“Ah! I know what it is,” Shenon proclaimed with a sly smile. “Fancying yourself with daydreams of the smith’s daughter?” The statement brought a ruddy blush to his cheeks. “There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, dear, it’s quite all right. I’ve heard that you spend a good amount of time with Chlora these days. It’s only natural to-“
Grom blurted, “It’s not like that! I mean . . . she’s my tutor, helping me get through my schooling, you know?”
“Oh sure,” his mother remarked doubtfully. “Doesn’t really matter though, smithing is a fine choice! Chlora’s father, Hedrum, is well off and is always looking for a smart assistant to employ. Since he’s a fellow dwarf you’ll get along very nicely, I’m sure.” The noise of her bristly scrub brush washing the unclean dishes was a poor substitute for the silence that followed.
Finally he admitted, “I’m not going to be a smith, Mam.”
“No? Perhaps a stonemason then? I don’t know much about the owner of the guild over in Burholm, but Papa might know something.”
Bornen had quit the table and was eagerly scooting a strange piece of furniture in front of the fireplace. It was an old odd chair, made of some kind of ivory substance; on closer inspection, one could deduce that it was a semi-hollowed out bone of an oversized big toe, complete with carved cup holders and comfortable cushioning. (Shenon desperately insisted that Dhumond get rid of the gaudy thing for many years, but now days she was happy they held onto it; as gaudy as it was, the chair possessed a sentimental charm).
“I’m not familiar with him either, Shen,” he replied in a lazy yawn, outstretching his limbs before retiring to further relaxation. “But Burholm is a quaint little village,” he added indifferently, “quiet and peaceful.”
“That’s right,” she agreed, “you’ll settle in just fine in Burholm, and it’s only a short walk to the village from Snowberry! Three hours if I’m not mistaken.”
Grom exhaled through his nostrils slowly. He was wrestling his own tongue in an attempt to distill the disappointment. “Well that’s not . . . I mean, uh, I don’t think I’m going to be a stonemason either, Mam, sorry.”
“A carpenter it is,” she said with delight. “You know, I have a second cousin who’s a carpenter in Rivenfeld that would certainly take you under his wing. You’ll make for a fine apprentice – I’ll write him tomorrow, first thing in the morning. But goodness, Rivenfeld is at least two towns and a village away! You’ll have to send me letters every day so I know how you are-“
“I mean I want to be an adventurer,” Grom suddenly proclaimed, but every second his sentence lingered in the air his confidence wavered. The glaring eyes of his mother contained some sort of magic spell, or so he thought, because Grom could swear he was shrinking gradually toward the floor.