As the others bade farewell to the comforts of The Bronze Lion Inn and its diminutive
host the oxen were brought in from the western pastures led by Robert Lowfield. The farmer, a
quiet and unassuming chap with broad shoulders, strong arms and a long bushy grey moustache to
match his silver hair, slipped the harnesses around the oxen, continually whispering into their
He looked across at Khalin and the assembling group when he had finished, perhaps the
hint of a tear in his eye.
‘They be good beasts, these,’ he started. ‘Look after ’em well. This one ’ere is Gaur,’
Lowfield continued, stroking the nose of the ox on the right side of the cart, ‘and this
one is Zebu,’ he finished, turning to the one on the left. ‘I’m sorry to see ’em go, and
hope to see ’em again.’ Lowfield cast a steely eye at the group. ‘Unharmed and well kept,
The group shuffled as one, almost uncomfortably, nodding, before Tymander Small, accompanied
by a haughty-looking Tremak, a puffing Barghest and a great deal of townsfolk came upon them.
‘Ah, excellent,’ exclaimed Tymander at the wagon, clapping his hands and whirling about to
find Khalin. ‘You have your letters of introduction?‘
The warlord nodded and patted the banded mail of his breast, the letters safely secreted
within his jerkin.
‘Our sincerest well wishes go with you all - our hopes and ambitions lie within this venture.
And you are all ready?’ the merchant continued, a glint of eagerness in his eyes as he scanned
the assembled Talons and the heroes.
‘I think we’re ready as we’re going to be,’ piped up Tradden, a broad smile upon his
face. ‘C’mon, let’s get going!’
Khalin nodded, more somberly than the young fighter. ‘Tradden is right. We have a
long journey ahead and should not delay. Are we ready?’
The group replied in the affirmative, and Borik began to climb the plate and take the reins
from Robert Lowfield. One by one the travellers began to stow their packs safely on the back of
the wagon and take up the positions that Khalin and Rhasgar had agreed - the Talons at the
rear, the heroes out front for now, until they passed the bend in the road where they had
previously left to the north and into the forests near the ruined keep. Lee-da-Gaar would stay
close to the wagon and assist Borik in any way he could.
It took a moment for Khalin to realise and then he hissed in frustration. Where was the
scribe? Kireth had said Beltak would be coming along but he was nowhere to be seen, and
Tremak was all tight-lipped.
Then, from the direction of the temple came the scribe, laden down with a large sack. He huffed
and puffed through the throng and cast the sack onto the back of the wagon. Khalin simply
raised his eyebrows in question.
‘Blank books and scrolls,’ Beltak stated, as though it were obvious. ‘Oh, and some ink and
Khalin turned with a sigh moving towards the front of the train.
‘And fine sand to dry the ink,’ Beltak continued as the dwarf walked on. ‘And a lanthorn so
I can write in the dark evenings,’ the scribe kept talking, jogging up behind the warlord whilst
he explained. ‘Oh, and a small travel desk to write on. All necessities for such a voyage you’ll
‘Indeed,’ replied Khalin blankly as he stationed himself at the front of the group, turning
back to face them all.