Beyond the Call by Peter Truter

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SUMMARY: This is a tale of two individuals who come from quite different upbringings, but who's relationship develops into something unique, for their time and circumstances. Numerous outside influences affect their life courses, and it becomes the ultimate challe

The young boy hoisted the small sturdy wooded side table up with all his might and staggered away from the wagon. Despite its size the table was deceptively heavy as it was made from the dense mahogany wood. The young boy, Bron, was also only ten. He made his way down the stone steps leading to the side entrance of the mighty stone keep. At the door his father, who was coming out, took the table from him.
"Boy," he growled, "I said take the small stuff. I will handle these." He took the table in one hand.
"It wasn't that heavy pa," he panted, looking up at the big man.
Despite his gruff nature Arlen was a kind man and he loved his son more than life itself. He however kept up a mask most of the time of a tough, mercenary veteran. But those days were long past.
As a young man Arlen had made his way as a sell-sword, traveling the length and breadth of the continent. He was big. He stood over six foot and had a hulking physique. He was good too. He had a reputation of being fearless, hard and deadly. A man to feared for sure. It was however only late in his career that he saw the need to start saving the coin he earned. In fact he was almost forty when he met Bron's mother. She was a bar wench who had been widowed twice and abandoned once. She was in her thirties and not unattractive. She and the mercenary struck up a friendship that developed into a physical relationship.
Arlen decided to settle down, marry Kes and spend his time crafting furniture. His savings at that time was not a fortune but enough for him to live comfortably for the rest of his days. The furniture making was a sideline that he enjoyed and the extra coin it brought in provided for the little luxuries in life. Bron was born soon after they were married and was something of a miracle due to the age of Kes.
She however did not survive the birth and Arlen began raising his son on his own. In many ways he was a very good father. Bron wanted for nothing materialistically. His father saw to it that he learned letters, something he himself never was able to do. But Arlen also made Bron work hard at is chores. He wanted his boy to know responsibility and the rewards of hard work. Bron worshiped his pa and desperately sought his approval. Only now and then did Arlen drop the mask and return the affection.
For a ten year old, Bron was a very mature boy in some respects and a little under developed elsewhere. Some said he looked more like his mother, others said he was more like his pa. In truth he had been lucky to get the best from both parents. His mop of thick black hair he got from his pa as well a naturally strong build. From his mother he got her eyes and her wonderful smile. Like his father he had a strong streak of perfectionism in him and luckily his mind was sharp like his mother.
Bron raced back up the stairs to the wagon to collect the remaining furniture as his father took the little table inside. Arlen had received a lucrative contract to outfit King Halden's Keep. The king of Taland had recently decided to move his administrative capital from Port Augmire to the more defensible inland mountain town of Glensteward.

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