Laygon Salister, lay on the hill upon his house watching the sun rise over his small village with keen eyes. His blond hair waving in the fresh breeze accompanied with the scent of the morning dew. The mountains surrounding them were glazed with the bright red as were the clouds that swirled lazily above. Today was a special day for him. As it has been every year. Because today marks seventeen years since Laygon was born. Laygon was thrilled at the festivities that were being held in his honour but his nerves were all but to loud in his head. As was his mother and younger brother aged sixteen, Sil and Mar.
They resided in the small village of Cairndown. A minor settlement hidden from view by Scorn Ridge – A long straight of mountains tall and short. Laygon let his eyes scan the houses and the residents scurrying about preparing for events to come. Everybody new each other in these parts and the name Salister has been in Cairndown as far as most people could remember. There's always been a Salister in Cairndown, and that wont change. Laygon panned around the village until he was met with a rather peculiar sight. Down in the central straight of the village was a small man named Sten trying desperately to hoist a pole into the air. The lines on his forehead were almost canyons compared to normal. The frustrated look on his red face made Laygon chuckle. At best, Sten wasn't even able to help out in the farming of crops, or the building of houses. And of all the things to try and accomplish. Laygon hopped of the small hill and made for Sten. His eyes creased as a large grin spread across his face.
" D'you need some help with that Sten?"
" No." Sten snapped. The man never liked being assisted with mere normal things due to his height. Sten spent half his life trying to succeed in things his height would not allow him too. Thus moulding him into a dismal and feeble short man. Laygon raised an eyebrow at Sten.
" oh, so you don't want me to hook the pole onto the rope?" said Laygon while folding his arms.
" No! I don't need you're help nor anyone else's. And that's the way its going to stay now and forever more." said Sten sharply while raising his voice. His voice however, when risen, turned to more of a squeak than anything else. Laygon rolled his eyes and sighed. His breath accumulating into a small cloud of condensed air.
" Alright. Don't become angry at me Sten. I'll just be on my way then." Laygon turned on his heals and took one step before he heard Sten gasp behind him. For Sten hadn't looked up at Laygon during the whole ordeal and had not seen who it was. Laygon smiled knowing what the problem was. The small man's eyes were wide and apologetic.
" Dear boy, I am so terribly sorry for my curt conversation. If I had only looked up." He raised a hand and shook it divisively." Not the one to so easily accept assistance, you know. My how you've grown in the past months. Oh but where are my manners. Happy birthday!" chirped Sten and gave Laygon a quick hug.
" Thank you Sten." said Laygon thanking the small man. " You're sure you don't need help-"
" No no. I shall do this myself. Besides, you of all people should be having a relaxing time with your family." rattled Sten. Laygon new he was right but couldn't help the undeniable urge to assist. But he new that Sten would have none of it and decided rather hesitantly that his family was his next stop. He nodded and smiled at the small man.
" If your sure. I'll be on my way then. Nice chatting with you Sten."
" You too my boy. You to. And wish your mother and brother a very good morning." Sten shouted after Laygon. He lifted an arm and waved back.
" Will do." And with that, Laygon started for his house which sat at the end of the main trail through the village. But before he reached his house, One of his best and indeed only friends in Cairndown saw him. Hern walked high spirited around a the stables holding the large brown horses straight towards Laygon ,he wore brown trousers with black laced shows. His shirt was of a cotton materiel and was white. His face was warm and the green eyes on it were staring at him shinning like spotless glass with glee.
" Laygon! Happy birthday." exclaimed Hern putting a hand on his shoulder.
Laygon was only to pleased to see his friend. After all, it will most likely be Hern that pulls him through all of tonight. Laygon gave a toothy grin.
" Appreciate it Hern. What are you doing at nightfall may I ask?"
Hern gave a mock thinking expression. " I will be at none other than your celebration." He said. Laygon nodded once and stared at the ground. Hern huffed a little. " You aren't nervous about the whole ordeal are you."
Laygon snapped his head up looking at Hern in the eye. His face contorting a little. " No." He replied sharply. " And besides, why would I be. Its all for me."
" I expected nonetheless from you." Hern said approvingly before glancing down the village in the opposite direction Laygon was headed. There was a pause before he sighed. " Well I had best be off. My step father wants me to seed the crops and plough the field before dusk. And just between you and me, Rodgen hasn't been very bright towards me the past days. In-fact, I dare say he's starting to grow a dislike of me. How absurd is that when i'm his step son. My step mother still adores me as usual though." Hern said rather stoically. Laygon felt sorry for Hern whenever he brought up the forbidden subject that was his real parents. For he resides with a foster family due to events that happened to his real ones. They had been killed by a group of rylanths when he was only two. Possibly one of the worst things imaginable for a young one to go through. Laygon shook the thoughts out his head, his hair flapping about and becoming more uneven. " Well. You always have a place with my family and you know that. And don't ever become hesitant in asking to leave for a period of time. My mother would think nothing less than caring for you as if you were one of her own. That my friend, I can assure you." Laygon said. Hern had heard this speech before but felt content at hearing it again. Hern longed for a real family but he new he would never be blessed with such pleasures.
He gave Laygon a half hearted smile, The dimples in his cheeks becoming more evident. " Thank you. You are, one of the best friends I have. And for that I thank you deeply." Hern said.
" Think nothing of it. I only ask that you remember. But before we spend the suns appearance conversing, I say we prepare for tonight. I wager that its going to be a night to remember for years to come." Laygon said while absent mindedly playing with the small lock of wool falling of his pullover.
Hern gave a trusting smile. " I wont forget. You shan't worry about that." He paused for a moment before adding. " I think I might actually succeed in becoming victorious over you in the games."
Laygon's eyes lit up like a fire that had found fresh bone dry tinder. " I'll hold you to that." He tilted his head to look past Hern and stared at his house not to far away. His mother and brother would be rising soon. " I best be off now. I shall see you this evening then." Laygon said. Hern nodded in agreement.
" That you shall. But until then friend, I wish you the best with your birthday and may you receive an abundance of presents." Replied Hern before turning on the spot, the mud on the ground starting to creak and crunch as Hern moved. And with a wave, Hern made for the opposite direction Laygon was travelling. Laygon grinned to himself while playing with his fingers before turning and carrying on to his house. Soon after, He was standing in-front of it. This house wasn't like most others though becuase Laygon's, and indeed four others out of the fourteen houses were sculpted into the base of hills. There was therefore no need for thatched roofs, or wooden walls. For nature provided both. The houses need only some support and windows, with the door. The other houses were fully man made. Wooden walls, thatched roofs, stone fire places and the absence of windows. For this reason. Houses, Natural houses as they were referred to, Were of more value. But with the Salister name being in Cairndown for generation after generation. It only seemed fit for them to be bestowed one of the houses. Laygon was thankful for this and it always brought a smile to his face. He walked high and prideful down the trail, eventually coming to his house. The semi circle door was painted a gleaming white while the doorknobs were a rich golden brass. Laygon opened it and entered. The heat from inside washed out over him as if he had just opened an oven. He peered down the wide corridor, the only light coming from the flickering fire in the sitting room and of coarse the now vibrant pink and red sky from the breaking dawn.
" Anyone awake yet?" He asked tentatively down the seemingly empty halls as he closed the door quietly. He heard nothing. Nothing that is–except for the light crackling of the fire and the muted muttering of the village people going about their festivities. Laygon stood cemented to the spot for a moment. Locked with confusion over what to do. He shrugged and took it upon himself to make some tea for when his mother and brother rose from their slumber. He strode down the hall and into the sitting room when.
" SURPRISE!" Came a yell. Laygon jumped out of his skin and yelped a little jumping back. Standing with a cake on the table with seventeen candles in it were his brother and mother. Laygon rolled his eyes and gingerly walked back in with a chortle. His mother stood beaming at him. Her long liquid blond hair was curled into a pony tail behind her back. Her green eyes warm and loving as she smiled happily. His brother was standing at her side. Laygon new that his brother must have only just risen for his black hair was sticking out in all directions. As if it were held up by some invisible force. But this was only natural for his brother whom always sleeps past dawn. It was now common knowledge to not only Laygon, but the village as well. He nodded to them both and shrugged.
" I should have expected it I suppose. You always find ways to make my hear jump out of me though."
His brother sprang from were he stood to his brothers side and patted him on the back. Even though he was fifteen, he still acted like he was no more than ten. But Laygon wouldn't have it any other way.
" I dare say you were even more frightened this time than last." Mar said referring to the time on his sixteenth birthday. Laygon remembered that day most notably. His mother and brother – most likely his brother – had massed nearly half the village huddled on either side hall as he walked down. Once he was in position the inevitable happened and Laygon almost hit the roof with fright. Laygon shook the memory out and snorted.
" See reason brother. Why in ancestors history would I be more frightened this time than last. You had an impossibly high number of the village folk in here and with their combined yells..." He said reproachfully before trailing off. Mar had a smug look on his face before he realized his defeat and sat down powerless. Laygon didn't want his brother to be gloomy on his birthday though. So he thought of a cunning plan. " Mar. Why don't you help Sten and the others with the banners. By the time you've finished. Rearan will be here."
" But its you're birthday. I want to be here to see you open my gifts." Mar said forcefully
" Alright." Said Laygon as he sighed. " You win. You can stay here but promise me you will help Sten. He seems to be struggling rather a lot with the banners."
Mar rolled his eyes at Laygon. The fire reflecting of them like jewels. " Yes. I will help him, but for now. You have you're presents." He turned to Sil expectantly. " His presents?" Mar beckoned energetically to their mother. Sil smiled gleefully and raised a hand. Sil's hand turned into a point and Laygon followed it. Sitting under the table cornered into the side of the house was all his presents– Three to be precise. They were of three different colours as it would happen: One a soft sapphire blue; One a lovely shade of grass green; and the other a fiery red. All of which had ribbons of reflective liquid silver on them.
Sil paced around the table and brought Laygon into a loving hug. " Happy birthday, My little lay'gy." She said softly using the name she had given him when he was just a toddler. Laygon felt a tug at his heart strings when she used that name. It only brought back memories of his father. For Laygon's father succumbed to sickness. And the last thing he uttered to Laygon before he died was his nick name lay'gy. But today was a day of cheerful and jovial spirits. Laygon smiled at his mother before returning the hug.
" Thank you mother. Today couldn't get any better."
" I doubt that." Mar started. Laygon glared at him for a moment which in term caused Mar to hold up his hands in defence. " I was only stating the obvious ... The party" Mar said the last part as if speaking to an infant. Laygon snorted while releasing from his mothers hug. Sil held his face in her hands for a moment before beckoning to the presents with a joyful flick of the hand.
" Go on. You deserve this day and all its gifts."
Laygon gave an exuberant toothy smile before bounding over to the presents, unable to contain his excitement. He Grabbed the sapphire blue box first and carefully but nonetheless hastily ripped the outer shell. Soon after, he came face to face with a lovely knitted pullover for himself. It was of a fine wool materiel and it was coloured a vibrant blue. It had a cream strip down each of the insides of the sleeves all the way to the thickened rim at the bottom of the pullover. Laygon laid the pullover across his lap and reached for the small card which had his name written in fine ink upon it. His name however was scrawled upon it and therefore gave away who wrote it. Mar, your writing never changes Laygon mentally laughed. Nevertheless, he opened it and read the peace of parchment within . " Dear Laygon. I wish you all the best on your birthday. And that you enjoy your party. The whole village will be there to celebrate. Lots of love Mar." Laygon folded the parchment and twisted to his brother who looked prideful that Laygon had opened his first.
" Thank you. Iv needed new clothing for a while now."
Mar flicked his hand bashfully. " It was nothing. I merely spent three suns knitting that for you. So enjoy it."
Laygon grinned at Mar then before draping the knitwear on the overlooking red armchair. It gave a small thump as it settled on the arm of it. Laygon then proceeded to open the next present which was from his two best friends in the village. Lindontin and Hanbern. Within their present was a small note reading." use it well." Laygon then picked up out of the box the tools needed to carve and build objects from stone, wood and other minerals. There was a small equivalent to a pick axe alongside a long metal stick with one side being flat while the other was ruff and had small serrated spikes. All of them facing one way.
" It appears my friends know me better than I do my own self." Laygon said to himself earning a small chuckle from both his mother and brother. He carefully placed the tools back in the box then settled it on the armchair aside his new pullover. Laygon then let his eyes fall upon the last present. Its shiny rapping shimmered in the ever changing fire light. He new who this one was from. Gently pulling of the satin like red paper, Laygon was faced with one of the possessions he has always wanted. As far back as he could remember. Catching some of the golden red fire light, laying in the box was a crossbow. Its rich brown wooden spine had intricate carvings upon each side while the half crescent metal lath was midnight black. The string was woven of a strong golden fibre. Laygon tugged the string a phew times before pulling it back into firing position and pulling the trigger without the arrow in place. The quick whipping sound echoed through the house as the lath of the crossbow shook. Laygon gazed with wide eyes at his new weapon. I could use this for hunting no doubt. My family shall never starve again, for I shall produce all the food needed Laygon thought to himself. He then peered inside the box again to find no note. But this didn't discourage Laygon nor did it disappoint him. For he was grateful for receiving this in the first place.
Laygon turned to his mother elated with his new present. " Its wonderful. How in forever did you know?"
" A little dwarf told me." Sil said with a small chuckle. " Iv also conjured up a lesson for you from Gandlin-"
Laygon couldn't contain himself at this. " What! Gandlin. I thought he would not teach anyone his techniques. For that is why he is so renowned in hunting." He said stunned. Gandlin was the village huntsman and would embark on great hunts across the Scorn Ridge mountains. Upon returning, he would have accumulated a mass of catch for the town. For this he was respected by the people and looked up to by budding hunters. It almost seemed to good to be true to Laygon. He, himself will get some lessons from Gandlin. This was truly an amazing gift and Laygon felt exuberant at this. He rolled his eyes. " My. How did you possibly convince the man to teach me."
Sil laughed a little, bringing her hand up to her mouth. " Oh, Laygon. The name Salister will do many things for the greater good."
Laygon started to bounce on the spot ever so slightly. He new if he could train under Gandlin himself then what's to stop him from becoming as great as him. Outside there was more commotion as the sun rose higher into the sky. Long had the deep burgundy reds and pink left the sky and mountains. Only to be replaced with an equal volume of shining golden sunlight. Laygon could see the banners filling the sky a mere half a man above the trails around the village. Most of them reading happy birthday while others read Laygon's seventeenth. Mar had also noticed the growing light of excitement in the atmosphere outside. Laygon glanced at Mar, lazily sat on the chair looking longingly outside. He new that his little brother wouldn't have the heart to ask to leave on his special day. Laygon had to yield from keeping him here any longer.
" You should go and lend a hand now. I'm finished with my presents and thank you brother for the pullover"
Mar gave a sigh of relief. He didn't want to spend any more time in the house. He new he could celebrate his brothers birthday tonight when the celebrations become apparent. " Thank you Laygon. Shall I see you before or during the festivities." Mar asked expectantly.
Laygon gave a sharp nod. " I might survey the changes being made. But I shan't do anything until the main events ensue."
Mar nodded then made for the door. He turned once after opening the door. Letting the cold are wash in. " I shall see you then brother." Mar said keenly and stepped out the door. The sudden burst of light from the door opening was cut completely. Laygon chuckled a little turning to his mother.
" He means well." Sil said with a hint of reasoning in her voice.
Laygon nodded in response. " I know. It just pains me sometimes to see him never wanting to spend time with me or you." He said ambivalent. Mar was the type of boy, when he was younger, that would be out nearly half of the day. He was almost never seen inside the house. For he was either trying to cause his friends demise in their small antics or trying to act older than his age.
" Well." Sil started merrily. " Shall we prepare for what is about to become of the village tonight." She said hinting to the gargantuan size of bell jurntal the Doordans had stored for this occasion.
Laygon snorted playfully. " I need not prepare. Nor worry. But for Mar's sake, I think it best if we do." and with that, Laygon and his mother began preparations for the night ahead