Northward Bound



Wood smoke had always been a pleasant smell, not like the burning of houses. The burning of houses had always caused terror in Brigferth’s heart, for it was never just wood smoke. The heavy smell of wood smoke through Bree-town lingered somewhere in between the pleasant and the terrifying for this old man. It was a heavy stink, mixed with the smell of burned slag and steaming piles of horse manure as he passed through the southern gate. It most likely never bothered the locals, some might even call it the “sweet smell of home” but Brigferth wasn’t used to this. A rider trotted by, watching the old traveller clad in furs and wool with a deep curiosity, Brigferth offered his usual warm smile nevertheless.

His grey eyes scanned the skies for any tell of the fowl foreign crows which had once brought a disquiet. His mind wandered to the destruction they had caused north of Archet. A field of dead carrion, it was indeed a haunting sight. All seemed well here. He meandered the market, perused the scholar’s hall, which unsurprising to him, brought him no worthwhile answers. Finally his wandering feet brought him to the door of The Prancing Pony.

It was evening by the time he had wandered in to Barliman’s fine establishment and purchased for himself a mug of spiced wine to warm his insides and wrap his mind in a rare and welcome comfort. His ears found word of Trestlebridge, and the troubles which still plague the northerly town. “Gutted sheep” was the first of the murmurs. As the conversation of the mercenaries continued, they spoke of their name, “The Bloody Dawn.” Brigferth found irony in their coming to Trestlebridge, a bloody dawn, as they always say, “red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning.” He chuckled.

It wasn’t until later his mind was made, he had been contemplating moving further north for any word of his kin, or indeed of the foul crows, or to wander east again. As he stood by the hearth, comfortable and enchanted by the depths of his mug and the smoke of his pipe, he heard talk of men moving to Trestlebridge. Orcs moved up in the north, and one man planned to do something with them. The old man was set then. All footsteps would lead him to the Trestlespan, who knows what would happen when he got there. He yearned again for his old sword.