“Yes, what is it Shyrrik? Shyrrik…by the gods, what happened to you?”

“I…the other…”

“Come here, boy! Ehlonna’s good graces, your face…your ears! Get inside now, go! Lords above, look at you. Come now, let’s get you cleaned up. Are you alright? Are you hurt?”


“Who did this to you, son? Out with it!”

“The village boys.”

“Again? We’ll see how well those filthy little mongrels fare when I threaten to charge their fathers double for their hides and leather! Look at you, blood all over…come here, we’ll have you like new again. Alright…don’t flinch, boy. I need to…there we are. A little better, at least. Tch, and bruises all over. They didn’t ease up on you, now did they…tell me what happened, Shyrrik.”

“They teased me and called me ‘mutt,’ and ‘half-breed.’ Then one of them threw a stone at me. They jumped on me and started hitting me, and one tried to use the stone to cut the ends of my ears off. The smith’s wife scared them away.”

“Those little heathens, their family line is more spotted than the bovine herds of their parents. How disgraceful…oh son, I’m sorry. I will see about it. Come here, you still bleed…now hold still…almost, there. You’re certainly handling this well enough, most boys would be sobbing and carrying on…don’t fuss with the bandage, son, leave it be…hmm. Shyrrik…your hands, they don’t look like they’ve seen any use. Did you fight back?”


“Heavens, son, why in the world not? You can’t just let them have their way with you, you’ve got to stand up for yourself!”


“But, what? Shyrrik, you will never make your way in this life if you don’t learn to be assertive. Don’t let those boys push you around like that.”

“But, you told me that it is virtuous to understand those that are not clear of mind.”

“Not clear of mind?”

“They must be mean to me for a reason, mustn’t they? I thought you said-”

“Shyrrik, they are thoughtless little louts! They aren’t worth your sympathy!”

“But, I…”

“My word, boy! You accept everything so plainly, trying to set you straight is like trying to guide a toy boat down the white waters of Undjask!”


“Son…sit. Come here, sit down. Listen to me, Shyrrik. It is sometimes noble to play the sage, be understanding and diplomatic. Some of the greatest men in the history of this world have been arbiters of peace. But being beaten and broken by a gang of little miscreants is not one of those times.”

“So, anytime someone is hurting me, I should hurt them back?”

“Eh…not exactly, son. Life is not this or that. You need to decide for yourself when the time is right for words, or for force.”

“But how will I know when to do those things?”

“I…well, you’ll just have to figure it out. It’s something that changes with every man and every situation you’ll come across.”

“How do people know what to do if there isn’t anything that tells them what to do?”

“Pelor’s sake, son, you ask questions far beyond anything a boy your age should be concerned with. People learn to tell what’s appropriate and what isn’t, it’s just something you know in your heart.”

“But, that doesn’t make any sense!”

“Goodness gracious, Shyrrik. You’re going to get yourself killed one day, with that kind of indecision! Look, I have work to do, why don’t you go and play somewhere…don’t look at me like that. The boys won’t bother you again. Now get going. Be home before dusk…and think about what I said!”


Mindosia CursedLemon