Fiction Tuesday – News at the Stable

As Jeremy passed through the gate his eyes needed a moment to adjust to the change in scenery. While the road had been quite, and quite empty, Water Gap was filled with people. People were entering an leaving what Jeremy supposed were shops. Many were laughing loudly at a street performer set up by the gate. Others were seated at tables and sipping drinks outside a small building set against the wall, he assumed this was some sort of cafe. Walter murmured something about “crowds” and steered the cart towards on the opposite side of the gate’s courtyard, it emanated the scent of animals. As the cart approached, a man who had been seated by the open door stood and smiled at Walter. He stretched out his hand and the two entered a friendly embrace.

“Walter! Haven’t seen you in Water Gap in months! It’s good to see you, old friend.”

“That it is, Raleigh. That it is. Been out tradin’ along the coast so I’ve not made my way along the Boulevard for a bit.”

“Ah, roughing it out in the wild. Lucrative trade, that is. How are the homesteaders fairing?’

Walter frowned slightly. “Well, to be tellin’ the truth they could be doing a might better. They are getting a bit bold, if you catch my meaning, and folks are getting a bit jittery.”

“Oh, bad business that, friend. You here to trade in safer parts, then?”

Walter nodded. “There is that, I can’t deny, but I’ve also been sent to address the congress.”

Raleigh roared a quick laugh. “Ah ha! Gonna try to get them to extend the Boulevard out your way again, are you? Best of luck with that, old fox. Best of luck indeed. I’d certainly like shift towards the rising again. Those folks out West have been getting all the attention for too long now.”

“Aye. Folks out by the coast think there’s a market waitin’ to happen, if we can get the Congress to agree. Highcliff has even been marking a quarry, if you can believe that.”

“Oh ho, really now? Well that is a bit of news. I suppose you’ll need boarding for your cart and wares for the night?”

“That I do, sir, that I do. Just the night, mind you. I’ve not heard good things about the market in Water Gap lately.”

Raleigh nodded. “Such is the shame. Such is the same. We get cheap goods from down the River Road, and folks in Water Gap don’t care much for other than price. You Coast Landers are better going further in, where folks appreciate quality.”

Walter Grunted. “That’s what I heard, I guess I’ll have to be glad the Inner Valleys still want our wares at a price worth bringing them in.”

Raleigh sighed and agreement, then seemed to notice Jeremy for the first time. “Oh, and who is this? A new apprentice? Don’t tell me you’re looking to retire!”

Walter grinned. “A no to both, and that is truth. I found young Jeremy here napping along the Boulevard as night came on and thought I’d better bring him along. If you get my meaning.”

Raleigh’s grin disappeared, a slight scowl replaced it as he addressed Jeremy, “Chasing the dark were we, young sir? Not a good business, that. Not a good business at all. Good think someone sensible came along and drug you back safe!”

Jeremy shook his head, “No sir. At least, I don’t think so. Truth is, I don’t know how I came to be here.”

Raleigh shot a skeptical glance towards Walter, who quickly stepped in to Jeremy’s defense. “I know what you’re thinkin’, Raleigh, I do. Young Jeremy is tellin’ the truth, and no lie. He don’t remember where he’s from or where he’s going. And some of the notions he makes are odd indeed. He thinks moonlight is romantic, if you can believe it!”

Jeremy was certain Walter was having joke at his expense, but as it seemed to revert Raleigh’s demeanor to his more jovial self he didn’t mind. “Romantic! Really now, well that is certainly new. Must have had a quite a knock on the head to come up with something like that. I guess you’ll be taking him to Ama, then?”

“Yes, as soon as we settle up here, provided you stop talkin’ my ears off.”

Raleigh laughed. “You old fox! I know you like a chat as much as anyone, and that is truth. But as you are in a hurry I’ll let you on your way. Leave your wares, I’ll care for them. You can settle up with me tomorrow at morning fare.”

“I will look forward to handing you my coin, old friend. But I’ll be off quick in the morning so you’ll have to hear the news on my way back through.”

“That’s fine my me. On your way back I hope you’ll have some news to share, indeed! Now be off, and get that young man’s head checked out. It’s not right going around not knowing where you are or where you’re from!”

Walter grinned as Raleigh took position behind the cart handles and maneuvered it into his stable. He then started off back into the crowd, with Jeremy pressed close by as they moved deeper into the city. While he was eager to see the healer, he couldn’t help but notice that Walter had said, “I’ll be off quick” to Raleigh. He wanted to be healed, but he wasn’t too eager to lose the only familiar face he could remember.

2 Comments

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  1. You did it’s again. Here I am in a place that is a question mark. Where are we going?

    Sent from my iPad

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