Feldspar, as was his wont, grumbled.
An hour into their grinding slog across the miles separating the mountains from the river, the older brother complained.
"Youngster, one thing I do not understand. Why did no one, and no map maker, note that this hike would be through tanglefoot weeds and grasses nearly up to our hips?"
"They all did that intentionally just to aggravate you."
"I believe that! Our elder trainers would do that for that very reason—to aggravate us, not just me."
"Perhaps. But certainly they know us both well enough to know that it would be you that would at least express his aggravation more readily. Oldster, it is merely an annoyance. We have not encountered either animal or plant that presents any threat to anything worse than a stumble."
"Hah! That is where your youth and ridiculously cheerful attitude deceive you. This wears us down. It fatigues us and assures we will be at less than our prepared best to tackle that obnoxious river."
Gypsum chuckled—a sound that resembled two savage cats in mortal combat. "If being born first assures a consistently sour disposition and pessimistic attitude, then I am glad to be the younger. I will wait to see if the river is so troublesome before grumbling. I won't complain about something that only might be."
Feldspar responded with a harsh laugh. "Oh, the innocent ignorance of youth! Enjoy it while you can, Brother! One more stumble like that last one and you'll bloody your muzzle for sure, and your optimism as well!"
Just as Feldspar finished that comment he found his feet entangled by the aptly named weeds and with a surprised curse fell face first into the offending greenery.
Gypsum tried very hard not to laugh—a sound that would have resembled two savage cats and two wolves in a mortal free-for-all. As he took one step forward, though, to give his twin a hand up, his own feet stepped into the trap. He waved his arms and strained to keep his balance, but for the fifth time that day he tipped over on his side and bruised his elbow on the unyielding ground beneath the offensive vegetation.
Quietly his natural optimism drained from him and he felt himself agreeing with his brother's grumpy assessment.