Tharadard- City of Teremzad
I am to set out on another long patrol. Tomorrow we head north, past the ruins of Nedarloc to where Anafale forest meets the sea. Then we march west along the edge of Anafale to the foothills of the Fornstorm mountains. We then turn south and make for the fortress of Augathund. We complete our grand tour by then heading east along the Parak frontier, back to the coast, and then north home. It is my charge to inspect and evaluate every outpost, and battlement along the way. Assigned to my company is a bowman named Bearn, Amhil and Raug, both infantry, a mage called Xotho, and my seargent, and 2nd in command Linn. At dawn I rode to the east gate. There Linn already had the men assembled. They were loosely congregated around the supply cart, some leaning against it, some squatting beside it. Taking no notice of me as they were otherwise occupied with discussing last nights debauchery, finishing scraps of their breakfast they had brought along, and fiddling with their packs. I caught Lin’s eye and he bolted upright like someone had run a lance up his backside. His face drew hard, and grim. His exploded in a gruff bark. Linn “Alright! Look alive you wag tongue wenches! Attennnnn…Shun!” Immediately the others jumped to their feet, spit out food, and scrambled into a line. As passed along eying the state of each man, I noticed one was missing. Adeyan “Mr. Linn, Where is our wizard? Still in bed?” Linn “Here he comes now, milord.” I turned and saw passing under the stone arch of the east gate the blundering brown rumple robed figure of Xotho. He dashed across the cobbled stone, arms laden with books. His step was occasionally interrupted by getting tangled in the hem of his own cloak, causing him to suddenly lurch forward and then rear back to keep the column of tomes he carried in a vertical stack. Leather straps bit deep into his shoulders bearing the weight of a stuffed rucksack. From within its swollen bulk there came all manner of clangs, clinks, and metallic tings which sounded with each step. And hanging off it on strings like party decorations were a multitude of glass bottles, and baubles filled with colored liquids. When he reached the company he relinquished his burden with a clamor. Xotho “Mage Xotho, milord reporting for duty.” I wheeled my steed around and glared down at him. Aedyan “Mr. Xotho, this being your first patrol, perhaps the meaning behind only the essential has eluded you.” He stared back with a blank expression. Xotho “But..Sire…..I have..brought only the essential.” Aedyan “The essential.” Xotho “yes.” Aedyan “I see…Well, might I offer some advice that might yield a more efficient selection of gear. First, all the knowledge contained in those beautifully bound, ornate volumes SHOULD BE IN YOUR HEAD, and not your arms. And what is the meaning of all those bottles? Are you going to be conducting experiments, setting up a laboratory at every campsite? As for the rest, has it occurred to your learned mind that at some point we may be required to be a bit covert, a bit clandestine? A capability I feel may be hampered by your rattling doodads announcing our position LIKE A BAND OF MINSTRELS.” Xotho “Oh, but I have a very interesting potion that will…” Aedyan “Mr. Xotho! Xotho ”...and this book here tells of a….” Aedyan “Silence! One book, two potions, lose the rest.” Xotho “Yes, milord.” I had Linn double check our provisions and we set out. The road north wound through rolling grassland dotted with the occasional cabin, or small farm. Over the horizon before us a bank of pitch clouds hung like coal smoke promising some foul weather before the next sunrise. I stopped for a moment, and let the men filed past. I indulged myself in one last look at the fading spires of Teremzad lit gold in pale morning light knowing it would be a month or more before I gaze upon them again. I have grown tired of this drudgery, trekking along our shrunken borders, inspecting fortifications, and siege weapons that are never used. I don’t understand how our people, our king are satisfied clinging to this tiny scrap of the old empire we call a nation. One day this will have to change if Tharadard is to prosper. Our forests dwindle, the cost of timber soars, while the Elves in the north frolic about in league, upon league of woods so dense they are nearly impassable. We are gouged by the Dwarves, and the Vagas for minerals mined from the very mountains we once ruled over. The Parak Peninsula has become a lawless haven for brigands and pirates. If we find no action in this task, by thunder I should make some, perhaps something worthy of a promotion.