Chronicles of Dreven Trenz

First run of a series I may continue. Be gentle. Its my first time.

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1. Tale 1: The Legend Begins

Chronicles of Dreven Trenz: Tale 1: The Legend Begins

    “Oh! Hello there! Welcome to the Clock and Kettle, premier ale house and inn. I am called Reiken.  You certainly don’t look like you’re a local. You must be here to hear the stories about, “him”. Well! As his traveling partner and cohort, I’ve kept record of all of our adventures and would be happy to regale you with as many stories as are available. So, to get things started, get yourself ale, maybe a shank of lamb, and pull up a stool. I’m about to tell you how his story, or should I say legend, began.”

    “Years ago in a small town, there was a home. Inside this home there was a family. This family has nothing to do with this story. Instead, we look through the window at a dusty fedora and ground length leather duster coat that seem to glide by. Nobody really knew his name, or where he came from, but they did know that if there was anything magical or mysterious that needed to be found, he was the one to go to. I was at my post at the smithy’s. Back then I was just a blacksmith’s apprentice. I had a penchant for making swords and took to it rather well. All that changed when he stepped into our shop. The bell rang and I looked up from my bellows. Standing at the counter with what I was later to find, his ever present half grin, stood a man. His lithe frame was draped inside his coat and his hat pulled down over his eyes.”
    “Good day young master!” He says in a strange, almost hypnotic tone.
    “Good day sir!” I respond in kind. My curiosity began to peak, as flashes of silver hair can be seen under his hat’s brim. This was odd, as the man did not look to be more than 30. “How might I help you today sir?” I ask. Normally, this was said as a formality, but in this particular case, I truly was wondering how I might help this stranger.
    “I am looking for a man of the metal arts to assist me in crafting an item. Are you such a man?” He pokes the brim of his hat upward and I am slightly startled. His eyes are a pale blue, and even in the low light, they seem to sparkle. I wonder at the things those eyes have seen.
    “I am but an apprentice sir.” I reply. “But, I can go get my master if it pleases you.” I start toward the back room when a hand claps onto my shoulder and the hypnotic voice has returned.
    “Son, the item I require isn’t able to be made by the hands of someone who has lost their imagination. This item is to be a wondrous thing, the likes of which man hasn’t seen in a very long time. This is why I need the imagination of someone not yet tainted by the stretches of time, but with the knowledge to create a great treasure.” His words spark a strange part of my mind. What could he mean by imagination? Why does he need me and not my master? This was something I found myself determined to find out. I turn to ask my questions, but when I do, he has placed a leather satchel on the counter and was digging inside of it.
    “Is the item in there sir?” I inquire. Wondering at just what that bag held.
“Well, yes and no.” He replies, his half smile spreading to a full smile, like one might find on a cheshire cat. This only caused me more curiosity at the bag’s contents. “It is a strange thing, this item I need. Though it needs to be crafted by skilled hands, and I know what shape it needs to be, I don’t quite have everything I need for its forging.” He seems satisfied with his answer and closes the bag, pulling out nothing. I am more than disappointed when he removes the bag from the counter and slings it once more over his shoulder.
“If you need raw supplies, I may have some extra steel lying around that might be useful. Though, if the pieces for the item fit within that bag, I think you might be better speaking to a jeweler.” I hated telling him this, mainly because I really wanted to find out what he wanted made, but I had no workings with precious metals or their uses in item design.
“Oh! I do need steel my boy!” He replies with an ever widening grin. “But! For the type of item I have in mind, we will need to find it ourselves!” He flips open the panel that led to the work area and holds his hand out to me. “What do you say? You up for an adventure?!” My hand reaches for his without any hesitation. How could I say no to an offer like that? A chance to travel and experience life beyond my little town. I find myself prepared to follow without question but I snap to my senses as my hand touches his.
    “Sir, I am just a blacksmith’s apprentice. Not but fifteen years old! Though I wish for adventure, what would I tell my master? My friends? Ye gods! My mother?!” So many thoughts rushed through my head at that point I feared I might faint. I press my hand to the counter to steady myself and take a deep breath. “I must ask though, sir. Why me?” His eyes soften as he listens to my youthful panic.
    “It can only be you. You are the only one able to help me. On this you must trust me.” He winks and taps his nose. “I think you may find your friends and master more than willing to help you with your upcoming voyage. Your mother? She may take some convincing. Come along then young Reiken! Our journey begins!” I am astonished that he knew my name. I don’t remember having told him, but the mysteries about this man were many, and after a short thought, I gave it up. It was at that point that a hacking cough and healthy spit were heard behind the curtain between the work area and storage room.
    “Oy! Reiken!” It was my master, his thick accent evidently from the moors where his family had hailed. “I’ve already spoken to the man. He has paid me well to have ye accompany him. I have even prepared something for ye.” He reaches behind the curtain and returns with a heavy looking burlap bag. He drops it on the counter with a thud, a clank, and a clang.
    “Are…are those what I think they are?” My eyes widen at the bag. My heart hoping beyond hope that they were exactly what I thought they might be.
    “Aye, that they are lad. The finest blacksmithing tools I could muster on such short notice. Mighty proud of them, I am.” His large hands place the bag upon my shoulders. A large smile can be seen under his scruffy red beard. “Now you take care of these beauties.  Crafted them with my own hands I did! They’ll last many a year if ye take good enough care of ‘em! Now off with ye, a ’fore I make ye clean the quenching barrel!” He gives a hearty laugh and slaps me on the back, nearly knocking me over in the process. I pass the counter where I had spent the past 2 years trying to learn a trade. My fingers trace the score marks where tools had landed, the large indentation where a customer had “tested” his new mace and the many nicks and cuts where more swords than I could count had passed hands. The man exits the shop and pulls his hat down over his eyes even though night had fallen and the lanterns were the brightest things to be found on the road. I reach the door and give the bell a light tap, causing it to ring a single note. As I leave the shop, I look over my shoulder at my master to give one last farewell. His finger is to his eye, and I could swear I heard a small sniffle. Knowingly, I give a slight nod and let the door close behind me, not knowing that the next time I see this shop, things will be different. Very different.
    We made our way through the darkness, the occasional town guard bidding us good evening. We get to my little home. My mother has placed candles in the windows expecting my return.  I reach for the door, but the man stops me.
    “I think it may be better if I let her know, eh?” His smile hasn’t faded from earlier. He pulls the door open slowly and steps through. “It may also be best if you stay out here.” Though I want to defy him and enter my own home, my feet won’t move. Like my brain knows I need to stay, but my heart is fighting that urge. The door slowly swings closed and I rush to the window to try and find out just what is going on. I see the man and my mother speaking in the kitchen. Him, trying to console my mother, my mother trying hard not to start crying. After a short period of time, I see her nod and step through the door I knew led to the pantry. She came back shortly after, a small bundle wrapped in cloth in her hands. She gives it to the man and says something. The man nods and they both head for the door. I rush back to the doorway and try to look as nonchalant as possible. The door swings open again and the man steps out into the lamp light. He nods to me and steps away from the door. My mother is there, it’s obvious she has been crying, and I myself am just barely fighting back tears. I open my mouth to say something, anything that might console her, but before a sound leaves my mouth, she wraps me in a warm hug.
    “You know I don’t want you to go.” She whispers to me. “You are so young, I am still not sure if I can let you go.” Her arms hold me tighter. “After your father died, you were all I had left and it feels as though I will never see you again.” She has broken down into a light sob. “You know I love you son. Know that I will be here if ever you need me. All you need is send word.” By this time, I have lost myself as well. I allow my tears to flow freely as I return her embrace. “You are my world, Reiken. A candle will always be burning in the window so you will always be able to find your way back. You will come back one day. I know it.” She kisses my cheek and holds my face in her hands. Her eyes scan my face as though she is trying to etch its shape into her memory. A hand is placed on her arm. It is the odd man’s.
    “It’s time for us to go madam. I swear on my honor, I will take care of young Reiken.” His voice is soft but firm. I return my mother’s kiss and take her bundle from the man. Inside is a change of clothing and some bread. The man’s hand is now on my shoulder. “Let’s go then lad. We have a way to go.” His smile hasn’t left his face, but I can see he shares my feelings.
    
    “Okay.” It’s the only word I can muster as we turn and walk towards the village gates, my shoulders heavy with sorrow at leaving my home. We stop briefly at the gates so the guards can open them. I take a few heavy breaths as we step through. The man glances down questioningly. “I’ve never actually been away from the village before. I’m scared.” My hands are trembling and I find my feet won’t move. The man’s hand finds mine. His firm grip conveys more than words ever could. My trembling subsides and I look up at him. He is staring down at me, a large smile on his face.
    “We all are in some way or another. That is why we have people that can protect us, and people we ourselves can protect. I promise I will protect you, and one day, you will make that promise to someone else. The only thing left to do is take that first step.” With that, my confidence returned, and we stepped through the gates and into the Farren Wilds, and furthermore, into the adventure of a lifetime. END CHAPTER 1

 

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