Chapter 1-9 ~ A New Friend
His realisation that she was actually pretty tough for a skinny girl made him feel more at ease; even the sight of blood from her injured leg had seemed hardly of bother at all. He was never really ‘any good’ around dainty things, breakables, fragile objects; the impermanent. He preferred the immovable body of Mount Tekna, the coarse skin of trees which grew as silent giants toward the sky, the unchanging stories of countless constellations and those winds which swept the mountain pass with such strength it was said one could fly, if only for an eagle’s wing.
She was clearly unlike the other little girls (and even boys) he had sometimes joined in play on irregular visits to the Evergreen villages, namely during market days and festival times. He would not forget the young master of one Noble Family who – although one whole year older than himself – cried for his mother when mud soiled the rear of his gleaming emerald robe during a sporting game of ‘duck runner’. His attempt to soften the tears of this seemingly inconsolable child was met with expected reproach as the sodden-eyed boy openly lamented the mountain people, their ‘love for filth’, ‘indifference to dirt’, ‘backward’ ways and their ‘savagery’.
But this girl was different. Realising he had been standing silent and staring for far too long he holstered his sling-shot, drew back her shoe from his outstretched arm and held it in both hands. So small and dainty, it was of no wonder the buckle broke clean when she fell. They were most definitely not made to withstand tough play in the mountains – even mountain girls’ boots were fashioned of strong hide which would expect to last an entire winter season. Having quickly assessed the damage to the delicate item, he ventured to make a friend. ‘If you want I can come over and sit for a while and we can make your shoe fixed up. It’ll do you a saving of trying to stand whilst your leg is still in a bust.’