Feels Like Home part 2
from the Heavenly Saber :If I am to be a true warrior, is it my sword that symbolizes everything? Be happy for all life passes.
She almost couldn't speak in his embrace.
"My girlfriend, Ren is away on missions," the Julatsan told her, heading to a group of men. He introduced her to the Raven.
Some had gone home, one was called Hirad his best friend, the Unknown and two mages. She was surprised by the size of the two men. She noticed that Ilkar was fairer than them all. They waited for her name. The Unknown had an imposing stare. Hirad smiled a little. She hoped for her voice to be steady, "Hello. I am a Kenresk mage. My name is Jaren." Ilkar had decided the small country was the best choice. He had not explicitly told this to her, which was astonishing. Maybe a magic spell!
Fortunately, they accepted that and talked with one another again. And she expected them to continue the journey from Ysundeneth together, but Ilkar told them he was going to stay here for a few weeks. The people here needed his help and he wished to spend more time with Rebraal. His tone was wistful.
"We will check on you when we get back! Let's go!" the barbarian carried Ilkar up in a hug, while the mage grumbled how undignified this was. Still, they laughed. So foreign, she had not felt the warmth of a close group before.
After the company left, Ilkar was free. There were some elves eating by a fire. Jaren had no need for nourishment, but it would be rude and odd to abstain. Rebraal used elven. It was too quick to follow. Besides she had turned off the translator, since she did not want knowledge of remarks about her origins. Jaren wondered if the magic pouch could make clothing. Everyone dressed similar, but she stood out.
The dried meat tasted funny. J slipped away and stared out at the river. The elf finished his food and stood behind her. "Not used to the food?" He wondered.
"I'm not hungry. It is all right. I drink water only." The woman anticipated a barrage of questions. People used to react strongly to this oddness, when she was on missions elsewhere. The curses ranged from freak to horrible names. Now Ilkar was calm and accepting.
He scooped up some water with a cup and blew on it. The red light warmed it. "The water is mostly clean, usually we purify before consuming it. Or you'll get ill."
Jaren took a sip. Cool and smooth. He continued, "I decided to stay here, when my brother said he wished for more time. Jaren is an… unusual exotic name. We can get acquainted. How convenient."
Here they were, barely minutes of knowing each other and the mage had vouched and lied to protect her identity. Could she really open herself and feel safe?
"Okay. I would like to." His golden eyes were unflinching and childlike. Ilkar held out his hand.
She nodded, touching fingers. "You trust me immediately, Ilkar. Thank you."
"I got better. The antidote worked. Many elves lived on. Is there reason not to trust?" he reflected. Rebraal made no comment. Other people cocked their heads curious but did not pry.
The best moments were when the villagers simply greeted, then left them alone. Jaren did not feel comfortable with many people. Occasionally, Ilkar could not avoid a prolonged social visit.
He mused, "I will tell them you're my friend, from another nation. How about this, you will be my apprentice. Which town is it going to be?" Ilkar was pondering over a map.
Yes she needed an alias, some kind of profile. The country was settled, and now it would be the town. It was interesting to invent a 'family', "I have two sisters but they left when I was really young." He gazed at her sadly. "I am fine. I am alone anyway."
The mage clasped her hand tightly. Ilkar swallowed his pity. He would share his house with her. When the outdoor domestic issues were solved and the warriors protected some of them, the elf invited her to a new place. The brown medium cottage in the distance. It was a strange concept for her, she had never been in one before. Curtains billowed.
When they were walking to his house, the elf got an idea. "Shall we get started on casting? I cannot wait to share these things with a budding mage." Jaren was doubtful. She did not actually know anything. Vastly overestimated her?
This house belonged to his father and mother who had passed on. A panther guarded the entry, but Jaren had no fear. She knew its gender just by looking in its eyes and the panther purred. He noticed this.Isshehuman,instantlyattractedtobeasts,shywithusandverycautiousindoors?To ensure her welfare, he repeated if she was feeling well. The woman smiled politely and waved to the surroundings. Her remark was, "This is grandeur! Fab!" The Observer's language was a myriad of ancient and modern speech.
It was Ilkar's turn not to get the meaning. He smiled and motioned for her to enter first.
A number of partitions and rooms, one up the stairs. Ilkar led her to his study on the ground floor to the right side. He wanted to look for stuff.
"Let me find the basic manuals. Most of them ought to be here. I am a Julatsan mage. Now where are they?" He hummed while rummaging through the huge shelves. Jaren chuckled.
Would their spirits linger? She hoped not, rubbing her hands. Don'tbesilly,it'sbeenyears.Hemustbesurprisedmymannersareforeigntothenormallifehere.Ishouldtrytoblendin."What, where's that place?"
He answered, full of pride in his voice. "Julatsan is south of here, where I studied and became a full fledged mage. There are colleges, schools that teach all kinds of things. For some time, the Raven my group of friends, have been fighting to save Julatsa. I wasn't so sure I wanted to help the other colleges since their doctrine is vastly different from mine."
"Okay." Jaren was quite confused by all this news. So much had happened. A tiny voice cheered within that he had been a part of events. She contributed, indirectly by taking care of their illness. Comparing his healthy active manner, Jaren did not regret a single moment of that time. It was so much of a reward to be welcomed, though the elf mage hardly knew her. She felt dizzy gazing about, so settled down on a soft backed chair with armrests. Meanwhile, Ilkar was at the opposite side of a green desk of books closer to the large bookshelves. The walls here were blue and the halls' ones meridian green. Plant fronds peeped and poked in by the windows. Ah yes, did they have other types of magic, maybe to defend the place? In some time travels, she had seen burglar alarms, human guards with modern objects. Of course, most of them didn't belong in this era. Given his curiosity, one day she could share all that with him. The prospect was nerve tingling, shyness and thrill warred within. Jaren was reluctant to share her only friend though, he was all she had now. Guilty he may have sensed these selfish thoughts, she stopped ruminating and observed him flitting from shelf to shelf.
A number of scrolls had been found, placed on the desk. "Er, Ilks. Will that girl and Rebraal come in?" Jaren forgot that elf maiden's name, the one who almost put an arrow through her throat. Not a pleasant memory.
"What girl?" Then he exclaimed in delight. He turned to face her, pricking the pointed tips in a feline way. "Pardon?"
"I don't know her name, um she has black short hair and carries the bow."
"Ah, that would be Ren'erei, Ren for short. They are outdoor people and won't come in often. What's the matter?"
She hesitated. Frankly, Ren would be almost an enemy and besides she was his woman and they would both feel threatened by the other. The brother also had pressed his blade on her throat. Having got no headway, the elf went ahead smoothly. "I would think Ren and brother intimidate you, J? Do not feel afraid, Ren is positive and kind. We share a strong bond. I'm sure we can all talk about animals. She is an expert. My brother looks savage. I know, we're worlds apart. He didn't like it I became a mage outside of our forest home, and was always centred on guarding the temples far East…."
Details that Rebraal was also kind, would open up when he was more familiar with her.
Some kind of temple guardian…. Jaren was not happy. Idon'twanttoshareyou.It'sweirdandselfishofme,butIhadwantedthatallalong. "Oh. Thank you for telling me. They are certainly unique people."
Ilkar did not notice this sentiment. On the good side, he was specially eager to impart some skills at the beginner's level. Jaren followed instructions. Mana was the lifeforce of the body. It could be made into attack or defence spells. Jaren closed her eyes to find a similar thing within herself. Ilkar lowered his voice, for easier concentration. He easily demonstrated.
"Can you find it? Mine is a pale color, usually is. I'll be here," he whispered. Well, before this, the mage was already a singer, but now his voice was even more attractive, like a musical language.
"I cannot talk? It's not there," she said.
"To maintain focus. It won't happen so quickly." He laid gentle fingers on her head and incanted something. Jaren peeked out from under her lids. The youthful mage was sketching patterns in the air, frowning. Sweat slicked face and neck.
He sighed and relaxed, floating down. Jaren gaped. He had been flying!
She had never flown before. The elf gasped in surprise as she supported his full weight. He backed away, dizziness overcome by that discovery. She remarked, "I have no mana. Are you alright?"
"Fine. No mana, but I felt a lot of it surging. Never mind, there is no need for haste." Generously, the Julatsan let her read all his books and scrolls. Though it was not all in common and English, Jaren could read everything perfectly. The speed she scanned the pages was phenomenal. The mage also mentally noted this. Could it be a Talent existed, not having to consciously memorize but simply absorbing them? There had been only one case in the whole of this country, and that man was already dead.
Looking up, the girl saw how deep his gaze was, dreamy and distant. She touched his sleeve. He clasped his hands together. "I am beyond, words of excitement to have an apprentice! I've always wondered what it felt to impart knowledge to someone. Very few show interest in magic. The rest of the group don't need any instruction." He joined her at the table and talked to her about concepts and diagrams.
"So, can I see that?" Ilkar probed softly. She never let it out of sight and it was always on her belt, shrinking to a small fit when she slept. The material was not glass but some durable material, metallic and the particles flowed freely. It was cylindrical but not overly so. Jaren unhooked it for him to see. The elven blues glinted, while he turned the bottle reverently.
Vaguely, Ilkar recalled the golden jeweled sands. They had frozen his friends, as he coughed up his gut and blood, and the antidote. Every moment… Ilkar laid it back on the table. "What is that? Can you talk about it?"
She smiled. "Magic sand… I can't reveal this to many people. Remember how I came?" He started describing in detail. He mistook her for a ghost or angel and truly felt like death had come to free his pain. Jaren decided she could exchange some information, as he had willingly given of his time. He solemnly promised to keep it between them. No one would overhear except if they opened the door. The walls were strong.
Hard, but not an impossible task.
"I am not from around, here . This sand allows me to control time and how fast or slow it passes. People sent me. Um when you called me Emissary it's quite true. I have to protect the Source from theft when summoned." Trailing off, Jaren was relieved and glad he did not condemn her for insanity. Ilkar simply watched her in concern. He was brimming full with questions but he held back.
Lifting her hands palm up, symbols of hourglass were exposed. Ilkar prepared a healing spell, thinking they were wounds. "No no, I'm not cut. It always been so. Don't tell anyone."
He stopped and scowled. "I promised."
Jaren touched his arm. "Rebraal, does he suspect me?"
Ilkar shook his head. "Don't be worried. My brother criticized me for joining the Raven and going to the outside world. I don't think he is angry or suspicious of you. I didn't want to stay here only. Sorry." He had begun to ramble.
"No I like to listen."
He added, mood lifting, "Elves revere any form of skills. I'm more focused on our innate abilities! I didn't want to remain here to serve as a warrior or a monk. All they do is pray to gods and sacrifice. So boring." He rolled his eyes.
She laughed. He smirked. "Why is that funny?" Ilkar found a pair of gloves for her to wear.
"Er.. that you are so honest that a holy life is boring. I have been in a kind-of religious place for a very long time. And I wasn't to speak out of turn." She said looking at the book shelves. He was silent. "Can I… talk openly here?"
"Definitely, Jaren. I don't mind at all. Some of them can be offended. Let me take over if it's difficult." He