Funny Friendship Adventure

It should come as no surprise that I, Adalinda Gerstg, am no traveler. 

No, really, hide your surprise. 

You are nothing if not dramatic. 

We’re ignoring Narrator. Yes, we are. You know why? He neglected to mention just how big the world really is. I think my feet are going to fall off. And it hasn’t even been twenty minutes since we’ve left my tower. If I look behind us, I can probably still see the top of it, and the thought spurs me onward. 

“Hey, Reidar, *gasp* how *pant* much farther *gasp-wheeze* is my city *pant pant*?” I manage to, ahem, gasp out. He turns to me from where he is walking on the other side of Destiny. He isn’t riding his friend, being chivalrous to me, but he still raises an eyebrow at my endurance level. 

“We have literally barely even begun. You can literally still see the tower behind us.” He says, pointing in the direction we had come from to prove his point. I don’t follow his eyes, not wanting to look back. 

“It’s been a while since, you know, I’ve had to walk more than up and down my tower’s stairs,” I say, gasping for air. Ok, in truth, I’m exaggerating my dire need for oxygen in my lungs, but you get the picture. 






If you keep saying it, someday it’ll come true

Still ignoring him, I turn back to the path ahead of us. It was more like a clearing through the woods, actually. The space where there were no trees made a pathway through the forest and that’s the direction we were heading. 

“So, how far away is my city?” I ask, gratefully taking the water bottle Reidar hands to me. He sighs. 

“Four days of walking away.” He says, then adds, “Well, from our current pace, I’d say that just doubled.” I nearly spit out my water. 

“My father did that?” I say, mentally cursing him with all the words I’d picked up from my books. 

My goodness, you can make even a sailor blush. 

“Shut up,” I say, momentarily forgetting to ignore Narrator. He laughs, happy to finally have gotten a response from me. I roll my eyes mentally, but he has helped me forget about my misogynistic, waste of a life, not to mention, dumb as a rock father. 

“Well, you’re not wrong. It's why he was overthrown.” Reidar says, catching one side of our conversation. I nod at him, handing back his water bottle. He packs it back into his saddle bag. 

“I don’t blame my people.” I say. We start to walk again, but Reidar pauses at a nicker from Destiny. He cocks his head. 

“You want to...what?” He asks. Destiny nickers again. Reidar looks dubious, but he turns to me. “Destiny wants you to get on him.” He says. I pause in the act of forcing my legs to move. 

“Say what now?” I ask, surprised. He just shakes his head.

“Destiny says that you’ve been walking too slowly, and if we want any chance at making it before the attempted coup at putting one of the rebels on the throne rather than yourself, then you’d better get up on him or give up now.” Reidar says, all in one breath. 

Well, that’s the polite way of saying get up now, slow poke.

I look at the horse. “You said all that in one nicker?” I ask, laughing. He nickers again. I look to Reidar for a translation. Apparently, he can speak horse. As if reading my thoughts, he shakes his head. 

“It's more or less assuming what he’s saying based on his expressions and tone of...well nicker. I’ve been stuck with him for four years, I’ve gotten used to it-” He says, but breaks off at the sound of my snorting laughter. “What?” He asks defensively. I’m laughing so hard, I can barely stand up straight, let alone answer him. I hold up a dinger, but dissolve into a fresh peal of laughter. Finally, after what seems like years of straight laughing, I hiccup to a stop. Reidar is leaning against a tree, arms crossed, waiting for an explanation. 

“You just,” I start, but break off laughing again, “you just explained to me how to read your horse?” I laugh. He rolls his eyes, and Destiny paws at the ground in agreement with me, I’m sure. 

And we thought you were insane. Clearly not.

“Shush.” I tell Narrator, walking over to Destiny. I put one foot in the stirrup and swing myself over. I thought it would be easy, after all, the characters in my books did the exact same thing and they had no trouble. But it takes me several tries before I manage to sit up straight on Destiny. Only to find out…

Are you..sitting backwards

He’s laughing at me now. So is Reidar. Everyone’s a comedian. I swing myself around multiple times, until finally, I’m sitting in the right position. Almost immediately, my thighs begin to burn. Good grief. After Reidar has had a good laugh at my expense, payback, he says, we head off into the trees, walking and riding considerably faster than before. 


Four days, dare I say it, pass by in a blink of an eye. We spread our bedrolls out every night around our campfire, staring up at the stars twinkling down at us from the heavens. Or, at least, I stare up at the stars, Reidar, ever the bore, falls asleep immediately. And even though my thighs are burning, my every muscle sore as sore can get, I cannot tear my gaze away from anything. The books did not lie, the world is amazing. But the imagery I imagined couldn’t hold a candle to the actual sights I saw. 

The afternoon of the fourth day is going well, until Reidar halts, Destiny pausing behind him. I jolt, not expecting the sudden stop. 

“What is it?” I whisper. 

Oh, maybe it's another unruly person joining this ragtag crew?

“Not helpful.” I mutter mentally. 

Sarcasm. it's an art form you have yet to-OW!

“Shut up.” I say mentally. Mercifully he falls silent. “Reidar?” I prompt, after he doesn’t say anything. He turns to me with a sorrowful look. 

“I’m sorry for this.” He whispers. I get the sudden feeling he’s about to set up an ambush for me, or even worse, betray me, but he turns and pushes through the leafy foliage. Wary now, Destiny and I follow. 

The sight sends me into tears. 

It's horrible. 


But totally understandable given the kind of person my father was.

Oh my...I was not expecting this.

I can’t even respond to him, my mouth is hanging too far down. 

Everything is ash. And I mean everything. The city of Aðalsteinn has been burnt to the ground.

March 01, 2021 16:55

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