Young Slate Learning
Skulk and Li’lbit leaned against a wall of what was left of a burned-out building. They watched intently as Slate shot arrow after arrow at a surreptitiously obtained bale of thresh at the far end of the building’s old foundation. Slate was 15 years old now, or thereabouts, and had been practicing with his precious bow for two years.
“Slater, why’d that witch woman give ya that bow anyway?” Skulk said with a half yawn.
“I told ya, Brielle’s no witch! She uses magic but she’s an elf so that’s not unusual.” Slate snapped. “And, as I’ve also told ya, she’s teachin’ me to be somethin’ better, so I kin get outta the dredge.”
Skulk shrugged and leaned back against the dilapidated wall.
As Slate aimed his next arrow his forehead furrowed and his eyes momentarily glazed over. Even Skulk noticed that the arrow, instead of flying straight, curved slightly to the side.
“Hey, what’d ya do ta that one ta make it go sideways like that?” Skulk asked.
A look of frustration flickered across Slate’s face. “Aw, well, Brielle’s tryin’ to teach me ta use some magic on the arrows I shoot. I’m just not very good at it. Yet.”
Both Skulk and Li’lbit perked up. “Magics Slate? Hows?” Li’lbit’s young girl’s voice pierced the air.
Now it was Slate’s turn to shrug. “Its kinda hard to explain. I guess that’s why I’m not so good at it yet. Ya have to concentrate harder than ya think possible to make your arrows do things.”
Skulk chimed in. “Do what things?”
“Well, things like go faster, hit harder, and, when you’re really good, curve around corners."
Skulk and Li’lbit looked at each other and began to laugh. Li’lbit jumped up and like a spider climbed up and over the rickety half-wall and dropped to the other side. “Shoot me now, Slatey” She giggled wildly.
Skulk laughed too and called out to Li’lbit, “Aw, yous so little he couldn’t hit ya if ya was right in front of ‘im.”
Slate grinned and walked the 60 feet to carefully retrieve his costly arrows. “Yeah, well someday I’ll pin the ears on you two together with just one shot.”
Li’lbit came skipping around the corner smiling. Then both she and Skulk curled up for a nap.
Slate returned to his spot and once again scrunched his face in deep concentration; then let another arrow fly. And, another. And, another. And another.