The Faerie Blade: Chapter 27

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Chapter 27: Kaelyn’s New Shoes

Kaelyn was just trying to fill her belly, but she got a lot more than she bargained for when she decided to save the life of a Faerie.

 

“Perhaps…” he muttered before finally smiling. “Come, lass, your measurements are close if my memory is not failing me. Follow me and let us see if my mind is still sound.”

 


 
Author's Note: Here's chapter 27 of The Faerie Blade. ~Amethyst.
 


 Chapter 27: Kaelyn’s New Shoes

Measuring me for proper footwear did not take as long as I feared and was much as I remembered from when my parents would take me to one of Greendell’s shoemakers when I was a child. Half a dozen apprentices worked on various tasks in the background, but they kept their minds and hands on their tasks rather than paying attention to their Master’s current clients. Aldus was quick and professional, though he seemed very enamored with the Fae, as evidenced by the conversation while he worked. Well, ‘conversation’ might not be the proper term since my companions and I were content to listen while he worked and told us the story behind his interest in the Fae.

When Aldus was our age, he dreamed of life as an adventurer; traveling the world, seeing distant lands and great wonders, and returning home someday with grand stories to tell. It was not long though before he discovered that life on the road was not as he had imagined it. It was not exciting, it was dangerous, and the sights that he saw in his short journey were of the sort that plague one’s nightmares.

He had found work as a guard for a merchant’s caravan, and they were barely a fortnight into their journey when they were set upon by Orcs. Aldus saw his compatriots slaughtered, but those had been the lucky ones, they had died quickly. They did not have to see the creatures eat their fallen comrades and rape the few women amongst them who yet lived. They did not have to live with the knowledge that their lives would only last as long as the remains of their dead friends keeping their captors fed.

Then, one night he had awoken to screaming. While people screaming was hardly unusual in the camp that the Orcs had made from their ruined caravan, this time the screams came from their captors. The heinous creatures were systematically slaughtered by a host of Fae from the nearby forest and their captives were set free.

The Fae did not just kill their captors and free them though. Once they had finished burning the remains of the Orcs and their camp, they took those broken people home to their Glade, fed them, and helped them to recover and heal, from physical injuries and to ease the burden on their fragile minds as well. Once he was hale and healthy once more, Aldus returned home to Loden to apprentice with his father and cast aside his dreams of adventure, but he never forgot his saviors.

“So, you see, Fair Lady, I owe your people my life,” the shoemaker and cobbler said as he finished both his story and measurements. “Aye, the fair folk are not to be trifled with; you have a taste for mischief, one should be careful making deals with you, and you hold a grudge that has been earned until the end of your days, but your mercy, kindness, and gentle care for those in need is given freely and honestly.”

Sharai was quiet but I could feel her pride at his words, much as I could feel her simmering hate and fury earlier. She had become incensed when he had first brought up the Orcs and I had been forced to divide my attention between Aldus’s story and her views on Orcs. Goblins and Orcs are barely intelligent enough to be considered sentient, and it makes both species savage and beholden to their instincts but smart enough to organize and use weapons. The Fae consider them a plague to be cleansed wherever they take root.

While Goblins stick to caves and the deeper and darker places of the world and only prey upon those who venture into their territory, the Orcs are far more troublesome to the world at large. Orcs wander in large tribes, attacking whatever they come across. They murder, torture, rape, and sometimes enslave other intelligent beings and have earned the eternal ire of all Fae through their actions. In fact, the Seemings that Fae, including us Voyagers, use to obscure their homes from outsiders were first created as a defense against Orcs.

The Fae loathing of Orcs ran strong and deep, an enmity that had lasted millennia and rivaled our hatred of the Demons and their forgotten God for how their dark rituals forever tainted the Weave. I had spotted quiet fury in the eyes and expressions of both Vesha and Korine as Aldus told his tale of woe and felt Sharai’s in the back of my mind, and yet I could only feel that cold fury second hand. Oh, I was angry and disgusted by what Aldus and the others had been through for certain, but that primal hate that I sensed in the others was not there.

I had barely heard of Orcs before this and Greendell was too large to have to worry about one of their tribes attacking. My mother tried to raise me as a human to keep me safe from the church, so I was never told the stories, or given the warnings, that other Voyager children grew up with. Instead of that primal hatred, I felt only grief fill my heart as I realized that I was a Voyager in name only, still largely unfamiliar with my people and their history.

Of course, Sharai sensed this emotion, and the thoughts which had caused it. -Yes, you still have much to learn about your people and their ways, Kaelyn. You have much to learn about being Fae as well, but you have time to learn. It is like learning to use your sword. You will only do so by putting aside your doubts and immersing yourself in it. Tonight’s coming-of-age ceremony will be an opportunity to bridge that gap and regain some of what was once lost to you, but even spending time with your people, as you are now, will help. You have just now learned something new about our people as well; consider it just another step of many to becoming a Voyager in more than just name. A journey begins with a single step, which you took when joining your troupe. Over time you will continue to tread new ground, and take many more steps toward the summit,- she told me soothingly.

The words lessened the ache in my heart, and I managed a weak smile for the craftsman. “I am glad to see that you remember my people so fondly, Aldus. Our troupe found me to the north and took me in, and it is rare to see someone with such an unbiased view of us there. The church in Evalis hunts our kind and these days, few in that country know anything of us other than commonly told stories of mischief, grudges, and vengeance.”

I truly was glad to see it. Stories told in Greendell about the Fae were stilted and not kind, and the church encouraged and often exaggerated them in its stance against magic and non-humans in general. My mother and I were among the few who did not follow their rhetoric on the matter, and those few remained quiet and hidden, for their own safety. Besides, kind words to a man who already saw the truth cost me nothing, and the brief smile they brought to his face was well worth it.

“Aye,” he agreed once the smile faded into a frown. “I have heard of the Church of One. They have abandoned the Gods, preach against magic, and say that the Fae and other non-human races consort with Demons.”

I nodded in confirmation as Vesha tried to lighten the mood by teasing, “You hardly ever leave this shop, old man, how’d you hear that?”

Aldus snorted, but a smile once again touched his lips. “Except for the Lamia from the swamps of southeast Haydin, all travelers have feet, Vesha. Those feet inevitably bring them to shoemakers and cobblers like me, just like you wagon-dragging troublemakers,” he teased back. Despite his taunt, it seemed that he was fond of our troupe, going by the playful smile. “And how long are you here for this time? Are you leaving soon, or will I have time to finish Kaelyn’s sandals?”

Korine answered in the Salamander’s stead. “Just a short stop this time, Aldus. We’re in a hurry to get to Derevik so Master Nirlyn can report on things up north and make Kaelyn into a proper apprentice. We’ll be having a feast tonight to celebrate, but we’re leaving in the morning.”

“Yep,” Vesha interjected with a fang-displaying grin and a playful swish of her draconic tail. “Kaelyn and I completed our rite of passage, so we’re both going to be adults after tonight’s ceremony. You should get out of your shop for a bit and come celebrate with us.”

“You? An adult? Does your poor mother realize what she is unleashing upon the unsuspecting world?” Aldus teasingly scoffed before his attention returned to me. “Less than a day is not going to be enough to make you proper shoes, even with my apprentices to help.”

I was disappointed, but not terribly surprised by the words. I knew that quality work took time, and I was not even sure if I could afford them anyway. “I understand,” I said with a sigh.

Aldus barely heard me, as he was currently staring thoughtfully at the wax slate on which he had written my measurements. “Perhaps…” he muttered before finally smiling. “Come, lass, your measurements are close if my memory is not failing me. Follow me and let us see if my mind is still sound.”

With that, he led us out of the workshop and back to the storefront, where samples of his craft sat on shelves and lined the front window. They ensured that any who might have missed the sign above the door that read, “Aldus Cobbler: Shoemaking and Repairs,” could see what the shop specialized in. “These are mostly apprentice work, castoffs, and orders that were never claimed,” he explained as he took us to one shelf in particular.

Eight pairs of various footwear that seemed of finer make than the others did sat upon that shelf, but he removed three pairs and placed them in my arms. There was a pair of sandals similar to those that Voyagers wear for their simplicity, made of polished dark brown leather soles and straps. The boots would likely be knee-high when worn and were made of black-dyed suede with sturdy laces, a low heel, and lined with fleece inside and along the top for colder weather. There was also a pair of simple yet elegant black leather closed shoes with pointed toes that Korine told me were popular with the nobility.

These were master quality work. It showed, and Aldus confirmed it as he instructed, “Well, try them on and we shall see how close the fit is. I made these myself, from the stitching up. One of the local Count’s daughters fancied herself a world traveler and ordered these six months ago but never came to claim them; I heard that she was taken by the sweating sickness.”

I tried on the closed shoe first since it seemed the simplest to put on. To my surprise, it was more comfortable than I had been expecting, not too tight, too loose, or pinching my toes. I found the boots and sandals to fit similarly well. I changed back into the soft-soled boots that had come with my armor and bore the same enchantments, which thankfully kept them from being ruined by the mud and shit in the streets, and then looked at the sandals thoughtfully as I wondered if I could afford such fine work.

“The fit is good, how much for the sandals?” I finally asked, expecting to lose a good chunk of what coin I had.

“They’re yours,” the old man offered with a shrug. “The boots and shoes too. They are just going to waste and taking up room in my shop, and they were already paid for. If they fit and you can use them, then you should use them instead of them just sitting here and collecting dust.”

“I… I could not possibly…” I began to protest.

“Consider it a gift for your coming of age, and a mark of my esteem for your people. Wear them well, Kaelyn,” Aldus offered in a tone that I was sure meant that he would not be taking ‘no’ for an answer.

-It would be rude to refuse him,- Sharai gently pointed out. -He too has his pride, and it looks as if he has been waiting a long time to return the kindness that our people once extended to him.-

She was right, and I did not wish to insult him or wound his pride by refusing. “I… thank you, Aldus. Your kindness is appreciated, and I shall wear them with pride. I hope that you will come to our camp tonight to celebrate with us.”

“Aye, Fair Lady, I shall be there,” he replied before gesturing toward Vesha with a grin. “I will need to see that one become an adult to believe it.”

“You wound me, old man,” the Salamander playfully taunted back with a hand over her heart. Then she helped to gather up my new footwear in a sack that she had brought along for any purchases we made and took my hand as she and Korine led me out of the shop. The pair took me to see the other craftsmen in town that the troupe was friendly with but most of them had nothing that I needed or wanted at the moment.

There was an enchanter, but she was not very powerful and wouldn’t be able to extend the enchantment on my armor to Neva’kul or her sheath, and even if she could have, I would probably need to make more coin before I could afford it. She suggested that I visit her former Master when we stopped in Hindra. She suggested that Lady Arinade might be willing to work out an exchange for allowing her to study the enchantments on both my armor and blade since they were ancient, and the art had been lost to all but a very few Fae.

Before returning to the camp, we checked out the town’s small marketplace, though we bought little except a few sweets for ourselves and the children of the troupe. The little ones were very happy with that purchase when we returned to camp and shared our haul. Shava was deep into her magic lessons with our grandmother by that point though, so we left her share with Aunt Sivelle. Then the three of us returned to our respective wagons so I could leave my new footwear with my other belongings, and so we could each gather our chosen instruments for an afternoon of busking with Master Nirlyn and Journeyman Daivin.

© 2022 - 2024 Amethyst Gibbs
All Rights Reserved

Further chapters are available to the public on my Patreon page.

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Comments

Nobody Likes Orcs

joannebarbarella's picture

And now Kaelyn has three pairs of good footwear, and a good friend. Good deeds do resonate, even over the years.

Orcs

Amethyst's picture

Yup, they're assholes. The new shoes will definitely be nice, but friends are nicer still.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

new shoes!

finding shoes that fit is a bane for me, at least if I want them to be at all feminine in style. So she's a lucky girl!

wonderful chapter, huggles!

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shoes

Amethyst's picture

I don't have too much trouble with shoes and I have a few pairs of heels, some classic high-top sneakers, and my combat boots. That's all I really need for footwear.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Shoes

Flat feet makes buying shoes a really hard thing.

Luckily I am basically a 9 US which nowadays is considered a pretty common size though I am a bit self-conscious of it even though at around 5'8" it is not horrible. OTOH I am tall for an Asian woman. *sigh*

size

Amethyst's picture

I'm around a nine and a half in shoes and a half inch taller than you. At least I don't have the flat feet issue, but I have weird long middle toes that make finding comfortable shoes a pain.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Orcs don't like anyone

Wendy Jean's picture

I have to wonder is the church can recruit them using their demons? Probably.

recruitment

Amethyst's picture

It wouldn't be likely; Orcs aren't exactly cooperative in this world. Some might be tempted by the temptation of dark magic, but most see strength of arms and physical prowess as true power, magic is distasteful to them, which explains the hatred between them and the Fae.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3