Chapter 14

Chapter 14

A Chapter by thuaners

Narteb woke up the next morning in bed. The house was very quiet. It seemed that everyone had left after he’d gone to sleep. He lay in bed just a little while longer, thinking. The events of last night were so unusual, that he almost wondered if it had all been just a dream.
He listened closely, trying to hear the sound of someone moving around his house, or even better, his mum’s voice. But he heard nothing.
He waited.
Nothing but the sound of birds chirping outside.
Finally, he decided to get up. He climbed out of bed, and headed straight for the one place in his house that he was dreading going into.
The living room.
And when he got there, he saw it.
The view was different from last night. This time, there was no one else around. This time, there was light coming in through the windows, illuminating the room in peaceful morning sunshine.
But his mum was the same. Exactly the same as last night.
Stone.
So it’s real, thought Narteb, Not a dream.
Then something caught his eye. There was a note left on the table. He picked it up and immediately knew that it was from his dad.


Narteb,

Sorry, I didn’t want to wake you. Plus I am no good at goodbyes. By the time you read this, I will be gone. I have gone to look for a way to cure your mother. Last night, my ex-girlfriend from many years ago came to our house. A long time ago, I abandoned her, and she has never forgiven me for it. Her name is Maruska, and she can do magic. Real magic. She used a small, glowing glass ball and turned your mother to stone. She did that hoping it would hurt me, in the same way as I have hurt her in the past.
I don’t know when I will return, but I will return as soon as I can. I do not know where I will go. If by some small chance I do not return, know that I am tremendously proud of you.

Till we meet again,
Dad

P.S. Paddles is in the backyard. He was put to sleep by Maruska last night somehow. I thought he was dead, but this morning he was awake, thank the Heavens. He is a little bit drowsy, but fine. Take good care of him until I get back.

Narteb read the note twice, mainly because his brain wasn’t working properly and he was having trouble thinking; so much had happened in the past few hours. One minute he was living a relatively normal life, the next his mother had been turned to stone and his father was gone. And his dog had nearly died.
To his credit though, Narteb didn’t get overwhelmed by all this. He put the note down, quietly went about having a hearty breakfast, then began gathering equipment for his journey�"for he had decided that he would go look for a way to cure his mother. Two DiManlen’s looking for a cure meant twice the chance someone would succeed.
He packed an ample supply of food, or as he liked to call it, ‘rations’, and grabbed various other items that he thought he might need: rope, compass, stone and flint, skinning knife, and other such things, and put them all in a backpack. Next, he searched for all the money in his room he could find (he found dozens of silver and copper coins underneath his bed!), and put it all in a small leather pouch, which he tied to his belt. Finally, he grabbed his wooden training sword. It wasn’t much, but it was the only sword he had.
Once he felt he was as fully equipped as he was going to get, he changed into something more suited for travelling. He put on his leather pants and tunic, and pulled on some leather boots. Now, that he was done, he picked up his sword, attached the scabbard to his belt and slung the backpack over his shoulders.
He went into the living room one final time. He stood in front of his mother and said to her, “I’m going to find a cure for you. Goodbye, mum.”
He gave the stone statue a hug. Narteb was not the type to often voluntarily hug his mum, but today, he felt like it. Plus she was a stone statue and no one else was watching.
He went into the backyard and saw Paddles resting in his kennel. Paddles got up when he saw Narteb, and started wagging his tail weakly. Narteb could see he really was looking quite drowsy and tired. He picked up the little dog and left his house.
It was a grey sort of morning and the air was crisp. He began walking to Pip’s place.

***

“Here we are,” said Narteb to Paddles, “Your new home for a little while.”
They had arrived at Pip’s house. It was a log cabin, and the general shape could best be described as wide, large and flat. Narteb always felt happy when he saw this house. Currently, there was a gentle curl of smoke coming out the chimney, and when Narteb breathed, he could smell a delicious aroma in the air. Pip’s mum was a fantastic cook, and was probably baking something inside.
Narteb went up the steps that led to the porch, and knocked on the front door. Hopefully, Pip was home. Narteb wanted to say goodbye to him before he left.
The door opened and out came Pip, still in his pyjamas, munching on a slice of cake. Pip took one look at how Narteb was dressed and said, “Whoa! Where are you going?”
“To find a cure for my mum,” said Narteb.
“And you’re taking Paddles with you?” said Pip.
“No,” said Narteb, “That’s why I’m here. Can you look after him for me until I get back?”
Pip looked at Paddles for a moment and then shook his head solemnly. He said, “I’m sorry, Narteb, but I will not be able to look after your dog.”
Narteb could not believe what he had just heard. He had been certain Pip would say yes.
Then Pip smiled and continued. “The reason I will not be able to look after your dog, is because I will be going with you. My parents can look after Paddles.”
Narteb sighed with relief, but then said, “No, definitely not. I have no idea where I am going. It could be dangerous. You have stuff to do, you shouldn’t be wasting time helping me do this.”
“Your stuff is my stuff,” said Pip, “And besides, do I look like I’m asking for your permission? I’m coming with you. Now let me grab Paddles and break the news to my mum.”
Narteb knew there was no way he could change Pip’s mind, and to be honest, he really was very happy his friend was coming with him. The big, wide, unknown world is not half as scary when you have your best friend with you.
Before he handed Paddles over to Pip, Narteb looked his little dog in the eyes and said, “Stay here for a while. I will come back.”
Like always, Narteb really felt that his dog knew what he had said, or at least gotten the intent from the way he said it. Narteb handed Paddles over to Pip, who took him and vanished inside.
Narteb stood on the porch and waited patiently. He looked around at the surrounds�"the tall, slender trees of the forest�"their leaves blowing gently in the wind. He had seen this view countless times, but now it all looked different. His stomach was buzzing. It was because he knew, very soon, he would be venturing outside Manangatang village for the very first time in his life. The prospect was daunting and exciting at the same time.
Someone came to the door. It wasn’t Pip this time, but Pip’s mother. She did have a name, but to Narteb, she was simply Pip’s mum, and one of his favourite people in the world. She was wearing a flour covered apron and indeed looked like she had been in the middle of baking.
She said nothing, but just gave Narteb a warm, tender hug. It immediately made Narteb feel better. When she finally let him go, she handed him a small cloth bundle, tied up securely with string.
“These are some oat slices I’ve just made,” she said, “It’ll give you boys some sustenance on your journey.”
Narteb thanked her and placed them carefully into his backpack.
It was then that Pip reappeared at the front door; Narteb got quite a shock when he saw him!
“You look cool!” said Narteb.
“My new clothes,” said Pip, “First time I’ve worn them!”
He was wearing some tan coloured leggings and a dark, leaf-green tunic. He had on the obligatory adventuring backpack and also a long hunting knife attached to his belt. And most importantly, in his hand, he was holding his clay ocarina!
“We’ll have music for the journey,” Pip chuckled.
Pip’s mum gave her son a hug, and said, “Can you wait until your father gets home at least? He will want to say goodbye.”
“Narteb has to go now, mum,” said Pip, “Tell the old man I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Pip’s mum looked like she was going to start crying any second now. “Promise me that you boys will stay safe,” she said, “And that you will try not to get in any danger.”
“Safe?” said Pip, “Narteb has never heard of that word.”
Tears started to well up in her eyes now.
“I’ll look after him,” said Narteb.
“Thank you,” said Pip’s mum.
“We better get going, Narteb,” said Pip, “Or my mum’s going to start crying on us.”
Pip’s mum smiled through the tears and waved goodbye as the two boys left.
Narteb and Pip left the house and followed the path until it led them right out the northern end of the village. Very soon they were travelling on the road they had always known simply as ‘North road’.
“Where are we going?” said Pip.
“I keep getting this feeling we should go to the Crossroads,” said Narteb, “So that’s where we will go first. There’s a lot of people there. Maybe someone can help us.”
Pip’s face lit up. “The Crossroads! I’ve always wanted to go there. You know, they say it’s a bustling hive of thieves, thugs and rascals. The whole place is trouble!”
“I know!” said Narteb.
They were both very happy about that.
Although a large part of Narteb’s mind was still dwelling on what had happened to his mum, having Pip around was cheering him up. After they had walked a while, they finally came upon a large wooden sign post.
“I’ve never been this far before,” said Pip, “Look at that.”
On the sign post were two arrows. One arrow�"pointing to the south, the way they had just come�"said ‘To Manangatang Village’. The other arrow, which pointed to the north, read ‘Southern Marsh Highway’.
According to the boys’ knowledge, if they followed this road all the way north, it would eventually lead them to the Crossroads. They began walking again, and Pip decided it was time to pull out the ocarina. He started playing an uplifing, adventurous sounding tune, called ‘Knight on the noble steed’. All morning, Narteb had been feeling mixed emotions; shock and sadness at what had happened to his mother, fear about whether or not he was up to the challenge ahead, and also the underlying buzz he couldn’t help but feel as he ventured outside his village for the first time. As Pip played his melody, all these heavy emotions inside Narteb, became like mist and the breeze carried them away�"leaving only one, very simple emotion behind.
The joyous feeling you get when you are travelling somewhere with your best friend.



© 2011 thuaners


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hmm.. this is quite an interesting chapter, but I felt a little weird reading through Narteb's actions. his mom is turned to stone, but after he dresses up he chuckles. and also he is looking for adventure? maybe it should be like he was desperate to find the cure, but on the corner of his mind he was thrilled by the prospect of an adventure. then again is it the Narteb's nature to act like that??
but I love the attention you gave to the dog. poor little guy.
and I gotta say, if they two get into a fight with a thug at a bar, it would be too typical.
can't wait to see what's coming next :-)

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

thanks for the comments! :) yeah i think its nartebs nature, he isn't the type to get too depressed over things, and all he's life he's dreamed of this moment :)

Posted 9 Years Ago


hmm.. this is quite an interesting chapter, but I felt a little weird reading through Narteb's actions. his mom is turned to stone, but after he dresses up he chuckles. and also he is looking for adventure? maybe it should be like he was desperate to find the cure, but on the corner of his mind he was thrilled by the prospect of an adventure. then again is it the Narteb's nature to act like that??
but I love the attention you gave to the dog. poor little guy.
and I gotta say, if they two get into a fight with a thug at a bar, it would be too typical.
can't wait to see what's coming next :-)

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 22, 2011
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Passion of the Liger


Author

thuaners
thuaners

Australia



About
Currently writing a fantasy adventure story online (called 'Passion of the Liger' :) ). hope you enjoy reading it ^^ more..

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A Chapter by thuaners