Aglaril Cycle Book 2 Chapter 4 Looking Around Town by Rich Feitelberg

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SUMMARY: James goes looking around town for clues and finds something he wasn't expecting.

James left the inn and strolled around town, looking for some place he could go to learn more about Martingis's history. He walked about for about ten minutes, then stopped and sighed. His shoulders sagged. There didn't appear to be any Hall of Records or chapter house of his guild in town. Only the most basic shops and stores were scattered about.

These people don't seem too interested in the past, James thought. He scratched the back of his head. I suppose that's typical in a farming community like this. Still, it's too bad. It would've been nice to understand why people settled here in the first place and the challenges they've faced over the years. It might not mean much to Evan, but it would certainly help me understand these people better.

I could go visit the local church I suppose, the bard mused; they'll have some records, but that will mean spending hours sorting through scads of unorganized documents. Very dull. Guess, I'll have to think of something else to do.

James pushed his disappointment aside, straightened, and scanned the shops in the vicinity. On his right was a butchery and a bakery. A scene of a warm spring morning in Stellingham flashed through James's mind, when, as a youth, he would sit down wind of the bakery near his house and inhale the aroma of fresh bread baking. He could easily do that now in Martingis, but it was after mid-day and the likelihood of bread actually baking was low.

Continuing his survey of the stores nearby, the bard spied the apothecary and a general store straight ahead and farther down the snowy road. The apothecary might have something interesting in it, especially for Iriel, but James didn't know much about herbs. Thyme, rosemary, and mandrake root were all the same to him; he wondered briefly if he should have studied herb lore back at the Bardic College.

It certainly would be helpful now. James concluded to himself.

Instead, he had enrolled in the recommended course of study for bards: history, heraldry, poetry, mythology, folk tales and the beliefs of elves, dwarves, gnomes, and the wide variety of humans that lived in Thalacia and elsewhere in the world. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time but now he wasn't so sure.

Maybe Iriel can teach me herb lore. He liked that idea. It would bring them closer together and he would have something to study while they traveled.

He smiled and grew enthused at the thought of learning something new. James loved learning; whether it was about a thing like herbs or a place like Martingis, or people like the local townsfolk, it didn't matter to him. So long as he was learning.

Completing his inspection of the area, James spotted a wine shop, the Wine Emporium, on his left.

A bottle of wine might make a good gift for Iriel and I know enough about wine that I shouldn't embarrass myself too much when I give it to her. Let me see what they have.

He walked over to the store and gazed in the window. A wide variety of spirits and bottles were arranged on a low table.

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