I was posting instalments of the Fantasy story I wrote 17 years ago every Sunday and Wednesday afternoons. The most observant amongst you may have realised that I haven’t posted an instalment in some time. In fact, the last one was posted on the 29th of July. I rather ran out of energy and wanted to concentrate on new stuff, like my Murder-Mystery and a few short stories and poems.
Well here is the next part. I hope you are enjoying it.
If you want to read it from the beginning, here is the link:
Later that evening they all gathered in the common room for their evening meal. The meal presented to them was a particular favourite in that part of the world. The District of Savarias was famous for its horses, which was why they were on the district’s flag. However, the district had another claim to fame. It had more sheep than any other livestock, more sheep even than people and they commemorated that fact by making Lamb their main dish. Lara was relieved that the people of Savarias decided to put the Horse on their flag and Lamb on the dinner table rather than the other way around.
It was said that the district of Savarias had more recipes and ways to cook Lamb than any other. Today they were offered a local delicacy of lamb stew, with parsnips and carrots, seasoned with rosemary and thyme. Another local speciality was darkbread, a bread made with coarse ground wheat flour mixed with millet and rye. The result was a heavy dark coloured bread which many travellers found indigestible.
The smells wafting from the kitchen was quite delectable, the smell of lamb and the herbs was enticing and mouth-wateringly good.
As soon as the plate was put before her, Lara began tucking in with a rather unladylike speed. She noticed Augustus was a very light eater and so was David. Bethra, however, was putting even her to shame. She’d best get stuck in or Bethra would eat the lot. No one touched the darkbread, they’d already eaten enough of it on their short stay. It wasn’t so much that it was stale, more that it had never really seemed fresh. Lara suspected that the local barbers who doubled up as amateur dentists were somehow in league with the bakers because that bread must have broken quite a few teeth in its time.
Another culinary article in which this particular District excelled was cheese. Lara loved cheese and this district produced a wide range of cheeses, mainly made from ewe’s milk. A soft and a hard cheese was served after the main meal with thin wheat biscuits that, in contrast to the darkbread, were very nice, which meant they could get their teeth into them without fear of loss.
With the meal over the Innkeeper and his staff, which mainly consisted of his daughters and nieces, cleared the table. The fat Innkeeper had a pleasant countenance and usually had a large grin on his chubby face. Possibly, this was due to the fact that because of the unseasonably terrible weather, his Inn was unusually busy for the time of year. He had a bald crown with a fringe of black hair, bushy black eyebrows and that permanent smile. His joviality raised the mood of his customers so that no one seemed to care about the weather anymore, the atmosphere was a carefully cultivated one of a happy home. The Innkeepers name was Jevan Gibb and he ran the inn together with his brother, Evard, their wives Petra and Kathmar and their horde of daughters. Lara wasn’t exactly sure how many there were because they all had similar features and long black hair, but she there was at least six girls all bustling around, cleaning and carrying, serving ale and generally adding to the hospitality with their pretty smiles. Master Gibb brought over a jug of the local dark ale for Mage Caraffi and David to enjoy and one of his daughters, Marta, brought over two glasses and a jug of lemonade for Lara and Bethra to share.
A man in the corner, dressed in the clothes of a local farmer, a blue smock that smelled of sheep, took out a fiddle from its case and began to play a country song. Another man drew a small flute from his pocket and joined it. Two of the ladies began dancing with vigour and energy. Tables were pushed to the edges to clear space so more people could join in. It must have been a well-known song because a few people began singing along. The words were about a sheep that strayed from the flock only to find its own way home.
The scene was warm and touching, a window on country life that Lara and Bethra enjoyed a lot. David sat in the corner nursing his tankard of ale. He, quite frankly, felt rather sickened by the sentimentality of it. Mage Caraffi’s face betrayed none of what he happened to be thinking, he remained strictly neutral, although the tapping of his foot along to the music rather betrayed a deeply buried sense of enjoyment.
End of Part Twenty-two.
Copyright Kristian Fogarty 17/August/2018