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What Tobern Needs   1506.05.06  
Creators: Valerie Joanne Higgins (Writer)
Kalitelm, Brethan and Tobern meet at a summer gather cooking fire.
Posted: 08/23/10      [1 Comment] ~ 533 words.

"You are limping!" Kalitelm said sharply as Tobern came to the cooking fire.

"I'm fine." Tobern said, sitting down by the fire and dipping his hand into the bowl to throw a handful of shellfish onto the hot embers. The water sizzled and the shells started to open.

"Show me." Kalitelm insisted.

"Just do what you're told, and I'll fix your food for you." said Brethan, "You know she won't give over nagging until you let her check it."

Tobern grumbled and pulled off his boot and sock, while Brethan deftly scooped the cooked shellfish into a warm bread pocket and added pickled radishes and fresh leafy greens.

"You have a splinter, you know?" said Kalitelm.

"It's just a scratch, it'll be fine." Tobern grumbled.

"Yes it probably will be, until the time that it isn't. You need to make sure it's clean." Kalitelm dipped a metal pin into the flame, then deftly flicked out the splinter. She put the metal pin carefully back into its container in her kit bag, a metal tool of any kind being very precious. Then Kalitelm tipped a drop of fire-bell spirit on the scratch. "There you go, all done. You can eat now."

Brethan handed Tobern his bread pocket, then scooped more shellfish onto the fire and made bread pockets for herself and Kalitelm. They ate companionably, dipping their bread pockets into the red juices at the bottom of the dish of hot shagback fat that stood close to the fire.

"You know, you wouldn't keep knocking your feet about, if you didn't take your boots off every time you climb something." said Brethan.

"If I keep my boots on I can't feel where to get the next foothold, or the boot slips, or my feet with the boots on are too big to let me get my toes in to grip." Tobern said, "I'd rather scratch my feet than fall." He pulled his sock and boot back on. "Thank you for the food and the doctoring."

Tobern strode out across the gather field, walking more easily and greeting friends as he walked.

Kalitelm sat staring into the fire for a moment, then she held out her hand, looking at it and turning her hand in the warmth, then she leaned forward and squinted at her tiny feet in their padded felt bootees. "Hmm," she said.

"What?" said Brethan.

"Tobern doesn't need boots to climb in, what he needs are gloves, he needs gloves on his feet." said Kalitelm.

"You mean like the big winter fur mittens, or like knitted gloves." said Brethan, puzzled.

"In between the two," said Kalitelm, "They should be close, and soft and flexible like knitted gloves, but they need some leather to protect his toes and heel. I was thinking, if the sole was thick felt like my bootees it wouldn't stop Tobern bending his foot."

"That's a very good idea."said Brethan slowly, dipping more bread in the shagback fat. "Ooh I know! If we rubbed some resin onto the felt sole, it would make it a bit sticky and give him a better grip." They smiled at each other conspiratorially.

"Oh yes," said Kalitelm. "That's exactly what Tobern needs."

Author's Notes

Having seen him as a child, Livejournal user Kelkyag wanted to see what Tobern is up to nowadays. Sorry I haven't brought him right up to date, but here is a brief glimpse of him in his late teens.
Written as part of August 2010 Muse Fusion.

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Characters Featured:
Tobern, Kalitelm,

Story collections:
A Light in the Darkness
All Northern Stories and Art
A Thorny Problem
Young At Heart
Flash Fiction
Winning the Game

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