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Friends & Strangers...

Dagon Thyne

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Ryse al"Tara stood on a hilltop overlooking the city of Fal Dara. His horse, a brown and white gelding, named Counter, for his tendency to stomp his hoof when he became impatient, nuzzled his neck. Ryse mounted and road down the slope of the hill until he reached a small dirt road leading to the wall of the city. He pulled the hood down before reaching the gate and the guard let him pass with little trouble.


The city was quiet at this time, people were still cooking their morning meals and preparing for the day. The smell of bread baking filled the air and made his stomach rumble. He turned Counter toward an inn called "The Trollocs' Bane", with a sign hanging above its' door showing an armored and mounted Shienaran soldier driving his lance through a trolloc's stomach. He dismounted and tied Counter's reigns to the inn's hitching rail before walking into the building.


The common room was mostly empty, with only a few men eating their breakfast. The innkeeper, a portly man just past his middle years, with more gray than brown in his hair, looked up from his own breakfast to see who had come in. "Peace favor you sword, my lord." The man said as he stood up and walked over to Ryse. "How may I help you?" The man walked with a certain grace that named him a warrior, or rather a former one, given his girth and age.


Ryse smiled at the innkeeper and placed a hand on his shoulder. "I told you a long time ago Master Korbin," he said, "I am not a lord. There is no need to stand on ceremony when I come here." The innkeeper smiled back at him and offered him a chair at the table that he had been sitting.


"Alda! Bring some bread and cheese for Lor.....I mean Master al'Tara!" The innkeeper called to one of the serving girls. A pretty girl, withn brownish blonde hair and dark eyes. "So, my young friend, what brings you back to my humble little inn?"


"I received a letter from my grandfather." he said as a second serving girl came over with a pitcher of mulled wine, and poured him a mug. "It says he wants me to visit him."


"Last time we spoke, you gave me the impression that you were not close to your mother's family." The blonde haired girl returned with a tray of hot bread, fresh fruit and cheese. "Why would he send you a letter?"


Ryse shook his head. "I have no idea, Reandel. I have never even met him." He took a bite of cheese. "I did not even know their house name until a few years ago."


"Well, House Indril is well respected in Fal Dara" Reandel said. "And Lord Tomal is one of the greatest warriors in all of the Borderlands, even if he never earned the Blademaster's sword."


Ryse nodded slowly "Well I suppose I need to at least see what he wants." He took another bite of cheese and smiled "If anything I can learn what my mother was like before I was born. She was always closed mouthed about her life." The innkeeper smiled, but said nothing. He knew that it was rare for Ryse to talk about his parents, and that he could grow.......broody, if conversation lingered on them too long. The two men ate in slience as the serving girls hurried about their chores, preparing for the rush of locals coming for a bite to eat and a drink at midday.

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