The Silver Tower Chronicles Adventures in other worlds, other times, and other realities

6Nov/13Off

Enzi’s Irregulars #0071

Devis did his best to disappear from sight. When he was sure no one could see him, he shifted his form into an Agonish man. Enzi's clothing was simple enough it could pass as normal about anywhere. The man had wanted to wear something easy to move around in for combat and travel purposes. It just happened to serve well as anonymous clothing. The disguised Rakshasa then strode directly into town. It was time to mingle and learn how best to cross the river.

The town was bustling with activity. Farmers were trading their goods as people were preparing to ship any extra goods downriver to the capital and beyond. Barges moving up and down the river were a constant sight. Trade thrived on the rivers. Devis knew that finding boats was easy. Finding a boat that was willing to take passengers would not be too difficult. Finding one that was willing to take monsters, however, that was the problem.

Disguising himself as just another one of Agon's citizens helped a lot. Devis was able to chat with a dozen different people and learn about the trade barges expected in and out of town. He also learned about the captains of each. The word captain seemed like a lofty term for a barge owner that poled a barge upriver than let it drift back down towards the ocean. However, the personality of the men often overshadowed their miniscule power. The term captain might have aided that by boosting their ego.

With information in hand, Devis visited a shop to make a few purchases. It was nice to be in the heart of civilization again. He could solve quite a few problems by throwing a little bit of coin around. He kept a small collection of the coin of each country in a few different pouches. He also kept a few small gems to us in bartering for anything that might require a little more buying power. It was more than enough for nearly anything he needed.

Purchases in hand, the disguised Devis headed for the river. He headed out of town, stopping along the way to change his disguise. Falling back into the character of Enzi Cala was easier than Devis expected it to be. He limped along the riverbank until he found the five inhuman mercenaries. They had found a nice spot near the shore where they could rest out of sight of both the road and anyone going down the river. The Rakshasa handed each of Enzi's Irregulars a present.

“I purchased some cloaks for each of you. It may be the wrong season for them, but it will help hide us until we reach saner shores. I believe I know of a barge that will aid us. This particular captain is expected to reach town today and has been known to transport almost anything for the right price. We are lucky that it seems this will not require much diplomacy at all.”

Aldebaran pulled out a rather large cloak, “I am surprised you found anything near my size.”

“I asked for the largest cloak they had,” Devis replied, “I was surprised it was as large as it was, though it might still need to be larger to be fully effective.”

“True. We lost the custom sized cloaks when we had to leave the wagon behind<' Eurysa hissed, “These are not a perfect replacement, but they will be enough. It is the wrong season to wear them, so it will not dampen suspicion much.”

“More than you might guess,” the creature disguised as Enzi Cala stated, “The Kurrot often wear cloaks like this. People tend to give them a wide berth due to their reputation as being potentially violent. It will hopefully deter most people from bothering us as long as we keep away from towns. In the midst of a small town, the local guards might watch out for troublemakers. It changes again in a large city like Agonor. The sheer amount of visitors they get there means that one has to expect people of all kinds will be wandering the streets. The town guard there have much bigger problems to deal with than someone in a cloak.”

“Maybe we should drift down to the capital then,” Kava croaked.

“As we are wanted criminals, it is safer to avoid the area just in case.”

Eurysa hissed, “A cloak would not hide my tail on the hard streets.”

“Yes, the grass and soft ground here helps us considerably,” Ritter said, “I imagine the hooves of a minotaur would draw attention on a hard surface as well.”

Devis nodded, “We do not need that kind of suspicion. There are few groups as unique as ours, we would be chased by the guards far earlier than we could imagine. It is possible that some are on our trail even now if that farmer has sent out word.”

“So now we wait,” Aldebaran grumbled.

“I hate waiting,” Kava croaked.

Two hours passed as Devis stood at the riverbed and watched. Finally the Rakshasa spotted a barge as the captain and his helpers took it slowly upstream. Against the current of the Capital River, however, poles were not enough. One of the crew was walking on the shore, leading a powerful ox. The ox was towing the barge, the poles were used to keep the barge from crashing into the shore more than they were for forward motion. Devis stepped out to great the bargemen as they drew near.

Devis used a standard Agonori greeting, “Hail and well met.”

“Hail stranger,” the captain yelled back.

“I have some business to discuss. My companions and I seek passage across the river.”

“I must admit this seems odd. You could have approached me in town.”

“There are reasons we did not enter town, and equally good reasons not to associate ourselves with you in public. It would likely harm your reputation I expect.”

“Such talk makes me think there is a good profit to make here.”

“I would agree,” Devis grinned, knowing he had baited the hook well, “A handsome payment is not an issue.”

“For a foreigner, you know the language I like to hear well. Let us pull to shore and we will see what we can do for you.”

The discussion was short and simple after the captain was introduced to Enzi's Irregulars. Coin crossed palms and the six foreigners stepped on the barge. The ox was also led on the barge as the crew used their poles to push the barge across the river. It drifted slowly back down the river due to the current, but soon enough it had reached the other side. It had been a good chance to rest as well. Devis led the five monstrous mercenaries southwards, headed for the city of Mocelare.

The ferry across the river had lightened the wallet of Devis Lane considerably, but he did not care. Money was of little concern to him. He had the resources of an entire country behind him. From what he had learned of the captain, he expected most of that coin to end up back in the hands of the Feergrus soon enough. He would likely splurge at the next temple of Rakar he came to. The temptations of the services offered by the temples dedicated to pleasure often drew people like the barge captain.

Enzi's Irregulars spent two days walking through fields of grains. The sheer amount of agriculture in the river valleys of Agon meant that the country was a powerhouse in the trade for food goods. Most of what they grew were grains, as such things traveled well. It also meant that it was nearly impossible to starve the country. Between their control of the majority of the continent's prime farmlands and the required militia training of the majority of the men, Agon was a country that no sane nation would attempt to take on in a direct military confrontation.

Luckily the group passed through the fields without running into any of the farmers. The sheer size of the fields made such encounters unlikely unless one got too close to where the farmers happened to be working or to their house. It was nearly noon when the group approached the town of Mocelare. It was long before that when they could see their goal. The town had a temple of Rakar in it, and the spire of the building could be seen from miles away.

Devis felt much more confident once he could see the temple spire. The temple in Mocelare had been the first of its kind. As the first place that had allowed the religion of Feergrus to enter Agon, the town had long had friendly relations with the native land of the slain Enzi Cala. It was not unusual to see a great number of visitors from Feergrus itself while within the town. Mocelare was not near any particular city of Feergrus, the other side of the river was covered with farms run by the people of Feergrus.

Once again, Devis headed into the city first as well as alone. This time, however, he saw no need to transform. He blended in equally well as a Feergrus, and there was no suspicion about one such as he approaching the temple dedicated to the feline deity Rakar. The Rakshasa walked into the temple and was immediately greeted and welcomed. He was asked what he needed and Devis told them to ask the priest about a special blessing. His question, of course, was a code word that such a priest would understand.

As expected, the head priest of the temple soon appeared, an elderly priestess. Like all priests, she wore a circlet. Hers was made of gold, which spoke well of how long she had been a priest. The quality of material was part of the hierarchy of the priesthood. The gems were less important, they merely showed which deities the priest had learned the secrets for, though often a powerful priest might have more than one gem for a certain deity. This priestess had three red gems in her circlet. Red was the color of Rakar.

“It has been a long time since I have heard someone asking for a tiger root,” the priestess stated.

“I expect so, things have been quiet here. The war has not reached this far into the center of the continent. That is why I need aid. Feergrus is under attack. My allies need transport across the river into Feergrus. I will lead them past the Boneyard and into the Marsh of Vashim. There the troglodytes move against us thanks to the machinations of the Tarvoni.”

“I have heard of trouble there,” the priestess sighed, “I have found it hard to remain here when so many troubles besiege the land.”

“Do not worry yourself. Our healers work with the armies and my allies will help to end the threat to Feergrus. Peace will come to our land. The people here still need you.”

“I can easily aid you, we have our own transport to cross the Ago River.”

“My allies might be seen as unpleasant to the locals,” Devis stated, “They will have circled around the city to the riverbank by now.”

The priestess nodded, “Even now the locals are uncomfortable with the use of the mindless undead. At least they no longer find it entirely horrific. The more they understand, the less they fear. I expect if you have found allies to fight the troglodytes, they must be mighty indeed. Such allies could easily be frightening to the populace.”

Devis nodded, “They are also wanted by the authorities, who see them as a threat. Any aid you can provide in making this go smoothly without causing any problems for you would be much appreciated.”

“Leave it to me,” the priestess stated, “I will not fail you. Your disguise is excellent, my lord. You may not remember, but we met long ago. Only the great Devis Lane would be traveling to aid our country and know of the code word.”

Devis briefly shifted his face to the one that many of the Feergrus thought of as his real face, “It is an honor to aid my country.”

“No. It is my honor to aid you.”

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Trackbacks are disabled.