Second Chances

Rana made a business of taking heroes home.

Twelfth Branch was the largest town for five days ride and it had become the defacto gathering spot for would-be adventurers. After eight to fifteen days on the road (depending on weather, fitness, and if the hero had been smart enough catch a lift) most of the newcomers were ready to throw in the towel.

Ready, but much too proud.

So she offered them dinner and a place to stay while they worked up the courage to travel on. Over dinner she told them the story of why she had no siblings, over breakfast they tale of why her right arm ended in a stump, and by lunchtime’s retelling of what happens when you spend a month fighting in the mud– those that remained were ready to barter a place on her wagon.

Ferrying them back to where they started wasn’t the best paying job. She could have made more provisioning them and sending the further along the road, but it was what she wished someone had done for her.

Going home wasn’t as glamorous as mercenary work, nor as enticing as bardic fame, but it was safer. The road ate heroes, no matter what the stories said, and most of those that made it further along their journeys came home another route. But she was getting better, or the adventurers were getting smarter, and her nowadays her wagon carried more living than dead.

Which was for the best, because Rana was full of stories and it was always nicer when the passengers talked back.

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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