Dorian blinked a few times. He motioned for the man to follow. “That’s good. It gets a bit boring on the road. If your duties don’t tire you out, perhaps you could spin a few.”
“Of course, of course.” The man bobbed his head. He grinned at each member of the caravan as they walked down the line.
“What’s your name?” Dorian felt a little ashamed he hadn’t asked the man earlier.
“Oh, you can me El,” The man replied eyes twinkling. They both came to a stop at final cart. El started to unpack his gear.
Dorian waved a few men over to help. He headed toward the front. “As soon as our new cook is done, we’ll be on our way.” It didn’t take long before the caravan departed.
The next few days were grueling. The mountain terrain even in high summer was rough going. Everyone was too tired to do anything fun. Dorian kept watch on El. The man worked hard, and never complained. He even took to the random friendly jibs with a smile. And, his cooking, well, that was short of a miracle. Not a single dish came out bad and most were truly delicious.
The day they finally crawled over the last bit of the mountains the whole caravan was far more upbeat. He didn’t push for progress, knowing everyone was worn down. As the evening approached they made a big fire and the men sat up talking. El had made a filling stew and everyone relaxed on their bedrolls.
As El came to join them, Carn piped up. “Old man, Dorian mentioned you were a storyteller.”
El gave a big, wide, sweet smile. “Oh yes I am. Are you hinting you want a story? Like a child before bedtime?”
Carn and everyone else laughed. “I do. Something epic and interesting.”
After he settled onto his own bedroll, El looked into the fire. “Do you know how the world began? That’s an epic story for sure.”
A chorus of no’s filled the air. El gave a solemn nod. “Then, I’ll tell it to you.”