Monthly Archives: January 2018

Naren – The Escape

Naevys Melith’enddare brushed her long red hair over her shoulder as she rushed down the stairs. She came to the door to the basement and pushed it open. There was a short corridor with three doors, one at the end and two on the sides. Most of them were used for storage. She knocked slowly three times on the door on the left, following with two quick knocks. The door opened just a hair before being fully opened. She walked in.

“Naevys, where have you been?”

Of course, he was angry. She was supposed to be here over twenty minutes ago. It wasn’t her fault that Madame Copley wanted to discuss her future with her. She had just passed her exams and Madame Copley wanted her to consider applying for an assistant teaching position. Naevys had feigned mild interest at the time, but now in front of him, she rolled her eyes. “Onaetil, I was listening to Madame Copley go on and on about the benefits of remaining locked up in Thril Gandir forever.”

“How exciting,” he said in his least excited voice. “Are you sure she didn’t suspect anything?”

“She’s as clueless as she ever was.” Naevys smiled as she spoke. Most of the teachers were clueless. It was only due to Mr. Waterfall’s insistence that she would be a good teacher that Madame Copley wanted to speak to her at all. What she really wanted was to be assigned an adahi and get out to see the world, or at least go home, like her brother had, but she had too many marks on her record, including disappearing for three days when it was time to return to Thril Gandir the last time she had a temporary adahi a couple of years ago.

It was that last mark that had sealed her fate. She was stuck in Thril Gandir, at least for the time being if they had their way. They had made a special concession due to her status as the daughter of Mage-Lord Athimas Melith’enddare of Elenduil. If she could keep from getting any more marks for twenty years, then she could start applying for an adahi.

Twenty years was a long time. She wanted out now.

“What about your brother? He didn’t cause any trouble with his visit, did he? I told you not to ask for his help.”

She frowned. She had tried to get his help at first. It would have been much easier with his assistance. He was better with warding and translocation spells. While she wasn’t sure how good he was at unweaving wards, he had to be better than she was. Onaetil could do it, but it would be faster with two. Not to mention how much easier it would be to have someone helping from the outside. Unfortunately, he had said no and threatened to tell on her if she tried. That was a year ago. She had planned alone with Onaetil since then. “He left this morning. He didn’t bring it up, nor did I.”

“Good. The last thing we need is him interfering. Were you able to get the focus stones in place today?”

“Yes. Right after my brother left, I went and put them in their spots. That’s when Madame Copley found me, right after I placed the last one in the library.”

“Yes, and now we have to hurry because the boat will be leaving soon.”

Naevys nodded. She had warded each stone. When it was found she would know. Her wards would also strengthen any spell passing through it, until it was broken. All it would take was one touch of the stone. That was her job, to warn Onaetil when to switch to the next stone. Onaetil’s job was to channel his spell through the stones to make it look like the ward was being unraveled from somewhere that they weren’t. Naevys felt it was a great plan, and now it was time to put the plan in motion.

“The stone in the children’s dorm is first, right?”

Naevys nodded again. She focused on the ward around the first focus stone as Onaetil started whispering his spells. She could feel his magic poking against the wards that kept them imprisoned in Thril Gandir.

“Gently, Onaetil. There’s still enough time to do this without being reckless.”

Onaetil said nothing, but she knew he had heard as his spells lessened in intensity. She continued her focus on her ward around the focus stone. She felt the snap as it broke only moments later. “Crap. Already? Switch to the second year classroom, quick!”

Onaetil frowned and mumbled, “You couldn’t have placed them further apart? The children are all on the north side all the time.”

“Just switch,” Naevys replied with a twitch of her ear.

She focused on the ward on the next stone. Again, she felt Onaetil’s spells pushing hard against the city’s wards. “That’s probably what made them find the first one so—” Her ear twitched again, “Next stone, cafeteria. Calm it down this time. They’re finding them too fast.”

Onaetil’s ear twitched as well as he switched his spell to the next stone. She could tell his spells were lessened in intensity again. She waited nervously. She couldn’t tell how much progress he had made if any at all. Was he almost done? Had he barely touched them? Only a few minutes later she felt the ward around her stone break. “Switch to the teen dorm.”

“They’re going too fast.”

She frowned. She guessed not much progress had been made. “We still have a few more. Just keep it steady. They didn’t find that one as fast.”

She wasn’t exactly sure who ‘they’ were. The mages who earned high positions within the city usually did so in secret. The only person they knew of who was in a position of power was the adahi captain, and adahis were not the ones keeping the wards up.

Again, only a couple of minutes passed before her ward broke. “Shit! Next stone. Stables.”

Onaetil looked at her. His expression said everything without a word from him.

“Keep going,” she said. She agreed it wasn’t looking good. They only had two stones left, and Onaetil didn’t look like he had gotten far with his task. She felt a burst of anger at her brother for not agreeing to help. They could be out of here already if he had done something.

She forgot about her anger as the ward around the stone in the stables broke. “Switch to the Deturian Chapel.”

Onaetil didn’t even bother giving her a look this time, but she did feel his spells ramping up again. If he was close, maybe it would give them the advantage they needed so she refrained from telling him to work more slowly.

Again, it was only a few minutes before her ward broke. “Library,” she said. It was the last one.

“Be ready to grab the stuff and get out of here.”

She looked at him. Clarification would be nice, but he resumed his spells. Did he mean he was almost through or he wasn’t even close? If the ward on her last stone failed, they would have to leave. They had been finding the stones fast, it was possible they knew where the next one was as soon as they found one, and if they did, then as soon as they found this one—  “Crap.”

“They found it?” Onaetil asked.

“Yes.”

“We need to go. I’ll head to the cafeteria. You head to the library.”

“What about our stuff?”

He picked up both packs and handed hers to her. “People carry books around in their bags all the time. Just act natural.”

She nodded. He was already heading towards the door. She followed behind him, both of them taking two stairs at a time as they rushed out of the basement. The split at the hallway at the top, and she headed towards the library, her pack on her back.

She was the most likely to run into the people who had found the stones as the last stone was in the library. Had Onaetil planned that? It was too late to turn around and not look suspicious now as she turned down another hallway. This one had other people in it. She matched the pace of the others. Most of them were other mages, like her, but she saw two adahis and an older mage walking quickly down the middle of the hall.

Act natural. She glanced around. Everyone else was looking at the mage and two adahis so she did too. They walked briskly past her. She joined the others in gaping at them for a few seconds before returning to their own business.

She walked at a normal pace towards the library, swearing in her head to give Onaetil an ear-full later on for sending her this way.

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WoW – A Visit to Mother – part 3

Bailas made a face as he helped Syrel lift Verisna’s son and carry him through the portal. The elf was too bony. Bailas wondered if he was secretly Scourge and just had a normal face or something. The idea grossed him out.

He glanced at Syrel and frowned. The room they had arrived in was dark. Candles burned on a table in the middle. There was a couch along the far wall. Bailas and Syrel carried the unconscious elf to the couch and lowered him onto it. Bailas looked around the room. Why was it so dark?

“What is this?” he whispered angrily at Syrel. “My neck is riding on making sure everything goes smoothly.”

“This is the only priest I could find who was available. He’s a mind priest, so I thought he might be able to help or at least be able to find out why he passed out.”

Bailas nodded. Syrel had missed his admission to what really had happened. He supposed a mind priest may be able to help more after all. He could just suggest that Sanimir forget certain things and remember different things.

“I expect he knows we’re here?”

“He told me he’d return in half an hour. He expects us,” Syrel responded.

“I’ll handle it from here then. Ask the mage to send you back to Verisna. I don’t want any harm to come to her, and I’m worried about the people who came with her son.”

Syrel went back over to the mage and spoke with him. Moments later he was through a portal back to the manor. The mage was getting paid by the minute so Bailas supposed he didn’t mind waiting. He stayed on the further end of the room. Bailas was thankful that the room was fairly large. He’d be able to explain the situation to the priest without the mage overhearing him.

The priest entered the room a few minutes later. “Ah, here’s the patient. I was told he passed out. Has he woken at all?”

“No,” Bailas answered, “and there’s a reason for that. He was given a dose of dreaming glory and twilight jasmine extract.”

“Oh, then that explains it. He should wake within the next 24 hours, depending on the size of the dose.”

“It was a fairly large dose,” Bailas admitted.

“Well, just keep him somewhere safe, and keep an eye on him.” The priest turned to leave.

“Wait!” Bailas said. The priest stopped as Bailas took a few steps closer to him and whispered. “I was hoping maybe you could help him forget the events leading up to him passing out and make him think he just suddenly got tired or something. I have an idea to put him in a room in the inn, so he just needs to think he teleported there.”

The priest frowned, “While I can, it’s not something I do regularly. It won’t be cheap.”

“Twenty thousand gold pieces are in it for you.” Verisna was already mad. The bill from the priest would be nothing on top of everything else.

“Fine, I’ll do it.”

“Good. How long will it take?” Bailas asked.

“About fifteen minutes. It shouldn’t be too hard with him out. His mind shouldn’t resist much.”

“Okay. I’m going to go get the room ready while you do that.”

He checked Sanimir’s cloak pockets quickly and found his coin purse and wallet. It would be best if he didn’t use Verisna’s account to pay for the room. He didn’t want to mess this up for her.

He let the priest get to work, and went over to the mage. “I’ll need to go to an inn and come back with me to fetch the patient after the priest is done.”

The mage nodded and made a portal. Bailas stepped through it first and waited for the mage on the other side. “Just stay here. I’ll get the room, then we’ll go up so you know the location to teleport the patient to. Can you do that without me having to pick him up?”

“I could teleport just him from one spot to another, yes.”

Bailas nodded. That would be better than having to touch the bony elf again. He was grossed out just thinking about it. He hurried over to the innkeeper and showed Sanimir’s papers to put the room on his account. He tried to match the signature as well as he could. The people at the inn didn’t seem to notice that it wasn’t quite the same. He then took the mage up to the room so that he’d know the location of the bed before taking a portal back to the priest’s weird dark room.

The priest was just finishing, and he stood and faced the two men coming out of the portal. “He’s in a very deep rest right now. That made him very easy to suggest to believe different events. It should take with no problem.”

“Great,” Bailas said. “Is he ready to go?”

The priest nodded.

Bailas gestured to the mage to do his thing. As the mage cast his spell, Sanimir disappeared from the couch.

“I’ll need a portal there to check to make sure everything is fine. You’re done after that though. I’ll walk home so I can scout out who’s there first.”

The mage nodded, checking his timepiece. “I’ll send my bill to the house.” He cast a portal spell, then a teleport for himself.

Bailas stepped through the portal. Sanimir slept peacefully on the bed. Bailas put his wallet and coin purse back into his cloak pocket.

“Sorry about the misunderstanding, son.” He slipped out the door, making sure it was locked before slipping out of the inn and heading home.

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WoW – A Visit to Mother – part 2

Verisna knew something was wrong when Sanimir said having tea delivered to her home was fascinating. She eyed him warily. Was this some sort of a trick? Perhaps it was some sort of secret code for something. She twitched an ear and returned to their previous topic of conversation.

“So? Are you going to tell me?”

“About what?”

She eyed him again. What kind of game was he playing this time? “About why you’re here.”

She waited for an answer, but he said nothing. There was something unsettling about his gaze. He seemed to be looking at her but not at the same time, as if she was invisible and he was looking at the wall behind her.

“Sanimir, are you okay?” she asked, becoming a little more than concerned.

He didn’t answer, but stood abruptly and started casting. She recognized the beginning of the cast as a typical teleport spell. She also recognized that he was not feeling very well. He had always hated when she took care of him when he was sick. Perhaps it would be best to let him go. If it was anything serious, it would be best for him to teleport back to the Ghostlands so that his father could take care of him. She might not like the man, but even she had to admit he was an amazing healer, and the fact that Sanimir actually liked him meant that he’d be much better off with him.

That was when Sanimir stopped casting. He swayed where he stood and grabbed onto the back of the chair. Verisna started to get up to help him, but he started casting again. It was another teleport spell. He mumbled the words as he swayed. No, that was more than a sway. He was falling over.

“Sanimir!” She rushed to his side and called out for Bailas and Syrel. She noticed his lips still moving. He was still trying to cast his teleport spell. “Yes, that’s it. Get yourself to the people who can help,” she whispered while stroking his hair.

Syrel came rushing into the room. She held her son’s upper body in her lap. He knelt on the other side of him and put his fingers over Sanimir’s wrist. “He’s still alive.”

“I know. He’s breathing. Let’s move him to the sofa. I want you to go get help. Please use the back door. It wouldn’t surprise me if he brought someone to wait for him out front.”

“Shouldn’t they know?” Syrel asked as Bailas entered the room.

Verisna moved back to let the men move her son. “No. They’ll blame us. I’m not sure what happened. We were just talking then he started acting strangely and finally he passed out.”

Bailas looked at her as he helped Syrel position Sanimir on the couch.

“What?” Verisna asked, raising a brow.

“Oh, um, nothing. I just thought… Well, what are we going to do with him now?”

Verisna glared at him. He was hiding something. “We’re going to get help for him. Syrel, remember to go out the back. Bailas, you’re staying here with me.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to go? I can run faster than Syrel.”

“I am sure.” She nodded to Syrel who then hurriedly left the room. She waited until she heard the loud creak of the back door swinging open and closed. She grabbed Bailas’s wrist and held it up in a tight grasp. “What did you do?”

“I… uh, nothing. I swe— Ow!”

She twisted his arm and firmed her grip. He wouldn’t dare fight back unless he wanted to go back to being a pool boy. “Tell me what you did.”

“You winked at me when he arrived. I thought that meant you wanted to get back at him for…”

“I didn’t ask why you did it. I asked what you did.” She pushed his arm a little further.

“O-ow! Okay, okay. Please stop!”

While she did love it when he begged, now wasn’t the time. She loosened her grip slightly. “What did you do?”

“I put a mixture of dreaming glory and twilight jasmine extract in his tea.”

She released him with a push. She was familiar with the mixture. Her ex-husband had kept some of the mixture in his clinic for surgeries. “How much?”

“Um, well, I wasn’t sure of his weight so I gave him a fairly large dose.”

“You’re an idiot, Bailas.” She knelt next to the couch and pushed some of the hair off her son’s face. “Now I’ll ask why. Why would you think giving him a large concentrated dose of dreaming glory and twilight jasmine could ever be a good idea?”

Bailas kept his distance, remaining where he stood when she released him. “I thought the wink meant you wanted to get back at…”

“Why would you think that? The wink meant what it always means. I wanted you later. Are you stupid? I’m very proud of where he is right now. He has a successful school and his own fortune. Sure, I’m not happy with who he married or his idea not to give me real grandchildren, and his decision not to visit does bother me a little. I’m rather amused by the fact he changed his last name, leaving the Lightmist name to die out, but that doesn’t mean I want any harm to come to him.” She twitched an ear as she checked his breathing once more. Bailas’s description of a ‘fairly large dose’ did nothing to ease her mind.

“I’m sorry. I was wrong.”

Verisna twitched her ear again. Bailas remained silent but didn’t leave the room.
Moments later, there was a knock at the front door. Syrel would return the way he left, knowing that there could be someone in front.

“I’ll bet ten thousand gold that’s whoever he came with,” Verisna said, getting up and walking towards the curtains. She drew them closed after she peeked out. “His husband. Stay quiet.”

While the curtains didn’t block everything, the couch was situated between two windows. She was reasonably sure no one would be able to see in well enough to see what was on the couch. She took Bailas’s wrist again and pulled him into the hallway where they could see into another room. The hallway was dark, and she was reasonably sure no one would be able to see them there, especially not when looking in from the outdoors.

“There he is,” Bailas said while raising his hand to point.

She swatted his hand down. “Quiet, and no movement,” she scolded with a whisper.

Her son’s husband seemed to be doing just as she feared, trampling the landscaping just so he could peek in the windows. A fine lady would have never done such a thing. Why couldn’t he have just married who she picked? She frowned in silence as she waited for him to leave.

Luckily, it was only a few minutes before he wandered back to the path and walked away from the building, and it was just in time. The back door squeaked in protest of being opened. She met Syrel in the hallway after she was sure her son’s husband was leaving. The man with Syrel was not a healer she was familiar with.

“Syrel, you were gone too long. We need to hurry. His husband was here looking for him, and could return at any moment.”

“Madame, I’m sorry. I had trouble finding a healer who could come right now. I did find a priest, but he won’t leave his place because he’s expecting someone. I did, however, find this mage to help us get Sanimir there.”

She sighed, “Fine, take him there. You and Bailas go with him. Bailas, don’t mess this up.”

Bailas nodded.

“I’ll stay here and answer the door if anyone comes looking for him again.” She had no doubt that his husband would return. It was just a matter of who he returned with and how soon. She watched the windows while the mage made a portal and Syrel and Bailas carried Sanimir through it.

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WoW – A Visit to Mother

Hethurin’s teleport spell took him directly in front of the large manor in one of the best neighborhoods of Silvermoon. He glanced at Terellion. He would have preferred if Terellion had stayed home. He was going to be careful. Coming here was just wasting Terellion’s time. He had managed to convince him to wait outside. He didn’t want to subject his husband to whatever his mother might say.

“There’s a bench over there. You might want to get something to eat too. I’ll probably be inside for an hour or so.”

“You have a class starting in an hour and fifteen minutes. If you aren’t out by then, I’m coming in for you.”

“Don’t come in for me. It’ll be weird. We’re just talking.”

“And if it winds up that talking isn’t what she has in mind for you?”

“I’ll teleport out before anything happens. I have a special ward right now. Not only does it slow a spell’s effect when it’s directed towards me, but it also lets me know a spell is directed towards me before it gets to me. I’ll have time to get out if she tries to silence me.”

“I don’t trust her.”

“I don’t either. I’ll be careful.” He leaned forward and gave his husband a quick, street-appropriate kiss. “Now go get yourself some lunch. I’ll be upset if you don’t eat because of me.”

“What about you?”

“I’ll have cake after we get back home.”

“You have a class.”

“So? I can eat cake in class. I’m the headmaster. I make the rules.”

Terellion smiled slightly, “I’m still coming in after you if you’re not back out here on time.”

Hethurin sighed, “I’ll make sure I’m out by then. Now go eat.”

He waited until Terellion actually started walking towards the corner where there was a restaurant before turning to face the manor again. He walked up to the door and used the knocker. One of his mother’s servants answered the door. Hethurin didn’t recognize him.

“Can I help you?”

“Hello. I’m Hethurin Fairsong. I have come to visit my mother, Verisna.”

The servant looked him up and down before opening the door more to invite him in. “Please wait here.”

Hethurin stood just inside the door and waited. A couple of minutes later he heard a commotion.

“I can’t believe you just left him in the entry? What were you thinking?”

Hethurin twitched an ear at the sound of his mother’s voice. It still wasn’t too late to teleport away. He seriously considered it until his mother entered the corridor leading away from the entryway.

“Sanimir! How long has it been since your last visit?”

It was too late to teleport now. He allowed her a quick embrace. “Too long, I suppose.”

“I sent you to all those expensive schools and you don’t even write.”

Hethurin’s eyes darted to two more people approaching. One of them was the same servant who had answered the door, and the other was a younger elf. The pool boy. He twitched an ear as his mother released her hug on him. “I’m very busy lately. That’s why I thought to make time to visit you during my lunch hour.”

“Well, come sit with us. We already ate, but we were just about to have tea.” She turned and looked at her pool boy. It was easier to think of him as that instead of as her husband. She was more than twice his age. “Bailas, why don’t you assist Syrel. I don’t want him messing things up again.”

The pool boy nodded and went with the other man.

“The tea room is this way.” She put her hand on his back.

He flinched.

“You’re still jumpy. Some things never change. You seem taller. Have you grown?”

“No, Verisna. I haven’t grown.” He refrained from rolling his eyes. His height was always something she commented on and asked if he had grown more. He hadn’t grown since his early twenties. He certainly hoped he wouldn’t start again. He was already tall enough. He let her guide him to her tea room.

She sat in the chair closest to the door to the room. He took the seat across from her. He noticed a third chair and hoped Bailas wouldn’t be joining them.

As soon as he sat, she spoke again, “You know I’m not stupid. There must be a reason you’re here.”

Hethurin had his response prepared. “Well, Terellion and I have the chance to adopt a set of twins.” He wished it was true.

“This is in addition to the two girls you already have? I don’t know why you adopt. They’re not really yours.”

He wanted to argue heavily with that, but he wasn’t here to fight with her. “Two girls and one boy.”

“Where is the boy from?”

“The orphanage.”

She shook her head.

“Anyway, going from three to five is a big step, I think. I just wanted your advice.”

She eyed him suspiciously as Bailas and Syrel brought in the tea. Bailas set a cup in front of each of them then sat down in the third chair. Her gaze turned to the pool boy. “Bailas, perhaps you would like to take your tea with Syrel in the kitchen?”

Bailas frowned. “I was looking forward to getting to know my step-son.”

“Don’t call me that,” Hethurin said flatly. “I have a father already, and he’s older than me. I don’t need a step one.”

Verisna continued giving him a look.

“Fine. Fine. I’ll go. I’ll stay close.”

They both waited until he left the room.

“I’m sorry about him. He’s a little silly sometimes.”

“You mean immature, like a child.”

She frowned at him. “Oh, yes, children. We were discussing your habit of taking in rejected, poor children.”

Hethurin took a deep breath. It wouldn’t do to argue with her.

“You really do want something, don’t you? You don’t show up here unless you have an agenda, and the fact that you’re putting your opinions aside tells me it’s more than simple advice. Tell me what it is. Is the school in trouble? Do you need money? How much do you need?”

He shook his head as she sipped her tea. “The school isn’t in trouble. I don’t need money. I have my own money. I just really want advice on my growing family.”

“Why haven’t you asked your father? Isn’t he living in the Ghostlands now?”

Hethurin almost smiled at her question. She just made it easy for him to slip in his real purpose of the trip. “I have spoken to him, of course. He’s just a little distracted right now.”

“Distracted?”

“He might be seeing someone. I’m probably not supposed to be telling you about it either.”

“Why shouldn’t you tell me?”

“You know how he likes to keep secrets. I didn’t even find out he was seeing his receptionist until I found out he was sending her flowers.”

She shrugged and sipped her tea. “I still don’t buy that you’re here for parenting advice. I know exactly what you think of my parenting.”

He was surprised by the subject change. She didn’t ask who he was seeing. Did that mean she didn’t care?

He sipped his tea, buying a few more seconds for a reply. He couldn’t very well tell her that he changed his mind about her parenting. She wouldn’t believe that any more than his other excuses. He could just agree with her and act like she reminded him that she was not the person to ask. Then he could leave, but that might leave him locked out the next time he actually needed to talk to her, which he hoped would be never, but he couldn’t be sure he’d be that lucky. Coming up with another reason to be here would be for the best.

“This is good tea,” he said, still stalling for time to think. He took another sip. Why was it so hard to think of something to say?

“Of course it is. I don’t get the gross stuff from the market. This comes from a special order and gets delivered here once a week.”

“Oh, that’s fascinating.” There was something he was supposed to be thinking about.

“I suppose.” She eyed him warily. “So? Are you going to tell me?”

“About what?” He felt mildly alarmed that he had no idea what she was talking about.

“About why you’re here.”

Everything went blurry as he struggled to focus on her face. Something was wrong.

“Sanimir? Are you okay?” his mother asked, sounding alarmed.

Something was very, very wrong. The room seemed to spin. He stood and started to cast a teleport spell back to the Ghostlands. He stopped. No. The Ghostlands was wrong. Ter wasn’t there. Ter was… Where was he? He swayed but caught his balance by grabbing the back of the chair with his hand. He had to remember. The bench outside. Easy. He started to cast again, the words felt fumbled in his mouth. He fell to the ground.

“Sanimir!”

His mother was yelling. There were more people in the room now, but he couldn’t make sense of anything. He had to get to the bench outside. He forgot why. He started casting again without trying to get up off the ground. His lips moved in a whisper. He passed out before the spell was finished.

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Naren – A Walk Home from School

“Hey, buttface!”

Imralion Sunsorrow stopped walking along the wood plank path and turned around. It was that Wood kid again. He was big and round and ugly, and five years older than Imralion who had just celebrated his tenth name day along with his twin sister, Linarelle, a few weeks ago. He heard her stop walking on the wooden path just behind him as he narrowed his eyes at the older kid. “What do you want, Danalyn?”

The human teenager laughed at him and looked to his friend standing behind him. “See, I told you he’d answer to that name.” The other human teen, a boy named Johan Rahp, laughed along with him as Danalyn added, “They’re just stupid elves.”

Imralion replied, “We’re not stupid. You’re stupid.” He took a step closer. Danalyn Wood had always been a bully. Imralion was sick of giving him his lunch and taking the degrading comments. Maybe it was time to fight back.

His sister grabbed his arm. “Just ignore them. Matron Phedora is waiting for us at home. Remember? She said to come straight home after school so we could leave for the city.”

Imralion frowned but turned back around. Linarelle was right. They were leaving this afternoon, and spending the weekend in Foolshope where Matron Phedora had family to visit.

Danalyn laughed again, “Better listen to your whore sister. You don’t want to be late for your shopping trip.”

Johan joined in, “Maybe they’re going to get new underwear because they stink so much.”

Danalyn didn’t stop when Imralion turned to face them again. “Underwear? I thought they were still in diapers. That’s why their real parents didn’t want them.”

“Well, their real parents were loser elves.” Johan continued speaking, ignoring the fact that Imralion brushed away his sister’s hand, and was now stepping towards them with balled fists. “At least Phedora isn’t one of them. It’s a wonder she can stand dirtying her home with gross elves.”

Imralion didn’t know what a whore was the last time these two had stopped them along the path and called his sister that, but the matron had explained it to him when he asked. She also said it was not a very nice word to use. His fists were still balled, and he stood now in front of the two humans. “Take it back! Take what you said about my sister back!” He heard a sigh behind him but ignored it in favor of paying attention to what was going on in front of him.

“Oh, and what are you going to do if we don’t? Hit us?” Danalyn sneered. “You wouldn’t dare.”

Imralion swung his fist. Johan caught it, grabbing him by the wrist and firmly holding on.

“Look at that, he’s growing a pair, Danalyn. Show him that thing you learned.” Johan said as he as he pulled Imralion in front of him and grabbed his other arm from behind.

Danalyn balled his hand into a fist and punched Imralion in the gut. Imralion tried to double over in pain, but Johan held him tighter.

“No, the other thing. The thing from that book.”

Danalyn grinned and held out his hand with his fingers spread. Imralion glanced up as the older boy started mumbling some strange words. What was he up to?

The question was answered the moment he thought of it. A ball of fire formed above Danalyn’s hand. Almost as soon as it was formed, it shot forward, hitting Imralion’s shoulder. Danalyn had magic? Why hadn’t he been taken to Thril Gandir? His thoughts were interrupted by the sudden realization that he was on fire. His shoulder felt hot-too hot. The smell of burnt hair filled his nostrils. Was that his? He struggled to get free of Johan’s grasp but felt both him and Johan falling just moments later. Johan stumbled off the planks and landed on top of Imralion as they splashed into the soupy mud off the plank path. While the mud did cause the fire to go out, he didn’t really see being covered in mud as a good thing. Matron Phedora was going to be very upset. Imralion struggled to get out from under Johan and turned just in time to see Linarelle knee Danalyn in the crotch causing the older boy to double over.

She hurried over to the edge of the path and held out her hand. “Come on!”

Imralion reached up and quickly climbed back up on the planks. Johan was still stumbling around in the mud, and Danalyn was still doubled over and cursing. Was he crying? It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to stick around to find out. Linarelle was trying to check if he was burned.

“I’m fine. Let’s get out of here.”

Linarelle didn’t need to be told twice. They both started running towards home.

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WoW – Furniture

“I can’t believe you did that!”

Isturon sighed as he followed his son. Thankfully, the portal he had made put them on a fairly quiet street. There were fewer people to stare at them.

The younger elf continued his rant as he made his way down the street. “What were you thinking? You weren’t thinking of me or Ter or what how we’ll explain it to the children. That’s for sure.”

A couple of people stared and pointed as they passed. Perhaps if he just let him yell all he wanted, he’d be done by the time they reached Thavron’s shop, then they could have a nice pleasant visit…

“You’re not even listening to me now, are you?”

Oh. He had stopped and turned to face him now, and he was right. He hadn’t really been listening. “I’m listening,” Isturon lied.

“What did I just say?”

“I’m not playing this game with you, Hethurin.”

“That proves it! You weren’t listening! Oh, and it’s not a game! You danced with her!” He turned and started walking again, talking as much with his arms as he did his voice.

Dancing was not a bad thing. He started following his agitated son once more, watching him move his arms more than listening to what he was saying. Could he accidentally cast a spell like that? What if he accidentally teleported a rock? He supposed it would matter where he teleported it to. Teleporting it to a bunch of other rocks wouldn’t be a big deal, whereas teleporting it to the side of the regent lord’s head would be.

Would they be able to catch him?

More people were staring now. Maybe, with this many witnesses, they could probably figure out who did it, but catching Hethurin would be another matter. He could, after all, just teleport away. The street the shop was on was a little busier than normal, and while that would provide more witnesses, it would also slow the guards and provide cover for him to cast his teleport spell. Isturon slowed his pace just enough to follow far enough behind so that he didn’t look like he was with Hethurin.

“You won’t even say you’re sorry!”

Isturon was far enough behind now that he couldn’t make out everything that Hethurin said, but he heard that. He muttered under his breath, “Because I’m not.” There wasn’t anything to be sorry for. They had danced and exchanged gifts. He supposed it was true that he did like her. She was fun to spend time with and pretty. He’d be lying if he said he hadn’t taken her into consideration when he made his decision to move to the Ghostlands.

He looked up to see Hethurin waiting for him at the door to Thavron’s shop.

“You fell behind,” Hethurin stated as he approached. “I think you did it on purpose.”

“I didn’t do it on purpose. I was contemplating rocks.”

Hethurin rolled his eyes, “Lie all you want. You lied to Ter too.” He held open the door and followed Isturon inside.

Isturon looked up at Hethurin as he rang the bell on the counter. “I didn’t lie to Terellion.”

Hethurin’s ear twitched, “You told him you like men.”

“A person can like both men and women, Hethurin.”

“So you admit you like her.”

“I think whether Braedra and I like each other is our business, not yours.”

His ear twitched again, but Thavron emerged from in back before he could say anything.

“Hethurin! Isturon! It’s good to see you both! I have your furniture order ready in the storage room. I didn’t box it because I figured you’ll be teleporting it?” Thavron held open the door to the back as he greeted them.

“That’s correct,” Hethurin stated flatly as he passed through the doorway.

“Hello, Thavron. It’s good to see you again.” Isturon smiled as he started to go through as well.

Thavron stopped him for a moment and whispered, “Is Hethurin okay? He seems angry.”

Isturon shook his head, “He’s been acting like his mother all morning. It’s nothing you’ve done. He’ll get over it eventually.”

“I heard that!” an angry voice called out from the storage room.

Thavron frowned, “Right, well, let’s get everything out and ready to teleport then.”

Isturon whispered, “I’m going to let you handle the set up for teleportation. I think I’ll take a seat and wait out here.”

Thavron nodded. “I’ll come get you when it’s done.”

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Naren – The Temple Boy

Garin Lightmist held his son’s hand tightly as they walked into the town. He wasn’t sure how much his son understood what was about to happen, but after looking into the options, Garin could see no other way. His son would not go to Thril Gandir. Marillis had been firm about that. Her own sister had gone, wound up losing visiting privileges, and they never heard from her again. She didn’t want that to happen to her only son, nor did Garin.

He headed straight to the temple, the boy still held one hand, and the boy’s clothes and a toy bear that he preferred were carried in a bag in Garin’s other hand. His own things for the overnight trip were in a bag he carried on his back. He’d have preferred to not wait until the last second, but Marillis didn’t want to let him go any sooner than she had to. Garin and their son had waited until just this morning before piling into the carriage going northeast.

They started up the temple steps. “Where are we going, Opa?”

They’d been over this before. “Remember when Oma said you were going somewhere safe and where we could visit you?”

The boy just looked up at him.

“This is going to be your new home.” He said, indicating the temple.

“I don’t want a new home.”

“Shh,” Garin said, picking the boy up to carry him the rest of the way, hoping to keep him from crying and making a scene. “The people here are really nice, and they’re going to take care of you and teach you how to read and write. You want to read and write, don’t you?”

The boy nodded. Garin pulled open one of the big wooden doors. He stopped to ask the first person he saw who was wearing religious robes, “Where can I find Elder Elisabet Moll? I wrote and have an appointment. She should be expecting me.”

The man pointed, “The offices are over there. Hers is the first door on the right.”

Garin nodded and gave a small bow, “Thank you, Elder.”

He continued carrying his son until he reached the door. He put him down and held his hand while knocking on the door with his other hand.

“Enter.”

He opened the door and brought his son in with him.

“Garin Lightmist?”

Garin nodded.

“Close the door behind you.”

Garin did as asked.

“And who do we have here?” she asked, directing the question to the boy.

His son took a couple steps to hid behind Garin.

“He’s shy.”

“We have a couple of other boys here. Maybe they’ll help him feel more at ease.” She looked again at the boy, “Would you like to meet them later? We all eat supper together.”

The boy didn’t answer, and continued to hide behind his father.

“I’d like to thank you again for taking him in. His mother couldn’t bear to send him…”

“Say nothing more of it. There are no such things as mages here. Only talented healers and helpers. You said his hands glowed yellow when he was tested?”

Garin nodded. The reflection spell was used on all newborn infants on their name days. Most babies reflected blue if they had magic, but sometimes other colors were reflected. His son reflected yellow, indicating he would be strong in healing magic. That fact alone had Elisabet’s interest from the start. She had stated more than once that magic was a gift, and the people of Naren had rejected that gift by creating Thril Gandir to keep the mages under control.

“Can I see your hand?” she asked, again talking to the boy.

The boy shook his head.

Garin knelt next to his son, “It’s okay. She just wants to see how strong your magic is. She wants to teach you how to use it without having to send you to Thril Gandir. You want Oma and I to be able to visit, right?”

The boy regarded his father, then looked at Elisabet and held out his hand. He brushed a few stray strands of his dark red hair out of the way with his other hand.

Elisabet held her hand over his, leaving a few inches in between as she cast a spell. The boy’s hand began to glow a warm yellow. “Oh, he’s going to be very strong in healing magic.”

Garin smiled. “That’s what they said when he was tested.”

“Well, I want to teach him, but I need to know his name first.” Garin had mentioned his name numerous times in correspondence with her, but he knew her statement wasn’t directed towards him. She knelt in front of the boy. “Won’t you tell me your name? My name is Elisabet, but the kids usually just call me Elisa.”

The boy drew back slightly, but opened his mouth and spoke quietly, “I’m Isturon.”

“Well, Isturon, you have a nice name. Would you like to go see your room? Your Opa can come with us.”

Isturon nodded slightly, glancing at his father.

“Come on, let’s go see your room.”

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