Chatterbox: We Were Not Born for Idleness
The Inkpen Authoress posted this month's Chatterbox topic.
And since we had a power outtage and I couldn't work on the newsletter and it was still too early to go to bed...I sat down and typed out this bit of dialogue.
|Vincent van Gogh|
- Born -
Altan pulled out a battered chair and dropped astride it with her arms folded over the back. "It's said that King Marcellenus has declared war against Helmut of Angar."
"Again?" Baatar took a long pull at his tankard and drew the back of his hand across his mouth.
"Aye, well, he is but an upstart cockerel of a king."
"Determined to make a name for himself or lose his kingdom." Baatar snorted. "And the latter seems the most likely."
Altan shrugged. "Little care I for that. But both sides will be needing warriors."
"'Tis said that their peoples are on the brink of starvation. Their lands are stripped bare, and rumor has it that the royal coffers are in much the same state. We'd be hard pressed, I think, to gain recompense for our labors."
Altan took a draught of ale, grimaced, and slammed the tankard down on the table. "This is the foulest brew yet! You! Barmaid!"
Baatar stopped her. "The money bag is not over-heavy. It would be as well not to lighten it still more."
"Then let's be away! My sword-arm grows restless from lack of use."
"Yet here we have food and drink, such as it is, a roof above us and all the news that the far traders can bring."
"And you are content to sit, like an idle housecat purring in the sun." Altan glared at her brother as he leaned comfortably back in his chair, long legs stretched beneath the table and the sunlight glowing amber in his fresh-cropped hair.
"There are hard days behind and more ahead. Why not take our ease while yet we may?"
"The unused sword is prone to rust and an idle warrior loses his skill." Altan countered.
"It comes to me that there is altogether too much peace in this world for your liking." Baatar observed.
"What honor is to be gained from lounging in a tavern?" Altan's fingers beat a quickening tattoo against the curve of her tankard. "We were not born for idleness, much as you seem to relish it."
"But I have not been idle. I spoke to three ship hands this morning who gave me news of many different lands. It seems there is a growing threat of pirates in the southern waters, so mayhap we'll find a merchant who will be glad to exchange gold for the promise of our ready blades."
"There may be something in it." Altan reflected. "I have heard that some of these pirate sailors are stout fighting men."
"There's good money in the venture," Baatar put in, "and, to speak true, I would rather pledge myself to a merchant, where I might gain wisdom and knowledge of far lands, than to some upstart king with a thirst for petty honors."
"I merely wish to be away again. A good horse, a worthy foe, and my strong steel close to hand."
"Two parts of that wish may be granted soon enough, then." Baatar swallowed another draught of ale and gazed wryly down into the tankard. "You're right." He mused. "It does not go down over-well."
"Then let's be on to something more pleasant." Altan urged. "I've a certain matter to attend to with that fellow, Garibaldi."
"The swordsman from Roma?"
"Aye. 'Tis said there is no better hand at cunning tricks with the blade. I saw him once in a match, and he had a neat sequence I should like to learn."
"I'd imagine to him to be close-mouthed about the methods of his trade."
"He is as legendary for his love of a good wager as for his skill with steel." Altan rose. "Come, brother, let us have a little sport to pass away our time here."