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Downriver Because Everina Says So

After all that mess with the local queen–she was really nice but it took a long time–we got back on the road south. We followed the river 'cause that's where the crokamonster came from and Everina knew that trolls and other dark things were down south.

Pony was really happy to be on the road again. He likes our new spare gelding, they get along great. With good weather too the trip was nice until we saw lots of smoke coming from a village just a little out of our way.

Everina said we should go, which is good because I think Ulric was going to go anyway, and if Everina didn't want to that would have been pretty noisy. So in we go with me and Emarjan riding up the center. I think it was him. Pony and me were in the front so I'm not sure. I know everybody else went around the flanks and some of them got off their horses, which I can understand because who would want to ride anywhere near a fight on some little tiny horse that isn't Pony?

Farlip was a Big Cheater Who Got What He Deserved

Everina said we had to leave town first thing, so we were out at dawn on the road toward New Crystal City.

Pony wasn't even a little tired from pulling the day before. Still, I made sure to rub him down extra carefully with the good liniment from home. That night we camped by the side of the road. I was glad to be gone from there, because that place makes me sad because it makes me think of how Bane the Horse died.

Everyone was in a good mood, I think, but Evina was tired and went to sleep early. I gathered wood and that took a while. When I asked, Evina promised to explain to me what it means when people say that "Shit rolls down hill." Then we settled in for bed and I wished I was back at the Westhill stead. I had a bad dream about a black bone dragon and when I woke up in the dark I really needed to whiz. It turned out that Farlip had followed us and already tied up Evina, who had been on watch. But I didn't notice that, because I really needed to whiz and it was dark.

Arkat's Hold isn't a good place to raise your kids

We came to a really big city called Arkat's Hold. I asked where we could find someone who thinks they have a big strong horse who can win pulling contests. When we got to the stable I could hear a mean horse in a stall and all the stable boys had bite marks on them. They liked Pony right away, because Pony is the nicest bestest horse in the whole world.

The mean horse was a big black thing named Bane and the blacksmith named Black Farlip owned him. He thought he would get a laugh or a quick profit off me when I told him that my Pony could beat his horse in a pulling contest. When I put Pony on the line as my bet, he was interested you bet he was! He bet any one thing from his smithy if I won. That's a lot because he is an iron worker. Even so, I could tell no one liked him. He was mean.

Big Varu's Story

My name is Big Varu. I am a shield thane of the Westhill Clan of the Emarjela tribe. Knock knock Shield Knockers! Westhill lands are all over the southern hills of the Skyreach mountains. We raise cattle and sheep and plant oats and some wheat in the lower valleys.  Some people say I'm not smart enough to be a thane, but I know that the grandmothers always trust my word and that no one ever hurt a child of our clan while I'm around.  Pony the Horse is my bestest friend in the whole world. You'll see why as I tell my story.  As you can see, I'm a big strong guy, blessed by Voganth.

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