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     page 33     

June 22, 1748 EQ, East of Selma, Andril Kingdom


Endvar and Fossa's “Cottage”

Talon sat on the front stoop of his grandparent’s cottage in the Andril Mountains.  The excitement of exploring and swimming had already worn off and now all he wanted was someone to explore and swim with.  It wasn’t easy finding another eight-year-old here.  Talon’s grandparents lived on the outskirts of a small mountain village called Selma nestled in among the evergreens of the Elentil River Valley.  Although Selma lay at the intersection of a mountain road and a caravan route, only the locals knew the town existed.  Even the tradesmen that traveled this route rarely stopped at Selma.  Instead, they stopped at the Fortress of Carmel on the southern side of the Andril Mountains.

Selma offered his grandparents solitude, but solitude wasn’t what Talon needed.  It had been hard for Talon since his parent’s death, he had no other family – no brothers or sisters or extended family besides his grandparents.  Some great mystery surrounded his grandfather’s past, something that made connections with an extended family a dark secret.  If he ever asked, they would tell him that his aunts and uncles “moved far away” and if he asked further, they wouldn’t answer.  Something must have happened; some family feud or sin they wanted to keep private.  So, Talon knew of no other living relatives besides his grandparents.

Still, he had developed a deep bond with them.  Even though they were no true replacement for parents, they had tried helping him as much as they could: coming out to the capital of Cannor where he lived and staying with him until he finished out court training each year and when summers came, taking him into their home.  Now, after the newness of another summer vacation had worn off, he once again felt the generation gap between him and his grandparents starting to widen and for the first time he understood why.  They chose to live out the remainder of their twilight years away from the hassle of court life whereas he wanted to explore and make friends.  His grandfather used to hold the respected post of Earl of the West Gate and that post was now conferred upon the young Talon but he hated court life.  Both his grandparents spent their entire life as ambassadors whereas Talon wanted to become a knight or join King Leonid’s army and avenge his parent’s death.  They looked forward to gardening, quiet nights, and most of all, fishing with their one and only grandson; he wouldn’t be able to see his friends from the city for weeks until school started again and fishing was starting to get real old.  The only highlight of his stay in Selma now was an occasional visit by a merchant named Mishmar who came to visit his Papa and taught Talon to sword fight.

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