CHAPTER ONE: Born to be a Hero (8)

     The young boy was quite gaunt, and was the spitting image of his father, that is, years ago when the adolescent Dhumond posed in the portrait with his father. Grom’s golden hair and the top half of his head were both tucked away under a dark hood. The cloak set around his body flapped in the winter’s whispers, outlining his lean frame. He stepped one of his furry boots beyond the threshold, and was opening his mouth to speak, probably to utter, “I’m back,” but he suddenly tripped and jostled. A moment later the large pieces of lumber spilt onto the floor, scattering and clunking about as they hit the ground. He lowered the hood, revealing a fat nose and bushy brow, both wrinkled in humbling humiliation. His round cheeks reddened even more so as he uttered out, “S-Sorry,” and at once the clumsy dwarf entered the house.

     “Say boy, do you want us all to catch a cold?” Bornen grumbled as he, along with Shenon, moved from their places to assist picking up the scattered firewood. “It’s a nice night to invite strangers into our home, but this cold weather is all too friendly. Close that door.”

     Grom silently obeyed, shutting the front door behind him, then he turned to aid his mother and grandfather. Once all of the firewood was retrieved, he neatly stacked the lumber near the fireplace and began to thaw his somewhat frozen skin next to its vivacious flames. To facilitate the warming process, he crossed his thin arms and hastily rubbed them with gloved hands. “It sure is a cold one out there,” he said conversationally as the turned his attention to his mother. She was still fuming from the argument, and if smoke could billow from her ears, perhaps Grom would have mistaken her for the fireplace instead. “What’s wrong Mam?”

     “Nothing’s wrong. Papa and I were just having a talk that ended with a mutual agreement.” Bornen parted his lips to interject, but Shenon continued before he could say anything, “Now that your chores are done for the night, I assume you’re hungry, hmm?”

     Grom beamed brightly at the sound of a hot meal. A childish and youthful smile spread over his face as he quietly nodded, though his gleaming and widened eyes said, “More than anything!”

     “All right then, be a good boy and set the table. I’m sure if you ask your grandfather, he’d be more than willing to help you.” She gently nodded in Bornen’s direction; the gesture was enough to soothe his spirits for the time being.

     “Will you help me, Papa? Please?” Grom began to undo his cloak and doff the rest of his outdoor attire. Bornen simply shrugged, smiled, and acceded amiably. The two dwarves worked at arranging the dishes and eating utensils while Shenon prepared the meal. It only took a few minutes before the entire room was filled with the fragrant aroma of biscuits baking, a broth of simmering vegetables, and honey-glazed ham.

The End

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