The dirt road was well packed from centuries of travelers, carts making divots and ruts to mark a well worn path of trade routes from one city to the next; thousands of weary traveler’s feet stamping down the dirt. It was a hot and humid summer, with sweltering cloudless days and air so thick it threatened to choke you. With nights that are only slightly better, as the relentless sun finally gave way to the cool rays of the moon.
To left of the road is a grass land that, in better days, would be considered a swamp; but is now a maze of river beds, some dried and cracking others with a trickling of water still remaining, all covered by tall willowy dried grass. To the right was more grassland, mounds dotted the distance and in the far distance it looked to be the start of a sparse woodland. The entire area was mostly shades of brown, with a twinkling of green sprinkled here and there every so often. The road continued on, and it was on this path that we find our travelers. Three long days gone since the brawl got them thrown out town, three long days of walking, of sleeping under bushes and trees along side a harsh and unyielding dry land, three long days of hot and humid weather under a relentless shining sun.
Agitha used her quarterstaff as a walking stick, using it to support some of her weight to make the journey slightly more bearable. This entire ordeal was insufferable, her buckler chaffed, her boots could use more padding and she really didn’t know what was worse, the infernal heat or the blasted humidity. She glanced at her companion; he had taken his shirt off and wrapped it around his head like a turban, sauntering along with his hands resting on the hilts of his rapiers, not showing any signs of being aware of this miserable heat. However, Agitha knew better and that this appearance was just an act. Dario hid it better than she did, but she could see the lines at his eyes and mouth that spoke of little sleep, the tautness of his muscles that ached from restless nights and long traveled days. Most of all, she knew that both of them were becoming tired of rations and wanted not only a nice cool bath and feather mattress, but also a nice meal in a dark and cool Inn with spiced wine or ale to wash it down.
Her eyes swung back to the road ahead and narrowed them on the small town in the distance, a grimace on her face. “You just couldn’t let well enough be could you. Just had to get us kicked out of another town for some macho dumb ass pissing contest.”
Agitha’s words dripped with malice and heat to match the sweltering day. Dario shrugged, his mouth in a straight line and eyes glancing casually around to take in the surroundings. This wasn’t the first time his companion had taken to giving him a verbal chewing over what had happened, and it likely wasn’t the last; at first it amused him and he antagonized her a bit to see the reaction he’d get, but now it was more of an annoyance, only made worse by the heat of the day and the little sleep either of them had gotten.
She cut her eyes at Dario and mocked him with a dumb look and exaggerated shrug, “Is that all you can say? This is the 4th time this has happened and all you can do is shrug!”
Dario raised his eyebrows, keeping his tone level and calm, “What would you have me do; the guy had it coming to him, it’s not my fault he couldn’t back up what he boasted about.”
“Oh I don’t know, try something new, like maybe just ignoring him?” yet she knew the answer before the words were out of her mouth and inwardly sighed.
Dario grinned mischievously, “But where’s the fun in that.”
She gestured to the road, wincing a bit at the taunt muscles in her back and shoulder. “I suppose this is also your idea of a grand time.”
Dario shrugged nonchalantly, “It could be worse.”
He laughed to himself as Agitha grumbled at his side. He distinctly heard the words magic missile and his name uttered in the same sentence, and his lips quirked in a small smile. He knew that he shouldn’t antagonize her, but sometimes it was just too easy and fun not to. Before she could respond with another scathing remark, a loud explosion came from around the corner up ahead, pieces of metal and cart and black smoke hurtling in all directions. All conversation stopped for the moment, Agitha slipped a dagger up each sleeve and Dario eased his blades slightly out of their holsters; they looked at one another before carefully approaching a mass of black smoke and purple flames that appeared to be the remainder of some sort of merchant’s cart.
Cautiously the two of them approached, Agitha staying on the road and Dario swinging around the left side of the cart. There appeared to be a very weird little man sitting on a bench covered head to toe with black soot, his hair blown back from the force of the explosion and goggles where his eyes should be. He had taken a smudgy finger and attempted to wipe the goggle lenses clean to no avail and a steady stream of curses in a language neither of them were familiar rolled off the creatures tongue. They exchanged looks over the wreckage and Agitha cautiously approached the little man as Dario examined the surrounding ground.
“Are you okay?”
She barely kept the bubbling laugh from her throat, she knew that this many wouldn’t appreciate being laughed at but the scene was so comical it was hard not to laugh at it. The little man gestured animatedly at the wreckage with what appeared to be half a chamber pot in one hand. His language was coarse, fast and slurred together; and after a minute he looked at her expectantly. Agitha shrugged, and looked to Dario, who swooped down and picked up a chamber pot that appeared to be in very decent condition and handed it to the little man.
The little man turned back to Agitha and offered the chamber pot to her, rubbing the fingers of his free hand together, expecting money in return for the item. Agitha took a step back, noticing the chamber pot was slightly used she wrinkled her nose and avidly shook her head no. The little man, having had enough, slammed the pot into the ground, hopped down off his stool, and kicked the remains of wagon; then cussing, turned around and stalked off down the road towards the small town.
Unable to contain her laughter as she watched the little man stalk off, Agitha placed a hand over her mouth and roared with laughter; something well needed after the long and tiring journey they had both had. Dario laughed as well, but soon he busied himself to searching the remains of the cart for anything salvageable. The cart itself was beyond repair, and the contents, which appeared to be an assortment of chamber pots, smoldered and smoked, purple flames flickering up every now and then. As Dario examined the bench the little man was sitting on, something gleamed and glinted in the sunlight among the smoldering clothe cushion stuffed with hay.
Deftly he bent to pick up the chamber pot he had handed the little man and retreated to a small river close by in the swap, returning with the chamber pot filled with water and dumped it on the seat. Agitha approached the seat and used the tip of a dagger to slice open the rest of the cushion, a metal cylinder clanking and a set of keys jangling as they hit the ground. Dario picked up the metal vile and examined it. It was a plain metal, likely made form steel and very light weight. Curiously he opened the lid and peered inside, seeing a brownish liquid sloshing inside. He dumped the contents of the vile into the chamber pot and swirled it around gentle, exposing a small brightly yellow colored topaz.
Dario grinned and looked up at Agitha, who was looking at the brown liquid with a look of disgust; she had a good idea what that brown liquid might be, given that this little man was peddling used chamber pots , and wanted no part of it. He shrugged and took the chamber pot and contents back to the river, using the water to scrub the chamber pot and topaz clean. Dario returned to where Agitha stood, pocketed the vile, topaz and set of keys then started off down the road, smiling to himself with his chamber pot in tow.
She caught up to him and looked at Dario curiously, “Why are you taking the chamber pot?”
Dario looked down at the chamber pot, a smile still on his lips and turned it over in his hands. “Why shouldn’t I? It’s in good condition.” He used his knuckle to rap on the pot to emphasize his point, a dull metallic thud echoed in response.
“Okay … but it’s used.”
“Slightly used,” Dario corrected her, his eyes dancing mischievously. “And you never know when a good chamber pot will come in handy; look how useful it’s already been! I’ve poured stuff in it and it didn’t leak, you could bash someone over the head with it, store stuff in it, it holds water…”
Agitha interrupted him with a flat tone, “You’re not going to drink out of it are you?”
Dario grinned, “I washed it.”
Agitha gave a snort, amusement flaking her tone, “Doesn’t mean it’s clean. Dario it’s still a used chamber pot, and it’s disgusting. You’re going to get dysentery from it”
He gave her a look of mock hurt then grinned, “Slightly used, Aggy, only slightly used. Besides I can probably get a few coppers for it in the next village.”
Agitha rolled her eyes, an amused smile playing on her lips as she shook her head, “Well aren’t you the entrepreneur.” Dario gave her an award winning smile and the two continue on to the small town looming a few yards up ahead.