Caravan Chaos Part 2: Grinning Galoot

Caravan Chaos Part 2: Grinning Galoot

Finn the dragon shifts uncomfortably in his seat. You see, he's anxious about Dela’s predicament. Perhaps, being a small winged creature himself, he empathizes with the fears of being trapped in a bag like Dela. You feel the tension in the room from the story. What will happen to Dela? How will she escape?

Repositioning himself in his seat, Finn took a swig from a mug. "Oof, cold!" He recoils from his lukewarm tea. With a little spark from his fire breath, Finn rewarms the tea. And steam begins rising from the mug. A flavorful aroma fills the air. He then picks up the book and continues where he left off.

…So Dela was in the bag. The darkness surrounded her, and Dela was unable to move as the creature wandered away from the sprite caravan. Dela’s family left in the dark night, unaware of Dela's disappearance.

Hhhmm mhb hmhm hmbmm— The creature hummed while trudging through mountain passes.

A feeling of fear came over Dela. She couldn’t sense where he was taking her or what his intentions were. All she knew was that she was in a lot of trouble.

Hmb hmbhhr hhm hmm—

The beast kept humming his mysterious tune.

Halting, the beast in one swift motion poured Dela out of the bag in front of a dark cave. She would have flown or run away, but her poor wings and legs had long fallen asleep in the cramped bag. Her captor snatched her off the ground and latched her leg to a crude shackle.

This was the first moment Dela got a glimpse of the beast. And a beast he truly was. With his ragged fur and predatory grin, he looked half bear and half man. He was bent over like an old man worn with years of life. And it seemed as though his body was made of jagged edges and shadows. He was a terrifying sight to behold.

Dela visibly shuddered. And the creature let out a low, snarling laugh. "Hehehe, little one. You shouldn’t be all by yourself. Serves you right."

"What do you want?" Dela plucked up the courage to yell out.

"It doesn’t matter one way or another. Once Robert Catcher has you," he lurched forward, bearing his sharp teeth and piercing eyes, "you ain’t gonna do nothing that he don’t want." With a jerk of the chain, he began dragging Dela into the mouth of the cave.

Deeper and deeper they went. Dela stumbled behind Catcher into the dark. As the moon and star’s light disappeared, she began to see little glowing orbs scattered along their path. A regular observer, like the beast, would have missed them. But they were quickly forgot as Catcher jerked her chain tight.

Soon the light of fire appeared, and Dela realized she was not the only captive. By the fire was a sleeping, human like figure. He was about the size of a full-grown man but bulkier and literally clumsy in appearance. It was a young giant bound in much bigger and sturdier chains.

Catcher pulled the resisting Dela closer.

For a moment, she forgot her fear and called out in disgust. "No, no, no! Aw! Don’t put me with him! Don’t put me with that stinky Galoot!" She spoke with the classic Aeri sprite disdain for giants.

Her cries were ignored, and shortly she found herself bound to the sleeping giant.

"Hehe, you two don’t go anywhere. I’m feeling lucky tonight." A grin zigzagged its way across his face. "The night is young. So maybe I can snatch up another one of you before the daylight." With a slinking shuddered, he departed bag dragging behind his bentover body.

Dela strained against the chains connecting her to the big lump of giant beside her. With her strained grunts and frustration, the giant began to stir.

With a half awake yawn, the giant spoke, "I does not stink."

Surprised that he had been awake, Dela looked him up and down. He looked like your standard giant. Granted, Dela would know what a "standard giant" even looked like since she’d never left the floating isles of the Aeri Kingdom before that day.

"Hmph, well, I guess you don’t stink. At least not as much as I expected. But you sure look like you would!"

Possibly missing her insult, the young giant carried on. "My name is Gurp, af’er my father, and he af’er his father, who’n helped build the Hammerholt stronghold. What’s your name?"

"Dela." She sat down, realizing she wasn’t going to escape his presence.

"So you's a runaway too?"

"Uh… Yeah, I suppose I am something like that." At this point, Dela started looking at her own shackle, half paying attention to Gurp. The shackles were intended for a larger creature, and it had been crumpled to fit her small body. So she thought she might be able to escape.

"Hmm, I wish’n I didn’t try to run. All I gots was hurt," Gurp looked at his chains, "now I’s just stuck ’n dis cave."

"Why didn’t you fight the Catcher?" Dela didn’t look up. She kept fiddling with the lock.

"Tried. He’s too big, too strong, 'n’ too fast."

Putting her lock closer to the fire, she twisted her leg around to understand it better.

"Ya need’n sum help?" Gurp asked.

"Eh, no, I don’t think so." She didn’t believe that some doofy, goofy Galoot would be able to help her. Most of them don’t know how to read, let alone have ever seen a book! Dela thought to herself.

"How’s ‘bout some food?"

She paused. At that exact moment, Dela could feel her stomach grumble. "Uh, do you have some?"

"Sure." Gurp shoved his hand into his pocket. "I founds some berries when Catcher was draggin’ me here. Mama Gurp, always tol’ me, ’it never hurts a Gurp to be prepared for the worst,' especially when you get's hungry. So I was thinkin’ that’n these berries might help." He held his large paw full of the fruit, gently vibrating with light.

"Are they safe?" Dela asked hesitantly.

"I hope so." Gurp smiled a toothy smile, the berries glow shown from his teeth and tongue.

"Haha," Dela, surprised, let out a genuine laugh. Taking the berries, she took a break from playing with the lock on her leg.

Some time passed with each of them bonding over berries and the stories of how they were captured. Gurp had run away a few days prior because his family was ashamed that he didn’t want to go into the family’s rock-moving business. "Too much pressure. ‘N’ It’s real borin’ work too," he had said.

Soon, Dela began messing with the lock again. And finding a jagged cave rock, she was able to escape!

"I did it!" She exclaimed, holding the open lock.

"I knews you could do it. Yous better get out of here b’fore Catcher gets back."

Dela looked at her new friend. "But Gurp, I can’t leave you with him."

"No worries. I’s a lot bigger, so no problem."

"No. I can’t." She began examining Gurp’s chains. "Can you move with those on?" 

"I’s can. But not fast. 'N' Catcher is real fast."

"Hmm… Got any more of those berries? I might have an idea." A sly smile slipped across her sprite lips.

 To be continued...