East Coast Chronicles - Part 5 - Truth
By J.C. Delfino III
Andester soon found himself sitting in a tavern across from Raydon. The tavern was dark only lit by the candles on each table and a few oil lamps hanging from the walls. Andester glanced around the room at the people who sat at the bar or tables filling the space between the walls. Most of the people lounging, laughing or calling out for drinks were men, farmers and hunters by trade. A few scantily clad serving wenches paraded around the room, flirting with the customers as they placed the drinks on the tables before the drunken men. Even a few adventurous types had found their way to the small tavern. A loud dwarf sat at the corner with a woman with a large scar running across her neck. The dwarf said something about fighting and the ocean and then laughed loudly. The woman smiled quietly in return and nodded. Andester looked back to Raydon who sat across from him reading a scroll.
A serving wench approached the table with the drinks they had just ordered. "Your meals will be ready in a moment." She said smiling at Andester. Andester had seen more beautiful women in his short life, but the way this woman was dressed and carried herself made him feel very uncomfortable, making him flushed and interfered greatly with his ability to speak.
"Thank you," he managed to stumble out. She smiled at him playfully and then turned and walked over to another table.
Andester had ordered a thick stew while Raydon had asked for baked duck. They sat sipping their drinks while they waited for their meals. Andester had ordered a Strawberry Ale. It had sounded good and the wench had said it was a local favorite. He was surprised at the sweet taste that the liquor had. Raydon had ordered a wine, which he was sipping slowly.
"Tell me about yourself Andester." The oaken faced man asked. Andester sat looking at Raydon for a moment trying to get a full measurement of his new acquaintance. He pondered upon what to tell the man. He thought about lying about himself. He was hoping to travel with this man down to Sliverton, and did not think the man would like the concept of traveling with a runaway. While Andester sat pondering his words, Raydon pulled a small green bag out of one of the pockets of his robe. The bag was made of felt and was sealed with two silver pull strings at the top. He unknotted the strings and opened the bag. He pulled from the bag a handful of sand. "This sand is from the coast at Sliverton," Raydon made a ring of sand in the middle of the table. As Andester watched he then poured a little cone in the middle of the ring of sand and then mumbled something the boy could not quite hear. He looked up at Andester. "Sorry the mind tends to wonder. Please continue."
Andester sat looking at Raydon confused for a moment and then shrugged. He deiced to be truthful with the man. Andester explained how he had been raised on a small farm north of Falcon's Breast. He lived there with his parents and two younger brothers. Andester had always felt the need to travel around, and after he finished his chores each day he would hike around the surrounding hills looking for adventure. He would walk along creek beds looking for tracks in the wet sand and dirt lining the edges. Although most of the time the tracks were from deer or other wild animals, occasionally he would find tracks from goblins or swarlars. The goblins he did not worry about but the swarlars were known to sneak up on people and then knock them down and use sharpened sticks or rocks to stab the people to death. Andester usually went home when he found their troubling tracks. As he grew older he began to become less frightened of the prospects of meeting the savage creatures of the wild. He began to track them around for hours at a time.
Andester explained that he had run away from home after he had a serious argument with his father about his adventures. Since then he had been traveling down the East Way looking for adventure. He explained how he hoped to travel down to Sliverton and find work.
Andester was surprised to find that most of the time Raydon kept glancing down at the cone of sand. A slight breeze must have come up for Andester watched as sand continuously blew toward the older man.
"Where are you headed?" Andester asked wanting to change the subject to something other than himself.
"Down to Sliverton,"
"I am headed that way also," Andester replied as he watched the sand shifted and faltered before it began to blow closer to himself. "As soon as I can get a horse," Andester had no intention of getting a horse. Please work, Andester thought to himself. He noticed the sand started blowing quickly toward him.
"Well," said the older man, "you could always travel with me. It is a lonely road to travel alone, and I could always use some muscle, of course I would be willing to pay for your time." Raydon replied dusting the sand off of the table and then brushing the sand off of his weathered hands.
This, of course, was just what Andester was hoping to hear, so he quickly agreed.
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