Darrius sat underneath a large oak tree, enjoying the cool evening air. This evening, however, he could feel his age upon him. The robes he now wore covered the many scars he had received in his youth as a young adventurer. The gray hair that hung from his head had taken the place of the dark black that it once was. He had replaced his sword with a walking stick and hung up his armor for common clothes. Draped at his side, he still wore a short sword, mostly for comfort than defense, for his hands, which once could be deadly with a blade, had lost their strength and hurt so when he gripped the hilt. Out in the field of wildflowers, he watched a young elf run and frolic among the setting sun. Vera was her name, and she had been in his care for the last thirty years. She was a babe wrapped in a blanket when he found her lying under a knotted root of a tree less than one hundred yards of a battlefield he was leaving. Thirty years, the time had flown by in his eyes, and now he was but a shade of his former self.
She ran to him with a smile across her face. “Father, Father, look what I have found. I believe it is hurt.” Vera had her hands clasped together as she ran to kneel down beside her father. Darrius could never keep a smile off his face when she came to him with some injured creature she was planning to nurse back to health. “What is it you have this time, my dear?” Darrius said, opening her hands to reveal a blue-tailed lizard, “Look, Father, it has lost its tail.” Darrius gave a low chuckle and looked into Vera’s deep blue eyes. “My dear, that lizard isn’t hurt at all. You see, if something is threatening it, say, a bird or a snake, and it grabs on to its tail, the lizard will disconnect the tail in order to escape.” Vera looked long at the little critter sitting in her palms. “I have no intention of making a meal out of you, little lizard. Run now back to your home.” She set the lizard down, and it quickly scurried off. Brushing her hands, she sat down next to her father to watch the sun set. “Father, tell me a story of when you were adventuring out in the world and the things you saw while you were there.” Darrius put his arms around her and gave a deep sigh. “My dear, I dare say you have heard all of my stories and tales. Why are you so interested in those old tales anyhow? They are ancient history.” Although Darrius fully enjoyed telling stories to his daughter, he always put up a hard front just to keep an image up, perhaps. “Come, my dear, help this old man to his feet. It’s nearly dark, and we need to return home.” Vera gave a disappointed sigh and unwillingly obeyed.
When they had made it back home, the sun was just barely peeking over the hills. In the distance, an owl started calling out into the night, and the crickets had begun their song. “Vera, my dear, will you go around back and gather wood for the fire, please.” Vera helped her father into the house and gave a wholehearted nod as she made her way to the woodpile. Inside, Darrius removed his robe and hung it on a rack next to the door. He then unbelted his sword and placed it next to the fireplace. Slowly he eased into a rocking chair in front of the hearth and stirred the coals.
A few minutes later, Vera entered the house with an armful of wood and set it next to the fireplace. After building the fire up to a respectful glow, she took her seat next to her father. “Father, I think we are going to have to get more wood if we are to make it through the winter.” Darrius could hear in her voice that it was not what she wanted to say. “Well, my dear, we are taking the wagon into the village to do that very thing in the morning, you know. What is really on your mind?” Vera shifted in her seat to get comfortable. “Father, I have sat here many nights listening to you recount the tales of your youth and the adventures and sights you have experienced, and I so long to leave this place to set out on my own to have those same experiences. Though in my hea