Waywards Wandering – Chapter One: Breakfast

This is the current draft of the first chapter of my non-existent fantasy novel called: Waywards Wandering. I will periodically post chapters that I feel are ‘pretty done’. That’s not to say I wouldn’t appreciate any suggestions and feedback (and other comments) from the peanut gallery. I like cashews better, but any nuts are okay with me. :)

Chapter One: Breakfast

“It’s been fifteen years, old friend.”

No. Sixteen.

The words that resounded in Kanji’s mind were deep and undoubtedly masculine. Less could be said for the strange figure in front of him. His scaly hide, vaguely snake-like head, and sizable tail gave away no indication of gender- not that his broad sword or polished armor were at all feminine.

“Whichever,” Kanji shrugged, looking up at the reptilian man and smiled pleasantly as he often did. When he did his mother’s ancestry showed through with his slanted eyes. His western father had given him his small pointed nose, his large ears, fair skin, and unrelenting ambition- but it was his mother that gave him his small, peculiar dark eyes that slanted to slits when he smiled. She also was kind enough, and ironic enough, to give him his slight build. The top of his small frame barely reached up to his friend’s chest.

Yes. It’s about time we returned home.

Home. That word must have a different meaning for us, thought Kanji. But he bit his tongue. While Kanji grew up in a monastery in Wenga, this creature was not of this world. One summer when Kanji was still a boy there, he had been out playing with his friends as he was often allowed on the hottest days of the summer when the masters said it was too hot for heavy training and too nice out for a boy’s wandering mind. There was a secluded valley along a nearby river that Kanji and his band of ‘warriors’ would set out to in search of adventure. They were to battle bears, and goblins, and yes, even dragons!

However when faced with an actual scaly beast all of them had fled, most screaming, some soiled.

All but Kanji… Kanji and…

“It will be good to see Lial again. We will have many tales to tell her.”

Lial was the reason for Kanji and Deathwish’s desire to return to the eastern lands. She had sent along a message to them- it was terse at best. It had told news of being married and being with child, and had requested that they visit. While the subject of the letter had been about happy things, the letter itself seemed strangely short and almost emotionless.

It had left Kanji feeling restless. When Deathwish had insisted they go immediately, Kanji wholeheartedly agreed.

That is if we finally get to tell her anything. It seems as if the Gods themselves are throwing boulders in our path.

Kanji grew grim, “I hope you’re wrong, Deathwish. For if that is true, and even Brihaad blocks our way. That would mean only serious trouble awaits us in Wenga.”

Deathwish smiled, Does anything else ever await us?

Deathwish’s stomach growled as if answering.

“Something to eat, hopefully.”

They descended the steep narrow stairs of the inn and into the stuffy haze-filled common room below. Kanji did so gracefully and silently, his many years of training and sneaking through dank dungeons showing through. Deathwish grabbed the ceiling overhanging the staircase to steady himself as he bent over and crept down precariously, his talons and scales scraping, slipping on the worn wood. He briefly regretted foregoing putting on his oversized, custom-made leather boots, but realized they may have not of helped at all.

“When you die, Deathwish, it will not be at the icy touch of the undead nor in the fangs of some beast, it will be at the bottom of a stairwell.”

Well that’s all well and good as long as its not in this over-priced, dung-ridden excuse for a-

“Mornin’ yer holiness- shall I be fetching ye some breakfast.”

Even though Kanji knew the woman had not overheard Deathwish’s telepathic comments, he blushed and stuttered as he turned towards the voice and stared strait into the young serving girl’s cleavage which was a mere few inches away and right at eye level to Kanji‘s small frame. Kanji continued to stutter as he quickly corrected his line of vision by tipping his head up at an awkward angle to stare at slightly confused pair of eyes.

-excuse for an inn and it’s with a *real* woman, one with firm scales instead of over-ripe melons-

“Uh- uh- Deathwish!”

-melon… now wouldn’t that be nice for breakfast-


What? Did you want melon too?

Deathwish looked smug- or at least he looked smug to Kanji who knew him well enough to translate the combination of odors and facial twitches he emitted.

The serving girl had backed off a few steps and started to edge away looking frightened.

“N-no! You don’t understand! Deathwish is his name!” Kanji pointed at his reptilian friend which did not seem to help the mental state of the young woman. She tentatively looked up the staircase to what must have looked like a dragon to the eyes of a sheltered serving girl. She stood eyes wide and paralyzed in place.

Hi there.

That single projected thought into the woman’s mind was all it took to send her off screaming to the kitchen, a tray of some patron’s breakfast launched into the air. Other patrons turned to look as Kanji’s training sprung him into action, quite literally. He leapt kicking to the side, sending back up a plate of potatoes, catching a sloshing mug in his left hand, and the tray in his right, which landed a moment before the potatoes again touched down upon its surface.

Now that’s what I call service.

A round of applause quickly followed, but just as quickly ceased. Deathwish finally finished his descent down the stairs and stood by his diminutive friend. A moment’s silence followed before Kanji thought it best to take the attention off of Deathwish, his largely imposing form no doubt emphasized by Kanji’s opposite stature.

“Who ordered the potatoes and cider?” Kanji asked as casually as he could muster. A hand tentatively rose from a table by the bar and Kanji gracefully hurried over to set the tray down. He tossed and spun it the air on the way over for added effect as Deathwish slipped into a seat at the end of the bar with only a bit more than a few worried glances. Kanji soon joined him holding a few copper pieces.

“Well, if nothing else we once again avoided a major incident,” Kanji began with a sigh as he slid into a stool, “and I got tipped. That doesn’t normally happen.”

Deathwish nodded a bit perplexed, Yes, but what about the serving girl?

He barely finished forming that thought as the kitchen door swung inward and an irate cook carrying a mean looking meat cleaver stalked into the room. He took one look Deathwish’s way and growled, wiping a plump, greasy palm on a meat-sauced stained apron and passing his meat cleaver over from hand to hand over his pot-belly, “No one messes with Miss Bessy without answerin’ to me- be ye a devil spawn or not!”

“W-wait,” sputtered Kanji, nearly falling out of his stool, waving his hands, and approaching the man, “There’s been a misunderstanding!”

The cook eyed the small, simple robed man with an unrelenting glare and grit his teeth, “And who might you be? The monster’s sympathetic mid-mornin’ snack?”

Deathwish’s stomach growled in the following moment of Kanji’s stuttering. The enraged cook boiled over at the sound, pointing and waving his meat cleaver in Deathwish’s direction, “I’ll have no hungry monsters in my inn, licking their chops at ladies- I’ll have none of it!”

“Now, now,” Kanji patted the air nervously, “No one is licking their chops at anybody-” Kanji again was interrupted by a loud growl from Deathwish’s stomach.

Sorry, Deathwish shrugged helplessly at Kanji, I‘m hungry and you said chops. Like lamb chops…

“We are but two weary travelers,” Kanji began again in a soft, non-threatening tone, blocking out Deathwish‘s thoughts best he could, “looking for a warm bed and fine food to fill our stomachs- food from your kitchen, not your patrons!” Kanji was quick to clarify.

The cook looked skeptically to Deathwish who attempted a smile, but instead only succeeded in showing off a row of pointed canines. It was then that Deathwish noticed the barmaid peeking out through the kitchen door, when she saw him looking at her with his teeth bared, she shrieked,

“Kill it, Dell! Kill it, kill it, kill it!”

It? Deathwish projected loudly to the entire common room. I’m not an it. Furthermore, I am not going to be killed by anyone, Deathwish rose from his stool and placed has scaly palm on the hilt of his broadsword, Not by anyone here.

“Deathwish, please!” was all that Kanji got to say before the common room erupted into a combination of shrieks of fear and shouts of challenge. The inn door opened and patrons rushed out, while others took to the common room furniture.

“If yer thinkin’ were the type ‘o folk to be pushed around by some scaly, slimy, arse-sucklin’ demon-spawn, then yer thinkin’ wrong!” shouted the enraged cook, shaking his meat cleaver.

Kanji attempted to answer, but was forced to cut off his train of thought as a chair began its descent towards his head. He sidestepped it easily, hopped up onto the chair still being held by a disgruntled patron. The patron didn’t quite register that he’d missed before Kanji lept over him and kicked him squarely in the back. It sent him tumbling into a table, sending the table on its side, flipping drinks, and launching food flying into the air. In general, it began an old fashioned common room brawl.

While Kanji was coping with the brawl, one patron weilding furniture at a time, Deathwish was engaged with the meat cleaver and the cross man who owned it. The cook crossed the cleaver over his mound of a belly back and forth as if it were a nervous twitch. Deathwish stood calmly, not bothing to draw his sword. This seemed to only anger the short, fat man and he flew up a stool and ran down the bar to swing his knife into Deahwish’s skull.

Deathwish had other plans as the cook came for him. Deathwish easily backed off from the blow and backhanded his opponent’s large overbalanced body off the counter and careening into the floor with a loud, satisfying fwap.

It was then that Deathwish felt a sting of pain in the back of his neck and shook off shards of crockery from his scales and shirt. Behind him Bessy hovered over the broken pieces of pottery. She panicked and screeched,

“Oh, what did ye do to Dell ye demon?”

Deathwish sighed, picked up the screeching girl under his arm, and made his way back into the kitchen. A few patrons tried to stop him, probably thinking he was going to cook her or worse. Deathwish grabbed one man by the shirt and threw him across the bar, leaving him to slide several splintered feet across it face first. Another two he swatted with his over-sized tail into the inn wall where they caused a goblin head trophy to fall into one of the poor men’s lap. He shrieked like a small girl when he looked into his lap and saw the goblin staring back. He went to stand, making the trophy fall to the floor and his head connect with a mounted over-sized spider carcass that had been magically hardened and preserved. He senslessly slid back to the floor. The other seemed to know better than regain consciousness.

Once in the kitchen, Deathwish put the kicking, screaming, biting woman’s head into a sink full of luke warm soapy water she had been scrubbing pots in all morning. He then pulled her greasy, sudded head out of the water to ask if she had cooled off yet.

She sputtered and shrieked, and again Deathwish repeated the process adding how all he wanted was breakfast and what did he do to deserve such poor service.

“Don’t eat me!” was all the woman managed to sputter out with a sob. Deathwish dropped her to the floor.

Like we said- I don’t want to eat you, Deathwish turned to leave the girl and return to the common room, Don’t flatter yourself!

When Deathwish returned to the common room the situation had worsened a hundred fold. Kanji had all but his left arm pinned and a large semicircle of locals was closing in on him with ropes, “Where in Brihaad’s name have you been? I could really use some help here!”

Deathwish felt something really solid connect with his skull before he sank to the floor. Bessy, with a cast iron skillet, stood over his scaly hide victoriously. She flung her hair back with a defiant snort,

“Yer order’s up!

Continue to Chapter 2