"We will go across, knave. As easy as that."
Ludovico rode to the shoreline
"The water seems to be very deep at some places. We would need to swim. Should I help you with the armour?"
With the heavy chain mail his Master would surely drown.
"No, too much of a roundabout way." Ludovico view Fabio murky.
"We will try it downriver. There is an old bridge."
"Have you been to these woods already?"
"Don't ask me stupid questions and just do what I say!"
With these words Ludovico rode towards the bridge. The breaking of the branches could still be heard over the strong current of the river. Should there still be enemies near them, at the latest now they would notice them.
Pulling Gino behind him, Fabio followed the river until to his surprise an old and rusty wooden bridge could be made of in the dark. But that which should be a bridge looked more like a broken wing of a grand bird.
"This thing here doesn't look very trustworthy." remarked Fabio hesitantly.
"I admit, it was a while back since a last used this bridge." Ludovico swung himself of the horse rather hard. Then he took a step towards the bridge and mustered the old thing.
"This was built, for the purpose of the hunt even by strong currents. But it seems like Vittore de Vontafei does not enjoy these past times anymore."
"Let me test, if this bridge can even hold us Sir."
The paladin nodded and let his knave pass. The wood seemed already rotten at some places, everything was covered in moss and every now and then there would be a gaping hole. Fabio sighed.
"Come Gino!" Fabio took the reins of the animal and cautiously put one foot on the bridge. The donkey screamed out loud and only followed him very reluctant. The wooden bridge creaked heavily, but withstood their weight. Fabio took a second step, then a third one. Still creaking bad, however it came out it was more resilient than they have thought.
"I think we made us only unnecessary worried!" screamed Fabio against the roaring of the water.
"I hope so..." muttered the Paladine, who followed every step of his knave very attentive.
"Just don't get cocky."
Fabio slowly crept formers and evaded a gape as he pulled on the reins. The hooves of the donkey created worrisome noises. Just two big steps and they would have solid ground under their feets again. Little annoyed he looked over to Gino. The animal has stopped before the last gap and refused to go any further.
"Come, it's only a little further. Only a-"
Then there was a angry shout in the forest behind Fabio. Fabio twirled around and pulled heavier on the reins than he wanted. Gino acted up and under his front hooves it cracked. Scared the animal danced onto the side, where the old board cracked too.
"Be careful boy, our bags!"
In the next moment snapped one of the pillars and the whole construction breaked into. The donkey screamed scared to death, slipped away to the side and fell into the river. Fabio, which still hold the reins in his hand, was pulled forwards and too fell into the river.
"Gino!" Fabio ignored the cold, which spread across his wet clothes, grabbed a hanging twig and pulled desperately on the reins. Before him hopped the wood debris on the water. The bridge itself looked as if the first of a giant collided with it.
finally Ginos head came above the water and Fabio swimmer while pulling the donkey to the shore. After the animal climbed onto land it shook himself and breathed heavy. Like a wonder it wasn't just. As for that- the bags and provisions were all fully wet. But at least nothing was lost.
"Everything okay?" asked the from the water muffled voice of Ludovico.
"Yes!" shouted Fabio, which still had troubles, making Gino calm down. Preferably he would wanted to shout a crude curse. Water dripped from his pants, his cape hung deeply wet on his shoulders and his shoes made squeaky noises. However in this unfortunately situation he pulled his short sword heartily.
"have you heard this sound too, Sir? he shouted.
"I might be old but I'm not deaf." was the answer from the other side. Like the wind sat Ludovico on the horse.
"Further down is the water not so deep. Wait for me!" Shortly after vanished his master in the dark. Again there was the sound of a scream full of fear out of the woods. It belongs without a doubt a woman. It came from one of the hills, which was densely overgrown with black oaks und lied further away from the shore.
Fabio believed to see a light between the trees. So the goblins were still nearby!
he looked yearningly at the spear and the oval shield, on Ginos back. But as a knave it was forbidden for him to wear the weapons and clothes of a Paladin. Moreover his master told him to wait. This contradicted the highest order, which meant to protect the weak. Without thinking anymore, Fabio began to run with pulled sword.
He sprintet through the underwoods und over thick roots and stones even while his shoes were still wet and slippery. Out of breath he reached the hill. he could ready hear the rough laughter and the screams of a woman. With one look Fabio could already tell the situation. Diagonally from him was a clearing with a painted cart. In the light of the almost burnt out camp fire, the colors were almost non existent. But the barrel shape, the wheels with star shaped spoke and the leaf shaped roof - all this identifies this cart as one of the gnome families. Under these window were even some flower pots. The pony's were lose and grazed the grass nearby. Before the cart was a elderly gnomin which fought against two men, which were enjoying this very openly. The woman bravely fought with a long stick.
Like all the representatives of her folk, she only reached a human to his bellybutton. Alone her bulbous nose and her ears seemed relative a little too big than the rest of her body. Whenever she uses her stick her pigtails flew through the air, at her ears flashed golden rings. Their opponents were armed with clubs with which they provoked the Gnome. Cleverly they avoided their punches. Both men had edged
Faces and made the impression on Fabio to be simple Farm workers. One of them wore a big muzzle beard, the other had a bald head.
Fabio was already making his way down to the clearing when
There were also calls behind the car. "Stop, you damned brat! "
Suddenly a slender gnome boy appeared, who was followed by a third man with fire-red hair. He had to be the son of the Gnome, because he hardly had the size of a big dog. For this, the little one had an agility, the Fabio more than astonished. He dropped right in front of the legs of the redhead, causing his pursuer stumble and immediately sprint back to the car quick as a weasel to climb onto the roof.
"Go away" he shouted, pulling a slingshot out of his Belt and tensed up.
"Will you threaten me, pipsqueak?" The stranger sneered. The man quickly reached for a cast-iron frying pan, that hung next to other cooking utensils on the cart, and held it
protectively over his head.
Between the wagon wheels surged surprisingly a Gnome girl with messy hair, which seemed even more petite than the boy on the roof. With all her strength she bit the man in the calf. The stranger howled and struck with the pan after her. But the little girl was long again
disappeared under the car. Before you the redhead could resume his position, a clicking sound came, and he staggered back screaming. Groaning, he rubbed his shoulder. The gnome boy on the roof eyed him interested like an owl on the hunt and wanted to take a second shot when he was hit by a club thrown in the air. In a high arc he fell off the wagon and hit the forest floor. A strange clattering sound was to hear. Long ago
the two other men overwhelmed the gnome woman and now turned to the events behind their back
"Enough," the bald guy shouted. He squeezed the Gnome hard to the ground, grabbed her stick and pointed with it on the remains of the campfire.
"Take everything, what we can use, and then we light this crap cart on."
"Before that, I'll strangle that maggot, " the Readhead snapped and rubbed his shoulder.
"You will not do any of this! "Shouted Fabio loudly
The three men stared at him in disbelief as he spoke to him and slid down the hill with his short sword raised. As dignified as possible, he built himself up in front of his opponents.
"I am of the Order of the Dawn," he said
solemnly. You should be ashamed to rob these poor people. Leave them alone and disappear. But you can be sure that I am your feudal lord over your activities will inform. «
The bald guy dragged the gnome back onto her
Legs and peered past Fabio in the darkness. Apparently he was the leader of the small group. When he was sure that Fabio had no support, he grinned mischievously.
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