The Chanticleer smiled at all around him and everyone waited for his next
bit of doggerel.
"Let's begin with a man, oure man-at-arms,
And with him his Lady, Rowena she b'called
And with us a soldier, a Captain's man
And of merchants we have not one, two nor three
One sports a forked beard, an' his name be Mokad
An' then there's Pall whose wagon smells of scales
The third is a moody soul and his bounty runs not deep
And last but not least is a hearty man
Timon began to guffaw and Rowena clapped enthusiastically. Fred grinned and Pall's face turned red even as he chuckled. Roshad stroked his beard with a smile and Konrad blushed. But Garrek eyed the bardsman darkly and whipped his reigns, bringing his wagon to the front of the column. The merchant found the Chanticleer to be less than amusing. But the bard just shrugged it off; he was used to ruffling feathers and at the moment he was too busy enjoying the success he'd had with the others. But Pall, being a goodhearted man, rode forward until his wagon was beside the moody merchant's and offered some comforting words
"Good Garrek, do not let the jester's word's spoil your mood. He meant to lighten your spirit, not darken it." Garrek kept his stare ahead of him as he replied, "Well he did a damn poor job of it. There is no wit on that man's tongue an' I don't take kindly to base insults." Pall was surprised by the anger in his words, he did not feel that the occasion warranted it. "And were the rest of us spared?" Pall asked, "for if you were accused of being, um, less than wealthy, then I was accused of being a liar." Now Garrek turned to Pall and with a scowl on his face said, "Aye, and I'd wager you are. Neither Trest nor Nales nor yourself lie anywhere near the eastern coast. Now leave me be." With another hard slap of his reigns Garrek pulled ahead of Pall in silence.
The others had seen this and Fred turned to Mokad. "Your brother-merchant seems not to like our chanticleer, or his fellow Pall either." Mokad nodded, "He's a moody one that's for sure. I was surprised to see him this mornin' when we gathered to depart. He spent most of last night arguing for us all to turn back. Seems he takes these stories of monsters to heart." "And you don't?" Fred asked. Mokad grinned, "I've traveled up and down the Shreken and Tumbar's Road for many years, same as Timon. I know when to be afraid. And what to be afraid of. This isn't the Goth you know. You and your charge are perfectly safe. But Pall and Garrek are new to me. Pall's a likable enough fellow, though I don't believe half his stories. Still, he knows how to turn a coin and that's what it's all about. Garrek on the other hand, well, he's a jumpy one and not very keen on the trade. And above all he seems to be scared half the time. I don't mind telling you, but when we get to the other side of the pass I'm looking forward to bidding goodbye to that man."
4/8/2000 6:44:47 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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