A traveling trader tells the story of how his wife joined him on a journey.
Crackling embers and creaking crickets fill the silent night. Branches sticking from the dirt holding up wolf meat to be licked by the flames. Martha’s been quiet for hours. She only leaves her tent to turn the meat and returns.
I keep rubbing a smooth stone along the edges of our swords. It seem to lecture her every time we barely survive a battle. “Attack and dodge!” I tell her repeatedly. She assures me she’s doing what she can, but I fear being witness to her death. We barely escaped today’s encounter with our lives.
We couldn’t retrieve the treasure the golem guarded or its heart. We were too exhausted to continue. Running for our lives was what we had left. An entire day wasted.
At the beginning it was just me taking these month long journeys to track and retrieve expensive treasures from across the land. Martha didn’t my elongate absences. She’d complain and request coming along to help. She’d say, together we could watch each others backs and go where I wouldn’t dare alone. Eventually, I had no choice but to agree. We trained for weeks at the village, before our next departure. I taught her all I knew. How to use a sword. How to fight and dodge. What berries were safe to eat. What insects were safe to eat. Where to find clean water. How to purify tainted water. How to skin and cook wildlife. We ran out of silver shards on our sixth week. There was no option but to end our training and go on our first scavenge together, regardless of how much she knows.
This is how I’ve made my living. I am adjusted to the dangers and faced them alone since the death of my father in my teenage years. I’d become accustomed to my methods. But this is the first time I’ve had to watch over another. Never the less, when that individual is my wife. The company is welcome when travel and during camping, but I’m over protective when we’re in combat. Whether it’d be savages roaming the lands or creatures at the top of well guarded towers, it seems each time we survive I lecture her on how we could have avoided something.
And I see the growth and progress happening. I see it occurring. She’s faster and more accurate with ever battled survived. But she’s gotten hurt several times. And for the first time since the death of my father I find myself getting hurt too. Not only because we’re going for things riskier than I would alone, but because I constantly catch myself being more reckless to protect Martha.
We’re still two weeks from the nearest village and have three more stops on our way, where we hope to collect goods worth the risk. Yet, anxiety fills my veins with ice and an unsteady shiver simply thinking about how bad things could go if we make a wrong move.
But we’re obligated to take the risk to resupply upon arrival and still make a profit on our way back to our home village.