He didn’t know where he was going. He didn’t remember where he’d been. He didn’t know why he was traveling on the empty road. All he knew was that he must keep moving. He paused to drink from streams or eat wild berries that he recognized as food. Perhaps they’d been baked in pies. He didn’t remember that either.

Once he paused to sit on a rock. Arthur frowned as he rubbed his feet. He’d been walking for hours and still had no idea where he was. He was lost in the wilderness. It reminded him of something but he couldn’t remember what. Then he looked up and saw smoke rising in the distance. This reminded him of something too but he couldn’t tell what that was either. He stood and walked toward the smoke, not bothering to follow the road.

It was sunset by the time he reached the source of the smoke. Arthur had traveled over rocky scrubland and through several groves of trees, but he’d kept the smoke plume always directly ahead of him. Now, scraped in half a dozen places and even more footsore than he’d been when he spotted the smoke, he reached his destination. It was an inn.

The inn was at the crossroads of three highways. A small village lay not far away, but the inn had been his destination. He stepped inside and watched the hustle and bustle of the crowd. A small blond man was just barely keeping up with orders shouted by patrons.

Close by someone shouted, “How long does it take to get a simple ale?”

Arthur blinked and went to the bar. He poured the ale and brought it to the man. It was the same thing he’d done in his uncle’s tavern until the building had burned down. That he remembered.

More orders were shouted at him and he did his best to fill them all. Soon everyone was served and he leaned on the bar to catch his breath. The blond man looked up at him and smiled, “Looking for work?” he asked.

Arthur nodded and replied, “I think so.”

“You’re hired,” he said. “Bergren Shadowmoon. I own the place. We have a chef in the back, Alair. He’s gruff but kind. Welcome aboard.”

“Thank you,” Arthur murmured before he set off to collect the coins that the patrons were holding out to him.

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