A Rogue's Tales: The Ties That Bind

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#10 - Trade and tales

Children playing and elders talking stop to check out Carr in passing. He waves and says hello getting few replies and one wrinkly middle finger.

Across the way Effim was watching, “Hey! Carr!” The boy runs out barefoot to greet him.

Waving Carr replies. “Hey F! Is your dad home?”

Coming up beside Effim inspects the horses, “Yeah he’s in the hut. Where’s Bressi? And who’s horses are these? Is that my sword?”

“O poor Bressi, she’s gone.” Carr pats the horse’s neck, “Violetta picked out this one.” He points back, “I found him this morning. The sword is too dangerous for you. I’ve got to make it disappear.”

Disappointed Effim huffs, “Oh?” He continues to checking over the animals, “What? You found a horse?”

Lightly Carr chuckles, “Yeah, he was left tied to a tree. Don’t know where his rider could be?”

Effim hops on the back of the stallion for a brief ride. “You’re missing some of your armor.”

“Ah it’s not missing.” He points to the pieces dangling from the saddle, “My bow, quiver, sword sheath, throwing dagger and saddlebags are missing. As well as a shirt and cloak.”

Hearing the list, Effim offers his services, “I can find you a new cloak and saddlebags. Maybe a sheath. Pa’s got arrows and a few bows.”

Stopping beside the archer’s circular adobe hut Carr slides down, tying the mare to a post, “The saddle bags maybe, lets chat with your Pa first.”

“Okay.” Effim hops off to tie the other horse.

Pulling back the old animal hide that covers the doorway he sees one of his favorite locals. Off to the side a tall lean Elf, Human mix, sits binding feathers to a stiff reed shaft.

Effim barges past to announce Carr’s presence, “Hey Pa! Carr’s here.”

The man shakes his head responding, “I knew it to be, when you ran out calling his name.” Never looking he continues with finishing the task at hand, “Hey Carr, come on in. Effy hand him his arrows.”

Eagerly Effim jumps over to them, “Pa he needs a quiver too. You want me to see if Denko has any?”

“Hold on,” Carr calmly speaks taking his pack off, “let me at least get some coins.” Setting it on the ground he bends down to open it.

Nosey, Effim sets the bundled arrows beside Carr, “Here you go.” He stands close by to see what’s in the backpack.

“Thanks guy.” Carr opens the cover feeling out the sock of gold, “I’ll give you some coins and try and find the things I was looking for.”

“Okay.” Effim watches intently counting each coin that Carr pulls out.

Thinking about how much he’ll need Carr queries, “If he’s got saddle bags how much will they cost?”

Effim utters. “Five gold.” Effim sees the coins in hand, “Better get four more for everything.”

Giving him a funny look Carr shelters the coins with his fingers, “Ah, I got an old sheath at home and a shirt isn’t that important.”

Effim stretches out an open hand, “Well two more then. Come on lets go.”

Chuckling Carr hands him seven gold coins, “You keep what’s left.”

Being a gold less than originally suggested the young boy stands looking at him, “I’m not haggling for you.”

“Alright,” Carr hands over another gold.

Pausing at the doorway Effim says to Carr, “But I’ll haggle for my gain.” He runs off.

Not really caring Carr bends down to inspect the arrows, “Have you ever heard of a creature called a Lammasu?”

He nods checking the finished arrow, “Why? Somebody want you to hunt one?”

Examining his new arrows, “No. Just wanted to know if they are real like some of those myths. Bugs in your eyelashes, yah right.”

Setting the arrow aside Hal comments about Effim, “Smartest of all my children and their children. But I think after Claire is gone I’m gonna leave women alone. Well, maybe just go after the older ones.”

Hal looking the age of a fit man in his forties is one hundred thirty seven. Being a half-breed the Elves wouldn’t accept him, Human women gladly will. Having out lived three of his wives, five children and in the past few years four grandchildren, he feels cursed by his extended life.

Fascinated by Hal’s youth and the venture’s with his parents, Carr looks up to him lately for advice that a mother can’t give. “Yeah, he’s a good one. So what do you know about Lammasusis.”

Concerned Hal looks at Carr quizzically, “I’m not sure what you’re up too. But you should leave such creatures alone. They’re smarter bigger and faster than you. They can tear you apart before you can draw a sword.”

“I’m glad I didn’t.”

Now Hal is interested in what the young rogue has been up too for a week, “Go on. Spill your guts, allover the ground. We both know you want to.”

Carr leans forward and tells the complete tale as it happened. Hal says nothing, barely moving as Carr even animates the fights.

Making only a dozen embellishments to enhance the story finishes with Effim running to greet him.

Having let Carr ramble Hal has questions, “Your not thinking of giving that poisoned sword to Effim?”

“Oh, no way.” Carr digs out the matching dagger handing it to Hal, “I was considering giving him this. I’m gonna hide the short-sword.”

After examining the dagger Hal hands it back, “Nice blade. Don’t bother, Claire would kill us all. You don’t live here so you don’t have to hear about it. That Lord Pee stealing, not so surprising but blaming you for taking it all. Jeez what nuts he’s got.”

Carr puts the dagger away, “Yeah I know eh?”

Leaning forward Hal tries to scare Carr, “This is what I don’t get you made a deal with a beast that uses magic and drinks the blood of it’s dying victim and broke it. Aren’t you worried he’s listening to you right now.” He sits back waiting for the look of concern.

“Ah well I didn’t ah…” Carr actually starts looking around worried.

Hal laughs, “Your hilarious, he can’t hear us and they’re good natured creatures. Normally they avoid us two legged beings.” He leans forward inquiring, “What was it like to fly on his back? I’ve never gotten the chance to ride any flying beasts.”

Carr replays it in his mind, acting it out for Hal going into great detail. “I’ve never felt anything like it. More exciting then a good fight, or a great hunt. I wish I had wings.”

“That’s something,” Hal is a bit envious but doesn’t show it.

Effim comes in carrying garments, “I put the saddle bags on the black horse.” Handing Carr the rest, “I got you a shirt too.”

Taking the pile of goods Carr inquires. “What was your take?”

Smiling wide Effim shakes the coins in his clamped hands in Carr’s face, “Ooo just seven silver. And two gold.”

Pushing the boy’s hands aside Carr jokes, “Most capable slave ever. Well worth the money.”

Despite being called a slave, Effim is just happy to have for a villager, a lot of money. Showing the coins proudly to his father.

Hal finds them amusing much like siblings, “That’s good boy. Cause that’s all you’re mom’s gonna let you take from that scoundrel.” He points to Carr.

“Yeah I know.” Effim scuffs the dirt floor, “When’s mom gonna let me have a real weapon.”

“Hah,” Hal breaks the news to him, “Your mom, don’t want you touching any weapons. Hell, she says, that’s the reason she’s gonna live long. To make sure you never can.” Pointing at Carr again, “And she surely ain’t gonna let you travel with him. Especially after you tried following him already, twice.”

Not offended Carr has already been taken aside by Claire and told the same thing with a few threats tacked on, “Sorry guy, your mom threatened us. Can’t help you.” He uses Violetta’s comments badly, “Get a sickle, they kill too.” He sets the pile of goods down.

Just seeing it as a farm tool Effim isn’t impressed, “Why are yous afraid of Mom? She’s little and complains about lifting heavy things. And she don’t even use weapons. Just tell her.”

For the first time in many years Hal busts out laughing until his belly aches.

Also laughing Carr remembers more of Violetta’s wisdom and lists some things for Effim, “Alright, she has a different strength that a good man doesn’t want to disturb. Tell me do you like it when she makes you some thing to eat?”

Effim softly utters a restrained, “Yes.”

“Do you like it when she takes care of you, when you’re sick or hurt?”

“Yes.”

“Do you like it when she defends you and yells at the other adults?”

A smile forms on Effim’s face again, “Yeah.”

Carr can’t help but smile back, “How about when she takes you down to the river?”

“Oh yah.”

“And you know no matter how bad you are she’s the only one who’s gonna love you.”

“Yeaahhh.”

“So if you want her to always do those things for you. You have to do what she wants.” Carr points to his chest, “If you’re like me you’ll have a Mom that’s always mad at you.”

Still chuckling Hal points out to his son, “You know, she takes you to the river because you stink.”

“Yeah but its fun anyway,” Effim stands there thinking about what he was told and figures he’s got all he could out of Carr, this time, “I think mom said she needed help.”

Hal nods, “Yeah boy why don’t you, she’ll need wood a think.”

Leaving Effim notes, “Hey an axe is a weapon.”

Carr adds, “Makes you stronger too.”

“Violetta,” Hal smiles, “If I hadn’t met Claire. She’s a good woman, too good for the likes of us. Is that where you got that stuff from?”

“Yup.” Carr sighs agreeing with him, “She’s told me over and over.”

Hal reaches back and picks up his latest creation, “Have I got a bow for you to try.” Handing the bow to Carr, he stands to retrieve a couple target arrows.

Carr examines the bow and notices something unusual, “Is this made from wood strips?”

“Sure is,” Hal motions Carr to follow him out the back opening.

Following Carr’s concerned, “Isn’t it going to crack?”

“It’s similar to how Elves craft their bows. I can’t recall the wood that they used but I found some maple that certainly worked.”

Still studying it Carr sees the bindings but no visible separations. “How’s it staying so tightly together?”

“That’s why this bow is yours for free.” Hal hands him the arrows pointing out his new straw target. “You left that container of really sticky goo. Ah, you said from some alchemist. Anyway it was perfect.”

Liking the look of the bow Carr readies an arrow and aims down range. “Hey, nice target looks kinda like a person made of straw.”

Hal points out. “Effim’s idea he asked if I could hit an apple in his hand. His mother over heard and voiced her opinion.” He points to the target, “So we put that together. Effim calls it the Straw King.”

Carr lines up the arrow to roughly where a heart should be, “The draw doesn’t seem any different.”

“Wait until you let go,” Hal watches Carr’s form.

Carr releases the arrow, it sails noticeable faster diving into the straw target exactly where he was aiming, “Impressive.”

Carr draws back the second arrow, “Better make sure that wasn’t a fluke.” Carefully aiming and releasing the arrow, it penetrates the dummy next to the first.

Holding up the bow Carr glances at Hal, “This is great can’t wait to try it on something moving.”

Nodding Hal informs him. “Those different pieces give it more spring. There’s enough of that goo to make a few dozen bows. And small critters don’t stand a chance against a skilled bowman.”

Larger critters interest Carr, “How about bear?”

“Now don’t get foolish.” He thinks of something it might take down, “Maybe a big buck. Or Ogre.”

Carr grins at the new toy, “Thanks Hal I’ll certainly put it to the test.” Sliding it around his body he notices the sun has started its’ descent. “I suppose, I best get moving again.”

Hal takes a look too, “Yeah you should make it home by nightfall.”

Entering the hut, Carr organizes his gear talking to Hal, “Did you, happen to check in on Ma for me?” Holding an oversized shirt up to his chest.

“Wear it as a cloak,” Hal comments. “Yes I did, after a little fishing at the swamp. Dirtied up your bed for you. She doesn’t seem too mad, this time.”

“Thanks I appreciate that.” Placing the bundled arrows into the new leather quiver, Carr studies the detail work, “For an old guy he’s getting better. I like the darker hides.”

Hal checks it out. “I think this is the work of his granddaughter.” Nodding he confirms the thought, “She’s nine and is always in his shadow.”

About to close up the pack Carr inquires. “Did you want anything from here? Several platinum, some gems? Or pearls.”

“Nah?” Having seen too many killed over a silver Hal has little interest in wealth. “You’ll need more than that to build your castle.”

Checking once more Carr asks differently, “Something for a birthday or anniversary.”

That catches Hal’s ear, “Well that would be an idea now. You got some simple pieces so she doesn’t ask too many questions.”

Carr hands him the bag of jewelry, “Have a look. While I put some of this stuff on the horse.” Leaving Hal to sift through it.

Out front the village is getting quiet as the field workers return home to dine. By the scented smoke wafting from Hal’s house chimney, food is cooking.

Carr checks out the space inside the saddlebags, not as big as the old one but made from the same darker hide as the quiver.

After stuffing his new cloak and shirt in, Carr affixes the quiver and bow to the other side catching a glimpse of Claire overseeing him.

Waving to her, she slyly smiles erecting a middle finger to wave back.

Dropping a sighing face he returns inside the hut, “Well Claire’s not furious, with me.”

Holding out two elegant gold chain necklaces Hal tries to determine which pendant she’d like better, “I take it she was watching you.”

“Oh yah,” Carr tucks the bag into the pack.

Hal says, “I still have one.”

Closing the lid Carr tells him. “They’re both nice. So, whichever one you don’t want, I’ll surprise Ma with in the winter. For her birthday.”

“Smart thinking.” Making his choice Hal hands the other back, “Thank you, this’ll get me some lovin.”

Carr gets the pack and sword in place, “I’m sure it will,” He pats the rings under his plate, “I hope these will keep me from being chewed out.”

“I’m sure they will.” Hal hides the necklace high in the straw roof, “Claire never comes out here. Someday she won’t be so mad with you. It takes her a long time to get over things. She still reminds me, the day I called her by the wrong name.”

“Oh yah.” Carr’s heard the story, “While you were being married.” Carr shakes Hal’s hand, “Good luck with that one. And thanks again for everything.”

“No worries, glad to help,” Hal walks him to the horses, “Say hello to your mum.”

Carr hooks the reins of the stallion to the saddle, “I will. Stop in the next time your near.”

Hal checks out the horses, “Usually do.”

“Nice eh?” Untying the mare Carr inquires, “Is Claire ever gonna let Effim go bow hunting?”

“Ssshhh,” Hal hushes him, “I’m waiting for her annual decision. I don’t want anything to sway her.”

“Sorry,” Carr whispers, getting into the saddle. “I’ll be glad to be dumping this stuff off soon.”

“I would be too,” Hal rounds the stallion, “These are good animals. Do they respond well?”

Carr nods, “Well I can’t say for certain about the stallion but this mare does.” He pats the horse’s side, directing her to the road. “See you next time.”

Waving slightly Hal replies, “I hope the road home is quiet.” Turning he heads into the house to see what’s cooking.

Carr and the horses head south down his most familiar road acting as guide and sage. Informing the horses about their new home territory.

Showing them one of the last surviving Ebony trees, Carr notices the mare’s ears perk up.

Wondering if he’s found a name she’ll respond to, Carr leans forward. “Eeboony, Oh Ebony.”

She turns her head back to look at Carr, making him happy and it sounded like a good name.

He thinks of animals he went chasing after that wouldn’t listen. Hal told him it’s because they don’t like the name they were given.

Looking back at the stallion Carr’s unsure naming different trees and plants. The horse never pays him any mind Carr wonders if the animal might be deaf.

Bored and nervous over what’s going to happen when he walks through the door, Carr rambles the rest of the trip away.

With barely a bird to be seen they turn down the obscured path to the farm.

Stopping half way Carr dismounts and leads the horses off the path tying Ebony to a sapling.

Slipping into the old forest he heads west.

Past the front section of brush Carr only has wild roots to deal with, as the forest floor is barren of overgrowing vegetation.

After walking half a league Carr reaches a wide patch of tall shrubs interlaced with a large leafed vine.

Removing his long-sword he pushes it waist height, through the shrub’s many thorn, covered branches. Inside the shrubbery the sword scrapes a rock of a stonewall.

Cautiously he inserts his hands and arms into the thorny shrubbery.

Spreading his arms out as far as the thorny shrubs will let him he eases his way in. Wishing to have at least refitted the left forearm cover first.

Sittings on a wide ledge of a deep well he picks all the thorns from the left forearm.

Seeing the way down, hangs his feet over the edge. Carefully positioned holes and spikes in the well’s stonework aid Carr’s descent.

After clearing all the cobwebs and upsetting many multi-legged critters, Carr hits the bottom.

Pulling back a filthy blanket with critters of its own, he reveals a beautifully engraved, rusty, iron chest. Opening the unlocked lid, he removes the venomous sword and stores it with several other small bladed weapons. Closing the lid he picks up the chest and moves it aside.

Underneath a blanket so filthy it doesn’t even feel like blanket he also pulls aside.

Carr pushes away moist soil uncovering a buried and rotting barrel.

Taking off the backpack Carr sets it on top of the chest.

Removing the lid of the rotting barrel Carr can’t see inside. He knows there’s several sacks down there with all kinds of small pilfered things.

Opening the pack Carr takes a handful of assorted sized gems and places them in his coin pouch adding the loose coins as he finds them. Taking the sacks, bags and socks he makes sure they’re secure and drops them in the barrel.

Keeping the fancy dagger Carr returns things, to the way it was. A lighter pack allows Carr to swiftly scale the well.

Exiting the thorny shrubs Carr stops to reposition the branches with his long-sword before walking back to the horses.

Finding the horses right where he left them. Finishes the last league of riding, he feels satisfied with the way things went overall.

Entering the farm clearing Carr sees a light on in the kitchen window of the farmhouse. Smoke gently puffs out of the chimney.

Looking to the fields he sighs knowing tomorrow he needs to start taking it down. The same with the backfield, at least the corn can wait.

Keeping an eye on the window for a small silhouette Carr quietly guides the animals to the barn.

On the ground Carr opens the gate to the corral leading the animals to the water trough.

As they drink he removes their tack, stowing it in the barn.

Deciding to ditch his armor before he goes in. Carr quickly removes it putting on his new over sized shirt.

After stuffing his new cloak into the backpack, Carr slings it over his shoulder.

Picking up a sack of oats Carr cuts it open and dumps it near the horses.

Patting them both Carr points to the barn, “Well, Ebony and friend welcome to your new home. Try and make yourself comfortable.”

Latching the gate the last rays of light disappear. Carr turns facing the farmhouse taking a deep breath he heads in.

He knocks at the door while opening it, “Hello. It’s me Carr returning. Should I just sleep in the barn?”

A small woman, of fifty years, stands off to the left in the kitchen waiting to see how he enters and with what, “Finally decided to come home eh?”

Seeing his armor is off and he’s got a new shirt on she speaks sternly, “What’s the matter soldiers chasing you? And you have no other place to hide?”

He enters, carefully closing the door, “No.”

“Off hunting with Hal you try and tell me?” She speaks in a manner that lets Carr know she’s unhappy with being deceived.

Crossing her arms she continues, “Out stealing again? Or fighting?” She points a finger at him, “I can smell the blood on you. You know a bath won’t kill you. Or must it be dangerous for you to do it.” Shaking her head in disgust.

Listening Carr sets the pack down by the table taking a seat, answering quietly, “I’ll do something about that tomorrow.”

Ma is just getting started, raising her voice, “And you wasted a bag of feed on those horses.” She peers into his eyes, “Where’s yours? Did you sell Bressi?”

Not wanting to answer that yet Carr sighs, “No, I didn’t sell her. Those animals hadn’t eaten in awhile. We’ve got plenty of food anyway.”

She starts pointing at him, “Your aura is all messed up on your left side, and it’s more than just your forearm. Isn’t it?”

Carr shows her the nasty burn on his calf.

The wound makes her stomach uneasy, “You should let Violetta take a look at that.”

Speaking without thinking Carr mentions, “She took care of a worse wound.”

Her face turns red, trying not to blow up before finding out what happened, “You had a worse wound than that? I don’t even wanna know.”

Carr attempts to calm her, “Everything’s gonna be okay. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll take the fields off. Later we can go to the city and get the supplies we need for the winter.”

That comment angers her, “Don’t! You dare. Don’t even. Just like your father. You’ll find something to go chasing. And what is going to happen is your death. Someday, somewhere for something that doesn’t belong to you.”

Carr says what needs to be said, “I’m truly sorry. I’m sorry I take off for weeks at a time and not tell you. And this time I understand how short my life could be if I don’t stop.”

That she’s been waiting years to hear, from all the men in her life. The only sound heard for the next minute is the crackling of the fire.

While she composes herself fighting back tears of frustration pours out two cups of warm tea. Sitting across from Carr, she slides him one.

After a calming sip she says, “Your soon to be a man, I can’t stop you. But I don’t want you here if all you’re going to do is make me worry. I don’t expect you to stay on the farm forever. But I’d like your help here until I’m gone. If you want to run off and get killed just let me know where you’ll be or at least when you’ll be back.”

Carr makes eye contact with her, “I’ll do right by you Mom. Even this was for you.”

“What?” She becomes agitated again, “Don’t you use me as an excuse to get yourself killed.” Annoyed she wants to back away from the table.

Carr reaches over and gently grabs her hand, “Wait Ma. Please.” Pulling his necklace pouch out.

More curious she stays in place breaking the contact, “What’s this, than?”

Seeing he’s got a captive audience Carr drops the rings into palm swiftly making a fist before she can see them, “I wanted to make sure these stayed with their rightful owner.”

Noticing she’s waiting to see, he holds the fist close to her, hovering slightly over the table. He delays the release for effect.

Opening his fingers they fall, she sees two plain silver rings and starts to get mad at the idea of him risking life and limb for that.

Carr watches her face as the rings bounce a couple times on the hard wood surface and begin to spin in small circles. As they slow down she knows, what those rings are and to whom they belong.

As her eyes redden and well up she struggles to speak over whelmed with emotion, “You, these, these are my wedding rings.” Her hand quickly goes up to hide her quivering chin, “You, you went to get these back for me.”

Carr sits beside her, “Yes Mom that’s what I was after,” He places an arm around her.

She grabs the rings up to make sure they’re real before drawing them tightly to her chest letting the tears flow.

“Oh Mom.” Holding her tight he explains, “I couldn’t let them become lost in King Darvel’s treasure vaults. Besides the farm, that’s all you have left of Dad’s. If we had to flee here you can’t take the farm with you.”

She buries her head into his chest, “They’re not worth risking your life over. But my heart thanks you.”

She sniffs wiping away the tears, “Wait a moment.” She sits up starring at him, “Did you break into the same building your father did?”

Carr hopes the worst is over, “Yah, I did.”

Getting serious again she cuffs him upside the head, “You broke into King Darvel’s property. Risking our life. And all you got out of it was these rings. What the hell’s the matter with the you?”

“No, no,” Carr cuts her ranting short, pulling out his coin pouch, “ I took these too.” He empties the contents on the table.

She pushes the stones around looking unimpressed, “That’s not much for what should have been there.”

Carr gives his head a shake in disbelief, “Well I had to get a new horse and tack. Food, lodging plus some healing and purchased some vials of healing.”

She had a hunch before but knows for sure now the boy has a stash somewhere, “Well you really shouldn’t be doing these things.” She gets up kissing his forehead to fix him a simple meal.

Hoping the emotional storm has subsided Carr restates his intent. “I will start on the fields in the morning. When they’re off we’ll go to the city. After that we’ll be stuck together until spring.”

Setting a couple baked meat and vegetable rolls down for Carr she pokes him, “So out with it, you must be aching to tell your story.”

Stories with his mother always take longer being filled with questions and comments. Most of the time it annoys him except for today. While eating Carr starts from when he left.

She already starts, “I knew before I got back.”

“I’m sure you did,” He tells her about seeing Sonja passing through Ahn

“That’s what you need a nice woman to raise a family with, that’s plenty of adventure.”

“So I keep hearing.” He animates the part of racing blindly through the Tau woodlands in a thunderstorm.

She informs him, “Those woods are dangerous around there.”

“Yes so are the low hanging branches.” He starts to tell her about the Ogre.

“I told you those woods are dangerous.”

“Anyway,” Carr knows she doesn’t care for swordplay and keeps it short. When he gets to Kryston he tells her the truth not getting far.

“A Lammasu, what the hell were you thinking. You shoulda gotten out of there.”

“Do you want to hear?” He asks. Seeing her nod he briefly continues.

“You made a deal with a beast?”

“Yes Ma can I continue? I am still alive.”

Motioning for him to go on, he does. She manages to listen for a while. In this version he simply scales the building, sneaking pass the roof top guard. Knocking out the upper floor guard and to keep it simple he tells her the rings were found in Lord Piate’s closet chest.

“You know what I think. I think that Lord Piate is stealing from the King.”

“Me too Ma. Me too.” Telling her after that he just slipped out the back doors and went on about the strange innkeeper.

“She’s probably a witch. After your soul.”

“Ma I’m still here.” He chuckles continuing, she follows along until he nods off in the clearing.

“You can’t go to sleep while being chased.”

“Well I did and I got caught.” He describing the conversation with the men and his hasty escape.

“It’s not safe in that part of the range at night.”

Carr sighs. “I’ve been told.” He just gives her the basics of the fight and what happened after.

She tries to stays quiet but bringing up the second meeting with Kryston, “You made another deal? With a beast, who ate your horse?”

“Yes Ma. I was bleeding to death. And he got me to Ingleside after midnight.”

She curiously asks, “How did this beast get you from the mountains to Ingleside so quickly?”

Grinning Carr tells her. “We flew.”

“You, what? Flew?” She’s not sure how to react to that but having never flown inquires. “What was it like?”

Telling it better this time Carr animates it again, using his bed as the mountain and the table as Ingleside. “O Ma, there’s nothing I can compare it to.” He sits down going over the events in town.

“Did you tell Violetta I said Hello?”

Stopping Carr cold. “Ingleside, well, maybe. I know I invited her for a visit. Anyway…” Returning to his tale becomes difficult.

With every few sentences she makes a remark, Carr reluctantly answers. She even has something to add as leaves Ingleside. “You know Violetta loves you like a little brother. She just wants you to stay alive too. And you should show her better respect.”

Carr huffs once, “I know Ma.” He thinks of something his mother will say no to, “Hey why don’t we take some of the crops to sell in Ingleside we’ll pay Violetta a visit.”

“That’d be nice.” She says at first, “But I don’t like that town. It’s too far.”

Rolling his eyes Carr proceeds getting as far as the make shift bridge. Where she bores him with the same old stories. The actual troll who built it just because of the tales. That’s where her and his father, Alfred use to hide away to, as young teens. The poor kids, who drowned diving off it.

Where he informs her of the horse knocking him off leaving shoe prints behind. She laughs and harder after he tells her about the finger divots left.

Snickering and disappointed he didn’t hit water she jests, “You needed a good cleansing anyway.”

Finding it amusing Carr smiles, replaying the events of last night. Not at all thrilled in the killings of more soldiers her face goes cold. Use to that face he informs her that’s where the other horse came from.

Her interest returns with the reappearance of Sonja but stays quiet, hoping to hear something good. Carr alters the storey slightly from giving them jewelry to just a gem. Foolishly bringing up the thank you she gave brings questions.

“She kissed you?” A mother asks nosily concerned, “Where? If her parents find out they’ll take her away. In my day we’d have to marry if caught.”

Carr plays difficult jumping to the next part, “You’ll never guess. Who came out running to greet me? Effim.”

A topic his mother is fond of, little Effim and his attractive father, “Effim? He must be getting big.”

“He is and smart like a sage,” Carr replies telling her about being taken by him.

She laughs again, agreeing with Carr’s statement. They sit and talk into the night about Hal. The old days when he, Alfred, and her were out reeking havoc on the world. The stories Carr loves to hear and motivated him into the foolhardy quests taken.

THE END (of that ride)

A Rogue’s Tales: The Ties That Bind

By R.A.Lancaster based loosely on D&D RPG

Conceived 1999

Poorly Self published with illustrations 2009

Re-edited 2019

Thank you for reading if you wish to know what happens next a rough draft e-copy of the following two stories are available.

Pt#2 Big City Darkened Nights – With booty burning a hole in his coin pouch Carr takes a trip to the city across the swamp for new armor, winter supplies and entertainment. He ends up taking a trip to Hell

Pt#3 Den of Thieves – Returning from Hell Carr finds a request for help leading him to death’s door.

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