Chapter 28

Something’s Brewing

After a month of searching, he’d not seen any signs of rocks scarred by sharp claws, rock slides caused by a mightily tail, piles of dung the size of a house, or bits of un-chewed animal carcass carelessly discarded. Not because there wasn’t a dragon, but because the creature was too new to the area and had not yet made its mark. The mountains were vast and there was a lot of ground to cover. In time, Karth would find the monster.

But for now, Karth decided to return to his rooms and replenish his food supplies. Living outside in the mountains was not something he was accustomed to. He needed a good beer, a good meal and his bed.

As he neared town, he saw a small fire and a crumbled pile of cloth next to it. Someone had left a fire burning in the middle of the prairie. A good gust of wind and the prairie brush would become a blaze. So he’d gone to stomp it out, but to his surprise, the bundle of cloth turned out to be the witch, Sidrea, who he sometimes visited. She was too old to be traveling alone. How had she made it this far and still lived?

His first thoughts were for her safety, so he brought her to his home and fed her. She was now sleeping in his bed, the one he’d been longing for. He slept on the floor, which was less comfortable than sleeping on the ground. But now, as he lay on his back with his hands behind his head, staring up at the dark ceiling, he realized he’d stumbled onto an opportunity.

Sidrea would not have risked her life unless it was important. No, important was too weak a word. Sidrea would not have risked her life unless it was monumental.

Karth smiled. What good fortune. If he were inclined to believe in gods he’d think one favored him. There were no such beings. Not the goddess the witches believed in or the god Cook Biddle praised. Or the goddess witches offer human sacrifice to. 

But it was Cook Biddle he understood the least. No one worked as hard as she did. She got up before dawn to start her cooking duties and finished cleaning her kitchen after dark. Plus she cared for girls who were assigned to help her. She woke the littlest ones each morning and made sure they were dressed. She bathed each one once a week.

She did all this everyday with a song on her lips and praise for her god, Adonai. It seemed to him, if her god was so loving as she claimed, why didn’t he give her an easier life?

No, Karth didn’t understand any of it. His life was his own as were his failures and successes. He made his destiny by paying attention to the events happening around him. And the events as of late might just be monumental. His smile broadened.

A dragon lived somewhere in the mountains, two witches in the castle and three in the surrounding town. Sidrea was sleeping in his bed. Yes, something was brewing, it was big and he was in the middle of it.

Karth would become Sidrea’s guard, her manservant. From this day forth, where she went, he would go. He would become invaluable to her. He’d be there when his opportunity became available.

She was old and frail, too weak to walk and too impatient to wait until her strength returned. Tamerad was in the castle. Sidrea would not allow Karth to carry her into the castle, like a child, to meet this woman.

As dawn broke, Karth rose and went to market for tea and two days worth of food. He placed them in his room where Sidrea could easily find them when she woke.

He went back to the market and bought a comfortable chair. He brought it to a blacksmith, and asked it he could remove the back legs and put two wheels in their place.

“Why?” the blacksmith asked.

“So I can push the occupant around town in it,” Karth said.

“Easy enough. I will also add two handles for you to more easily grip the chair.”

They agreed on a price and a time of completion, for end of day. Karth retuned to market for a third time and found two feather filled pillows, one to sit on and one to lean against. Then he purchased a bright red silk cloth to throw over the pillows and chair. He also discreetly asked about the witches in town and about Tamerad. He learned little.

When he returned later that afternoon, Sidrea had just wakened and was making a cup of tea.

“What is that?” she asked, suspiciously of the chair.

“Do you think you are ready to walk to the castle and stand for your audience before Tamerad?” he asked.

“No,” she said wearily.

“Do you want me to carry you into the castle?” he asked.

“Indeed not!” she said indignantly.

“Then.” He leaned the chair back and rolled it back and forth. “I shall wheel you in like the queen that you are.”

Sidrea beamed. She hobbled over and ran her hand over the silk. “Smooth.” She pressed her hand into the seat. “Soft.”

Padding his hand, she said, “You are a good man, Karth. Good man.” She proudly sat down. He wheeled her to the table and placed her cup of tea in front of her.

Kath smiled to himself. Yes, Old One, from now on wherever you go, I shall be right there with you.

Whatever was brewing, Karth planned to be in the thick of it. He’d pay attention so he’d know whom to befriend, whom to betray, and if necessary, whom to kill. The upcoming events would benefit him. When it was all over, he’d be alive and rich.

Published in: on September 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

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