Family Fiction posted November 13, 2019 Chapters:  ...6 7 -8- 9... 

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Jahm's tale

A chapter in the book Quest for the Neckulet

Jahm, Part 2

by krprice

On his quest to find the stolen neckulet, Radolf makes friends and enemies.
Radolf watched as Jewelletta closed the door and strode to the fireplace. The wood was set. She muttered a few words, and a fire flared. She walked to Radolf’s pack and pulled out a pot.
“Please get some water boiling in this, Gildor.” The sorceress walked to her herbs next, bent over, and sifted through her packets with various colored stripes on them indicating their purpose.
Minutes later, she pulled out what she wanted and sprinkled them in the water. After filling another pot with water, she hastened to Radolf side. His bandage hung in strips, so she cut the rest from him and cleaned it.
“Get out of those clothes,” she ordered. “They’re almost as dirty as the ones you took off this morning. Do you have another clean set?”
“Yes, one.” He hesitated.
With her help, he removed his shirt. As she pulled his pants down, he grabbed them.
“Radolf.”  She rolled her eyes. “Okay, I’ll turn my back. If you need help, ask Gildor. Cover yourself with the sheet if you’re that modest.” She turned away from him and introduced Gildor and Radolf to each other.
“Aren’t you taught not to display your body in front of strangers?” He asked, grunting as he undressed. Pain flared through his arm.
“Yes, but not to this extreme,” she answered.
“Oh.” He tossed his pants on the tunic already on the floor and pulled up the sheet. “I’m covered.” 
“Any more dirty clothes?” Gildor asked.
“He has a pack full of them.” Jewelletta cleaned the other arm. “You have a cut on your back too. Turn around, and I’ll get that.”
Gildor rummaged through Radolf’s pack, pulled out the filthy clothes, and put them all in the hallway. “They’ll come back clean in the morning.”
He went over to the fire. Using a cloth, he took the pot from the fire, put some cold water in it, and brought it over to Jewelletta. She submerged the clean cloth. After wringing it out, she glided it across Radolf’s sore arm.
He pulled back, flinching at the pain.
“Stay still,” she scolded but then smiled.
She cleaned the laceration and bandaged it again before treating his other arm and his back.
“Use the rest of the water to bathe in and get some sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.” She bent over and gave him a kiss on the forehead. “Take care of him. If you need me, I’ll be in the next room.” She turned and left the room.
Radolf cleaned himself up, never speaking to Gildor, who emptied the chamber pots when Radolf finished. The alchemist blew out the candle and crawled into the other bed.
Goodnight, Anarra.
You look better but still tired. Sleep well, Radolf.
He turned on his side and was asleep in minutes.
A knock on the door awoke Radolf the next morning. Gildor answered it before Radolf could sit up.
“Good morning.” Jewelletta entered the room “How are you feeling, Radolf?” She moved closer to the bed.
“Better,” he answered.
Jewelletta bent over and petted Anarra. “And you?”
I’m feeling much better. Radolf told the others.
“I’ve arranged for breakfast to be brought up. Gildor, please put some more herbs on to boil and make my potion while I check Radolf’s arm.”
Gildor worked as she sat on the bed and removed the bandage. “It’s improving, but it’ll still need watching for a while as we head for the Valley of the Jakoda.” She looked at the other arm and his back.
“Why are we going to the valley?” Radolf asked, trying to keep the sheet over his private parts.
“To see the dwarves. Since Jamari stole the power jewels, I must replace them. The dwarves are the only miners on the planet. And besides, the jewels I need can only be found in the Aurifex Cavern, where the dwarves live. Chances are your thieves ae headed there.”
“What are the power jewels?” Radolf inquired.
“A circulet of ten different jewels, each representing a Master of the Majutsu Council,” she told him. “The jewels are infused with the powers of each Master at a special ceremony at the Veda Community. I’m only one of two on Mageron who has mastered all the jewels. By combining their powers and my unique ability, we can control the evil forces in the universe. And believe me, there are enough of them. That’s where I get my name–Jewelletta.” 
During her explanation, Gildor brought over the water. She cleaned Radolf’s arm but left it open to the air.
“Who is Jamari and why did he steal the jewels?” Radolf sat quietly while she worked on him.
“That’s a tale for a later time,” Jewelletta said.
Someone knocked on the door. Gilder handed her the potion before he answered it. A waitress stood there with their breakfast. He took the tray, closed the door, and set the food on a table. Jewelletta drank her potion.
The three ate in silence when someone else banged on the door. Gildor was over at it and had it open before Jewelletta got up.
“Come in, Jahm,” Jewelletta invited. “We have some extra food. Want some breakfast?”
“Yes,” he answered, a bit hesitantly as he entered. “How are you this morning, Radolf?”
“Much better,” he said between bites of egg.
“Anarra?” He accepted a plate of quanya meat and eggs from Jewelletta and sat.
“She’s better too,” Radolf told him.
“What brings you to Sildar?” Jahm asked. “I’m not trying to be nosy, just curious. We don’t get that many Majutsu through here.” He ate.
“Gildor lives here.” The sorceress pointed to her alchemist. She paused for a moment.
 Looking from Jahm to Radolf, Jewelletta launched into her reason for coming here, telling him of the theft, Para’s death, their search for neckulet, and how they met. She told him where they were headed and why.
“Valley of the Jakoda.” He sipped a cup of tea Gildor handed him. “That’s quite a ways from here.”
“Sildar is a Militio community, isn’t it?” Jewelletta asked. “But since you’re staying at The Black Horse, you must be on a mission.”
Radolf wondered the same thing.
“I wish I could say I was on a mission. I’m no longer considered a member of the tribe.” He put his plate down, hid his face in his hands, and bent over.
Radolf and Gildor widened their eyes as Jewelletta’s jaw dropped open..
“You must have broken the tribe’s code to have been kicked out,” the sorceress said none too tactfully.
He pulled his hands away from his face. “Yes. Loyalty, honor, and courage are the essence of our creed, the vows we make when we take up arms to fight. I broke the vow of courage.” Jahm hung his head. “We fought a battle three years ago in the Kanballi Jungle. I had command and instead of letting my men fight the renegade Savaecus who live there, I ordered them to retreat.  We were outnumbered. I know from firsthand experience what can happen if those cannibals capture you.” The mercenary turned around and lifted his shirt. Scars the length of Jewelletta’s hair marred his back. “This happened five years ago, and I was lucky to escape with my life. In this last instance, discretion was the better part of valor to paraphrase the old saying. The tribal council didn’t agree and kicked me out. I’ve been wandering from the northern mountains south to Aderra. From the Landetta Valley to Rainbow Valley ever since.” 
“Do you hire yourself?” Jewelletta finished her eggs.
“No one would hire me with the word out I’ve broken my vows. I collect wood and carve animals and various other things. People request certain ones. I sell them to many in Sildar or Aderra, even your people have bought some. I make enough to stay alive. I can hunt and fish, but that gets old and lonely very quickly.”
“Why don’t you come with us?” Radolf asked. “Your hunting and fishing skills will be invaluable, and I could use help in defending myself.”
Jahm’s gaze landed on Jewelletta and Anarra. “How do you two feel?”
We need him. You must learn to defend yourself. The attack last night proves you need training.  I can help with the hunting, and I know you can hunt, but we will be able to do better with him.  Jewelletta needs some company her own age although she’s much older than she looks, or she wouldn’t need Gildor. Jahm needs us much as we need him.           
Why does she need Gildor?
The only reason would be for a youth potion. She looks to be in her forties, but I daresay she’s at least twice that. We dailam live very long lives. I’m eighty, and I saw her roaming around the world a good forty years ago.
Radolf started at her revelation. Didn’t think you were that old. 
And very wise.
He chuckled and announced. “We agree you need us as much as we need you.”

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