» Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:30 pm
“And a half!”
“Amazing! Twenty-two and a half hands high...” Falastor continued to scribble in earnest on the first piece of parchment he’d managed to extract from his bag.
“Old nag could plough a field by herself in half the time it took any-a those other teams to do it. Course, she left hoofprints the size of shields, ha!” Falastor’s companion slapped his hand down on the bar so hard it sent his ink bottle into a dramatic nosedive which ended in a spectacularly-choreographed landing in the middle of his bag.
Falastor leapt to his feet. “AUGH! Oh no, oh no, oh no, not the maps, anything but the maps...”
“Er, sorry about that, sir,” the storyteller rumbled. “Guess I got me some rather large hooves here, too, eh?”
But hooves and twenty-two hand-high mares were forgotten. Falastor dumped the contents of his sac onto the floor, spilled ink and all, and tried frantically to move everything as far from the menacing black pool of permanent oblivion as possible. To his great relief, the leather bag itself seemed to have swallowed the worst of it, though of course that meant he wouldn't be able to go anywhere until it was clean and dry, or worse, replaced. Oh dear, if he had to replace this sac he'd have to invent an entirely new packing system, and that could take months.
No, on second thought, the bag looked in far better shape than he'd imagined at first. Yes, some cleaning and it would be perfectly usable again.
“Can I help?”
“Oh, no, it’s quite all right, all arranged according to a very specific system, you see. It took me years to perfect, actually. You put the parchment in this compartment and you run the risk of, well, spilling ink on it, ironically. But you put it in that compartment and the compass might tear holes in it. And of course the alidade has to go here, there’s really nowhere else for it to go, you know? But!” He raised a finger triumphantly and the tall, lean farmer nearly toppled backwards in surprise. “If you put most of the parchment here...” he waved his hand at the largest, inkiest section, completely unaware of the look he was receiving, “...and the remainder here, then the ink can safely rest like this, you see, and everything is separated neatly but it’s also not too bulky. I remember when I first started travelling regularly, I... erm, that is...” Finally he had caught the man’s expression. “I’ve got it under control. Thank you for the offer, though.”
“Eh, right. Sorry again about spilling your ink.” His tone suggested he was rather more sorry that he’d offered his help cleaning it up.
“Oh, it’s quite all right, the bag'll take a bit of cleaning, I’m afraid, but now that I look I think it's salvageable, thank goodness. And it seems that only this parchment here was seriously ruined. What was on this, anyhow?” He squinted at it a moment, trying to remember when he’d used this particular piece of parchment. Reddish hue, bit rough, not worth what he’d paid for it...
“Oh! Oh no, this was the story about the three-headed dog back in Alswith! Perhaps if I recopy it down right now I’ll remember the basics, at least... Oh, blasting powder, where did I put my stylus?”
“Three-headed dog?” As much as he regretted his interest, the farmer couldn’t turn away from a tale that would rival his twenty-two hand mare story, but Falastor was completely absorbed now in trying to recall the details.
“Full moon, wasn’t it? ...six, no, seven miles.....something about the teeth....Oh, pah! At least I got the coordinates, I can always go back...”
“I’ll just....get you another mead then, shall I?”