A Bard’s Tale (Excerpt) 12/6/18
Neil trundled along letting Willow, the old draft horse, guide the cart toward the center of the village. He gently plucked at the strings of his lyre while the horse did all the steering. Farmers and field hands smiled and waved as they passed with their milk deliveries.
The fields gave way to trees lining the road which gave way to homes sitting closer together. The tiny village of Laeris, simple in its wooden buildings, thatched roofs, and brick chimneys was home, and there were few places he found more beautiful than this secluded paradise in the southern portion of the kingdom.
Neil was just setting his lyre down when Willow came to a stop in front of their first stop where an empty jug sat on the stoop of the front door.
“You’re too smart for your own good,” Neil chuckled as he dropped from the front of the cart. Willow’s tail whipped him in the face in reply as she snorted at him. “Thank you for that.”
Neil replaced the empty jug and returned to his seat. The nine stops that he needed to make went quickly and finished just out back of the only inn in the village, The Sleepy Ox.
“Alright, Willow, do I even need to hitch you up anymore?” he asked as he came around the front of the horse. She shook her head, but he wasn’t sure if it was because she understood him or because of the flies that were already beginning to gather.
“Are you still talking to that horse of yours like its a person?” Jack said as he stepped out onto the porch, “Don’t you know horses don’t speak common?”
“If not common, what do they speak?” Neil asked with a smile.
“Vegetable,” Jack answered, throwing a carrot to him. “Give that to Willow and help me bring the milk in before it spoils.”
“Yes, sir,” Neil replied, setting the carrot on the edge of the porch in front of the horse.
He spent the next ten minutes helping Jack unload the cart of the fresh milk, ensuring to return the empty jugs before they finished. The sun had barely risen when he left, now it was a full three hands high, and he was sweating despite the cooler weather.
“Could you tell your father that Credence will be needing three more tomorrow?” Jack asked as he set the last empty down.
“So soon?” Neil asked.
“There are guests in the inn today, so more business than just the farmers and their hands and whatnot,” Jack replied.
“What sort of guests?”
“I don’t know, actually. They haven’t stopped in at the store yet, so Credence is the only one that’s seen them so far. Came in late last night according to her.”
“You think Credence will be needing entertainment?” Neil asked, feeling a bubble of hope in his chest that he might be able to earn a few copper pieces or maybe hear some good stories.