Shredder 37

“Climb, up there?”  Merinde was shouting over the wind as the freezing rain pelted down.  In all likelihood, she would have been screaming even if the weather was tranquil.  “I can’t even feel my fingers, and you want me to climb that?”

Her sodden finger pointed into a murky defile of rock overhead.  The natural chimney looked unpromising, but Gerard was insistent.  “I know how it looks.  I’ve been here before.  Watch.”

The Halfling picked his way up one nearby wall face and reached a hand into the defile.  He found the handhold he sought and swung out into the air, grabbing on with both hands.  Then he set himself to swinging a bit and tossed himself down the length of the crevasse, snatching hold of another handhold.  Steadying himself, he dropped back to the ground.

“Those are the trickiest two,” he said, “After those, the climb is fairly straightforward.  Now do you think you can make it?”

Merinde cast a dubious glance into the chimney.

“There’s clothing to be had up there.”

Her head snapped down toward Gerard, and she started for the first wall.

“Hold on a minute,” he said, darting to catch up, “Here.”  He grabbed hold of her hands and pressed them against the warmth of his neck.  He then rubbed them within his own calloused hands, oblivious to Merinde’s gaze.  When he was satisfied at their warmth, he said, “And I should lead the way.  It’ d be easier than trying to guide you from behind.  Plus, I’ve no grand desire to stare at your lady bits all the while.”

Merinde flushed as she watched him go, a bit of embarrassment mixed with her anger, and the warmth did her good.  She wondered if that was his intent.

As they began their ascent up the rock defile, she pondered just how wily her guide actually was.

Leave a Reply