Naren – The Little Gem

(( My prompt word this week was ‘poor’. I decided to write a story for a girl who starts out in the books living in the slums of Kingsfall. ))

Ruby Brightblaze, as she was known in this area of Kingsfall, walked past the makeshift shelters. Most had been built with a combination of wood and piled rocks. Some of the fancier ones had doors, but most of them had a ratty old cloth covering the doorway. She and her father were lucky to live in one of the bigger ones, but even it had just an old blanket over the doorway.

“Hey Ruby!”

Ugh, creep. Don’t look.

Most of them had learned not to bother her by now, but this one persisted.

“Ruby! Did you think about it yet?”

Sorry creep. Temporary loss of hearing. Keep walking, Ruby.

She spun around as he grabbed her arm and lifted her knee to his crotch. He let go, and before he could even utter his next words, she was running.

“Bitch! I won’t even ask next time!”

He said more, but as he was still clutching his sore gonads, and she was still running, she didn’t hear it.

Her father had taught her to survive here. He’d had problems with some of the creeps as well, thanks to some of the work he used to do while he still lived with his mother, a prostitute. She suspected her mother was too, but he never spoke about her. He would only say she was gone. She’d given up on getting him to talk about her long ago.

She slowed down as she reached a wall. Kingsfall was one of the few cities in Naren with an actual sewer system. The infrastructure for it had been finished over ten years ago, thanks to the dwarves for sharing their inventions. She supposed it wouldn’t be too pleasant smelling if everyone pooped in the same cave.

She neared a circular hole in the wall. It had been covered with a grate, but the people of the slums were a resourceful lot. They had managed to loosen it enough that it could be pushed aside, while still appearing to cover the opening.

She held her breath as she stepped up inside the tunnel. Of course they’d leave the sewage to drain right into the slums. At least she didn’t live too close to one of the drains.

As she moved further in, it got darker. She tried to breathe without smelling it as she felt along the wall. She knew the way, and wasn’t worried about getting lost. She was worried about stepping in something gross. She really needed to find a better pair of shoes. These leaked when they got wet, and her father complained if they smelled. Luckily, the sewage was just a small trickle tonight as it hadn’t rained lately.

She took the first turn and walked along. Light from grates above trickled in, allowing her to see a little more in this section. She came upon the first ladder and climbed up, pushing the metal grate that covered it aside.

It was one of the easier ways to get in the other parts of the city now. It used to be you could walk in and out of the slums at will, but in the past few years, guards had been posted around the slums. Many of them asked for proof of being a registered citizen of the city. Since she was never officially named, she couldn’t provide proof. Nor could her father take her to be officially named. He could not provide proof of his either, and Kingsfall had hefty fines for anyone not registered as an adult.

She replaced the grate and walked along the street, now in the proper city where people had real walls, real doors, real homes and real names. It was true that most of the people in the Kingsfall slums were nameless. Even the ones who could prove they were registered with the city had difficulty leaving. Her father had stolen a priest’s outfit from the local temple and used it a few times as a creative way of leaving. The guards didn’t bother the charity workers who tried to help the nameless. The sewer worked well enough for her.

She turned down an alley, and scampered up the side of one of the buildings, using the uneven corner bricks as footholds. Once she was up, she went across to the other side and waited.

Five minutes later, something brushed her arm. She knew it was him.

“Did you have trouble getting here?”

She whispered back, “No father, I took the sewers.”

“Good. Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll lower you down. Be fast. They’re usually back from the temple in about fifteen minutes.”

Ruby nodded. Tomorrow would be an early morning as they rushed to sell the items before they were reported missing. That’s if there was anything worth stealing. Sometimes this part of town paid off, sometimes not. Stealing from the market stalls was much more exciting and efficient in her opinion, but she couldn’t really argue with her father. Once his amber eyes lit up with a new plan to make a few silver, there was little that could stop him. According to him, the sellers at the market were starting to catch on anyway. She didn’t know how he knew that. They had never been caught.

She held his wrists as he lowered her over the side of the building to an open window on the top floor. She let go as she got her foothold on the side of the window frame and gently made the rest of her way down to the window sill.

They had been watching this place for a while, and this window was always open in the summer. The building was too smooth on this side to reach it from the bottom, but lowering from the top gave her the footholds she needed to climb down. The couple who lived here went to the temple every week at the same time, but her father was right. They would be home soon.

She climbed inside, allowing her eyes to adjust for a moment before opening dresser drawers. Always check under the mattress. There was nothing there. She did find some jewelry left out on one of the nightstands. She slipped it in her bag before leaving the room.

The bathroom was the next room to check. Sometimes more jewelry was left there. She didn’t find any necklaces, but she did find some fancy hair clips. Those also went into her bag. She hurried down the stairs and found a fancy dining area. There was a tray, possibly made of silver. It was too big for her bag, and normally that would stop her, but she took the table cloth and wrapped it around it. She put some candle holders in her bag, and managed to find the silver too. Anything that looked remotely valuable went into her bag. She checked the sitting room and found a desk, but nothing important was in the drawers. She did find a nice pen though. Was it gold? She’d let her father sort that out when she got home.

The bell at the temple range once, signaling that they were closing their doors for the night. She hurried to the front door and unlocked it to let herself out.

She walked naturally down the street, trying to hold the platter covered with a table cloth like she was meant to be holding it.

She ducked into an alley near the grate to the sewer as there were some people passing. After she was sure the coast was clear, she pushed the grate aside and climbed back down the ladder.

She hurried back to the shack she shared with her father. She knew he would already be waiting there for her.

 

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World of Warcraft – Aeramin’s Notes

  • We’re back from our trip to Outland. He said yes. We spent our first night at the house in Shattrath. I cooked some frogs that we had picked up at the market in the lower city, along with some spicy vegetables. I chose frogs because we had those on one of our first dates, and spicy vegetables because he loves them. Also because they were the first thing we talked about. I remember I was working on my calligraphy jobs on the front step of the house, and he was having supper at the restaurant outside of the inn. I recall seeing him and thinking I couldn’t stand by and watch while he ate spicy vegetables without being warned.
  • I was still with Hethurin at the time, kind of. I mean, he had kind of left too. Things worked out for both of us. At least, I hope it’s working out for me. Imralion did say yes, but I’ve been engaged before, more than once. We know how that worked out.
  • I had a plate painted by Vaildor with a little message on it. I loaded it up with frogs legs and spicy vegetables, and let him eat his way to my proposal. I’ve never been so nervous before. Finally, he saw one of the words, and moved his food around to read the rest. That’s when I got the rings out.
  • I got two rings because we’re both getting engaged so it only makes sense for us both to have one. I had them made out of petrified wood by one of the shops in the lower city. His is bigger than mine because his fingers are larger, but that’s the only difference.
  • The rest of the week went well too. We mostly slept in the city, and made day trips out to see other places, like Nagrand, the swamp and the domes in Netherstorm. We both had a really good time.
  • We’re back now, and we’ve been working on telling everyone. I went to the school the day after we got back. Only two minutes after being there, Hethurin asked me when I was planning to tell him. While I was waiting to see how long it would take him to notice the ring and which finger it was on, I didn’t expect him to take only two minutes.
  • He kept asking if we needed any help planning it, and kept offering the school grounds as a location. I kept saying no, but I might change my mind about needing a little help. There’s no one better to help me pick out a robe. Maybe he can help me pick someone to do my hair too, as long as they don’t put it in a braid.
  • I think I might have offended him by saying no to his offers. Im and I already have plans though. Neither of us want anything big, and I’d like to have it in Eversong, near where my mother’s ashes are. I lived in the area until I was six, and I remember going with her to the stream. She used to wash laundry there, and sometimes we’d catch frogs, which is how I learned to cook them.
  • I miss her.
  • Imralion told my father, which is fine cause I was dreading it, but then my father wanted to see me. I go to redo the wards around the ranger building once a week, and I usually try to go when I know my father is on patrol. I don’t care to see him. I don’t want to get into any arguments about past. I don’t want to fight with him about Lyorri. I’d really rather forget Lyorri altogether. Then he’d say he’d never did that. Well, maybe he should have.
  • Anyway, I went to see him. He refrained from bringing up Lyorri, which was a nice change, but he did start asking when we were planning to have the wedding, and where. I told him he wasn’t invited, and not for the reason he thinks. He asked what the reason was. I told him it’s because I care. There’s going to be alcohol there. He’s sober now, but he might feel like celebrating, and that would be the end of it, wouldn’t it?
  • He said I didn’t trust him. Like hell I’m going to trust him, and I told him that. BUT I care. I don’t need to trust him to care for him. I always have cared. I took care of both him and Maena before. When I went to Dalaran to study, I returned home often to make sure the rent was paid and they had food, I prioritized that over buying things to help my studies. After I passed my exams, I still went to check on them. I helped him move to the Ghostlands, and fixed up a house for him, which he trashed over and over again. He would not be working for the rangers now if I had not cared.
  • I still care. I don’t want him at the wedding. I don’t want him to have any setbacks. I think he understood. He didn’t say much else. He hugged me, which I could have done without, and said thanks.
  • We’ll have to start making real plans soon. I don’t want to be engaged for too long. I’d rather get past the engagement stage as fast as possible. I’ve been with Im a long time and I don’t think either of us have any doubts. We’ve also talked about our hopes and goals for the future, and I think we’re both headed in the same direction, so that’s good too.

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Naren – Tolek

(( My prompt this week was ‘race’. I have a few different races in my stories- elves, humans, dwarves, dragons, gracxul and lucaja. The lucaja race borders between being animals and sentient beings, with some further towards one side or the other. So I thought it would be fun to write from the POV of a lucaja who wouldn’t recognize himself in a mirror. Furthermore, I decided to write a story to go along with a couple of stories I’ve written already, so consider this part one. Here are the links to part 2 and part 3. EDIT: Oops, and part 4 😉  ))

Tolek sat on the perch above his master’s cave. He was trained to guard. Sit. Stay. Watch. He was good. He understood, not like the others who had trouble learning. Another scream came from within. His master’s training was sought out by many of the dragons who owned lucaja. Many poorly behaved lucaja were sent to his master’s lair for reformative training. The latest was a scrawny runt who knew how to talk back to the masters. Tolek knew few words, but even he knew enough not to speak to the masters unless specifically asked to. Tolek was sure that made him smarter than even the lucaja who could speak more.

His master rarely had a talking lucaja in his lair. Tolek hoped it would not affect how many treats he would get. The master would sometimes sit with him, and teach him new words to say. Then he would go through the old words and give Tolek a berry for each one he remembered. He only spoke when asked to, not like the stupid one his master was with now. He heard muffled words. It was not his master’s voice, nor the gracxul who helped him train. Then there was a crack of a whip, and another scream followed by more words. They sounded like angry words. Tolek winced as his master’s voice boomed throughout his lair. The gracxul yelled as well. The whip cracked. He heard it again and again until there was silence. He did not peek to see what was happening inside. He was told to guard. He was good.

Minutes later, the gracxul exited the lair. He looked up to Tolek with a sneer. “Tolek, your master requests you inside.”

Tolek took a moment to decipher what the gracxul had said. ‘Inside’ was a word he knew, and he knew his name. The gracxul wanted him to come inside. He hopped off his perch and glided down to the entrance with his wings spread. The gracxul had already returned inside by the time he landed. He hurried to catch up, running on all fours with his wings tucked down until he was just behind the lumbering wingless dragon.

His master tossed some cloth scraps on the floor as the gracxul and Tolek entered the chamber. “Tolek, bandage him.”

Tolek knew what to do. He hurried to the scraps and picked them up. He took them to the lucaja who was left lying on the floor, and quickly inspected his wounds. He must have angered the master greatly. His long black hair was matted with blood from his shoulders and back. The whip had cut through his wings in more than one spot. His tail had some deep whip marks as well. Tolek could not remember one who had been so severely beaten as this. He was lucky the dragon had not given up and eaten him instead! He wrapped pieces of cloth around the deepest wounds first, and finished with the less severe wounds. He placed the remaining scraps aside in a neat pile.

His master dropped some rope next. “Tolek, tie his hands and feet.”

Tolek hurried to the rope while at the same time trying to decipher the command. He picked it up, hesitating only briefly as he sorted out the words, then hurrying back to the lucaja on the floor to carry out his master’s wishes. When he was done, he looked up expectantly.

“Good Tolek.” A berry dropped from his master’s clawed fingers.

Tolek rushed for it. The other lucaja was tied, but certainly he would fight for a treat. Tolek picked up his berry from the dirt with his clawed hand and popped it in his mouth. He turned to regard the other lucaja, but he hadn’t moved, not even for a berry.

His master’s voice echoed in the chamber, “Another treat?”

Tolek turned and looked up at him excitedly. He wanted to say yes. He knew the word, but his master had not told him to speak.

“Tolek stay. Guard. Another treat later.”

The gracxul looked at the larger dragon.

“What is it?”

The gracxul shuffled nervously on his four feet. “You trust this lucaja to watch him while we’re gone?”

The dragon nodded. “Tolek is one of my most obedient lucaja. When I tell him to guard, he will guard. Our trainee will not be allowed to leave.”

The gracxul replied, “Good, let’s go see if there’s a place in the pit for this one to spend the night before removing his wings tomorrow.”

Tolek did not understand all of the words, but he knew his master spoke proudly of him. He would stay. He would guard. He watched as his master left the lair with the gracxul.

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World of Warcraft – On the Rooftops

Alinash checked one last time on his rabbit, Mister McHoppers, before slipping out the window. Harrier was already in the other room with the boss, and he wasn’t going to stay for that.

He pressed his hat down firmly on his head, and climbed up the wall to the roof. He wasn’t sure where he would go. He didn’t care as long as it wasn’t home. I hate home. That wasn’t true— at least not all the time. Maybe it was a little true on nights like tonight. He thought about going to see Star, but she was usually busy by this time. Still, he thought maybe he should go check. Even if she was busy, the bar downstairs had some of the best stout in Stormwind.

It was good to make the decision in his head to go there as his feet were already taking him in that direction. He climbed over the rooftops with ease, dropping down to the lower ones, and jumping lightly over small gaps.

He stopped dead in his tracks when the air started shimmering a few yards ahead of him. He turned to scramble back up from the higher roof he had just dropped down from when a female voice called out.

“Stop.”

He’d heard that voice before, but where. He dropped back down and turned around to see who it was. He didn’t immediately recognize her.

She spoke again. “Can I ask why you haven’t returned to my father yet?”

Father? What was she— Oh.

“Well?”

Alinash shrugged, “I don’t know who your father is.”

Her brow shot up, “Then what were you doing in my home?”

“Umm, I.. Umm.”

She crossed her arms. “What’s your name?”

“Wilhelm.”

“Liar.”

“You don’t know that. I was raised by humans.”

“You were raised by humans, but were in Silvermoon long enough for your eyes to turn green, and that was after our alliance with the humans failed? You’re not good at this. What’s your real name?” She walked up to him and pushed his hat off his head, revealing his ears.

He bent to pick up his hat. Our alliance. He had learned before that her father was in Silvermoon. He looked at her more closely. She definitely had brown eyes and short rounded ears.

“I’ve already heard you speak. You can’t pretend you’re mute now. Now, I’ll ask again. What is your name?”

“Thal’inas.”

“Thal’inas what?”

“What does it matter?”

“It matters because you broke into my home.”

“How did you find me? It’s been months since I did that.”

She smiled. “You already know one of my secrets. I can’t give them all away.”

“What secret?”

She said some strange words, and the air around her shimmered. She was dressed the same, her face looked almost the same. Her green eyes glowed and her ears were pointed and long. “Unless you are stupid, you figured it out.”

“I’m not stupid.”

“Good, then tell me why you were breaking into my home if you don’t know my father.”

“I was looking for something of mine.”

She looked at him expectantly. “And that is?”

He sighed. He wasn’t about to face off with a mage on the rooftops of Stormwind in the middle of the night. Especially not a Sin’dorei mage. He opted to tell the truth. “A necklace. My old landlady took my things while I was out of town for longer than I predicted and sold them, or gave them away, or something. I saw you walking down the street while wearing my most prized possession.”

“Really then? Which necklace is that?” He could tell by the way she said it that she didn’t believe him.

“It’s silver filigree pendant with green and white gems. It used to belong to my mother.”

Her expression softened, but only slightly. “Come to the house tomorrow night. Please use the same door you did last time. I don’t want my guard to be alerted. I will let you in.”

Alinash opened his mouth to ask questions, but the air shimmered and she disappeared. Did she want payment? Was she just going to give him his stupid bauble? Certainly, she’d want something for it. He frowned. I hate payments. He’d have to go find out tomorrow.

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Naren – Fishing

(( My prompt word was ‘fish’. There are no actual fish in the story, but it starts with fishing! ))

“Magister Fairsong! What are you doing? We have fishermen who come into the village to buy from. There’s no need to soil your hands.”

Hethurin Fairsong looked up. The council members tended to watch him a little more closely when Terellion was out of town. He should be used to it by now, but he had just leaned back to relax with his fishing pole in hand. “It’s quite fine, Hirdle. I enjoy fishing.”

Hirdle Mountaincrane seemed taken aback. “Are- are you sure?”

“I’m positive. You didn’t need me for anything did you?” Hethurin asked, eager for the human to leave.

“I… Well, no, but I did come to inform you of a discovery made this afternoon.”

Hethurin reeled in a little of his slack, but made no move to indicate he was ready to leave his fishing spot. “A discovery?”

“Yes. Is Terellion back yet? This could concern him as well.”

“I just translocated him and his horse to Westerfair this morning. It took some time off the trip, but I don’t expect he’ll return for another few days yet.” He regarded Hirdle curiously, “Why? Is something wrong with the sword? His sister is in town to look after it while he’s gone.”

“Oh no, no. It’s not the sword. It is highly irregular for an adahi to leave his mage behind, but I suppose it’s all for the best in this instance. At least you’re not both gone. You should finish up and meet me at the town hall.”

Hethurin twitched an ear, realizing that Hirdle still hadn’t told him exactly what the discovery was. He decided it would be easier to drop it, and just go find out for himself. “I’ll be there shortly.”

He reeled in his line, and closed up his small tacklebox. Whatever Hirdle’s discovery was had better be good. He loved Terellion, but his adahi and husband did not share the same passion for fishing as he did. Although he always said he wanted to go with him, Hethurin believed he was bored most of the time. Either that or they wound up doing something else and not fishing at all. Not that something else wasn’t fun too, but it made actual real fishing easier to do when Terellion made his short trips to get supplies for the small village’s school.

He made his way into town. The home he had just moved into with Terellion was along the way. They had been in the town together for over a year now, and had both decided that they were going to need a bigger place as they wanted to adopt. Thus they sold Terellion’s old home and moved into a bigger one closer to the town center. He stopped there and left his fishing gear, before continuing on to the town hall.

He noticed a delivery wagon in front of the town hall, which was a rather small building, but it suited the small town quite well. He climbed the steps and went inside, noticing a group of people huddled in one corner.

“Magister Fairsong, there you are. We’ve been waiting for you.” Solrys Lightweaver, the only elf on the town’s council, noticed him approaching first.

The others turned to look at him, and that’s when he saw the little bundle in Deydesli’s arms.

Solrys spoke again, “Deydesli came to us this morning and insisted that we check the crates in the shipment coming into the general store today.”

Hethurin looked around at the others. There was one he didn’t recognize, and he spoke next.

“I swear. I have no idea how she got in there. I’ve come all the way from Aduandel and never heard a peep. I’ve unloaded and loaded boxes along the way. I’m not sure where the one she was in was from.”

“We believe you. We do not intend to look into the matter much. It’s quite obvious that whomever put her in the crate meant to abandon her.” Solrys reassured the man. He turned to face Hethurin again. “The real matter now is finding her a home. Hethurin, we know you and Terellion have been meaning to adopt, but you also know we don’t have any orphans here.”

Hethurin nodded. “That is correct. Terellion was going to ask at the Kingsfall orphanage about the procedure with them while he’s there.”

Deydesli approached him and passed the bundled baby to his arms. “She’s very new.” She lowered her voice to a whisper, “I know for a fact that Terellion will say yes. Why don’t you take her for a few days until he gets home? She needs a family, and you will be excellent parents.”

Hethurin looked at the others again then back at the baby in his arms. She was sleeping. One of her hands was up against the side of her face. Her fingers were so tiny. “I’ll have to discuss it with Terellion, of course, but I will gladly watch her until he gets back. Then we can make the decision together.”

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World of Warcraft – Bear’s Shack

Beroleth hurried home to his camp. Well, he called it a camp, but how long had he lived there now? It had been a few years. He briefly thought he should build something a little more permanent than the shack that he lived in now, but quickly moved that to his list of long-term things to work on. He had much to do now, and very little time to do it.

He climbed up the path on the hill leading to where he lived. Norr followed closely behind, but appeared a lot less hurried than he did. The bear meandered along the path, stopping to smell things he passed, but somehow still managed to keep up with the elf.

Espen greated him at the top of the path. The large white bear was a sight to behold, and she almost toppled Beroleth over with a big hug.

“Yes, yes, I know. You missed me. I wasn’t gone long.” He dodged under her front paw to avoid the crushing hug, and pat her on the back as he passed by her. “Come on girl, we have work to do.”

Risarra had agreed to visit him, and not as part of her regular patrol. She was a strange girl, claiming that he had forgotten about wanting to go to Feralas. She had never brought it up again, and he wasn’t one to impose his ideas on her. He had let it be her idea to visit outside her patrol, and it was finally happening. He wasn’t ready. Would she want to see the inside of his shack? It had never come up when he was just part of her patrol – just part of making sure the Ashenvale citizens were safe and sound.

Was he more than just a citizen to her?

He’d always liked her, but she had shown little interest in him past doing her job. Were the dumplings part of her job? Maybe she took them to all the people living in the woods. He wasn’t sure. It was the promise of fresh dumplings and maybe getting to see her when she wasn’t on patrol that drew him into the town. He made up the excuse of taking her berries. They were berries that she had told him the location of, so it only seemed fair if he shared them.

And now she was coming to see him at his camp outside of patrol.

He walked into his shack, it was a mess. The bed was the worst part. It was made with a lumber base, with pine branches laying across two thicker branches. Those were covered with furs and tattered old blankets that he had brought with him when he left Auberdine. His old pillow had only survived so long thanks to the leather cover he had made for it. His skill in leatherworking was nearly non-existant and the cover was not pretty, but it did do its job. He considered hiding the pillow, but decided that wiping it down would be fine.

He started taking the layers of furs off and putting them outside. He’d beat the dirt off them later, but for now the sunshine and light breeze would serve to freshen them up a bit. Eventually, he got to the branches. A few had broken, but fewer than he thought. The main problem was the brown pine needles sticking out along the edges of his bed. It didn’t look nice, and fresh pine would make the place smell better too.

He took the old branches out and set about gathering new ones. Norr followed him, helping him carry some of the branches back. He only took them from trees that were big enough, and never took more than two from one tree. After returning to the camp, he remade the bed base placing the new branches over the two thicker branches on the dirt floor.

Next was his fire pits. He had two, one for summer that was outside, and one for winter that was inside. He had built the shack in a way that there could be a hole in the top to let the smoke out if he had the fire going inside, and he could close it if there wasn’t a fire burning. He was rather proud of his invention. He wasn’t worried about the fire pit outside. Risarra had seen that one already, but he didn’t want old charred fish bones inside. He used his hands to rake through the sand he had put in the center of a circle of stones, taking out anything that got caught on them. He took the pieces outside and put them in the outside fire pit.

Lastly, there was himself. Pine sap, ash and dirt covered his hands and arms. He stripped down and walked out into the water of the small lake next to his camp. Before he started scrubbing the dirt off, he took out his braids. He rarely left his hair down, but he figured this was a special occasion. He washed his hair then took to scrubbing off the dirt.

Maybe he was just a citizen, but maybe, just maybe, he could be more.

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Naren – The Parting of the Seers

(( My prompt word was ‘bread’ so I went with three people sharing a meal. ))

Dasturn took his seat between the elf and the human, his short dwarven arms reaching across the table to the bread. Grabbing it, he broke off a piece and placed it on the human’s plate, and another piece he put on the elf’s plate. He placed the middle on his own.

“They’ll have us survive on stale old bread for we do not do as they wish,” Cynerik, the human said while looking at his piece dejectedly.

Erith, the tall, lithe elf with a slight blueish tinge to her skin picked up her bread and bit into it. “They feed us, though I do not know if it is a blessing or a curse.”

“She’s been seeing things she isn’t going to tell us about again.” Dasturn sighed. He always shared what he saw, but Erith liked leaving things a mystery.

“It was a mistake to come here.” Cynerik interjected. “I see that now. We should have kept our gifts a secret.”

“I think we all see that now,” Dasturn nodded. “They only seek control.”

“To spit upon the goddesses’ wishes so blatantly.” Cynerik glowered.

“We were to guide them. We cannot guide those unwilling to follow the guides.” Erith spoke again.

They all nodded, but fell into silence as they ate. Dasturn damned the day he arrived here to the city of the humans. At first it wasn’t bad. As one of the three seers, he had been put up in a fancy room in the palace of the high priest who had been tasked with informing the people of the existence of the seers. The Goddesses had not abandoned their people. They had left the seers to aid them in their absence.

It was Cynerik who interrupted the silence, “Can’t either of you see a way out of here?”

Dasturn shook his head, and glanced at Erith, who seemed to ignore the question.

“Just like always,” Cynerik grumbled. “I thought we were supposed to be stronger together.”

Dasturn shrugged, “I can see more before I tire. Maybe that’s all they meant.”

Cynerik quoted what had been written by the late high priest. “The three corners of the world come together and find their power multiplied.”

Dasturn snorted and added his own thoughts, “And so the people gather us up and demand knowledge and power after deposing the man who told them of it.”

The human nodded, his mouth forming a thin line as they fell into silence again.

It had happened that way. His time in the palace was short lived, and now he lived in a room in a basement stuck with the seer of the past and the seer of the future. As the seer of the present, he could see what was going on in the palace now. There was no talk of letting them out. There was only talk of things getting worse. He glanced at Erith. She must have seen the possibility too.

As he started to look away with the intent to pay more attention to his stale bread, she spoke, “There is a way out.”

Both he and Cynerik looked at her.

“You won’t like it.”

“What is it?” Cynerik asked.

“We stop eating the bread.”

Cynerik blinked at her, “That’s it? Will they let us out and give us more food?”

“No.”

Dasturn narrowed his eyes, “But you said it’s the way out.”

“It is,” she said as she pushed her plate away with the half-eaten bread on it. “We will die. We will be reborn. We must also make a pact.”

“A pact?” Cynerik asked.

“Yes, an agreement.”

“I know what a pact is.”

“We must vow never to come together like this again until it is necessary.”

Cynerik and Dasturn exchanged a glance towards each other.

“I’m not sure I’m very fond of dying in the first place.” Dasturn said, looking back at Erith.

“You know what they plan to do with us. We are already weak from the stale bread diet. We won’t last long if we stop eating what they do give us. We will be free in our next lives. It is the only way we’ll get out.”

“But we won’t be ourselves anymore.” Dasturn frowned.

“We lose our memories of this life, yes,” Erith glanced at Cynerik, “but who we are does carry on, and our abilities will go with us. Cynerik may even remember this conversation sometime once he’s old enough.”

Dasturn eyed Erith warily, “Then how are the two of us going to remember this pact?”

“I have a theory that if we all use our abilities at once, we can make the pact be part of our being. We may not even consciously be aware of it, but we will heed no calls to assemble the seers. If we do happen to meet one of the other seers, we will know to part as soon as possible.”

Dasturn continued question Erith, “Until it’s necessary. You said that. What does that mean?”

“There will come a time when we will be needed. Not for petty squabbles or greed, but for survival of the goddesses’ creations.”

Cynerik put his bread down, and pushed his plate away.

Dasturn turned towards him. His expression searching for answers.

“I’d rather live free in my future lives than live as I do now in every one.” He looked directly at Erith, “Since I am the one most likely to remember this conversation, I will be sure not to let you forget it if it doesn’t work.”

They both looked at Dasturn.

“All right, fine.” Dasturn dropped his bread and pushed it away. “Let’s do this.”

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