Journal of a Paladin
Episode X: Bright Lights
By Matthew R. Fleming
A.K.A. the Cheddar Paladin
Entry #11 The Twentieth of November in the Year Sixteen Hundred and Ninety-seven
While I was on my vacation back in my home in Banguard, I found that my relatives did not ask for my help often. They had plenty of hired hands for the work on the farm, and my mother and my brother did not ask me to help with anything domestic. I think they felt that I shouldnt get too attached to the routine they had established with my father as I did not live there permanently anymore. I always offered if I wasnt doing anything else, but I wasnt called on for assistance unless there was an emergency, which there never was. I felt inadequate and almost ostracized by my family, though I knew that they meant well. So my vacation wasnt as pleasant as I thought it would be, though I did reunite with Cobalt, which made us both very happy.
Even though I was not asked for help, I did check up on my father when the others were busy. More often than not, he was uncomfortable. The typical way to comfort him is to move him onto his side or to just shift his weight around so hes not in the same position of too long. This isnt as easy as it sounds because my father is a heavy set man and hes become quite sensitive to pain in his condition. Because of his pain and constant discomfort hes become disgruntled with his life and his inability to directly contribute to society has made him depressed. Knowing that, I am always happy to see him with a smile on his face. His sense of humor is still intact, regardless of his situation, and I could not be more thankful that that part of him remains.
To get a smile out of him, I would usually talk to him about some of the things we used to do. For example, in the winter, my father and I used to travel into the town after a snow storm with shovels in our hands and a plow on the wagon attached in front of the horses. The wagon would push the snow off of the road as we rode by one way, and then the other to clean it up. Wed stop and help shovel walkways for people we knew or people with vast amounts of snow to move. My father would never ask for compensation, hed just hop back up into the wagon and wave as he rode off with a smile.
I think he liked being reminded of how great a man he is. He would have a look of content across his face whenever I would remind him of the noble deeds he would do. And he would laugh at some of the less noble things I would remind him of. For example, my father has taught me many lessons in life. He was not a city man so his lessons were usually unrefined. However, they were appropriate for his backwater setting. Of all the lessons hes taught me, three things stand out:
1.) It is okay to curse, just not in front of women, especially not in front of your mother and her relatives.
2.) It is okay to pick your nose so long as no one is around, you dont have a handkerchief, and you are in the wilderness.
3.) When its hot out, drink a hot liquid like coffee or cocoa. It warms up the inside so the outside doesnt seem so hot anymore.
My father is a very wise man.
Aside from my reminiscing with my father, my vacation seemed pointless. Within two and a half weeks staying there, I decided to head back to Winguard and take Cobalt with me. I said my goodbyes and told them Id be back the next time I get some extended time to myself.
A few days passed after I got back to Winguard. Cobalt was getting used to being a city rat, and I hadnt seen Jordanello the entire time since I had returned. Then, one afternoon, about lunchtime, he showed up at my door with a couple flasks of tea. He told me that while I was on vacation, he decided to go on one as well as to not waste time by himself. He recounted the story to me over lunch.
So, you left and, maybe a day or two afterward, I decided that it was going to be boring without someone to hang out with.
Well, you could always have just hung around the Black Stop.
Yeah, and I did the first two nights, but there werent any good performances happening and Seamus said that there usually isnt anything special happening until mid July, when the weather gets so warm that everyone comes in for a drink. Thats when the summer shows start.
Well have to check that out when it happens.
Yeah, we should. Anyway, so I heard one night there that the Fael, down near Tenguard, well their home is a big tourist attraction this time of year.
The Fay Forest? You mean Princess Kays home?
Yeah, its supposed to be really cool. I mean, not just pretty because of the flowers, and trees, and stuff. I mean, theres some awesome things happening down there around summer solstice.
That was last week.
Yeah, you should have been there. You wouldve liked it.
I can only imagine.
Yeah, it was cool, but thats not all. I got one Hell of an escort there.
Yeah, really. Youd never guess who was on their way down at the same time I was. So, I was on my horse, maybe a mile or so out of town, when I see two cloaked riders going the same way I was. So I caught up to them a greeted them and they pulled back their hoods to show themselves. It was Tarcamas and Princess Kay!
I spit out a swig of tea as I heard that last part, No way!
Yeah way. Well anyway, we decided to ride together seeing as how we were all going the same way.
And that Amazon, Tarcamas, didnt stop you from talking?
She would? Uh
she didnt. Why would she?
I was rather upset to hear that Jordan apparently was special enough to be treated like a person and not get the same treatment I did.
Yeah, so, he returned to his story, we rode all the way to the Fay, and we talked the whole way there. We stopped at a few inns along the way at night and we really got to know each other. Id say were friends now.
Wow, I said in near disbelief. I wished I had the idea to go to the Fay that day. Banguard is almost half the way there as the road south of Banguard leads to Tenguard. So what did you talk about? What do you learn about her?
I donno. Stuff. Like, shes an ambassador to Winguard from the Fael Elvin people. She is a citizen of both the Fay and the Kingdom of Winguard considering shes half Guardian.
Thats interesting, anything else?
well, nothing significant.
Well you spent a few days traveling with her and Tarcamas, you must know something else.
Why are you so interested? Um
well she told me mostly stories about the other royalty, how they always make complete asses out of themselves.
Oh, well, I could care less about that. Tell me something I dont know.
Tarcamas was raised here, in Winguard City.
Oh, that must be why shes so damned tall.
Yeah, maybe. We eat different things here. Like some of the food there is really light; all kindsa fruit and leafy things.
Not as much meat in the Faelean diet I take it.
None at all actually. Mostly sweet fruit and juice. Though, they did have a very addictive lime drink.
So what happens down there during the solstice?
Well, on the night of the solstice, they have a huge party. I mean fill the streets huge. Really big. They light a big fire, but it doesnt look like fire, more or less a big, glowing light.
Like the solar spheres we use to light the city at night?
different somehow. They just make it appear from the top of this tree.
They dont use something to light it?
Well, they sing
chant, really. All of them. Then it lights up, can see it anywhere. You probably can see it in Tenguard. Its like a big pillar of light up to the sky. Also, there are plants everywhere and all are in bloom like crazy. Theyre all huge blossoms and the air there smells so good. You really have to go there sometime to see it for yourself.
Sounds just amazing.
It is, he said, taking a swig from his flask.
Then, Cobalt lazily crawled into the room from outside as I left the door open seeing as how it was a beautiful day, [Agh, the light out there is so bright!]
Whoa! Jordan exclaimed, surprised by the sudden, yet nonchalant appearance of my blue rat, the Hell is that?
[What did I ever do to him?] said Cobalt in Wakish , equally surprised at Jordans reaction to the sight of him.
Did it just say something? asked an even more surprised Jordanello.
Yes, he did, I explained, Jordan, meet Cobalt, my giant blue rat friend from back home. Cobalt, this is Jordanello Hoffburg, my friend from training.
[Ah, so THIS is the guy you told me about. He seems a little less heroic than what you told me.]
I assure you, this really is the man who should have defeated me in the tournament.
[Whatever you say
Im gonna go lie down; I shouldnt be up this early.]
Are you two having a conversation? Jordan asked, exponentially more puzzled than before.
Maybe I should tell you about my own vacation now, I started.