Here’s where I am with Chapter 6… I’m nearing the reason why Jenario becomes what he does in the previous books.
Jenario’s boots crunched through several fallen leaves. He felt like a thundering giant compared to the nimble Trapper. Though not slim around the waist, Nathan knew how to keep his steps soft from years of hunting. Now and then he pulled out a flask from a side pouch. A quick sip drew a mischievous grin across the lips when he caught his companion looking.
“You best not be drinking when the baby’s due.”
“Ha!” Nathan downed the rest and slipped the empty container by his side. “That’d be a trick.”
“Aren’t you at least excited?”
“I was more into the ‘excitement’ before I realized what the consequences were.” He sighed heavily. “Just hope it’s a boy. At least with that I could teach him my trade.”
Jenario reframed from asking about the opposite gender. He cast a sideways glance at the slight beer-bellied man. Although no looker, Ahnalee seemed happy enough when they were together, a reminder of his own family waiting back at the Healers’ site.
Is Tia happy with me? The question slowly plagued his thoughts. Nathan, at least, has a useful skill that didn’t need council interference. What can my skills do? I barely know how to tell two flowers apart. If I want a marriage to happen, I’ll need something that truly impresses her.
He stopped abruptly when Nathan held out a hand. Still in his own thoughts, it took a moment before Jenario’s vision cleared to see the Trapper’s finger to his lips. He then knelt to examine the ground. To the untrained eye, there was nothing. Yet Nathan was an expert at spotting the slight rip in a leaf or how the grass was once mashed into the earth. Whatever it was had tipped the Trapper into believing something was close by.
“Stay here,” Nathan whispered, to which Jenario nodded.
We need a successful hunt. He watched the Trapper keep low as he moved slowly through trees. The click of bolt confirmed his crossbow was ready to fire. Is that little thing going to be enough to take down something large? Jenario never doubted the Trapper’s skills, but the thought of taking on a Black Wing seemed a bit out of place.
Soon he could see nothing, as Nathan had moved ahead through the underbrush. Not even a crumpling leaf could be heard. He’s good! Jenario took a moment to survey the area. Maybe there’s some wild herbs around here. He turned left. It seemed less dense in that direction. Best not wander too far.
Uncertain how long the Trapper would be, Jenario took a moment to examine the various plants growing along the forest floor. His thoughts reeled back and forth between different species of greens brought to him by council members. By the time the plants reached his desk, they had been already finely chopped and ready to be mixed with other ingredients. Occasionally, a leaf was missed and he would do the honors, or else Shafari might slip him something to use in his black marble mortar.
When nothing stood out, he moved on.