6: Assassins From Shanaar - Part Eight
The horsemen dismounted at the docks and used some of their gold to hire a ship. Early in the afternoon they set sail in a small boat with a crew of two. Their objective was to sail south, skirting the Straits of Arenar, and then along the coastline bordering the Straits of Doom. Despite a favorable wind, it took them three days to traverse the distance to the entrance of the tributary to Lake Brindle. There, on the coast above the tributary’s entrance, the two assassins left the boat which immediately turned and began the trip back to Shanaar.
Two more days of travel, this time on foot, finally brought the men to Brookhollow. They knew their target lived somewhere in the region around Lake Brindle, and they were hoping to gather enough information from the villagers to find their man. Both men were tired as they entered the Hound & Hare on Brookhollow’s main road. As the door behind them closed, several of the regulars looked at the newcomers with a mixture of interest and suspicion. Most soon went back to their drinks and conversation, but a few kept an eye on these strangers.
The men sat down at a table by the roaring fire, trying to get the chill out of their clothes. It was late autumn, and there was frost in the air, but inside the cheery main room it was warm and dry. The men ordered a meal and ale, removed their cloaks, and looked around the room. Observing they were still the objects of curiosity by some, the tall man decided to take the initiative.
“Fine place this is, especially when the night air has a chill.” He directed a smile at an old farmer at the table next to theirs, who was one of those eyeing the newcomers suspiciously. The farmer appeared to relax as he smiled back.
“Aye, that it is, that it is. A bit of ale too doesn’t hurt at the same time either, or so I’ve always said.”
Short Man raised the mug he had in front of him and said, “Indeed, and a good saying it is!” He took a long draught of the ale and wiped his mouth with his sleeve. The smile he had put on his face to appear friendly now deepened into a real one as the taste of the beer satisfied him.