Survival

The Trudge (Part 1)

Slowly, one foot in front of the other, shift the weight, repeat. Remme felt the wind shoot along up the road, the cold stung his face as it penetrated is beard. He looked up and saw his 11 companions walking following the two carts, behind them trudged along the dog sled, and beside them the pony. They were tired, they were done, but rest was death, so rest was not an option. Remme cast his mind forward to pleasanter thoughts. He looked up at the pony with the two elves, one singer one definitely not, and attempted to strike up a conversation.

“Are you heading to ze… ahh… how you say, competition?” he asked nodding towards the bow slung over Fox’s shoulder. The elf tiredly looked over at him, offering enough energy up to cock an inquiring eyebrow. “you see ahh…. I am heading for Don-Ton after ze Pass… Sylvio thinkz he will win, but he has never faced someonez who is as beautiful and skilled as my Clarence, and well, when you put a beautiful woman in my loving hands… I am… ahhh… well let us just say I cannot be held responsible for what that lady then dose.” Both Raven and Fox spent a long while staring at the dwarf, the cold had numbed their minds a little and it was hard to follow what he was talking about. Raven spoke up first

“so you are entering a competition in Don-Ton?” the dwarf cracked an ear to ear grin.

“Non Non, my good pointy friend… I am intending to be winning a competition in ze Don-Ton. All of ze greatest archerz will be there, many elvez I am sure, and perhaps a few humanz or ze Halflingz, but from last I checked when ze great Remme Duponte left Top Notch, I am to be ze only dwarf to enter. It will be ahhh… how you say… ah … great festival, celebrating ze fortieth day of birth of ze king. It is said that ze King is opening ‘iz private vault, and ze winner may take one single bow of ‘iz choosing from ze personal collection of ze king… as well as ze winning purse a pouch filled with 400 platinum piezes, freshly minted and stamped for ze Kingz fortieth year. It should be known my friendz, that you are traveling with a zoon to be, very rich dwarf” Remme pounded his chest with pride, Fox and Raven couldn’t help but crack a grin, the dwarf certainly had confidence.

After twenty minutes of riding the two dropped off the pony giving a few of the younger dwarves a chance to ride, Alex and Dalathan emerged from the sled as well, spelling two others. Everyone else took a quick five minute break as Serenity checked the children, and Lisanne adjusted her sled team, in no time the party began trudging forward once more.

“So… ah Raven… tell me of ze creaturez zat give chase… what did youz do to ahh…. Make them so mad?” Raven slowed his pace slightly allowing the cart filled with children to get a little ahead before he shared his tale of the devils and aberrants. The dwarf listened grimly as he heard what could be on the road behind him.

“It iz not a comforting thought to know zere are enemiez about… At least, if you are ahh… correct… if ze devils show up we will be warm well we killz them… I think I am for preferringz that, instead of fighting ze chokers is ze cold” Raven grinned and nodded as the two pushed forward, the wind picked up once more

“this iz not really cold… I keep telling the pupz that…." he pointed to a few of teh dwarfs who knwo sat in the dog sled "I am from ze spine… that iz cold… in ze spine a dwarf must be ready… must know how to handle ze cold… it waz onze so cold that well I take a pee, it froze right there… for serious, making a frozen icelcle right to ze ground… then with all myz luck I hearz a troll sneaking up behind me… can you imagine a troll trying to sneak on ze great Remme Duponte? do you knowz what i did? I broke ze pee pee-cicle off like a spear and stabbed ze troll through zee eye… let us just say that he was not for liking that!. Zat it how thingz are killed in ze north, that waz a cold night” the dwarf shivered “this iz not cold!” the dwarf repeated as if through force of will alone he could raise the temperature.

Remme looked down at his boots again, put one foot forward, shifted his weight, and repeat, one foot forward, shifted weight, and repeat… it would be a long walk to the main road, and a longer walk still to the Way Station.

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Argyle

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