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Trader's Unlucky Trip
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Topic: Trader's Unlucky Trip  (Read 1319 times)

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*Colin

on: February 07, 2015, 10:35:33 AM Trader's Unlucky Trip

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(This isn't a narrative of an RP session, just "Gianfar fiction," though it could mostly be RP'd. It occurs soon after the earthquake-eruption in the southeast part of the island.)

All conversation in the Runner's Rest barroom ceased when the local trader, Colin, staggered in. He wore a hood and long cloak, that had clearly seen better days, and that were crusted with snow. Someone rushed to close the doors as an icy wind threatened to blow out the rushlights.

He made his way blindly to the bar and muttered, "Fire... please..." The barmaid opened the gate separating the main room from the cooking/serving area, and guided him to stand near the fire. He slowly warmed up enough to begin shivering violently; the crusts of snow and ice started melting.

The barmaid poured a mug of warm klah, mixed in some sweet syrup, and held it to his mouth. He managed to hold his head steady enough to suck in some of the drink. Finally he raised his hands, grasped the mug very carefully, and drained it. "Good... thanks... more please?"

By the time he had finished the second hot drink he was almost standing normally. One of the customers went to the bar and offered his heavy, dry cloak "Till yours dries out." The room was filling with the... distinctive... smell of warm wet wool. Colin traded cloaks thankfully and the customer spread the now-soggy one in a corner.

"I'd be most grateful for a bowl of soup... anything I can eat before I can use my hands again." In a few minutes he was sitting... slumping at a table, clumsily drinking thick hot soup from the bowl as he couldn't yet hold a spoon.

At last he was able to look up at the barmaid and say, "Surely you've saved my life. I'd not have been able to go another wagon-length. Keep count of what I owe you, I'm in no shape yet to handle coins." She replied softly, "We don't charge people for saving their lives. But what happened to you?"

Colin spoke slowly through obvious weariness. "Decided to make one last short trip before weather closed in. Two-three weeks ago it was just right... clear... cold enough to kill Thread, but just "warm clothes" weather... not much snow on the ground." Several people nodded recognition of the time.

"So I took a couple of packbeasts and headed out for the farmholds and smallholds and maybe a few of my cousins' camps. No trouble heading uphill, did good business for the time of year. Picked up a good load of heal-all, there'd been a fine growing season. Decided I'd best not press my luck, and started back. 

"A little this side of Cynianne's farmhold I'd got atop a ridge and saw a big snowslide cover the road ahead. Never saw one that big... actually seemed to shake the ground a little, and snowslides are usually pretty quiet." Lost in his memories he didn't notice several people look at each other with raised eyebrows.

"Well, not a chance had I of getting through that alone, so I got turned around... good thing I'd not taken a wagon!... and went back to Cyn's farm. It was getting chilly so I traded some heal-all for that old cloak and hood. I'd not be here now if I hadn't gotten them.

"Next day she sent some of her workers out with me. They had big wide shovels... there are enough big snowfalls there, even that low in the hills, that they're well set up to clear the road. Still took most of a day to get it passable.

"The next morning I headed out again. Got past the slide and down into the low country easily enough. Maybe a half day's ride from the Hold, the wind kicked up into a gale and it got COLD. Fast! Not much shelter there, mostly runner pastures, so it's little choice I had but to keep on. And... well... I made it... got the beasts into shelter and got in here.

"And that's about all there was for me.

"But if I was hearing right, the stablehands were all excited about something that happened in the Weyr... something very bad... what was that all about?"

Eight or ten people offered ten or fifteen explanations at once, the sum apparently being that all the snow near the Weyr had melted, there was a huge earthquake, the whole face of the Weyr collapsed, a great black cloud moved across the whole east end of the island, all the Weyrfolk died, some riders and dragons must have escaped because someone's relative's friend knew that someone had seen a dragon flying.

After the babble died down, there was a great silence.

(Notes:
    The snowslide may have been triggered by one of the minor quakes in the Weyr area; that small quake in Virginia that damaged the Washington Monument could be felt in central North Carolina at the level of "Did you feel something strange just now?"
    The sudden wind may have been drawn toward Shaula by the uprush of hot air caused by the eruption. There could have been a lot of polar air stalled behind a high ridge, that spilled over the peaks and rushed down into the valleys like an atmospheric avalanche. Something like that happens in the Rockies sometimes.)

-- Colin, 6th day of 2nd month in 15th year.
-- Posted in Gianfar Peaks / Forum / Prattle in the Peaks / Weyr, Hold & Hall / Gianfar Hold / Trader's Unlucky Trip 
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