Byron Part 2

Byron spent the following morning retrieving money from various associates he had stashed it with. As he had suspected, a good number of his trustworthy friends had spent some of the money left to their safe keeping. He was not shocked by the lack in confidence they had in his ever coming to collect. He may have even done the same in their situation. To him it was but a set back,making the process take longer than the morning. After finishing up his collection and ducking questions about a fire at his manor, Byron headed down to the docks.

Byron made it with about an hour to spare. He was uncertain about the reason behind the schedule the captain kept. The Wind Farmer had a reputation for calm travel, all the way south down the coast. Odds were the ships enchantments went down to the boards themselves with the prices charged for travel. Yet it also meant that Byron was certain to be among a class of people that would benefit him in future business ventures.

As Byron approached, he was shocked to find Jorgan waiting outside the ship to board with him. “I did not know you had passage booked back to Siller Port.”

“I had not but when I inquired among the vessels in port, it took no time at all to find which you were sailing on. Besides at sea we should have better privacy to discuss our business. Briana and Koslo are on board. By the by, you are not planning any further fires?”

“Planning fires?” Byron asked.

“Koslo was quite put off by your lack of desire to save the manor. I explained it to him as just one of you eccentricities, brother.”

“Oh and do I have others?” Byron pressed

“Only one I recall is that you are not like other sane business men and have no faith in the banks, guild backed or other wise. There may be others but I doubt we need to talk in public about it,” Jorgan smiled. “Shall we board? We can head to your quarters and let the others know you have secured funding the expedition.”

“And you are certain I have?” prodded Byron.

“Quite, I know you and money. Never to far apart and never in short supply. I recall your first business went bust and yet you had convinced ten new people the following day to fund a new scheme. That one paid off and launched the series of events that got you where you are now. This all temporary set back as I have setup your next roll, as patron of the seer’s guild.”

Byron did not have a retort to any of this as Jorgan was right. Given a pocket of change, he would find a way to turn it into a growing business in a week. Prior to his brother’s arrival, he was off to the marches to become a salt trader, till he got the lay of the land. No doubt he could tap those he left behind here in the Hintort planes to setup some trade route of sorts. “You know me well brother. Let us meet my newest clients and be on with the venture.”

Advertisements

Byron part 1

Seek Varelle for your reward
Keeper of the glen and fjord
Rely on her to guide your path
Ease your fear of beastly wrath

It was all that was read before it was tossed on the burning pile. “Varelle, you have not guided me right in months,” Byron muttered. He looked around for anything else to feed the fire. While it was slowly starting to spread to the edge of the fire place, he was quite surprised how little his house actually wanted to burn. He had no particular dislike for the house and its contents. They were just casualties of his decision to burn it all down before disappearing into the night.

Byron had made the mistake many a merchant young and old do of investing in the wrong enterprise. In this case he had backed the wrong noble for ownership of a title. And though in his kindness Lord Forendide said he would spare the lives of those who had conspired against him, he had also proclaimed ownership of their possessions.

Lord Forendide would be by in two days and to take possession of his property from Byron. Byron, along with the several overs in the glen, had agreed to leave behind the worthless pile of ashes and head off at first light by ship to greener pastures. So now he stood vexed as to what he had to coax a flame to spread beyond the hearth to the walls. He had already drank his alcohol and the one book that had not been tossed on the fire was coming with him.

His concentration was broken by a rapping upon the door. Confused as to who would be calling at this hour, he grabbed his dagger off his desk and made his way out of his office.

There was a second knocking on the door, this time a bit more rapid and heavier. Byron made haste down the stairs and to the door. It was not as if there were any other residence to be disturbed by the late hour cacophony the caller was making. And yet he did a slight jog across the floor to hasten answering.

At the door, Byron called out before opening, “Who is knocking at this late hour?”

“Tis Jorgan, I have urgent news. Open up and be quick about it. I do not like standing out here in the night.”

Byron relaxed and unbolted the door. Opening it to find it was Jorgan, along with two others. flanking him. Standing a head shorter on Jorgan’s left was a stout balding woman. From her rust colored robes he could tell she was one of the seers, but not one he had met before. To Jorgan’s right, standing as tall as Jorgan, with a slender build, was a black haired man. Clean shaven and with a deep blue tunic depicting a hare, Byron took him as one of the Tuftom Knights.

“Sorry to call upon on you at this hour, and I will explain all to you as soon as we have a moment’s rest. I come with word from our brother Strom.”

“Come in then before someone sees you dawdling about out there.” Byron replied. “I have naught but water to offer you as I have finished the last of the wine with supper.” He led them to a room just off the entry and gestured for them to have a seat.

Byron went over to a pitcher and decanted drinks and continued, “I am planning on being out of town by morning so we had best make this quick.”

“Strom has come across a great opportunity, but it will require funding from you.”

“And this could not wait?” asked Byron.

“Um no,” replied Jorgan. “I know you are in a bit of a bind with current ventures and I had to talk before your credit was wiped out.”

“Go on,” Byron commented.

“We need a thousand, to fund an expedition to recover…”

“May as well be ten thousand,” replied Byron. ‘On that front you are too late. My accounts at the counting houses are closed and the merchants know the ass is coming to take what they could not.”

“But you have other ventures that have money,” pushed Jorgan. “And this is for the recovery of the seer’s staff. The oracle left at Da-kineth.”

Byron paused, before his mind went out on a hundred tangents of possibilities. This could be the sign he needed for way out of the pit he was in. “I have some funds available, it will take me all day tomorrow to get them and it may be short a few. Naturally we have to work out some finer points as to repayment will be for backing. Also I want to go along as there will little to occupy my time otherwise.”

The woman looked intently into Byron’s blue eyes. “You scheme, as all merchants do, and I sense no malice in your future. You will have your turn at the oracle’s benefits, but do not be dismayed when it gives visions of things you did not wish to see. I am Lady Briana of the seers. I look forward to our partnership. Also Sir Koslo over there and I shall be on the expedition.” Briana motioned with her hand at the Tuftom Knight.

Koslo sniffed the air, “Is that smoke? I think the house is on fire.”

“Yes, that would be smoke and I think it best we all leave the house.” replied Byron calmly.

“But surely we can put it out if it has not gotten far.” Koslo said with a confused look.

“No, I am certain it is a lost cause,” Byron Retorted. “Now out the door quickly.” He picked up a book from a table and started for the door. The other three took this finally as a sign he was serious and followed closely behind.

Scrap

Badger, rabbit, and mouse
Set out to guard the house
Mouse with quiver and bow
Rabbit with sword in tow
Badger with pole arm in hand
Together a merry band
Turns they took watching the sky
On watch for covey on high
Avian tormentors had plots
To steal fruit and seed from lots
The crafty birds dove from flight
Only to climb back from hopeless plight

Writing exercises

Wan weasel wander wistfully where whims’ want wishful wonder waiting where weasels whisk. Weasels wantonly wail woefully when white whale wants wan weasel’s wares. Wan weasel weighs whale’s wants while white whale wrangles weasel’s wares. Wan weasel won’t wage war with white whale. White whale won wan weasel’s wares.

Lithe llama leads lackadaisical little lamb. Lucky Labrador lets lamb lead llama. Lenticular lush lands lure lamb. Little lamb leaves llama’s light lead. Leadless lamb lunches lustfully. Llama lacks leal lackey. Longanimous Labrador leers longingly. Lessons learned:
1. Let Labrador lead lost lambs.
2. Llamas lack leadership.

Quart quaffing quintuplets question quick quilting Qatar quadruplets queue. Quincy questions Quinn. Quarterback Quinten quizzes queasy Quade. Quigley queries Queen Quinlan quilting quality quartz. Quinta quits quirky Quintin quandary. Quela quietly quests quoting quail quacks.

Jackal

The clouds rolled in that day. It was not unforeseen by anyone who had paid attention to the winds. The jackal sat looking over the valleys and plains before him and thought about how long it would be till the rain hit. His mate had gone out hunting to for a snack and had said she would be back soon.

The gentle rumble of thunder in the distance made him worry slightly. She never liked the rain, and thunder made her want to hide in the den even more so. He paced around the hill top a little more, looking to see if he could catch sight of her return across the field. He would never liked it when she was gone this long. It made him worry and debate what may beholding her up. As always, he would regret not tagging along, tired as he may have been when she left.

He could now see the gentle rains in the distance as the grass changed shades as it bowed and rode from the drops. It was approaching at a decent rate. It would only be a matter of minutes till it was here. He paced around again surveying the horizon in each direction for the sign of her approach. His nose twitched as he sniffed her familiar scent in the wind.

It was too late, she jumped up and pushed him on his back. He braced for the second assault as three pups jumped up at him from the other sides, each nipping playfully at his ears and arm. He rolled under the assault for a quick moment before knocking the four of them off. He took a quick moment straighten up his fur with a few licks. He nuzzled at the pups to move them along toward their den.

The five jackals’ ears perked up as the sound of the rain now reached them. The quickened their stride to the den in hopes of staying dry. The two watched as the pups scampered to get inside, both watching for any things spying on them. Confident they would get a good rest, the mother went in next followed by the father who was happy to have his family back.

Observations of Lions

She stares out at the savanna, knowing that they play regardless of who may be watching. This is their home and she is but a visitor. Two of them greet each other with gentle head butting that would knock her to the ground. One of them flashes its open mouth, a quick yawn or a warning of the deadliness hidden under her beauty.

Yet she watches in reverie, enthralled with the anticipation of what they will do next as yet another joins the group and shares in the greetings. If not for the apparent size difference, she would think them the same as her ones back home that wait for her return. Her mind wonders to that of sitting in a chair on her computer as one of her cats comes up to her and nuzzles her with affection and want of attention. The joy and comfort she is feeling is amplified by her lover’s hand upon her back. He is there watching in fascination with her too.

The gentle caress of his hand brings to mind his own pet name for her, his snow leopard. Her thoughts dwell on all the attributes it has and she feels like she lacks. It is a creature of great power and beauty; never to be tamed. Questions enter her mind as she wonders if he sees the same things in her that she sees in it. She steels a quick glance and recalls the confidence he has in her, greater than her own sometimes. She feeds on those compliments, repeating them quietly to herself and still questions where he gets such ideas.

The lions in the field are now resting gazing pleasantly across the field now. The cats here are much like the ones at home. As they get sleepy you feel as if they beckon you to sleep with them. Or is it that they leach your energy to recharge themselves. The feeling is hard to say at this moment. For in the comfort of her family she understands why they are comfortable. In this moment she feels as though she empathizes most with the animals in the field more than many she knows back home.

Kiwi, Snow Leopard, and Alpaca

Kiwi looked up from the water he had been drinking. Snow Leopard was now back and he could continue their conversation. “I do not think it all that bad here in this place. Back home the number of threats have never been worse.”

“I agree with the number of threats increasing,” Snow Leopard replied. “However I need more space to feel at home then what I have been provided with. Further, why could they not put themselves here and let me stay behind. They can survive in a single room with all their technology. I need the space, the thrill of the hunt.”

“Also a good point,” Kiwi responded. “Yet, my home is not as nice as it once was. They brought much with them to the islands. I fear that I would not be safe outside this place. And, I would like to see the sun without shade again, or go beyond a wall if the mood struck me. Yes it may mean uncertainty to my existence, but at least it would be excitement.”

“I would never choose such a cramped house.” growled Snow Leopard. “I want my mountains back. I want my forest, my childhood home, back under my feet. I want to feel real land and not the concrete and predictable landscape. Though I do not feel the pangs hunger encouraging me day to day, I struggle to find reason to get out from the corner I sleep in. I do not wish to entertain those that stare wide eyed at my existence. They say my brethren number less by the day, and yet they do not let us go down with a fight. Some day we will all be gone and I wish to have the smell of a known forest around me and the taste of a fresh kill in my teeth be my fleeting thoughts. I do not like the sound of a pipe leaking or the aroma of prey never to be caught.”

“Young cat,” it was the voice of Alpaca, “You need not waste your breath wishing for your former glory, your lost freedom, or happiness outside of here. You do not have children patting you each day, and should thank that fortune.”

“I would only bite the little hands,” Snow leopard retorted.

“Exactly why they do not. You do not fare any worse or better than those who were domesticated. We are kept and sheered for our hair. You will hear how we must be kept safe from the elements, but as those before us did, I assure you we are quite capable of handling the extremes of a wild life. I was a guard for sheep, yes sheep, before being sent here. Now I am to play nice and let them caress me or let them cut small locks of my hair.”

“But that means you too have felt the freedom of the wilds. You are not native to such enclosures.”

“You are correct and yet I am safe from you here. I miss my herd and the comfort of the group. Yet I am resigned to here being my resting spot. Kiwi is a good friend to have as he will listen, but I warn you to not pine for things outside your grasp. If you are trouble or you attack them, they will not hesitate putting you down.”

“Your words of wisdom are to endure and suffer?” snapped the cat. “I do not lie down, there is no pride in that. I cannot cower at their beck and call. I cannot sit so politely with their brood. They stare lie they hunt me, but I am already caught.”

“I cannot offer you any other advice than that. Come to terms with the life you will now live.”

“There is nothing to come to terms with,” Kiwi spoke up. “It is a harsh life hear or out there. But in the freedom beyond these walls, we both had some say in what would happen. We could each find a mate, asses the risks we wanted to take, eat what and when we felt like it. Now it is regimented, I do not get to taste the sweetest of grub anymore. Snow Leopard can only eat whichever rabbit they choose to feed him.”

“I agree much of our individuality is lost here.” Alpaca responded, “You still have choices to eat or not eat. You can be active when the crowd are around or not. You can lament what is not and how it should be. But what will you do when done with that? Outside your cage would you lament that the prey is not as easy to catch as yesterday?”

“You suggesting I memorize my cage, make routine of the walls and the comings and goings of the humans?” Snow Leopard curled in a corner. “This is not what mother prepared me for.” she mumbled as she started to doze off. “This is not what I want to achieve. This is not all I am capable of.”

She

And off she went into the night.  Her goal was the only thought.  But would she be in time?  Faster she rode, wishing she could go just a little bit faster.  Speed and time were the key players now, but speed and time are never good teammates.

Upon arrival in the clearing, she knew she was too late.  Everything was gone including a trail to follow.  Being an expert in tracking she did not give up the pursuit easily, looking for any sign even a slight trace in the ground.  But this was not to be her day and luck seemed to have turned its back on her.  The ground was frozen solid, not even an imprint of where she walked and now the snow started.

If experience was to serve correctly, and much to her anger it would, the snow was going to be heavy and long.  No longer was it an option to find her quarry.  Now she had to find lodging, out here in the wilds.  The closest town was over a day away and she now cursed herself for getting in the situation.

“Oh well, where now?”  The first words muttered by her since leaving the town.  The trees would keep back most of the snow, but sleeping out in the open would leave her vulnerable to other creature.  A wolf had been following her for the last hour and she knew it.  The wolf had mistaken her attempts to find anything resembling a trail as being lost or confused.  All it had to do was wait for her to become tired and then make its move.

The wolf was sure she would make easy prey.  After a failed attempt to steal food from those camping the night before, this made it four days without food and it would not become five.  His ill fated assault of the prior night left him slightly hurt, a small cut on the back.  A far better fate than if he had been caught, for those in the camp surely would have killed him.

Things had been much easier on the wolf a year ago when his human companion had still been alive.  Now that was a human any wolf would have liked.  Whatever his name was he was a true warden to the forest and kept out those that did not call it home.  Even he himself would enter more than a couple of feet if it could be helped.  It was a sad day when death came to collect him.  But now food was scarce, more so now that winter set in.  It was going to be a long winter, quiet and difficult.

She finally found a suitable place to rest, below an outcropping of rocks.  The place had obviously been a resting spot for others human and non.  For now it was hers.  Her horse took some comfort from the fire she built.  For the first time that day, luck smiled upon her. The pack of supplies she grabbed while leaving town would leave her in a comfortable situation for the next two or three days.  Now she could focus on her current adversary.  The wolf sat a ways off, watching her setup camp.  “Perhaps this won’t be as easy as I thought,” he thought to himself.  But then he saw her with what looked like food.  It wouldn’t be a fresh kill, as he preferred, but food was food.  She had to sleep some time and then that was when he would attack or at least sneak in and get something to eat.

At that moment she did something quite unexpected by the wolf.  A portion of cured meat landed in front of him.  It smelled ok…what was she up to?  He licked it…tastes salty but otherwise it was food.  He tore into it, ravished by hunger there was no way to appreciate the skill that had been put in to preserving the food.  And at that point he realized perhaps there doesn’t need to be an attack.  Though the hunger had been warded off, trust was not there, so instead of spending a night by a warm fire, he sat watching, wondering what she was up to.

Night passed without a sound, leaving behind a half foot of snow in its wake.  Both of them woke tucked nicely beneath the blanket, only upon waking did it become disturbed.  Both saw that the other was watching to see what came next.  The silence of the morning was broken by the horse standing up.  Like everyone there it was cold.  It looked quizzically at her.  As if to ask where’s the fire and what about the wolf.  Though these were not the questions the other two saw in it.  The horse had shaken them both back to reality and awareness of the snow falling, that  it was indeed cold and perhaps all three of them just wanted to make it through the storm.

The Sound

There was a sound outside.  I knew not what it was.  I was quite content with what I had and felt no need to investigate.  So there I sat with indifference to that which had now made its self present.  Life went on and this new sound slowly piqued my curiosity because of its unyielding nature.  It was neither unpleasant nor annoying but the mere fact that it continued required some sort of investigation.

Out I went to explore that which I had no idea was or, prior to a short while before, had even cared about.  The sound was something that seemed to call out for me to investigate, yet I think that had I not I would have been comfortable with its seemingly ever-presence.  There is no doubt that it felt like it should continue to be and therefore questioned myself as to how sure I was that it nay did exist prior to its detection.

Try as I might I could not recall any such similar noise occurring prior to a short bit back.  The sound at this point was starting to fade into the tapestry that makes up everyday life.  Indeed I was losing track of its origin because of the harmony it maintained.  Like the sound of a car running or music in the background it had been a short while and yet already the noise was incorporated into my daily existence.

As time went on I could tell that the noise sometimes was not there and when it was not I missed it as though it was a favorite item.  Indeed it had become as natural as the desire to have a glass of water when thirsty or to eat when hungry.  The source of it though unknown, the sound never seemed gone long and as a result I became accustomed to its short absences.  Time progressed and I came to fall into a coexistence with its habits.  Though originally sad by its absence, the brief time without the noise made me enjoy its presence more so.

It was then I realized the sound never did disappear entirely and that it more so just faded out and became less dominant to the rest of the world.  It was as if it had the modesty to realize that the rest of the world may have as much importance as the sound itself and then when it may be completely gone it would renew its endeavor to be recognized if even only for a moment.

This existence went on for awhile and then as if something in the universe had shifted slightly I knew the sound would soon be gone.  Perhaps it was just a feeling or maybe I had finally realized the true nature of the sound.  Maybe the sound itself had indicated the course it was to soon follow and passed this information along with its existence.  Regardless, something that I had gone most my life without and had but a short encounter with was about to leave.  I didn’t want it to, I had grown accustom to its influence on the melody of daily life.  The noise was but a blip on the larger scale of life gone by and life to come.  However sometimes something fleeting can have a larger impact than that which is around us longer.

I felt like I had wasted all the time I should have spent listening to this sound.  Rather than memorizing it I had taken for granted, I had let its presence be squandered.  I felt like such a fool for not having done anything more than listen to it.  But then I reflected.  I had done what I could do to pursue it, I had seen all that there was for me to see.  The reality was I had taken as much advantage of the situation as I could.  I had incorporated the sound into everything it fit into.  I had appreciated it in every way possible.  The truth was I had done everything but waste it.

Then it was gone.  It was all over and I felt left with nothing despite the fact of what I had.  I knew the sound finally and its origin.  I knew what it had done and how it had done so.  I had enjoyed it and let it be.  I missed it, I mourned it, I searched for it, I chased it, and then I let it go.  It was not mine, but someone else’s now to follow.  I was left quiet, back to what had been.