Set to Soak

“Clarice!” Gabriel ran into the leather workers shop.

“Calm down, you can’t be this excited about making pouches.”

“No, do you have any orders to fill tomorrow afternoon?”

“Not yet, but we need to work on your pouches some more.”

“Oh, I brought the stuff you asked for, but would you like to see where Thomas is buried?”  Gabriel was so happy that he was able to share this with Clarice that he did not stop to think of the effect on her.

She staggered to a chair, as if struck in the stomach.  “You mean, you know where he is?” She sobbed.

“Well, not yet, Father Meinos is looking it up for me and will tell me later tonight.”
“Uh, are you sure it is ok with him?”

“Yes, I can take you out there tomorrow if you want.”

Clarice had begun to regain some of her composure, “Sure, I think I would like that, if it would not be too much trouble for you.”

“Master Lear told me that I am supposed to be the person all of you look up to and think I am, I think this is what he meant.  If this little thing, taking time out of my day, helps someone out, I mean, that is part of what being a Paladin is about, right, helping people?”

“Yes, but I think it is not about doing it because it is the right thing but also doing it because you want to.  I mean, I guess sometimes it is about that choice, but…”

“I think I see what you mean.  I mean I want to take you to his grave, if you want.”

“Yes, please.”

“Ok, tomorrow afternoon then.”

“What about the ingredients I asked for, you said you had them?”

Gabriel pulled the two pouches out of his bag and handed them to Clarice.  “Here.”

Clarice opened the first one and found the the ingredients for the ink inside.  “These will do nicely.  Help me with these, will you?”  She leaned over one of a pair of large barrels, trying unsuccessfully to push it closer to the table where she was working.  Gabriel added his weight to the barrel and began pushing as well, causing the barrel to slowly scrape across the ground the contents sloshing inside.  They then went back and pushed the second barrel as well.

“Ok, what are these for?” he asked.

“Watch,” she said, picking up a long piece of metal and popping the lids off of both barrels, revealing what looked to be plain leather.

“We are going to soak the leather for the next two days.  So that will give us a good opportunity tomorrow to go see my Brother.”  She upended the contents of the ink bag into one of the barrels, and the other bag into the other barrel.  “Grab that piece of leather there and that rock,” she pointed to a single piece of leather that was lying on the table.

He grabbed them and handed the leather and the rock to her.  She tossed the leather in and then the rock down on top of it and placed the lid back on, using a mallet to seal the container.  She then asked for a stack of ten pieces of leather and a rock from Gabriel, and did the same to the other barrel.  “Ok, we will see you tomorrow then.”

“That’s it?”

“Yep, just come back ready to show me where my brother is tomorrow.”

“I sure will.  Thank you.  See you tomorrow.”  Gabriel left and headed back towards the temple.  Gabriel proceeded up the road and as he passed the tavern, he heard loud shouting coming from inside.  Curious, he stuck his head in and observed a pair of men arguing in front of Gavin.

“Ah Master Gabriel, good of you to stop by.  Could you help these two men please?  Preferably before it turns violent.” Gavin called out across the common room of the tavern.

“Uh, sure, what can I do for you gentleman?”

“Well, you know what, let them explain it for themselves.  This here is Peter,” Gavin pointed at the heavier of the two men, built more like a barrel than a man, “And Jacob.”  Jacob was a small man in stature, but, by the sound of things, made up for it in voice.

“Aye, who is this lad,” the one identified as Jacob huffed, out of breath from yelling.

“That’s the new Paladin is who that is,” Peter responded, lowering his voice.

“You can’t be serious, this kid?”

“Yes sir, Master Lear himself is training me.  Now what seems to be the problem?” Gabriel asked, prodding the two men, who both began speaking at once.

Gabriel looked at Gavin, who shrugged.  “Ok,” he began, Jacob, you can go first.”  Gabriel tried to show the man who did not believe he was a Paladin that his beliefs did not matter to justice.

“Well, his bull got loose in my field, and well,” Jacob began to blush slightly as he realized what he was talking about and the age of who he was talking to.

“Yes, I know how it works, so, now you have a calf?” Gabriel could not help but smirk at the absurdity that was unfolding before him.  “Let me guess, you both want the calf.”

Both men began to speak at once again.

“Wait, Jacob, go on.”

“Well, I now have a young cow to care for, so when it grows up I should get the coins for selling it.”

“Peter, you want the coins because without your bull, he would not have had the calf, am I correct.”

“Yes Master Gabriel, you are correct.”

“Well, I can see two answers to your problem, let me ask one more question though.  Peter, have you ever let Jacob use your bull before?”

“Yes but…”

“Wait, how much did he pay you for that?”

“A couple of coins per calf sired,” the light was beginning to go on in Peter’s head.

“Jacob, would you be willing to pay Peter the same fee you did in the past?” Gabriel looked hard at Jacob, trying to judge his reaction.  Before Jacob could answer, Gabriel added, “My other option would be for you to donate the calf to the church so that it might be used for the next Harvest Festival.”

Seeing the choices before laid before him, Jacob nodded, and reached into the pouch that hung at his belt before handing Peter a small stack of coins.

“Thank you,” Gavin told Gabriel, before adding, “Come back for more Dogleg later if you would care to.”

Gabriel laughed, “Maybe, but not tonight.  Have a good day, I have some lessons left to learn yet today.”

The End

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