The Journeyman's Tithe
The initial idea for this story came to me in 2004 while serving a mission in Missouri. I jotted down 7 pages which included: pencil sketches, a basic outline, and three pages of initial text, so that I could return to the story later. I took interest in the story once again in a college writing class in 2008, and most recently when I realized it would be a good piece to explore the world of e-book publishing. I plan to have it published on Amazon by the end of 2011.
Chapter 5- A Pause in time
Fey stopped at the toll gate and patiently waited his turn at the end of a long line of carts. The weather was cheerful and he did not mind the wait, especially knowing that he would be twelve gold pieces richer for the trip. He was a bit lonely though, since his companions were not with him on the journey.
He looked up at the mountains to the left of the road. A heavy mist drifted down from the highest peaks and intermingled with the highest trees. His thoughts drifted to his friends, and he wondered how they were faring. He knew the tale of the Mountain Road, as his father had told it to him all his life, but he had never considered that it might be true.
Fey pondered on this a moment, when the sun came from behind a cloud and pierced the mists on the mountain revealing for the briefest moment a distant peak with the silhouette of an old temple. There was a great cry from the wagon drivers in the line and all the pedestrians looked up as well. An old man on a nearby cart was heard to say, it had been many years since the temple had been seen from this point in the road.
Fey stared on in shock until the mists once again covered the faint image of the temple.
“Hey, move along!” shouted the driver behind Fey. “It’s your turn!”
Fey quickly came back to himself and urged the horse forward to the nearest check station. A burly man with a black mustache inspected the laden cart carefully.
“A lot of furs here for one man,” he said gruffly.
“Most of them belong to two friends of mine,” replied Fey.
“Why didn’t they come along?” the guard asked.
“They took the old Mountain Road,” said Fey a little embarrassed.
The man with the black mustache stared in disbelief.
“No one has used that road in ages! Some say it doesn’t even exist anymore.”
Fey sighed, “That’s what I told them, but they went anyway.
“Move along!” Shouted the man behind Fey once again, “I want to be in Glorydale before nightfall!”
“Hold yer horses,” growled the guard, giving the man an evil eye. “That’ll be six gold pieces for the cart, and one for each friend’s goods.”
“Eight gold pieces!” guffawed Fey, “I have never been charged for bearing another’s goods, when did that become law?”
“It hasn’t” said the guard fingering his mustache, and attempting to conceal a smile. Fey stared at the guard dumbstruck, but finally dug the money out of his purse before the man behind him made any more fuss.
“Here you are my good man,” said Fey brightening up at a sudden thought, “But I will have you know, this is the last time I travel by your road.”
The guard laughed outright and drew the attention of the other guards and passersby. When he finished laughing, Fey continued.
“Laugh if you will, but you will never see me again, I make my return trip by the Mountain Road!”
And with that he left the guard with the black mustache staring after him, as he passed through the gate down the road to Glorydale.
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