Deadfire Part 11: Cold Run Run Village
COLD Run Run Village was really just rotted out log cabins and a tall stable made out of red planks.
Good sized Inn thought, right in the middle; a long and tall three story structure with a tall chimney that belched out pure black smoke into the faded blue skies above. In the middle of the day there wasn’t much activity except for some burly half-orc blacksmith pounding away at his shop at the river’s edge, and three human slaves and one elf slave in separate pillories. I could almost make out some sort of blue ring of fire around the place, like a boundary line. This was the place I wanted to go to before I met that mysterious little minx Alexis had disappeared. The slaves were shaking from the cold and begging for water. I picked up a stone and nailed the elf right between the eyes, making her cry. “Ha!” The horse I had was startled and reared up but I calmed it down again. Milt Jenkins appeared near the elf and shook his head.
“Come on, now. That’ll cost you later.” He said.
Blood ran between the elf’s eyes and she began to wail. The half-orc freak stared. I smiled at him as I held my brown sack. He didn’t respond.
“Hey.” I said again. “Half-orc. I got something here in my sack.”
He blinked and started to bang away on what I assumed was supposed to be a short sword sooner or later.
“Hey, freakshow. I was talking to you- I got something here.” He stopped and stared. He wiped sweat off of his bro with a dirty cloth.
“I got two heads in a sack. Halflings.”
You have understand that a man, especially a man living like I do, has to be looking for gold at every opportunity in this place. Otherwise a man can easily end up starving in the woods and finally looking at his fingertips and wondering to himself what they taste like.
There was a long pause and all I could hear was that elf crying, the wind blowing, and the drip drip coming from my sack. A small pool of blood was spreading on the crooked cobblestones. My packages were leaking all the way onto the wooden planks of the outer shop.
“That is interesting, stranger.” He responded.
I shrugged. “There some, like, odd and weird priest around here? Some weird cult thing? Order of Xultu maybe? And what about a jeweler or some armorer, I got-”
He stared and the blood pool and went back to work. I shrugged and went back. I tied the horse to the post outside his place. The horse was terribly thirsty; it drank big gulps out of the trough and then devoured a pile of dry hay left near. I returned after a moment, angrier now.
“Oh come on, there’s- what, those are slaves, right? I mean, I can see- those are prices next to them! That elf is what, 500 gold pieces! You sell slaves around here and you don’t have some creepy, freaky, weird priest who’s gonna like, use their adorable heads to summon the elder dark god of the eternal twilight or some other horseshit? What sort of evil place is this? This is the Trade Lands, right? By the way, you an armorer or jeweler or know-”
“Grodor doesn’t believe in religion or kings. Grodor has read about liberty-” I cut him off.
“Okay, Grodor. But you must know that there are people who do have weird religious practices, right? You know how long it takes with a dagger to saw off-“
The innkeeper came out to see what the commotion was as the she-elf kept crying. “Who’s hitting the merchandise?!” The old man said in thin purple robes with a shaved head. “You there, stranger, did you hit this slave? Oh, another bard, eh?”
I shrugged. “This guy here, Grodor, he was making really ugly anti-elf remarks when I showed up and he-“
“Grodor did not do such a thing.”
The old man walked over to where I was standing, next to this Grodor’s blacksmith shop. “These are not normal stocks! We sell slaves here! These are slave stocks! Oh look at that! You cannot be hitting them yet unless you buy them!” The old man walked over to the she-elf and ripped down the sign next to her stocks.
“Have to make a discount now, she can’t go for 500 gold pieces… Mayhap 350 gold pieces now…” The old man stared at her face and then began to lick the blood off of her face, slowly.
“Oh.” I said.
Grodor and I exchanged a look.
“Too sweet. Too sweet.” The old man said to himself before turning around and wiping his mouth.
“Man here wants to sell a couple of halflings heads. Grodor now thinks you may actually want them.”
“Ten gold pieces, traveler.” The old man said, rubbing his hands together. “What wonders I shall have with the head of a Halfling.”
“Oh come on, this is fresh! They tried to kill me near the pass, give me a hundred at least…”
The old man, without a cloak despite the cold, rushed over to peak into the sack. “I want these heads for my purposes that will be awful and give much joy when the sky becomes black. Twenty gold pieces, traveller bard.”
“Oh-okay.” I swallowed and looked to Grodor and mouthed the word “Weird.”
“You have anything else in trade? I am a representative of the Trade here. And if you don’t, you must rent a room at my inn or move on, stranger.”
I nodded. “I’m a bard. You know. I do bard stuff. I can play if you don’t have a bard. I play, uh, classic Accadios tunes, sorry no orc noise crap, Grodor. I also have some diamonds here, and uh, maybe a horse to trade. But you know, bard stuff before hand, yeah sure. You see another bard around here?”
The old man stared at the sack. “A young woman came here, hours ago. Went with the last caravan to the Bridge of Graves. A fine specimen, I must say.”
Grodor hissed. The old man started to take the sack away from me and I pulled back. “You didn’t pay for it yet. Hey.”
“Yes. Indeed. I will pay you inside The Wilted Worm. My inn. Come, come now. Come. Play us a tune. Sing of warm happiness. I will pay you more in gold pieces and in the fingers of disobedient child-slaves. And I’m sure there will be a wandering trader who will purchase that horse or diamonds you may have.” He put an arm around me and we went inside. He felt as cold as ice.