A Warrior's Redemption (The Warrior Kind) (Chapter One - Hell is Hot, page 2 of 10)

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How had I got suckered into doing this fool's errand anyway? It was one thing to be a man alone and be chased, but carrying along a kid laid down a whole new array of problems to contend with. I didn't know anything about kids! Taking this kid along hadn't been a part of the plan, but he was here and that was that. A chase was tough on man and horse alike, but on a kid it had to be especially tough and I was grateful that this kid exhibited a lot of toughness.

The kid's toughness reminded me of my own tough childhood back in the lowlands of the Hills of Ernor, near the Zoarinian city of Cassis.

My family was not of Zoarinian lineage or of the Ernorian people either. My father had brought us to the hill country to get away from some difficulty of the past. No one knew us there from before and that seemed to be what my parents liked most about the place, only I could tell that my father hadn't been happy to be there. The land of his birth, which he would often wistfully look off towards in the north, was where his heart seemed to have stayed. The Ernor Hills were the closest he could come to the mountains of the Valley Lands, which could be seen in the distance on a clear day.

My brother and I had grown up largely alone and had few friends as our parents kept us from mingling with the local people for the most part. The most we had seen of the outside world was when harvest time came and we would float our harvest on rafts down the Tegre River to the hungry markets of the Zoarinians farther down the river.

Though my brother and I were kept from much interaction with others we still had the love of our parents and the security of the home they had provided us with.

Those had been golden days, but I hadn't known it then. Those kind of days weren't likely to be seen again by either myself or the poor lad, who lay curled up in a ball over by the small fire fast asleep.

The journey from Kharta had been rough. We had been chased from the onset and it had been a near thing for a while before I was able to buy us some time and distance by losing our pursuers temporarily in a swampy stretch of territory that I was familiar with. The boy had stood up to the task remarkably well and my respect for him had grown daily. I hadn't directly told the boy yet that his father was dead, but I didn't think I had to as he had already guessed it. I'd seen him crying quietly at times, mostly at night when he had thought that I wasn't looking. I had respected his wishes and had not let on that I had noticed him crying.

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