Erik settled on a spot a few yards from a grouping of cages. He paid the cages little mind as he settled in a soft spot of grass just off the road, working quickly to establish a camp before the total darkness of night overtook. He build a small fire, using wood he had been gathering as he rode, and began searching for stones to cook his supper over the flame (some sausage he had picked up before leaving Marshal's Keep from a butcher promising them to be the best in the realm). He found a few good sized stones, even in size and roughly balanced, and a decent sized piece of slate suitable to cook on not far off from his camp site. He was sure to stay clear of the road, not wanting to get caught under the wheels of a late night racing wagon, but didn't dare get too far off the clearing... The woods along the foot of the Marshal's Mountains rumored to be crawling with polliwogs and goblins. He wasn't the superstitious type normally, and typically didn't buy into the wives tales and mutterings of the commoners, thinking himself better than such irrationalities.
But even still he felt it wise to not tempt fate.
With the sun settling off to the horizon, Erik of Candar settled himself by his healthy roaring fire and began building himself a makeshift stove. He placed the larger rocks with a bit of space between them and stacked the thin slate stone atop. He then build a little nest of kindling and dried grass, lighting it quickly with a stick off his campfire. His second fire going under the stone stove, he then unpacked his bag, pulling out the sausage and another skin of wine. He unwrapped the sausage (wrapped tightly in a thin cheesecloth) letting the three links breathe a little as he waited for the stone to heat up. It took a few minutes, time passing slowly as he sat in the dwindling twilight, the air tinged with the sweet smell of smoldering wood. He reached back into his pack, pulling out a simple clay pipe and a small pouch of tobacco. He packed the bowl, tapping it clear of lingering soot along the round stones before stuffing fresh tobacco into the ashy bowl. Lighting his pipe, he leaned back, enjoying the silence of the evening; the chorus of frogs and crickets chirping along to embruing wood taking him back to a thousand nights so long ago.
He took a sip off his wine, splashing the stone a little before doing so. He could smell the wine sizzle off the scalding slate. He squeezed a little more wine atop the stone, settling the sausage along the top of the sizzling wine; the dried casing pulling tight as the wine soaked steam engulfed it. He smiled to himself, his stomach rumbling a little as he carefully arranged the sausages to maximize cooking surface.
"Them sausage smell good, pops... You wouldn't happen to have a spare..."
He paused as he heard the voice speak to him in the darkness. It was calm and friendly, sounding very casual despite the jarring nature of its arrival.
"Who's there... Show yourself!" Erik called out to the darkness, pulling a short dagger out from his belt.
"Over here... By the cages..." The voice replied.
"I'd show myself, but..." It paused, rattling the bars that confined him.
Erik glanced at the cages across the road from him. He could see a shadow off the the back in one of the far cages. He found it odd, not having noticed anyone sitting in there prior (or that they had decided then to be the opportune time to speak up), but moved towards it none the less; stopping first by the fire to make a quick torch.
"That's it... Over here..." The voice lead, the shadow watching Erik slowly creep towards him.
Erik inched closer until he could clearly make out the man. It was difficult to make out everything in the fire light, but he could see the man was locked within one of the steel eggs. He sat with his legs criss crossed, thin knotted arms hanging out the wide gaps between bars.
"What's your name, convict?" Erik asked, his voice growing more confident seeing the man locked away.
"Darby, m'Lord." The shadowy man replied.
"Well, Darby. How did you happen to find yourself chained into the furthest set of cells on the road. It's like someone was going out of their way to forget you."
"You could say that. Slept with another man's wife." The voice replied nonchalantly, his cage creeping as he adjusted himself to better see Erik.
"And I take it the man had important friends?"
"The man was the important friend. It was the Sheriff's wife I bedded. Nice girl too. Sweet."
"And that didn't get you killed?"
"I imagine that was the point of the whole locking me half way to nowhere. Left me a week ago to rot with two days worth of moldy bread and sour wine. You might wanna go roll those sausage."