Demons of Karis Forest Chapter 1: A Surprise
Demons of Karis Forest Chapter 1: A Surprise Dedicated to Daniel who’s pestering is the only reason I decided to write this story at all You are playing as 17 year old Derrick Kiso, a farmer’s son living in the southern region of the fantasy nation of Adrumir. It is a world of secret magical societies, brutal cutthroat political schemes and centuries of brutal bloody conflicts. Adrumir themselves have been at the heart of much of the chaos, a relatively new nation that has sprung onto the scene first as a humble city state having minor border conflicts to an industrial powerhouse with rapidly expanding borders and constant victories in battle. In the past century Adrumir has been the story of the world, an unexpected powerhouse that carved a place for itself on the map. But, its a story you have only heard from afar, you live in the breadbasket of Adrumir in the southern provinces, a territory dominated exclusively by fertile lands and widespread agriculture. As farmers your family and your whole community have avoided the draft and have lived in peace since Adrumir annexed the territory nearly a century ago. Still, the world is a dangerous place and soon nowhere even your humble hometown will be safe, only cunning decision-making and calculated risk-taking will keep you alive and healthy when the time of danger comes.
You cajole yourself for even thinking of leaving your father to take on your workload, though your bed is tempting, your parents raised you better than to do that.You plod down the stairs rubbing the soreness from your muscles and make your way to the humble kitchen where your mother, Ann, has a fresh loaf of bread ready and is in the process of frying several eggs.
“You’re up rather late, thought I’d have to go and snatch your covers from you like when you were a child” she says with a smile on her face, as she deftly flips the eggs from her pan to a nearby plate. “Hurry up and eat, the food’s still warm and there’s fresh water on the table”
The smell of fresh food goes a long way to clearing the fog from your mind and your mother’s pleasant demeanor helps to shake your sour mood. You thank her for preparing the food and give her a quick if slightly dangerous hug as she continues to fry up more breakfast.
With that out of the way you quickly scarf down the fresh bread and eggs, pausing only to wash it down with cold swigs of water. As the food in front of you dwindles, you ask between mouthfuls “Dad decide to get a headstart on the day?”
“That man has a death wish, the way he works himself to the bone without so much as a thought to stop long enough to grab a bite to eat!” she pauses for a second, realizing she only half answered your question, “yes he left before sunrise, muttered something about patching a leak in the barn roof I think, but to be frank I was half asleep.” she says with her usual smile.
You shake your head, if the disrepair of the farm and the futility of your labors was a weight on your shoulders that applied doubly to your father, he always felt he owed your grandfather to keep his inheritance secure. “He’s resilient Mom, I don’t expect he’ll be keeling over in the fields any time soon.” You say in a reassuring tone.
“Oh I know, all the same take some food out to him and insist he pauses long enough to eat it” she says handing you a large chunk of bread in a small sack.
With that, you are already behind on your day as is and so you bound out the door and jog lightly to the barnyard.Hired hands are already starting to show up to help with the day’s labors two men and a boy from the nearby town of Imsidar, normally the harvest would require at least five additional men to help with the significantly increased workload, your father decided to hire three men and a boy (at half pay) to try to squeeze some extra profitability out of this year’s harvest. As you get closer you identify the workers.
The two men are Jallir and Tavryn Hinkswellow, twin brothers with a solid work ethic, but somewhat unlikable personalities.
The boy is Philip Tarron, a long time friend of yours and only one year your junior. As you approach you see no sign of Gustaf Tarron, his father and the final hired hand for the day.
What you can see is Jallir and Tavryn clearly having a laugh at the state of your horses. “Got one foot in the grave that one” Tavryn says with a smirk
“Better than the blackie there” Jallir chimes in, “I’ve seen more lively specimens at the morgue and I wager we’re better off having the chickens pull the cart”
Tavryn looks up from his conversation long enough to shade his eyes and notice your approach, “looks like the Kiso daughter wants to come watch the men work” he says with a grin far too large for the quality of his taunt.
Jallir picks up where he left off “I do believe that’s a boy” he says with mock surprise “hard to tell with those narrow shoulders and girlish figure, but he certainly isn’t pretty enough to be Ann’s daughter”
Philip hides a smile, Tavryn and Jallir have been picking on you all week for your genetic disadvantages, despite your father’s solid build, you grew up slight and even sickly at times, no matter how much hard farm work you put your back to, you haven’t been able to grow to a respectable mass.
The Hinkswellow twins picked up on your insecurity and have been picking at you day in and day out as their primary entertainment. It doesn’t feel right to let them get away with their taunting, but you’ve never had a particularly quick tongue to keep pace with their jabs. Still at this moment a few retorts spring to mind.
You could go on the offensive and target their parentage, it’s been long rumored that the Hinkswellows were the product of an incestuous relationship that turned so sour both parents (or siblings) killed themselves shortly after
their birth. It feels like justice to pick at a sore spot of theirs, but on the other hand it might well be crossing more than a few lines.
You could mock their intellect, neither knows their letters, or numbers, but all the same their quick wit and sharp tongues often substitute for typical intelligence.
Of course there’s also a tried and true joke about their mother, you have several committed to memory, not the most original, but it could work with some clever phrasing
Or maybe you are overreacting, thinking over your options has taken the wind out of your sails a little bit. The time for a retort is almost past you decide to say:
“Girlish figure? I just got back from your mother’s house and she said I was the biggest man she’d ever been with, though perhaps she was talking about something else”