By Milli Morgana Crow
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“I decided to stay three more days until my wounds were completely healed. I enjoyed my freedom, not having to work and being spoiled by Mimsa’s delicious cooking. Meanwhile Leany took me on long walks where she taught me things about animals and plants that were beyond my knowledge. But no matter how kindly they treated me, I had a duty to fulfill and soon it would be time for me to go.”
Ian was seated around the table after helping the other dwarfs drag away a log that had barricaded a path in the forest. Leany sat opposite him holding a basket with flowers on her lap.
“Oh, I’m afraid we’re out of flour. Leany would you please get me some from the storage room?’ Mimsa asked her daughter who made a sad face.
“Mum I can’t. It’s too heavy for me to carry.” She lied and it worked.
“Oh you’re lazy like your father, I’ll go get it myself.” Mimsa said angrily and she took a lantern and opened the door.
“And where’s that father of yours anyway?”
“He went to get himself some mushrooms for you wouldn’t let him eat your cooking, remember?” Leany said, teasing while she looked at Ian. Both of them tried to keep from laughing out loud. Mimsa gave them a warning look and then speeded up the stairs in one hand holding her lantern and in the other her dress. She pushed the door of the storage room open and saw something that made her blood boil. Mimsa remained calm; she turned around and walked slowly down the stairs back into the kitchen. The veins on her neck were sticking out dangerously. Ian and Leany looked at Mimsa who took a broom and slowly exited the kitchen, not saying a word but clearly disturbed. They looked at each other and then hurried out of the room to see what was happening. When they reached the top of the stairs they saw what had made her so angry. There lay Jeripho, his stomach as round as a melon snoring loudly. In one hand he held a piece of eikhoornbread and in the other a bottle of honey-wine.
Around him lay sacks containing different kinds of food that they had stored for the winter, now open with food pouring out. Suddenly Mimsa let out a terrible war cry and Jeripho’s screams of mercy among with the sound of crashing pots followed. The only thing Jeripho could remember was that he was hungry and went to get himself something to eat in the storage room. The next thing he heard his crazy wife scream and something hit him hard on his head. He opened his eyes and saw Mimsa standing there armed and her eyes popping out in fury. He realized that he forgot to lock the room and found himself cornered like a mouse by his own wife.
“Mimsa please…” He tried but one look from her made him shut his mouth.
“I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!!!” Mimsa screamed and started attacking Jeripho with the broom and he found himself running for his life.
“I was hungry.” He tried but the only reply that came from his wife was a hard blow from the broom on his head.
“Looking for mushrooms were we Jeripho?! Now I’ll make sure that you’ll be looking for your teeth!” she said charging at him. Jeripho stopped getting angry and confronted her.
“Listen you old hag. I am the man of this house. I bring the food on this table and I’ll do whatever I want!” he shouted at her. Mimsa’s eyes nearly popped out as she gave him such a blow on the head that he fell on the ground.
“Listen to him, man of the house bringing bread on the table. And who brings it while you work in the mines? Who cooks it? THE OLD HAG!! Oh Jeripho when I’m through with you you’ll be wishing I was one.” And surely he did, but Ian couldn’t see any more for Mimsa closed the door and told them that if anyone opened it they would suffer the same fate as Jeripho but from his shouts they could let their imagination dwell.
“Are they always like this?” Ian asked Leany, who nodded in reply as they could hardly make themselves heard above Jeripho’s pleads of mercy and Mimsa’s fury.
They walked down the steps and up another stairs and pushed open a wooden trapdoor and light met their eyes. They found themselves in the inside of a hollow tree that had a little door in its trunk and one in the ground that lead downwards to Leany’s house. They stepped outside feeling the rays of the sun caressing their skin and went on their final walk through the forest. Both were quiet and Spirit, sensing their, sorrow hung his tail between his legs.
“Ian do you know the tale of Sir Carmos and Medlyn?” Leany asked, her eyes fixed on the ground.
“No will you please tell it to me?” he asked, wishing fiercely that she would.
“Mum says you should ask your father about it but I think it’s better that you know. Many, many cycles ago, long before both of us where born, lived a brave Knight called Carmos McGilles. He was well known for his reputation of being a kind, merciful and helpful person. He also had a brother Klerh McGilles who was born before him. They were once good friends who enjoyed each other,s company, but all that changed. One day Carmos rode through this forest and found a Maiden lying on the ground. In the distance stood a Wedluon ready to tear her apart. Carmos killed it and saved the Maiden from her terrible fate. He returned her to the kingdom where she belonged. Now Carmos had fallen in love with this Maiden but he wasn’t the only one for Klerh also fell in love with her. But the Maiden’s heart belonged to her savior and they both married not long afterwards. Klerh’s jealousy was beyond words and his beloved brother had become his worst enemy. He tried everything in his might to ruin Carmos and the Maiden, your mother. So Carmos was forced to abandon the kingdom and went far away where he started a family with Medlyn and was never seen or heard of again,” Leany said and Ian didn’t know what to say, for he felt hurt that his father had never told him this tale but knew deep inside that he had his reasons.
“So that was the tale of my mother and father.”
“Klerh was the reason that you live isolated from the rest of the world.”
“Thank you Leany. I really appreciate you telling me the story of how my parents got together. And thank you for your company but I’m afraid I have to leave for my journey has not yet come to an end.”
“I shall get Mimsa to pack you something for your trip,” she said, hurrying into their house. Ian looked at Spirit and stroked his head.
“I know boy, I’ll miss them too,” and Spirit licked his master’s hand as a thank you. Leany returned with Mimsa who seemed to have calmed down and held in her hand, instead of a broom, a large sack that Ian knew could only contain food.
“Here you go lad, take this with you. I made you some pie and some other treats for your trip,” Mimsa said, handing the package over to him. He took it with both hands and thanked her.
“It was so nice having you with us and we can’t thank you enough for saving Leany’s life. I hope that your trip to Lawrskin will be a safe one.”
“Thank you Mimsa for everything,” Ian said and then kneeled in front of Leany.
“Leany, I’m sorry but I really have to go. I’ll come and visit you on my way back,” he said, drying the tears that streamed down her rosy cheeks.
“You promise?” she asked trying not to cry but only succeeded in making her voice sound choked.
“I promise,” Ian said and he hugged her and Leany cried on his shoulder.
“Here I made this for you,” she said, giving him a necklace. It was made out of rope and on it hung an eikel. Ian thanked her and placed it around his neck, standing up.
“I thank you for everything and pray that we shall see each other soon,” he said and then turned around and, with Spirit at his side, continued his journey to Lawrskin.
“On our journey we encountered no real dangers only a couple of mischievous pixies and a hungry wolf. With Mimsa’s cooking hanging on my belt and Leany’s necklace, we continued our journey and soon we had reached our destination… In my entire life I had never seen so many houses together or so many people in one place. Not to describe the creatures I saw. Large four legged beasts with hooves and horns whose pelt was white with large black marks on it and strange birds in strange colors like brown with different colored feathers on their tails. All this was new and strange to me and I found myself captured, drowned in the crowd of faces.”
At the horizon a small brown spot could be seen and, as Ian came closer to it, he realized one part of his journey was finished. Houses came in sight; all build very near to each other with spaces between them that Carmos called streets. The streets were filled with people: Men, women and children all different ages. He felt a little bit afraid but made sure his pouch was fastened to his belt and joined the crowd below. Never had Ian seen so many women together in one place, for the last woman he seen was his mother and then Leany and Mimsa. Some of them where pretty; others were ugly and reminded him of hags but little time did he have to think more about that subject for his attention was drawn by something else. He heard a lovely sound coming from somewhere and followed it. He ended up in a narrow street where a youth stood playing on his flute. He was young and quite short for his age, Ian suspected. But the strange part was that the boy wore a strange large hat on his head. The boy noticed Ian and stopped playing.
“Hello there sir, my name is Pixly. How can I be of service?” He asked politely, making a little bow.
“My father has sent me to acquire seeds for our farm.”
“That I can deliver you.” Pixly said with a grin.
“How much will it cost?”
“How much do you have?”
“20 cresents,” Ian said, something telling him not to trust this man.
“That’s exactly how much it will cost.” Pixly said rubbing his hands.
“No seeds cost 20 cresents,” Ian said, getting angry.
“But these aren’t normal seeds. These are magical seeds I have received from a witch. When you water them they grow into trees in one day filled with delicious fruits and vegetables. Some even have pies and wine growing on the branches,” Pixly said, praying that this fool would be stupid enough to believe him.
“Who would believe such a hoax?” Ian said angrily.
“Keep your seeds. I’ll find myself another merchant who won’t waist my time,” Ian said turning around, but Pixly rushed up to him. But Spirit blocked his path, growling angry at him.
“Nice wolfie. Listen you can go to another merchant but no one has to offer you such a good quality of seeds. You could spend your money on some worthless seeds that will rot away as soon as you put them in the ground or spend it on mine. Imagine having trees with Apple pies growing on their branches the whole year through. It would supply you with enough food for many cycles even in winter. But go on and spend your money on nothing while your family will probably starve for the seeds will die. But mine won’t. But who’s holding you back? I certainly am not,” Pixly said and he turned his back to them and continued playing on his flute. Ian knew better then to believe such tales but what if Pixly was right? What if he spent all his money on seeds that wouldn’t even make the journey? Then they would surely starve. But if he was telling the truth and Pixly’s seeds where as magical as he claimed they were, then they wouldn’t have to starve anymore. Ian was trying hard to make a decision and then finally turned to Pixly and said:
“Ok prove it to me.” Pixly stopped playing abruptly and scratched his head, trying to find a good excuse.
“Euh, you can only water them when the moon is full or they won’t grow… yeah that’s it and tonight eh the moon is waning and not full so I can’t show it to you. Pity though you wouldn’t have believed your eyes,” Pixly said, hoping that the buyer would believe him. Ian thought about it; he could give all his money away and have trees filled with treats grow the entire cycle keeping his family alive or spend it on some seeds that would turn into crops and die the next full moon. But if he spent all his money he wouldn’t have enough money to acquire a horse…
Ian took his pouch and placed twenty cresents into Pixly’s palm praying that he had done the right thing.
Pixly had delivered him a sack filled with magic seeds and hurried away leaving Ian and Spirit again all by themselves. Ian opened the sack and saw yellow square seeds and, satisfied, he closed the sack, lifted it on his shoulder and continued to stroll through Lawrskin. Ian noticed that the people where dressed differently then he. Their clothes where thinner but maybe it was like that because the air was warmer. He tried to remember what his father had taught him about villages.
“Son, there are places where a lot of people live together called villages. There people don’t live like us. The only thing they care about is making money so they can keep bringing food to the table or just to get rich. People will do everything for money, so be careful what you do with it. A friendly person can sell you lemons while you will only discover later that they turn out to be stones. So take my word and don’t trust any merchant who seems too friendly for it is money they’re after and not to help you.” Remembering those words Ian felt happy that he had closed a fine bargain with that strange boy called Pixly. And no matter how much he wanted to stay and explore this strange place with things that were all new to him, he had promisedto return as soon as he could. So with the sack on his shoulder he left the village and as he did he noticed that the sack became lighter. He turned around and saw that there was a hole in it and through the gap stones fell out and rolled over the road. Ian threw it on the ground and opened it. He placed his hand into the sack and underneath the seeds he felt nothing but stones…
Ian sat down, shocked by his discovery and the consequences that would follow. He had just spent his fortune on a sack of stones and now he would be forced to return empty handed home and would suffer the same fate as his family. A thousand emotions washed over him but the strongest of them all was anger and hatred for the man who had tricked him: Pixly.
Ian stood up now, consumed by his rage, and drew his sword and ran back into the village. People looked at him as if he was a mad man but he was mad from pain that his family would suffer and of humiliation and rage that he had been tricked. He speeded into the alley where he had closed the bargain but found it deserted except for a couple of rats that feasted on a potato peel. Disturbed by finding the alley abandoned, Ian thought quickly where that traitorous man could be. He leaned against the wall and breathed deeply for he felt the world starting to spin around him. The pain in his chest and the lump in his throat seemed to bother him less and he swallowed while holding his head as if it could fall off any minute.
“Think…” He said to himself but numerous things were going through his head that he couldn’t think clearly. The discovery and betrayal were too much for hi.
He hurried back into the crowd and decided to ask the other merchants of his whereabouts. But with no luck, it seemed as this man didn’t exist but then he finally found his luck. An old man had laughed at his question when he had heard him ask a merchant who sold dried nuts if he knew a man named Pixly. Ian, being already driven out of his element, walked angry over to the old man who lay there on the street wrapped in a brown cloak. He was a thin old man whose breath smelled like fire-wine from a mile away. His head was bald with brown patches on it and his skin hung from his thin skull. He was so thin that he looked like a real life skeleton with skin hanging loose around him. The man bared his yellow teeth, or what was left of them that where pointed into all directions.
“What’s so funny?’ Ian demanded to know but it made the man laugh even harder.
“Trick you, didn’t he, young lad? Yes I can see it in your eyes. Never trust folk like him or you’ll only end up with a bag of stones and a hungry family. No friends but a lot of enemies this trickster has but I warn you you’ll never see your money again, not even a glimpse of it for he has probably spent it all,” the old man said grinning as if he enjoyed watching the youth being tortured by anger and guilt.
“Where can I find him?”
“At the Inn. Where else could he be?” Without thanking the old man, Ian hurried as fast as he could without even asking where the Inn was. He passed some houses and then stopped in front of a large house that had “Inn” written above the door. Ian hurried inside without a second thought ,his sword raised and looked around for Pixly. A silence fell as they saw this youth standing there clutching a sword in his hand.
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