Prologue; Snowy Roads, Part 3 by oscar garcia

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They could talk while they were on the road.

"He has already fed and watered the animals." She shoved some corned beef into the split loaf and spread some mustard on the inside with the same bread knife. "He will be happy to go with you, I am sure." She wrapped both sandwiches in cheesecloth and stuffed them into an oak wicker basket she had sitting on the shelf by the table. Gerry gave her another kiss as she handed him the basket, then went outside to talk with Benoni.

Benoni's well muscled arm handled the froe expertly, riving stripps of wood from already thin aspen trunks. Ben built the corral in the back that held the horses, the sheep pen, and teh fences that surrounded the front yard. Ben's dog, Bear, strolled out from the back yard. The dog was demonspawn, and as a result was the size of a horse. Benoni trained him as a puppy and the two were nearly inseperable. Bear helped Benoni with the shepherding and protected him as well. Long white fur with large brown spots flopped up and down as Bear trotted to Ben, who put down his froe to pet his friend. The dog towered over Ben, and could likely kill the boy easily, but Bear had proven his loyalty to his master many times.

"Saddle Blizzard, Ben." Gerry said with a smile. "We are going to visit the Shinto's." he tossed the oak basket to Benoni and went to the stable where his half dozen horses were kept as well as a few milk cows and an ox he used to plow the fields in the back. Gerry was the chief of the Kados militia, but long before he ever shouted an order to someone, he was a farmer. Many small gardens surrounded the house and dotted the fenced yard, separated by by shorter fences. Herbs, tomatoes, cabbage, beans and potatoes all were planted in his yard.

The stable was not large, but compared to most in Kados, Gerry was wealthy. There were not many in town who owned as many horses as he did. He worked hard for what he had, though and as a result did not feel bad that he had more than most. It was the sweat off his brow that got him where he was. The stables at the Angry Bear were ten times as large as his, but Jake was only reaping what his father had sown.

Benoni grabbed his saddle and placed it on Blizzard, a white mare that was one of his favorites. Gerry's horse was a gold colored mare named Goldie. He saddled and bridled his horse, making sure the girth and bellyband were secure and fastened properly. He watched with pride as Benoni checked his horse. Benoni had been riding horses since he was three, and Gerry was extremely proud of Benoni's prowess in the saddle. "Can we race to the gate?" Benoni asked excitedly as he mounted Blizzard. Gerry laughed loudly. Last time they raced he was forced to cheat to win, starting when the boy was not expecting it. He almost lost that race anyway and was sure that Benoni would win this time, especially if he did not cheat. He had to come up with a different tactic this time.

"First, let's make sure that we have everything." Gerry said. "Did you bring your bedroll? I don't think Volar will want to share his bed with you."

As if his words had been a summons, Leota entered the stable carrying two bedrolls and two glass jars filled with cold milk. She placed them in the oak basket that was already mounted on Goldie's saddle. "You two be careful. And say hello for me." She walked back inside again after giving them both a loving smile. Gerry could not wait to get home again.