This is my rough draft completely unedited. For a full explanation go to Part I.

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Today – Part XVII – Rough Draft

Kael’s sleep was fitful. Now that he knew he was actually going, everything in him couldn’t wait. It was as if tomorrow wouldn’t be soon enough. The sun rose as slow as molasses drips. Eventually though it was high enough in the sky for Kael to justify going to the shop. He had already dressed and ate long ago. He just sat waiting to leave. Even reading a book was not something his mind could concentrate on at this point. He spent the minutes he had to wait vizualizing what it would be like to visit all the other islands.

He beat his dad to the shop which rarely happened. Immediately he went to his bench and began work on his pack. He had accomplished much of it yesterday, and he was sure if he could work on it a lot today he would have it done.

“Early bird gets the worm I suppose.” Was Robik’s greeting to Kael when he walked in the door. Kael looked up briefly from his work.

“Morning!” Kael was feeling on top today.

“Awfully chipper for the early bird.” Robik was not, not a morning person. However he was much more quiet until about midmorning. His coffee in hand and voice a little croaky from the lack of speech.

Kael was neither a morning person or not. Sometimes he was ready to go and other times he wasn’t. Today he was a morning person, and could hardly spare any more attention to Robik. He turned back to his work and all other thoughts fled him.

He was in a rare state of flow that you feel at the most peculiar times. It was as if every tool was just where it was supposed to be. His hands moved with practiced efficiency, and the work and the time flew by. Soon he was tying off the last stitch. He leaned back onto his stool holding the pack in front of him.

It was perfect. The back was a patchwork of different buyara leather. This made the color all a little bit different. Kael momentarily thought of staining it to make it all match, but immediately discarded the idea. He loved the way it looked. It was unlike any other commission he had done. He had even done a few other packs for people. This one not only looked different it’s function was quite different than most packs he had made.

This one should fit the curve of his own back perfectly. Swinging it over his shoulders he found this to be true. It was like putting on a a well fitting glove.

The pack was slim and not made to carry too much. Only the essentials.

The leather was soft. There was a reason it was so highly sought by people. He also loved that he had very little waste. The scraps that he had used would’ve been forgotten somewhere anyways, but now he has given them purpose. That was the best part of working with leather. Taking something that was largely shapeless and with little use into just about anything they could imagine.

The Buyara leather was a difficult hide to work with if you have never used it before. It’s very stiff and thick. If you don’t get the templates just right when you assemble you will have an unshapely mass. Kael was very careful and though he could never say any project was perfect this one came close. It was stiff enough that it held it’s shape whether it was full or not.

“Took you long enough didn’t it.” Robik broke Kael’s revery of his new pack.
“I think that’s the fastest I have ever finished a pack. Especially one that had so much patch work.” Kael shot back.

“Well it is certainly unlike any pack I have seen. You won’t have trouble finding that one if it was tossed among a similar pile. But it’s way past lunch time, I was waiting for you to finish before disturbing you. Although I doubt you would’ve heard me.

Lunch was similar to every other lunch with meats and cheese. Kael never grew tire of the options on this island. He hoped that other islands would have food as tasty as this.

“Well I’ve heard through the grapevine while I was in town today, you were out consorting with Bannon last night. Is that why you missed dinner.” Luna asked Kael.

“Oh yeah, that’s my traveling companion like you guys asked me to get yesterday.” Kael responded nonchalantly.

“No.” Luna seemed actually surprised. Kael would’ve supposed that she would’ve made the connection after their talk at lunch yesterday.

“Yeah, you guys said it would be a good idea to have a partner to help me out, and ol’ Banny is the only one I know crazy enough to leave everything on such short notice.”

“He’ll be of no help at all. He’ll get you into more trouble than if you were alone. That boy never saw a mess he didn’t want to be in the middle of.” Luna did not seem happy in Kael’s choice.

“Come on ma, he’s not that bad. I think he just has a little bad luck, and maybe he is a little mischievous sure, but he has been a good friend to me. In fact if it weren’t for him, I don’t think I would even be here to talk about this with you guys.”
Years ago when Bannon and Kael first became friends, Bannon had the idea to walk around the edge of the island to see how big it was. Kael was game. Of course Bannon didn’t want to just walk near the edge. He wanted to taste the gentle up breeze that you felt to the edge of the island all the way around. Kael had been nervous at first but after walking so close to the edge for a bit he got used to it. Just as soon as he got used to it is when he took a wrong step. His foot went right of the edge of the island and his body followed suit. Luckily trees grew right up to the edge of the island. He caught a root on his way down.

Breathing heavy and just thankful to still be alive Kael’s mind was still trying to assimilate what had happened in that short time.

Kael barely had taken a breath and Bannon was there.

“Take my hand he.” Bannon was laying flat on his belly with his hand out stretched to Kael.

That may have been one of the hardest things Kael had ever done. Taking his hand from the safety of the root and putting his hope in this scrawny boy. Half the people thought his mother didn’t feed him enough and he was malnourished.

Trying not to over think it Kael lifted himself up as high as he could then quickly threw one of his hands out to catch Bannon’s.

Bannon’s grip was firm and he pulled him up and over the edge as if he weighed nothing. Kael assumed the adrenaline had given him the extra boost he had needed. In the years following that incident though Kael saw many instance of Bannon showing strength far beyond his size.

He never kept jobs long, but he always had one. For a short time he had worked with the blacksmith in town. Kael came to the shop to see Bannon swinging one of the biggest hammers he had ever seen. Kael would’ve been surprised to see Bannon lift it. But Bannon was doing more than just lifting it. He swung it over and over until he noticed Kael there. Then he dropped the hammer and they went of to make trouble wherever they went that day.

“Well.” Luna’s voice brought Kael back from his memories of that day. “ you would have even been in danger if it weren’ for him, so I don’t know if that counts”
Kael just shrugged. He knew he couldn’t logically try and make his mother like Bannon so he just let it lay.
“I suppose there aren’t too many other options are there.” Luna seemed thoughtful when she said that.

“I would like to speak to him before you guys leave though.”

“No problem I can probably get him over here tonight.” Kael perked up. She seemed to be more receptive.

“Well we better get back to the work.” Robik had remained quiet the entire lunch, but saw that staying any longer with Luna probably wouldn’t help anything.

Kael nodded in agreeably, happy to have reason to get out from under his mother’s scrutinizing eyes.

As they were making the short walk back to the shop her heard his mother call out to him.

“Is it true, you’re going to the spring festival with Jillian?”

If Kael hadn’t been right beside his father he would kept on walking, and acted like he hadn’t heard. Glancing over at Robik though he saw him returning his glance, he knew he had to say something.

“Yeah, we , spoke, us, u huh.” Everything he said was incoherent and he didn’t look back to see if his mother was satisfied nor did he look to his right see what his father thought of that. If he had he would have seen the biggest grin stretched across his face.

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