You must login to vote
A Harsh Wager
Titus Tolshem led his company of seven through the great and high mountains of Lythian, crossing the pass of Singe. His heavy black cloak’s hood was pulled up and pulled tight over his face, so that his features were hidden completely. He carried a small sack on his back that did not contain much except for a tent hardly big enough for one person, and a blanket that was even smaller, but still thick and warm.
Following behind him were Brandon, Will, Tangrear, Mable, Shristin, Novemere and bringing up the rear was Havercom.
“If we keep the pace that we’ve set throughout the day, we should reach the first town by nightfall.”
“Some relieving news, I was beginning to think that there existed no towns in this land,” Brandon said, his voice muffled through his tightly pulled hood, identical to Titus’s, yet his blond hair fell through the opening..
“Aye, it’s a y barren wasteland!” Tangrear said from behind, his expression matching his scarred and leather-like face, which contained black marble-like eyes.
“This land contains the largest cities in the world, although no one knows that, for no one ever comes up to this country. It’s a hard land, but there is decency once you get so far,” Titus said, looking back to his men. “And I would know, I did live here.”
There was complaining from the men so far throughout the duration of the trip, but they were good and loyal men. Titus could see that from the start. Very skilled outdoorsmen, and skilled archers as well. They had an amazing sense of direction, and knew exactly what to do in every situation that came up. The answers that were required to handle the situation came to their head naturally, and all they had to do was open their mouth for it to come out completely; quite detailed through their words, and always complete.
The snow was coming down at a ridiculously fast rate, with large flakes that took at least a minute to melt when it landed on the skin. For those who weren’t lucky enough to have brought a good coat with a good hood on, being Will, Novemere and Mable had flakes landing on their faces constantly. Here and there were guard towers standing out on top of the peaks of the mountains that guarded the land, and made sure that no enemy armies could sneak in, unnoticed.
“Are sure it will take so long as nightfall before we get to the next town, Titus? Last I checked my map, it seemed it wouldn’t be more than two more hours,” Will said.
“What town was that?”
“Gone. Wiped out a little more than a decade ago. It would appear that you don’t have an updated map. Which are much required here in Lythian, since there is so much fighting. Although I believe that town actually fell victim to a large fire that burned it completely to the ground. Or maybe the enemy was the one to light it ablaze.”
Titus shrugged to himself.
The men carried on, trudging through the waist high snow. It took the remainder of the day, as Titus had predicted to reach midpoint of the mountain range called Orodos. A small town called Medslip sat in between to mountains, right where their bases met. It was very small, but it contained the one thing the eight men were dying for; an inn.
They reached the small village and walked the main street until they reached the building. Inside was warm, and a large fire was blazing in the hearth.
“Hello,” said the innkeeper, observing all of his new customers.
“We some rooms,” was all Titus said.
“Looks like you’ll need about…three?”
Titus looked over his men, and then back at the innkeeper to give him a nod.
“That sounds like it will do.”
“I will take you to them,” the innkeeper said as he turned and took them to a hallway branching off from the common room.
The first rooms on the right were what they got. Inside them were nothing aside from two beds, and two dressers.
“What are we to do with the two that don’t get a bed?” Mable asked.
“Sleep on the floor, and make a bed out of sheets or something,” Titus replied.
Mable shrugged and then walked off into another room. Beds were quickly claimed, and then the beds on the floor were quickly established. Sleep was already weighing down everyone’s eyelids before their head could land on the pillow.
There were no troubles through the night, and morning dawned on the men too soon for their liking. They had slept too well throughout the night, and all they wanted was more of it.
“Get up! We need to get moving if we’re going to reach the king by the fourth day of the week. It’s already the second,” Titus said trying to pry them out from underneath their blankets.
Once all of the men were dressed and ready to go, they awaited for Titus outside the inn in the street.
“What do I owe you?”
“Six silver pieces.”
Titus handed the money over, and walked out to join the rest of the men.
“Lets go boys, we gotta get a move on. Only half a day left of the Orodos Mountains, and we reach the much more comforting, Southern Flats. And after that it’s the great city of Alazon, and then the Shawshire forest, and then finally, the city of Lone Tree. The king sits on the throne in Lone Tree.”
The march began then, and hoods were drawn up, and gloves were pulled over hands. The men knew of the cold coming, and they were prepared for it. Get warm, before the weather gets cold, and you won’t catch frost all too soon. Everyone knew that.
“Where did you find gloves like that?” Will asked, grabbing Novemer’s hand.
“I got them from my older brother a few years back. Why, you like ‘em?”
“How about we make a little wager?”
“Sure,” Novemere replied.
“If you can make it through the rest of these mountains without falling once, I’ll give you my coat, but if you do fall, you have to give me your gloves. What do you say?”
“Sure. But I think it would only be fair if it went the same for you. If you fall, you have to give me your coat, and then I fall I give you my gloves.”
“Deal,’ said Will, shaking Novemere’s hand.
* * *
“I didn’t fall completely! It was more of a stumble!”
“Hand the coat over Will.”
“Please don’t make me give my coat up, I’ll be freezing.”
Novemere crossed his arms. He wasn’t taking no for an answer. Will stared at his feet as he carried on through the snow. He suddenly brightened.
“Hey Mable, I like you coat.”
“I’ll bet you my waistcoat that I can…shoot an arrow further than you can for your coat.”
“Alright. Shristin, do you want to be the judge of this?”
Both men placed their arrows on their bowstrings, and pulled back to the ear.
“Alright. Ready, set, fire!” Shristin shouted.
Both arrows were released, even so far at length. But Will’s began to decline first, and then a lot more rapidly than Mable’s. It soon became obvious who the winner was, and when both arrows were out of sight, it was official.
“Please Mable, don’t make me give up my waistcoat. I’m cold enough as it is!”
“Hand it over.”
Taking that off, now Will was just down to a short-sleeved shirt. Will looked around, grasping his bare arms.
“Tangrear. Would be willing to make a wager?”
* * *
“Alright, so lets get this straight, Will. You’re offering your undergarments for Shristin’s breeches?”
“Yes, th-th-that is correct,” Will replied with clenched teeth.
“Well Shristin, do you accept?” Brandon asked, all snug wearing two pairs of breeches.
“I suppose I can never be to warm down there, ya know?”
“So whoever knocks the first off of their feet first wins. Ready? GO!”
Both men charged at each other. At the last second, Shristin ducked to his knees, sending Will flew over him and fell to the snow.