The Owl of Timari
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The Owl of Timari Unknown author
The Owl of Timari Chapter 1 Far from anywhere, in a small town, lived a young man named Abben. Abben spent many days with his father in his workshop, as his mother had died giving birth to him. His father was a stonemason, and so Abben was learning his family's trade. Soon Abben was a master stonemason, and as his father became old, Abben took hold of the family trade. Not a year had passed before Abben's name was known far across the land for his craftsmanship. He would make beautiful statues and ornaments. Many people travelled far to catch a glimpse of the master craftsman. Knights and nobles alike came to him and paid heavy gold coins for Abben's stonework. Abben was vary modest of his work, and his father took great pride in his son.
Chapter 2 One fateful day, a lavish carriage stopped outside the doors of Abben's workshop. The carriage was richly decorated with gold filigree and purple lace. Abben stopped his carving and want to the door. As he opened it, the door of the carriage swung open and out of it stepped a large man wearing a silk blue cape. He was the most powerful king in the land, his lordship Brandon Sagen, the people hailed him as Brandon the Brave. Now King Brandon asked a special favour of Abben. The King was preparing a ceremony to crown his son in three weeks time, and as a gift for the prince, he wished Abben to make him the greatest throne man has ever seen. Abben gave it some thought, and soon agreed to work for the King. Brandon was delighted to hear this, he presented Abben with a chest of coin and jewels, and promised three more chests when the throne was completed.
Chapter 3 Abben set to work straight away, the first week he began carving the frame of the throne, already it was taking a beautiful shape. At the beginning of the second week, Abben's father swiftly became ill and died the following night. Abben was racked with sorrow. As he lay by his father's deathbed, the only sound was his silent weeping and the faint call of an owl in the distance. The next day the King arrived. Brandon gave his sympathies to Abben when he heard of his father's sudden death, but urged the young stonemason to finish the throne. "It will be the most royal throne in the land!" he declared as he left. Abben faced the frame of the throne, nothing seemed right any more, suddenly it looked too thick in places, the carvings weren't perfect enough. He became angry at the Gods for taking his father from him, and angry at the greedy king who cared only for his throne. In a rage, Abben smashed the work he had done into pieces. The next day he would start again, and it would be perfect.
Chapter 4 As the days passed, the stonemason found himself distracted. When he sat down to carve the throne, he began chipping out the basic shape. He began to have recurring dreams of a dark feathered owl with deep yellow eyes, swooping over him as he shrunk to the size of a field mouse and waited for the clutches of the great bird. He tried to focus and started his work but it was as if his hands were not his own, he would always carve detailed figures of the owl. It frightened him and haunted his dreams. He was beginning to lose track of the number of carved owls that littered the workshop. They were of all shapes and sizes. Abben was interrupted while carving at his desk, there was a loud rap on the door.
"The king would like to inspect the progress of his throne". Abben panicked, what would he do? He opened the little window beside the door, and saw the king had gotten out of the carriage. "Is my throne complete yet?" He spoke. "It is in its final stages of delicate decoration Sire, a masterpiece I assure you!" replied Abben. "Well then, I should very much like to see it!" demanded King Brandon. The words came from Abben's mouth quickly, "If you were to see it now, my King, it would be a shame. Will you not wait until I have finished this masterpiece?" "Very well", the King replied. "I shall send for it in two days. I need not tell you what will happen if you disgrace royal blood before an audience, the people". "Of course, your grace". "Remember my word Abben, son of Albhe!"
Chapter 5 With that, the king returned to his castle. Abben had two days to carve the most beautiful throne ever seen. He began carving but it was no use, again his hands turned out the perfect image of an owl, its wings outspread. He stared at it, frustrated, wishing he too could fly far from this place. At that, he decided to escape, to begin a new life in solitude, far from home. Unbeknownst to Abben, King Brandon had left a small force of men that day, to prevent him escaping before the throne was finished, positioned hidden around the little workshop. Two archers and two hired swords, rough and ready men who would kill at a glance for a handful of bronze. Their orders were to wound the stonemason if he tries to run, and not to damage his hands, so he may return to carving. If the stonemason continued to try and escape, he would be killed. That night a fog had descended and the lamp in the workshop went out earlier than usual. The King's hired men saw this, and prepared to attack if necessary.
Chapter 6 Abben took a burning log from the fire, then stepped out into the clearing behind his house. The sparse wood opened out onto a small quarry where he would gather stone for his work. With the torch he inspected the area to see if it was clear. The two swordsmen crept around the side of the workshop and in the trees above, two archers drew their bows with a silent stretch. At that moment, a large black owl perched next to the archer closest to Abben and called out. Abben turned to see the source of the sound and immediately noticed the archer crouched among the branches. Gathering himself, the archer fired, the hired swordsmen leapt into the clearing and another pang of a bow came from another part of the clearing. Abben moved as an arrow hissed past his ear, the next buried itself in his left shoulder. He cried out in pain, racing into the woods for cover, pursued by the swordsmen. As he ran, he broke the shaft of the arrow. The king's hired men would have to kill him now, they had shot one of his arms. Abben had no intention of returning to the workshop to gather his belongings. He left everything behind, everything but the tools strapped to his belt. Remembering his short carving axe, he drew it from his belt, holding it close. Ahead of him, the leaves of a row of bushes parted to reveal one of the
swordsmen. He wore a dark cloak over a worn leather cuirass, but the blade of his sword glinted in the moonlight. Abben had seconds to dodge the first cutting swing of the broadsword. The second he narrowly blocked with the handle of his axe, then followed through with a deft jab movement. The swordsman stumbled back into a tree and Abben swung the flat of his axe down onto the swordsman's temple. The swordsman crumpled onto the floor, dazed. Abben ran on, heart pumping and terrified. Above him, the dark owl swooped over the thick forest canopy, he ran on.
Chapter 7 Following the call of the owl, he ran for what seemed like hours, not stopping to rest or tend to his wound until he collapsed, exhausted, in a small glade lit by the rising sun coming up over a mountain pass in the distance. Abben woke to the sound of the owl, night was closing in again. He followed the owl's calls to find it perched in a tree before a wide flowing river. Abben thanked the Gods and drank deeply of the river's waters. Crossing the river, he continued on into the night. The forest around him was filled with the howls of wolves and some noises he couldn't begin to describe, which spurred him to move on more quickly. This pattern continued for three days, he picked berries from bushes and fashioned himself a crude bow for hunting rabbits.
Chapter 8 On the dawn of the fourth day, he was woken up gently by a large balding man who offered him a drink of water from his flask. He spoke kindly and wore long humble brown robes of a priest. He brought Abben to his hut and offered him food. They ate well and Abben told his story. In turn, the priest told about how he dreamed of building a temple to the Gods. Abben lived with the priest, and took up his work. Together they built a small temple, which grew larger. Travellers and vagrants settled west of the temple, where Abben had helped build a small settlement. The village come to be known as Timari. To this day the owl has been a sacred symbol in the village, Abben was lead through many dangers by the owl, which people believe is Albhe, the father of Abben.