Early Adventures Of Olaf
Chapter 1: The Black Bow
1012 AE (60 years ago)
Olaf awoke with a start, sweating. His father was home, announcing his arrival with shouting and the slamming of the door. “Come Olaf, wake up boy!”
Olaf yawned heavily and pulled a pillow over his ears, “Just five more minutes” he replied in a tone so low not even a mouse could hear.
“Theres no land to til today Olaf!” Came a call from the kitchen table. “The fair has come to town!”
“The Fair!” Olaf sat up, suddenly wide awake. And he smiled as thoughts entered his mind of the previous years’ fair, only once a year would he see fire eaters, warriors from as far as Krytia wrestle, beautiful mesmers dance and best of all the return of the famed Black Moa Bird!
Olaf grabbed his garments and dressed as he made his way out of the door. “Not time for breakfast today – the fair is here!”
In the distance Olaf heard sounds and the calls of animated bustle, the entire town had taken the day off to come see the fair. And as Olaf grew nearer to the gathering crowds he caught a glimpse of Rosie Magee.
He slowly looked her up and down, since birth they had been childhood friends, yet today in her flowing white silken gown Olaf for the first time viewed her differently, drinking in her beauty.
Her long golden locks had been brushed till they glistened, and in the sunlight the semi transparent nature of her gown left little to the imagination.
“Is he going to gawp all day?” laughed a male voice.
Olaf looked up to see Rosie standing close to a lute player. His handsome smiling face searched Olafs, and to Olaf’s dismay Rosie’s gaze seemed transfixed to the musician.
Olaf laughed nervously “Are ya gonna come and see the Black Moa Bird with me Rosie?”
She lowered her head and smirked “I’m sure you can find amusement on you own Olaf”, and to the strum of the lute Rosie turned her head away from Olaf as the handsome lute player resumed his song.
Olaf sighed and walked away and to his surprise a tear hit his cheek as he heard Rosie’s soft voice sing to accompaniment of the lute player's song.
“Stupid minstrel!” grumbled Olaf with a frown, he passed the wandering crowds with a glare as more tears fell and as he made his way to the tent of the Black Moa Bird a heavy hand fell hard upon his shoulder.
“Aren’t ye gunna apologise for bumping into me like that?”
Olaf looked up to see a gruff man twice his size, who bore a large long scar down the left side of his cheek while the right side of his face was indistinguishable with two large burn marks.
“The names Prettywood, Ulgar Prettywood!”
Ulgar Uglywood, thought Olaf.
Sweat started running down Olaf’s forehead as he gulped “I’m Olaf”
“I’m sorry sir, I’m off to see the Black Moa!” Said Olaf breaking free from Ulgar’s grip.
“Bah!” boomed Ulgar as he leant on his bow. “Have you not seen the queue boy?”
Olaf turned his head and felt his heart sink as he saw a large file of men, women and children lined up to see the Black Moa.
“You’re last in line!” laughed Ulgar, “It’ll be half a day ‘til you get to see it”
“I can wait” piped up Olaf.
“And miss out on all the other attractions?” Said Ulgar raising his brow.
Olaf pondered what he’d miss for a moment and as he did he noticed the strange black bow Ulgar held that seemed to move in his hands as if it had a life of its own.
Looking down at Olaf, the scarred archer gave a toothy grin “I can help ye boy, I knows its owner, but ye’ll have to help me first.”
“How so Mr Prettywood?”
“Well, as you may of guessed I have not come here to view the Black Moa or watch knights joust, nay – I have an attraction myself!”
“You do?” grinned Olaf.
“Yar I do, but I can’t proceed as my apprentice, damn waif that he is has ran orf!”
Ulgar ran his finger down his scar for a moment as he searched Olafs eyes. “Would you be my apprentice young Olaf?”
“If you can grant me an audience with the Black Moa afterwards, yes sir! Yes sir! Mr Prettywood!”
“Good!” laughed Ulgar. “Good!”
Olaf followed Ulgar to a large oak tree, where already a line of townsfolk waited. Ulgar raised his arm up into the air with his quivering black bow in hand.
“They’ll be no refunds today – the shows back on folks!”
A loud roar of approval came from the crowd as Ulgar marched Olaf to the tree.
“There’s blood on these branches!” Cried Olaf.
“Never mind that lad, just stay here, rooted to this spot.” Ulgar’s voice lowered “and if ye run it won’t be just the branches that have blood!”
From his cloak Ulgar produced a large green apple and to the roar of the crowd placed it upon Olaf’s head.
Marching back twenty paces Ulgar turned and readied his bow. “Behold! I Ulgar shall not only hit the apple but do it - blindfold!”
The crowd cheered wildly at the sight of Ulgar as he wrapped bandages around his eyes, and Olaf’s body shook with fear as Ulgar prepared to shoot.
Running a finger along the string, the blindfolded archer spread his feet at a comfortable distance apart and drew a black arrow from his quiver, then knocking the arrow to string, Ulgar took aim.
“This is it!” Cried Olaf. “I’m gunna die!” And below the oak, infront of a blinded archer and townsfolk he'd known all his life Olaf called to the one person he cared for more than himself. “Rosie!”
“Rosie!” he shrieked as the arrow soared through the air.
Only for the gracious crowd to reply with “Bullseye!” as the black arrow tore into the apple and fell into Olaf’s hands.
Yet the pleasure of being alive was not Olaf’s only delight that day, from the crowd he saw Rosie unwind her arms from the lute player and gaze approvingly at her childhood friend.
“Now for my next trick!” Shouted Ulgar as he placed another apple upon Olaf’s head.
“This better impress her!” grumbled Olaf.