Friday, December 5, 2008

A Chat With Tharunn

Gulls squawked as they hovered over the harbour of Flamekeep, circling above waiting for an errant fish to slip off one of the many skiffs currently unloading its cargo. The dock district smelt just like the dock ward in Sharn. Located throughout the ward were all the businesses that other’s didn’t want to see or smell. The lowest of the low lived in this ward and Ethan knew it. He also knew that those who lived in palaces up above needed those who lived so far beneath them, whether they wished to recognize that fact or not.

The walk through the dock district was pleasant. Tharunn carried the conversation pointing out landmarks and favorite locations. He pointed out to Ethan the first place he ever stole food, his face turned red as he realized what he just said. Ethan just chuckled and thought of the first loaf of bread he ever stole. Truth be told he was rather fond of the boy and that was part of the problem.

After Tharunn had gone to bed the evening before Ethan had sat around as his companions planned their next move. Ethan couldn’t care less where they travelled, so long as he had the opportunity to practice his craft. He’d been working on some new maneuvers that he wanted to try out. He’d sat back and let the others debate the merits of the choices set before them. One thing had become abundantly clear, Tharunn wouldn’t be travelling with them any further. The task of breaking the news had fallen to Ethan and he still hadn’t figured out what to say.

Tharunn hadn’t spoken with Braddoc since the boy felt the dwarven warrior abandoned him when the dragon attacked. Ethan didn’t want the boy to feel betrayed again; he’d lost enough over the past weeks. It was something Ethan was familiar with and it had taken him years to finally find a new home. Tharunn had latched onto the party quickly, adopting them as his new family. Ethan dreaded the task ahead. Six take the others for leaving the task to him.
Stopping at a merchant’s stall Ethan purchased fresh fish and crisped potato’s for the two of them. Ethan continued to listen to the boy as he talked with a full mouth. Finding themselves at the beach Ethan began skipping stones into the bay. Looking down at a stone in his palm he figured now was as good a time as any.

“We’re leaving Flamekeep tomorrow,” Tharunn’s ear’s perked up at the news. “It’ll be dangerous, we’re heading after Jaryn. We feel it’s our best chance to figure out what’s been going on.”

Tharunn was obviously excited about the prospect of further travel, “That’s great! I’ve got my bag all packed, I’m ready to go. You don’t need to worry about me.”

Ethan chuckled, “I know Tharunn, you’re a smart kid and you know how to handle yourself. You’ve grown a lot over the past few weeks. I’m proud of you.”

Tharunn glowed as the comment was delivered. “I won’t let you down Ethan, you can count on me.”

The look on Tharunn’s face was serious, far too serious for a boy so young. “I know Tharunn”. Ethan sighed, here it comes he thought. “Unfortunately the others don’t feel that way. They worry that you might be a liability to the group; that you might get in the way.”

“That’s not true” the boy protested. “You told ‘em didn’t you Ethan? You told ‘em I could hold my own didn’t you?”

“I did Tharunn and I know you’d be a valuable addition to the party.” Ethan paused, his face clearly showing his frustration.

“What is it Ethan?” Tharunn asked.

“The others are right Tharunn; you are too young to travel with us. Your uncle Dourstone would tan my hide if I let you come with us. You understand don’t you?” Ethan clearly didn’t know where to go from here; he could see the disappointment written on the boy’s face. “I want to give you something Tharunn. You’ve proven yourself to be fairly good with a dagger, it’s time you had a good blade. My first dagger was given to me when I was a little older than you. It was given by ah, a friend of my mother’s.” Ethan fought hard to control the anger that was rising from within. “This dagger has been my most prized possession for many years. It carries with it many memories and lessons. Lessons I learned the hard way. I want you to have it and when you’re ready I promise that you can join us on this adventure. Do we have a deal?”

3 comments:

Jay Vandendool said...

Beauty.

Jay Vandendool said...

Several moments passed in silence as Tharunn contemplated Ethan's words. Finally a look of sadness and determination passed over his face as he put his hand out and accepted the gift.

"You have taught me more than you know already. One day I will repay your kindness." was all the boy said. The words were polite but Ethan thought he detected something there. A hollowness in his voice and in his eyes.

An instant later Tharunn gave Ethan a quick hug, turned, and disappeared into the crowd on the dock.

It was the last Ethan saw the boy for quite some time.

Dave said...

Nice post Neil!