“Good morning.” Sovos said as Elysia sat up. “In case you were wondering, you slept like a rock.”
She nodded slightly. “What time is it?”
“About four hours past sunrise, want some breakfast?”
“Do you have anything for me?”
“Well, since you don’t eat meat, the bacon and sausages that Kurt and I will be having certainly won’t do. I do, however, have a half loaf of bread, a small bit of honey and some apples if that would suit you.”
She nodded again. Sovos dug through his bag and pulled the food and a frying pan out. He handed the food to her and set the pan over the fire.
“What about Sig?” she asked.
“We are right next to a field, I’m sure he’ll find something.”
Sovos stoked the fire, Elysia backed away with her food. Sovos pretended not to notice and put slices of bacon on the pan. The hiss and pop of it hitting the pan woke Kurt up.
“Do I hear bacon?”
“Indeed you do. How do you like yours?”
“A bit on the crispy side, but where did it come from?”
“Your bag? I’ve seen in there, all that is in there are your scrolls.”
Sovos tapped the side of his nose knowingly.
“That’s because that is what I wanted you to see.”
They ate in silence. An occasional breeze rushed by, blowing back toward Far City. Elysia was looking around, and suddenly became very alert.
“Sovos, you are absolutely sure that no one could follow us from Far City?”
“Of course, my golems will prevent any one from leaving that carries a weapon.”
“Then who is that?”
She pointed down the road. An impossibly old man leaning heavily on a staff. His long white beard moving in the breeze, like wisps of cotton. As he approached, Sovos whispered, “Although someone could use a staff as a weapon, he wouldn’t be able to do much. That is most likely how he got past my golems.”
“G’ mornin’ to ye lads and lass.”
“And a good morning to you too old man.” Kurt said.
“Now, hold fast there, lad! I’m not that old!”
“How old are you then?”
The man looked puzzled for a moment, “I seem to have forgotten.”
“Well, would you like to join us for breakfast? There is plenty and it’s still warm.” Sovos offered.
“That’s rightly kind of ye. I believe I will take you up on that.”
He sat on the ground with the agility of someone easily 1/100th his age, and held his hand out for some food.
“So, you must be the Geomancer that caused the ruckus in Far City.”
“I am, so what of it?”
“No offense meant lad, merely a lucky guess on my part.”
“No offense was taken, I was just being cautious.”
“Well, since you are him, I am here to tell you that your golems are doing a bit to well at their job.”
“Entire squads of guards have been sent away to their barracks nursing broken arms and other such injuries.”
“Well, that is good to hear.”
“I do have a question though, why did you go to such extreme measures?”
“I had to act the way I did because my code wouldn’t allow any thing less.”
At that, the man glanced over at Elysia, who had quickly turned her eyes away. “Ah, so that explains it.” he said.
“We don’t want any trouble.” Sovos said
“Well, if you run into any, it won’t be because of me. Your secret is safe with me, Geomancer.”
“My name is Sovos.”
“Very well, Sovos. Perhaps we will meet again.”
“Perhaps we will.”
The man stood and began to walk down the road again. After a half-step he turned back.
“If you happen to see an ancient-looking horse wandering around, do keep an eye on him for me. I would appreciate it.”
“Is he yours?” Kurt asked.
“Yes, we’ve been together as long as I can remember. I lost him a while back, and would appreciate any help in finding him.”
“Of course, we’d be happy to help.” Sovos said.
“Well then, thanks for the food.” he made a short bow to Elysia and was soon lost to sight around the outcropping.
“Well, that was odd.” Kurt said
“I just hope he was telling the truth, if word gets ahead of us that we are coming, we could have trouble.” Elysia said worriedly.
“I wouldn’t worry about him. He seems to be a man of honor.” Sovos said assuredly
“Seems to be?” Elysia sounded skeptical.
“Well, I am an excellent judge of character, we’ll be just fine.”
After finishing breakfast, they broke down their small camp and began walking toward the Three Cities.
“Sovos!” Kurt said suddenly.
“What is it?”
“Look! The old man’s tracks, they are over here,” he pointed to the footprints with the staff print alongside them. “but not over here.” he moved a few paces forward and pointed to undisturbed dirt.
“Well, it appears that is is more mysterious than I gave him credit for.” Sovos said with a grin.
The rest of the day passed without incident, they camped on the side of the road again that night.
“How long until we reach the Three Cities?” Elysia asked.
“If we keep up this pace, we should be there in just over a day.” Sovos explained “But right before we get into the foothills that surround them, there is a great place to camp.”
“Why would we stop?”
“Because first-timers must see it in early morning light.”
“I can’t explain it in words, you’ll just have to wait and see.”