A small series of linked short stories intended to explore the backstories and character development of three of my main characters, who until now have taken a back seat to the main protagonist of a story idea I've been working on. Since I plan to rework that idea anyway, I figured I'd write something like this to get a better feel for their personalities. I may still tweak this, who knows, but I'm curious to see what you think so far.

Around the Campfire

a short story series by Silas Connall


The storm beat down upon the makeshift shelter in its vicious attempts to put out the small fire, whose warmth was doing very little to lift the spirits of the three individuals huddling around it. The storm had come on so suddenly that before they had managed to erect a suitable shelter for the three of them, the rain had drenched them so thoroughly that they had had to build a fire immediately and lay their clothes out around it. They could easily have wicked away the moisture using magic, but for days now they had been trying to skirt around a large enemy force with trained magi among their ranks. It had been bad enough they had had to use magic to even light the fire, due to how waterlogged most of their fuel had been. Further use of magic would no doubt give away their position; the three were convinced as is that the enemy was suspicious, so they had kept the fire low enough to stay hidden, but still warm enough to keep them alive through the night.

The result, of course, was less than ideal and more than a bit uncomfortable for the three men. It also did not help matters much that one of these men happened to be very tall, very big, and usually very energetic. While he did his best not to fidget around, he couldn't help but readjust his sitting position every few minutes, huffing and snorting through his nose much to the annoyance of his two companions. However, having traveled with him for some amount of days now, the others knew this was probably the most quiet and still he had ever been.

It was one of the other two who eventually broke the silence, grunting as he scratched the back of his head roughly as he bore his teeth; it was not a physical itch that he was attempting to rid himself of, but more an itch one has when they are restless and completely frustrated with their current situation.

"You sure you can't do anything about all this?" he asked the bigger man, gesturing outside at the storm.

"If'n I could, I would, Gareth."

"Not even a little bit though?"

"There's no such thing as "little" with a storm like this. Filling a ship's sails with wind while the ocean is peaceful is one thing. A storm, though? Sorry, lad. I'm not that powerful."

"Not yet," said the smaller of the three, who had been observing them both for a while now.

"Lemme rephrase that then, Aidan. I don't want that kind of power. Not in that way."

"Why not, Ross? It could probably decimate that army out there right now and we wouldn't even have to hide here!"

"I wouldn't expect you to understand, you pompous little-"

"Then help us understand," mediated Aidan, who had been the most quiet of the three until then. "Why shy away from such knowledge? You must have a reason."

Ross stared in amazement before managing to readjust his position once more. Sighing, he leaned back along the rock wall they'd made their shelter against, closing his eyes against the dim light of their campfire.

"A'right. A'right, you buggers, I'll tell you why..." Ross grunted. "It's not exactly a secret, but it is kinda long."

"We're not exactly short on time here," Gareth snidely replied. "But, uh, we'd like to hear it if you're willing to tell us," he quickly added in a normal tone of voice, after having cleared his throat out of embarrassment.

"Well... okay then. But no interrupting." Ross slowly cratched his perpetually unkempt beard, its dark chestnut color almost mistaken for black in the current light.

"Understood," Aidan said in his usual calm demeanor.

Ross leaned forward, now surprisingly still in contrast to his previous fidgeting as he stared into the fire, the small dancer within the ashes dancing upon his iris' as he began.

The End

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