CHAPTER THREE: Crossing the Rabbit's Path (9)

     “My deeds speak for themselves,” Bornen replied reproachfully, arms akimbo. “I’ve never needed a guild before, and I don’t need one now!”

     “Truly your deeds are merited justly, but they are centuries old.” Noticing the elderly dwarf’s reaction, he added politely, “I mean no offence – I’m just saying that things are done a little differently these days. You can’t be an adventurer mucking about in dirty dungeons and secret repositories, plundering at your every whim undocumented. You just can’t.” Denthis silently tallied the number of corpses lying about, then continued scribbling.

     “You can’t?” The discouraged dwarf frowned. “Why not?”

     “Well, it’s illegal for one thing.”

     “It is?” Grom sounded more disheartened.

     Denthis raised an eyebrow curiously as he lowered his quill, “By the gods boy, have you been living on the side of a mountain your whole life or something?”

     “Well . . .” Grom averted his glance with an expression of embarrassment, “I guess you could say that. Yes.”

     “Oh,” he said, “my humblest apologies. If that’s so, then I suggest registering with a guild-“ He looked down at Bornen’s foot and concluded, “At your earliest convenience, of course.”

     “Why? What’s it matter what we do with our own business?” Bornen asked defensively.

     “And what does a guild have to do with adventuring?” Grom wondered.

     Tiny grains of sand were quickly filtering from one chamber of a distant hourglass to the other in the depths of Denthis’ mind. He closed the tome and shoved it into the pack hurriedly. “Look,” he stated with a hint of impatience as he slunk the pack over his shoulders, “I wasn’t joking when I said that I’m on a tight schedule. If you have more questions then seek out a guild, otherwise until this boy is registered he isn’t really an adventurer. He needs his credentials, or it won’t matter deeds he accomplishes. It wouldn’t be . . . official.” He shrugged indifferently. “Sorry Grom.”

     “It’s settled then,” Bornen seemed to have murmured to himself until adding resolutely, “if you need to be . . . what? This ‘registered’ nonsense, in order to qualify as an adventurer, then Denthis will take you to a guild!”

They both nearly reeled over from bewilderment as they asked confusedly, “What?”

  “Oh no, no . . . I regret to decline such an honor, Bornen, but you see I’m really-”

     “I’m not leaving you Papa – not in your condition.”

     “That’s right! You’ve got your health to mind and-

     “This is important, Grom. You need to be an adventurer,” Bornen insisted with urgency, “because . . . Well, I-I can’t explain it all myself. But this is your true calling; your destiny.” Then he shifted his stare, which soured into sternness, and remarked to Denthis, “And you . . . you must take him to a guild that will prepare him for his future . . . for our future- No! for the future of the Realm!”

The End

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