Prologue, Snowy Roads Part I by oscar garcia

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'And just as unaffected by the cold' she thought as she noticed they were wearing thin trousers and tunics with short sleeves. She prayed for them. She often prayed to whatever gods she suspected would listen, as she was sure others had prayed for her. Did the god's care anyway? It was hard to think that they did. She shuddered again, not entirely from the cold.

The Angry Bear was a three story inn decorated with a sign whose light could be seen clearly even in the middle of the day. The sign depicted a roaring white bear swiping its claws across a barrel which was spilling ale into four frothing mugs. Jake Strommer, the owner of the inn was a bit shorter than two meters and about twenty years Aline's junior. He was wearing a blue button up shirt made of wool and some denim pants that were very nearly the same color. A white apron crossed his muscular chest, but the bottom part of his apron was smeared with grease. Jame took over the inn seven years ago when his father, the previous owner died of malarial fever on a particularly hot summer. Jake was previously a soldier in the army of Camaria, far to the northwest, and was not happy about inheriting the inn, at first. He was great at running the inn, though, and soon learned to love both the inn and Kados.

He smiled and waved at Aline as she strolled into the homely common room. She loosened her cloak and took a seat on a barstool in front of Jake. "How are you this fine day?" Jake asked with a warm smile as he wiped down the spotless bar. He talked as if his mouth were full of mush and he did not want to spill any. That was how most Camarians spoke. She wondered how on earth he could feel that this was a "fine day," but his voice was comforting and his smile genuine. He was not an ugly man, with striking blue eyes that a woman could get lost in. She was sure that many women had, but she had seen nearly sixty years and was past the point of swooning over a man's eyes. "Would you like something to drink?"

"Thank you, Jake." she replied. "Could you give me something warm to take off the chill?"

"How about some apple cider?" he asked. She nodded and he smiled, turned around and walked through a swinging door behind the bar. Cooks hustled about behind the doors with huge pots and pans. No doubt they were already preparing for lunch. The common room was large enough for several hundred people, and it was not uncommon for it to be nearly filled even without the travellers that came with the caravans. Square tables with red checkered tablecloths covered nearly the entire floor space. The floor was a tan colored hardwood that showed a bit of wear, but it only made the whole place look more rustic and quaint. There was a section in the corner with a raised stage for musicians who wanted to play. Surprisingly enough, there were a fair share of gifted musicians in Kados and wandering minstrels foung their way there at least twice a month no matter what the weather was like. The dance floor was next to three square paned windows whick let in pleasant yellow sunlight.

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