Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day Five-Forty-Seven: Surprisingly, does not have a cannon for a bottom

Well. I'm in. That… that wasn't SO bad.

I approached the gates of Villeinville shortly after sunup today, a toddling boy in a diaper at my side. I reasoned that even twitchy Cannonbottom would not fire on a child. I was… mostly right, as the only cannonball fired went far wide of us, and, I learned later, was meant only as a warning shot.

Nevertheless, I started to bellow at the walls the moment the cannonball chewed up landscape somewhere to my left. "YOU SONS OF BITCHES! CAN'T YOU SEE THAT I'VE GOT A KID, HERE?! ARE YOU MENTAL?"

Fynn waved his arms over his head, cringing a little at the tone of my voice. "Baah baah! Bithes! Bittthes!"

"Don't swear, son, it's rude." I patted him on the head. Won't be able to do that for much longer, I bet. "But YEAH! BITCHES! ALL OF YOU ARE BIG, FAT, STUPID BITCHES! GUYS 'N GIRLS ALIKE! SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF BITCHES! THAT'S RIGHT, I DON'T DISCRIMINATE OR NUTHIN'!"

A head peeked over the top of the wall. "Hmmmmmph! Hmph hmph! Manners is what you need, what? What? Yes! Manners! Now go away or, yep, 'nother cannon's comin' for your head! We'll adopt the boy if'n we need to be! Yep! No strangers, nope, nope!"

I smacked myself in the forehead. "Dammit, Derby, I was just HERE! Hasn't even been a year, I bet! Don't you recognize me? DRAGOMIR, DAMMIT! I USED TO LIVE HERE!"

Derby squinted, eyeballs juddering thoughtfully. "Hmmmm. Hmmm hmmm hmmmmmmmmm. Dragomir, y'say? Son of that ol' bastard Oswald 'n his lovely Martha? Brother of that guy, yep, the one with the faaaaantastic cooking?"

I cringed. Robert. That wound still fester. "Errr… yeah. Yeah! That's me! Open up, man, I need to talk to Cannonbottom! He needs to stop firing shit at my ride!"

"Ain't, nope, ain't a, ain't a single bit of manure in our cannons -"



"Hush, son."

In time, and with some angered coaxing, as well as successfully screaming the new password ('FUCK YOUR BAKED BEANS' - dunno what I was thinking) I persuaded Derby to let me in. I led Fynn through the open gates, keenly aware that Libby would probably murder me for endagering her son. (Didn't ask to take him, you see. That there's called a gambit.) His spear at the ready, Derby led Fynn and I through a crowd of curious farmers to Cannonbottom's tower.

Though it's not exactly metropolitan in size, I have to admit that the tower still impressed me. It's basically a series of four stacked rings, each a little smaller than the last, with well-fortified balconies that hold a cannon apiece. If necessary, Cannonbottom can use tracks in the floors to quickly reposition his cannons and fire in any direction. At the bottom there's a massive, heavily-locked door, and it's here that the lord of Villeinville met us. I found that surprising, as Cannonbottom almost never leaves his tower.

"Strangers!" the gangly old man bellowed, nervously clutching a small cannonball in both hands. I swear he would sew the things into his crazy hobo beard if he had the neck strength to keep 'em up. "Strangers, strangers! Don't know these ones! Why, Derb, why they in here? Speak up, all of you!"

I pushed Derby aside before he could say anything. "Dragomir, my lord. I'm Dragomir. Used to live here, remember? Parents're Oswald and Martha? They moved a while ago?"

Cannonbottom puckered his lips at the names. "Mmmmmmm. Dragomir… son of Oswald… well, sure as shit I remember that fat codger of a reeve… 'n Martha, she made her some sweet pies… yep, guess they had a son… two, I recollect… hell, the one made sweeter pies 'n his ma!"

I nodded. "Rob. My brother. He's, uh… well, anyway. I lived here most of my life when I was a kid. Left a few years ago. Remember? And me and a convoy came back last year? Robert left with us? C'mon, so few things happen out here that you gotta remember us."

After no small amount of storytelling, Cannonbottom eased. He remembers me as a 'stupid little shit' from the old days, 'n he keeps saying that I should stop dying my hair, but, yeah, his memories are mostly back. He's allowing us into Villeinville five-at-a-time at most, so long as we keep the Dauphine well clear of the town. Also made it very plain that we'll be watched.

(The only exception to the five-at-a-time rule is Bora. When he heard that Bora's back, he DEMANDED that she come visit. And… stay in the town while we're here. Buncha pervy old men living here, I gotta tell ya.)

My house is now in Pubton, so those of us staying in the town are in Robert's old restaurant, which has been converted into a tavern with room for boarders. We're going to stay for the rest of the week, get the Dauphine back up to code, and then head out for the border. Hopefully in the meantime we'll get some quality goods from the folks 'round here.

Villeinville. Stupid old Villeinville. I will admit, I don't really miss this place. It's better without dad around, but… yeah. Memories.


Dragomir the Wanderer

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