The Marshal's Road: The Last of the Strongmen - 4.

But the two together was an interesting combination... Or so it seemed to a desperate Serg, eager to make sure their next stop was a profitable as it could be. 

"Now you understand the plan, right?" Serg asked one final time, his voice labored in frustration, the heat of the day already forcing sweat to roll off his scarred brow.

"Yes sir." The two men replied.

"We ride into town, maybe an hour or so before you do. We post up at a bar..." Stephan started.

"The Iron Saddle. There are three pubs in this town. The Iron Saddle is the biggest of them. Has women, games... It's were the biggest crowd will turn..." Aaron interrupted, making sure the location was clear. 

"We go to the Iron Saddle. Make sure we get eyes on us. Get loud, buy women... Have us a good old time," Davey continued. 

"A little later in the evening, once Lord Serg has made his presence felt, we cause some trouble. Maybe peck a fight."

"Not too early, mind you. I intend to sleep on a feather bed with a pretty young thing this evening," Serg grumbled.

"Exactly. Not too early. Next morning, we do our thing and ride off to Candar." Davey continued, easily taking the lead among his peer. 

The plan was simple enough, something Serg and Louis had done for weeks now, fighting their way along the Marshal's road; their little tour already proving profitable along the Eastern frontier. But he had little faith in the two lads, their greenness worrying him as he rode into town. Aaron and he had lingered back a bit, setting camp and leaving Louis to mind the wagons. 

"Better to travel light, when depending on these two asses," Serg muttered as he and Aaron rode off on horseback towards Smythe. The sun was dipping low once they slowed their horses in front of the Iron Saddle, the coarse stone and wood building standing coldly on the far end of town. They could hear commotion from inside, Davey's district voice carrying outside obnoxiously as he spun tapestries of shit for any willing to listen. 

"He's certainly doing the get attention part," Aaron said quietly to his master as the pair entered into the building, Davey and Stephan holding court as they spun tales of a life lived along the road. Serg strode ahead; Aaron laboring behind, weighed down by Serg's impossibly heavy armor. 

"My sir," Serg said in his booming voice to the barkeep as he approached the bar. 

"Yes," the man behind it said, busy pouring drinks for another patron. 

"I inquire for a room for myself and my servant. And quarter for my animals." 

"The rooms are a crown for the hour, five for the night. Another two for you ho-" the man said automatically as he was turning around, but his words stopped as he laid eyes upon Serg. They grew wide, shocked to see a legend before him. 

"Sir Sergen... My Lord," he said, bowing his head reverentially. 

"Forgive me, I had no idea..." 

"There has been no offense."

"Oh but there was sir... To make you pay for lodging under my roof is an insult. We shall work out an arrangement for your servant and animals, but, my Lord... You will be my guest." 

No matter how often it happened, it always embarrassed Serg (not to say he didn't enjoy reaping the benefits, but it embarrassed him none the less). 

"But I insist," Serg feigned, knowing it would have been rude not to at least insist once. 

"You insult me to protest," the man continued, playing his role in the dance to a tea. 

"And I would never dream to do such." Serg relented, his voice pained in its efforts to be social and approaching as he forced himself to smile warmly at the barkeep. 

The man showed them to their rooms, up a flight of creaking wooden stairs, beyond four moaning doors before arriving to their quarters. 

"Is there food here?" Serg asked, forcing himself to smile at the generous man. 

"Yes. Some stew." The man replied. 


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