Feldsharp #excerpt #Sneakpeek Pirates!

Solid white filled all the windows around them.  Their attention instead turned to the table in front of them.

“The fish is okay.”  Dee stated.  “A little bland.  The could use a few more spices in the kitchen.”

“I think it is pretty good.”  The half-giant swallowed another mouthful.  “It is very light and flakey and I have never had anything like this.”

“They did not serve fish at the temple?”  Heart asked.

He shook his head.  “Chevon, beef, or chicken is the only meat we ate.  Mostly chevon and chicken though.  We raised what we ate at the temple, well except the beef.  We usually bought that for special occasions.”

“Sounds pretty boring!”  Dee turned her attention to the window.

A little bit of blue bisected the window as the carriage dropped below cloud level.

“Drinking beer and eating steak.”  Heart commented.  “I have no idea why you would ever want to leave the place.”

Dee laughed.

Feldsharp shrugged then savored another bite of fish.

A deep thumping sound suddenly rolled through the cabin.  “Thump!  Thump!  Thump!”

Of the three crew in the cabin with them two suddenly vanished to other parts of the gondola.  The remaining took up station in the middle of the dining room.

“Beat to quarters!”  He shouted.  “All passengers are to report to their bunks!”

The constant hum of the engine changes and became a whine.  The whole zeppelin tilted back in a steep climb.  Other passengers scrambled from the room.

“What is going on?”  Dee accosted the crewmember.

Feldsharp went to the window.

“Dee, give him some space.”  Heart admonished her twin then turned to the man.  “Is this a drill?”

He shook his head.  “I do not have details yet.  That was a beating to quarters.  The captain does not call that lightly.”

A loud crash sounded and the carriage shook beneath their feet.  The zeppelin leveled out.

“There!”  Feldsharp left his window and ran towards a fore window.

The drum signaled a beat to quarters again.

“You really should return to your bunks!”  The crewmember insisted.

Dee reached the fore window followed closely by Heart.

“Pirates!”  Dee pointed through the window.

Several small ships cruised the water ahead of them.  A long line came up from one of the ships and disappeared from their sight as it attached somewhere on the blimp.

A puff of smoke appeared on one of the ships and something shot up towards them.

“Look out!”  Heart shouted and shoved against Feldsharp which moved her more than him.

A loud crash shattered their world as a harpoon burst through the cabin between them.  Everyone fell back.

“Are you okay?”  Heart crawled over to Feldsharp.

“No.”  The answer came from Dee and a sob punctuated it.

Feldsharp leaned up.  “I am fine.  What happened Dee?”

“I… am… splintered.”  She answered between gasps and sobs.

Feldsharp #Sneakpeek Into the Arena

He opened the door and spotted a local leaning back in a chair.  To call him a guard would be to use the term very loosely.  His spear leaned against the wall beside him.  As he noticed the half-giant at the door he landed his chair back on four legs which caused just enough vibration to cause the spear to clatter to the floor.

“An den?”  The guard asked but he did not get up.

“Where is the arena?”  Feldsharp asked.

The guard smirked slightly in thought then pointed down the hall.  “You can’t bag or bail man.  You need to hang.”

Feldsharp shook his head.  “I want to practice.”

The guard nodded and stood up.  He bent over and picked up his spear but did not brandish it in any way.

“You a big mamma, why practice?  You’ll beat down that benny.”

“This way?”  Feldsharp asked pointing do the hall.

The guard nodded and moved to follow him.

“I’m Feldsharp Halftall.”  He introduced himself.

“Brudda, I’m Aikane.”  He took the large outstretched hand and shook it with enthusiasm.

Feldsharp returned the smile and they walked down the hallway together till they reached a door at the end.  Aikane opened the door and bright sunlight blasted in on them.

The half-giant shielded his eyes momentarily and stepped out into the full sun.  Fitted and mortared volcanic stones made up the interior walls of the arena.  The interior stood only about fifty feet across at its widest point.  Around ten rows of staggered seats surrounded the interior walls, each row progressively higher than the one in front of it.  A spattering of people sat in the seats and a few milled around visiting with each other.

Many of the people in the stands turned and looked at him as he entered.  A couple of them applauded a little.

He nodded at the few people then walked out towards the middle of the fighting area.

The chatter of the people gathered in the arena died down as he stepped out.  A couple of people whistled and even that died down as the half-giant reached the center of the pitch.

“Kao?”  The guard called out to him.  “Whatcha doing?”

Felsharp took up his start position for his kata, closed his eyes, and focused on the image of a hops to get himself centered.

With eyes still closed he went through his most basic kata form.  He could feel his focus and concentration build with each move.  His muscles performed each flow perfectly.  He stepped through each level of his forms seamlessly from one to the next.  A noise seemed to seep into his concentration.  With every snap move he made a buzzing filled his ears.  As he went it got stronger and louder.  Finally he opened his eyes and saw that as he completed each move the people in the stadium cheered.  He stopped.

“Hona hou , Brudda Kao.”  Aikane clapped along with the rest of the audience.  “Hona huo.”

Feldsharp found the noise a little distracting.  He closed his eyes again and restarted his last kata.  Again cheers accompanied each move.  He stopped.

The audience noise died away as Feldsharp turned around in a full circle looking at all the people.  Many were on their feet.  More people had definitely arrived since he came in, possibly drawn by the cheering.

“Hō‘ike. Brudda!”  The guard chanted to him.  “Hona hou!”

Feldsharp drew a deep breath.  He closed his eyes and took up his stance.  Cheers accompanied his very first move.  He squeezed his eyelids tighter and moved to his next move.  If anything he could hear them better.  As he snapped his third move he made a grunt to match the cheer.  The next move he grunted harder.  He found his voice synchronized with theirs.  Each move he vocalized and found that it helped his concentration and the audience reacted by cheering even louder.  He found his flow and worked his way into the advanced katas.

Suddenly the cheering stopped and it took him a couple of moves to realize something had happened.  He opened his eyes.  The entire audience stood in the stands.  No one made any noise.  He turned in a circle.  Then his eyes landed on a form at the other end of the arena, the Brewmaster stood in the doorway.

Tales of Uncle Catpaws – How I Almost Lost My arm in an Arm Wrestling Match PT1 #fanfic #dragonlance

The kender landed face down in the loose dirt and gravel in the middle of the street.

“Keep your sly hands out of my cases!”  The angry vendor shook his fist at the fallen Halfling.

The kender regained his feet and brushed himself and made a quick check on his belongings.

“You should really thank me!”  The kender yelled back at the hairy vendor.  “I was checking your locks for defects and found they are pretty weak!  You really need to get them replaced!”

The kender deftly dodged a kick from the vendor.  “You always put your hands inside the case to check the locks?”

“Of course not you hairy bagelbird butt!”  The kender taunted.  “I was trying to move your more valuable items to the back of the case and out of people’s reach.  With those cheap broken locks—”

“If they are broken it is because you broke them!”  The vendor raised a long wooden staff over his head and swung down at the unarmed kender.

The Halfling raised his hands to block the blow but it never connected.

“This is a strange staff you have here, sir.”  A woman stood almost between the vendor and the kender with her arm out holding on to the staff from swinging any further.  “Odd how it is forked at the top of it.  Do you use it as a crutch?”

“It’s a hoopak!”  The Kender informed the woman.

The woman released the hoopak and allowed the vendor to lower it.

“The thief here hand his hands in my goods!”  The vendor exclaimed.

“Wait a second.”  The woman frowned.  “One topic at a time.  I was talking about your interesting staff.  Is it a hoopak?”

“It is!”  The kender jumped excitedly.  “It’s m—”

The woman shushed the excitable Halfling with a quick gesture.  “A hoopak?”

The vendor nodded.

“You do not look like the kind of guy that would wield a hoopak.”  She knitted her eyebrows.  “It is a pretty short weapon for a man of your stature, and do you just keep it around to beat on unarmed patrons?”

“Patron!”  He spit.  “That’s the kender’s hoopak!  I caught him—”

“Wait!”  The woman held up a palm at the man.  “You mean you took the weapon away from someone that is only a little larger than a child so you could beat him with it?”

He took a half step back.  “No, it is not like that!  He had his hand—”

“His little childlike hands?”  The woman stepped forward to close the new gap.

He shook his head.  “Now you are turning this into something it isn’t!  That there is a kender!  They are a race of sly thieves that will steal your very last tooth before you even notice!”

“And are you missing any teeth?”  She peered intently.

He raised his hand over his mouth as if to check.  “Of course not.  He was stealing my merchandise!”

“And are you missing any merchandise?”

He opened his mouth but then paused.

“Well?”

“I will have to check.”  He admitted and turned back to his booth.

The woman and kender stepped closer to the booth.  The woman put a hand out and pushed the kender back slightly as he got too near the cases.  She looked down at him and winked.

“Let’s see.”  The vendor started re-arranging stuff in the case.  “A ha!  There is a…  No.  there it is.”

He continued to shuffle the items to restore them to their original layout.

“Anything?”  She asked.

He gestured for her to wait a moment.

“I told him already.”  The kender pointed into the case.  “I was just putting the expensive stuff at the back of the case to protect it from thieves.”

“Like you!”  The vendor still shuffled items around.

“No!  Real thieves you unwanted runt whelp of an owlbear!”

The vendor looked up at this so quick that he bumped his head on the lid of the case which knocked the prop loose and the entire lid slammed shut.

The woman put her hand on the kender’s chest and when he looked up at her she shook her head but smiled slightly.

“So are you missing anything?”  She prompted the vendor.

He rubbed his chin and sighed.  “No, I think I caught him just in time.”

“Why did you have to re-arrange everything to figure that out?”  She leaned down and looked at the items closely.

“Because everything has a spot it has to sit in so I know if there is anything missing.”  He leaned down to spot the human’s interest.  “You like that piece?  It has matched rubies.”

“I noticed.  I can imagine it must be awfully expensive!”

“Oh, but I am sure it is not beyond the reaches of a lovely lady such as yourself.”  The vendor cajoled.

“That’s the first one I moved.”  The kender mashed his face against the case glass leaving a small round nose print..

“Is it?”  The woman asked then turned her attention back to the vendor.  “Why if I were a thief, this is the first one I would steal.”

The vendor stood up erect and tugged on his chin.

“Tell me kind sir.”  She leaned in towards him and her voice rose slightly in timber.  “Where was this piece located when you rearranged the case just now?”

“Um…  Err…”  He stammered.  “I cannot remember exactly, but it might have been—”

“At the back!”  The kender jumped up and flexed his arms backwards as he said it.

The woman pushed the kender in the chest and moved him backwards slightly.  She shook her head at him then turned back to the vendor.  “Was it in the back?”

The vendor looked down at his shoes and mumbled something.

“Was it?”

“Err.”  He stammered again.  “I think so…  I don’t know.”

“It was!”  The kender barked.

“So you were beating on a child size person with their own weapon why?”  She stood with her arms akimbo.

“Uh.”

“So he has nothing of yours?”

The man bent into the display case again and came back up shortly and shook his head.

“So there is only one thief here!”  She leaned said accusingly.

“I said I did not—”  The kender started but the woman put her hand on his chest again to silence him.

“What do you mean?”  The vendor melted back under the stare of the woman.

“Do you own a hoopak?”  She eyeballed the hoopak leaning against the backside of the counter.  “Or did you just steal that one?”

The man reached quickly for the hoopak and it fumbled in his hands and clattered to the ground behind the stand.  He ducked down and came up holding it in two hands horizontally.  “I was just about to return that.”

The kender looked up at the woman.  She nodded.  He stepped up to the counter and took his weapon from the man.

“Now I believe we should be on our way.”  She said to the kender.

He smiled real big and nodded.  “Yes!  I am tired of this old cod anyway and all his FAKE JEWELRY!”

Merchants and patrons alike turned at the loud screechy voice of the kender making the proclamation that would guarantee no more business for that vender today.

She put our her arm and he reached up and put his arm around hers and escorted her like a gentleman from the stall.

“I’m Quicksnatch by the way.  Quicksnatch Catfeet!!”  The kender instroduced himself.

“Pleased to meet you Mr. Catfeet,”  She bowed her head slightly, “I am Ephellia.”

“You don’t have to call me mister.  Quicksnatch will do!”  He grinned up at her and light wrinkles creased his face.  “We should go get something to eat!”

She chuckled.  “What did you have in mind?”

“Well, my Uncle Gullysurfer says we need to try this place.”  The kender stopped in his tracks and started digging through his pouch.  “I have it written down here somewhere.”

“What type of food was it?”  She asked.

“Elvin.”  The kender replied without looking up.  He kept pulling things out of the pouch and shuffling them around before dunking them back in again.

“That is an interesting piece.”  Ephellia pointed at his hand.

Quicksnatch looked at her finger then his hand.  He had a silver and gold broach with twin rubies set into it.  “That is interesting!”

“It looks just like that one from the case the vendor had.”  She ran her finger across the surface of the gems.

“Wow!”  The kender exclaimed.  “It certainly does.  When we are done eating I want to go back over there and see if they are the same!  That would be some coincidence!”

“Yes, Quicksnatch.”  She smiled watching him tuck everything back into the pouch.  “Yes it would.