Wednesday 29 October 2014

Scent: Part 6

When Reven awoke the sun was high in the sky. Fang snoozed next to him, the remnants of the leg of meat weren’t too far away. The pup must have been hungry as he had cracked the bones and cleaned out the marrow. Reven rose to his feet and found that he felt refreshed despite only having what must have been a few hours’ sleep. He was starving and his stomach growled even more than it did before he slept. He brushed some leaves off of his trousers and straightened his belt before setting off. Fang woke and trotted next to Reven as he made his way through the wood. The trees weren’t as dense as they were when he first entered Freemarch Forest and he made much better time as he travelled. Fang roamed here and there as they walked, sniffing this and that. He seemed to enjoy his freedom which made Reven happy. The knowledge that he had saved this pup made him feel good; a good deed that he was proud of. They stopped briefly at a stream and thirstily gulped the cool water into their mouths. After a few more miles of travel the forest thinned out some more and they came upon a road that stretched off through the forest to Reven’s left and right. The sun was already starting to disappear below the treeline and Reven had to make a decision. He looked long and hard in both directions and there appeared to be no discernible benefit to travelling either way. Fang had already trotted off to Reven’s right to investigate clump of grass in the road and this made the decision for him. He made his way south along the road as the evening crept on. Clouds had started gathering overhead and Reven wanted desperately to get out of the forest. The thought of another night with the trees and the inhabitants of the forest didn’t thrill him, especially if it was going to rain.

After travelling down the road for a while Reven could see light coming from up ahead and as he neared he made out a squat structure sitting a way back from the road. He headed toward the building and as he drew closer he realised he was looking at an inn. A sign in front of the inn swayed lazily in the gentle evening breeze. The words ‘The Warhorse Inn’ were written on it in elongated white writing that sat above a picture of a barded horse. Reven could see a warm glow in the windows and could see smoke rising from its chimney. There were stables set off to one side that had several horses in and a horseless carriage that was drawn up to the side of the wooden stables. The inn was three stories high and made of solid stone blocks that made it look more like a miniature castle. The windows all featured metal shutters that were thrown wide to allow the light to spill out on to the gravel path that led to the inns entrance. Reven called Fang to him and they walked that path that led to the inns door. Reven pushed it wide and was greeted with the smell of cooking meat and spilt beer. A giant fireplace dominated one end of the common room and within a fire blazed away merrily. The wooden bar stretched half way across the room and had mostly empty stools in front of it. The rest of the room was filled with tables of varying sizes that again were mostly unoccupied. Sconces on the walls offered candlelight as did small candle lanterns that were placed on the tables. Behind the bar was a man with a belly so round it looked like he had a giant bowl stuck up his top. His face was ruddy and his head was bald save for a swathe of hair that chased round the side of his heads. He wore a dirty waistcoat not done up all the way over what once would have been a white shirt. He wore a heavily stained apron around his waist which he was wiping his hands with as he stepped around the bar and approached Reven and Fang. “He can’t come in here boy” said the man as he raised an accusing finger at Fang. “But he’s my dog sir”, Reven responded “We’ve travelled all the...”, “I’ll not bandy words with a child” the barman raised his voice as he interrupted “either the dog stays outside or you both stay outside”. The man stood now with his hands on his hips glaring at Reven. A woman that had been wiping a table pushed past the fat man and stood right in front of Fang. “Don’t pay any attention to Old Bill child, he’s a miserable git at the best of times”, this drew some sniggers from some men seated round a table by the fire and Reven felt his face flush as he realised how many eyes were on him. “We’ll set your friend up by the stable, he’ll be safe there. You’ll be wanting something to eat I suppose”, the woman said with a kindly smile. She wasn’t old and despite looking a little bedraggled would have been considered pretty by most. Reven couldn’t help but stare at her chest as her bosoms swelled out the top of her tight bodice. “Yes…Yes please miss” Reven responded. Her smile widened and she stood a little straighter breaking Reven’s eye contact with her chest. “You can pay? You have coin?”, Reven reached to his belt and pulled free the small bag of coins he had taken from the dead man at the war hound stables in Rosholt. “Your too soft Gertie” mumbled Old Bill who had been watching the exchange. Gertie waved and hand in the air dismissively and lead Reven and Fang out the door and over to the wooden stables. There was a lean-to that had some fire wood chopped in it but also had enough room for Fang to sprawl out. Reven patted the floor under the lean-to and Fang sat under the slanted wooden roof. Gertie had gathered up a bucket and was sinking it into a trough, filling it with water. Reven patted Fangs head as Gertie put the bucket down before following her back into the inn.

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