Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Short Sample, Continuing Balfrith's Journey Toward Illithëon

This is just a quick scene that I wrote this morning. I'm getting ready to do a whole lot of globe-trotting for the next couple of months (departing for Europe today, in fact, and will be gone for a week), courtesy of the new role I've taken at my job. Hard to say if I'll have much time for writing - given past performance, I would guess probably not. But being the optimist that I am, I'll hope for better this time around.

* * *

A few hours later, or so it seemed, Balfrith climbed out of the muddy fields and onto the stony ground at the base of the hill. Up close, it was a much larger rise than he had thought from a distance. He hoped that at the top, it might give a clear view into the distance, and help him to set a longer goal for the next day’s walk. For the moment, though, he wanted only to find a sheltered place to rest, start a small fire, and try to dry off and warm up. Though the rain persisted, he had some slim hope of finding fallen wood that was dry enough to burn.

Of course, that assumes I can find a sheltered spot. This hill does not appear to promise such.

Balfrith looked around, frowning as his hope dwindled. Then he shrugged, and started climbing the hill. First things first: he would get his bearings as best he could, then see about finding shelter.

Fortune was with him, for at the top of the rise, looking over and past it, he saw the clustered buildings of a freedman’s farm. “Well,” Balfrith said to himself, “I did not think to find such a thing within only two day’s walk of the mansion, but I shan’t complain of it. Now, if only I can prevail upon the farmer for a bit of space in his straw-barn, I shall have a warm and dry place to sleep for a few hours. And hopefully by tomorrow, the ground will have dried somewhat so that the walking is easier.”

So saying, Balfrith began the walk down the far side of the rocky hill, and across yet another muddy field to the farm house and its outbuildings.

He was fortunate, indeed, for the farmer was a kindly sort who took pity on his wet and bedraggled appearance, and allowed him to make a bed in the straw barn without even asking for compensation. And so, Balfrith snuggled into a warm and dry bed of straw that evening, with the hope that he and his clothes, most of which now hung from rafters in the barn, would be dry by morning. He wistfully thought that it would have been better if he had been able to travel by night and sleep during the day, but the rain made that impossible, and it was simply something he would have to accept. As sleep overcame him, Balfrith thought of forests, and Elves, and wondered if it ever rained in Illithëon.