‘Avoid Attica, my friend,’ said Neleos. ‘Your wild talk makes you a heretic in their eyes. Heed the words of their magistrate, Krateros. Stay away from that township.’
‘Fear not, my drunken friend,’ said Alastor. ‘I shall tread the road that fringes the town.’
‘Set off tonight then, for the moon is voluptuous and bright,’ said Neleos. ‘By the time the sun kisses the dew drenched earth, you would have passed Attica. But even then, don’t forget your sturdy staff and trusty blade. And indulge no one on the road.’
‘You nag like my mother, but I know you mean well.’ Alastor dug into his pouch and produced a coin to pay for their drinks.
‘You are my friend, and to speak the truth, my only friend,’ said Neleos. He emptied his wine-cup. ‘Thank you for indulging me again. And come back whole, for I will not know how to engage in a conversation, if you were missing a head.’
*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***
Context: In our modern world, people travel all the time – whether a quick dive to the corner drug store or an international trip straddling continents – and hardly give a second thought. Back then, I believe, every journey was froth with danger.
A very interesting story is unfolding in your replies.
A moonless sky will bring with it the dread of night and things that lurk in the dark. But a full moon kept the markets open past sunset and even enticed people to risk the road.
Alastor set off riding his mule, and he led two more of those stubborn animals behind him. He met several itinerants like him on the road. As was the custom, when they came upon one another, the wayfarers warily raised their hands, making clear they held no ready weapons or implements of mischief. Sometimes, they uttered guarded greetings before hastily continuing on their journeys. If it had been daytime, some might have stopped to exchange news. But not at night—even a full moon night.
If the path ahead unrolled safely, Alastor would reach the outskirts of Attica by the end of the first watch.
Thank you and much appreciate the encouragement.
I’ve challenged myself to develop the story corresponding to a word, phrase or theme drawn from the comments. For now, I am restricting myself to five comments or until the next post, whichever the sooner. Your comment is the fifth. Thank you 🙂
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All good wishes for the week ahead,
I think there are still travel stories worth telling but they pale in contrast to the number of mindless travel now done every day.
Alastor held up the little pigeon cage. The bird tilted its head and studied him back.
‘What takes you beyond Attica?’ asked Neleos.
‘Ores,’ said Alastor, ‘I need some iron, tin and copper and go to meet the merchant who arrives at the village beyond Attica.’
‘A necessary journey for your trade, no doubt,’ said Neleos.
‘Since when does anyone undertake a frivolous journey?’
Now that you mention it – mindless travel – you are quite right. Had not looked at it in that light.
Thank you and have a good weekend ahead,
Even with our technology, no one knows what lies in wait for us and the next moment’s corner.
‘Has Iola recovered from her wounds?’ asked Alastor. The last time Neleos sent his pigeon on an errand, she almost became a meal for an eagle.
‘She’s a tough one, and has healed well,’ said Neleos.
‘And yet you expect me to send her out over the mountains,’ said Alastor, ‘not knowing what dangers lurk in the currents or in the opaque clouds.’
‘Only if compelled to, my friend,’ said Neleos, ‘and Iola knows better now than to venture too close to the cliffs.’
You’re absolutely right. Even with all the latest OTH radar and ECM, modern day jet fighters continue to get blindsided. As they say, the one you don’t see is the one that is gonna get you.
Thank you for your visit and contribution.
All good wishes for the weekend,
Those days when you travel, you don’t even know when you will be back or ever coming back again. No means of convenient contact. We do take our modern technology for granted sometimes.
‘Wait a while, my friend,’ said Neleos, and he stood up. ‘Let us walk together.’
The friends stepped out onto the street. It was a noisy busy afternoon and people strolled about, others milled before trade stalls, and some leaned lazily against graffiti adorned walls.
‘Surely you retain your wits about you,’ said Alastor. ‘My home is that way.’
‘Let us go by my house instead, even though it takes a scenic route,’ said Neleos, and he boldly added. ‘My wife is away.’
‘I need to prepare for my journey and have several matters to attend to,’ said Alastor. ‘What can be so important that it cannot wait my return?’
‘You remember my homing pigeon?’
‘Iola?’ said Alastor. ‘What about her?’
‘Yes, Iola, take her with you,’ said Neleos. ‘You never know when you might need a friend to come to your aid.’
‘Do you always jump at shadows even when the sun is out, my drunken friend?’ asked Alastor. But he followed his friend.
Yes, modern technology has indeed shrank distances and time.
Quite often, film makers, and even authors, of historical genre do not fully appreciate the world their protagonists inhabit.
Have a great weekend ahead,
A voluptuous moon? Now that is a moon I would like to see. lol. You are right in your under comments. We do live in a dangerous world today, not only for travel but just walking around our home streets or in the home itself.
‘The moon smiles bright tonight,’ said Alastor, ‘and I suspect you will be carousing late into the night.’
‘Her smile brings out the lovers, my friend,’ said Neleos, ‘and livers of life admit some lunacy into their lives, myself no less.’
‘Farewell, my drunken friend,’ said Alastor, ‘and god willing, we shall meet before she hides behind complete gloom.’
Yes, in modern times that word – voluptuous – had taken on a rather narrow meaning.
In a sense you may be right but thankfully, for now, a walk to the corner drug store remains fairly safe.
All good wishes for the weekend,
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