It was the dawn of a new day and the small girl had just awoken. She was excited because today the wandering group of nomads ,that her family was a part of, was moving on to a new area. She stepped out of the familys small tent and raised her deep blue eyes to the sky. Today was going to be a cold day and she prepared to put on her warm travelling clothes. She raised her eyes to the sky once more and decided, if they were going to get moving, they should do it soon. She noticed other families were starting to stir and she didn't want the group to be waiting on her. She skipped inside the families tent to wake her mother and father, but found that they had already awoken.
"Good Morning Catti-Brie" the small girls mother yawned and stretched. Catti-Brie looked past her mother to see her father packing their clothes.
"Good Morning Mother" she replied politely.
"Did you sleep well, dear?" Her mother yawned again
"Yes, thank you Mother" She skipped past her mother toward her father and kissed him on the cheek. In return he kissed her on the fore head and said "Did you decide which clothes you wish to wear today?"
"I did, Father," Catti-Brie proclaimed "Its going to be a cold day today!"
An hour later the tents were all collapsed and the group was starting to gather in front of a large tree stump. On the tree stump was the groups leader, Belm. The adults were talking in low tones obviously trying to conceal something, but Catti-Brie didn't care, for at the moment, she was looking for her friends, Triel and Traill. They were twins, though one was a boy and the other a girl. She got along better with Traill, though he was the boy of the pair and usually didn't respond well to girls. It was the fact that Catti-Brie and Traill had been so close now for several years, since any of them were born ,that made Triel, the girl, not as friendly to Catti-Brie as Traill was. Triel was jealous of Traills friendship with Catti-Brie, she always thought she should have been better friends with her than her brother, because she, afterall, was of the same gender as Catti-Brie, they had something in common, something alike, why should a boy be better for a friend. They still got along though, if not as well and she and Traill.
"Hello Traill!" she called out when she found him."Where's Triel?"
"Hello Cattie-Brie,"Traill replied with a smile." Triel has gone to the adults to try and hurry them along. How could she get the adults to get moving. Shes only a little girl!"
"You're of the same age, silly!" she cried with an uproarious laugh. Traill blushed and turned away.
"Where has the silly girl got to?" he muttered looking past Catti-Brie in order to change the subject. Traill was always feeling superior, being born 4 and a half minutes before his sister.
Catti-Brie turned around to try and catch a glimpse of Triel and found her heading out of the group of hushed adults with her head down sadly.
"No-body took any notice of me."she said sadly, "They hardly even noticed I was there! When they did, they didn't listen to me, they didn't start to get moving, they just hurried me out of the little meeting. Hmph, adults!"
"Did you hear what they were talking about?" Traill said quickly, "I think somethings going on, but they won't tell us what it is."
"I heard something Tray-ill," the contrary girl folded her arms across her chest, and with a beckoning motion with her hand toward Catti-Brie said,"But I'm not going to tell you. I'm only going to tell Catti-Brie."
Catti-Brie winked at Traill with the eye that Treil couldn't see. They had played this game before many times when Triel was with-holding information from her brother. She went over to where Treil had moved, to make sure Traill could not hear anything and leaned over. Triel whispered somethng in her earand when she was done Catti-Brei said loud enogh for Traill to hear "What in the Nine Hells are goblins and orcs?" though she already knew.
Triel quickly shushed her with a finger to her lips and a quick glance at Traill, who wisely pretended not to hear anything.
What Triel had told her was, "the adults had said that there were reports of hostile bands of goblins and orcs in the vicinity." Of course not in those exact words, being an eleven year old girl.
The band of wanderers had begun to move and Triel ran off to walk with her parents leaving Catti-Brie and Traill alone. While they walked Catti-Brie told Traill the full story of what the adults had said. Catti-Brie was calm but Traill didn't seem to like the idea.
"Goblins and orcs? Wandering around here??" his eyes darted around as if looking for some un-seen enemy, "What if they attack? We could all be killed, every person in the group could be injured badly, so we are all left alone in the forest to die slow and painful deaths!"
"Yes, that could happen," Catti-Brie said ever the more calm of the two, "But it probably won't. If we are extra-ordinarily unlucky, they will attack but we have plenty of weapons, even you and I have the knives in our boots. We would fight them off easily and never give them a second thought once we were done with them."
"I suppose your right," he admitted, "but if we do fight them off, I don't think it will be as easy as you say."
They dropped the subject and continued walking, they were the last of the group, except for those that were assigned to guard the rear on this particular trip. This trip was to be a long one.Heading north, the group were not going to set up permanent camp until they had reached Waterdeep, where they were planning on staying for the next six-months,but at the mmoment they were just short of Nashkel. In the next year or two, they were planning on heading around past Luskan and on to a little settlement called Ten-Towns. Ten-Towns was an area of short Summers and long Winters, cold days and verycold nights.
The group were inside the border of Nashkel now and were planning on splitting up for supplies. They were all to meet back at the town square in two hours, with the supplies and provisions they needed to last them at least a week.
"Mother," Catti-Brie smiled sweetly, "do you think, me Treil and Traill, could, while you are shopping, wander off and play?"
"I can tell the time!" Traill cheerfully added.
"Well," Catti-Bries mother shot a quick glance to her husband, who was nodding and smileing, "Okay, but make sure you get back to the square in time...I don't want the entire group waiting for you three!" The last sentence she had to shout, for the three friends were already running off to play.
Nashkel was a small town, smaller then Beregost, furthur to the north, but Nashkel did have a few stores, a tavern and a full sized temple and furthur to the south they even controlled a mine.
Treil, Traill and Catti-Brie were racing to the wind mill. Her shoulder-length auburn hair flailing in the wind, Catti-Brie made it their first with a few seconds to spare. She had always been the fastest of the three, and had won any challenge the other to had come up with. However she was never boastful or childish and quickly smiled and changed the subject, but today, Treil was in a particularly bad mood and quickly turned to scorn her for it.
"Catti-Brie! You always cheat! You never play fair to anyone! How could you be so mean!" she stormed.
"Treil, Catti-Brie didn't..." Traill started but was quickly silenced by her cold glare.
"I'm sure Catti-Brie can speak for herself can't she??" she turned her steely gaze toward Catti. Catti-Brie returned it full power.
"What proof do you have that I cheat?? Maybe you're just too slow to keep up with me. Maybe if you spent more time running and less time complaining you could catch up!"
Treil was shocked by her uncharacteristic shouting, turned and ran in the opposite direction. Catti-Brie could see that she was obviously hurt and bagan to run after her.
"Traill!" She shouted over her shoulder, "Get help!! The Goblins!"
The seriousness of the situation quickly dawned on him and he ran to get help.
It took Catti half an hour to find Treil, sitting under a tree sobbing. Catti snuck up behind the tree, reached around it thick trunk and grabbed her arm.
"Ahhh!" Treil screamed until finally she understood she was in no immediate danger, "Catti-Brie! How could you do that to me?? First you deeply hurt my feelings and then you scare me half to death!"
"Deeply hurt your feelings?" Catti hardly understood what Treil was taling about, "Hurt your feelings? You started it by accusuing me of cheating! You know very well I don't cheat! You were just jealous." Catti-Brie turned away.
"Catti....don't leave...I'm sorry....."
"Treil, you should learn to control your temper above all else!"
"I'm sorry..I've always been jealous, of you...of your friendship with Traill....your whole life!"
"Now we understand each other" and smiled her heart-warming smile "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship"
And the girls skipped off hand in hand, contemplating and discussing the adventures the three friends could someday have. Until they saw a group huddled together looking solemn. The group was mostly her travelling friends but withing the group Catti-Brie also saw some short round men and women, whom she recognized and dwarves. The group was huddled around something on the ground, something she couldn't quite make out.
All of a sudden Traill was in front of her, with the saddest eyes she had ever seen.
"Catti....I'm sorry...." he bowed his head
"What? Why are you sorry?" She pushed past him and made her way through the group. On the ground not half a metre away...were the bodies of 3 people...2 of which, her parents.
"Whats this...whats going on???" she rushed forward to her fathers corpse. "Father....Mother??"
Someone rushed to comfort her but she was suddenly too tired to think. She fainted to the ground and someone carried her to a caravan.
Four or five days later Catti-Brie awaoke to see a gruff man with red hair leaning over her. As far as shee could tell she was in a caravan of some sort.
"Mother........Father......" she whispered. The gruff man that she now recognized as one of the dwarves from the group, nodded sadly and said "Aye, yer parents fought well lass."
"Who are you? Where am I"
"Me names Bruenor Battlehammer, the clan Battlehammer and I were recently forced from our rightful homes. Yer in my caravan which we found abandoned by the roadside. Yer....traveling group gave yer up to me....."
"Because I tried me hardest to save yer parents...and they thought you'd want to come with me...instead of stay with them....who didn't even know where they were"
"What happened to my parents??"
"Thats a question we'll leave for later...sleep now me dearest...we got a long way to travel."
Catti-Brie re-awoke later that night. They had stopped and she could hear the sounds of people talking and eating. She climbed out of the caravan and sat with Bruenor.
"Good evenin' lass" he grunted "Are ye hungry" he handed her a bowl of what appeared to be some sort of soup, and she gulped it down.
"Please sir, what are you going to do with me?"
"Well....yer friends back in Nashkel want me to take yer under me wing...and a ward ye unerstand" Catti-Brie nodded her head stoically and helped herself to more soup.
"Could ye tell me what happened to me parents" she said head bowed to the ground. She looked up when she had no reply and saw Bruenor smiling weakly.
"Yer using dwarven speak already, lass!" He laughed and she joined in whole-heartedly.
* * * * *
2 years after her parents died Catti-brie was living with Bruenor Battlehammer and the clan Battlehammer below Kelvin's Cairn in Ten Towns. They had decided to live permanently there with the people of Ten-Towns Catti-Brie was content. She still missed her parents and always would but she was enjoying living with Bruenor and his friends as his adopted daughter. Even a few months ago when her former travelling group had dropped round and offered her a place in their group again she respectfully declined saying that she would much rather live here with her family.