Friends, figurines and fate
Friends, figurines and fate
The meeting with his dad went about as Colloyd expected.
"And you brought 'em here?" Dirk asked after a brief explanation, his face a little paler than usual. He glanced at the pink haired elf and into the steely blue gaze of the auburn haired teacher.
"We're sorry to be an inconvenience Dirk," Kraine explained. He had always found it difficult to level with the dwarf and had always come to dread parent-teacher meetings. Dirk, while he looked rough around the edges, was always extremely protective of his son. While he had understood the need for Colloyd to study harder to pass his science and mathematics tests, he had softened the news on the usually red-clad boy sitting nervously with them by praising him for his amazing grades in art, woodwork and P.E. Kraine briefly thought about discussing it there and then and perhaps the mixed messages the boy was getting but quickly thought better of it. "Besides.. It is not as though it matters now," he thought, absently listening to Colloyd finish his explanation on the events of the day. He swallowed thickly and made sure to remain expressionless when he saw Gesea glancing up at him.
Dirk relaxed his tensed up shoulders and smiled up at Colloyd finally. "Aye. It would not do any good to be angry with my only son now when he's going to be leaving me soon."
"A..about that... Dad.." Colloyd stammered.
Dirk waved him away. "Don't you be sayin' a word, son. I love ya like you were one of me own and ya will always have a place to come back to, after this whole regeneration thing is complete." He glanced up at Kraine. "You be taking very good care of him, ya hear?"
"Dad," Colloyd groaned, an embarrassed flush evident on his face. "I can look after myself y'know!"
"And don't I know it all too well," Dirk sighed. "Kids grow up too fast." Before he even finished his sentence, Colloyd had headed for the stairs and called Gesea up to join him in his bedroom. Kraine craned his neck to look at the upper balcony for a moment, listening to the excited voices of the children.
"No need to worry," Dirk said to him. "Col is a good lad. Your sister is not in any kind of the usual danger."
Kraine shook his head and levelled eye contact once again with the dwarf. "You have my solemn word that I will ensure he completes this journey safely. However, I can not guarantee that the same boy will return to you."
There was silence between the two men as Dirk thought about his words. He eventually gave a hearty laugh that no doubt Colloyd had picked up over the years. "I suppose it's only a matter of time. I get the feelin' that he be leaving a boy but returning a man."
"Experience does tend to do that," Kraine agreed. Dirk nodded and headed to his small kitchen to put the kettle on. "Take a seat. I think those kids are going to be a while."
Kraine reluctantly took a seat at the table, thankful that the chairs were not sized for a dwarf like most of the appliances and work stations around the house seemed to be. "I suppose I can allow them one last evening together."
"Wow! Is this really for me?" Gesea asked as she cupped her hands around the gift that Colloyd had presented to her only moments earlier. It was a hand-made wooden figurine of the pet she had met earlier for the first time, Noishe. The detail was exquisite and when she ran her fingers over all the little grooves in the woodwork, she almost expected it to feel fluffy.
"I was going to paint it," Colloyd said shyly, shifting his feet a bit. "But guess I ran out of time."
"It's fantastic!" Gesea grinned up at him. "Thank you Col!"
She flew into an embrace with him, to which he uttered a small nervous laugh. "Dad would say it's only average, five out of ten. Then he would warn me not to blame my tools before citing dwarven vow number fifty-five. A bad workman blames his tools."
He sighed deeply and Gesea moved away from him, giggling. "Tell me all the dwarven vows again?"
"Okay, but I'm not saying number seven!"
The two adults below listened as Gesea yelled the corniest dwarven vow of all. "Justice and love will always win!"
"I have always been curious," Kraine started to Dirk. "Just who thinks of these vows anyway?"
"The oldest dwarves in history," Dirk explained simply as he sipped the soup he had made for supper out of what looked like a hand crafted cup.
"I see," Kraine answered shortly, pulling his attention away to listen again to the kids. They were talking quietly now. He turned his attention to a window on the west wall of the house which faced out to Colloyd's mothers gravestone almost directly.
Dirk saw him looking and grimaced. "I found Col when he was barely walkin'. Assumed he was about three years old. His ma out there was dyin' from an attack. Looked like she might'a had something the Desians at the ranch wanted. There was nothing I could do except give 'er a good resting place." When he noticed Kraine looking unsettled, he swiftly apologised. "Sorry. We dwarves aren't exactly great conversation makers."
"No, it is alright," Kraine shook his head. "It is a good thing that you found the boy when you did. He might have died otherwise."
"Aye. It must have been fate."
When night had well and truly fallen and Kraine had had enough of the idle attempts of small talk both he and Dirk had attempted, he called Gesea downstairs to take her home. As they left, he heard her whisper softly to Colloyd that she would convince him to let her come along and that she would see him tomorrow. He dreaded the moment they got home and he had to firmly explain that it was not a choice. Gesea would not take it lightly and he would likely have to tell her more about the journey ahead than he might have wanted. If push came to shove though, he would have no choice.
Colloyd was awoken later that night by the sound of a girl screaming. He rushed out to the balcony and looked down to see his pet looking up at him with concerned eyes.
"What was that Noishe?" he asked quietly. Noishe looked to the woods and let out a high pitched whine.
"Get away!" yelled a familiar voice over the night air.
Through a clearing of trees close to the woods ran a little pink haired figure. Several slinkier and darker shapes surrounded it. This was all Colloyd needed to switch into action mode. Taking a split second to grab his chakram and sword, he headed back outside and took a leap off of his balcony to land on a flower bed beneath. He ran for his best friend, throwing the bladed ring in his left hand at the closest wolf to her. It connected easily, leaving a deep wound before flying back to his hand.
The wolves turned their attention from the little elf to him. He cut the first one that pounced at him down with no problem, and then a smaller, mangier one that had tried to come at him from the side. He heard a shriek from Gesea, followed by a warmth from behind his back. He turned to see the wolf he had taken his eyes off accidentally burning to ashes. It disappeared a couple of seconds later with the usual flash monsters did, along with the fire that had been burning it.
Colloyd couldn't help his gape as he trailed his eyes over to Gesea. She was breathing heavily and with a strange object in her hands that looked like an axe connected to a rope and paddle. "Gesea?" He asked, trying to disguise the shock in his voice. "Wow! When did you learn to use magic like that!?"
She withdrew a bit and he realised he hadn't exactly been successful. "I..I.." she stuttered.
Colloyd tilted his head. "I always wondered if elves could use magic. Guess I got my answer huh!" He looked pointedly down at her weapon. "Ooh, let's see your weapon!"
"Col!" Gesea exclaimed, sounding a mix of frightened and worried. He took a step back from her and watched her clench her fists. "Aren't you going to ask me what I was doing here late at night?"
"Oh yeah, that!" Colloyd laughed. He gave her what he hoped was a stern Kraine-like face. "Gesea, it is dangerous out here. You could get hurt very easily. Just what made you come here so late?"
Gesea forced a smile and glanced away. "I was going to see a friend and have a picnic with her."
"At one in the morning?" Colloyd gaped, looking over to where Gesea had glanced to. There was a package wrapped in foil on the ground. The moonlight from above made it appear an almost magical sparkle of blue instead of metallic silver. "A picnic with my dog maybe?"
"Noishe?" Gesea made a funny noise. "Col, my friend is a human!"
"What's a human doing in the woods at-" Colloyd trailed off and gaped at her. "You don't mean-"
"She never gets enough to eat at the ranch so I try to bring her some food. Usually I do it during the day but with everything that happened today, I didn't get a chance."
Colloyd stood still in thought for a few moments before giving himself a nod when he figured it out. "Alright then. Since you're only going to get hurt trying to take the food through the woods at this time of night, I'll have to go with you."
"Really?" Gesea's face brightened up.
"Really!" he nodded. "Let's try to be quick though. If anyone sees us there, we'll be in big trouble."
"I understand," Gesea nodded. "Let's go."
The tall brunette and pink-haired shorty made their way cautiously through Iselia forest, prepared for any further attacks. They took an eastern path toward the human ranch run by the Desians. Iselia had long ago made a non-aggression treaty with them. Basically as long as nobody interfered or entered the ranch, the village would be safe from attacks.
As they approached the big military-style building, the knot that had been forming in Colloyd's gut managed to twist even further. He remembered the teacher before Kraine and Gesea had come to the village telling him about the Desian ranches and that they were dangerous places where things happened that no person should bear witness to. Here he was though, allowing his best friend to do something which could very well endanger their entire village if they were caught. Of course, his feelings and curiosity overrode the logic rolling around in the back of his mind.
"Marble!" Gesea whispered harshly as they made their way to the left hand side of the base and toward a barred gate.
There was a low groan before a hunched figure strode toward them from around the corner of a large wooden box. "Gesea.. is that you?"
"It's me. I also brought Col with me tonight." Gesea grinned up at Colloyd as she handed Marble the food wrapped in foil and dropped to her knees. Marble did the same and Colloyd followed, nervously glancing back and forth.
"So this is your friend," Marble smiled, all the lines across her face following the countour of her lips. Colloyd smiled in greeting and tried to ignore how frail the old woman looked. As he watched her open the package and take out a sandwich, he noticed something he couldn't take his eyes off.
"Marble, did you see it? There was an oracle today!" Gesea whispered excitedly to the old lady.
"Yes I did. I saw the Tower of Salvation." She looked at Colloyd for just long enough for him to know that Gesea had spilled his secret identity as the Chosen to someone outside of the village.
"Sorry Col," Gesea whispered apologetically. "Marble won't tell anyone."
He shrugged and turned his attention back to the gem in Marbles hand. "…Hey grams—"
"Her name is Marble," Gesea explained patiently.
Colloyd quickly apologised and continued. "Marble. Isn't that an exsphere?"
"Oh, is that what this is called?" she asked. "They placed it on me shortly after I came here."
"Yeah, that's definitely an exsphere. But there's no key crest on it. An exsphere without a key crest is dangerous." He touched his hand for a minute reflexively.
Gesea looked down at the exsphere on the top of his knuckles. "You're right. You have that thing around yours."
"Right," he nodded, only just realising he'd touched it. "Attaching an exsphere directly to your skin supposedly makes you sick. But ironically, it's useless unless you attach it directly onto the skin. So in order to prevent it from making you sick, you carve a spell into a special ore and use that as a mount for the exsphere. That's the key crest."
Marble raised her eyebrows. "You're very knowledgeable. Gesea tells me you were raised by a dwarf, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised."
"What's going to happen to Marble without her having a key crest?" Gesea asked, concern sounding in her voice. "Can you make one for her, Col?"
"If the charm was the only thing needed, I could carve one myself, but there's nothing I can do without the inhibitor ore that acts as the mount. key crests are dwarven technology."
He regretted saying the last bit of his sentence slightly when Gesea got a pleading look in her eyes. "Please ask Dirk for help, Col!"
Col paused and took a deep breath. "Fine..fine.."
Gesea grinned. "That is why I like you, Col. You are a kind person."
"Hey, old hag! What the hell you doin' over there?" came a sharp male voice, making them all jump. The little old lady was suddenly dragged upward by the collar of her beige robes into a standing position by a typical helmet-wearing Desian. "Aha! So you have been eating!" He looked at the two children behind the gate, startled.
"We have to run!" Colloyd exclaimed.
"Sorry Marble.." Gesea cried as she took off with him away from the ranch.
The Desian holding marble held his hand to his mouth. "Alert Lord Forcystus at once to replay video footage. We have caught the two responsible for feeding one of our host subjects." He appeared to hang up on whoever he had been radioing and looked back at Marble. "Your little friends are going to pay dearly for their treason."
She spat in his face in disgust.
"Do you-" Gesea panted, "-think they saw our faces?"
"Nah," Colloyd shrugged and looked behind himself. "We shouldn't linger here. Are you going to be okay going back by yourself?"
Gesea nodded. "I'm sorry for the trouble Col."
"Don't worry about it," he smiled. "Marble seems really nice." He bid farewell to her and turned away before she could see the worry etched onto his face. He headed back home quickly and climbed his way up to his balcony and open bedroom door, to fall into bed with a light snore until morning came.