Inn of Go-Fast Town
3. The Jail Boat Pilot's Advice
"It is a fair exchange for passage on your raft," said Bard. He was of Lake-town, but his forbears were the line of Girion, Lord of Dale, whose wife and child had escaped down the Running River from Smaug's ruin nearly two hundred years ago. "I am glad I saw your preparations in town. I did not wish to miss the market fair."
"What a strange boat, up ahead. Do you know it?"
"Why, we have arrived at Go-Fast," said Bard. "That is the Jail Boat, where they put people who misbehave. They stay there until someone bails them out. Not much to eat, I've heard, but plenty of fresh air and all the river water you can drink."
They drifted near the Jail Boat and Bard hailed the pilot, who sat in a little tugboat tied to the cage-like platform.
"Welcome to Go-Fast," shouted the pilot. "Still looking for your father's arrow?"
"I have found out who has it, but not how to get it," said Bard.
"Why is there so much smoke in the town?" said Legolas, for when the wind gusted south, the smoke tendrils hid the yellow foliage of the river birches.
"Travelers' cook fires," said the pilot. "We have no inn except for the old great-house. If you take my advice you will not stay there because –" but a loud burst of thunder covered his words and all they heard was "…stay there."
"Thanks, we will take your advice," said Bard, and they hurried for the piers, chased by sprinkles of rain.
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