The two acolytes trudged even further down the trail, now in relative silence. Greta had tried to restart conversations, which were rebuffed by Rafe with ease.

“I just want to find out where this damn tomb is, and then we can go back to doing real work.” Rafe cleared through the last of the brambles, and shuffled forward.

“So you think this doesn’t matter?” Greta asked.

“How often does the Order check on the Tomb?” Rafe asked. “Once a century? Not exactly a high priority for them. I’d rather be out, training…”

“Making another failed attempt at joining the Corps?”

Rafe stopped, and turned towards the gnome.

“You…gnome,” he snarled. “How did you even find out?”

“Gnome receptionist,” She said. “Applications come across my desk, and your name has been on a lot of applications. Thirty-eight?”


Greta shrugged. “Always the same sort of condolence response. Try applying next term, we are currently full, come back with different references.”

Rafe glared at her for a moment. He blurred, and the bow was in his hands. He drew, nocked, and shot three arrows before Greta could blink. She felt the shafts whistle in the air past her, and thunk into a tree behind her.

The gnome turned, and stared in awe. The three arrows were within a hairs breadth of each other, stuck into the knot of a tree. The gnome could swear the tree was a good hundred yards away from Cauley, and he couldn’t have picked his target more than a moment ago.

Rafe walked over to the arrows and collected them.

“I can shoot, I can move through the forest,” He put the arrows back in his bag. “And I am damn good with a knife or sword should anyone who threatens the Order make the mistake of coming too close. But no matter what, I am not suitable for anything better than this.”

He pushed past the gnome. “The Order said there was a settlement close by.”

Greta ran to keep up with him. “I can do stuff too!”

Rafe snorted.

“I can! I know you think I’m just some receptionist, but I swear that we were picked for a reason.”

“We were,” Rafe muttered. “We were available, and sending us wouldn’t take important people away from their duties.”

“That’s a really pessimistic view of the Order.”

“Nope, just how they view us.” Rafe kept moving forward. He loved the Order, loved what it stood for. But its constant degradation of his abilities just made it impossible for him to do his job.

“And where is this settlement?” Rafe shouted at the sky. Greta cowered. “We’ve been searching for three days and still found nothing!”

“Because you haven’t asked.”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

Leave a Reply