk planted on his gruff
face. "You will most likely have to work off your debt."
The three were forced to march ahead of the progression, being prodded none-too- gently from time to time by one of the javelins that the Baron's men carried. As they continued down the road, the landscape became increasingly dull and dismal. The hills directly surrounding the Castle Zeitgeist were largely uninhabitated, save for a few of the loathsome scavengers and irksome carrion, and perhaps a few slimy things and over- sized rodents.
"Don't worry,"whispered Fred to the others. "I have plenty of gold, we won't have to worry about all that taxation nonsense."They were now in a wild region of thorny underbrush and somber gray downland ridges. The country would only continue to rise in altitude as they continued northwest, as they neared the Carpath. Storm clouds began to gather as the day progressed, and the earthy smell of an impending downpour hung in the air. After an hour or so of trudging along ahead of Zeitgeist's thugs, another entourage of riders appeared on the near horizon. As they came nearer, Fred could make out about three haggard horsemen, clad in black, their escutcheons bearing the same demented coat-of-arms as their captors.
Within moments the horsemen were upon them, shouting out friendly greetings to their comrades and eyeing the three foreigners with intense curiousity. "Are they going to the festival?" asked the fattest of the three, motioning at the captives."Indeed," replied the leader. "They are here for the festivities. We've encountered no other travellers on the east road today."
"Nor have we," replied the untidy sweaty bulk, "but we were told to expect three foreigners. And here they are, as they were described by Zeitgeist himself. Apparently these lowlifes are going to be guests of honor."The leader shivered. Zeitgeist's uncanny ability to project his thoughts and even his sight was very strong in his own land. The Baron himself was a pale hairless wraith of a man, his sunken eyes completely black, his mouth sewn shut. When the Baron gave orders he spoke on a level beyond words. He was probably watching them right now."Very well," the man sighed.
In the city of Goldstadt, the city of cheese makers and bagelers, pastry chefs and sausage linkers, milk fermenters and cabbage spoilers, gold-jewelers and, well, you get the point...
Burgomaster Bob was cacthing up on some sleep, as he was wont to do, and was startled when a figure entered his private office by means of a hidden door known to only a handful of secretive souls. The Burgomaster shuffled through his messy escritoire, blindly searching for his spectacles. Upon finding them he looked up to see the intruder who had so abruptly interupted him. "Ah, Slyfer," he said pleasantly. "What brings you to my office unannounced?"
"Just got off the magical wire with the folks in Vjorica," the gaunt one known as Slyfer responded. "Castellan's schemes are moving ahead quicker than we expected. It is of dire importance that we find Jernicus. They say the Destined One is on his way. They gave me his description, apparently he's an Allarian knight in his mid-twenties."Bob was aghast! This soon!? Well, there was no other course of action. They must find him and aid him at all costs!
3/24/2003 4:05:03 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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