Hello everyone. It's good to be uploading something again. Free time is something that doesn't seem to want to darken my doorstep anymore. Thankfully, I ran into some just now, and was able to finish this chapter. Who knows when the next will be up, but I hope you'll enjoy this one all the same.
The Brothers Sound
Ch. 3: Beginning the Journey
"I must return to the monastery," said Rick after the funeral was over. There had been a quite ceremony to commemorate the life of the father Sound before he had been interred.
"You can't be serious," George demanded. "You come home, you watch our father get murdered, and then you just…go back there as if nothing happened?"
"You know it isn't like that," Rick began.
"Then what is it like?" George insisted, raising his voice. "Tell me, what is it like? That Vernam person killed him. We have to go hunt him down!"
"I know that," said Rick. "That's precisely why I must return to the monastery. You're coming too, by the way." He turned to Tom. "As are you."
"So," said Tom, "we're going on a real adventure, then?"
"It would appear so," said Rick. "We have no real choice, do we? A terrible crime was committed, and we must see that justice is brought forth."
George gave him a knowing look. "But do you have it in you, brother? When it comes time to take the life of another man, do you have what it takes inside?"
"St. Cuthbert will grant me strength when the time comes," said Rick solemnly. "As a matter of fact, his hall in Cherlein is one place we'll be stopping by while we're there."
"Why there?" asked Tom.
"St. Cuthbert is the patron god of justice," said Rick. "I can't think of a place that would be able to better prepare us for bringing justice than there."
"Fair enough," said Tom. "Do they have arcane magical components there by any chance?"
"I don't know," said Rick. "I've never actually been there before, never had any reason to. I doubt it, though, but there are several shops that sell that kind of thing."
"Good," said Tom. "All of my things were destroyed, so I'll have to start completely over again."
"Alright, enough talk of magic," said George. "Let's just get a move on. The sooner we get going, the sooner we can bring Vernam to justice."
The city was nothing like anything George or Tom had ever seen. The narrow streets seemed like an endless maze of paving stones, towering buildings, and people. Never had they seen so many people. There had to be enough people there to fill Sparrowhill a thousand times over, surely. High up on a hill, the castle stood, looking down over the city below it. As Rick led his brothers through the labyrinthine streets, George and Tom couldn't help but let their jaws hang open as the marveled at the sight. Finally they arrived at the monastery. It was a great contrast to the rest of the city; instead of the stone that covered every other inch of the city, the monastery was surrounded by a garden on all sides, with a row of paving stones providing a path to the door. To George, it seemed a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of the streets.
"So this is the place you call home now," said George. "Not bad."
"Yes," Rick said with a nod. "Especially in a city as large as this, it's nice to have a haven from the weary, sorrowful circle of life."
"You have quite the way with words," said Tom. "Although I must say, I'm not sure it could've been better said. Sorrowful indeed."
"Come," said Rick. "Let us not stand on ceremony. We have a long road ahead of us, and we know not yet where it leads, or where even it begins."
"What is it you need to do here, brother?" George asked.
"A few things," replied Rick. "I need to gather some icons to take, various herbs and whatnot for medicinal purposes. Why, is there something you had in mind?"
"Admittedly, I could use a weapon," George conceded. "Somehow I doubt this woodcutter's axe will be much use out in the wild lands. Besides, Tom is itching to find some magical something or other, as you well know."
"That's fine," Rick said. "I still have to visit St. Cuthbert's hall; it's near the main square, as are most businesses. We can walk there together, go about our various doings and meet back there in a few hours."
"That sounds fair," said Tom. "It wouldn't do to get separated in this city, but if everything is nearby, as you say…George and I could stay together in the meantime."
Together the brothers walked, guided by Rick, to the main square; a large fountain in the shape of several mermaids stood in the center. People of all sorts were gathered; men, elves, dwarves, Halflings, and even what looked to be an orc could be seen.
"Is that…an orc?" Tom asked aloud, unable to help himself. "I've read about those, but I've never actually seen one. I'm amazed they haven't killed it now that it's inside the city."
"Thomas!" Rick exclaimed abashedly. "Don't be so rude. That's Adokul, and he's half human. The orc that raped his mother was killed, though. The church took pity on him and raised him, and now he serves as the porter at the monastery."
"Perhaps that will teach you to think before you speak, brother," said George.
An hour or so later, the three of them reunited in the square. It was late afternoon, so most of the people they had seen earlier had left.
"Well, I see you've outfitted yourself nicely," said Rick upon taking in the sight of George. He wore a new set of leather vambraces and a leather pauldron on his right shoulder. There was also a new sword hanging from his left hip, which he rested his hand on.
"I have," he said. "So how was St. Cuthbert's hall?"
"It was well," said Rick. "They lent me this mace, although I don't think they really expect it returned. They also provided us some packs and various provisions for the road." George and Tom each took one of the packs and slung them on their backs.
"Well then," said Tom, "I suppose we should be off, then, yes?"
They all agreed that east would be the best direction to go, because the eastern road would lead them to the town of Swyncrest, where their father had been born. That seemed to be the best place to start. So, the brothers Sound began their journey east, knowing not what lay before them on the long and lonesome road.