The four companions strode off towards Giver, leaving behind whispered words about their task ahead and the sound of caravans eventually starting to rumble into Droxburg.
“How long do you think it will take?” enquired Yulien to her brother.
“I would estimate we will be there a little past midday if we maintain a steady pace.”
“Past lunch?!” exclaimed Tumbor interrupting the conversation. “I do hope we will be stopping at the appropriate time in order to correctly honour the time.”
“We eat on the go,” added Jax, who was already striding ahead of the others.
The dwarf stopped dead in his tracks, a look on his face that suggested he hadn’t heard correctly. His voice confirming it.
“It is a dwarven religion that we stop for feasting upon the hour of midday. Only conflict excuses this.”
“Stop to eat, and you’ll be at conflict with me,” shouted Jax back to dwarf, his protestations falling on deaf ears. Tumbor cursed a hundred or so dwarven expletives as he resigned himself to catching up with the others, but made a point of occasionally chewing on some of the bread he took from the tavern.
Several mile along the road, Jax spotted a familiar sight sat upon the side of the road up a head. Even when seated, the figure looked the height of an average man.
“Stopped for a well deserved rest?” smiled Jax as he approached Tiny Tim. “Or changed your mind in joining us perhaps?”
“None of those, more something bothering me. They call you Jax do they not?”
Looking bewildered, Jax confirmed this to be true, but sensing something ominous he flexed his finger close to his sword hilt just in case the line of questions turned.
“Why yes, I thought introductions has already taken place.” By this time, the twins and Tumbor arrived on scene.
“What appears the matter?” asked Rohlen sensing Jax’s defensive stance.
“I was telling Tim we had already expended with introductions.”
“No!” blasted the dwarf. “Told us ‘his’ name but we never parted with ours.”
“Jax Dupont, former legionnaire by virtue of, some might say, a wreckless act of endangerment during the battle of Stone Bridge.”
“That was a long time a go,” said Jax holding his hand now firmly upon his sword hilt. “A whole lifetime a go.”
“Relax,” Timthall replied. Tumbor did just that, sitting and taking out another portion of bread, whilst being fully engrossed in hearing of Jax’s past. Rohlen and Yulien stood side by side listening intently.
“I do not recall you being there,” queried Jax. “And all record of that battle were erased.”
“A mere whelp within the ranks of men, men quaking with fear in the face of an advancing greenskin horde. We were but twenty to their hundreds and had they crossed Stone Bridge, then for sure Marsholt would have been overrun.”
“What did he do?” asked Tumbor eagerly, his mouth still half full of bread.
“What I had to do,” replied Jax.
“He ordered the men to flee, whilst he stood facing the horde. Arrows rained down around him, and we were sure he would buy us seconds in giving his life for ours. Then came the explosion.”
“Magic?” enquired Rohlen his interested peaked.
“Dwarven mining explosives,” replied Jax, to which Tumbor laughed loudly sending bits of half chewed bread everywhere.
“Something compelled a couple of us to stop and look back. The bridge had gone, but the greenskins were tapped on the otherside. We all assumed you’d died in the blast.”
“I did,” sighed Jax, his head held low. “Well my life as a legionnaire anyway.”
“But you stopped the horde!” said Yulien softly.
“Our orders were to hold bridge no matter what the cost. Wait for reinforcements to arrive.” Timthall added. “They arrived but moments after the smoke had cleared.”
“So what happened?” continued Yulien. “Did they not find you? Or honour your bravery?”
“Legionnaire Captains labelled him a coward, and buried his memory as one also, that is why when I recollected your face, I stopped to warn you from entering Blucester.”
“I appreciate the advise, but you recall as you were there. I doubt any in Blucester will.”
“Cpt Forsythia leads the Battalion.”