Pewtory the Lesser Bard part 2 – Approaching Gandara
To celebrate the release of “Ritual of the Stones,” I am releasing a free serialised story set in the same world of Frindoth. The story will follow the journey of Pewtory the Lesser bard as he travels to Lilyon to witness the Ritual. I hope you enjoy.
In hindsight travelling the last leg of the journey with Archie had not been the most intelligent of ideas. As they approached Gandara both men shouted to advertise their arrival. The result was a muddled confusion that was reflected on the townsfolk’s expressions.
Still, one by one, people emerged from their shops and homes to see who the new arrivals were.
“This is silly,” Pewtory said. “There is little point in us both shouting over each other. You go and then I’ll go.”
“If you go second then people will remember what you have to offer and not remember me,” Archie replied as they approached the outer wall.
Two guards dressed in shabby looking padded armour and battered helmets stood to attention either side of the open door. They stood ramrod straight, and held clean spears, which suggested they took their job seriously.
As the cart neared however, they only carried out the briefest of inspections of the cart before waving Archie forward into the town.
“I really think the people of Gandara will be able to remember two different professions.”
“You go first then.” Archie said with a grin and deliberately slowed his horse down.
Pewtory made a show of rolling his eyes but inwardly cursed. It was true the townsfolk were more likely to remember what the second man said.
Gandara it appeared was one long, muddy road to accommodate all of the shops and stalls. Off of this sprawled people’s homes in a haphazard network of ill considered planning.
The first part of town seemed to be the richer end. The buildings here were well maintained with painted eaves and solid roofs. Some of them even had glass windows rather than shutters. Further down the main road though, Pewtory could see the quality in the buildings and materials used to construct them diminished. He wondered how there could be such a contrast in class within one road.
Occasionally a sellar would bellow out what he had to sell but the town was unusually quiet of boastful advertising for one its size. Pewtory guessed the residents must know the shops by now so the shopkeepers seemed little point in advertising. The loud clang of metal hammering against metal, of livestock bleating and snorting and the drone of laughter and gossip was omnipresent though.
The smells of the town wafted over to him. He always liked the moment he entered the town walls. In contrast to the smell of shit and waste that consumed him whenever he approached from the outer perimeter, new smells dominated the foul: Pollen from bunches of flowers, all manner of freshly cooked, baked, roasted food and perfumes that promised to be from far off exotic locations no one had heard of all combined to make a unique but pleasant aroma.
When there were a sufficient number of people gathered round the cart Pewtory caught the attention of a young boy spying the fruit next to him.
“Good fellow, what is the name of the biggest and most popular inn in town?”
“Falconer’s stump, over there,” the boy said pointing a little way down the road.
“Good man,” the bard said and then tossed the boy a pear when he saw Archie’s attention was elsewhere. The boy caught it and disappeared in the crowd.
Pewtory moved a tray of pears to one side and hopped up on the crate underneath so that he could be seen by everyone.
“Gather round good men and women alike. Gather round and gaze upon Archibald’s trailer of quality. You will find: blankets, pots, fruit and much more in this cart of delight. Archibald’s goods are fast becoming known throughout Frindoth as the finest items you can buy on your doorstep.”
The bard risked a look down at Archie. The peddler’s face was red with anger. He clenched the reins in his hands until his knuckles were white. Pewtory went on quickly.
“Feast your eyes on what is on offer, salivate at the bargains to be had. The last town nearly robbed Archie of all his stock, don’t make the mistake of missing out.”
The words had the desired effect as the crowd swelled and pressed in closer to the cart.
“But first, allow me to introduce myself. I am Pewtory the Lesser bard, well travelled and well versed in Frindoth’s storied history. There is not a tale I do not know, there is not a song I have not heard and I am one bard whose act you definitely haven’t seen. You might have heard of the legend that is my namesake but you definitely won’t forget me.
Come visit me tonight at the Falconer’s Stump and I will tell you any tale of your choosing.”
He finished speaking with an exaggerated bow that sent one arm out for poise and crossed his legs. A ripple of applause greeted his soliloquy and there were a few excited murmurs among the crowd which made him smile.
He hopped off the trailer and landed next to Archie who had now dismounted and was uncovering the rest of his wares.
“You tricked me, you said you would introduce yourself first,” Archie said without looking his way.
“That I did. But let’s be honest, you couldn’t have done a better job of advertising yourself.”
Archie grunted as he looked at the people straining to see what he uncovered next.
“You appear to have a silver-tongue. One day that will land you in trouble.”
“That day has come and gone many times.” Pewtory said as he leaned over and carefully gathered his staff. “Will we see you tonight?”
Archie eyed the bowl and the fish warily. “Aye you will see me tonight.” He tossed Pewtory a pear which the bard caught easily. “Have two pears for your advertising skill.”
Pewtory glanced at the pear in his hand, “two pears?”
“Yep, don’t think I didn’t notice that you gave the boy one before your little speech.”
Pewtory grinned. He bit into the pear and raised it in salute to Archie before heading in the direction the boy had indicated.