World of Kulan DM
Knightfall's "Many Beginnings, One Fate" Story Hour
An Experiment in Fantasy Fiction
By Robert Blezard, a.k.a Knightfall1972
An Experiment in Fantasy Fiction
By Robert Blezard, a.k.a Knightfall1972
Dabuk Tigerstorm looked at his grandfather with some reservation. He and the old man had always gotten along in the past, but now things would be different. Dabuk was about to start his training in the Tiger Guild of Fruen. He had waited for this day ever since his mother’s death.
Now sitting in his grandfather’s private quarters, Dabuk wondered if he’d be up to the task. He knew his grandfather was a tough man to impress and that he wouldn’t favor him in the least. In fact, grandfather will likely be harder on him.
“Sit up boy, don’t slouch!” Tallos barked at Dabuk as the young boy’s mind wandered.
Dabuk shot up straight in his seat scared out of his wits by his grandfather’s seneschal. He wouldn’t dare falter again in the man’s presence.
“Guildmaster, do you really think this pup is ready for the trials of the guild?”
“Hmm.” Carl Tigerstorm didn’t look up from his desk, studying the latest intelligence reports his men had gathered for the King. “Well, we’ll see, won’t we. If he fails then his father gets him back, full time.
“Do you want that, my boy?” Carl finally looked at his grandson with a wry smile.
“No, sir. Guildmaster.” Dabuk knew better than to call his grandfather by name under these conditions.
“That’s a good start, young man.” Carl replied. “Tallos, take him to his new home and make sure Mesik knows that the boy isn’t to get any special treatment, understood?”
“Yes, Guildmaster.” Tallos grabbed Dabuk by the arm squeezing just hard enough to make the boy wince. “I’m sure Mesik will make a fine roommate for him.”
Tallos dragged Dabuk from the room and into his new life.
* * *
“This isn’t what I signed up for. Hades’ Underrealm!” Mesik Tindertwig was annoyed, or at least he was playing the part well.
“Well, get over it.” Tallos shot the hairfoot a baleful glance. Dabuk didn’t see the wink that went with it. “Take the boy under your wing. Work him hard. He’s your responsibility now.”
“Fine but I don’t have to like it.” Mesik knew where his destiny was leading him. The Church of Hades taught him that.
Tallos left, slamming the door.
Mesik waited for the boy to introduce himself. Instead he saw that Dabuk was sacred out of his wits. Tallos could be quite intimidating when he wanted to be.
“Well, just don’t sit there, introduce yourself.” Of course, Mesik knew who Dabuk was. Everyone knew who the Guildmaster’s grandson was. The fact that Mesik had volunteered for this job didn’t mean that Mesik could treat the boy like a full Tiger guilder.
“Dabuk, sir. Dabuk Tigerstorm.” The boy tried to not let his pride swell too much. That was a good sign. His father hadn’t coddled the boy, obviously.
However, Mesik was supposed to make it look good.
“Oh Hades’ beard,” Mesik slapped himself. “What did I do to deserve this? Tell me, please?”
“Well– ” Dabuk tired to reassure his new roommate.
“I wasn’t speaking to you, pup. I was speaking metaphorically.”
Mesik could tell he was making Dabuk nervous. That was good. He’d need some paranoia and nervousness to survive the guild and the streets of Fruen. There were plenty of Carl’s rivals that would love to skin the boy’s hide and display it like a trophy for all to see.
“I’m going for a walk; I need some air. You stay here, unpack, and get some sleep.” It was Mesik’s turn on guard duty. “You’re going to need it. Your real training starts tomorrow.”
Mesik left the room hiding his grin from Dabuk. The two of them would get along fine. He’d turn Dabuk into the best tracker in the city.
* * *
“Jeddar, please tell me your not serious. The Bardic College of Thallin, what could you hope to learn from humans?”
“Father, please try to understand. I need this. I’m eighteen years old and I’ve never been out of Silverleaf. I need to broaden my horizons and learn about humanity if I’m going to be accepted by them.”
Menkhar Silversun sighed in resignation. He knew his adopted son’s heart and spirit would eventually take him away from Silverleaf, but he had hoped for a few more years with the boy.
“I cannot stop you,” the High One of the Kingdom of the Silver Leaves put a hand on his half-elven son’s shoulder. “But I can help you survive that city and its denizens.”
“Father, I don’t need your help. I’ll be fine.”
“Regardless of what you may believe, human cities are dangerous places. I want you to take this with you.” Menkhar took a scroll from under his watersilk tunic. “Keep it with you at all times. If you ever get into trouble, then open it and read it. It isn’t magic, so don’t expect a miracle.”
“What does it say?” Jeddar could barely contain his excitement. He wanted to read it now.
“It has instructions. No, don’t open it now. And don’t show it to anyone you meet unless the scroll tells you otherwise.”
“Thank you, father. I know this is hard for you. She never approved of me.”
“Let’s not get into that argument again, my son. Be safe.”
Menkhar Silversun left his son’s chamber in the House of Silversun. Jeddar didn’t waste any time. He continued packing his things, excited about the future. He tucked the scroll under his wool jacket.
“Well, here goes everything.”
* * *
“For the last time, Bactra. I need you here. It’s my busiest season.” Minonus Redwater wished his son would just be glad for his life in the Knotwood. “Your cousin has gone to Fruen for his own reasons. If Dabuk was still living at his family’s steading with his father, then I would let you go visit him for the month. But not now that he’s living with his grandfather in Fruen.
“Father, I’m not a child anymore.” Bactra was one hundred and thirty five summers old. “If you won’t give me your blessing, then I will go without it.”
“I need you here.” Minonus knew Bactra was right. He was an adult now. His words carried no bite.
“Father, the clan elders say my Fate is my own now. You can’t force me to stay, and you and I both know you’re not that busy. You’re a tailor amongst noble savages. It’s summertime. No one needs newly sewed skins right now. I promise to be back before the Autumnwind Equinox.”
Minonus sighed in resignation. It was time to let go.
“Very well,” Minonus sat down, his old bones weary. “The world is for the young it seems. Just don’t forget where you come from, Bactra. You a proud son of the forest elves of the Knotwood. Never forget that.”
“How could I ever forget that?” Bactra tried not to sound too condescending. “You’ve reminded me every day of my life.”
“Don’t be so melodramatic. I swear, you act less like an elf everyday. I should have never introduced you to your uncle.”
“I would have met him eventually anyway, father.” Bactra already had his meager possessions bundled up ready to go. “And Garth Tigerstorm is a good man. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been friends all these years.”
“True,” Minonus let the despair of his son leaving melt away. It would be un-elvish to dwell on the moment. Bactra would be back in no time. “Where are you meeting him?”
“Just outside of the city of Raln. We’re going to travel up through the Highlands to the city of Cabaret. Then north along the road to Heroes’ Rest. He wants to visit an old friend of his. Someone named Almada.”
“Ah, old Almada. I’d like to see that old codger one more time before my walk to the other side. Perhaps next spring, but don’t say anything to him, otherwise he’ll expect me to come.”
“You and Garth really do know a lot of the same folk. Is there something you’re not telling me about your past, father?”
“Oh, I did some fine silk clothes for him once. A good fellow, for a hairfoot. I take it you’ll be sticking to the roads after that, right?”
Avoid and distract, that was his father’s way about his past.
“Yes, all the way to Fruen.”
“Well, I’d best get back to work. May Rillifane walk with you, my son.” With that, Minonus left his son to the life Bactra had chosen. He only hoped it wouldn’t be as hard as his had been.
Bactra left Woodknot, quietly and silently, that same day heading for Raln.
So where's Dvalin? That's coming up. And school is in for Dabuk. Life's hard lessons.