Chapter 1: Adventure.. Page 8

Posted: February 24, 2007 in Good Reads

Chapter 1: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7

Over the course of the next few months, they took on four more escort jobs. It was smooth sailing all the way. Wykka was beginning to feel that this line of work was pretty laid back, despite Eladred’s constant scare tactics regarding its dangers.

After a month’s break, they had their first potential fray. It was a bounty. Confrontation was inevitable. There were seven of them, brigands who had dared to abduct the son of a wealthy spice merchant. The son turned up in the Potclac River, face down. The merchant demanded their heads.

Following a lead provided by a shifty character called Knowles, they hiked to the Jolas Mountain Range. The information proved to be trap. As they crossed a particularly narrow strip, the ambush was sprung. After some pretty bad crossbow shots, seven screaming men charged them with sabres.

The youth witnessed for himself why it’s never a good idea to charge an elven marksman, even from thirty feet away. Eladred took down two before the enemy could close half the distance.

Max met the remainder with a ferocious charge of him own. Wykka was right behind the dwarf, surprising himself with his own courage. Once the battle started, the doubt and fear he had tried to quell throughout the journey evaporated. There was no room for such emotions: it was a life and death situation. Fortunately, Eladred provided supporting fire that saved Wykka from his own incompetence.

The battle lasted ten minutes, though it felt like hours to Wykka. The youth acquitted himself by not slicing off any of his own extremities. Perhaps he even created sufficient distraction for Max and Eladred to get the real killing done.

Between the two veterans, the brigands never had a chance.

They walked away from the encounter with forty in bounty gold. The merchant gave them five as bonus, for hunting down the villains so swiftly. Wykka received two from Max. Eladred grumbled, but it was half-hearted – as if he did it only because it was expected of him.

From then on, Wykka was given a share of the company’s earnings. He was told that he had earned it. Max promised a bigger portion, when he became better with the axe.

‘But I wasn’t any help,’ Wykka had said in puzzlement, after receiving his money for the first time.

Max explained, ‘You’re still learning. But you have proven your courage. We’ve been waiting for that. In this line of work, it’s what matters most.’

‘I don’t quite understand.’

The dwarf smiled. ‘You never know whether a person is a warrior until the first fight. In countless wars, I’ve seen the best trained soldiers, far more skilled than you, break on their first charge. Yet there are farmers and scribes, with minimal military instruction, who stood firm and held the battle line. What good is the best swordsman in the world, if you can’t trust him to stand beside you? Your predecessor was a good axeman – but he got a back full of arrows running away.’

‘This isn’t my first flight,’ Wykka said quietly, feeling melancholy, ‘I wasn’t any use against my sister’s killers either.’

‘You weren’t ready then. You had hot thought of yourself as a warrior.’

‘Now that I have?’

‘You’ll only get better. If death doesn’t find you first.’


                                                 to be continued…

  1. […] Chapter 1: Adventure.. Page 9 Friday March 16th 2007, 8:45 pm Filed under: Good Reads Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8 […]


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