Well, we’re going around Southtown and straight to Laketown. This is a route I like to take when I don’t want to get recognized by someone and stuck in a conversation with them. Tonight’s about us so…
The sound of barking, and an animal bolting across the leaves makes you shoot up straight and swivel your heads around.
Evon puts a hand on each of your shoulders
“Easy, it’s just an old friend”
An excited dog comes bursting onto the path and jumping up at Evon’s Waist. The Dog looks like a larger version of Max. Evon leans down and the dog literally jumps into his arms. There’s an awkward moment when the excited canine playfully twists in his arms and Evon nearly falls backwards before the dog spasms out of his hands, lands on his feet, and issues a playful bark at the two of you. There’s a bandage on his left paw, which doesn’t seem to be slowing him down one bit, and some scabs on his snout where some hair is missing.
“This excited fellow is Chuck”
Wagging his tail, Chuck barks one more time and goes tearing around you in a mad, playful dash, shooting through the leaves like a doggy torpedo, then speeds away back off the trail towards a light that is now coming towards you.
“That you Evon?” An aged mans voice croaks out in the deepening gloom.
The voice is coming from the light, which is a lantern born by an old man that the dog has excitedly rushed back to.
“It is, and a few friends… just heading into town and thought I’d pay a visit.”
The darkness has fallen quickly, and the harsh glare of the lantern doesn’t seem to help you make much sense of the deepening dusk, but your eyes adjust enough to make out a cottage about 100 feet back in the trees. It looms shadowy among the trees behind the silhouette of the old man who is waving you forward.
“Well stop lurking around like a grave robber then!… and lets have a sit on my porch! Chuck! Get the high holy hell back to the house you little shit!”
The man turns around and heads back towards the house, waving for you all to follow him. He walks with an arrested, slightly bow legged gait that speaks of a body worn by years of hard work but still propelled with vitality. What he lacks in great strides he makes up for by walking more quickly.
The Dog races to the mans side and pauses to look back at you and bark.
“Oh Shut it Chuck! No one gives a shit.” The old man pauses to painfully bend down and lovingly scratch the dog behind his ears.
“Don’t mind Chuck, got in a fight and now he thinks he’s tough business! Don’t you Chuck? Now get up on the porch boy and lay in your bed. Lay down Chuck! Lay your scrappy ass down.”
Together the old man and chuck climb the stairs up the porch. A copper dipped skull shines with an otherworldly glow above the front door of the little house in the orchard. A cluster of bamboo chairs are pulled up around a low table there, where the lamp is now burning. A few candles flicker dimly from within the house.
The man vanishes inside as you approach. When you are nearly to the front steps he emerges with a pipe in his hands and a small leather pouch. Deep lines score his aged face, and one eye is frosted over with white cataracts. It gives him a fierce character in the lamp light, but a pleasant smile is spread across his face.
“I know you’ll be looking for a good smoke Evon, mine’s the best!”
“Indeed it is. Bo, these are my friends, Caris and Hrothgar. Bo is an old friend of mine..”
“Well they can see I’m old Evon! Don’t bore them with the obvious…I’m the genuine article..old as sin. I fart dust and shit rust. Memories not as sharp as it used to be, and also, my memories not as sharp as it used to me..”
He pauses to let his joke land, eagerly looking the two of you over before continuing.
“I once went shopping in an antique market and someone tried to buy me! But the gods have blessed me with the senility to forget the bastards I never liked anyways,
The good fortune to be visited by the one’s I do
And one good eye so I can still tell the difference! Caris and Hrothgarn ya say? Well come on up and share a smoke with an old turd. And you know what, Me and my dog will have a smoke with Evon too.”