Carpe Diem, Page 9

“I want to be a forager. I’m not made for combat, but I still want to earn my freedom.”

“Alright, come with me. I’ll take you to the quartermaster.”

As you make your way through camp, you take in all the faces: the young and the old, the men and women — all downtrodden, yet also high-spirited. They’ve clearly chosen a hard life to live, but they all share the same sentiment: it’s much better to live a hard life in which you are free than a hard life in which you will have to toil under the boot of another.

The camp is rustic at best, blending into its surroundings as much as possible. It’s useless to have a permanent post if you’re constantly on the run, after all.

During your walk, you ask the dark man for his name. “What is your name anyways?”

“Tani. It’s Tani.”

“Hmph. I take it you’re the leader of these people?”

“Not by choice. They just seemed to follow me, seeing as I was the one who struck the first blow. They seem to believe that I’m the one who’s best suited for the role.”

“You seem to loath that fact.”

“Irrelevant. …we’re here.”

When you arrive at the quartermaster’s tent, a bald, elderly man comes out to greet you. His seems to be from Tarith, his skin almost as white as his hair. “Hmph. Tani brought you to me, did he? Fine, I’ll babysit you. Try not to eat any poisonous berries while we’re out foraging. I’ve seen enough gluttonous youngsters convulse and foam at the mouth for one lifetime.”

“I’ll try not to. What is your name, if I may ask?”

“Eustace. Can you remember that?”

“I’ll try. You’re the elder here, so you should be more worried about forgetting than I should be.”

“Ha! At least you have a sense of humor. That’s good… but it won’t save you once we get out in the jungle. Keep your mouth shut and your senses keen. Grab one of those woolen bags, and here’s a machete. Don’t lose either, or I’ll skin you alive.”

“Hmm,” you say. “All those years and you haven’t lost your charms — only most of your teeth.”