Date Posted: 20th April 2019
The meeting with Humari and seeing how happy she was, spurred Arnolt
into complying with Taril's request. Though he was secretly resentful
of Humari's love for him, the thought that he could contribute in some
way to her happiness made it worth more than just the payment he would
receive. Two days after he had met with Taril, he was knocking on his
office door, a wrapped heated bundle in his arms.
It took a moment or two for Taril to respond. "Come." When Arnolt
pushed the door open, the merchant was using an ink-stained rag to
wipe his fingers. A ledger sat in front of him with the ink drying.
"Got your package." He announced it the moment he stepped in, moving
quickly to set the bundle down. "Biggest egg in the clutch. The gold
weren't too happy, but I got it. You'll need to get it front of a fire
quick. Think they're due to hatch any day now."
The merchant smiled and held out his hand, excited in spite of
himself. "Let's see!" There was a chirp as Dodger appeared above his
head and settled across his shoulders, eyes whirling curiously at the
Carefully lifting the thick covering, Arnolt revealed a large fire
lizard egg, nestled carefully in heated sand. "Told you I could get
it. I bet it's a bronze, or maybe even a gold. "
Dodger chirped again and flew from Taril's shoulder to land on the
edge of the basket. The flit nosed at the egg, then looked back at
The merchant nodded, pleased at the jumble of impressions his flit was
sending. "Well, it's alive, and you kept your word-- it's a large one.
And I will keep mine." Taril pulled a small pouch out from beneath his
shirt and withdrew an eighth of a mark. He set it on the desk between
Arnolt quickly pocketed the mark. "Figured you would." He eyed Taril.
"I went and saw her."
"Yes. Humari mentioned that," Taril said blandly. "She said the two of
you had quite the nice visit."
Flushing just a little, Arnolt shifted on his feet. "Oh, she told you
about it huh?" He wondered if Humari tended to tell Taril everything
and if she did, if he had to worry. Taril had his own influence in
The merchant smiled. "Why wouldn't she?"
Arnolt shrugged. "I dunno. You gonna give that to her tonight? And she
knows what to do, right?"
"She hatched Sissa." The poor thing. He watched as Dodger snuck into
the basket and curled up around the egg on the hot sands. He debated
bringing up Arnolt's offer to take Humari to the Weyr, but decided
against it. It was information that could be better used at a later
time, for better things than making a half-grown youngster squirm.
"She'll know what to do."
"Good." Arnolt studied Taril further, trying to fathom why on Pern
Humari felt so strongly about him. He just couldn't figure it out.
She wasn't the type to love him for his wealth. So why did she? Why
Taril, and not him? She'd been forced to marry the man! "How did you
"Hatch a flit? Like you said, an egg in a basket by the fire. And a
lot of watching and waiting, and something for them to eat as soon as
they hatch." When he'd hatched Dodger, the tediousness of waiting for
an egg to hatch had been easy-- mostly because it was the only thing
he'd been able to do at the time. He had been about Arnolt's age when
he'd lost his leg.
"I know how you do _that_." Arnolt scowled. "I've seen it." He
crossed his arms over his chest. "How'd you make her love you? Can't
be your marks, she's not the type. So how? And why you?" At fourteen
and brash, Arnolt wasn't often introspective. But deep inside, he knew
there were similarities between Taril and himself now. Both maimed.
But Taril had Humari and he never could.
The merchant smiled. "Here's a bit of advice for you, and for free--
you can't _make_ anyone fall in love with you. It doesn't work like
Arnold's face set in a frown, disliking Taril's answer. "I don't get
it." He huffed, then eyed Taril. "She don't know all about you, does
she?" There wasn't an implied threat, just frustrated curiosity.
"She knows me." Taril's easy smile disappeared. Humari knew about the
tavern and the bare knuckle fights he organized. She knew that he
loaned marks to gamblers, although she didn't know how much or who, or
how he collected. And there were certain items of business that she
would never know. Taril turned his attention back to the flit egg. "To
impress a woman, you need to respect her first. Much like a flit. If
you treat them badly, they won't come to your hand. But if you respect
them, know what they need..." He held out his hand as Dodger climbed
out of the basket and up his arm. "They'll come around."
He didn't even want to think about Taril meeting Humari's needs. That
was just...wrong. How did they... No, he wasn't going to even attempt
to imagine it. "Humari ain't a flit." There was a definite disgruntled
disappointment in his tone. "Well, you better respect her. She's good.
She's perfect." He looked down at the floor, his face downcast. "I
love her. Loved her from the first. You better keep making her happy.
That's all I gotta say."
Taril let Arnolt's words rest between them for a moment. He liked the
fact that the boy was loyal. If he'd been a man... well, that was
another story. "I need to get this egg to the Hold. Thanks again for
"Yeah. You paid for it." Arnolt shrugged. "I'm getting back too. Got
duties and all that." He tucked his hand underneath his jacket and
slipped out of the office, still looking downcast. How'd he ever find
another woman like her?
Taril waited until Arnolt was good and gone before tucking the basket
over his free arm and locking up his office. He hurried up the hill
toward the Hold, a smile hovering at the edge of his mouth as he
anticipated how happy Humari would be with her gift, and at how lucky
he was that he was able to give it to her.
Last updated on the April 26th 2019