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Naja

   There was a dog that ate his owner’s shoes one day. The man loved his dog very much and had other shoes as well. But the particular shoes the dog had chewed on were his favorite pair of boots, and were most prized. They were knee-high, crafted from rare hides, and most difficult to come by. To Naja, they were an irreplaceable memento.
   Naja had made a friend of a dwarf named Dwal-keth. Dwal-keth had worked on a fishing vessel for eighteen months in order to gain enough coin for a return trip to his homeland. He greatly desired for Naja to join, and stand beside him on his wedding day. Dwal-keth said, “You, my friend must be my guest, and witness the glory of Mount Jebul, and meet my bride to be. Refusal is not an option, as all your expenses are mine alone!” It was a most uncanny thing indeed for a dwarf to be parted from his gold. Thus was the blinding bliss of love, even upon a dwarf.
   So, it was an amazing experience for Naja to venture to the far eastern realm of mountain dwellers beyond Kinderval. Even though it was Dwal-keth wedding, he lavished his friend Naja with many thank you gifts; and the antelope-skin boots were one of them. The gifted boots were a reminder of his friendship with Dwal-keth, and Medwa his new wife. To the poor teacher, it had been a once-in-a-life-time excursion, a dream come true for Naja.


   Naja’s dog, Thaygon, had been the man’s pet since it was a puppy, and he was very angry over the destruction of his prized gift. Yet, the man only saw playfulness in the dog’s eyes. So, Naja ignored his dog. Out of fear that his anger would crest beyond rage, he gave Thaygon no attention and left him home alone.
   Naja was a teacher in the port city of Mithar. He taught the children of the outcast, those who lived beyond the great vine-covered walls. Many people had tried to gain entrance into Mithar, but her cultic priest had devised elaborate rituals in an effort to keep control of their city. Those who could not master the complexities of their ever changing rites and doctrines were not allowed beyond the gates and called outcast. Numerous of the infirmed, too lame to care for themselves or dim-witted were looked down upon and not accepted as righteous ones. These were the very ones Naja felt compelled to teach basic life skills unto. For some had been thusly condemned since birth or abused and unloved or brutally crippled in their minds. They were all beyond healing measures. The children were viewed as street rats and lived at the gates as beggars. Naja struggled to teach them to rise above their station.

   The teacher’s dog always accompanied him at the gate, for his poor students were uplifted and encouraged at his playfulness; but not that day. Naja was too upset with Thaygon and punished him with being left alone at home. Upon returning to his house, the man found his dog overjoyed and eager for attention. It was then Naja came to realize than even fur-people were more important that even the most prized of possessions, like fancy boots.

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VENTURE INTO MY WORLD

VENTURE INTO MY WORLD
The Watcher's Book of Books