January 31st, 2013


Shifting Focus

Originally published at ankewehner.de. You can comment here or there.

Kondarans! Arrogant, lazy... Mirab was an example of the type, being put out at the thought of having to learn a new language - it had never crossed her mind anyone would not speak her own. Teaching it had fallen on Daaren, and he was not about to complain about it, given that he had been another one of the strays the local keep was in a habit of taking in. The girl’s attitude grated on his nerves, anyway.

Mirab’s companion, Firo, seemed an exception from the rule, modest and diligent, and trying to mediate between the girl wrapped up in herself and the real world. It was he who suggested they could translate a story, for them to offer as entertainment and as thanks for the hospitality. The idea even roused Mirab’s interest.

“Oh, yes! A tale about Sir Garob!”

The name seemed vaguely familiar to Daaren. “What is he known for?”

“He was a knight who travelled to barbarian places to teach people to defend themselves. To teach them courage and honour. Only he and his page. How brave he was.”

“Ah. I heard stories that came from Harred.”

“That sounds like the place where he fought a bloodthirsty griffin.” Mirab was blind with hero-worship for someone she never had met. Firo was more perceptive, judging from the nervous looks he gave me.

Daaren nodded. “In Harred I heard tell of him. A Kondaran noble too stupid to care for his own horse or gear, so he had to have a boy following him and do the work.”


“Or maybe lazy. Certainly, though, arrogant and stupid with that. He was set to killing a griffin that at the time hunted near the town. People tried to tell him it was a bad idea; there was a cyrnag with the griffin; they left the herds alone and occasionally traded with the people in Harred.”

The girl yelled something in Kondaran too slurred and rapid for Daaren to catch more than something about lies. He talked right over Firo trying to calm her down.

“I’m not making this up. I am telling the story as it was told to me. Do you want to hear the rest, or not?”

“Not.” She pouted, sulking like a girl half her age.

Firo tried to smooth things over. “Maybe we should try with the story of Saya and the good fairy. It is less long also.”

Mirab gave him a sour look. “You do it, I don’t care.”

“I’ve never heard of a good fairy.” The very idea raised Daaren’s hackles. But he did appreciate the boy’s efforts. “So tell me of those fairies you have down south.”

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