“Well here we are, the end of the road,” Hiss, the guide said abruptly.
“What do you mean, the end of the road?” Dorion asked. “You said you would take us to New Nordia.”
“And here we are, ” the leather-faced old-timer said, spitting on the ground. “See those piles of stones? They mark the border. The journey’s finished.”
“Border to what? New Nordia is a big city with temples, and a citadel.”
“That it is,” Hiss responded. “Well, New Nordia City, that is. But you came into that tavern and asked, ‘Is there anyone that can guide my family to New Nordia?’ You said nothing about New Nordia City. And now we are are standing in New Nordia, which is exactly what I said I’d do.”
Dorion glanced back at his wife, Hilli and their infant daughter, then turned back to face the old ranger. “Surely Mr. Hiss you can’t just, leave us here.”
“I can – and I will,” Ichabod ‘Hiss’ Jeman replied. “You’re welcome to ride back to Farmington with me. I won’t charge no more for that.”
“But, we sold-up in Farmington. We don’t have anything back there.”
“And you got anything in New Nordia City?” the guide asked with vinegar in his voice.
“Yes. I – I um bought a store there,” Dorion replied with growing apprehension.
“That’s a pretty little wagon and team you have there,” Hiss commented nonchalantly. “I think those copper pans your missus been using on the road are right pretty too.”
“What are you hinting at?” Dorion asked with a sinking heart.
“I was just pondering that I might well know the way to New Nordia City – if it were worth my while,” Jeman said.
“Worth your . . . ” Dorion began.
“Worth my while,” the guide repeated, spitting again. Hiss always had been a bit of a snake.