The Undiscovered Country

At the Sign of the Welcome Wench

“Up, you feckless lizard!”

Alice dumped the bucket of icy mop-water on the sleeping form of Tuakiin. He rolled carefully to his back and sat up, clutching his head and steaming slightly.

A rumble as if a far-off landslide. “Whhttmm’sit?”

“Ninth bell. I’ve got customers coming in, respectable customers, and I don’t need some drunken dragon littering up my doorstep!”

Doorstep? Oh. This was the front door. His hay bale was around the corner. Tuakiin’s spine popped several times as he rose to his feet and stretched. Spiny hands fumbled for a coin purse and produced a gold piece.

“Frryertrrble. Nnth’drr.”

Said door was charred and smouldering in one corner, where the Dragonborn’s head had rested and snored.

later that day

Spittle flew from Jonathan’s mouth.

“We are going to log those trees! And we are going to build a wall!

The assembled village elders looked grimly on.

Master Burne slid sideways off his seat and collapsed in a heap on the dais.

later

Tuakiin and Bill heaved and ho’d at the saw, the burly man and muscular lizard making short work of the trunk. Bill cried “Timber!” as it fell. More of the soldiers began limbing the tree as Tuakiin retreated into the shade and poured water from his waterskin down his face and bare torso.

The village council looked on: Jonathan making a show of directing the proceedings; Canon Tergon offering prayers to no-one in particular; even Jaroo, who had lamented the loss of the woods, was giving advice on types of wood and proper saw technique, while casting small blessing spells on the trees as they were felled. Notable by their absence were Master Burne and Rufus, who had been quarantined in the tower “for the safety of the village”.

later

“The river. Oh, One above.”

later

As the red sun set and lit the western sky on fire, Tuakiin’s walk brought him to the edge of the cliff where once the path had led to Fandolin.

He’d walked through the desert a little, before the darkening evening reminded him of the dangers of this country. It was a strange feeling, walking in the sand; at once familiar- Escapar was arid- but also utterly alien: soft yellow sand, not the hard red dust and rock of home.

To the east, the few remaining trees stood proud among the field of stumps. They’d done good work today: dozens of logs ready for the barricade, a handful of post-holes already dug.

In the south, the lights of the tower and the tavern. Burne had deteriorated rapidly. He had fought side-by-side with Tuakiin in the siege, all those months ago. They had been allies, planned battles together. Tuakiin counted the master among his few friends.

He’d never tried to heal disease before; but it was the same principle as injuries, surely? Just… will the disease to be right. You didn’t need to know how tendons and bones knitted together to heal a broken arm.

But it was late, and the day’s work had been hard. “I’ve earnt a drink” he said to himself.

Just one pint.

Comments

One minor bit of alt-u in the post right now: Jaroo’s respect for the natural world isn’t crazy to the point of him needing to be restrained.

A blessing on the trees as they’re cut might be appropriate; or he might be having a ceremony in the grove. Or you could just cut the paragraph.

Everything else stands.

At the Sign of the Welcome Wench
 

Hmm. I was going for an implication that Jaroo cut off the water in retaliation and to give himself more political power. If that’s not gonna fly I’ll edit it.

At the Sign of the Welcome Wench
 

Ta, all good now.

At the Sign of the Welcome Wench
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