A Coin for your Struggle

It was a cold, cloudy day in Oro, the capital city of Darros. It didn’t bother Advard, who walked with joy in his heels, his pocket heavy with ten iron squares. He worked hard as a cobbler and got lucky that day, a few rich citizens tipped him well. This added to the several seasons-worth of savings he already had. Although he was slightly nervous walking around with the equivalent of an entire silver coin on his person, he knew exactly what to do with the money. His two sons were young, but old enough to start training with a bow. Advard was going to buy them one and a few arrows, and ensure his boys’ future as good archers with a modest, and most importantly, stable pay.

On the main street, a young girl in ragged, dirty clothes sat with her back against a shop wall. She held her hands out in desperation as Advard went by.

“Please, sir. I’m cold, hungry and tired. All I need is a small coin, sir,” she said.

Advard kept his gaze forward and did his best to ignore the girl. He needed every coin to afford the bow and arrows.

Only a moment later, a patrol officer saw the girl and ordered her to move somewhere else. She repeated the same line to the officer as well. The officer pointed his finger somewhere away from the street, and yelled. The girl argued. Advard hesitantly stopped to watch.

In a swift motion, the officer kicked the girl in the ribs and told her to leave once again, and that a foreign VIP will be coming through the street today. She tried to get up and leave, but true to her words, being cold, hungry, tired and weak, she couldn’t move very fast. All the while, the officer yelled and threatened her, and mocked her.

“You sully the image of our city by your presence. He doesn’t need to see your kind on our streets. ”

Passerby’s noticed the scene but kept moving, even though they were obviously curious and concerned. Advard wanted to act. If he said the right things, he could solve the situation. However, he knew in his gut he could make things much worse than they were if he intervened.

Advard approached the officer, tapped his shoulder and firmly placed an iron square in his hand.

“Let me take care of this,” he said with as much confidence as he could. He hoped the officer didn’t notice his shaking lips.

The small bribe worked and the officer stepped aside. Advard put the girl’s arm around his shoulders and helped her walk to another street. Once away they gained some distance, he gave her an iron square as well.

“Here. This should provide you with food for a week, if you’re careful with it,” Advard said.

The girl stared at the coin for a moment, her body seemingly frozen. It was as if she held a gold coin for the first time. Her hands trembled slightly, and she burst into tears.

“No one… no one ever…” she said in between her sobs. Advard hugged the girl and reassured her everything would be alright. He realized she must have been hungry.

Over a dish of fish and vegetable soup at a nearby cookshop, he asked what happened to her parents. She said her mother died when she gave birth to her, and her father died from an unknown sickness some time ago. Advard shared how his wife also died during childbirth, and his baby daughter died with her. He asked if she wanted to meet his two boys, and she nodded.

***

Seasons later, Advard saved enough coin to finally buy the bow and arrows for his kids—and had three little archers in training.

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