To Wicker? Or not to Wicker?

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To Wicker? Or not to Wicker?

Post by Wraithwriter »

It was a beautiful day with not a cloud to marr the pristine azure glory of the horizon. Occasionally a gust of wind would stir Tiag's beard and bring the pleasant smell of mountain pines to him, but he was unable to enjoy the view or the smells. No, he, a dwarf, clung desperately to the sides of a wicker basket suspended beneath a giant balloon, his eyes squeezed tightly shut, as it drifted two thousand feet in the air.

"Tiag!," the dwarf heard his friend and partner shout, "You’re missing it!"

Quickly Tiag opened his eyes shooting a glare at the little gnome's back but regretted his action as he caught a glimpse of the basket’s edge. "Aalish, if the gods had intended dwarves to fly ,they would have been given wings!"

"Come now my hardened friend," Aalish consoled as he turned away from the view, "where is your sense of adventure?"

"Below us, where my feet should be!" A strong gust of wind rocked the basket causing the dwarf to tighten his grip.

"You said your feet hurt and that the journey was taking too long," the gnome stated bewilderment clear in his tone. "In this balloon we can get where we are going faster and save your feet...Well as long as the winds favors us."

"Horses! You clever pipsqueak! I meant for us to buy horses!" Tiag bellowed.

"Oh..." Aalish answered as though the idea had never occurred to him. "Well, this is so much better! No need to haul feed around or care for the beasts."

"I'll give you that," Tiag admitted begrudgingly. "But if I survive this I will work with horses for the rest of my days if I never have to fly again."

"Honestly, you have good strong wicker beneath your boots, and-" Aalish began only to have Tiag break in.

"STRONG!" the dwarf roared his eyes popping open to stare at the gnome in disbelief. "Stone is strong, steel is strong, oak is strong, but wicker? My clan has a saying, ‘Never trust what cannot hold water’. This strong basket of yours is so full of holes I am surprised it’s held up this long."

"Really?" Aalish inquired perplexion clear on his face. "Wicker is used for almost everything were I'm from. Chairs, tables, beds, houses, we even made armor from wicker at one time."

"Well you are no longer there, you are here!" Tiag gritted out as he closed his eyes again. "And here we do not use wicker!"

"Now that is not true, I spotted some wicker-"

"Aalish! Wicker is not reliable."

"Sure it is. Why else would I have packed so much?"

Sharing the basket with them was a veritable mountain of supplies. All of it neatly packed and strategically placed by the gnome. However, even with Aalish's talents in space management barely enough room was left for them.

"This is not natural!" Tiag protested weekly.

"I don't understand you, if you are so afraid of heights why did you join me?"

"It is not the height! It is flying that I hate! How was I to know? I'd never done it before!" Just then Tiag heard the flutter of wings followed by a coo and loud cracking of over stressed wicker.

"Take us down now!" Tiag shouted.

“It’s only the weight settling,” by the sound the gnome had moved closer to the supplies. “All I need to do is shift some things around a bit.” Rustling followed Aalish’s words when suddenly there was a snap and the gnome cried out.

Tiag opened his eyes to see a hole in the basket floor just big enough for the gnome to have fallen through. Even with the fear for his friend’s life, it still took an exertion of will to tear his hands for their death grip. Once free he slowly and carefully maneuvered to where he could peer down the hole; after all, if the little gnome had fallen to his death there was no need for him to follow. At last in position he looked down all the while attempting to compose a proper obituary for the gnome. As luck would have it, his efforts were unwarranted as by some miracle the gnome’s collar had snagged on one of the broken branches.

“HA!” Tiag bellowed in amused relief. “See! Unreliable!”

“Will you shut up and pull me up!” Aalish demanded.

“No,” Tiag returned. “Are you going to take us down?”

“This is only a freak mishap, and does not mean anything!”

“That is not what I asked?”

“I am not setting us down!”

“Then I guess you can hang while I figure things out,” that last came out as a chuckle as something struck him. “You know, even if this contraption does fall from the sky I think I will survive. You on the other hand...It was nice knowing you.”

“Ok!” the gnome wailed. “I’ll take us down! Just don’t touch anything! Now pull me up you over grown bottom feeder!”

Gingerly Tiag reached down taking hold of the gnome’s collar, and with little effort pulled Aalish back up. “Now get to it!”


Hours later the two sat atop shaggy mountain bred ponies with the supplies evenly distributed between three pack mules. The quite seaside town they’d managed to set down in spread out below them as they paused atop the bluffs to the east. Beyond the town small fishing boats drifted on the waves as sailors tended their nets to rake in the bounties of the sea.

“Look at that Aalish!” Tiag commented jovially pointing at the boats. “Those are proper vessels. Not a single hole.”

“Boats leak you know,” the gnome commented drolly.

“Yes they do, but leaks in a boat can be controlled with a good caulking and tarring; which is not possible with a wicker basket. They’re not oak, but solid wood all the same.” At that moment a gust blew a part of his pony’s mane into his mouth. With an irritated ‘fah’ Tiag spat the hair out violently. “I hate horse hair!”

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