Chapter 2: Garvenell Scuffle

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The sun gleamed in the sky overhead as Jarrod made his way through the Spine. It will be late before he will finally reach home. It was already noon and he finally trampled onto the path he walked often to get to the Spine. It was dirt brown with spots of wild grass sprouting here and there as Jarrod was among a solid few whom dared venture deep into the its reach. Pink and yellow flowers dotted the edge of his trail, making the sight beautiful as the sun’s ray filtered through the treetops. The air was fresh, sweet, and cool like it had just stopped raining, though the ground was still dry. He had hiked in these mountains for years since he was taught the art of tracking game and hunting. Not many people would dare stay in the Spine overnight even if their life depended on it. The tedious lengths of the walk to get around the range would drive them mad. To Jarrod the long walks were peaceful, even if they were tiresome.

As the sun lower slightly, Jarrod had reach a precipitous ravine. He turned to his right to watch the Timor River meander through the valley leading into the Spine. He could hear the roar of the waterfalls that fed the Timor River rushed by below. It was a beautiful sight! The Timor River is the life-bringer of Kloriel Valley, gorged with hundreds of smaller streams, carving around the very village Jarrod called home, Garvenell.

It was only one of two settlements in Kloriel Valley, Garvenell being the smaller of the two. He knew that the river ran through Lorein, the settlement a distance south from Garvenell, and the lonely mountains towards Gur’thed. Beyond that, Jarrod knew only that the river ran south and then west towards the sea.

At the end of the trail leading of the Spine, Jarrod had to make a steep descent. He grimaces as he struggles to get a steady footing to keep himself from tumbling down the rocky slope. It won’t be much longer until I reach the village he thought upon gaining the bottom. Dusk had sweep over the landscape and darkened the path, blurring colors and the surrounding into a monotonous shade of blackish-blue. He made his way by instinct upon the barely visible path until he spotted the shimmering lights of the village, its lights casting shadows on the nearby trees. Few travel here except merchants and trappers since it is secluded far from any other civilization. Frequent travelers prefer to stop at Lorein due to it being nearest the opening of the valley, though both were surrounded by harsh, beautiful land.

The lodgings of Garvenell were simple log cabins, with the occasional expanded version made by large families that lived here for generations. All of the houses had low roofs: some shingled, others thatched. Smoke was billowing from chimneys, giving the air a woody smell with a mixture of roast meat and freshly-baked bread. He could hear men shouting loudly as children ran in the spaces between the houses. Wives were taking in the clothes they hung during the early morning to dry. There was the one elderly woman who doted on stray cats, taking them into her care. A group of stray dogs were out wandering the village, looking for scraps from charitable people or untouched veggies from the children.

Jarrod wove his way running between houses to get through the village. He heard a voice call his name and turned to see that the owner was Ronan, his red-headed cousin. Ronan was a year older than Jarrod, but also twice the joker. He had long, wavy hair that fell down just below the chin. 

“Jarrod, guess what, I’m going to be the King of Mischief soon,” exclaimed Ronan, jumping on his toes.

“What exactly did you do this time,” asked Jarrod warily. He could not help but to laugh at the way his cousin was bouncing, even if he would get an equal taste of the heat from his cousin’s most recent prank.

“You’ll see, ha-ha. I’ve never pranked three people at the same time before!”


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