My (last) Summer Adventure.
I kept telling myself it was okay. I had expected it anyway. It didn't matter that I wasn't chosen at all, I wouldn't be living much longer anyway. Winter was coming! Another winter. Could I survive another winter? The last one had nearly killed me, and I was even weaker now. This coming winter would surely be my last. I could feel the chill in my bones even though it was still summer. My last summer. So I decided to make full use of it. I said my farewells. Mum and dad were sad, but they let me go anyway. I forced myself to gather my stuff which I packed into my backpack. I didn't bring many things, just a few sets of clothes, a loaf of bread, some biscuits, dried meats, and a few apples. Just clothes and food that wouldn't go bad. And I brought Goldie for company. Goldie was my pet hen. I got her last year when she was just a chick. Her feathers were gold, that's why I called her Goldie. So, with everything packed, I set out eagerly for the adventure of my lifetime!
As I took those first steps, my mind was already going crazy with all sorts of thoughts. I wondered who I would meet. A knight? That would be a dream. Thiefs? Hopefully not. Actually, maybe that would have been fun, as long as they weren't the bad type. Good thiefs. Yes, I would have liked to meet them. Perhaps if I was lucky I would meet a Wizard who would apprentice me and teach me magic! Or perhaps I would meet a healer that would heal me of my disease! Yes, that would be the best. Or perhaps I would meet a lion, who would eat me. Or perhaps I would just stumble into a drain and die. So many thoughts going on in my head as I headed out of the village.
It didn't take long before my feet started to ache. Already my frail body was trying to protest my adventure. My shoulders felt tired. The backpack was so heavy. Seeing a nice green spot of grass by the roadside, I decided to take a break. I flung off my backpack and sat down on my backside. I took the bread from my backpack and broke it in half. I gave Goldie a chunk and she gladly pecked it from my hand. The rest I ate. Apparently, that huge chunk wasn't enough for her. She began cooing, begging me for more; but enough was enough. I shooed her off. She squawked and instead began pecking at the grass.
I had barely rested when I heard a rumbling sound. I turned and saw a wagon rambling down the road. It had come from the village. I saw that driving the wagon was Master Aeries, the village blacksmith. When he saw me, he stopped the wagon. That made me smile. I greeted the old man.
"What are you doing there boy?" asked Master Aeries.
"Just resting, sir," I said.
"You'd best be heading back," Master Aeries said. "It isn't safe out here. There are brigands abound. Outside the village, it isn't safe. You should know that."
I did know that. My father had told me also, but it didn't stop me. So obviously, I didn't listen to Master Aeries.
"I'm adventuring," I said instead. "Where are you heading, sir?"
"There's a caravan carnival in Tinstletown. I'll be selling some wares." Master Aeries said.
"Do you think I could hitch a ride with you, sir?" I asked meekly. It would certainly speed up my adventure. And I added a little white lie. "I was heading there myself."
Master Aeries eyed me warily.
"Pah! You should run back home now," he said. "Don't say I didn't warn you."
Without another word, he cracked the whip and the wagon begun rolling down the road.
As I watched the wagon role, I decided that I wouldn't let opportunity slip away so easily. I quickly got off my backside, slung on my backpack, caught Goldie and dashed after the wagon. And somehow I managed to climb onto the back of the wagon. Not bad for a dying boy. So I sat there, with my legs hanging off the ledge, with Goldie in my arms. She was squawking again, so I petted her, hoping that Master Aeries would not hear us.
Sitting at the back of the wagon was rather uncomfortable. My legs begun to numb from hanging off the back, so I lifted them onto the wagon. I was rewarded with painful pins and needles stabbing into my legs. Ouch. After the sensation passed, I took out an apple from my backpack and nibbled on it. It was hard, and bitting into it hurt my gums. I wished I had a knife to cut the apple. I should have brought a knife. For safety reasons too. I bit off the apple skin and tossed it to Goldie but she refused to even look at it. She was still flustered. Just then, the wagon rolled over a stone again and I was jolted on my backside. Goldie began to squawk again. I put the apple into my mouth, and with my free hands, began coddling her again. At least that calmed her down a little.
The journey was rather boring and not turning out like I had imagined. At the very least, I should met some brigands by now. I think several hours had passed, though how many for sure, I couldn't tell. Around me, was endless green scenery. Conifers everywhere. Boring. No sign of brigands anywhere. When I needed to pee, I simply stood up and did my business, though I had to be careful, and I hung on tightly to the wagon with my free hand. I watched as my urine hissed into steam as it hit the dusty yellow road below. After about the twentieth time squawking like a mad cow, Goldie finally got used to the jolts. Instead, she began pacing up and down, though she still squawked every once in awhile. I guess she was as bored as I was.
Finally, when the sun was already on it's way down, we reached Tinstletown. It was awkward watching the scene from reverse. I saw the massive gatehouse first, then the twenty foot walls, then the handsome guards upon the walls. The guards were almost like knights! They were clad in black leather armor, and they all had longswords hanging from their belts! There were about ten of them, and each was carrying a crossbow. Ready to fire! Perhaps there were brigands after all. The wagon rolled on, and soon I lost sight of them. Instead, I started seeing houses and other buildings. They were all made of stone or brick, unlike the wooden houses in the village. And they were all painted. Most were white or cream, although I did see some blue and green houses too.
Finally, the adventure begun, I thought. There were so many people in Tinstletown. There were people everywhere, and they didn't even notice me when I stared. This was my kind of place. I felt I could fit in here, blend in with the crowd. Here, no one would recognise me as "The sickly boy", as they called me in the village. As the wagon rolled on, I started hearing music, shouting, laughter, grunting, and all sorts of noise. I couldn't tell what was making it, but I came to one conclusion. The carnival. We had reached! True enough, I begun seeing some caravans and just like that, the wagon stopped. It was so sudden I was almost jolted off. I quickly put on my backpack, picked Goldie up and jumped off the wagon. I didn't want Master Aeries to find out what I had done, so I quickly ran into the crowd.
With Goldie in my arms, I begun to explore the caravan carnival. I saw all sorts of odd things, most things I couldn't even tell what they were. But I recognised some things; jewelry, trinkets, tools, books, clothes, food. Each caravan had a table out with their wares displayed. Every caravan was different. Even though they sold trinkets, but the trinkets were all different. I looked but didn't touch. I didn't have any money to buy, anyway. The sellers were mostly adults, although I did see a few boys my age helping with the sale. All in all, I counted about 30 caravans. Careful to avoid Master Aeries, I continued my adventure.
I stopped to listen to a trio of singers sing a song. The music was odd, beautiful but strangely haunting. Their voices, one low, one medium and one high, provided the melody and harmony. They didn't use any instruments. It was unlike anything I had heard. I stood there, like a moth drawn to a lamp, listening to them. I noticed after each song, some of the audience would toss a coin into a collecting dish. The collecting dish was nearly full. It was a rather good business after all. Since it was getting late, I forced myself away and continued my adventure.
The tantalising smell of roasting meat lured me like a bull led by his nose ring. It was getting late and I was getting hungry. If only I had a coin. I watched the skewered meat roasting above the charcoal grill. The fat dripping from the meat, sizzling on the embers. Every once in awhile, the cook would fan, and the charcoal would glow back to life. I forced myself away, it was too tempting to resist. What an adventure, indeed. By then it was getting dark. I suddenly shivered. A creepy feeling overcame me. Something sinister was near. Perhaps it was the clowns, or the freak show at the next caravan. Even Goldie eyed them suspiciously. I felt cold and I didn't like it one bit. So I decided to leave the caravan carnival. I found my way to the townsquare. By then the sun had set, so the only light came from the street lamps. It was dark but at least there was light. I quickly had my dinner; bread and some dried meat. I fed Goldie some bread and soon she was asleep in my arms. I tried to find a place where I could rest, somewhere not to open. Somewhere safe. I manged to find a hole and I crawled into it. I felt so cold and lonely, and hoped to die. My last thoughts were that I would surely not make the next morning.