Thim's last days.
It didn't matter much to him that he hadn't been chosen. He had already expected it. Thim had always been a sickly little boy. No one wanted a sickly young apprentice. It didn't matter that Thim was smart, hardworking, polite and sweet. In fact, the list of his positive attributes went on and on, but still, it was too risky for any Master to choose Thim. After all, Winter was coming and the chances of Thim surviving another Winter was very low. So, after kissing his parents goodbye and with nothing but his backpack of supplies, and his hen Goldie, Thim set out on his adventure.
His first steps were eager. It was the culmination of a boyhood dream. Who knew who he would meet, what he would discover, when he would die. The adventure of a lifetime. After about a mile on the road, just after he had left the village, his feet started to ache. The bagpack started feeling heavy. So he took a short break. He found a nice green spot of grass by the road-side and sat down cross legged on it. He took his loaf of bread and broke a small piece for himself. He threw a few crumbs to little Goldie, who eagerly pecked it up. She begged for more, but he shooed her off. She squawked and instead began pecking at the grass where he lay.
It wasn't very long before a wagon came rambling down the road from the village. It was Master Aeries, the blacksmith. The wagon came to a halt.
"What are you doing there boy?" asked Master Aeries.
"Just resting, sir," answered Thim.
"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'm adventuring," replied Thim. "Where are you heading, sir?"
"There's a caravan in Tinstletown. I'll be selling some wares." Master Aeries said.
"Do you think I could hitch a ride with you, sir?" Thim asked meekly. "I was heading there myself."
"Pah! You should run back home now." Master Aeries said. "Don't say I didn't warn you."
Without another word, Master Aeries cracked the whip and the wagon begun rolling down the road.
But Thim wasn't so easily defeated. A wagon ride would be so much faster. Tinstletown wasn't a bad destination either. Better than having no destination. So Thim gathered Goldie, and ran after the wagon. He managed to climb onto the back of the wagon and seated himself there, his legs hanging, his arms coddling his panicking chicken.
After what felt like several hours, Thim started feeling bored and restless. The wagon rumbled on and on. It wasn't even comfortable as he had expected. Everytime the wagon rolled over a stone, he was jolted. Goldie would squawk. The scenery was nothing special. An endless green. A forest of conifers, split by the yellow dirt road. No sign of brigands anywhere. He took out a small red apple from his backpack and nibbled on it. It was hard, and it hurt his gums biting into the apple. He wished he had brought a knife. The wagon rambled on. When he had to pee, he simply stood up and balanced himself. Then he peed, his urine dripping like rain onto the dusty road below. The wagon rambled on. He was getting extremely restless. Likewise, Goldie was pacing the narrow ledge where he sat. He prayed she wouldn't fly off.
The sun was already on the way down when the wagon finally reached Tinstletown. Thim watched from behind as the wagon rolled through the walled gates. There were several soldiers pacing on the walls. So perhaps there were brigands after all. His adventure was shaping up nicely. Thim had never been to Tinstletown before, nor had he seen a real soldier before. He looked at them in awe. They wore tightly fit black leather, with longswords hanging from their belt, crossbows in hand. Ready to fire.
There were so many people in Tinstletown. Everywhere he looked there were people, and they didn't even stare back or notice him. This was his kind of place. Somewhere he could fit in, and not be the sickly boy that everyone knew.
He started hearing music and shouting, laughing and all sorts of noise. Must be the carnival, Thim thought. True enough, a short while later, the wagon came to a halt. Not wanting to be discovered, Thim quickly gathered Goldie and jumped off the wagon, quickly disappearing into the crowd in case Master Aeries should somehow see him.
At first, he just walked around, looking, looking at everything. Everything was new to him. The carnival was set in a large field. There were about thirty tents. Most tents had tables set out with wares set upon the table. There were all sorts of things for sale. Jewelry, trinkets, tools, books, clothes, food. All sorts of things. He looked but didn't touch. He stopped to watch a trio of singers perform some folk song. After each song, the audience would applaude and some would toss a coin into a collecting dish. Further along, there were also clowns, acrobats and even a freak-show.
The tantalising smell of roasting meat soon lured him. He watched hungrily as the cook fanned sticks of skewered meat roasting above a charcoal grill. The delicious aromas filled his lungs but alas, he had no coin. He forced himself away. What an adventure, indeed.
Soon it was evening. He had his dinner, bread and some dried meat. It was hard and tasteless, nothing like the delicious skewered meat he had seen barbecuing. Then it was getting darker. He couldn't tell why, but the carnival area started giving him a cold- almost sinister feeling. He quickly left it and found his way to what seemed like the town square. By then it was almost dark. So he found a hole, crawled into it and hoped to die.