“Gahh!” Eowan screeched as he dove behind the nearest table, a dull ache spreading through his chest from the impact of the wooden cup his mother had used as a weapon. He was definitely going to have a bruise there in the morning he thought before pushing that concern to the back of his mind. At the moment he had more pressing concerns to deal with.
First he needed to survive.
He scrambled across the floor as the enraged woman came bulling through the table launching it to the side as if it weighed no more than the chairs that had surrounded it only a moment before. His mother was not a large woman but when she was angry she had the strength of a full grown bull. Her dark red hair flared around her face like flames and her auburn eyes blazed as she came at him.
“Da! Help!” he cried as he ducked another dinner utensil turned weapon.
The taproom of his families tavern was in shambles, tables and chairs which were normally neat and orderly were now strewn across the room. He cast around the room for a place to escape, his mother had stopped her headlong rush at him and was heaving heavily, her eyes large and her face bright red with anger.
“Da!” Eowan tried again “Help me!”
His father leaned against the bar a tankard of beer in his hand and a wry smile on his face. Rayford Fell was a large man, and the tankard looked tiny in his meaty hand. He merely winked at Eowan before bringing the tankard to his lips and taking a deep swig.
Eowan nearly whimpered as his last hope for survival winked out. He held his hands out in a pleading gesture towards his mother.
“Come on Ma, please” he pleaded, his eyes beginning to sting with the tears.
“Please?” His mother repeated. Her eyes shining like twin embers as she glared at her son.
She took a step towards him and he grabbed the nearest chair holding it out between them. They both knew he would never use it, but it may slow her down just enough to allow him to get around her and out the door to safety.
She dove at him again and he darted to the side his youth and speed the only thing saving him from the wild haymaker his mother threw as he flew past. He sprinted for the door, flinging open the latch and squeezing through just as his mothers weight slammed the door closed. He grabbed the wooden handle and held on for dear life as she battered against the door. For a moment he thought she may well break through the old timbers, then all sound stopped.
He gasped for breath as he held the door closed. He could hear great racking sobs coming from the other side of the door, and he leaned his head against the rough wood squeezing his eyes shut.
He nearly broke in that moment.
He hated to hear his mother crying. The sound literally stabbing at his heart like knives.
He had made his choice though, and he would not go back on his word. He turned letting the light from the lowering sun bath his face catching his breath.
He had known that his mother would be upset he had decided to follow his best friend Dav to the city, but he had not been prepared for the ferocity of the fight that had occurred.
She had yelled at him for an hour before he finally had enough raising his own voice and letting vent to his own anger. He regretted his own part in the fight, clearly he had inherited his mothers temper. He had said things that he had not thought he felt, that he felt trapped and wanted more out of his life than running some small tavern in the middle of nowhere. Things that he knew would would hurt her but nonetheless were true. Things he never would have been able to say a year ago, but things had changed since then, he had changed.
In fact last year was when he and Dav had come up with the insane idea to move to the city after a long night spent drinking and talking with one of the traders that came through their small village of Null. The man had made the city sound amazing with all his stories of festivals and tournaments. Both Dav and Eowan had been awestruck listening to the man, and later that night when they were both laying in Eowan’s attic room above the tavern they had decided that they would both go and see it for real.
They had worked tirelessly the last year telling no one of their plans and saving every copper cent that they could get their hands on. Eowan had helped the local Blacksmith Elder Urly shoe horses when he wasn’t working with his father in the tavern. Dav had managed to purchase some goats from his father under the pretense of starting his own flock and sold them not five weeks back for a decent amount to one of the many caravans that passed through Null on their way North.
They had decided that they would wait until the last minute to tell their families in case things went poorly. With good cause Eowan thought to himself wryly.
It had definitely gone poorly for Eowan, he could only hope that Dav had fared better.
The tavern was situated near the village center directly across from the grassy knoll that the entire village was constructed around. There was a road that ran around in a circle around the knoll and his fathers tavern was at the western point of the circle. The village temple lay to the east of the knoll and the village administrator building lay at the north end of the circle. A main road ran to to the circle from north to south with various other houses and business littered along its course. Fields encircled the edges of the town with various crops being grown year round. To the south lay open grasslands and the Wetlands that remained flooded most of the year.
Dav’s family lived to the south on a farm in the grasslands where their goats could graze freely.
It was to the south now that Eowan headed hoping to meet up with Dav at the edge of the village. If he didn’t show Eowan was going to have to make the walk out to Dav’s farm in the dark. He scowled as he considered walking a league and a half in total or even near darkness.
The thought was not appealing in the least, but it was still better than what waited at home for him if he went back before his mother had calmed down.
He passed people as they headed home from various tasks, it was time for supper in most households in Null. Eowan’s stomach growled as if to remind him that he had stupidly decided to tell his parents of his plans before the evening meal.
What an idiot he muttered to himself.
As Eowan rounded the last house at the edge of town he saw a figure sitting on one of the wooden fences idly tossing stones onto the dirt road.
“Aye Dav” He called cheerily as he approached.
Dav was opposite of Eowan in almost every way imaginable. Where Eowan was built like his father tall and broad Dav was tall and wirey. In place of Eowans dark hair Dav had light colored locks, which contrasted starkly against the deep earthen tone of his skin. Eowan on the other hand had inherited his mothers lighter skin tone and often found himself jealous of Dav after a long day in the sun. Where Eowan would burn to a cinder on a hot sunny day, Dav could strip down to the waist and work all day completely unharmed. Probably why Dav’s family ran a farm and worked the land while Eowan’s worked inside all day.
At the sound of Eowan’s voice Dav looked up a grin spreading across his face.
“Oye Eowan, how’d things go with yer Mum?” He said as he hopped off the railing and fell in beside Eowan.
Eowan caught the slight twitch at the edge of Dav’s mouth as he said it.
He sighed. “Heard it all didn’t ya?”
The smile that had been tugging at the corners of Dav’s mouth finally broke wide open.
“Oh i’d wager they heard yer mum’s screaming clear in the next county” He said letting out a laugh and slapping Eowan roughly on the back.
“I passed old man Galley runnin’ home to be with his ol’ lady on the way in” He said eyes gleaming.
Old man Galley was well known to hate his wife so much that he’d rather sleep on the street in town rather than go home. If he had went running home the whole town must have heard the fight.
“She nearly killed me Dav, its not funny” He said.
His friend chuckled some more before letting out a sigh and giving him a punch to the arm.
“She’ll be fine, when we come back next year with our apprenticeships we’ll show them all!” He stated his tone full of confidence.
Eowan looked at his friend out of the corner of his eye, he wasn’t nearly as confident that his mother would forgive him.
“Well my folks didn’t take the news too badly, so at least you have a place to stay for the night” Dav said cheerily before grabbing Eowan around the shoulders and quickening their pace.
“That’s because your parents have been trying to kick you out since you were twelve” Eowan replied.
Dav’s face formed into a mask of mock horror.
“My mum absolutely loves me Eowan, I am her pride and joy” He said his tone heavy with contempt.
Eowan raised an eyebrow at his friend and Dav pretended to find something completely enthralling off in the distance to focus on.
“Pride and Joy eh?” Eowan muttered.
“Pride and Joy” Dav responded his tone once again jovial and a huge grin finding its way to his face once more.
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