Grom returned, guiding the pony into the backyard and over to the stump. “I found it,” he said proudly.
“Good, now get on it and ride out of here.”
“I’m not leaving without you, Papa.”
“I’ll only slow you down, Grom.”
The boy’s face grinned. “Then we’ll go slow together,” he replied as he extended one of his hands to Bornen.
There was a twinkle that flashed in the eyelids, and Bornen noticed a startling transformation happen before his very sight. The way his grandson was standing there, offering his hand, and the way he was holding the reigns of the pony, that frosty determination in his clover colored orbs, and the sad remnants of goblin destruction littering the background . . . Grom resembled the picturesque makings of a true hero.
“All right,” he finally acceded, “if you’re going to drag me along then help me up.” He was carefully hoisted onto the pony’s back. “Easy, easy – ee ah, there we go.” Bornen slumped into a comfortable position.
After Grom finished assisting his grandfather, he asked, “So where should we start our search? Do you think Mam . . . “ He paused solemnly. “Do you think-”
“We make our way to the Peaks,” he declared, pointing a shaky finger at the mountain range towering before them like some ancient footstool of the gods, stretching up and disappearing amid a veil of fluffy clouds. “If we want to find out what happened, then we’ll need to seek out Ezmyr.” Then he added in his mind, “Maybe he can do something about my foot while he’s at it.” He winced after a lame effort to wiggle his toes.
“Ezmyr?” Grom inquired curiously.
“Yes, Ezmyr. He’s a wandering wizard with strange and supernatural powers. If anyone can tell us Shenon’s fate, it’ll be him.”
“And this wizard lives in the mountains?”
“From time to time he does. He has a few huts scattered here and there in the Realm, I think. One of them was built near a rocky ravine not terribly far from here. Guide me up to that trail over yonder; that’s the quickest path to take to his place.”
Grom and Bornen departed from the debris and rubble that was their cottage. They took a moment to mournfully cherish memories that projected like phantasmal fantasies over the wreckage. Although things were dispiriting to say the least, some of the finest portraits of adventurers are created using dark oils. Shenon was out there, he just knew it, (or so he thought anyway), and he was firm in his resolution to find her. As they made their way closer to Redwing Peaks, the boy trudging through the snow alongside the trotting pony that bore his injured grandfather, it was evident that Grom was embarking on his first real quest.
(And so his adventuring days begin . . . )