Darius awoke with a bump, and the wagon bounced hard off the tree root.
“Hey boys, how does that left side wheel look?” asked Baran. Ryn and Maka jumped up and started climbing around the wagon like it was a tree fort, hanging off the sides by their fingertips and toes.
“It looks fine!” they replied in unison.
“And the axle looks fine too dad,” added Maka.
“Thanks boys, everyone okay after that bump? It was a big one that I couldn’t avoid.” said Baran.
“Fine.” all the kids, but Darius, replied.
“Darius, you okay?” He asked.
“Mmhmm.” Darius replied, not paying attention to what really was going on.
“Okay, just making sure.”
Darius was still thinking about that dream, it was about his dad, but was it real? For some reason it seemed so real to him, but he didn’t know why. He honestly never recalled hearing a story about how his dad got the scar. Let alone about dad ever meeting an elf, dad always hated elves he thought. He wasn’t too fond of the elf friend, Tuinir Aldaríon, he had back in Astonia. Or at least he didn’t think his dad liked him. Though his dad was always busy, he was the Captain of the Guard and had a lot of responsibilities. Darius stared off into the sea of land running though that dream in his head. The more he thought about it, the more it bothered him. As far as he knew his father hadn’t been in any big battle of any kind, just the occasional riot, thief, or assassin.
“Alright kids, we’re stopping for food and to stretch, but behave yourselves,” said Baran. The kids all jumped up hollering and climbing over each other like a pack of ravenous fhorges, foaming at the mouth with tusks down and charging in for the kill. But Darius took his time and waited for the hungry animals to all leave before he even began to move.
“Are you coming Darius, if you want to eat stop dilly dalling around and lets go!” harped Isolda.
“Coming…” He replied, “you bitch,” he muttered under his breath, still upset from before.
Darius climbed from the wagon and stretched out his back with the sides of the wagon, his back making a loud cracking noise. “whew…ugghn,” the noises just came out as he began to feel better. He looked at where they were, but was not familiar at all with the area, or the name of the inn in front of him, “The Meat Bucket.” It sounded like a dump to him, but he was really hungry and wasn’t going to complain, he’d just enjoy the meal. When he walked it, the smell was overpowering his noise, like the building itself was nothing but rotting flesh stretched out over wood to look like a building; it was one of the most foul things he had ever smelt. Clutching his nose in his tunic he walked up to his brothers and asked them, “so does anything actually sound appetizing on the menu?”
Ryn looked at him and said, “yeah a few things look alright. And Baran said we can each have a pint of honey mead! But each of us will be sharing food with someone; it’s crap. But Maka and I are splitting the roast mallard, we’re hoping it’s big enough. Nibenay and Richard are splitting something too.”
“Does that mean I get my own?” asked Darius.
“I don’t know, you took too long to get in here.”
“Darius, you and I will be splitting something,” said Isolda.
“But mom, that’s not fair, you don’t eat meat! So I have to eat the crap food.”
She bent down to be eye level with Darius and softly said, “Shut it, do you want to eat or not?”
“Fine, whatever.” he said out of habit, not wanting to be hit again.
“Well what do you want?” She asked “there’s mashed tater and corn stalk stew and carrot barida and sister’s stew and—”
“I don’t care, pick whatever you want!” he said cutting her off, “It’s not like it’s going to be anything that I really want to eat, so whatever, just pick it and I’ll have to eat it.”
“Fine, or maybe you’ll just not eat, I don’t know.” she sneered back.
They all sat at the table waiting for their food to come and when it did, everyone but Darius began to dig in. He just sat there sipping on his honey mead and nibbling at the table bread while watching Baran eat his two pieces of mutton and taters with envy. His mom decided to go with a smaller salad, leaving nothing for him to eat, but the bread. As everyone started to finish, Maka and Ryn slid over the remains of their roasted mallard, “we saved some for you.” said Ryn.
Darius thanked his two brothers for the food and was grateful for something besides just bread. He ate every last morsel of meat off the bones that he could find and covering his table bread with the juices to prolong the favor. Before long everyone had finished eating and it was time to get back on the east road. All the kids piled in and they were off with a “Hyah!” and crack of the reigns.