In the long days that followed, Khaero and his people took Mako and Ari back through a gathering storm to the safety of their settlement. In the way Fa Khaero had described the village, Mako and Ari were to find a scatter of several shabby huts nestled in a dip at the end of the valley, a bigger hut set in the middle where the community gathered to eat, pray and share stories every night. As the winds began to settle slightly and the group reached the last little snowy mound within the valley, Mako realised the modesty of Khaero’s descriptions.


Since Khaero’s arrival to the village some moons ago, it had grown into a successful, bustling little town of some two thousand inhabitants, spreading across the end of the valley where the river Rhan emerged from the underground and built speed, rushing away to distant lands. Rhan giving the settlement access not only to fresh water that never froze up even in the coldest of winters, but also a vital transport route that fishermen and tradesmen had come to learn to use over the years to trade with other settlements.


Khaero told Mako and Ari that the many settlements that had once prided themselves on their sheep or mules or crops had been wiped out completely in the harsh winter months that had also destroyed Artiget. There had been no saving them – Khaero had come too late, managing to save some runaway livestock and an orphaned child who had been taken up by one of the families of Khaero’s town.


Ever since his father had found him, Mako had desperately been pushing away at the thoughts engulfing his head – why had Khaero left? If he was alive, why hadn’t he come back to Artiget to be with his family? The thoughts plagued him day and night until he could bare it no longer.


Against Ari’s restraining glare – they had argued endless hours on the topic, Ari insisting Mako let Khaero come to him in his own good time – Mako requested audience with his father as was custom in the little town for any person wishing to see the Fa – the chieftain. Hest, a burly middle-aged man with a curly beard and big brown eyes, the foster father of the orphaned child from one of the destroyed villages, led Mako into Fa Khaero’s hut. Dawn was barely starting to seep through the little slits in the walls that stood for windows in his father’s modest hut. In contrast to how Mako would have pictured a chieftain’s hut, and to the type of home lived in by Artiget’s chieftain, this little shabby house was barely wide enough to seat four men around the wooden table where a candle flickered weakly in the dim lighting. Khaero’s sleeping arrangements consisted of a straw bed on the floor, the chief preferring the hard wood and prickly straw to a comfortable feather bed which the town’s inhabitants had provided for Mako.


“Mako, good dawn to you.” Khaero rose from where he had been sitting at the round pine table, examining some ornament that looked like a long thin stick which jutting edges at the end but was made of something much harder. “A new sword, Mako, gifted to me last spring by the Seer of a village that had been destroyed. He was the one who had told me I would find Vadares, a village at the end of the valley, and become chieftain. I had laughed then, mistrusting the Seer’s visions. Yet I couldn’t stay on in that village, nor in any of the others I passed through – there was nothing I could do for them, no place I could contribute my skills to. Until I reached Vadares.” Khaero’s gaze momentarily drifted to the cracked floor of the hut where thin strips of light lit the dark wood from the slits in the walls. “The village’s chieftain had just died. He had lived in this hut his whole life – a good and modest man. After his death, chaos ensued. Without a rightful heir, there were only too many powerful warriors vouching for a place under the sun. But they picked me, a newcomer, a stranger., because their Seer had seen me, too, had seen me become the Fa. Since that spring, I have been the Fa of Vadares; we have salvaged many villages from the same corruption that had threatened Vadares after the death of its chieftain. Many of those inhabitants had joined us as the summer turned into autumn and the winds ensued, breaking their huts and burying their close ones.”


As Mako stood in silence listening to his father recount the tale of his noble acts for the settlement of Vadares and other villages, he felt a glowing ball of pride grow and warm him from the inside.


Yet the question remained.


“Why didn’t you come back?”



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You are doing a great job of telling this story. When you go back for your next draft you will see places where you skim over the detail and you will take the time to fill in the layers. I have a sense of Ari and Mako but do not really know them. I would like to see their mannerisms and so on. How is their growing bond expressing itself?

For example this part: After his death, chaos ensued. (what form did the chaos take?)  Without a rightful heir, there were only too many powerful warriors vouching for a place under the sun. But they picked me, a newcomer, a stranger. (how did they pick him and why? I'd also like to be there when the Seer sees him so why not let me be part of that moment by describing it?) , because their Seer had seen me, too, had seen me become the Fa. Since that spring, I have been the Fa of Vadares; we have salvaged...