Don’t listen to what they say. Go see. It was these words that sent me on my way, accompanied through hardship by my faithful companion Keras, a brother to me in all but blood. After months of travelling to speak with various factions, we found ourselves in Harinway, waiting to board a train bound for Kalm. Keras and I spent several hours at the station waiting for the train to arrive, a phenomenon that is much less rare than it should be in these lands. I recited parts of the Raskema Koorma to keep my mind focused while Keras sat slowly sharpening his gouge. Even though he seemed to be focused on the task at hand, I could tell that his mind was wandering the passages of his Kardias, looking for weaknesses. As the platform began to fill up, I noticed that our area seemed to attract an odd collection of travellers. A halfling and a half-elf sat on a bench nearby and chatted with each other. A group of three travellers were under the awning, talking quietly. One of them, a rather pale looking elf, gently strummed a guitar and hummed a tune while his companions, an older man and a hooded figure, spoke softly.
I noticed that Keras had paused in his sharpening and seemed to be focusing intently on the ground before him. “A King is not the noblest person in his country, he is the noblest of the servants. For if a King is not willing to work for his kingdom, to craft for his kingdom, to fight for his kingdom, and if the need arises, to die for his kingdom, how can he ask any of his people to do otherwise?” Keras shook his head and resumed sharpening his gouge without looking up at me. “Why,” he asked, “do you always pick that passage to disturb my thinking?”
I sat back and smiled, taking a moment to enjoy the peace on the platform. After a slow moment, I finally spoke, “Because it always gets your attention. If I recite a new portion of the text, you sink deeper into yourself to think about it. How can you expect to nurture your Kardias by being in the world if your mind is not in the world as well.”
Keras snorted, “Hmm, I suppose. Luckily your mind is always out in the world, I’m just waiting for it to find something worth paying attention to.” A few passes with the whetstone later, Keras spoke softly, “That passage always pulls me back to the present because of the repetition, it’s like walking down a path only to find yourself back at the beginning of the same path that this time leads somewhere else.”
As Keras finished talking, the halfling walked by us and approached the massive station master. In a very clear voice, she asked what the delay was and was told that the train we were waiting for had broken down but that another train was coming from the mountains to pick us up. I considering going to ask the station master how long the wait would be, but it seemed that he was quite disturbed over the whole affair. I had been keeping an eye on a large pavilion set up on one end of the platform and, after having seen a nobleman flash his ring to gain admittance, decided that perhaps Keras and I could get out of the sun and procure some meat and maybe even a fine Dwarfish wine.
I tapped Keras with my elbow and stood up. I slid off my left gauntlet so that I could produce my ring when asked. I felt Keras take his place at my right shoulder as I approached the tent. Even though the guards outside were well outfitted, the tension in their faces ratcheted up a notch as the minotaur loomed over my shoulder. I flashed my ring and the guard took a few seconds to puzzle out what he was seeing. Apparently these guards had not had the priviledge of being in the presence of Dwarfen nobility. The guard on the right finally gave a slight bow and apologized, not convincingly, for not recognizing me. “Do you have your first class ticket,” he asked? Of course there would be some sort of monetary level required to get in the tent. “I seem to have misplaced it,” I said incling my head towards the tent. He was not impressed and informed me that I could always buy one from the station master for 1000 pieces of gold. I managed not to let my mouth fall open at such an absurd sum. It seemed almost as though some external force was trying to set the ticket prices at some arbitrarly large number to keep me out. I must have stared at him for too long because he finally gestured towards the giant station master. As I turned and began to walk away, I found myself facing a nobleman approaching the tent. He smirked at me, dismissing me as someone barely worthy of notice for not being as moneyed as he. Without thinking, I stuck my foot out as we passed and I heard him stumble behind me. I slowed down, praying he would challenge me to a duel. After a few more steps, I realized that he must have assumed that he just tripped on his own. Keras leaned over slightly, “That was not becoming of a lord of your stature. Does your book have something to say about that?”
“It does,” I conceded. “It also says that a wise man will ponder every possible ramification before opening his mouth.” Keras chuckled as we returned to our seats, “So instead of pondering every possible ramification and then opening your mouth, you stuck your foot out?”
Before I could respond, I saw the halfling walk by us again, this time heading for the cargo minders at the other end of the platform. They moved as though they wore weapons and knew how to use them. I didn’t think she would get in any trouble, but I made sure that my hammer was free at my side. She talked with them for a few minutes, seeming to win her way easily into their good graces, before returning to sit by her friend again. They spoke quietly, too quietly for my ears.
As I strained to hear what they were saying, I was approached by the older gentleman from under the awning. “Good day,” he said. I stood up and gave a slight bow, “Good day to you as well.” We struck up a conversation and eventually even managed to draw Keras into it for a bit. The older gentleman, Francis Hughbert, was travelling with a woman in a cloak named Awnya and the guitar playing Ronan.