Weylan smiled as he described his family. He spoke of his five younger sisters and the laughter and games played around the hearth in the winter months. His eyes got a far away look for a moment and he stopped. Tears welled in his eyes as he described his mother, the sound of her voice as she sang them to sleep and the gentle touch of her hands. The sadness carried into his description of his father, tall and strong, honest and respected.
“Always do what your heart tells you is right, that’s what he always said, my Dad. The last thing he ever told me.”
Talis watched his friend, the floppy haired boy with the gap toothed smile and twice-turned coat, and, for just that moment between the teary look of far away longing and the hand that wiped the eyes and brushed the hair back along his scalp, he noticed that Weylan seemed much older than his 11 years would account for. He realized in that moment that, despite the distance in their perceived stations, the gap that separated their lives ran even deeper than (and opposite to) what any outsider would see. It nearly made him laugh; if things had been different, if Weylan’s parents had not died still owing debt on their farm, that he and his sisters would never have been made servants, and they could easily be studying to enter the Dragoons together.
“It sounds wonderful.” Talis replied solemnly.
“It was.” The rest of the evening was shared in a companionable silence as the moon followed the sun’s path accross the sky and began to disappear behind the mountains.
“It’s moonfall, we should get back.
“Yeah,” Talis replied. “Chiranna will have my backside if we aren’t back before dark.”
“Race you!” Weylan called out already leaping down off of a boulder and setting off down the game trail. slope beside the boulder and chasing after his friend.
Their path was slightly more cautious in the bright moonlight to avoid the dangers of the forrest, Weylan more than once just avoided stepping in a patch of Thistleweed. He managed to quickly correct so that Talis would not encounter the spiny hazards. He was approaching the rise to the Giant’s nose when he heard a low growel and came up short causing Talis to run into the back of him. Fortunately neither of them fell.