Shadow of Hope XVI

Absent-mindedly — if presumptuously — overlooking the womenfolk, Rôhn appraised the group and rose to his full four feet, foam teacup in one hand, lit pipe full of earthy smelling leaf in the other, and regarded his audience pensively with his stone-gray eyes beneath a furrowed, bushy brow, as if composing a dirge of great import.

His wet riding cloak was now open at the neck clasp and draped over his broad, armored shoulders.  His hood was pulled back, revealing the pommel of a sword rising behind his back.  Droplets of evaporating rain trickled down his breastplate which glimmered in the dim light.  His helm was removed and lying alongside his warhammer and small round shield, which leaned against each other by his feet.  His features were ruddy, rounded and sun-baked.  His long, wild red mane was revealed, parted in the middle and intricately plaited with leather cords, as was the bushy mustache beneath his bulbous red nose and the thick beard that draped below his belt buckle.  The wide, black leather girdle it clasped was adorned with a panoply of tools that jingled in unison when he shifted self-consciously on his feet.  Graven runes adorned much of his gear and weaponry.

His voice rumbled from deep in his broad gut, like the slow spew of an awakened volcano, “I am Rôhn Roughbuckle, son of Redmond, and Shield Dwarf of Kräg-Dün, and Seventh of the Seven Champions of the Seven Clans.”  After a brief pause, he swept his pipe-bearing hand in the general direction of the lead matron and continued, “I have traveled here over sea and over land with my companions, Zulian and the Sorceress Erellia.”  Pausing to consider what more superfluous information human interaction might require, Rôhn could think of nothing, awkwardly ceased speaking and sat down, returning to his pipe and tea.

“Splendid.  Thank you for offering something of yourselves, so that we may better understand our strengths and weaknesses,” Erellia smiled with genuine appreciation, “I do not know when the others will arrive, though Zulian rides a close perimeter of this area at my behest and should be joining us before long.”

“While we wait, I would ask that each of you remain cautious in whatever endeavor is suited to you. We do not wish to draw any undue attention to ourselves.”

Erellia paused for a moment as if coming to a decision and then continued, directing her comments to each individual in question.

“Rôhn, would you please have a look at the bridge construction and give me your assessment of the work being done?  Kurn and Haron, please redress the horses that you delivered as you would, fitting five for riding and five as pack animals.  I would like Borlak and Katarina to take the mule from the train and sell it within West End for whatever rations appear suitable. Any information you could obtain about threats in the area would also be helpful.  Marcus, Cheskith and Daroun, I would speak with you at some greater length about what magics you profess, if it pleases you.  Our course takes us south along the black flow of the Wicked Way into the Horned Hills.  The likelihood of encountering troublesome creatures is high, and it is best if we know how much magical force we can bring to bear.”


Shadow of Hope XVII

Leave a Reply