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Friday, October 11, 2013

Flash Fiction - The Trouble with Junior

Flash fiction #2 is here and ready for your reading pleasure.  The next story is about two characters I introduced previously, Aelar and Aelar Jr., when I painted their miniatures.  This little story takes place when the son is still a small child.

My lovely wife took a few new pictures of the miniatures, this time with some goblin enemies I finished painting this week.  I think they turned out well.  I kept them simple, but tried to bring out a little extra detail to really make them pop.  I can't wait to bring them against my players next time I am Dungeon Master!

I hope you enjoy the story.  I ended up rewriting it from scratch this week, and I do hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The tone is a bit different than last week.  It takes place over several scenes and is in third person. 

As always, please, please, please comment below or on twitter.  I want (need!) your feedback. 

Thanks for reading.  Next Monday, I will have a review of another indie author's work up.


The Trouble With Junior

Aelar stirred, distracted from meditation by his son's cries. Noting the darkness outside, the elf sighed. He smelled the dirt and sweat of his soot-covered leather uniform lying on the floor.

Junior's habit of needing attention in the middle of the night wore on the tired elf. Aelar spent all his energy laboring for the humans of a small village. He earned just enough to feed himself and his infant son.

He surveyed the small, run-down cottage and sighed again. He promised his wife, Feliah, adventure, riches, and comfort. He failed, and she left.

A renewed cry from Junior snapped Aelar to attention. He saw the baby teetering on the top of the child's crib railing, before the little elf fell to the hard floor below.

Aelar's natural reflexes and long-ignored training sprung into action. He dove into a roll, stretching under the tumbling child. Aelar Jr.'s diapered bottom landed gently into his dad's outstretched arms.

Lying on the floor, Aelar once more let out a long sigh before he smiled and hugged the infant close.

*****


One year, and a dozen employers later, Aelar and Aelar Jr. shared the old cottage with two halfling roommates. The two little men often asked why Aelar refused to return to his forest home. With their own ancestral homeland destroyed over a century ago, the halflings scolded the elf for his pride.

Aelar replied to the questions with silence. He could never explain his self-imposed exile to anyone.

Most humans hiring unskilled, non-human laborers refused when they saw little Junior strapped to Dad's back. A few gave Aelar a chance, but their patience did not hold long. The little elf, now toddling around, found all sorts of trouble at the dangerous work sites. He climbed into an oven at a bakery, fell in a hole at the rock quarry, and caused a minor stampede of pigs at a local farm.

Each time, Aelar thanked the gods he was close by to keep his son from harm. Then he cursed them for his fate as he left to look for new employment.

*****

By the time Junior was three, father and son exhausted enough small village hospitality and relocated to Gateway, a city nestled in Sentinel Bay on the eastern coast. The larger city afforded more anonymity for the elves and more opportunities for work.

Aelar found work with a crew repairing and rebuilding a portion of the city's south wall, damaged from goblin raiders. Many on the crew enjoyed the energy and random ramblings of the toddler. They shared many good-natured laughs at the stress the little one caused his father.

Late one afternoon, Aelar stood atop the city wall adjusting the plumb line for the next section. He heard his son call out from behind.

“Ada!”

Aelar turned to see the tiny elf scramble up to stand on the twelve foot stone wall.

“Junior! How?” he yelled. The boy, surprised by his own accomplishment, stumbled, and Aelar watched his son tumble over the side.

Cries of alarm from the crew below confirmed the father's fears. He knew he could not save his son this time. He called out and reached anyway.

Aelar looked down to see Junior tuck his head, flip mid-air, and land in a crouch to the cheers of the crew.

Aelar let out a great sigh and smiled, a new idea taking form. Junior needed to train. They had work to do.