Well, I'm leaving Magnimar for a while.
This guy came into The Bartered Coin the other day with a ring the boss figured we could turn a good profit on. I guess he wasn't as good at sensing this guy's motives as he usually is, because boy, did that guy cause us trouble. For once, the store policy of "we don't want to know where you got the goods, as long as it's something we can sell" didn't work out too well.
It turned out his fancy nobleman's clothes were "borrowed" from his employer... just like the ring he sold us. The boss didn't recognize it because the guy was from out of town and it didn't look like a signet ring or anything, at least not any we're familiar with here in Magnimar if that's what it was. Anyway, we sold it to a wealthy guy in Magnimar the next day for a good amount, just like the boss said we would.
My dad, more honest a man than my boss (as good as he's been to me, I'm not dumb and know a little about the Family), still knows people in the city, and when he caught wind of the nobleman kicking up a fuss, and his anger being pointed at The Bartered Coin, he sent one of his workers to get me.
I was surprised at first. A lot of the local farmers needed new shoes for their horses this time of year, so dad would hardly ever let one of his two men leave the workshop during the day. They'd have so much to do, I sometimes helped finish up leftover work at the end of the day if the boss didn't keep me working too late.
The man wouldn't tell me much, just that my father needed me, and he kept glancing at the boss nervously.
The boss finally nodded. "Mat, you've been working hard the last few weeks. I think you need a vacation, so go with your father's man and I don't want to see your face in here again until that vacation is over."
I was confused, but the boss didn't do things without a reason, so I picked up the latest book I had been reading, Wandering Tongues, Tribes Of The North: An Adventurer's Guide To Speaking Shoanti, threw on my wide-brimmed hat, and returned home.
"Nobles like to pick on those below them, Mat," my father began when I walked in the door, waving his hand to signal his worker to get back to the workshop. I was surprised again when he told me what had happened.
"That ring you bought and sold the other day has made a traveling noble angry. It belonged to him, not the man who sold it to you. The man you sold it to pointed straight at the Coin to get the noble off his back." He raised one of his big hands to keep me from interrupting. "You didn't know where that thing came from, so you're not at fault, but your employer bought and sold something of his, so he'll take out his anger on anyone he can connect to the situation in order to sate the pride of his 'nobility'."
He motioned for me to follow him, and we went outside, going the opposite direction from his worker. "The Family," he continued, "... yes, I know you know about them... will be able to take care of their own. I thank the gods they never brought you into their fold, but that means I have to take care of my son because they can't protect you if you stay in Magnimar."
We came up to the stables, on the opposite side of the small, fenced-in field from the farrier's workshop on our property just outside the city. You couldn't be a proper horse breeder and farrier in the city, Dad would always say. Pips was already saddled. Pips, the son of the first mare I had ever helped my father with shoeing... She kicked me in the chest when working on her second hoof. I still wear a scarf to cover the bottom of my neck. Dad says you can barely see it, but I just like to cover the scar. I've sort of gotten used to the look, too, much like with the hat. I got along a lot better with Pips than his mother.
"We don't have much time. I had one of the boys load up all those books about languages in Pips' saddlebags. I knew you'd hate to leave them behind. He's a sturdy one," my father said, petting the horse's mane, "but don't try to go at a full gallop unless you have to with that extra weight. And remember to hop off to give him a break every now and-"
"Dad, I've been around horses my entire life. I think you can skip the lecture you give to the local kids when they buy their first horse."
He chuckled at that. "I guess you're right, Mat." He started pointing at specific bags as he continued. "There's enough food in here for you, and a few other things you'll need on the road, as well as some feed for Pips in these bags, here. If you let him graze a bit along the road, you should be fine getting there."
He showed me where a few other items were stashed in the bags, then continued. "Ah, yes, I haven't said yet. You're going to Sandpoint until this all blows over. You'll be staying with Daviren Hosk. You've met him a couple times when he came through Magnimar on business. He owns the Goblin Squash Stables near the southeast gate of the town. Your uncle and I helped him clear out some goblins near Sandpoint a while back. Just hand him the letter I slipped into your backpack and he'll know the situation. I expect you to do some work to earn your keep despite him being an old friend, so I packed some farriers' tools for you as well. If there's anything you need that we missed, go grab it from your room quick. You need to get on the road while there's still plenty of daylight ahead of you."
I looked through the bags one more time. "Dad? Where's the book on Ancient Thassalonian?"
"It wasn't on the shelf in your room, but it's not like you'll be needing that one. "
"That little sister of mine likes some of the drawings in that book, so I left it in her room after tucking her in last night. And to your point, it is by far the most interesting of the books that scholar sold to the Coin two years ago. Can you even think of-"
"'- all the secrets that could be hidden in a book this old? The wonders? The treasures that might be found because I can read an ancient scroll that a wandering merchant might bring in some day?' Yes, I've heard you say that dozens of times. Hurry and grab the book while I lead Pips over to the gate."
He sighed while I laughed and went into the house to get the book. I noticed my quarterstaff resting by the back door, and picked it up on my way out.
I got to the gate that led to the main road in and out of town, my dad and Pips waiting for me already, and quickly slid the quarterstaff into the slot we'd made for it on the saddle. "Dad, I'm sorry," I said as I slipped the book into one of the saddlebags.
He shook his head. "It's not your fault."
We shared a quick hug, and then I opened the gate. "What about mom and-"
"Your mother and sister are in town shopping. I'm sorry, but we can't wait for them."
"I get it. Just tell them... well, you know." He nodded. "I'll see you all when this blows over."
"Mister Farrier." One of his workers came out of the shop. "Someone's come in with a custom request. Say their horse requires special treatment."
"They all do," my father replied, then turned toward me. "Take care, Mat. And you take care of Mat." He patted Pips' neck before heading toward the shop. "So what's the special request? A horseshoe is a horseshoe. When will nobles figure that out?"
Their conversation faded out after that, and I led Pips outside before shutting the gate and locking it back in place. I swung into the saddle and ran my hand down Pips' neck. "Looks like it's just you and me for a while, old pal." I gave his neck one last pat, and then we started our trip to Sandpoint.
Everything had happened so fast that it wasn't until we were a couple miles down the road that it finally hit me... It would be a while before I would be able to see my family, what few friends I had, the boss, or even the regular customers at The Bartered Coin who liked coming by sometimes just to talk in their native languages with me.