I have one more piece written after this. Once I finish my final edit of Caligation, I promise to write the rest of the novella and put it up for you guys.

Previous: part three

Next:  part five

“And then, the young Caevrin, he… uh… he… gods, what was it?” The bard pressed a thoughtful finger to his lips, a few more people left the crowd around him, muttering. “Oh! I’ve got it! Southeast, he went, through the… the forest. Or… I suppose dreaded forest sounds much more scary, does it not? Yes, that will do nicely. He rode through the dreaded forest on his horse. …steed, his steed, yes!”

“Pathetic,” shouted a traveller, one of the last to leave the crowd, “get a real job ya sodding bastard. Work on tellin’ yer stories better while ye’re at it.”

Offended, the bard blinked at the man. “But… the tale is true. Is that not far more interesting?”

“If I wanted truth,” an older woman scoffed, following the departing crowd, “I would not have come to listen to a bard.”

Frowning, utterly confused by his failure, the man folded his arms over the neat robe he wore. “Well then…” he mused to himself, “it appears I am at a loss.”

“Maybe so.” The words startled him enough to have him spinning to face their speaker. The woman who had spoken was tall and lean, and she quirked a brow at him. “You said the story is true, though. D’you know where the lord is, perchance?”

“I… would not be telling the tale if it were not true.” Nervously, the bard ran a hand through his short hair. Everything about him was pale: hair, eyes, skin as if he had not seen the light of the sun in years.

“Heh,” Vince leant against a nearby wall, watching the remains of the crowd disperse, “truth? You really have no idea how to be a bard, do you?”

“But I am a bard!” The pale man seemed a little too indignant. “Farrow Ce’lavi. Bard!” He introduced himself with a long slender hand in Vince’s direction.

Chuckling, Vince shook it. “You’re a gypsy, then?” If the pale features hadn’t given it away, the too-large eyes and smooth, delicate features certainly had. Not quite human, not quite Elvin, the Gypsies were a mystery throughout many kingdoms.

“Is the story true or not?” Reyst was hardly in the mood for introductions. “Do you know the location of the man they once called Caevrin?”

A little startled by her ferocity, the Gypsy nodded quickly. “They say he left to the Southeast, beyond the Braisen Woods and further south from there to Lake Vera.” Farrow did not like the way the red-haired woman was eyeing him. She looked violent. Before she could count his story for false, however, he began to speak again. “There is a band of mercenaries, run by a man of the same name. It is said that some have tried to speak with him but none have survived. I do not know if these rumours from the palace are true but… well… more men are headed there in order to find him. I have a tale of it if you wish to-”

“We don’t.” Reyst ignored Vince’s saddened look; he had enjoyed the pathetic attempt at a story and would not have minded hearing another.

“Very well. I suppose my tales do not captivate audiences as such but… do you have any spare coin? I told you something you wanted to know, surely that is enough to have me buying my dinner? As you may have guessed I… well… I do not earn much for my tales.”

Half expecting Reyst to simply walk off, both Farrow and Vince were surprised when she drew a few coins – gold, even! – from her coin purse and handed them to the bard. “If your information is false…” she warned.

Wide-eyed, the bard shook his head, “No, not at all. I thank you, m’lady. You are surprisingly generous! Not to say that I was thinking you un-generous but-”

“Yes… I get it.”

“Very well,” Farrow lowered his head, “I leave you to your business then. Thank you.”

tl;dr – Or gypsies. Honestly, don’t trust anyone.

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