CHAPTER THREE: Crossing the Rabbit's Path (12)

“Here Grom, you better take one as well.” Bornen withdrew a second feather from his cloak after rifling through it for a few seconds, “It’s for good luck.”

“Two feathers!” Denthis proclaimed excitedly. “Just how many more of those do you have stashed away, anyhow?” He studied Bornen suspiciously, pondering the idea that perhaps he sold his services for less than he should’ve bargained for.

“Lots of them,” Bornen replied casually. “Why?”

“Um . . .” He paused. Denthis had already tried his hand explaining guilds, registry, and so on while time continued draining away. To begin a lesson on the link between rare alchemic components, and their absolute necessity to chemists, druggists, apothecaries, medical researches, and the serious collectors of antiques . . . well, there wasn’t enough hours left in the day for that. “Let’s just say that in the right market an eaglebear’s feather can fetch a handsome sum of gold.”

“Really?” Bornen inquired ignorantly, “They’re worth quite a bit, are they? I’ve never really thought about selling them before,” he remarked as he padded down his garments with a positive grin. “They keep me warm. Use them for insolation, I do. But if they’re worth gold, here Grom,” a generous fistful of plumes were tossed in the air. “Have some for yourself too, Denthis. It’s my way of repaying you for taking care of him, which I assume you’ll do . . .”

“On my honor,” Denthis pledged.

“Good. Go on then, Grom – the future awaits.”

At length there was one of those heartfelt good-byes shared between them, (which seemed elongated and lasted a really long time, especially for those keeping an eye on the clock and pressed for time). Bornen readied himself for the trek ahead, spending a few moments gathering up some discarded lamps and containers of oil. He demanded Grom act well behaved, wished him the best of luck, and bid him a sincere farewell. Then he traversed toward a familiar, narrow mountain pass as he waved over his shoulder. Wherever Shenon was, he was determined to discover for himself, but only Ezmyr could reveal that to him now . . .

   Grom, on the other hand, travelled in a very different fashion down the peaks; he was desperately hanging onto the pack strapped to the back of Denthis as the man quickly bounded from snowcapped boulder to boulder like a beguiling gazelle at play. The crisp winds carried the flaps of their cloaks and reddened their cheeks as they hopped along down the mountainside while the sun gleamed off of white dusted cliffs. His heart was racing faster than the beating of hummingbird wings, and there was a mounting sense of anticipation, or anxiety, or perhaps bad gas, pitted deep in his stomach as they went forth to Barrow Falls.

The End

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