February 28, 2013 Leave a comment
“Why do we have to stay here, Father?” Halthin gathered his robes more tightly around himself. This did little to warm him, as they were already soaked with rain. “There’s a perfectly good inn in Darnassus.” He would have settled for the floor of a shop at this point — at least it would be dry. Above them, the trees shuddered in the cold wind, sending another barrage of raindrops down upon their camp.
Faindor knelt at the firepit, striking the flint with grim determination. “It’s not safe there for you, Halthin. We’ve discussed this.”
Not safe? How could they be safer here, in the middle of an orc invasion? True, the sentinels said they had mostly retreated — mostly. It was the “mostly” that concerned Halthin. He did well enough with his prayers in the serenity of the temple, it would be another matter entirely to recite them with an angry orc in his face. “They have mages,” Halthin pointed out gently. His father was in one of his moods, and the last thing he wanted was to provoke him.
The older elf grunted in annoyance, both at his son’s words and the fire’s refusal to spark. “That’s foolish enough.”
“I don’t see how it’s so different,” said Halthin, wringing the rainwater from one of his sleeves. “People can dislike it, but they can’t do anything.”
A tiny flicker of flame leapt from the twigs, then quickly changed its mind, sizzling out in a wisp of smoke. “Because,” Faindor growled. “If Elune didn’t like what you were doing, she wouldn’t allow it. What you’re doing isn’t hurting anyone. That’s how it’s different. But not everybody sees it that way.”
Halthin frowned. He didn’t like to admit it, but his father was right — again. Halthin knew that he spoke with the voice of experience as well. There was a reason they had never really set down roots after his mother’s passing. One heretic in the family ought to be enough, but Halthin had shown aptitude for the healing arts very young. Or perhaps it was that Faindor knew what to watch for, and encouraged it. Maybe it had been his father’s plan all along — but even if it was, Halthin had the choice now. He could abandon his studies, go learn a trade or try to swing a sword. But the truth was that he was good at it, and as a result he liked it. If he could ease someone’s suffering, or soothe their troubled mind, then all the better. It shouldn’t matter that he was a boy, but to some it still did. He took some crumpled papers from inside his robes, still mostly dry, and held them out to his father.
Faindor blinked in surprise, then gave him a grin. “Thanks.”
They weren’t anything important, just some notes he’d written, some ideas for a sermon. As if they would ever allow him to preach in the temple. Maybe not this temple, but perhaps another one. He’d read that humans had men in their Church of the Holy Light. The idea of speaking to a church full of little humans amused him.
“Do you really think all of the orcs have gone?” Halthin asked, once the paper had caught the twigs alight. The fire was still weak and smoky, but it would grow in strength. If there were orcs here, it might attract them.
Faindor glanced back down the hill, toward the town. “The sentinels patrol here. If there are any orcs left, they’ll have to get through them. And me.”
Father was right about that too.