Introducing Mr Thomas, ex awakened.
The horse made its way across the road. The roads were still full of little banks of snow, a reminder and testament to the blizzard that not to long past. The ground was still frozen and hard from the frost making the journey not too difficult for a rider.
In a few weeks this same road would be like a swampy bog when the ice and snow melts. Traveling at that time would be a terrible ordeal. The roads in the north usually takes about half of Spring to dry out and become suitable for heavy transportation.
By this time the lumberjacks would have returned to the forest and amass a full quota. The wagons should have now started to arrive at the village to carry their loads across the Empire.
Efficient timing of the weather could mean the difference between your convoy stuck in the mud or purchasing the first load.
While others are waiting on the next load, such lucky merchant is already speeding across the Empire laughing on the way!
The rider on this horse was covered in a riding cloak splattered with snow and mud. He slowed the horse as he looked at the village looming in the distance. After a sigh, he continued at that pace to the village deep in thought.
The rider entered the village and made his way to the Trading Post. He produced a half soaked letter and handed it to one of the clerks. Sometime later John arrived accompanied with a young boy.
“Mr Thomas, how do you do. I am the Master of the Trading Post here in the village. This young lad will attend to you. Please excuse me for now, as the youngest Master holding this position I need to keep an eye out for my subordinates.”
“Hey, I’m Ming. Simon did say you looked more burly that him. Come on let’s go, the sooner we get this over the sooner I can head out to the house for food.”
The boy left and Mr Thomas shook his head and soon followed.
To say Mr Thomas was a little surprised was an understatement. He might have left the Military but he still maintained the airs of a leader. He also still radiated some little blood-lust accumulated from years on the battlefield. Although unintentional, it was not hard for others to notice.
The guards at the village were obviously aware of that. They lowered their heads and were very respectful. Soldiers tend to recognize those who had undergone the same training.
The clerk was respectful enough but the young Master of the Trading Post could not be bothered by his status. He seemed to only be concerned about introducing and promoting his status as the Master of the Trading Post.
The attitude of boy was even worse. He displayed none of the awe and fright normally associated with those found in these remote villages. He spoke as if they were both long time companions who knew Simon.
The boy led the way showing no regards to aura he was now emitting freely. In fact from his mutterings, Mr Thomas’s sharp ears could ascertain that this boy was genuinely concerned about his food.
“Here we are. Just knock and enter when instructed. You look like a good sort of guy so I will help you out this once. When you go in try to keep your blood lust in check, that person does not like to be intimidated.
If you are honest and willing to work hard, I think you will soon realize that this is the best decision you ever made in your life. Hopefully you will pass this meeting. I look forward to working with you in the future Mr Thomas.
I have to go now, I really hope I can get a nice piece of bone today.”
The boy skipped out hurriedly to the entrance of the lodge. Thomas saw the guards wave and chat with him until he bounced out with a laugh. Experience from his days adventuring told him the kid was a born natural in making friends.
He turned to the door in front of him. Subconsciously he fiddled with his appearance and cloak. It reminded him of the first time he had to face the Commanders for his promotion. He coughed and cleared his throat and then knocked on the door.
A short and curt reply came from within.
It was coming close to the end of Winter when Simon arrived at his farm. Thomas was at his wit’s end at the time and had no choice but to sell the last two cows he had. It was then that Simon told him about a good opportunity that was opening up.
At the village he had stayed, a young boy was looking to start a farm. If he did not mind the age difference it was a perfect place for him. All he had to do was have one good conversation with the boy. Simon swore that after he did that, he would know how lucky he would be.
Thomas doubted Simon but the attraction was too great. He led his family to Karst and settled his debt with a merchant there. He spent the extra money on lodgings for his wife and daughter at an inn.
After making sure they were safe, curiosity got the better of him and he came to this village. Maybe the young man Simon talked about could really help him out. He was at the end of his rope already. Only his pride prevented him from asking his friends for aid.
Just as a person can climb the tough ladder in society, so to can one be forced to descend. Thomas was one of those unfortunate folks who had both tasted the good life of raising his lifestyle and being forced to face the terrible cost of loosing it and falling back down.
The mountain that was squeezing him to death was the fact that it was not only him who was faced with this suffering but also his family. Those comforting smiles from them ripped open his heart every night.
Mr Thomas was currently rooted on the spot with the door half-open. The main reason for this was the young boy sitting behind a desk in front of him.
He blinked his eyes one more time.
More correctly it should be said there was a small child sitting across from him. If Simon did not inform him of what to expect, he would have already broken out in anger. His current situation prevented him from taking this as a joke.
He looked around a little confused as if he failed to notice any other person in the room. Though retired, his years on the battlefield did not forsake him however.
Only a child was in the room he entered.
For a minute he thought it was the wrong room in the lodge. But a clear and commanding voice shattered his thinking and cleared his mind.
“Mr Thomas I presume. Please enter and close the door behind you. Lets not burn the logs on the fire in vain.”
Thomas quickly closed the door and adjusted himself to the candlelit room.
“There is a coat rack on the side. Please make yourself comfortable and have a seat. We have a lot of things to discuss in very little time.”
The Military training sprung to life. He quickly removed his coat and folded it on the rack. Taking a deep breath he made his way to the desk. The child stood up and extended his hand.
“My name is Chu. I am the one who asked Simon to recommend someone trustworthy. I was presumptuous but I am guessing you are Mr Thomas?”
His hands unconsciously reached out to greet the other in a quick handshake.
“Ahem, yes my name is Thomas, my friend Simon was the one who referred me here.”
“Good, good. Simon is an honest man, I have high expectations for his friends. Please have a seat.”
The boy casually waved his hands and pointed at the chair.
He didn’t know when, but Thomas was now feeling a little uneasy. The little interaction just now had placed him on the back foot, so to speak. He even made sure the boy seated himself before he sat on the chair.
If not for their age difference, he could have sworn he was back in a Military office.
The boy looked down on the desk and seem to be reading over some documents. He then nodded like he was agreeing to something and held up a letter. He passed it to Thomas indicated with his head to receive it.
“Mr Thomas, please read this letter and confirm that it was exactly as you had stated to Mr Simon. I want us to be in agreement.”
Mr Thomas had a feeling that this meeting was going to chance his life.NEXT PAGE