The dwarf pulled a stone across his axe blade, then tested the edge with a finger.
Another trip for the stone across the edge.
“Will you stop with the sharpening? It’s the same every night, and except for the rabbit I killed with my sling we haven’t encountered anything in this damn forest!”
Looking up from his axe, the dwarf slowly put the stone to the side. He looked at the young human, face pocked with acne, and reminded himself he was dealing with youth yet unspoiled by things left best unspoken in the world beyond.
“Lad, I’m here for me blade. Val...” he paused to spit as he always did when he called the sorcerer by name, even if he was getting to like the weird coot, “he hired you for your hands and eyes. When we get to the tower midday on the morrow, my blade will keep you alive as your eyes find the traps and your hands do what ever they need to grant us safe passage. This blade needs to be sharper than your eyes if you want to come out again.”
“Yeah, yeah! Whatever! No one told me it would be nearly a week in the wilds, sleeping on bare ground just so I could earn a full share of the treasure. This is not what I signed up for!”
“Actually” said a voice that seemed at first to come from everywhere and nowhere, “you signed a contract. You said you could read. I even had you initial each section.” Val The Sorcerer (because he wore the wardrobe of a sorcerer right down to the funny hat) approached the discussion.
Reaching into his robe he pulled out a handful of parchments, shuffled them a bit and then started reading from one.
“'I, Meagenbrand Osworth the Third, have read the above Guild Contract and agree to the terms stated herein.’ Then you signed it. Damn signature ran right into the paragraph above. So, you did read it, right Meg? You wouldn’t have just signed the silly thing without reading, because the trip, lack of accommodations, responsibility for supplying your own bedroll and rations, it was all there. Tenkar even scratched his X as witness.”
The dwarf grunted in agreement.
Meg kicked at the dirt absently with the toe of his boot.
“Val, it was two pages long. How was I to read all that and decide right then and there?”
Tenkar looked up at the youth. “Lad, you do realize that me and the sorcerer get two shares each to your one, right? ‘Tis in the contract...”