The Heroes of Feather Falls
Clidlebrigo "Clyde" Spindleheart
"Say that to my face!"
“Sorry about your chair,” the small man says, stepping over the unconscious brute, “but there weren’t no way I was going to sit here and listen to him for a second longer.” He places the broken remains of his chair onto the table and pulls up another, “will you take a silver and a story as payment?”
“Aye,” the bartender says, pouring him another drink, “you keep tossing around money like you’ve been, and you can break every chair in this place.” He laughs awkwardly and hands over the frothy ale, splashing a bit onto the bar top.
The small man takes a long drink and wipes his mouth with his forearm. “Glad to hear it,” he says, clearing his throat, “got a bit of drink in me, and am in a talking mood.”
I come from a place where they’ll lock up a 9-month pregnant woman without a thought. Sure, she was a whore, but a lady’s got to make a bit of coin, eh? So, my mum gets tossed into a prison just for spitting on a lord of the city. There she is with me in her belly, and I don’t have to tell you that a prison is no place for a pregnant lady, especially as one as fine as me old mum.
Seven years, and they aint never found the key to her cell. It was as clear to a young lad as it were to my mum that they weren’t never planning on letting her out. A thought like that can weigh heavy on a woman’s heart, so lo’ and behold, me old mum up and does herself in with her own bed sheets. Hangs herself, leaving her little one alone to deal with those long forgot by gentle society.
Needless to say, I learned to fight right quick. Had to. Learned to sneak and steal too. For sixteen long years, I put up with the most unspeakable horrors no good folk would care to imagine, all to keep a bit of food in me belly.
I had long thought this to be the fate of your humble storyteller; to be not more than a rat for all time. That all changed one quiet evening when, with a force like a million cells slamming shut at once, the earth shook. Much of the hell we were trapped in came crumbling down that day. I heard many the scream as fires burned men alive in their cages. We screamed for the guards, but none came. Were sheer chance that the wall to the section of the fortress where we was kept fell away instead of in.
Those of us that was saved ran for it, climbing the rubble and the now unguarded and crumbling fence. I ran until I thought my breath would give out. I ran until my legs burned and my eyes watered. I ran to escape that place. As I approached the forest, I turned to take one last look as my previous life crumbled and burned to the ground.
I’d like to say it were bitter sweet, but it weren’t; not one good soul was lost that night.
For six years I were on me own. Did an odd job here, cut a little grain there, stole a few jewels there. I did what I had to do, you know?
It weren’t until I met me old lady that I settled down a bit. Even got a regular job: a professional locksmith. I was, good and legit. Even had me a son, Aeroic (a family name, the old lady said).
He was a fine a boy as you could ask for; real smart and well behaved. Had hair like his mum, all blonde and curly; eyes like two deep buckets of water. He was at least twice as handsome as his pa.
I were raising him up good and right, doing me best to make a god man of him. And he started growing to be one too. Helping little old ladies and the whatnot, all gentlemanly, like. But then one day, he up and vanished. Went out in the morning to do some chores like a good boy and just never came back. We searched everywhere, asked everyone, and no one seen him.
I started looking too. Started reading. Started researching. I was a regular detective there for a while. For three years I never found a thing. It were hopeless. Stopped sleeping and eating, and started drinking.
It was another year until I brought up the idea we start trying for another to me old lady. She weren’t having it not one bit. Not long after that, me old lady kicked me out of the house, telling me it were my fault.
“Been a few years, and I’m still looking for the lad,” the small man says, wiping his eyes with his forearm, “he’d be thirteen this year. I plan on spending his fourteenth birthday with the boy. You can mark me words on that.”
He leaves another silver on the bar top and pushes his chair back. He nods to the bartender, “I just don’t feel like drinking no more,” he says and walks back out the door.