I could write more, but I’m happy with my total thus far. I’m currently on track to hit 50,000 words on November 17. I know I won’t because there will be some days that I’ll only write a small amount, and then there will be days like today where I wrote close to 8,000 words. But today’s total happens to be 11,455.
And so, as a small congratulations, I offer one piece of what I’ve written. The story of Scales and how he came to stay with Shani.
As soon as Clayton managed to get out of Shani what some of her favourite foods were, and avoiding anything that he didn’t have on hand, he set about to cooking up something simple. Hash browns, some sausage, butter toast and a few fresh vegetables from his garden in back of his cabin. He noticed Scales watching him closely, making note to himself how much like a cat the tiny dragon was. Everyonce and a while, he’d cut up a fresh piece of food, sometimes a potatoe, sometimes a sausage, and offer it to the small dragon. Scales approved of the sausage, but wasn’t too pleased with the slice of potatoe. Clayton figured it out once Shani told him what he really liked.
“He’s partial ta apples,” Shani said as she reached for her ruck sack, rummaged around a bit and pulled out an apple. Scales perked up as he saw the red fruit and settled in beside Shani as she cut it up.
“Ya know somethin’,” Clayton said as he served up the meal on two separate plates. “He reminds me o’ a cat. A lady in town that I did some work for, built a huge bookcase for her, she had a cat. Acted lot like he did.” He set both plates down, one in front of Shani, the other at his own seat. Scales was happily munching on a piece of apple, holding it in his foreclaws tightly. “So where did ya find him?”
“I found him ’bout ten years ‘go,” Shani said, finding it much easier and more comfortable to speak with Clayton. Her stutter had all but vanished, but Clayton noticed she was trying very hard to sound like him. “I was on the Merchant Road, what goes from Stonebridge ta Overbrooke. An’ ’bout half way there, I found a caravan been attacked by brigands.” She mentioned places like Clayton would know them, and to be polite he nodded and listened to her story. They had to exist, after all. Because she existed, she was an elf. Who had a tiny dragon as a companion. “So I took it ‘pon myself ta track down the brigands. They did a nasty job, stole everythin’, killed everyone. It was an ol’ wizard who was well known. I reported it ta the Patrollers… thet’d be like yer sherrif… an’ said I’m gonna track ’em down.” She paused to take a bite of food before continuing. “Most time, brigands ’round thet area get away ’cause nobody can find ’em. But I have experience in trackin’, an I hunted ’em down an’ found their hideout. They had a ton o’ stuff there; gold, jewels, parchment, some items o’ rare antiquity. I made a few marks an’ got a small group o’ Patrollers ta follow me, an’ we got the jump on ’em.”
“Was there a fight?” Clayton asked, actually quite enthralled with Shani’s story.
“Hell no,” she said with a smirk and shook her head. “Them ones never even put up a fight once they seen ten heavily armed Patrollers with long blades, flintlocks an’ blunderbus at the ready. I stuck ’round ta sort out through all o’ the items an’ I found him,” she said as she motioned to Scales. The tiny dragon had his head propped up on Shani’s right arm, and she reached over and tickled his neck lightly. He nipped playfully at her, then rolled over as Shani scratched as his belly. “They had ‘im locked up in a cage, so I opened it an’ set ‘im free. He crawled right up my arm an’ sat right on my shoulder. After a while, ’cause the wizard for whom he was a familiar was dead, it were decided I’d take care o’ him.” She chuckled as Scales began playing grabby with her fingers as she scratched his belly. “We been together ever since.”
“Well, I ain’t never had anything like him b’fore,” Clayton said as he shook his head and smiled at the attention Shani gave the tiny dragon.
“You got yer horse.”
“Not really the same,” Clayton replied. “I doubt he’d react the same to a belly rub as he would.”
“I’d like ta get me a horse,” Shani said with a firm nod. “An’ maybe some clothes ta fit in a bit better ’round here. I kinda stick out like a sore thumb.”
“Well, yer gonna need money,” Claytons said as he finished up his plate. “I don’t know what y’all use back where you come from, but here it’s dollars.”
Shani reached down to her ruck sask and pulled up a large coin purse. It rattled and clinked as she lifted it up. There was something valuable in there, and whatever it was, Shani had a lot of it. She opened up the purse and let Clayton look inside. There was several coins, all gold, pure gold, sitting strewn about in her purse. He looked up to Shani and nodded slowly. “T’morrow, we’ll get you some new clothes an’ a new horse. I think you got more ‘n ‘nough.”
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