A/N: WP apparently being wonky, we’ll see if this post works as it should….
“Mud.” Herald Arvil sighed as they clopped their way down the road and into the village of Crispinstown. A large village, as far as the Pelagirs went; meaning there was a Waystation nearby, a meeting hall, a proper if small temple, a blacksmith among other shops, and some less-busy citizens already turning to look at him. He really owed them a bit of thanks; they had to have stolen some time from autumn harvest to tamp down the soil and spread fresh sand and gravel before the storm the other night, making the footing here in town so much better. Still. It was autumn, and damp, and his leg ached. “I want a hot bath so much.”
Graya bobbed her head in agreement, with a glance back that said he’d better have a good hot-towel rubdown for her, too. Mud matting up past her fetlocks was not pleasant.
Huh. The road seemed a bit more churned than it should be, gravel stirred as if dozens of horses had passed through in the night. Which seemed unlikely. There were regular traders down the frontier roads from Miston or Foxton, and sometimes small caravans of people willing to risk starting a new village in the uncanny woods. But dozens of riders, and not one wagon wheel track? “I didn’t hear anything about Darkwall or Forgotten Keep sending out riders. Did you?”
Graya shook her head. Her ears twitched, obviously paying closer attention to the town now.
Arvil frowned, looking Crispinstown over in more detail before he committed to standing on his own two feet. This was supposed to be a regular Circuit, to hear any cases outstanding that village justice couldn’t solve. But it was also meant to reassure Valdemar’s citizens that Queen Selenay hadn’t forgotten those who lived in the shadows of the Pelagirs just because there was a war threatening in the East.
Nothing looked wrong here. And he didn’t have any of the immediate impulse to move now that would be his Foresight kicking in. Yet tracks didn’t lie.
Graya dropped her head as she walked for a better look at those tracks, then gave him a look askance.
“We’ll find out about it,” Arvil agreed, dismounting; tucking the reins up so Graya could stick her nose into anything interesting. “That many horses, someone has to know something.”