Read Tag…One More Time – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 1.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 2.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 3.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 4.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 5.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 6.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 7.
Finding Zevke the Baker required little effort. The smell of fresh loaves and rising smoke made the path obvious through the village streets.
Forgeron pulled his cart up to a clay house with ovens like large honey hives on either side and facing the street. A heavy man in dark boots, dark blue linen pants, shirtless but with an apron running from hair covered chest to the top of his boots and tied in back, moved back and forth between the ovens.
Norry came out of the house with a piece of fresh bread in his hand. Zevke handed him a dried block of wood and pointed to a fire at the bottom of an oven. “Careful, Norry. Place the wood, be gentle and quick.”
Norry shoved the bread into his mouth, did as he was told, then wandered off down the lane.
Saida came out of the Baker’s house carrying a basket of loaves fresh from the ovens. She smiled at Zevke then noticed Forgeron and quickly covered her head. She bowed and walked hurriedly away. Forgeron’s eyes followed. He turned back to the Baker and smiled.
Zevke scowled at him. “My wife, Saida.”
“A noble woman.”
“A taken woman.”
“Friend Baker, I admire beauty. I do not covet it nor am I jealous of those who have it.”
“You’re the Tinker’s making his way through Nant?”
Forgeron walked over to the house’s door, his eyes fixed on some small marks, unique but hidden among many scratches on the lintel. He kissed his fingers then touched them to the scratch.
Zevke’s eyes narrowed. “You are not a common tinker.”
“I have traveled some. Do you need any metalworking done? A bellows repaired, perhaps? An axe sharpened to better cut wood? A maul reshaped? Some wedges cleaved?”
“And what’s your price for such work?”
“The lad thinks highly of your bread. Perhaps a loaf and some coppers? And conversation, if you’re willing.”
Zevke gazed in the direction Norry went. “He’s a good lad, that one. Simple. Some say cursed, a halfling for those who believe such things.”
“He has no family?”
“An old woman, Nant’s midwife and herbalist, Dire by name, cares for him.”
“And Good Woman Dire doesn’t believe him cursed?”
Zevke nodded at the lintel. “She’s traveled some, too.” His eyes turned back to Forgeron. “And she’s too old to care about curses.”
“She cares well for the lad?”
“She found him on her doorstep on her return from midwifing Ide Altrea. Ide had enough milk for two and nursing the child would be payment enough. But that was years ago. Now Dire is too old. Her ears betray her and her eyes sometimes dim, but she’s still quick when there’s a need, and what she can not do the good people of Nant do for her, as far as Norry goes.”
“You gave him bread for throwing some wood on your fire. You see to his needs?”
“A helpful lad, but you have to watch him. He can’t remember fire burns.” The baker shrugged massive shoulders. “Come. Set your wheel turning. We can start with my axe.”
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