I thought it would be interesting to post up the these narrative sections as I write them. This is the first.
Estial stood in the doorway of a disused warehouse on the other side of the dock, and blew through his hands in an attempt to warm them up. Despite his fur coat, the cold crept into his wiry limbs, and standing in one place wasn’t helping.
The visitors to the run down building opposite had been infrequent, but, even bundled as they were against the chill Rodien air, Estial could tell from the way they carried themselves, and the tell tale fall of their clothing, that each was well armed and well armoured. He felt for his own sword, with its worn pommel and fraying leather grip. When he’d been given it as the solemn parting gift from his father, a mere fortnight ago, he’d walked from his home village with a swaggering bravado that almost made up for the taunts and derision of the other village boys over the last year; you don’t mess with a man carrying a sword. Except now, when it came to it, Estial was barely even a man, and hardly had any idea how to swing his sword.
‘You’re new here, aren’t you dog boy?’
The voice came from right behind him, Estial nearly jumped out of his furry skin. He spun round, sword halfway from its scabbard.
‘Steady on lad, I’m not out to harm you.’ The speaker moved out of the shadow of the doorway, odd horns and ridges adorned his broad face, his eyes regarded Estial with dangerous looking cleft pupils.
‘How, how did you do that, get round behind me like that?’ Estial indicated his ears, upright and alert on top of his head, ‘I’ve good hearing, not much gets past me.’
‘There’s more to my god’s gift than a few knobbles round my head lad. Name’s Drutter.’ he stuck out his hand, and Estial shook it. ‘You look half perished out here, are you not going to come in for a bite to eat and warm up by the fire?’
Estial looked back over to the building, he couldn’t read the sign, but he recognised the crest that hung over the door as that of the Kerowan Guild.
‘I don’t have any money.’
‘I saw you watching, have you not joined yet?’
‘No, I only got into town this morning, I wanted to see first, see if it was safe. I’ve heard tales about guildmembers.’
‘You’ve nothing to fear from the guild lad, not if you’re one of them. The guild may well be the only friend for folk like you and me. Come on over I’ll introduce you to the Guildmaster.’ he set off around the dock, his motion lithe, his feet barely making a sound on the cobbled surface.
‘You think they’ll accept me.’ said Estial, following after a moment’s hesitation, ‘It’s just, you see, I’m not very good with a sword yet.’
‘Course they will lad. Once you’ve got yourself a god’s gift you’ve got to join, it’s the law. We all had to start somewhere. Take me, there I was ‘prenticed to the finest baker in Cormalon, set to marry his daughter in all, then what do you know, I go and growed a god’s gift. Got kicked out on my backside without a penny. Guild did good by me then, took me in, sorted me out with some paid work, helped me learn the ropes. Don’t worry about that lad. It’s a tough life, I’ll not deny that, but the guild’ll do right by you. you’ll see.’