After the guard was bandaged up (it looked like he’d survive, though saying “be fine” might have been overkill), the merchant invited me onto the wagon. He introduced himself as Torvald, and the guard was Gregory. At least, names pretty close to that. Torvald started the cart toward what was apparently the nearest town.
Before I got up on the carriage, I took the pretty much empty coin purses off the bandits… and their swords. I didn’t even want to think about their clothes. I’d rather have my ripped and torn clothes than their disgusting things. I felt kind of bad about just killing some people, taking their stuff, and leaving the bodies beside the road. Maybe I was just like the bandits. However, I didn’t have anything to bury them with… and I had no stuff before this moment. Torvald didn’t seem to think it was anything strange.
After that, I had two silver coins and eleven copper coins. Probably. At least, they were “silver colored” and “copper colored” coins. I had no idea how much they were worth, and I didn’t particularly want to ask right away.
Along the way, I learned that the Torvald only had one guard because the roads were safe. At least, usually. As evidenced by the fact that there were only three bandits, this was probably true. Normally, a single guard should have been enough- and that just in case any horned rabbits appeared. The roads were well patrolled, and probably shouldn’t have any bandits at all. However, this group was small enough to keep themselves hidden, apparently.
We weren’t technically headed to a “town” here, but rather a “city”. That was good news for me, because they were more likely to have an adventurer’s guild. Hopefully, things would work out for me there. At the very least, I could learn more about skills.
I was expecting the trip to take more time, but we actually arrived in the evening. It seemed I’d just been very unlucky with my exploration, choosing all the directions that weren’t right… On the other hand, this was further than I could go in a day. As we approached the city of Trona, the gate guards gave me a somewhat suspicious look.
Torvald saw this handed over a gate tax (1 silver, according to the sign. I was glad I could read it). “We found him on the road.” He gestured to the wounded guard. “He saved us from some bandits.”
The more senior guard gestured to the younger one, who went away and came back with some papers. “Was it any of these?” There were about a dozen bounty posters. I didn’t recognize any of the faces, however the merchant picked out three of them.
“Ah, it was these fellows.” The guard nodded. “We’d received word of that group just recently. Can you confirm it’s them?” The gate guard looked at me.
I sort of grimaced. “Ah, actually… I didn’t see their faces.” I looked sheepishly at the club (still just a large stick, really) slung over my shoulder. It still had a little bit of brain on it, I think. I shook that off over the edge of the wagon.
Gregory spoke up. “Yeah, it was those three.”
The gate guard went back into the building, and came out with a plaque, handing it to me. “Take this. Once we’ve verified their bodies, you can come back here to receive the bounties. About ten silvers each. It should be… sometime tomorrow evening, or the day after.”
“Yes, thank you.” I took the plaque. Well, having more money shouldn’t hurt. I had no idea how much I needed.
The older gate guard looked at me. “So, how did you happen to be there at the perfect time?”
“Well, as you can see,” I gestured to my garments. “I’ve been lost in the woods. As for the timing, I’d love to take credit for it, but it just happened that way.”
The guard nodded. Well, I had the merchant vouch for me, and it’s not like I would have killed the bandits if I were in cahoots with them. Besides, these bandits had robbed a few other travellers, and I was obviously not part of their little group. Well, the guards still looked me over, merely raising a suspicious eye at my thin frame. Apparently satisfied that I wasn’t a wanted man, they let me into the city.
After that, we entered Trona. The merchant recommended an inn that we passed, and then took me to a weapons shop, so I could sell the swords I got. They weren’t great quality or anything, but they weren’t without some value. Though, one of them was a bit… duller than the others. Probably from being in direct contact with both stick and skull.
As the weapons merchant appraised the swords, I looked around the shop. There were quite a decent variety of weapons. However, nothing caught my eye. I don’t even know what I would want to use. Then, I saw it. Maybe it was because I’d been using a stick as my weapon, but when I saw that glinting, I just couldn’t look away. It was shiny. It was smooth. Made out of some kind of dark wood, it was a club. I picked it up carefully. It was heavy. Not unbearably so, but the wood was obviously much denser than my stick/club. I hefted it. This was nice. I wanted it. I carefully brought it to the counter.
“How much is this?” The merchant looked at me, somewhat surprised. He seemed shocked that I could carry something so heavy. Well, you and me both, buddy.
“Ah, if we were to count the value of these swords against it… it’s enough for you to still receive three coppers.” Coin denominations seemed to be 10:1, by the way. 10 coppers = 1 silver. 10 Silvers = 1 gold. Gold was the highest commonly used coin type.
“It’s a deal,” I said, after looking to my merchant friend for confirmation. It seemed he thought the value was at least close enough to that, though he didn’t specialize in weapons. From my perspective… the club was great. I could just imagine that smacking something with it would be very satisfying. I also got a nice strap to tie it to my belt. Now I just needed a belt, I guess.