I didn’t sleep well. I work up a lot because I thought I heard things. In the morning I didn’t want to go outside so I spent some time playing in the main room of the inn with Arlyss. Sometimes we play games and sometimes we tell funny stories. We spend the whole day inside and before dinner I ask Tâber when we can leave and he says he does not know. We have dinner and Vilija and I spend some time with the other kids playing games and telling more stories. When we go up to bed I don’t see Raj, but when i wake up during the night she is there.
In the morning Tâber and I stay at the inn while Raj and Vilija go out for a while. When Vilija comes back she has a healer’s kit for me. It has salves and wraps and plants to make healing poultice.
During the day I spend my time making arrows and Raj surprises me with a handful of new arrowheads. I take a nap and when I wake up its dark and no one is in the room. I ask Lyssa and she says Vilija is outside. She gives me a funny look when she says the others are upstairs. I rub my eyes and pretend I am sleepy and go back up. After a while I hear something and look out the window. I try to climb down and get caught. Vilija is really mad at me. Raj is there with some strange boy, maybe he is her boyfriend. And Tâber is there as well. Vilija and the boy go in the front door and after a few minutes a rope is lowered from out window. Raj ties it around me and Vilija pulls me up. Raj and Tâber climb up and we talk about leaving in a few hours. Raj and Vilija bought supplies when they were out and we are going to leave before the sun comes up in the morning. the boy is coming with us, and he has a dog as well.
Vilija says we should get some sleep and I crawl into the bed and close my eyes.
Through the night I sit at the window listening. Our room faces North which does me little good as we are on the north edge of the town. At some point I notice Tâber is not there and I mark that down in my mind. The dawn breaks and the tension over the city can be felt in every breath I take. We go down for breakfast and I eat quickly excusing myself back up to the room. Vilija knows I plan to go out the window and up to the roof.
I scramble up, having a little difficulty finding footing on the thatched roof, but I am eventually able to pull myself up to the peak. I settle in watching and listening as the day passes. The gates to the inner city are still closed and there is some activity inside the walls and from the sounds I can follow it to the western gate, but only the sound, my vantage point is not high enough to see anything. As the sun sets I hear Vilija call up for me, we are expected for dinner. I slip back in and join everyone for the evening meal. As we eat I notice that Tâber has a new weapon. Not only does he have a new axe but he gift’s Vilija with a new sword. How he acquired them I do not know, I did not see any money in his pack when I looked through it and it makes me trust him even less. I know he is hiding something.
Vilija knows I plan to do some scouting tonight as while she and Rella entertain the family I excuse myself and check the window. I see no one and slip out dropping silently to the ground. There is a nearby drainage ditch and I make my way along it towards the eastern side of Lorkin. The ditch ends at the docks and I slip into the shadow of the city and observe. Our boat is there, still tethered to the dock. I don’t see movement but I recall there is a recessed area of the wall where the guards were. Slipping away I cross the ditch and skirt the edge of the beach to get a better view from across the narrow inlet. There is movement from the alcove and I can confirm only one guard. There does not seem to be a visible increase of security here. There is only one problem to my eyes. the tide is out, and so our boat is not actually floating but resting in muddy shallow water. We will have to find when the tide comes in. The gates are still closed and after about half an hour has passed I make my way back along the ditch towards the inn. the night is eerily quiet except for the occasional scream from the keep. I get back and after checking to make sure I see no one I signal Vilija and she tosses down a rope. I re-enter the room and share what I have discovered. We discuss the issue with the tide and come to a decision on what our plan of action is going to be.
We have decided that we will take the boat upriver. On the other side of the river is Noron’s trail. We will swing the boat back downriver on the other side of the large island we can see from the banks. We will then cut the boat adrift and make our way south along the trail until we reach Kaldor. From there we will decide the next leg of the journey. As for our “official” story we are heading upriver to the Fur road and traveling along that south to Kaldor.
In the morning we head down to breakfast and Vilija inquires about the tides and heading up river. The innkeep and his wife warn of the barbarians….always the barbarians….but agree that sticking to the boat would be the safest route. They share some news that they have heard that the Jarl and his uncle spent the night torturing Jarin in the keep. I ask where they heard that and the innkeeper makes a point that I should not ask. We are treated to a tale of the Jarl’s uncle who it seems is just as sick as Taarbri. A former pirate, and current shipwright of Lorkin, he boasts of at least 1000 rapes. I find it highly unlikely, but who am I to trample is delusions of deprivation.
Lyssa and her husband, who she so often playfully calls “that good for nothing lazy oaf” agree that it would be best and safest for us to leave as soon as we can. Vilija and I head out to town, Vilija to arrange some supplies and I to gather information.
There is smoke in the air. Something was burning in the night in the western part of the city. I Pray to whatever gods come to mind that it is not the old man’s house. I cannot just run off and check, so for now I will bide my time. The Chandler is across the street so we visit him first. Like so many others here, this man is a bit of a horses ass when it come to the Jarin. I hang back and let my sister do what she does, and I have to admit Vilija is good at her game. I didn’t really take time to appraise her ring, but the merchant is more than happy to take it. With is we are able to secure a good number of items. She is very free with our “plans” to head up river. Before we make our next stop I may have to take her aside and tell her to tone it down. The information should be casual, and should not be repeated. We take our new goods back to the inn. Vilija has managed to barter several needed items.
A square of Canvas
2 lanterns and Oil for them
4 Water Flasks
and 40 man days of hard tack and dried food.
it’s a good thing we really only have the clothes on our backs, or else we may not be able to carry all this overland. I still need to speak with the Trehaen tonight about a local guide. We leave the inn and head to the city. Vilija wants to talk to the harbor master. I am not sure if Lorkin has such a person but we do need to find when the tide will be coming back in so we can leave this gods forsaken shit hole.
I again hang back and leave Vilija to work her charm. The guard says he will pass on the information to his replacement that we will be leaving with the morning tide. the morning tide of course being early enough that the city should just be rousing itself. When we leave the docks Vilija returns to the inn and I continue through town. There is an obvious lack of dark hair on the streets. I see not a single Jarin and the Ivinians who are here can be classed into two specific groups.
Those looking for trouble, and those trying to avoid it. I keep my head down and try to blend with the latter group. I pass the shipwright. There looks to be a long ship in dry dock, undergoing repairs. Given what I now know of the proprietor I steer well clear. I stop in on the western edge of the walled part of Lorkin, where the blacksmiths are working and negotiate for some new arrowheads for Rella. I imagine she will be doing a lot of hunting over the next several weeks. I head out the western gate after listening to the venom spewed by the guard about the Jarin while I simply nod and mmhmm in the right places.
The old man’s house is still standing. A little more dung covered than before. There are scorch marks on the wood as though someone tried to torch his house. There is a hovel down the street which was not as fortunate. The smoke still billows from the ruin. I do not linger, but make my way back to the inn. I have an appointment to keep tonight and I suspect we will be leaving early. I return to the inn and give Rella her arrowheads. She is delighted. We have supper and discuss our plans to leave early.
Our early departure gives me a reason to retire early and as soon as the sun goes down I am out the window. I follow the trusty drainage ditch in the opposite direction from last night. Slipping out I scan the street and knock at the old man’s door, whispering the word he gave me. The door opens and I slip inside. The Trehaen looks even older today and I imagine he is not long for this world. Perhaps it will be a welcome relief when death finally comes. There is someone else here as well. Or rather two someones. The old man introduces Mikka, his great grandson. He is the very image of the “dirty Jarin” the gate guard went on about. He is short, dirty, long dark hair, but his eyes are far older than he looks. Like Ranulf, he has seen much in his years and most of it unpleasant. The second someone is less a one and more a thing. Some sort of large hound. Gods preserve me. That beast will stick out like a sore thumb. Why couldn’t he have a small dog…something we could pack in a bag…..oh no….he has to have his very own pony sized hunting dog. Should add some….who am I kidding….this will just make leaving all that more interesting.
I inform the Trehaen that we can pick up Mikka and his….dog, who I am informed is called Garm, up river but the old man insists I take him with me now. Given the current unease in Lorkin his request is more than reasonable. I take a few minutes to talk to Mikka, who says nothing. I make sure he understands that I view him as an equal, we all will even though we may act superior while we are within the confines of this city. Once away from Lorkin he will be a companion, an equal free to continue with us or go his own way. He nods that he understands.
I thank the old man, and ask that his gods grant him peace in the difficult times ahead. Mikka and I slip out and back to the drainage ditch. the pony, while large is still pretty quiet as we skirt town. I can hear some sort of disturbance come out the western gate and given the mood of the crown we pick up our pace. Where ever the mob is going it is not the old man’s house. I wonder if his position affords him some sort of sick protection cause the Ivinians want to continue to use him as an example. I hear Mikka call for Garm is a hushed whisper. There is a quality to his voice that makes me wonder if he is just whispering or if there is damage to his voice and that is why he did not talk in the old man’s house.
We make it back to the inn and Vilija is waiting outside. There is a tense moment as Rella comes scrambling down from the window. Watching Vilija yell quietly was very amusing. Tâber appears and suggests we head inside. Where was he? When did he leave? What was he doing? All these things get marked down in my head to file away later. It does nothing to raise his credibility with me. Vilija leaves Rella with Tâber and I and takes Mikka and the pony in through the front doors of the inn. Even from back here I can hear the click of the door bars being opened. So much fear.
There is a bit of a delay but a rope is tossed down. I tie it around Rella and she gets pulled up with Tâber and I climbing up after her. Well that explains how he left the inn. Sailor my arse. Vilija informs me that our “guide” is in a room downstairs. She says there was a look on Lyssa’s face, maybe of recognition. I am not sure what story my sister fed our hosts, but I feel that they are discrete and can be trusted to a certain extent. It is clear they do not harbor the same hatred that many ivianins do. The night we arrived there were Jarin in the inn, seated separately but I imagine it was as much for their protection as it was for peace in the inn.
We finalize plans and I spend a little time packing things up now so that we can just leave when the time comes. Vilija says she will not be able to sleep so I ask her to wake me in a few hours.
Gods be good let us leave this place in the morning and never come back.
The afternoon dragged on. For a while Raj climbed up on the roof, trying to see what was happening. I went down and spent some time with Lyssa and Fenra. They seem to be decent folk, not holding to the traditional view of Jarin most of the Ivinians in town seem to have. Raella joined my in the common room, playing with the children. I don’t know where Taber disappeared to.
I discovered that Fenra was born in Lorkin. Though he travelled extensively throughout Orbaal as a Skald and Entertainer. He met Lyssa in Geldeheim. Despite the fact that she so often complains about him, she must love him very much to follow him to this place. By supper Taber had returned, lovingly sharpening a great axe we had not seen before. I know he didn’t have it on our travels. I asked if he could sharpen the gargan sword I took. Instead he offered me a nice new sword. I am not a warrior, though I have had some training as per my father’s wishes. Yet the sword felt very comfortable in my hand.
Over supper Fenra informed us that Jous, uncle to the Jarl, has joined in the torturing of the Jarin rounded up in response to the murder. Jous, by their accounts, is a cruel and violent man. A former pirate, he boasts of a 1,000 rapes. Now he had retired to Lorkin and worked as the shipbuilder. Another reason to leave this place, a place that habors in its bosom these hard and violent men. No wonder the ghosts stay here, taking their payment in blood for sins past.
Night passed slowly. There were the screams. And these mixed with the smell of smoke. The town was so quiet, like a shroud had been drawn over it. Raj slipped out at some point. When she came back she told us the boat was still there, but the tide was low. We would need to find out when the tide came back in.
Morning came far too soon and I had had far too little sleep. Still, after breakfast, I took Raj and we went next door to the Chandlers, a man named Gaard. I used what charm I possessed, and the gold ring my father had given me when last he was in Chelemby, to negotiate for supplies. I tried to think of the long journey on foot that lay before us as I arranged for the supplies. We got enough to see us more comfortable than we had been on the pre-Lorkin nights but not so much to burden us down.
Leaving the supplies at the Inn we then went to the gate. It was opened for us, then closed behind us. The streets were almost empty. And those who dared to walk them walked warily. We could still hear some screams form the Keep, but not as savagely as during the night. And there was still smoke rising from the Jarin quarter outside the western gate.
Raj and I got to the harbor without any one stopping us. As she said, the boat was still there. The guard seemed almost casual as he leaned against the side of the wall. I asked about the tides, for the boat was a float at the moment. He said that they can in a couple of hours before dawn. I asked him to let the watches coming after him that we would be leaving with that pre-light tide. He said he would and we returned to the city.
I went back to the Inn as Raj went off on some errand of her own. I think she wanted to make sure the old Jarin was alright. Back at the Inn I spent the day sitting in the common area. There was so much tension in the air so I tried to alleviate it with some songs and games with the children. Raella helped me, singing with me some of the old songs from home. I felt incredibly homesick at that moment. And for a while I pondered what might have happened had I declined father’s request. Raella, by comparison, was very cheerful. I think in part that was because she was so delighted with the healer’s kit I purchased for her. I gave Lyssa and Fenra one of two remaining silver bracelets as payment for their kindness and generosity. I think the gesture moved them.
Raj returned and with silent looks conveyed that all was okay. I don’t know where Taber had once again gotten himself to. Supper was a quiet and solemn affair. My one consolation was that Lyssa and Fenra agreed that we should leave with the dawn tide and get out of Lorkin. Raella was pleased when Raj gave her a dozen new arrowheads and went off to promptly make some new shafts.
After supper we all went back up to the room. Raella protested that she wasn’t tired but was soon asleep. Taber still hadn’t come back. And Raj slipped from the window to go and rendezvous with the old man. I felt so restless up in that quiet room. Finally I went down. I got Lyssa to let me out into the yard as I said I needed air. What I truly needed was escape. These last few hours before would be the hardest.
After a long while Raj returned with a dark scruffy boy she names Mikka. He had with him the largest wolf hound I had ever seen. This boy was to be our guide. And with that hound, I saw all chances of our making a quiet get away evaporating. Nonetheless, there was nothing for it but to go forward. At that moment Raella awoke and decided to climb down from the window to join us. I was so angry at her. And then Taber stepped from the dark and cautioned us all to silence.
I took Mikka and the hound and went back to the front door of the Inn. After a moment, Lyssa answered my knock. Her eyes widened at the sight of Mikka and I suspect that that meant she knew who he was. I told her we had hired him earlier in the day to help with the trip up river. But due to the growing danger of the Jarin quarter he had come earlier, hoping to avoid danger. She said nothing but gave him a place to sleep in the store room out back.
Once back upstairs I lowered the rope and we got Raella safely up back into the room. Raj and Taber followed in quick order. It was now only hours before we would have to go to the docks. And I didn’t think I would be able to sleep. Raj asked me to wake her in a couple of hours and then drifted off.
I sat in the dark. So wide awake. And I wondered how anyone could sleep.