Chapter 1: Adventure.. Page 6

Posted: January 11, 2007 in Good Reads

Chapter 1: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5

Old Shanty job proved to be an uneventful undertaking. There was only one wagon, manned by the driver and Old Shanty’s employee, Mr. Lockes. They traveled along the Caledrian road, into the fringes of Calor Woods. One chest of assorted gemstones was delivered to the elven craftsmen waiting for them there. It took less than a month.

There was not a whiff of brigands throughout the journey. Max never let his guard down, though.

Wykka had been entrusted with cooking, washing, mending, caring for the horses, and a multitude of minor, but necessary, tasks. He carried his duties admirably. Intruth, he had found them far less taxing than the demands of farming.

In return, Max had begun teaching the youth a little about swinging a battleaxe, and how not to get one in the guts. Wykka was only mediocre with the weapon. This was not to marginalize Max as a teacher, though he was certainty not the best. But there was only so much a dwarfcould teach a human. Not only did dwarves have dissimilar bone structure and weight distribution, their reflexes and thought processes differed as well. More tellingly, Max had learnt his skills the hard way – through personal experience. It was not something that can be taught in a few days, or even a few years.

Nevertheless, Max was sufficiently pleased by the overall performance to let Wykka join them for the next job. He even awarded the youth with a silver coin, to buy a more presentable outfit. In truth, any tunic would be an improvement over the rags that Wykka wore.

Eladred was far less impressed. For most of the Old Shanty stint, he hed been vocally disapproving of Max’s patronage of Wykka – until they reached Calor Woods. There, he fell silent, becoming withdrawn. During their short interaction with the elven craftsmen, he hid his face within his hood. Wykka thought he detected scorn in the elf, directed at the craftsmen. Yet, there was a strange longing there, as well.

Max explained later that Eladred was something of an outcast among his own people.

‘He had a crush on an elven princess in his youth,’ Max whispered to Wykka, while waiting for Eladred to return with game that night. ‘It resulted in painful rejection, and widespread ridicule among his peers.’

Wykka said, ‘Why? Are the elves so particular about social sttus? Even among Men, a commoner may woo a princess, if he proves worthy. By your account, Eladred is a genius with the bow, is he not?’

‘Eladred, too, had thought his skill to be sufficient license to court the princess. I’m sure he was not so naïve as to think that success was inevitable. But he certainly had not expected the humiliation that the elf nation heaped on him. I’m told that they laughed in his face, when he even suggested it. They teased and mocked him at every turn, for years after.’

‘That’s terrible!’

                                               to be continued…

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