The Flesh and Blood We Share


The cries of market sellers filled the air, mixing with the scent of freshly-baked bread, which disappeared into the mouths of happy festival-goers. Small flags were attached to string, which had been hung between the houses, and they had the symbols of the various villages of the valley on them. The flags danced in the breeze, and the people danced in the streets. Joy was returning to Neff Pit, the market town which had suffered so greatly.

Except for Hale, the wandering dragon slayer who was staying in town. Hale did not jump about happily like the children, meeting cousins who had been unable to see them for months, nor did he take advantage of the fine goods from faraway cities, which had for so long been unavailable to the townspeople. He did not take part in the great contests of strength, although on a better day he would have probably won, and he did not get lost in the silk and feathers of a travelling prostitute, as many others in his position might do.

No, Hale wandered miserably through the town, keeping everyone away from him with his smell of beer and sad expression. He was checking the town ‘just to make sure they were safe’, all while drinking from his bottle.

A laughing child ran into Hale’s leg, barely stopping as it bounced off the adult man. Hale fell against a wall and swore, intending to tell off the child, but it was already gone, running after the other little monsters.

Hale panted, stood up straight and ran a hand through his dark blond hair. His armour weighed like a horse on him. He hadn’t realised just how much muscle he’d lost until he put on the armour and saw himself in the mirror.

And it was only now that he was realising how full his bladder was.

He had decided to wear full plate armour to the festival, even though he was the only one in town who thought that the danger still remained. When his assistant, Sam, had tried to convince him to wear leather armour that morning, so that he wouldn’t have to help him get in and out of the armour, Hale had hit him on the head and sworn at him. But within an hour of wandering around the festival, Sam’s jealous looks became too much, and Hale told him he was off duty. So Sam left, probably to go and find a prostitute.