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The Adventures of Calan Stonebridge Part Six

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by , 11-07-2012 at 02:52 PM (1375 Views)
Calan Stonebridge was shoved towards the large dock. He was chained to a large man in front of him and a tall woman behind him. His captors stood on the dock wearing looks of annoyance. "Is this the best you could do? A farmer a boy and a woman? The master will not be pleased" The man who had shoved Calan snorted. Gesturing towards the large man he said "This one is strong as an ox. Killed 2 men in the pit last night barely raised a breath. The woman well you know what they fetch in the right place." He gestured toward Calan. "This little one was in the wrong place at the wrong time sneaking around the Axe and Stump. He won't bring much but better that then the wrong eyes" The men on the dock didn't look any less unhappy but both nodded their agreement. Calan had used the exchange to study their destination. Moored against the dock sat a large boat. She sported two masts and bobbed in the water like a horse eager for the gallop. Calan had seen ships before on the docks of Riverhewn but he had never been on one. He knew that ships of this size sometimes navigated the Fler River due to it's wide calm waters. He couldn't help but feel at bit of excitement until he caught a glimpse of the ships name engraved on a plaque and painted blood red. "The Promise of Fire" Calan was harshly reminded he was about to be sold into slavery.....

Menna shuffled towards the docks flanked by her two sons. They were large men possessing an excess of muscle and a minimum of brain. They carried their father's size and their mother's ruthlessness. Menna had led the smuggling and slaving operation her husband had started since his death at the hands of the Riverhewn watch. She hated and blamed both the watch and the king. Her "job" at the Stabbed Soldier tavern was merely a front. A way to keep suspicions off of her. It had worked too for many years. She rarely traveled out of Riverhewn anymore but this trip was special. It was the largest shipment of weapons to come from the North yet. She would make a fortune selling these to the criminal element of Riverhewn. The slave trade was far more risky and often less rewarding. Slavery was illegal in most kingdoms of the Flanaess. This of course didn't stop those so inclined to participate in it. There were still lands where slaves brought a tidy profit. She stopped at the foot of the dock to look at the ship moored there. She was first hesitant to use the "Promise of Fire" as she was a big ship made to run the coast of Lake Quag. Menna had been afraid that a ship of her size would attract attention along the river but because of the low currents and deep water, more and more large boats were navigating the river and she drew no unwanted eyes. Menna scowled as she corrected herself. "One set of unwanted eyes" she muttered to herself. The Stonebridge boy had followed her sons to the Northern town of Lodge. The captain of the "Promise" had caught him sneaking around the Axe and Stump Tavern, Menna's Northern base of operations. She knew that the boys mother was beside herself with worry for her son and was mildly concerned that she might somehow find out where he was. She knew that to be unlikely. Children went missing all the time and were rarely found. She would make sure that Calan Stonebridge was never found......

Calan Stonebridge was so shocked to see Menna standing on the docks that he stopped walking causing the woman behind him to crash into him. He had known Menna was somehow involved with all of this but until now he didn't grasp the full situation. He remembered back to his life at the Stabbed Soldier. He had always disliked Menna she was loud and often mean. To find out she was some kind of criminal mastermind shouldn't have come as a shock to Calan. Menna gestured for the guards to stop and she approached Calan. "Well boy you ain't at the Soldier no more. No momma to protect you now." Calan grimaced at the old woman. " Don't think you'll get away with this you hag" His words were cut off by a slap from Menna. "Get away with it?" she almost shrieked moving in closer so that Calan could smell her fetid breath. "I always get away with it you little fool. No one cares about run away little boys. They go missing every day it is just the way of things. Oh to be sure your momma will miss you and drop her tears in the kitchens of that stinking hole but soon she will forget she will go on as they all do. Who knows she is still young and fair of face she might meet someone and make a little replacement for you" Calan lunged at the old woman only to be brought up short by the unmoving bulk of the large man he was chained to. Menna laughed "See, little fool. Even the giant accepts his fate. You should too. Soon you will be gone from this kingdom and from it's memory" With that she turned and moved down the dock. Calan Stonebridge watched her walk away with hatred burning in his eyes. He vowed that he would kill the evil old woman and destroy all she ever stood for no matter how long it might take....."

Merlan Seascar stood on the deck of his ship and watched as the cargo was loaded. He was very proud of the "Promise of Fire" and had every right to be. She was a large coastal freighter designed to haul cargo along the coast of Lake Quag. She spent most of her time ferrying cargo from the docks of Riverhewn to Perrenland on the south coast of the giant lake. Her mundane purpose kept Seascar comfortable but her other duties made him rich. He had no moral compunction against hauling illegal cargo as long as it could be secured and hidden and was not overly dangerous. He loved two things in the world: Money and his ship. He would not let either come to harm. The cargo for this trip was worth the slightly difficult passage North on the Fler river. The currents were low and the water deep but there were still places along the river where he had been forced to pay a team of men and horses to tow the "Promise" until the wind came up and the current subsided. He was a man enamored of luxury and the little village of Lodge held nothing of the sort. The one tavern and inn were desperately plain and depressingly functional. He was very glad that his small cabin on the "Promise" was outfitted to his decadent tastes. This cargo would make him rich yet again even the sight of the slaves didn't bother him overmuch. He had carried slaves before and the profit was always worth the risk. He had built a small hold under the stern of the ship to conceal them during transport. It was not comfortable but then it didn't need to be. Only security and concealment mattered. He watched as the stevedores loaded the "legitimate" cargo and lashed it to the deck. He had ordered that the "other" cargo be mixed with the legal so that it looked as if he was merely carrying a very large load that wouldn't all fit in the "Promise's" holds. He was eager to be off. The wind was coming up and the currents would be as well. If he was lucky he would reach Riverhewn early the next day. He was already fantasizing about how he would spend his new fortune.....