The Quarreling Means - a Short Story
Rolim slid up to the wooden door, his feet almost falling out from beneath him. He was late once again for a meeting with Randelth the Old—nothing new for him.
"Oh well better get this over with."
He lifted his hand to knock but before his knuckles could brush the door a voice called out from inside.
“Come in…it’s open…by the way you're late again.”
Rolim shook his head. It unnerved him the way Randelth the Old always knew he was there.
He examined the door looking for peepholes or cracks through which Randelth the Old could see his shadow. He found none.
Rolim tried to push the door open. It pushed back.
He pushed a little harder on the door, putting more of his six foot three frame into the work. The door groaned, moved a little more inward, then groaned some more as it fought to keep Rolim out of the room. Finally, with one last shove and a few well-placed words and insults by the door, the door swung inward.
Rolim entered the room and stood just inside the door.
The door muttered one more insult then went quiet.
Rolim kicked the door for good measure. After all no magical door was going to get the best of him.
The door started to scream and holler as if in great pain.
Realizing his error Rolim looked up to find Randelth smiling at him.
Oh, great, he thought. "I’m going to hear about this one."
“Don’t mind my new door. It is made of knotty pine so sometimes it gets cranky. Now come in…come in…sit down.” The old elf motioned to a chair on the other side of his desk.
With his head bowed, Rolim padded across the floor and secured a seat directly across from where Randelth. He lifted his gaze just enough to watch the elder elf as he read a scroll which snaked across the desk and down the front to the floor. Rolim looked down at his feet. The end of the scroll just about touched the tips of his boots.
Rolim looked up.
The old elf watched him from across the table. His blue eyes still sparkled with youthfulness even though his face long ago had surrendered its youthful look to time. As with all male elves, Randelth the Old was clean-shaven, with shoulder length black hair and traditional pointed ears. The younger elves had long ago abandoned his traditional Elvin attire of long black coat, black pants and sage shirt. In today’s world, the younger elves preferred to wear what they felt like wearing, which usually translated into anything their parents didn’t approve of.
A pair of candles set in holders on the left and right corners of Randelth’s desk illuminated the small room with a soft amber glow giving the old elf’s face, with all its wrinkles, the appearance of worn leather.
Rolim wriggled his nose. The room smelled of oil, wax and magic
“I’ll be with you in a minute…now just sit there and be patient.”
Randelth went back to reading the scroll.
Rolim figured he’d kill time by playing one of his favorite games, find what object or objects are new to the room.
He looked at the wall behind the desk where Randelth’s collection of swords hung. He mentally took inventory of each of the swords, which hung on the wall—twelve battle sword, four dull edged showpieces—a couple of old swords and one battle axe.
He counted nineteen swords and one battle-axe—nothing new there,
He turned his attention to the bookcases to his left filled with books secured from all over the Four Realms. He noticed Randelth had pulled books from each of the shelves and stacked them on the floor in neat orderly piles.
Interesting, he thought. However, there was no way to tell if had added any books recently.
He turned to his right. Flat up against the wall sat a small wooden cot, its sheets and pillow long since crying out for replacement. Nothing new there except for the dwarf who sat upon the bed, cleaning dirt out from under his fingernails.
The dwarf looked up and waved one grimy hand in his direction. Rolim recognized him as Abernathy, a dwarf he had seen a few times, in his wanderings around the castle. If his memory served him correctly, Dundorf was a second cousin to Riesel or something—what he was doing here he didn’t know.
Rolim turned his attention from the dwarf back to Randelth.
In his hands, the ancient elf now held a delicately worked pendant.
“Welcome Rolim Enjor, so how is everything going with you, young man?” The old elf smiled.
Rolim knew he was in trouble. The old elf had called him here to send him out on another quest of some sort.
“I am doing well…sir...all things considered.”
“Do I detect a hint of sarcasm in your tone?”
“Um…no sir…well…I mean yes sir…but may I say it is a respectable sarcasm. What I’m trying to say us that I know…”
The old elf laughed. “No need to squirm my boy…we both know why you’re here. I need you to do a favor for me.”
“If it is to tag along with your granddaughter Mari again…I mean we both know how well that worked out…”
The old elf’s brow wrinkled.
Rolim shifted in his chair.
“Yes…if memory serves me correctly you lost her…somewhere in…Ulsa was it? Well no matter where it was…I have not called you here because of Mari. Last I heard she was still running around the countryside with the Dark Elves.”
Rolim shifted again. His armpits started to get damp.
“I don’t mean to sound argumentative sir…but I did not loose Mari…she lost me. We had a falling out over her desire to become my permanent traveling companion…I think she left with Dundorf’s cousin Reisel. ”
Rolim looked up. The old elf sat back in his chair, hands locked together as if in deep thought. He seemed to glare across the desk in Rolim’s direction.
“And another thing…would you stop calling me sir…I hate that it makes me sound like I’m a hundred and fifty or something.”
Rolim’s brow wrinkled. “Well sir..I don’t know what else to call you…I mean you are old…old…”
“Older then you…yes…still when you’re in my company and no one else is around call me Randelth…”
“Yes si…I mean Randelth…you were saying you called me here to ask a favor of me.”
“Yes…I need you to accompany my granddaughter Madge…”
“Oh great,” Rolim muttered to himself. “Not her…she is so head strong…”
“Uh, hum…young man, just because I am old does not mean I am hard of hearing. For future reference please reserve any thoughts you may have about my granddaughter to your thoughts…she is after all a princess.”
Rolim turned white. He hadn’t realized he’d been thinking out loud. “I meant no disrespect, it’s just… she is such a pain...”
“I know…but humor an old man.”
The old elf coughed.
“No arguments…you will travel with my granddaughter. She is not like her sister. Her sister can hold her own, but I fear Madge may be more strong of will then strong of the Elfin arts of defense.”
“Not to belabor the point sir, but have you seen her in action lately?”
“No, can’t say as I have, but no matter I still need you to keep tabs on her…she must not travel alone. Now where was I…oh yes? My granddaughter has it in mind to take a sojourn in order to as she says it, “Find herself” whatever that means. Young people today, so lost, they need to find themselves”.
“Excuse me sir,”
“Oh sorry, sometimes I rant a little. Well anyway the reason I called you here was not to belabor my granddaughter’s travels but to give you something I would like you to deliver for me.”
He picked up the pendant he’d been working on when Rolim had entered the room.
“We found it in our recent diggings at the site of the Ancients.”
He handed the pendant to Rolim.
“The only fact we can uncover about the pendant is that it is has some kind of power.”
Rolim looked at the pendant.
“If I understand my granddaughter she plans to travel close to the Aul Mountains.”
“I couldn’t say, I have been avoiding her…I mean I haven’t had the pleasure to run into her yet today.”
“Well she does. I want you to drop the pendant off at my brother’s house he will know what to with it from there.”
Rolim shrugged his shoulders “No sweat, wait does Madge know about this?’
“Yes, she is waiting for you in the dragon’s stable.”
“Then I better not keep her waiting then…I better be on my way.”
The old elf turned around and pulled a chain off the back wall.
“Here you will need this…to carry the pendant…”
Rolim laid the pendant on the desk. He attached the chain to pendant and through it around his neck.
“Very well, you better be on your way.” The old man turned back to his desk and pretended to ponder over a scroll. “And my boy,” He called over his shoulder. “Be careful with that thing…we don’t know what it is capable of.”
Rolim stood there a few more minutes watching the old elf.
“Yes, what is it?”
”I don’t mean to sound ungrateful…but why me…why not one of the other druids...”
The old elf turned his chair around.
“Truthfully…I have no one else to send. All the other druids are out on quests of their own...”
Rolim started to open his mouth to protest but figured why bother. He needed to get away from the castle for a few days anyway.
Rolim turned, then back around.
“Wait, did you say dragon’s stable…”
“Yes, dragons stables…”
“I don’t like dragons…they make me nauseous…couldn’t we walk or maybe take a wagon...a horse…”
“Nonsense…dragon flight is safer then walking and much faster. Now be off with you my granddaughter is waiting and need I tell you what she is like when you’ve kept her waiting.”
“No…I know what that’s like. The last time I couldn’t sit down for a week.”
Rolim nodded to Randelth then turned and headed out the door. This time the door didn’t register a protest but it almost caught him in the backside as it closed.
© 2020 T B Whitt