- 30a (Argentum’s Song – PG)
Claude listened carefully to the latest refrain and turned to Sven.
“That one was different.”
“The first two were ‘Distress – overwhelming numbers’. The last one was garbled, I’ve no idea what it was saying.”
“Maybe, or one of the other Warriors he was inviting to the council? It sure sounded like a warrior’s horn.”
They looked intently at each other for a few nervous seconds.
“If it’s something even Warriors can’t handle …”
“I know, I know but we are mounted, should be able to outrun a weir if it came to that.”
“He never should have left us behind in the first place.”
Claude turned to Herman his mind apparently made up.
“Unharness the horse and gallop to safety in Pheonton. We’re going to check on the Marshal.”
“But my salvage.”
If Sven and Claude had a reply for Franklin, it was lost in the noise of their hooves pounding back up the mountain. Herman answered him though, as he jumped down and started messing with harness system they had improvised.
“It’s Walt’s family’s salvage and the Rangers will make sure it gets to them eventually. The horse is worth far more than a bit of ale anyway.”
“You go with your horse then, leave the mare alone though cause I’m not leaving this sledge.”
Herman turned back to him and scrunched his face.
“Fredrick, your voice sounds different.”
“Well ya. I’m a little excited. Yer trying to get me in trouble for abandoning me charge!”
Franklin tried to slowly ease back into the voice he had created for Fredrick. Hoping the change was slow enough not to draw attention to how different it was.
“You can’t stay up here without a larger escort. There are more weirs in these mountains then there have been since the Warriors first pushed them back a generation ago. On the horse you have a chance, on the sledge … you don’t.”
- 30b (Argentum’s Song – PG)
Franklin drew his short sword and advanced on Herman.
“Leave the mare alone. We’re not leavin’ the sledge.”
Herman unsheathed his own scimitar.
“I don’t think you understand who’s in charge here Fred. Believe me when I say you don’t want to challenge a Ranger to a duel.”
“Funny, we dern’t see any Rangers here. Jest a wanna be squire.”
Franklin let his sword sway and gripped the hilt hard enough to turn his knuckles pale.
“Challenge accepted. It will have to be a a non-lethal duel though since we don’t have time to hunt down witnesses and seconds.”
Herman was lecturing him as if he were the uneducated jack ass he was pretending to be. However, less than a score of heartbeats later, Herman was disarmed and Franklin’s sword was at his throat. That really was a lot easier when your opponent thought you were a festering fool. Something to remember the next time he had a chance to show off his skills.
“Who are you?”
“Someone who jist taught ya not to judge so quickly.”
Herman nodded slowly and backed away.
“Very well, may I retrieve my blade?”
“Are ya gonna try anythin’ stupid?”
“You won the duel, do you think I have no honour?”
Franklin waved his blade at him and let him pick up the Spark.
“Get on then. Scamper away.”
“You’ve paid for an escort. I don’t agree with your decision but I won’t run unless things get hopeless.”
Franklin didn’t put a lot of faith in him being helpful on the swordcraft front. However, having an untethered horse nearby if things did go really bad could be useful. He decided not to press the point and started leading the Mare and sledge back towards Pheonton. Soon enough he’d have all the silver ore he’d possibly need and be returning home to civilization not only with the family debt cancelled but with all the trappings of royalty. He couldn’t wait to see the look on his father’s face when his plan to ‘punish’ him turned on it’s head.