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Sunday Scribble – “Halfling Part 6”

Halfling Part 6

Caden didn’t speak much as Uncle Rand and he continued their travels the next day, only occasionally granting fake smiles to those villagers whom thanked him again for his help as they left Dorgate. The pair walked for about a candle mark before Caden actually spoke up.

“You implied that I wasn’t a normal mage,” he said. “Can we talk about that now?”

Uncle Rand nodded. “Of course,” he said. “All I meant was that you had always been strong. When I had first brought that mage to the house to sense your abilities back when you were younger, he had confessed that he had not sensed such powerful magic before, not even from the professors at the school. It was that Fire Mage that had suggested I make you practice a little every day before you were old enough for the school. He was afraid that such strength would one day overpower you if you did not practice it enough.”

Caden stayed silent, not wanting to interrupt this spiel and listened closely.

“Perhaps it already has,” Rand said, “when it became strong enough to kill a man without your conscious effort.

“I believed that maybe your heritage has something to do with your strength,” Rand continued. “Your mother, gods bless her soul, passed away giving birth to you, and my sister had never revealed to me who your father was. All I had known was that she had met him in Geist.”

“Was my mother a mage?” Caden asked.

“Not a full one, no,” Rand said. “She had a touch of magic in her like all humans, but she hadn’t wished to nourish it. She was a mercenary and had met your father on a mission. I’ve no idea what he did.”

“Do you believe my father was a mage?” was Caden’s next question.

“Perhaps,” Rand said. “I have little belief that you inherited your magical strength from your mother, or anyone on our side of the family, actually. You’ll need to find answers about your father and his life.”

“Hm, I suppose—Hold up.” Caden looked sharply at Uncle Rand. “What do you mean?”

“I mean you should get out a little more,” Rand said, looking at his nephew with a kind smile. “I love having you around, Caden, but you’re young. Go out in the world and learn new things. Discover who you are.”

“So, you want me to just go out alone?” Caden asked, slouching in his saddle.

“You’re a smart and powerful young man,” Rand said. “If going solo is what you wish, then so be it. Otherwise, maybe you can apply to a traveling mercenary guild.” Caden didn’t respond, and Rand added, “Think about it, Caden. Give me an answer once we get back home.”

Caden did as he was told and thought of little else other than the news and stories that had just been revealed to him. He honestly hadn’t thought about what he would do in the future and realized that he had only thought of the present. Did he want to take over his uncle’s business? Become a moneylender and make profits off of debt and interest? What of his magic? What had been the point of going to Akyna’s Mage Academy if he wasn’t going to do anything with his status?

Dahlia was currently a mercenary, having earned her place in a guild. She had enough power and wits about her to climb the ranks, perhaps earning herself a leadership position. The last time Caden had heard about Jaxon, the other Air Mage was well respected in his father’s construction company,  and was currently being groomed to become a manager of one of the company’s divisions. Caden himself didn’t have any long-term goals, but had always been content with his life. Surely there was nothing wrong with that.

However, as Caden and Uncle Rand made it to the yeoman’s lands, Caden realized that Uncle Rand had been right. No, there was not anything wrong with his current life – he was going down a good and safe route, after all – yet Caden knew he wouldn’t be satisfied with it, not when his friends’ letters detailed new places and lands.

Dahlia was a warrior, always had been a fighter and stood up for those whom couldn’t stand on their own. Jaxon was excellent with people and creative with solutions, making him an ideal manager and business owner. Caden, at the moment, was just his uncle’s nephew, standing to the side of the foyer while his uncle bartered back and forth with the yeoman on how to settle a debt. Listening to the yeoman try to offer cattle as payment for the debt, Caden made up his mind.

The day after, the debt was somewhat settled, with Uncle Rand getting the majority of his money and a couple of horses, and the yeoman getting one more month to pay back what he owed before Uncle Rand took more of the yeoman’s livestock as payment. Caden tied the reins of one of the new horses to Pepper’s bridle, and waited until Rand had tied the other horse to the wagon.

“Uncle.” Caden broke the silence as the pair were making their way back home. “Would it be too much trouble to ask for an allowance on my inheritance? Just a bit to help me start my travels to Geist.”

Uncle Rand’s grin was contagious, and the two spent the rest of the journey home discussing plans and strategies for the next part of Caden’s life.

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Posted by on October 30, 2016 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Underestimated”

Underestimated

The day had been successful. The bandit group that had been terrorizing the border town between Perion and Gronn had been all but vanquished. The few members of that group of thugs that had still lived would hopefully have enough sense to not show their faces again. Kachina prayed that they would realize that Perion’s Watchers would hand their asses to them again if need be.

Kachina was wandering around the small town, smiling and nodding to those that recognized her and thanked her for the help the Watchers had given them. She felt oddly light and happy. It was still a bit unnerving for her to be able to go about without a cloak and hood covering her face. Her thieving days, however, were permanently behind her (although she wouldn’t deny that the skills she had honed all those years weren’t helpful). She was grateful that she had the opportunity to have a better life, both for her and for Cecil.

Kachina eventually found her way back toward the inn that the Watchers had been graciously given accommodations for the night before they continued on their way along the border. She was about to go into the front door, but the scent of burning wood and smoke caught her attention, and she went around the back of the building to find Jeharraz sitting by a small fire and just looking up at the stars.

“Enjoying yourself?” Kachina asked, freely sitting beside the prince by the fire.

“I am, actually,” he said, turning to her with a smile. “It’s better with you here.”

She returned his smile with a crooked one of her own and didn’t protest when he gently laced their hands together. The pair sat in a comfortable silence, just enjoying each other’s company, and Kachina was reminded of the first time she had caught Jeharraz out alone stargazing. That time had felt so long ago, back when they had first petitioned to the late Osend king to aid them in their quest for the Dragon Scale. Osend wasn’t even its own country now, not with the marriage between King Ellery and Queen Viola. With that merge, Osend had become under the protection of Perion, eventually morphing into western Perion.

“Jeharraz,” Kachina said, “the last time we were outside alone like this, we had been talking about the royal families and how Ellery was the heir to the throne rather than you. I remember you mentioning how there was some sort of competition for the heirs to find the best one, and how your mother didn’t play by the rules. So you said, anyway. Can you tell me that story? How your mother became the queen?”

He actually grinned and Kachina was surprised he hadn’t just burst out laughing. Once Jeharraz got his composure, he said, “I can, I suppose. I don’t see the harm, and I think you’re the type who would actually be impressed with how my mother won the Perion throne.

“She was the youngest sibling in her family,” Jeharraz said, “born after her twin brothers, Sterling and Jett. She was never seriously considered for the heir of the throne and, as she was growing up, it always seemed as if she never really cared. She was the apple of both of her brothers’ eyes, and while they loved her dearly, they sorely underestimated her.”

“You’ve never mentioned any uncles,” Kachina said.

“Well, they’re dead,” the prince replied. “See, unlike Ellery and myself, Sterling and Jett were not fond of each other at all. Both, upon learning of the heir competition, took it to heart and sabatoged each other as best as they could in an effort to win the throne. In the eyes of the court, of course, both played fair and were amicable to each other, but Mother always told me that neither cared much for the well-being of the other.

“My uncles did have one thing in common with Ellery and myself,” Jeharraz continued. “One had chosen the way of the blade while the other became a sage. Sterling was the Knight Prince, while Jett was the Sage Prince of Perion. After the pair had completed their chosen education paths, they embarked on separate pilgrimages. Sterling’s company had consisted of knights and warrior friends of his, being attracted to their power and strength, and believing that those aspects would help him perform great deeds of glory to bring home for the throne. Jett had a few trusted advisors, usually others who were magically inclined and known for their advice and wisdom about the land, for Jett’s plan to secure the throne was through knowledge.”

“And their sister?” Kachina asked. “Rather, Queen Pearl?”

“I’m getting to her.” Jeharraz smiled. “My mother, being doted on and not being noticed at the same time, was in the prime position to learn all about the people of the country, and that was her trump card. She was quite the cunning woman, my mother. She played for both sides, both Sterling’s and Jett’s, and neither knew until their unfortunate end.”

Kachina’s eyes widened, but she wasn’t particularly shocked. “Your mother killed her brothers?”

“She didn’t send assassins after them,” Jeharraz said with a shake of his head. “What she did was secretly pit the two against each other without the men knowing they were fighting a three-way war. They believed that the other was going to turn on them, and so they thought to get rid of the other first. My mother exchanged letters with both of them, dropping false hints and clues to each about what the other said. Eventually, they destroyed each other. Their deaths weren’t part of Mother’s grand plan, but unfortunately it happened. Their downfall was believing my mother without being suspicious of her own motives.”

“Your mother always wanted to be queen, then?” Kachina asked.

“That I’m not sure,” Jeharraz said. “She always spoke about how neither of her brothers would have been fit to rule. She was afraid that Sterling would take their army to new heights, building up strength and power when it wasn’t needed, and neglecting the land. For Jett, it would have been the opposite. He would have put in regimes regarding food crops, risking soil and farmers’ health in an effort to be sure no one would go hungry. Instead, Mother predicted there would have been too much food, too much spoiled, abandoned food created from new farms that would throw nature out of balance. Perhaps my mother cared more about the country than about her own ambitions. She firmly believed that she would be the best ruler for Perion, and she did something about it.”

“Wow…” Kachina was almost at a loss for words. “Your mother was amazing, Jeharraz. I’m sorry I couldn’t have gotten to know her better…”

His hand gave hers a squeeze. “Thank you, Kachina,” Jeharraz said. “That means a lot to me. I’m certain my mother would have liked to get to know you better as well. In fact…” the prince chuckled lightly, “I’m sure you probably reminded her of herself in her younger years.”

Kachina smirked and leaned against the prince’s shoulder. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2016 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Believe”

Believe

Shooting stars, birthday candles, four-leaf clovers, a rabbit’s foot…

Actually, why was a rabbit’s foot considered lucky? The luck never seemed to work for the poor rabbit.

Jason tossed the fuzzy rabbit’s foot charm up in the air, catching it as he walked down the sidewalk to school. There was no way he would fail his exams, not with all the preparation he had done.

Daniella was in the middle of a yawn when Jason caught up with her by their lockers. He grinned as he watched her gather her books in slow motion. “Stay up late studying for Hoffman’s test?” he asked.

She nodded. “What about you? Did you actually open your biology book or do you have a pocketful of horseshoes?”

“Nah, horseshoes are too heavy,” Jason said. “Besides, they’d probably end up rolling this way and that while in a pocket. Horseshoes are only lucky if they’re facing up.”

Daniella waved a hand dismissively. “You know, for your sake, I hope you don’t fail,” she said, “but it would serve you right for always believing in luck.”

“Hey, you gotta believe in Lady Luck for her to work her magic,” Jason said, falling in step beside her as the pair made their way to their first class.

“You’re ridiculous,” Daniella said. “You should make your own luck by working hard instead of leaving everything to fate.”

“I made it this far in life.” Jason shrugged. “Don’t fix something if it ain’t broke.”

She rolled her eyes and said nothing more as they entered the classroom. They broke away to move to their own desks and all too soon, Mr. Hoffman was passing out the exam papers. Jason gave his lucky rabbit’s foot in his pocket one last rub before bringing his focus to the test’s first question…

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2016 in Scribbles

 

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