Sweat dripped down from Arenborn’s brow as he leant against the tree trying to and catch his breath, and he heaved a heavy sigh as he wiped it away with a gloved hand. Some days it felt too hot to wear armour, but he had to train on those days the same as every other day.
It was Wednesday afternoon, and he would normally be sparring but he had been on patrol the day before so moved that session forward a day. He had marched for ten miles in his armour with his sword and a pack of equipment on his back, and on returning to the village spent about half an hour going through sword drills before finishing on half an hour of free style on the dummies outside the barracks.
The heat had been getting to him so when he finished he moved into the shade beneath the tree, sat down in the grass as he looked out at the serene view before him. The ground dropped away to the pond, and in the distance was the waterfall, endlessly pouring over that high cliff. With barely a cloud in sight, Aren enjoyed watching as the birds flew across the sky whilst he sipped from his waterskin to keep hydrated.
After a while of relaxing beneath the tree, Aren pushed himself to his feet and began the walk down towards the large pond. At the bank, he began stripping himself of his armour, setting it down carefully and folding his gambeson and under clothes on top. From there he waded out into the water to wash off the sweat.
He spent a little while in the water, swimming back and forth rinsing himself off. As he was finishing though, he caught sight of Katnya making her way down to the water with a couple of large buckets. Wading out of the pond, he pulled a towel from his pack and wrapped it around himself as she approached.
Aren felt a degree of pity for her, having been through so much. She had been a proud warrior and eager to do her part to help people, but now she couldn’t leave her child and had become the washer woman for the town. She seemed happy so long as her baby Alaya was safe, but he couldn’t help but wonder if it was just a façade. He waved to her with a friendly smile in greeting and she returned the gesture. “Good afternoon Aren, have a nice swim?” She asks as she dips the bucket into the water.
Nodding in response, Aren begins packing his armour into the free space of his pack. He gestures to her and gives a thumbs up gesture. “Oh, I’m doing quite well thank you very much Aren, a little concerned for young Talia.” She pauses, looking towards him briefly, “Did you hear about last night?”
Aren shook his head as he finished putting his armour into his pack and pulled on his under clothes and then the gambeson, leaving the jacket open to help keep cool in the hot weather. “Oh, well she wanted to get out of the house, since that time you brought her back to me I’ve been keeping a close eye on her and she was getting a bit agitated, so we went out to get a drink at the Turtle where I met that fellow Jonn. He seems a nice enough man, though maybe a bit foolish if you ask me but don’t tell him I said that. He tried talking to her and being a bit grumpy she got riled up and explained that the father of her friend ‘Herctin’ taught her how to fight. She also mentioned a boss which may be the same as this Herctin’s father we couldn’t tell.”
Aren listened with interest, this young girl had been occupying his thoughts lately. Who she was, where she had come from, who was her family? Any detail about her life helped to sate his curiosity and he just wished she would open up more. As Katnya continued speaking, Aren pulled his now significantly heavier pack onto his shoulders and adjusted it till he was comfortable and offered Kat a hand with one of her buckets, reaching out as though to take it for her. She smiled and nodded, handing him it and led the way up to her home.
“So Jonn asks her to prove how good a fighter she is and giving her a wooden spoon, he told her to try and hit him with it, using his own spoon and a wooden tray as a shield. I don’t think he will want to do it again, nor would I recommend you attempt it either because she threw the spoon at his face and while he was distracted punched him as hard as she could between the legs. Now if that hadn’t been shocking enough, as he doubled over she pulled a large dagger from up her sleeve and pressed it to his neck and pronounced that he was dead. Apparently, that was how she trained with Herctin. I’ve confiscated the weapon, at least for now, as well as the sheath she had on her arm.” She paused with a sigh, looking across to him. “I don’t really know what to make of it, and I’ve had some one else look after her and Alaya for a little bit today, just to give me a moment to rest and get over the shock from last night.”
Aren listened to this with interest, nodding along and looking at her with surprise as she told him about the dagger. He wasn’t sure what to make of it at that moment, and it was something he would need to ponder further. As they reached Katnya’s home Aren set down the bucket and offered her a smile and a slight dip of his head. She smiled, “Well, thank you for the help Aren, it’s appreciated, and thank you for being such a good listener.” She added with a smile.
Aren couldn’t help but feel a small amount of amusement at that comment, some jokes about his muteness would turn his mood foul in an instant, whether angry or depressed, but light hearted and well-meant comments like that, while sometimes being a sad reminder of what he had lost, never failed to bring a smile to his face.
He left Katnya to get on with her business then and made his way through the shade covered paths of their village to get to his home where he could relax and recover from the tough training earlier and discuss the Talia situation with Inayat.