Posted in Swords and Socery Story

Chapter 2 of the Fantasty story with no name, yet.

 

            “So there we are deep deep in the heart of the orcan kingdom me and Bear scouting ahead of the raiding party when who comes flying by us on the road but the very same wagon load of women who we were trying to rescue.”

            Bear joined in now “With at least half the orcan army chasing them about a league behind.”

            “Well my old friend,” Galpo said laughing. “Maybe not half the Orcan army, but at least a quarter of it.”

            “Okay, you are right, but what this Rock Hugger does next is either the bravest or stupidest thing I have ever seen.  He runs out of the woods and down into the middle of the road pulls out his bow and knocks an arrow, well I am not about to let this Gem Polisher out do me, so I join him and knock an arrow to.”

            Galpo took over the narration at this point. “Well as soon as the Orcs get into range, I start letting’m fly.  Of course so does Black Bear but as the Orcs keep getting closer and closer I can see he is not hitting a thing.”

            “What,” bellows Bear. “You are the one that couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat!”

            Galpo looked over at him.  “Well that’s the way I remember it.” And he crossed his arms definetly. The Rangers could tell by the dwarf’s tone he was trying to infuriate the bearded man, they also knew their teammate could barely hit the target half the time, let alone an orc running at full speed. 

            “Well then gem polisher you have spent too much time underground, you got mushrooms growing in that thick skull of yours.”

            A voice came from across the fire, to Scob it sounded like Sam the second youth they had captured. “So what happened next?”

            Galpo smiled at Black Bear and then slapped him on the back.  “You finish telling it.”

            “Right.”  Bear looks around the fire to make sure his men are all still listening.  “Well we are about out of arrows, and the Orcs are only about twenty yards away.  When they first line stops dead in their tracks.  Thier comrades behind them come plowing into them as does the group behind them.  In a few seconds the road in front of us is a couple hundred Orcs falling all over themselves trying to stop.  Well I let my last arrows go, and so does Galpo, I think he might have even hit a few at this point.  I am about to go for my blades when a human voice from behind us says in the loudest most commanding voice I have ever heard says ‘Get Down!’ ”

            Galpo adds. “Dorit.”

            The Rangers all nodded their heads agreeing that it was a voice to be obeyed instantly.

            Bear didn’t miss a beat. “Well I kissed the Mother and so did Galpo, and as soon as I did I heard one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard, almost as sweet as the sound of gold hitting my palm.”

            Scob had to admit no matter what the man did for a living Bear could turn phrase as well as any storyteller he had heard.  And as a Ranger and growing up on the Plains he had heard a more than most men heard in three lifetimes.

            “The sound of a hundred Elvin bows followed by a hundred Elvin arrows hitting a hundred Orcs.” 

            “Followed closely by another hundred arrows finding another hundred targets.”  Galpo added. 

            “Where did the Elves come from?” An excited young voice asked.

            “You know that is the first thing I asked to.” Bear said.  “I mean our raiding party only had thirty-two men and one dwarf.  But now the Orcs were retreating and Elves rushed past us and were still firing while retrieving their arrows.  We got up and Dorit was yelling at us to come on.  We start running down the road where the wagon had gone.  As we ran Dorit told us of meeting the Elves, a little while before and the Elves with either that hearing of theirs or some other method knew the wagon had broken from the Orcs.  So Dorit had the raiding party get ready to escort the wagon.  Meanwhile he and the Elves came to take care of the Orcs and met us where we stood.”

            Bear paused here mostly to catch his breath and take a swig of water, and as the Rangers knew from hearing the story from their friend this was the end of the story. 

            “Did you get the women back home?”  A young voice asked. 

            “Well we got them back to the camp, but you see they never really left home, they lived in their wagon.”

            “You mean they were gypsies?”

            “Not exactly, you see we were pretty far north in that fishing camp, and let’s just say the entertained the men.”  Galpo said smiling. 

            Most of the young men laughed immediately.  The rest a few seconds later after one of the laughing ones said ‘whores’.

            Galpo turned to Bear.  “If I recall correctly you got pretty friendly with the leading lady of the wagon.”

            Bear just nodded and took a sip from his canteen, and to Scob it looked as though the man was a little nervous. 

            “If rumor was correct I thought I heard you married her a couple of months later.”  Galpo said in an off hand manner. 

            Silence reigned around the campfire. 

            “I did.”  Bear said nervously.

            “So where is the little lady at now Bear, still on the coast, or did you two build that big house you two talked about?”

            “Now then Galpo, we both know their was nothing the least bit little about Annie.”

            Galpo laughed.  “Well that is true, her appetite could easily match a dwarf’s.”

            A lot of whistles of appreciation and a few sub dued ‘wows’ as well. 

            “So what happened with you and Annie?”  Galpo asked in a teasing voice.

            “She threw me out of the house.”  Bear said sheepishly. 

            “Why?”  Galpo asked still teasing. 

            The big man glared and then smiled.  “I kept sampling the goods that had time on their hands.”

            The crowd around the campfire roared in laughter. 

 

            “Hey Scob wake up.”

            Scob rolled over and looked up to see Telban standing over him with a steaming cup. 

            Scob smiled at his friend sat up and rubbed his eyes.  “Anyone try and leave the party last night?”

            Telban laughed.  “No all the guests are still here.  Of course if their story is true then why would they run?”

            “They wouldn’t, but we also have their boots, weapons and horses.”

            “To true, but even though Bear is a good storyteller, I find it hard to believe he could make up a tale this strange.”   Telban said plainly, taking the empty cup from Scob who had drained it.

            “To true we have only to wait the day out and see if a member of the Order of Ro shows up.”  Scob said as he started to pack his sleeping roll.  Scob was about to ask what was for breakfast when he saw Galpo with a large pan near the fire, he was about to moan when they both spotted Encoraan come around the bend in the pass from deeper within Elvin territory. 

            “Good morning brother Elf what have you seen on this fine but chilly morn?”

            As the elf crossed the space between them Scob noticed an even more pronounced lightness of step.  Elves were light on their feet anyways but since being with this one for the past three years he had begun to pick up on certain Elvin suldties.  “I know it is not the promise of a dwarf’s cooking.”

            “I heard that.”  Galpo said menacingly. 

            “About a mile down the trail is a place to look down on the mountain, and you get glimpses of the path as it winds down the mountains.”

            “And?”  Scob prodded.

            “I saw two riders, both wearing the robes of the Order of Ro, but the one was riding the horse my father had given my sister last year when she was last home.”

            “Your twin sister?”  Telban asked. 

            “Yes the same.”

            Scob nodded and smiled to see his friend so happy.   Scob couldn’t begin to imagine how Encoraan felt because he was an orphan and grew up among the plains people on the great grasslands known as Pepperdun.

            “Breakfast is ready.”  Galpo stated loudly. 

            At this point, Encoraan relented in the treatment of the prisoners since it looked like their story told last night was true, he had the team return their boots to them but their weapons were held. 

            Breakfast was provided by the now in doubt, horse thieves, due to their pack horses being present and the Ranger’s still being a least an hours walk down the trail where Scob had left them.      

“How long till they arrive?”  Galpo asked as he served the food to Encoraan. 

            “An hour maybe two.”

            The meal passed silently when it was finished Bear who had spoken little all morning approached the Rangers.  “Since we are now waiting for the buyers of the ponies can I suggest that my men wait on the other side of the pass as were my instruction from the lady.” 

            The team looked to Encoraan  who looked at Bear then his men.  “Fine your men wait on the other side of the pass, under guard of course.  You and I will wait here with the ponies until the lady who sent you on this errand produces the bill of sale.”

            After a few minutes the camp was packed up and the Rangers mounted their prisoner’s horses.   Leaving Encoraan and Bear they made their way back over the pass and rode, while their prisoners walked, to where the Rangers had therthed thier horses. 

            After watering the horses at a nearby spring the Rangers and their loosely held prisoners sat down to wait.  The two groups sat apart the Rangers with only half an eye an ear on their prisoners. 

            “Hey Gem Polisher.”

            Scob and Telban’s heads popped up immediately and saw that is was the biggest man of the bunch that had called out. 

            Galpo did not look up from his whittling he had been doing.  “Young man, it is Master Galpo, and if you did not know my name then Master Dwarf would do just as well.  Now then since you now know the proper way to talk to a dwarf what is it you want?”

            Scob and Telban both knew the tone in Galpo’s voice was playful but the both knew the dwarf’s temper could be easily ignited.

            The youth nodded and smiled a smug weasely smile.  “What I wanted to ask you gold hugger, is that a beard or a rat’s nest hanging from your face?”

            Telban said quietly to Scob in Elvin. “I think the lad is looking for a fight.”

            Scob nodded.

            “I prefer to think of it as a lesson in manners.”  Galpo said replying in Elvin.  “Besides Bear warned me this one likes to try things like this.”

            “Did you hear me jewel kisser or are you so dense as to have to ask your friends if that was an insult or not?”

            Galpo stood at this point after throwing his knife into the ground so it stuck near Scob.  “Well it seems you need a lesson in manners young man.”  Galpo said dropping his battle-axe into Scob’s waiting outreached hand. 

            The fight was over before it really began.  Galpo not only was much stronger than the young man, but thanks to years of training he was quicker and more agile to. 

            At the end of it Galpo was down on one knee with the other foot on the man’s throaght and he had the young man’s hand and arm twisted in such a way as to cause a great deal of pain if twisted any further.  “Lesson one.”  The dwarf began. “The using of terms such as Gem Polisher and Gold Hugger, well those are nasty terms and should not be used by in polite company.”  Galpo paused and looked at the other men in the area who nodded their heads.  “An exception to this rule occurred last night when Bear used some of those terms.  Well he and I have faced the enemy together and he and I hold each other in high regard and respect each other as warriors.  Much can be overlooked when a Trial of Fire is shared.

            “Do you comprehend young man?  And Galpo’s foot moved slightly to let some air into the man so he could speak.

            “Yes Master Dwarf.”

            “Do we need Lesson number 2?”

            “No Master Dwarf.” 

            Galpo let his foot entirely off the man’s throat now.  And with a quick flip of  his wrist released the man and then lifted him up with a quick jerk so he was now towering over the Dwarf. 

            “You can call me Ranger Galpo that is also acceptable.” 

 The only reply from the man was a nod as he rubbed his arm.

The day passed pleasantly after that.  The sun was warm, the Rangers and their charges staked out comfortable places and dozed while waiting.  After a while they heard the steady hoof beats of a single walking horse coming down the mountain from the pass.  By the time the rider came into view the Rangers were mounted and ready to move out.

            “Bear I take it all went well with the meeting?”

            “Right as rain.  The lady gave me the original bill of sale and your comrade gave me a letter to take to the closest Deputy to reassure him.”  Bear said handing piece of paper over to Telban. 

            He read it as it was written in the Halflings language.  “All seems to be in order.” Telban said handing it back to Bear.  “Okay, I guess that settles it, you and your men can go.  Sorry for the misunderstanding.”  He said extending his hand toward the big man.

            “No harm done and it added some excitement.”  Bear said shaking each of the Ranger’s hands in turn, ending with Galpo.  “Well you old dirt digger, I’ll see you down the road.”  Bear said grasping the dwarf’s hands with both of his own.  The dwarf wrapped both hands around the big man’s hands and said.  “May all your tunnels run straight and true.” 

            The big man nodded and with a simple nod to his men they left at a trot.

            The Rangers watched them go for a few minutes then turned their own horses back towards the mountain pass.  Arriving back at the previous campsite they found Encoraan sitting down talking to a member of the Order of Ro.

            Scob and the others dismounted and tied their horses nearby.  By the time this was done Encoraan and the lady had rose and were walking towards them.  “Mistress Kdriw may I present my team mates  Scob, Galpo and Telban. 

            Scob’s first impression of her was her eyes, they the most beautiful color of blue.  

            He caught site of the other Healer and surprised himself when he asked without consciously thinking about it.  “Rel is that you?”

Posted in Swords and Socery Story

Chapter 1 of the fantasy story with no name.

            The trail was fresh, less than an hour old.  They were most likely though the pass and probably setting up camp.  If they had left an ambush behind or even a sentry something would be happening soon.  He trudged along at the same steady pace he had been at for more than an hour.  The air was beginning to thin along with the trees, and the north wind might bring snow.  He sensed it almost a full minute before he smelled it.          Flow would have told him he did smell it; just that he was not focused enough to know what he smelled.  Flow also could catch a fish barehanded with his eyes closed, so Scob usually took the wise old elf at his word.  The odor was pipe tobacco, and it was coming from around the next twist in the trail.  Scob advanced slowly blending in with the rocks to the left of the trail.  It took him a full fifteen minutes to move upwind of the place the smoke had been coming from, that is when he realized why the smoke had stopped.   The guard, a man was slumped over a rock, either unconscious or asleep, and the way arms were tied to his sides with a belt made Scob think he hadn’t fallen asleep like that. 

            The owl call told him the whole story immediately.   He saw the three of them almost immediately up the trail a hundred yards, on top of a large rock, facing the pass. Scob knew then he was safe to walk down the road, his team was watching the people they had been trailing.  After a few minutes he was lying beside them in the gathering gloom looking towards the rocky split in the mountain. 

            “Who got him?”

            “Galpo.”

            Galpo just nodded at the elf’s one word answer.

            They sat there in silence for a full minute. 

            “Well someone want to tell me what we are waiting for?”  Scob asked.

            Galpo answered.  “These two have been discussing who is in charge now, and until they decide, neither of them will make a decision for fear of offending the other. ”

            Scob sighed, with Teblan and Encoraan this could take a while. 

            “Did you gather any more information about our rustlers?”

            “Well not from our napping friend if that is what you mean.  He was left behind on sentry duty, and he almost stepped on me when he went to light his pipe.  So I just rose up and put him to sleep.  No papers or anything on him.  Although the guy that put him on duty looked kinda familiar to me.”

            The other two were still muttering to themselves.  Scob decided not to interrupt them as it could put the discussion back to the beginning. 

            “Galpo why don’t you bring me up to speed on the situation.”

            The dwarf nodded.  “Ten, not counting Sleepy over there.  Eight men, all in their twenties except one in his forties who gave Sleepy his orders, and the two Halfings, we knew about.  All of them riding, passed by this spot about an hour ago.  Encoraan said he heard the two Halfings talk about the camp on the far side of the pass.  Just like we thought this morning they were shooting for.  Only two bows among them, the Haflings had slings but no crossbows.  They all had short swords except for the leader he had a long sword. ”

            “This may be the group that was responsible for the thievery in the northern Shire.” 

            “Aye my friend” Galpo said nodding.  “But why are they crossing into Elves territory with stolen ponies?”

            Scob was puzzled as well; no Elf would have use for Halfling ponies.  The only ones that used Halfling ponies were of course Halflings and Dwarves and neither had any type of settlement in these mountains.   So where are these ponies going. 

            “These two could talk all night for all I care.”  Galpo stated. “But any time now someone is going to come relieve that guard and if Sleepy doesn’t come back soon then we are going to lose the element of surprise and I am getting tired of sleeping in a cold camp with no hot tea in the morning.”

            Scob nodded they had been following this group for about a week, even though the theft had occurred two weeks ago.   At first they had theorized they would run the heard up into the foothills, move them down into the Southern Shire and sell them.  But two days ago the rustlers had turned due south, right towards where they were now. 

            He and Galpo saw the horse and rider at the same time.  Galpo nudged Encoraan with his foot and their conversation came to an abrupt halt.  Teblan gave a hand signal and they all got ready.  Scob and Galpo slid back down the rock and crept to the corner of the rock nearest the road.  With Scob in the lead, Galpo tailing, Galpo knocked an arrow as Regimental rules dictated, even though he was the worst shot of the bunch.  Scob heard the horse draw closer and closer and the second before it head popped into view, Scob heard Telban launch himself from atop the rock towards the rider.  That is when Scob made a soft soothing sound and stepped out from the rock and grabbed the horse’s bridal.  He had a way with horses that some considered almost magical, but he knew it was from spending almost every waking hour around them as a child, he was just very in touch with their moods.   

            By the time Scob had his second hand on the horse calming it, he knew Telban had the man pinned to the ground.  Galpo had moved around him and was looking for a target up the trail, meanwhile Encoraan was stepping on the man’s legs and was about to search him.  Scob moved the horse off the trail and tied him to a small scrub pine.   By the time he got back to the trail the man, a kid, really was already tied up with his own bootlaces and gagged with a scarf. “Anything?” Scob asked looking over the scraggly and dirty youth.  His eyes were wide, not in fear, more like in wonder; Scob dismissed the youth and got right down to it.  “Okay guys we got to make a decision soon.  We either stay here and pick them off one at a time or within the next fifteen minutes we cross the pass and convince them to surrender.”

            An embarrassed moment of silence followed.

            Galpo let out a soft growl. “Between the dam elf being such a stickler for the rules and the halfing being so polite those ponies will be halfway to the southern continent by the time we move. ”

            The Elf and the Halfling just looked at each other in embarrassed silence. 

            The dwarf growled again, then picked up the boy who had watched the entire exchange with his eyes staring at the four, he carried the boy off the road and propped him up beside a rock.  Once he returned to his teammates he dropped his backpack where he stood and started walking up the trail, towards the pass.  Scob realized what he was doing nodded and started following his friend.    The other two shrugged and dropped theirs as well and started after their teammates. 

            A few minutes later they were thru the pass and huddled behind a rock looking down the trail towards a cleft in the rock where firelight and shadows danced off the walls.  The low voices of men bounced off the walls as well. 

            Now that they were across the border into Elvin Lands, Encoraan was in charge, he used sign language and quickly told them what to do. 

            A few minutes later they were set. 

            “You in the camp.” Scob shouted. “This the Royal Rangers, you have stolen Halflings ponies, throw down your weapons and surrender peacefully.”

            Dead silence, than feverent whispering.

            “We know there are nine of you in there and I guarantee you we have at least that many arrows. ”

            This was Encoraan’s cue to target something in camp and show just how good a shot he was. 

            Psst. Scob heard the arrow fly.  The next was a few curse words.  “That saddle was worth twenty gold royals.” 

            Scob answered the comment.  “That saddle was worth twenty royals.  Anyone want to be target practice with something more valuable like your skin?” 

            After a few seconds the voice of an older man came from the camp.  “What are your terms?” 

            Scob nodded towards Galpo.  “Generous, we take you back to the Northern Shire where you stand trial, since nobody was hurt, probably five to ten years in Halflings custody, four squares a day and hard work for the Sheriff, or if you can raise the money a heavy fine and a year served.”  Scob was winded after yelling all that. 

            “Deal.”  Came back a speedy reply. 

            Scob glanced at Galpo that was too quick had they missed something.  Galpo shrugged but nodded for Scob to continue. 

            “Okay I want your leader out here first, the older fellow with the long sword.” 

            “Alright Ranger I am on my way.”

            A few seconds later a large shadow detached himself from the group around the campfire.  The shadow rummaged around on the ground and then it came towards Scob slowly across the rocky ground.  “That’s far enough.  What’s your name mister.”?

            “Well my mother used to call me Seth, but everyone since I was sixteen has called me Black Bear.”

            “Black Bear,” Galpo shouted with a laugh.  “What are you doing stealing ponies in the Shires you old dog?”

            “That voice,” the man, said surprised as well.  “Is that you Galpo you pug ugly Dwarf?”