I heard the rumble of the earth. The dust raised after the tail’s slam of such monstrous beast. I felt the vibration, son of its anger, and shuddered at the brutality of the being. Its mouth was as larger than the suburban houses, and the roughness of its scales were even stronger than those. It roared, challenging the men who tempted against its life to put even a step forward. Their cables grapple into its armor, letting them maneuver around its body, fast and agile as a leaves in the wind. The weapons did only aim at the face, eyes and ears, because it was the only points where their attacks could hurt. And thunderous were those, because enormous was the force necessary to even shake such an enemy.
It was a glorious fight, a magnificent waste of skill and strength. Almost, for a mere moment, I felt the urge to join them, to be a part of a dance as beautiful as the one contemplated by my eyes. But no; that wasn’t a life for me, not a life for a high-class youngster, who at most had faced the dogs of the street and ran to hide under his mother’s skirt after the first bark. Those works were just for the pleb, the needed, and the poor fools who needed to waste their life for a taste of our luxury. For us? Well, the sit for our kind was on a safe and comfortable chariot, located at least five hundred meters from the action; enough to enjoy the spectacle without the dangers that it implied.
I drew the bowstring while holding my breath. I closed one eye, concentrate on both the arrow and its trajectory, and shut the other when my hand let it fly. After that, I waited, enjoying the sound of the wind breaking itself at its trace and, eventually, the distant scream of the beast’s agony. And just when it came into my ears, I let out a little smile of pride.
“Right into the eye,” said my uncle. “Another excellent shot, dear Clyde, and I feel the need of saying it again; your skills with that little toy of yours are just unbelievable.”
“And, once again, you disrespected such a noble instrument how it can be my bow. If you would take the time to learn it, you may understand why it’s more than just a toy.”
“Am sorry, little one. You must understand that, when you get to my age, it’s a real pain to learn the new manners of the young people,” he laughed with arrogance. “And, besides that, why would I learn to use something as barbaric a bow? What good could it bring to our family the use of a weapon? a mere instrument of violence?”
I looked back at my uncle, “What good? Well… It helps for clearing the mind. It let you have it somewhere else, to be distracted in something productive, at least for a while. Life is more than just wait for a group of losers to kill a huge lizard. Don’t you think?”
Once again, my uncle laughed with his well-known pride. That man was the kind of familiar nobody wanted in the reunions. Even above his fifty years, he kept acting like a child who never wanted anything with the world besides his work… and maybe his servant’s food. But if I had to say something good about him, it’s that he had always been the sympathetic of the family; that's why we loved him.
He then leaned on that expensive seat that many times had been destroyed, caressing his belly while speaking proudly, “Dear, am afraid to tell you that I can’t understand your point of view. Look at that!” he pointed at the group of men finishing their fight. “Isn’t it beautiful? That’s a … a creature with scales of tungsten, bones of iron, and—”
“And cartilages of coal, yes…” I interrupted before he could continue. “Uncle Trahide, I know very well the properties of the Ferturbones. Being a holder of a last name as powerful as Seighdacier can be, don’t you think I should already know all that matters about them?”
“Wasn’t expecting less, actually” he replied regaining his posture. “What am trying to say is, I have too many things on mind to even consider throwing arrows at a wooden blank. And you, little Clyde,” —the man leaned closer, putting a hand on my shoulder— “you should care about that too. In the future, neither me, your dad, or your grandfather will be here to take care of the family’s business. But you, your cousins, your sons and nephews… will do. And will be up to you guys to take that shawl. Do you think throwing arrows will help you then?”
As always, he twisted the argument at his favor. There wasn’t any way to win an argument with that man, so instead of replying, I just took his hand off my shoulder and took another arrow from the quiver. Once again, held the breath, tense the string, and shot with precision towards the fallen beast. The echo of its remote roar could be listened, and a little smile of satisfaction was drawn on my face one more time.
“And… now it’s blind,” I mumbled mischievous.
At the sight of that, my uncle fanned his hand and chuckled as well, “Dear, you’re unbelievable… but also a lost cause.”
Couldn’t help to giggle at the irony of his words. The real unbelievable thing around was the fact that, even with all the wealth he could’ve ever wish, he couldn’t nor wanted to see further than his own nose. That was surely a waste, but what would you wait from the favorite son of grandfather’s Notour? Not that he hadn’t love the others, but his inclination towards Trahide was evident.
And, after that little chat, it happened. I believe I was the first on hearing it; the incoming steps of a concerned man, a messenger that ran towards the chariot with the shadow of a fright on his face. Let me tell you one thing, a man with that expression could never bring anything good with him.
“Lord Trahide, lord Trahide!” he yelled tired and desperate.
My uncle didn’t even turn to see him, “What’s the meaning of this interruption? Can’t you see I’m passing time with my nephew? Better be important or I’ll send you to shovel coal at the foundry…”
The poor man extended a letter towards the chariot’s seat, and Trahide ripped from his hands with no care. With a frown on his face, he began to read the words that, without a mere shame, announced a tragedy. The calmness abandoned my heart when I saw his expression changing. His eyes widen, his mouth slowly opened, his skin turned pale and his whole body began to shake. I saw desperation, fear, anxiety, pain, a mix of terrible emotions through the eyes of that man.
“Uncle? Uncle!” my voice called for his attention, demanding to know the truth behind that piece of paper.
Trahide read the letter one last time, just to confirm what he just saw. The firm, the printing, the names of the associated, everything was in order. It was real, as it was the terrible message it brought upon us. And just when the truth stroke him, he let his arms fall on his lap, and looked into my eyes while the tears began to roll down his cheeks.
“Father… Father Notour… is death.”
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