Seas of Crimson (4)

The Woodcutter:

            Sunlight filtered through the towering trees, painting a mosaic on the canvas of the roots, grass, and flowers of the forest floor. The chirping of birds was an appreciated change to the loudness and constant activity of the city. Danartha let the fresh winds flood her lungs as water gushes through a broken dam, and slowly her muscles relaxed, and a smile came to her face for the first time that day. Lifting her bronze hatchet, she walked through the trees looking for suitable ones to collect her daily haul.

            Spotting a decent one, with a slender trunk but many branches and not too much taller than herself, Darnartha swung her hatchet low, near the roots. It only took a few swings to bring the tree down.

            “This will make good kindling,” she thought.

            Dragging the slender trunk of the tree along, Danartha looked to an ancient-looking tree that was beginning to lose its leaves, even though it was still summer. Slowly approaching the tree, her amber hair glinting in the golden light, she put an ear to the grayish trunk and then scraped off a little bit of the bark, smelling it.

            “Perfect,” she said to herself. “Not too rotten, but dryer than live trees. Great for buildings or firewood.”

            She was just beginning to chop off a branch when someone approached her. “Still talking to yerself I see? Or maybe it’s the tree you’re socializin’ with,” her colleague called to her, then guffawed a laugh that no coyote could match.

            Danartha turned around slowly and faced her fellow woodcutter, a man with eight missing front teeth, breath that smelled sickly and unmistakably of wine, and a brutishly misshapen face. He grinned at her and continued to talk with a voice like a cow, “Surely you aren’t gonna miss the ‘big event?’”

            “If you have nothing important to say,” Danartha spat angrily, “then turn that fat worthless rear end of yours around before I chop off your head.” She had never found any patience with this man or any of the other male woodcutters who were like him. They—putting it nicely—were hopelessly drunken, fat, and lazy, men who only kept a job like a woodcutter because they enjoyed chopping things. The majority of the woodcutters were good people like herself; she was just unfortunate enough to have an assignment near this lot.

            Her response only made him laugh more. She then noticed the other woodcutters putting away their equipment and walking back to the main city of Dorotia. “Emperor Caniro says everybody’s gotta go to the palace for some meeting somethin’ or other. You comin’ or what?”

            “Not with you,” she spat back at him, “I think the stench of your, I don’t know, everything has already killed everything you’ve walked by today. I’ll pass.”

            Danartha turned and strode back to the city, leaving her harvested wood where it sat in the dirt. Her good mood from the forest was completely spoiled. Little did she know that her grouchiness would do nothing but increase from that moment on.  And the worst part of all wouldn’t even occur that day, and it would cause much more than just a little grouchiness for the whole of Dorotia.

(and that's all I got through in this story besides just a few more character introductions, but I don't feel like posting them here.)

The End

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