Week 316: Reunion and Resolution

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Apr 3, 2020
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Word Count: 1494

Kaizaell groaned as he came back to consciousness. The familiar cloth of the tent around him making him sit up quickly, only to wince in pain. His head still swam slightly and a few tender checks with his hands revealed quite the lump on the back of his head. He’d expected an open wound or dried blood but instead found some kind of foul smelling paste rubbed into his hair that came off on his hand. He brought his hands back down and saw what appeared to be wax in his wound, no doubt to keep it from bleeding again, and found himself completely naked.

The rustling of the tent flap sent him on alert and he stood up, keeping his feet despite the room seeming to swim around him. The velen woman, Herryn, entered the tent in a bright flash of sudden light that made him instinctively bring his hand up and cover his eyes. She grinned as she entered, taking in his nakedness in stride and setting down his clothing and armor, neatly folded and freshly laundered onto the ground nearby.

The dark haired Sniper glared at her, keeping his distance warily while trying to check if he had anything to defend himself with. He’d passed their stupid test and when he’d tried to help Caniir directly he’d been attacked for the effort.

You knew you couldn’t trust them, a hoarse voice whispered in the back of his head, grating like claws raking a chalkboard with the headache pounding in tandem with his heartbeat. And yet you did their errand and look how they repaid you?

“Did you going to dress yourself?” the young tribeswoman before him asked, with a knowing smirk. “Or were you planned on meeting your mate without mantle?”

The young man grimaced, then took a wary step forwards, towards the pile of clothing. They’d stripped him to wash him and his clothes, but something at the back of his mind wondered if it had been a way to attempt to shame him.

“I shall make exit,” the woman said, the same infuriating smirk still plastered across her face. “But know that she waits outside for you.”

The woman stepped towards the entrance, opening the flap again and letting in the piercing, painful light into the tent again. He sighed, forcing himself to relax his posture to a less aggressive one. It took all his will power to do so, but he somehow managed to do so.

“Herryn,” the young man said, finally after struggling with it for an eternal moment. “Thank you.”

She turned back, looking at him quizzically for a moment, before smiling a full throated smile. Her shark's teeth seemed to glint in the twilight and dawn that fought at the entrance. Then she turned fully again and closed the flap behind her.

The young man made his way to his armor, almost dreading the wretched smell that would, no doubt, be wafting from it even after a thorough washing. It had stained his clothes and flesh, and there seemed to be no way he knew of to remove it. However he was pleasantly surprised to smell that his clothes smelled as fresh and odorless as when he’d first received them.

No, wait. The young man thought after a moment. They didn’t even have the smell of oil and leather that he’d long grown accustomed to, since they were standard issue for the Ranger corps. This set of armor was now, well and truly, entirely scentless. His eyes widened for a moment as he took this news in, then he shook his head and began to dress himself rapidly.

Once he’d strapped the last buckle and tucked the last fold he stepped towards the entrance of the flap, closing his eyes to lessen the shock of the sudden burst of light. After a few moments he hazarded opening his eyes and saw the village before him again. A handful of men and women going about their daily tasks and the older velen, Herryn and the monstrously tall spurii.

And tucked behind all of them, was the little bird girl, Caniir, dressed in the leathers of the village.

The young man felt a wave of relief, exhaustion and anger rush through him, conflicting in his guts like a writhing whirlpool before he grimaced and took another step forwards into the light.

The conversation suddenly stopped as the trio turned to face him, their faces grave, but Caniir ignored all that and rushed to him, throwing her feathery weight straight into his chest.

“You great big idiot!” she yelled, as she crashed into him and, by hitting his center of mass when his feet were already unsteady and the world was still swimming in his eyes, knocked him over onto his back in front of the tent. “You stupid, foolish moron! I can’t believe you’d do something so dangerous! Dumbass! CLOD!”

Her tiny fists began slamming into his chest as she lay atop him, tears suddenly spilling from her eyes to patter on his armor and roll down to the dry dusty earth beneath him. The verbal abuse, and each new name, some of which he was sure she’d made up on the spot just for him, was mirrored in her fists hitting his chest, though the hits were so light as to be of no real effect to him.

It was the thought that counted.

She’d been worried about him, even as she lay on her deathbed. He’d never considered her feelings, and how she’d turn out if he hadn’t made it. Hadn’t slain his opponent and brought the appropriate items back for her salvation.

You could have just cut and run, the voice whispered again. Cold seemed to grip at him from the ground beneath him. That would have been the safest bet, after all.

Growling slightly at the voice he saw the emerald enlil on him stiffen, then she wiped her eyes clean and glared back down at him.

“Dont think this is over,” she growled back at him, an unfamiliar fire lit in her eyes. No doubt she’d thought he was growling at her treatment of him. “I still haven’t fully given you a piece of my mind, and don’t think that just because there’s a feast being thrown tonight that you’ll get away from it, you numpty twit!”

“Numpty... twit...?” the young man asked, his eyes softening as he looked up at the small enlil on top of him. Then he grinned quickly at her, to show her that the growl hadn’t been aimed at her, or at least he hoped she took it as that. “Those... aren’t real words at all...”

“They are!” the girl said, folding her arms across her chest and no longer berating or beating him. “Mother Krishka told me them specifically, so there’s no way they aren’t real!”

Mother Krishka, huh? He thought to himself with a sigh. This girl, this young sweet child, had followed him to war. All because he’d helped and protected her in the monastery they’d been raised in. They’d been raised as if they were siblings, it was that way for all of the other orphans as well, but none had been as close to him as Caniir. She’d almost become as close as his blood sister.

But she isn’t your sister, the voice whispered quietly, the cold seeming to well up in his chest again. Your sister was stolen from you. Your family was stolen from you. And you didn’t lift a finger to help!

The voice, which was usually quiet except in those brief moments of silence he had before he slept, seemed especially active today. He’d been told it was a coping mechanism, a way to deal with the fact that he hadn’t found any trace of his lost family, that he hadn’t been there when they needed him the most.

Shaking his head, the young soldier slowly sat up, causing Caniir to tumble from his chest onto the ground nearby. She glared, got up and dusted herself off, then turned and pointed a finger at him.

“Don’t think this is over!” the girl growled, a strange fire glowing in her eyes. “We’ll continue this later, when there isn’t an audience!”

Then she stalked off, walking further into the makeshift village, to disappear past a pair of yurts nearby.

Herryn, barely having stifled her mirth from the strange exchange, stepped forwards and held out her hand to him.

“What the strange mate you seem to have snared,” the woman said as he took her hand.

“She isn’t my mate,” the young soldier grumbled slightly, the headache and swimming of the world making him slightly off kilter. He dusted himself off and walked towards the other two elders that waited for him a little ways away, and completely missed the rapid motions of shock, joy and mirth that swam across Herryn’s face before she began to follow him to her mother.
 

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