The Sign of the Bronze Hammer
Part Four – Peregrine and Blade
The package required the both of them to carry it, being a large and bulky object tight wrapped in white linen. Despite its size, it did not weigh a much as Blade had first expected when he saw it, which made the transport of it, in part, easier to manage.
Navigating through the crowds proved a different matter. The Aedring woman led the way, scowling and snarling a path through the milling throng, at times forcing her compact frame ahead, pushing people to move them aside. Complaints died on their lips as they turned to protest to her, seeing in her face a hard determination that would give pause to the bravest souls. Few there were that would cross an Aedring if they could help it, for their reputations were well known. Blade considered much of it was like to be an exaggeration, but how much he did not know.
“Blade is it?” the woman asked as they began to leave the crowded concourses that led through the sprawl, out onto one of the main roads that cut through the outer city, leading from the inner city to the trade routes beyond.
“I am so called,” he replied.
A grunt followed that. “I have heard worse and more original names used. Still, it will do, I suppose, if you had a blade any more that is. What use are you without a sword?”
“I have other talents, other tricks,” Blade promised her. “Yet I do not see why it should be of a concern. We are merely delivering a package.”
A short burst of harsh laughter came from the woman. “You do not know the Wise Mother then,” she said. “Her tasks are not as simple as they seem, and nor is she.”
“I had thought her Aedring, like you, yet if she is as you say, then she is not as I have heard tell of your people.”
An uneasy grunt came from the woman. “She is one that we do not speak much of, for long ago she left our lands for reasons of her own. I do not know the why, for she was not driven to do so, but came of her own accord, giving up a position of influence and prestige, being a mystic and Wise Mother as she was. Any Aedring who come down from the hills seek out her advice at one time or another.”
“You did not come of your own accord?” Blade asked, catching hints in her words that led him to believe she had done so for different reasons.
“I will not speak of that to a stranger, and a lowlander at that,” she replied, abrupt and sharp. “It is Aedring business.”
Blade let the matter drop. “I did not hear your name,” he said instead.
“Peregrine,” the woman stated. “Hraega’s Hammer, but this place is a maze,” she stated vehemently. “How is one expected to find their way about?”
“We turn left ahead,” Blade told her. “That leads out onto the Street of Sapphire Blossoms, which in turn will lead us to the bridge out onto the Ward of the Resplendent Tiger, where our destination lies.”
Peregrine made a sour sound. “At least you have some use,” she noted before falling silent.
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