AR 1212-01-03 Prince Krunch's New Clothes

Krunch looked in the mirror trying keep his voice neutral and the look of disgust off his face. He succeeded at neither. “This outfit looks ridiculous.”

Sparky was standing to his left and responded with a sigh “Burgundy is the color of royalty. Besides, I have to wear the same colors”

“Aye, but they look right on ye.” In a barely audible grumble Krunch continued “Everythin’ looks good on ya.”

Krunch’s mother, Shar, piped in “Exactly what do ya think ya should be wearin?”

Knowing he was fighting a losing battle, Krunch sullenly replied “Me normal clothes work just fine fer me.” giving a nod towards his patched and stained clothes.

“I’ll na’ have a child o’ mine goin’ to a formal event dressed in rags.” Shar responded, shaking her head slowly.

“But why not? People should see what I am!” Looking down, Krunch continued in a calmer tone “People should na’ judge me based on somethin’ I had na control of.” Looking to his father who up until now had been silent for help “Let me prove me own worth with me own deeds.”

His mother put hands on her hips and started with “Karunchar Stonerose …” but was interrupted by Kendrick placing his hand on her shoulder.

“Let me talk to me son for a moment.” With a nod to the door “In private.”

With Sparky giving Krunch a knowing “you’re in trouble now” and Shar giving her husband “he’s your child” look, Kendrick waited until both woman had left the room before he motioned for Krunch to sit down at a small table.

Reaching deep into a pouch at his belt Kendrick pulled out a pair of mugs and a small keg the size of a watermelon, he gave his son a conspirational wink “Don’t tell yer ma” as he poured out generous portions of Goblin Crusher ale, a special brew from the Silver Mountain clan that was imported at no small expense and was normally set aside for special occasions.

Handing a mug to his son and taking a long sip after sitting down himself he continued in a conversational tone “So I hear ye’ve been doin’ extra sparrin’ with yer sister and Oxley.” Looking more closely at his son’s face “It does na’ look like they’ve been takin’ it easy on ya.”

“Well it would’na be doin me much good if they were” Krunch responded with a grin.

“Hmm … ” Kendrick looked thoughtful for a moment ”...perhaps one day I’ll join ya. I could use someone ta spar with other than yer mother”

“Are ye sure ye could still find Gunthyr?” Krunch asked with a sideways look, knowing full well that his father’s magical axe was never far he continued “Ye might have ta knock some rust off of it.”

“I might have ta knock some rust out’a that rock of a skull of yers if ye continue on like that!” Kendrick roared in mock anger.

“Bah, ye’d have ta catch me first!” Krunch continued with a snort “Don’t think fer a minute yer old calcified bones could keep up me!”

“This is tha thanks I get fer breakin’ out tha good stuff!” came the quick reply.

After a few moments of companionable sipping, Krunch asked in a meek voice “Da … are ye disappointed in me? I know I’m not tha leader ya want me ta be.”

Kendrick took a deep drink from his mug as he considered his response. After a few moments that seemed to stretch for an eternity to his son he responded.

“Ye have a serious question, one that demands a serious response.” Another long pause was followed by “When yer mother uses tha forge ta shapes an ingot inta a weapon she gets ta decide what shape it’s gonna take. Axe or hammer, sword or dagger. I never was taught that trade. Yer grandda has no ken fer it and yer grandma learned her trade from her father.”

“No, fer me trade I learned ta work wood. Ta make bows, arrows, what not. And I can tell ya that a piece of timber that is good use fer this table is na good fer a bow.”

Rapping on the table “I would no more make this table inta a bow than I would try ta mold ya inta what I think ya should be.”

Leaning forward Kendrick continued in a serious tone “Ye have ta make yer own path, no one can choose it fer ya. I’d be lyin’ if I said I hadn’t envisioned me son takin’ me mantle some day.” Placing his hand on his son’s arm “But I know that ain’t tha path fer ya. I’ve seen how ye care fer others, I’ve seen how hard ya work when ya set yer mind to it. I see tha man yer growin inta.”

After a quick squeeze, Kendrick leaned back and continued with a smile “And me sister says ya have tha makin’s of a decent tactician. She thought she had ya with tha orc scenario.” Shaking his head “Ta do it without ever attackin’ was impressive.”

Krunch put his hand up in protest “But that was na me, it was me team that pulled it off. I was just tha runner.”

“Kat says ye were the one leadin’ the discussion, makin’ a lot o’ the decisions.” Kendrick responded “That ye brought out the ideas and skills o’ yer team.” Waving broadly at the walls around them “I was tha one ta lead settlement of this clan but I could no more set tha keystone of eagle arch than I can support the arch’s weight on me back.”

Kendrick let his words sink in for a moment before proceeding “There a many types o’ leaders and many roles ye can play in a team. Do na shy away from yer strengths.” Kendrick chuckled and added “Although if Kat ever figures out what ye’re doin’ with the straws so that ye get last run every time she will find a way to make ye suffer.”

Krunch put his hand to his chest and said with mock amazement “Do ya think I would to such a thing? Am I ta blame now fer such a coincidence?”

After a moment, Krunch asked in a more serious tone “Do ya miss it? The adventurin’ I’m a’meanin. Do ya miss seein what’s over tha next hill, in the next set o’ruins?”

Kendrick rocked back in his chair for a moment, considering before answering “Now an’ then when I’m listenin’ to some dronin’ bureaucrat I reckon I’d rather be swinging me axe to solve me problems.” Taking a sip he shrugged “But then I go ta me warm bed instead of some cold damp campsite with me wife beside me an’ think o’ how proud I am of me children and what I’ve been able to help build here. No, I don’t yearn fer the road. I’ve found me place.”

With the mugs of ale nearly empty, Kendrick cleared his throat and continued “So, I hear ye be courtin’ young Tizanera? She seems like a fine young lass, she could make ya a fine wife someday.”

Krunch turned bright red as he stammered “I … we … that is … we’re courtin’ is all” as he downed the last of his ale.

Kendrick spoke softly “Do ye know the day I knew I was ta marry yer ma?” looking down at his own ale “It was tha day I saw her. I bought her a keg of Goblin Crusher ale.” Gulping the last of the brew he finished “Ye got tha same look in yer eyes. I recognize it.”

Gathering up the mugs and storing them once more in his enchanted pouch “Just remember that it’s tradition that ye be courtin’ fer a decade before yer weddin.” With a wistful look on his face he stood “An’ that decade will be here and gone again afore ye knowed it.”

Putting a fatherly arm around his son’s shoulder as they walked to the door he said “Ye still have ta wear the new clothes.”

“But da!” came the reply, even though he knew the fight was lost.

AR 1212-01-03 Prince Krunch's New Clothes

Thraes Aljergensen