Jun. 27th, 2011


The carriage itself was not so uncomfortable. The interior was spacious, made of dark wood, with cushions on the benches. The windows were barred, yes, but large enough to admit plenty of starlight. The suspension of the carriage was good enough, and kept the occupants from being thrown around as they were drawn up the step, rugged glacier road towards Vlad's castle.

The carriage itself was not what Janosh objected to. It was the company aboard that was unpleasant.

The condemned of the Great Valley had been sentenced to be brought into the presence of Vlad, alive and more or less intact. Beyond that, nobody was very much interested in what happened to them. There was a driver atop the carriage, and a crossbowman on watch for monsters, but no guards inside the cabin. What transpired therein was no longer the business of the Great Valley.

There were two benches inside the carriage. Georgi sat in the middle of one, with Janosh next to him on one side and a stranger on the other. The stranger wore a charcoal cloak and hood and had thick gloves with the fingers cut out of them. He had a piercing gaze and never stopped staring at Georgi. Janosh was convinced he was insane and probably dangerous.

On the other bench, Esmer was sandwiched in between the Gune brothers. Esmer did not like this arrangement and worked to make herself as small as possible. The Gune brothers, on the other hand, were enjoying themselves immensely.

"She do smell pretty, Bobo," said Hodo. He was the taller and skinnier of the two brothers. They were otherwise identical in their appearance, hygiene and intellect.

"You can't smell pretty, Hodo," objected Bobo, who was about two hundred pounds of muscle under a hundred pounds of fat. "You just smell good. But a ugly girl can smell good."

"Bobo, you numbskull," said Hodo, "good smells make girls prettier. Bad smells make them uglier. This one has nice smells, so she prettier than she would be if she had no smell at all."

"I'm right here," said Esmer darkly. The brothers ignored her.

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September 2012

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