As Reenie begins his account of the world of men, I am riveted. In the days of my youth, not that I am old, mind you, I heard the tales of men. The stories told 'round the fire at night as we camped in the dark were enough to make us want to run back home and sleep in cozy beds. I lean back into my chair and try not to stare at him.
"There was a time that I, like you," Reenie began, "wished to see what was beyond my own horizon. I lived on the other side of the Middle Valley in a small cove that was perched against the Choale Mountains."
"I have traveled some to the Choale side of the valley. It is a darker place than most."
"Not so, Clancy. Not so." Reenie got up from his chair and looked thoughtfully at the fire. Without a word he made his way to the small kitchen. I could hear some fumbling behind me as doors and drawers opened and closed. Clarisa looked my way and smiled her charming smile, setting me as ease. I could feel the tension building again. Within minutes, he returned with two glasses and an old, half-filled bottle. He hoisted it, letting the light dance about its dusty surface.
"A remnant, or a memory if you will, of my time in Ostergaul."
He handed me one of the glasses, the other to his bride. With ease he loosed the plug, pulling it directly out. I could immediately smell its contents; the aroma heady. I watched as the thin liquid slid gently into my glass. Its amber color almost glowed from the light of the fire. I nodded as he finished and filled the second glass, but to my surprise, took the glass from Clarisa's hand.
"This is not quite to the liking of my wife, you understand." He returned to his seat and now stared into the amber glow. "I will tell you of men-folk, Clancy. Do with it what you will."