The Company of the Road

The Never Ending Quest - Episode 8644

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,
he fights fer his living and his Lady's charms,
his name is Denom and his countenance sharp
his manners so knightly, tho maybe wee dark

And with him his Lady, Rowena she b'called
her name equals Honor, her presence grace all
she sits tall in her saddle, so fine and true
I'd wager a kroger that her blood be blue

And with us a soldier, a Captain's man
he brings with him a message fer the Keep of Batlan
he's a cheery young man and that is fer soothe
Konrad's his name and he's a fine brave youth

And of merchants we have not one, two nor three
but four fine tradesmen who say nothing be free

One sports a forked beard, an' his name be Mokad
MalBoncton's his home tho he looks more of Roshad

An' then there's Pall whose wagon smells of scales
he's traveled from the eastern coast by way of Trest and Nales

The third is a moody soul and his bounty runs not deep
pr'haps at the Faire of Fred Garrek'll find treasure to keep

And last but not least is a hearty man
an' I like Timon's smile most
lets us share a drink if'n you do the buyin
and I'll take care of the toast!"

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."

  1. And then from around the bend in the road a beggar-man came stumbling up toward them.

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4/8/2000 6:44:47 PM

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