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Rolfin's Orb
Book 13 - The Beginning
Chapter 5

            Jesbar rode his camel into the city. He admired the well kept look Burill offered and how the people showed kindness and friendship by waving as he rode past. Jesbar stopped in front of an incense shop. “I am looking for my cousin, Andra. He is a goldsmith. Could you point the way to his shop?”

            “Why certainly. It’s down this street about half a mile. Where are you from?” Romki, the shop owner, patted Jesbar’s camel. “That’s a fine animal.”

            “I carry frankincense and myrrh from the north. I’m headed for western Africa and then over to the country of the Gaels. I want to trade my wares for tin. Thank you for your help.” Jesbar reached his cousin’s place in a matter of minutes. 

            “Jesbar!” Andra put his tools down and wiped his brow with a dirty cloth. “What brings you to Burill? Come inside and we’ll talk.”

            The camel’s legs collapsed and Jesbar climbed off. He tied the animal to a post and followed Andra into the back room. Jesbar gazed at the plates and goblets as he passed by. “It seems you’ve done quite well for yourself, cousin. Moving to Burill was a good choice.”

            “I enjoy it here. Why don’t I close up the shop for the day? I’m finished with most of my orders. You can come to my home and meet my wife, Lissa, and my two girls, Jasmine and Janna.” Andra began putting his wares away and locking things up.

            “That is kind of you. I’ve been riding for days and could use a quiet place to rest and eat.” Jesbar took a deep breath and exhaled. He followed Andra, holding on to the rope attached to his camel.

            When they arrived at Andra’s home, Jesbar nodded with approval. Several stories high and built using local materials, the house blended with the natural setting of dirt and rocks.  Jesbar noted the reeds, mud and brick material the people used for their dwellings. What impressed him the most were the decorations on the house facades. Andra’s house was four stories tall and covered with intricate decorations.

Lissa and the girls rushed to Jesbar’s side and guided him inside, welcoming the weary traveler. The three prepared a feast for their cousin. Jesbar was surprised when he saw no utensils for eating. Instead they used a piece of bread to scoop up the food. She had prepared a stew of chicken, lamb and lentils, chickpeas, beans and coriander served on a bed of rice. Platters of bread and bowls of honey sat in the center of the table. Jesbar ate until full.

 Jasmine and Janna went outside to feed and water Jesbar’s camel. They stroked it and brushed its fur and then took it into the shed for the evening. After the girls had gone to bed, Lissa left the two men alone to talk. Andra brought out the qat, a leaf grown locally and enjoyed by the people when chewed. They sipped a sweet tea called shay, which Lissa served in small glasses with milk. Jesbar enjoyed the minty taste.

            “Tell me, Andra, what sort of clientele do you have?” Jesbar leaned back on an embroidered pillow to support his back.

            “I haven’t told anyone this because I was sworn to secrecy, but since you’re my cousin and on your way soon, I’ll share this with you.” Andra brought out a bag of golden coins.

            “Andra, that is a lot of gold you have there. Is it to use in your work?”

            “Jesbar,” Andra winked and grinned, “this is payment for one of my pieces. I made something as a gift for King Rolfin.”

            “That’s a large reward for your efforts. It must have been something special indeed.” Jesbar took another sip of shay.

            “His wizard, Lehimna, came to my shop. I am the royal goldsmith; an honor, I assure you. He wanted me to make him an orb of pure gold, the finest in the land. He showed me a design he’d drawn on papyrus from Egypt. I did as instructed. When he came by my shop to collect the piece, he handed me a bag of gemstones and asked me to polish them and cut them to fit the holes in the orb. It was also requested that I make a necklace of gold and take a sliver of each stone and put it in the main piece of the pendant. It turned out to be a masterpiece of work. Jesbar, you should have seen it. Rubies and emeralds, sapphires and topaz; all glistening in the polished gold.”

            “I am impressed, Andra. I only wish I had been able to see it.” Jesbar tried to picture it.

            “I have heard, from one of the servants at the palace, that the wizard put a magic spell on the orb and it has great power. He overheard the conversation between the king and wizard.”

            “I have never heard of such a thing. I didn’t know wizards existed. Magical powers? That must be nonsense.” Jesbar roared with laughter.

            “Do not mock me, cousin. Not only does Rolfin have a wizard, but also a dragon. It is named Cloudwaltzer and is a glossy black color. Most of the time it stays in the palace courtyard, but some days I see it flying high above.”

            “This is most interesting. I wish I could stay longer in Burill so I could glimpse the dragon for myself, but I must leave in the morning. I am tired, Andra. Where would you like me to sleep?” Jesbar yawned.

            “Right here. I suppose Lissa will be wondering what is keeping me. Sleep well, my cousin. Do not leave without a breakfast. Lissa is an excellent cook.” With that, Andra disappeared into another room, leaving Jesbar with his thoughts about dragons, wizards and magical orbs.

            In the morning, the girls took Jesbar by the hand and led him to his camel. Lissa handed him a cloth with bread and fruits in it. They wished their cousin a safe journey and then Andra went to work. Jesbar headed out of Burill, keeping his gaze to the sky in case the dragon flew overhead.

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