Chapter IV

Among the Stahlgs: Flashback

“The boy is strange.”

“Right so, I hear he came from the wilderlands. He’s a feral.”

The townsfolk of Saltwell would meet up at the local well after the work hours had finished. Conversations were never very thoughtful or deep. When the Farmer, Rhoystrar had found a boy on the outskirts of town with dirty skin and broken feet, it was the main source of gossip for weeks.

“I don’t know, he has a daze in his eyes like he got kicked by the backend of a mule.”

“Is that why he don’t say much? Townskids won’t talk to him so there’s no saying.”

“Oh he says plenty. He whispers, you see. To the horses.”

“He whispers to the horses? Why’s that?”

“He knows how to calm them. He has conversations with them. They trust him!

“You’re off your stool, you old man.”

“What do you actually mean?”

“I meant exactly what I said. The boy talks to the horses. And they understand back. They listen!”

“At least Rhoystrar found someone to help out with the farm.”

“Why would he bring in some boy like that, I reckon? He’s mad as well.”

“No, it’s like him. Probably feels bad for his daughter.”

“Boy’s weak though. Can’t do much tilling or lifting.”

“Told me son to stay away from him. No telling what diseases he might have.”

“I tell ya, the boy is strange.”

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Saltwell

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