The journey was fraught with perils. I was set upon by a league of bandits, all of which ultimately regretted their decision to impede my progress. There was an onslaught of rain that nearly tipped the caravan into a precipice. And my lack of animal husbandry led to the horse eating some sort of wild weed that produced toxic expulsion that nearly incapacitated the both of us.

But I reached my destination only to find a new set of difficulties at the city gates.

“What have you to declare?” the guard asked as I pulled up and asked for admittance.

“I don’t believe I have anything to declare,” I replied. “I’m not really one to go from town to town making wild declarations. I have a few requests and some opinions I’m willing to offer, but they are far from declarations.”

“What in the name of the Oracle are you talking about?” he replied.

“I’m not sure. What was the question again?”

“What do you have to declare?”

“Oh yes, terribly sorry. Good evening!” I declared.

“Are you trying to be funny?” the guard asked eyeing me.

“No, I was merely trying to be polite. And declarative, like you asked.”

“Get down from there!” he bellowed urging me out of the cart. “What’s in these crates?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know,” I replied.

“Eh? Then who are they for?”

“Afraid I don’t know that either,” I replied again.

“Now look here,” he began. “You’re transporting crates, whose contents you don’t know, to a person you don’t know?”

“Well, yes, that’s the way this sort of business of works,” I replied after reviewing the facts.

“And what sort of business is that? If I might ask.”

I pondered. “Well, the crate delivery business I suppose.”

“This is all very suspicious,” he began. “We’re going to have to open this crate to check it’s contents.”

“Check it for what?” I asked.

“For things you shouldn’t have,” he replied dryly.

“I have a few things I don’t want, but I don’t have anything I shouldn’t have,” I replied.

“Get out of the way,” the guard said trying to bully his way past me.

“Oh, steady now. I can’t let you open these crates. I was given express instructions and I gave my word to follow them. Threaten me if you like, but no peeking in the crates.”

“I’ve had about enough of this,” the guard bellowed and made a lunge for the cart, his sword drawn to strike the crate or me, whichever came first. I countered his attack and sent him reeling to the ground. This not only raised his ire, but also the alarm. I silenced him with a savage knock to the head, but the call had gone out.

With my cat like reflexes, I flipped the lever for the gate, mounted the cart and dashed my way through. My bold plan to lose the guards in the alleyways was cut short when a brute of a guard appeared in front of the cart and punched my equestrian companion square in the mouth. The horse dropped to the street like a sack of potatoes. The cart upended and I was sent head over heels.

I jumped up and ran to the ruffian that caused the upheaval.

“Who in the blazes are you?” I demanded. “You may have killed my horse! Well, not mine exactly, but the real owner will be quite distressed. Who punches a horse? What are you some sort of wild animal?”

He thrashed me in a similar manner and my knees gave way. I then heard the crash and splintering of wood amidst the ringing in my ears and saw the crates thrown off the cart and into the street. It was soon covered with a heavy white patch of granules. The guard wet his finger, dipped it in and gave it a taste.

To Be Continued …

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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