Living Story Excerpt
Knowing his father would kill him (figuratively) if he returned empty-handed, Seryth pressed on to Stormwind, thinking perhaps he could find some other odd jobs to make up the difference before he returned home…
Stormwind = Castellea
Though already referenced and explained in Part 1, this is the first time we’ve seen Stormwind mentioned in the Living Story itself, so I’ll plug it again here. Castellea was chosen since Stormwind and Castellea are both fairly large cities, and both have your typical Western fantasy themes (castles, knights, Tudor style architecture, feudalism, etc). Though Castellea isn’t the capitol of Tarith (that distinction belongs to Griffinrock, as mentioned in the prose), it’s still a fairly large city, central to the plains.
This ended up being a fairly short piece, as it doesn’t take Sirith long to realize his funds are lacking. In the novel, this would probably be combined with Part 4 into the same scene.
I also learned something new today while researching where Sirith might have to go to get a new saddle. (Often, medieval people had unique names for various craftsman; unfortunately, crafters of saddles only get the unimaginative term of saddle-maker). The cape-like cloth that a knight’s horse wears for protection and decoration is called a caparison, and a horse that wears this can be termed caparisoned. Caparisons were often made of a gambeson-like material, that is: layers of cloth that are thick enough to deflect some blows. (For those of you who play games like D&D, it would be closest to Padded Armor.)
His fatigue was catching up to him as Sirith stumbled out of the gatehouse and made his way down the stairs. The guard relinquished his horse to him, and he took it, meandering his way back down into the town. After Norwynd’s obvious recognition of him, he felt less self-conscious walking the streets, and he had a few more encounters with citizens who recognized him or at least his father’s role during the wars.
Though the first few of these were gratifying, something akin to hero worship, the constant interruptions began to wear on him as he searched for somewhere to put his feet up and somewhere to exchange the horse’s tatty harness for a real bride and saddle. Purchase of both these took more of his coins than he would have liked, and it occurred to him, as he counted through the gold outside the saddle-maker, that his encounter with the rukh-shami wouldn’t pay for what they had taken from him: Daelin’s furs, Colson’s crops, the wagon, and all. Daelin would kill him if he showed up back in Hillet with as little money as he had on him now, Sirith thought with a wince, and besides, he was still looking forward to spending the market day by himself at Castellea. He would have to press on, picking up what odd jobs he could on the way.
What could a farm boy like him offer in exchange for some money? Sirith wondered. He was strong enough, though he disdained hiring himself out as a common laborer. He was decent with a skinning knife, though it was a smelly, dirty job. He was fast enough on his feet for a courier, too, and at least he might see more of the country that way–
He was thinking of this, daydreaming of being sent out as far as Griffinrock and the king’s palace, when the words of the enthralled townsfolk came back to him. Some of the people around here clearly expected him to know his way around a battlefield like his father. He had a sword now, after all, courtesy of the border patrol sergeant. Sirith unsheathed it, getting a nervous glance from the wainwright as he absently passed by the wagon-maker’s without going in. His heart pounded harder, enough to make him feel giddy. It would be a shame not to use the weapon, wouldn’t it? The bounty for rukh-sham teeth was still active, and he owed the vile creatures a little vengeance still for putting him into this predicament, didn’t he? He could travel down to Bataklik–
Sirith put it out of his mind as someone ran out of a door too quickly, knocking into him. He stumbled and glared, managing not to skewer anybody with the sword, but the woman was off again too quickly, some errand or another clearly on her mind. Sirith’s gaze passed from her up to the sign sticking out from the door’s lintel. An inn.
Pressure of losing sleep returned to the back of his eyes, and he sheathed the sword tiredly as his reality closed back in. He needed rest. He gave his horse up to the inn’s stableboy, then collapsed into a rented bed without even eating breakfast. It was late in the morning, and the inn had few occupants: he’d have this, the common room, to himself for a few hours at least.
He should at least try to go Castellea first. It was what Daelin would have expected, and the city would have more opportunity for making money: something not so dangerous… His heart gave a little tremor again at the thought, but Sirith soon closed his eyes and was out like a snuffed candle.