Chapter 1 part 4 A Walk in the Woods

“Good morning,” Yosef greeted the soldier cheerily as the man and beast approached. He did not rise however and eyed the strange animal warily. Vrabin less cautious stood and placed his hand on the animal’s long face.

“A horse,” He said surprised, “I haven’t seen one of these since my last trip through Orr.”

“The past few years have been kind to Lord Goldwind,” The soldier said briskly, “He sent me ahead to inquire as to where he may set up his tents.”

Yosef looked thoughtful for a moment before rising and retrieving a lantern from where it hung just inside the front door. “I have a few fallow fields that may be large enough.”

“His eminence requests that it be close to the festival grounds.” The soldier said his tone making it clear it was not actually a request.

Yosef nodded absently as he lit the lamp and strode down off the porch. Vrabin followed a breath behind and the mounted soldier took up the rear. As they walked Vrabin reflected on how odd it was to see a horse in Ascalon. Horses often had difficulty surviving the trip across the Shiverpeak mountains. If their temperamental constitution didn’t kill them the dangers presented by the stone summit dwarves, trolls and other horrors that called those barren snow-capped peaks home usually would.  Clearly lord Aurelius Goldwind had done well for himself. Vrabin wondered idly how much of it had to do with the lord’s recent appointment to the head of the royalist inquisition.

A wide cart path next to the farm’s grain silos led to the southern fields and after a short walk the trio arrived at one of the fallow field Yosef had spoken of. Like many of the Alarik fields it was built bordered by the river on one side and forest on the rest. Unlike many of the other fields that were irrigated this field had a pleasant stream running along the southern edge currently brimming with runoff from the mountains.  The soldier took his time making a show of inspecting the grounds which was no small endeavor with only three small lights. The first birds had begun to sing by the time the soldier had finished his tour of the field.

“It’ll serve,” he said before turning his horse and trotting it out of the field.

Vrabin stood with his hands casually shoved into his pockets watching the soldier leave, “I doubt Aurelius will care that you always keep a field available for him during festivals.”

“Better to have it and not need it than risk the regional lord’s wrath” Yosef said sagely. “I best head back to the house, Lotte will be needing help keeping everything organized once the festival starts. You coming?”

“I think I’ll take a walk along the river for a little while.” Vrabin replied waving his father back towards the cottages.

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