“Are you delusional? Absolutely not,” Denthis protested, “I’m on the losing end of a wager here because of this incident. I’m not about to start toting around a dwarf I happened to bump into during a courier run. You wouldn’t have enough gold to pay me for the job, regardless. Speaking of gold, feel free to help yourselves to whatever this lot had on them, and-” A loud crash interrupted him impeccably as the roof of the hut collapsed, leaving little more than a fizzling pile of debris adorned with simmering arcane fires. “And tell your friend, that Ezmyr fellow to do the same, won’t you?” He bent his legs and readied himself for a harrowing bound down into a rock-filled, pathless ravine. The scales of his boots shined against the white snow like tiny pearls mingling with two great, foot-shaped rubies.
“W-wait! What about this?” Groping around under his cloak, Bornen produced a feather. “Would you take him if I gave you this?”
The grayness and silken plushness of the plume warranted a methodical inspection. “Is that . . .” Denthis brightened, “is that really . . . an eaglebear’s feather?” He beamed while his attitude slowly began to alter. He stroked his chin thoughtfully.
“You can’t be serious, Papa. We still don’t know what happened to Mam, and you said that Ezmyr-”
“I’ll see to it that the elf is found,” Bornen assured with a positive nod. “He couldn’t have gone too far. Denthis, will you give us a moment please? Maybe fetch the pony for me?”
When they were left alone, Bornen hobbled a short distance with the adolescent at his side and continued in a low voice, “There’s something fishy happening in the Realm, Grom. You hear me? And your Mam might be caught up in the middle of it all. As it stands, you don’t have any clue what it takes to be an adventurer, thanks to Shen. If this Denthis fellow can put you on the right track, then it’s for the best that you go with him. Oh don’t give me that look . . . I’ve seen my fair share of battles. I’ll be all right.” He crouched over a pile of snow and purloined a weapon from it. He spent a minute prying off an arm that still clutched desperately to the hilt of the blade. “Ah – he returns! So tell me Denthis, will you take my grandson to get registered as an adventurer?”