Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chapter 11-3: The Market

        Caden left Sir Eric's homestead. He was upset. He was going to head home to the bakery, but didn't want to anymore. So he wandered through the market. He didn't know where he wanted to go. Everyone was trying to go back to business as normal. But the town was still scarred from the Queen's attack. Many buildings hadn't been repaired at all. Hollow ruins, devoid of life. Others still had people working to rebuild. The sound of hammers and saws echoed behind the murmer of merchants selling and people buying.

        Caden saw Haron's stall was open. He remembered how he used to go there every day to see if Keilee was working. But he knew that she wouldn't be there, she was gone. Alone in some far off land and he couldn't do anything to bring her back. He crossed the street to avoid it. He walked over one of the bridges spanning the hallows in the ground. Fish swam underneath.
        "Caden!" Mika called. "Caden over here."
        Caden looked. Mika was waving from Haron's stall. He sighed and turned back. He walked over to her. "Morning, Mika," he said.
        Mika smiled. "Did you meet the Dragon Knights? Did you see my brother? Is he going to rescue Keilee?"
        Caden forced a smile. "Of course I found them. I didn't see Damion, but I talked with his general. I'm sure once he hears of what happened here, he'll be the first to sign up to rescue her."
        "Dad says that we shouldn't expect her to come back. He even made a grave shrine for her on our land."
        "Do you believe she's okay?"
        "I know she is."
        "So do I."
        "Things haven't been the same since that day." Mika dropped her head and looked at the dirt road.
        "What do you mean?"
        "Dad, he's been drinking more then uncle Eric lately," she said. "And he gets really angry a lot." Mika started crying.
        Caden looked at her. He noticed an old bruise under her sleeve. It was green and purple. "Hey, it'll be okay," He said. He lifted her chin. Her eyes were red. "Once Keilee returns, everything will be back to normal."
        Mika hugged Caden. He stood there, and she held him. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight.
        "Everything will be okay," he said. "I'll bring Keilee back... I promise."

        Caden left Mika to her work. His mind focused on his promise, and trying to find a way to help poor Mika. He was so tied with his thoughts, he didn't hear someone calling his name. he stopped when he felt a tug on the back of his shirt. He turned around and saw a little boy holding onto him. He smiled, it was one of the children he saved. He looked around, and a couple of the other kids were there too, but stood back.
        "Caden," he said. "I heard you was eaten by the dwagon."
        Caden knelt down. "No, why would you think that?"
        "You was gone so long, and when you came back, you was hurt bad."
        "Well, it wasn't a dragon," Caden said. "And you don't need to worry about me. When I see dragons, I slay them and skin their hides for my clothes."
        "You saw a dwagon!" he said.
        "Yeah--" Caden scratched his head "--and it was fierce. It wasn't as big as the Queen, but still huge. It had fangs as long as my hand." Caden held up his hand in front of the boy, it covered his face. "That's bigger then your head!"
        "Wow!" The other children gathered around Caden. "Wasn't you scared?"
        "No way. I wasn't afraid in front of the Dragon Queen, and this was just a pup. Plus I had that sacred sword from the temple."
        "The green and black one?"
        "Yeah, you remember it. That sword is magical, and I was able to take down that dragon with just one hit."
        "What else have you done?" a little girl asked.
        "Well, I faced a witch down, stood in testimony before the goddess, defeated some bandits..."
        "You're so strong," said the little girl.
        "I'll say." Caden turned around. The barkeep from the tavern was standing behind him. Caden didn't even notice he was sitting in front of it. After it was rebuilt it looked completely different. The place he used to climb to the roof was gone, and it looked bigger. The courtyard wall was rebuilt with an arch over the hallow the Queen left. "Come inside. Why don't you tell us about your travels."
        "I thought I was too young."
        "My boy--" he put a hand on Caden's back, "--if you can travel across the province, track down the Knight's camp, and survive a sword fight, then you're old enough to come inside."
        Caden smiled. He waved to the children as he walked into the tavern for the first time.