Joe's Turn

 

Sunlight danced on the freshly formed dew, painting the blacksmith's windows gold with latesummer's fading lustre. Slowly, Joe allowed it's playful sparkle to prize open his weary eyes, reluctant to be free of slumber's soft embrace. Lazily he gazed at the patterns in the light, still half dreaming the dream he had been lost in every night for the last month.

He was a mighty knight riding through a black fog to rescue his beloved from a dark tower - a granite tower. Yes, granite... that had seemed important. Beasts flew and scratched at him but he swatted them away with a golden shield. He would reach her...

Joe shut his eyes, pulled warm covers to his chin and rolled away from the window.

I'm coming for you, my love...

On the fringes of his reality, Joe was faintly aware of the ruffle of feathers and a low, plaintive quack.

...my Vyda...

The name hit Joe like a slap in the face and with a sudden spasm of hyperactivity he was up and scrabbling around for his least worn-out boots and the tunic he'd washed the day before.

"It can't be today already", he muttered, frantically rummaging through the papers and quills strewn across his table.

Davy eyed him calmly. Sensing it, Joe came to an abrupt stop and looked at him.

"I know. I know, Davy but I - I'm not ready yet. Am I?"

Davy blinked. He hopped with barely a flutter from the bed to the floor and waddled over to Joe's feet. He looked up at Joe with his deep, clear blue eyes.

Although it was widely known that birds, especially those favoured by mages, had heightened perceptory senses, it was indeed a rarity to find a bird with ones as developed as Davy's. Indeed, ducks were widely considered to be among the dumbest of the sky-seers and Joe had heard that in some places they were still bred for meat. Sickening as that was to him, it made Davy all the more remarkable for Joe had never yet heard of any bird that had learned to communicate with it's master as Davy had with him - without sounds or speech - and what was more, sometimes he could feel what Davy felt - as though the bird could somehow tune Joe to some secret frequency that only they shared.

Joe was calm at last.

"Thanks, Davy", he sighed.

With a nonchalant quack, Davy waddled under the bed to look for last night's dinner crusts.

"I suppose if it really is today then there is no getting around the fact", Joe opened the table drawer and, finding the letter he had been searching for, laid it on the table. The cover simply read 'For Vyda'.

"For everything that ever was, a time came for each one. Today it is just my turn is all."

 

The knock that came at the door was so loud that Davy shot from under the wrong side of the bed and straight into the hanging bedclothes, hitting the wall in a tangled ball of confusion.

"Davy!", Joe gasped, scrambling to free the duck, "Alright! Just a minute!", he hollered to the persistent caller as the knocking grew louder.

"If that's anyone but my master, you should know I have a whole armoury of weapons in the forge here... And I know how to use most all of 'em!"

Joe was at the door now and the knocking had finally ceased. He waited. He noticed Davy sidling into the corridor, "Reckon that scared him off, eh?"

"Open the door, Joe, I have very little time."

 

 

The End

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