Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chapter Eleven, Scene 3

Fifteen days later, deacon Diarmid greeted them one evening at the guild, holding a sealed message for Balfrith. It was a brief note from Adradomir, asking them to come to his house on the following Moonday, the second day of Thror’s Hammer.

It was a good thing that the summons came, for Balfrith was beginning to grow weary of waiting, and their supply of coin was running low. They hadn’t managed to find much work in that two weeks, only a few nights as bodyguards for a traveling merchant who thought his life was in danger whenever he came to Castor. Whether it really was threatened or not, Balfrith couldn’t say - but they were paid to keep an eye on the wealthy merchant and his wife, and never did see any dangers to their client.

Other than that, they had continued living in the same cheap inn, for Balfrith wasn’t willing to relocate until he had significantly more coin in his pouch, or a steady job bringing a good income. Eldamir, for his part, didn’t seem to care where they lived or what they did. It was as if he had never needed to make his own living in the world. And Balfrith admitted to himself that perhaps this was exactly the case. Though he knew his Elefdar friend had made previous excursions into the world of Men, it was entirely possible that he had only ever traveled with his father, or at least had always had someone with him to cover whatever traveling expenses he might have incurred. Whatever the case, Balfrith found himself in charge of their collective purse, and it was a good thing, for Eldamir seemed ready to spend coin whenever and wherever his fancy led him, regardless of the cost.

So now here they were on a Freyasday evening at the end of Rialla’s moon, ready to enjoy a bit of drink with their free-lancer guild peers, and the note from Adradomir finally arrived. Balfrith took it gladly from Diarmid, breaking the seal and reading the Elefdar merchant’s flowing script. Balfrith was half-way through the note before he realized it had been written in Elefdar and not Common, and he smiled at the thought. No one will be breaking this code any time soon, he thought. He read:

My dear master Balfrith,

I hope this note finds you and Eldamir in good health. I offer my apologies for the delay in summoning you, but it took me longer to prepare the letter for my associate than I had thought it would.

The good news is, I have found one who will be able to help you in your journey to the Draugeborg. He is a Man of Nifflgarde, and a free-lancer in your very guild. I have not told him of your quest, only that you may need some help in locating the place. He has agreed to travel with you from here to Drakenmount, and offer his guidance to your final destination. You may give him whatever reasons you wish, to explain why you want to go there.

I will not say more in this brief letter. Please come to my home on Moonday, the second of Thror’s Hammer, in the morning. Roidh knows to expect you.

Best regards,

Balfrith looked up from the note at Eldamir, who raised his brow. He’d been reading over Balfrith’s shoulder, so they both knew what was written there.

“That’s interesting,” said Eldamir.

“Aye, indeed it is,” agreed Balfrith. “And apparently we have a couple of days to prepare for the journey - good of him to give us some advance notice.”

“Agreed. And tonight, we shall enjoy the company of our friends.”

Balfrith turned to Diarmid then, while folding the letter to put it away in his tunic. “You have our thanks, Diarmid. This is exactly what we’ve been waiting for these past days, and it brings the news we’d hoped for.”

“Well, I’m glad to hear it, Balfrith,” he replied. “Will you stay long this evening?”

“Oh, I imagine we’ll be here for a few hours,” Balfrith said. “We need to prepare for travel starting tomorrow, but we aren’t in a great hurry.”

“Then I shall join you later, perhaps, after I’ve finished a bit of work here.”

They nodded to him, and proceeded toward the back room, where they could already hear a bawdy song being alternately sung and shouted by many laughing voices.

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