A single figure padded along in a field of tall green grass. He carried a walking stick and wore a sedge hat to keep the sun from stinging his sensitive eyes. A light breeze created small waves in the grass, and kept sweat from pouring from the dark skin of the walker. He raised his head and surveyed his surroundings. The dwarf could see the coastline in the distance. It would not be long and he would fulfill his harmless quest. Pnils Silentstone could not have known the ignorance that separated him from his goal.
The dwarven monk heard the footfalls of two horses long before he could actually see them. Pnils knew that he was close to the stronghold of the Knights of the Coast, but had hoped to avoid any contact with the dishonored group. Now all he could do was try to get through the encounter without hurting anyone.
Pnils kept his head down and continued his slow determined pace as the men rode up to him. “By the order of the Knights of the Coast, I command you to yield,” one of the men shouted proudly. Pnils knew it was not going to be easy to escape a fight. The dwarf put his hands up in a submissive manner, knowing without having to look that the men had spears leveled at him. “Drop your weapon and remove your hat.”
Pnils did as he was told. He put down his staff and pushed his hat from his bald head, letting the cord catch it so that it dangled at his shoulders. The sun stung his eyes and he squinted against the burn. “There is no need for any trouble,” Pnils said honestly. “I was just making my way to the coast in time to see the whales pass.”
“I don’t trust dwarven trash.”
“Oh, nor do I!” Pnils agreed. “One can ruin a whole community if not stopped. One bad apple, they say.” The dwarf’s eyes had adjusted enough to read the confused look on the knight’s faces. “Oh, you were focusing on the ‘dwarf’ part of that statement, whereas I was referencing the ‘trash’ part.” The men were low ranking in the order of knights; Pnils could tell by the lack of a symbol on the breastplates. One of the knights was older, which meant that he lacking in some way to be of such low rank at that age. The other was young, his facial hair soft having never felt a razor. Still, they were heavily armored and on horseback. The dwarf knew if a fight came, he would have to set the battlefield in his favor.
“I should run you through for mutiny, little dwarf,” the older man barked.
“Or you could just let me live my life,” Pnils answered the threat kindly. “Let me catch sight of those whales before it is too late.” He pointed to the coast.
The younger man kicked the dwarf in the back of the head. “Silence!” he shouted.
Pnils did not even rub his head. He slowly turned to the boy knight and stated, “You should have kept that spear on me.” He slapped the horse in the ear, causing it to rear. The young knight struggled to stay mounted. The older knight plunged his spear toward Pnils’ chest. The dwarf caught the spear thrust; his strong arms keeping the tip inches away from his heart. Then, in a display of raw power, he reversed the thrust and the older knight flew from his horse.
Before the man could rise, Pnils punched him in the side. The armor dented with the force and the man struggled to draw breath. The younger knight jumped from his horse and drew his sword. He was terrified, and showed it by the wavering of his heavy shield.
“You got two choices, boy,” Pnils said calmly. “You can fight me, or you can take your comrade and get him some help.” The older knight nodded at the second option. Pnils put his hand up to show that he intended no more aggression. “Then I am going to see the whales. Do not come after me again. I did nothing to earn the treatment you showed me. The two of you were in the wrong; so let’s just forget this ever happened.”
“I am a knight,” the young man mustered up some courage. “I will not let you get away with attacking another knight.”
“The folly of youth,” Pnils snorted. “So be it.”
In a matter of moments the dwarf had the knight disarmed and unconscious. Pnils walked over to the older knight who still labored for air, and he punched a different spot on the armor. The second blow relieved the pressure and allowed the man to breathe again. “Thank you,” the man managed through heavy breaths. “You could have killed us both, and we would have deserved it.” The man reached into his armor and snatched a necklace from his own neck. He shoved it into the dwarf’s hand. No more words passed between them as they parted ways.
As Pnils watched the whales migrate near the coast, he fingered the necklace. It was a symbol with a forked whale tail jutting from the water. The waves crashed around him and the whales crested and played in the sea. A small human boy was watching the whales a little farther down the beach. Pnils walked over to the young boy. “Aren’t they magnificent?” he asked.
“I love to watch them play,” the boy answered. “Whales are also the crest of the Knights of the Coast.”
“Yes they are,” Pnils smiled. “You are a smart boy, but do you have courage and compassion?”
“I do,” the boy beamed proudly. “I want to be a knight.”
“Be a good man,” Pnils lectured. He handed the boy the necklace. “Be a good man, and the knights will notice.”