Home > Fantasy, serial > Whistle While You Work #8

Whistle While You Work #8

It was almost a week after the ritual before Hennessy walked back into the workshop. Tomas was standing at the vice, smoothing a board with a plane. Hennessy stood watching him with a smile.

“Oh,” Tomas said when he noticed his employer in the doorway. “I am sorry sir, I did not see you.”

“Quite all right. I was watching. What are you building?”

“A work table for the kitchen.” Tomas put the plane down and walked to the workbench along the other wall. “Your cook said she needed another.”

“Very good. I am glad to see you taking initiative with other projects while you are waiting on me.”

“Idle hands are the devils’ toys,” Tomas said.

Hennessy nodded as he moved to stand beside Tomas. He took the rod up and repeated the whistling inspection he had performed before. Everything was the same. The ribbons of color wrapped the shaft, but none of them turned red. Tomas let out the breath he had been holding and smiled.

“Well done,” the wizard said. “You have turned out a tool that I can enchant in less than three weeks. I am impressed.” Hennessy looked back at the boards for the table. “It has only been a week since I last checked this. How much time have you spent on it?”

Tomas lowered his head a little. “I worked on it the night you inspected it, even though you told me to wait. I have not touched the rod since.”

Hennessy nodded. “That is marvelous. I knew you ignored me, but in checking this now, I would have assumed you would have worked on it each day. That means you finished the rod in no more than two weeks.”

The wizard sat the rod on the bench and sighed. “If you continue to do such work at this speed, you will run me ragged trying to keep up.” He shook his head and started for the door. “I will be ready to cast the enchantments the day after tomorrow. The spell must be cast at sunset. Do not do anything else to the rod between now and then.”

***

Tomas left the keep, bow in hand, and headed into the woods. While his position meant that he and Maleena could have joined the rest of the staff for meals, neither of them had a taste for the spicy southern food that Hennessy loved. Therefore, they had decided to keep a kitchen. Hennessy had told them they could have anything they wanted, but the couples simple tastes did not require much to maintain. One deer would last them for weeks.

It wasn’t long before Tomas was crouched behind a bush, peeking through the leaves at a large runner bird. He wasn’t sure if he could kill it in a single shot, but he decided it was worth the risk. If he missed, the bird would try to tear him to pieces, but runner bird was a delicacy and the feathers were valuable.

He drew and stood, taking in a deep breath as he did so. The bird looked at him as he rose up, and it let out a soft squawk.

He released the shaft. The thin splinter struck the bird in the side of its melon sized head. It blinked, took one step toward him, and fell.

Tomas waited for a moment before leaving the bush. He glanced around one more time and then smiled as he headed toward his kill.

The bird in the clearing rustled its wings and kicked its legs on the ground. It didn’t get up, but just kicked and flapped.

Tomas was half was to it when he heard another soft squawk to his right. He stopped moving as he watched another long, slender neck lift up out of the brush.

And then another.

Then a third.

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