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The Adventures of Calan Stonebridge Part Two

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by , 10-06-2012 at 10:01 AM (432 Views)
Here is part two of the text-only version of The Adventures of Calan Stonebridge

Calan Stonebridge ran up the stairs and out of the horrifying basement as fast as his legs would carry him. He found a door pulled it open and ran outside. He could hear the sound of footsteps and yelling behind him he ducked behind some crates and tried to sit very still. "What do you mean you didn't leave the bolt off?!" Calan heard the rough male voice ask someone. "I mean I didn't leave it off I'm not fogged ye know" Came the answer. "Well don't be givin' yeself credit for things now Yaro you be plenty fogged" There was a sound of a slap and a yelp and the two men went back inside. Calan stood and took stock of his surroundings. He knew immediately where he was. It was a little section of the Common Ward known as "Blackfire Court". Legend told that over a century ago some evil priest had summoned demons from this spot and on one fateful day the entire area had glowed with fire of the purest black. The legend went on to say that the priest had been consumed by his evil summonings and the fire burned down everything in it's path until reached the city wall. Today Blackfire Court was a busy collection of shops and taverns. Looming at the end of the court sat "Blackfire Gate" (although only the locals called it that to the government it was merely a city watch post) Calan found himself thinking about old Menna she lived in this area somewhere his mother had told him. The thought of his mother brought a small pang of guilt. He had been gone for over a day. Did she miss him? He wondered. He steeled himself to the fact that he MUST see this adventure to the end and sat back down behind the crates to wait.....

Calan Stonebridge sat huddled among the crates and barrels and listened to the bustle of the city around him. It was comforting after all the horror he had witnessed, to be surrounded once again by the familiar. He could hear the shops owners haggling and the early morning tavern patrons arguing there were the sounds of horses hooves in the hard packed dirt of the street and the jingling of city guards swords against their legs as they walked. Calan couldn't help but notice the smells either. He had always thought that the Common Ward had a particular odor, something akin to sweat mixed with the smells of cooking meat. He had always found it repulsive but today after his journey in the sewers he found it magical. He was surrounded by things he knew and understood. After a few minutes of relaxation he could hear the rough voices of the men he had been following. The voices came from the stairs of the building he had just left. He also noticed that a wagon and a single horse had come to a stop in front of the building and that the men were eagerly talking to this new arrival. Calan leaned out from his hiding spot to be able to hear better. The adventure would continue. He had started on this path and there was nothing for it but to continue down it.....

Calan Stonebridge had lived in the Common Ward area of Riverhewn long enough to know that things were done differently here. Like most of the streets in Riverhewn, The Common Ward streets were paved with a rough cobblestone. His mother had told him that the stones came from the banks and beds of the two rivers that cut the city into an island. They had been plentiful and cheap. Calan knew that in the few areas of the city not paved with these stones the mud and the dust could be almost unbearable. He also knew that the street repair was much better in the richer wards of the city. One learned quickly to watch their step on the broken and uneven stones. Whenever a section wore away (or was pried away) that the city felt was big enough to warrant attention they simply filled it with a thick mixture of dirt and water. This hardened into an uneven clump that was actually worse than the original hole. Calan had turned an ankle many times while rushing to and fro across the ward. The city watch for the most part was very present in this ward and Calan had never really (until recently) felt unsafe. The watchmen here generally lived in the ward and knew mostly everybody. They had always been nice to Calan and had often saved him from injury at the hands of older boys. The Common Ward was the most insular ward of the city. Most people knew each other and were very aware when strangers entered their midst. It was a bustling busy ,dirty, aromatic section of the city that many said kept the foundations of the kingdom from crumbling. Calan didn't know anything about that but he dearly hoped that he would return to his normal dull life when this adventure finally ended....

People riding horses were a rare enough occurrence in the Common Ward to draw attention. The ward was for the most part too crowded to navigate a horse. The streets were narrow and twisting and except for the very dead of night usually far too busy for a horse's liking. The fact that two men now approached the building that Calan was watching and they both were astride horses piqued his interest. He could see the horses clearly. Tall and dark of coat they pranced nervously as the crush of people ebbed around them. Calan had tended enough horses to recognize the signs of exertion. Where ever these horses and riders had come from it had been far and the journey swift. The two men dismounted and climbed the steps into the building. The horses were tied to the stair railing and they were not happy about it. Calan could hear them nickering and whinnying against their bonds. Calan could sympathize with them. He wondered if they too just wanted this adventure to be over.....

Calan Stonebridge heard the sounds of rough voices arguing above him. "Are ye daft? that's a GRAVE DIGGERS wagon !" Another voice answered after spitting loudly. "Aye. it is a diggers cart. Best kind too there's hundreds of them no one will be missing it. I had to steal a wagon mistress left no money to buy one." The first voice grunted. "Rough as gravel these things are, not made for a long road journey." The second voice answered." Aye, but we'll not be needing it over long now will we? We can boot another better one once we get to Northrun." Calan nearly jumped. These men meant to travel to Northrun, a small town on the banks of the Fler River. He knew it well even though he had not seen it since he was very young. He knew he needed to stow away on that wagon. He cautiously looked over the stack of crates that he was hiding behind and saw his opportunity. The men had loaded the wagon and covered it with a rough tarp. Calan sprinted across the street and crawled under the tarp curling himself into a tight ball. It was then that he heard a very familiar voice. "Don't you be giving me no lip about my being late. I couldn't get away from the Stabbed Soldier. That little fool boy that works there has gone missing and his mother is smacked with worry." One of the rough male voices chuckled." Probably stolen by slavers or eaten by orcs." The three had a loud laugh about that." Calan nearly cried as he realized who the female voice belonged to. It was Menna ! the fat blustery kitchen boss of the Stabbed Soldier. He felt a pang of guilt for his mother who was obviously worried about him. He knew now that Menna was involved in this somehow and he grew even more determined to see it through.....

Updated 10-30-2012 at 03:45 PM by jtougas

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