Wagon Ride Safety

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"The next time you take control of a wagon," Jarlaxle said, "try not to kill anyone."

Artemis scowled. "Shut up." He pushed past the drow mercenary, striding towards the caravan.

"But I am serious," Jarlaxle said, stepping in front of the assassin again and blocking the man's way.

Artemis cast a nervous glance at Calihye. "Do you mind?" he asked.

Jarlaxle followed his gaze and broke into a smile. The mercenary flung open his arms. "Have no worries, my friend. I am merely trying to suggest that I can teach you the rules of wagon ride safety!"

Artemis saw the other mercenaries closing in on him and glared all around the clearing at them. He hated being made a spectacle. "Jar…lax…le…" he growled.

"Why don't you show us all, good Jarlaxle?" a man asked politely. He was tall and broad shouldered. He wore a brown beard, and his steel plate mail glinted as he moved. Artemis remembered him as Hart, a mercenary.

Jarlaxle beamed. "It is decided, then!" He raised an index finger in declaration, and said, "First, always make sure that your partner is fully conscious before dumping her on the ground."

Entreri gave a start, resisting the urge to have a heart attack. "That was an accident!"

"Yes, I know," Jarlaxle said, and continued. "Secondly, always have a healer on hand in case poor innocents get run over in the process of fighting flying snakes."

"You are very wise," the mercenary Hart said gravely.

The group of adventurers was beginning to catch on to the fact that Jarlaxle was lampooning his friend. Artemis heard stifled laughter.

"We had a healer," Artemis said, from between clenched teeth. "A dwarf. You recall this. It was too late to do anything."

"In that case," Jarlaxle said, gesturing offhandedly, "always prepare a few extra coffins before going on the road to ensure that friends and family have proper resting places."

"Aye," Calihye said, scowling, obviously remembering the unpleasant demise of her friend. "Parissus had to be buried on the road."

That stilled the laughter in the group for the moment, until Jarlaxle's eyes lit up, and he put an arm around the scarred half-elf. "Indeed, my good woman," the dark elf said. "That is an excellent suggestion. When Artemis drives, be sure to pack a shovel!" The garishly dressed drow began laughing.

"I'm sure our good friend Entreri hears your warning," Hart said, looking at Artemis with a sympathetic eye. The warrior seemed to have caught on to Jarlaxle's underlying sentiment. "Perhaps you should stop, lest you sow dispute between him and his lady friend."

Jarlaxle placed a hand over his heart gallantly and said, "I would never want to do that. I wish them both only the best of happiness!" Then he winked. "That is why I want the fair Calihye riding alongside me in the caravan."

The group of mercenaries laughed, sighed, and shook their heads at the drow mercenary. They began splitting up into smaller parties in order to get this leg of the journey underway.

Artemis glared at Jarlaxle until the drow and his purple hat were both out of sight.