The Loneliest Traid

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  • Published: 2 Apr 2017
  • Updated: 13 May 2017
  • Status: Complete
Love and death and war and Gods and blood and magic and dancing and rest and revenge and kings and fate.
Don't worry, within these three stories you'll know yourself,
And I will put you back together again.

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19. Send my Greatest of Apologies and Heart

The woman of the house opened the door to see Chene sitting on the steps with his head in his hands, watching swallows bounce over dewy grass, picking at worms and twigs.  He cursed them silently, feeling that it was there fault that he had been tricked nearly an hour ago.

    “Oh,” she cooed, pulling him by the arm, “Come back in, dear, breakfast is on the table.  Locked you out, did he?”

    Chene looked inside at the breakfast table, Gomez sitting at the head of which with his legs crossed and feeding Noom grapes from his lap.  The husband laughed at something he had said, a great admiration obvious in his tone.  

    Gomez looked up and saw Chene standing in the threshold, the woman ushering him in but his stare trapped on Gomez.  The little prince with his winning grins and royal badges and swords and potions and tricks and dragons.  Chene couldn’t find it in himself to be angry at Gomez, he realised, sitting by his side at the table, but he could try his best.

    The woman dished him a plate of real eggs, white and yellow unlike the monstrosity from before and he was thankful for them after sitting in the cold outside for so long.

    “You’re a wicked young thing,” she said, sitting by her husband and taking his hand, “Leaving your friend out like that, it’s shocking that he stayed, really.”

    Gomez seemed to feel guilt for a short while, not of leaving Chene alone, but of disappointing the woman, “You’re right, I’m sorry, Chene.  I suppose I get too clever for myself at times.”

    Chene almost laughed at the half apology, half self-basking.

    “So, you head off now?  Where to?” the man said, his question for Chene this time.

    “I’m not quite sure, but I aim to get back to the outposts in the North, near Prestige preferably.”

    The woman just as well scoffed, “You aren’t a part of that horrid war, are you?”

    Chene, who was not used to lying, could only say, “War?  O-Oh, no, no.  I-”

    Gomez, who had lied to survive for many years, interrupted, laughing.

    “Ah, it’s just the sandy hair and thick shoulders.  He does have the look of a jinn soldier, doesn’t he?”

    “Yes, quite,” the wife said, relaxed again, trimming dying leaves from the new money tree Gomez had gifted her.

    “Boy, you do know what I think, don’t you?” the man said, grasping Gomez’s forearm.

    He slid his hand under and grabbed his wrist back.  Though Gomez was short and weak, he was cunning and brave, giving the air off of a great leader, “I will go back to the castle, of course.  My family is still there, and I owe them a lot.  But if I return too suddenly they might not want to hear my reasoning.”

    “And if you return late?  What of that?”

    He lowered his head.

    “They’ll know you betrayed your father and kill you quicker.  And you don’t think that army outside my doors will grow in numbers and weapons?”

    “And I am so sorry for that,” Gomez said softly.

    “No need to be,” the man said, shaking his hand, “Return, and ask for forgiveness.”

    “If you say I should, then that’s what I’ll do.”

    The woman cooed again, her hand to her heart.

    “Wait, wait,” Chene said, leaning back in his chair, “And will I return to Prestige myself?  Will you tell the king to not hunt me?”

    Gomez whistled through his teeth, rocking back and thinking.  Noom looked up at him, unimpressed, and rested back down again.

    “Yes, of course I’ll explain that.  But-”

    “But?”

    He sighed, “Chene, you’re…”

    “Go on, I’m what?”

    “You’re a very powerful wielder, Chene.  Maybe a wizard or warlock, I don’t know, but I don’t know where you can go from here.  I can send you anywhere, name it, I’ll give you half the king’s fortune to match, but you can’t go back to the outposts if they saw the beast that’s trapped inside you.  I’m sorry, I will do anything for you, but I just don’t know what.”

    The two housekeepers looked away, perhaps afraid now, or maybe ashamed that there was not only a prince at their table, but his wizard, his other pet.

    Chene’s hands knotted into the pleats of his trousers, his face burning bright, “I’m a jinn, Gomez, no more.”

    He shook his head, placing an empty goblet in front of him, “Fill this with water.”

    “I’m not a water jinn.”

    “Then what are you?”

    “I’m… I-”

    Gomez grabbed his hand, “Come to the palace with me, from there, we will see.  I can not send you home just yet, I cannot hold your blood in my hands.”

    “I would survive,” he said, but his voice broke.

    “Send a letter to king Dyrad, tell him that you are well and send your most sincere apologies,” the man said, “You can stay there for a time, surly, and the road to Mavros isn’t far from the kingdom.”

    Chene and the woman went to say the same thing at once.

    “This boy is not going to live in Mavros.  He may be filled with dark powers, but he has controlled the force to do the right thing.  He means well, and I will not let it be known that my husband influenced his life in hiding.”

    “But-”

    “No,” she said, taking Chene’s arm, “Son, if you are ever with nothing come back here and we will dress you and feed you.”

    Again, the man and Gomez went to speak at once.

    “I’m afraid that he can’t do that, no matter how kind of an offer it is.” Gomez said.

    “And why can’t he?”

    Gomez did not tell him about the monster that lived within him and snuck out at night.  A nightmare caged inside his chest that burned your skin and left no evidence.  Gomez was clever, and would rather die than have to tell his friend about what lived within his mind.

    “You’re a great man, Chene,” he said, not a lie and not a truth, “I need you to come to the castle with me, I need you to help stop this war.”

    “You’re planning on stopping this war?”

    “My father has no need to fight against the jinns uniting magic folk - elves don’t have enough power in their blood to even be considered magic - but he also thinks he can win, and if he does the jinns retreat and he gets the stretch of desert to the north, not to mention he would get the entire enchanted lands between the two oceans if he were to escalate the battle that far.”

    The man shot forward, “He can’t do that.”

    “All of the magic wielders who live there, they’ll be…” the woman covered her mouth.

    “Buried,” Gomez said, rubbing his eyes with his knuckles, “I know, and I can’t stand by and watch that happen.  I went to get my fortune read in the hotlands, I wanted to know how to stop him.”

    “And how can we?” Chene said.

    “Ending his reign, winning the war, praying for the best - I don’t know.  The odds aren’t in his favour, but seeing how quickly he sent his men to kill me shows me that he is fast to jump to conclusions and he will not leave loose ends to the fates.”

    “We’ll die,” the woman said, her face still with terror.

    Gomez stood and walked to her end of the long table.  He rested down on one knee, taking both her hands in his, “You will not die.  This war will not go on, I won’t allow it.  He may be the king, but he is a martyr and a sinner and I will be damned if I watch my kingdom fall to his foolishness.  I promise you that, okay?”

    She took his head and pulled it to her chest, much to his surprise, but he brought her closer, mumbling to her promises that it would be alright in the end.

    “So we can only go to the castle,” Chene said, “The only way is forward.”

    “I’m afraid so.  But we either choose to wait or to go now.  I need to meet with him and…”

    “And?” the husband said.

    “And I haven’t figured that part out yet,” he grinned, “But I will on the way.”

    “Our future is in your hands,” he said, somewhat disbelieving.

    His wife hugged him close again, “If so, what a future we will have!”

    Gomez stood, and thanked her.  Although the husband had his doubts, he too rose and took Gomez by the shoulders, “Whatever we have is yours.  You too, wizard.”

    Chene stilled, the word not fitting him as it was meant to.  In fact, it sounded more like a curse to his ears.  When the man spat it out, he could hear the witches who raised him speak.

    “A dirty thing, you,” they’d say, and starve, and beat, “Murderer, and one of us still.  Disgusting.”

    He didn’t let the fall in his expression show to the room, although he could be almost certain that Gomez felt the shift.  Long ago, he promised himself that he would never tell a soul about his life in Mavros, and he would stick to that, until the day he died.

    Gomez thought about the man’s offer for a minute, “Can I use your fireplace?”

    “Our fireplace?” he said, looking into it, “If you’d like.  It’s gone out, though.”

    “That’s okay.  Noom?”

    Noom nodded, overly enthusiastic.  Gomez laughed at her and rubbed under her chin.  Already, she began frothing smoke from the mouth.

    “Chene, would you grab me some dry wood from outside?  Whatever you can find, thank you.”

    Chene returned a few minutes later, the couple sitting on the couch watching with blatant interest, and Gomez sitting cross legged on the floor feeding Noom something strong from a goblet, one hand under her chin and the other lifting the cup.  She purred happily, her tail snapping over and back, leaving skids along the couch.

    “That’s perfect, thank you, Chene.” he said, knocking Noom off of his lap and carefully placing the logs in a tipi shape in the stove.

    He patted his lap, Noom bounding up to it and beginning her job of sweating out embers, her nose valves for the smoke from the fire in her stomach.

    “She’s like a little sauna all on her own,” the woman admired.

    Gomez laughed and repositioned the wood once more.  Scratching her head, he said, “Whenever you’re ready.”

    Noom lunged forward, bursting with a fire so hot it was difficult to be in the room with, let alone right next to.  A blinding flash took up the air, all four hiding their eyes as the dragon blew continues puffs light into the logs until they eventually took light, burning a beautiful orange that seemed unnatural to most.

    “Good girl, Noom,” Gomez said, taking her claws and letting her wrap around his neck, worn out from the heat she had lost.  He gave her back the bottle, which Chene realised was filled with rubbing alcohol, “Take a break while I write the letter.  Chene?”

    “Yes?”

    “One more job for me?”

    He sighed, “Of course, your majesty.”

    Gomez hit his knee from his spot on the floor, “Mind Noom for just a moment while I write something?”

    Noom and Chene shared a look.

    “No.”

    “Chene-”

    “No, she hates me, she’ll set me alight next.”

    Gomez shook his head, passing Noom off to the woman instead.

    He stood, brushing ash from his trousers and only stopping to say in a low voice, “Call it a hunch, but I feel that one day both Noom and yourself will be spending a lot of time together, so please try be nice to her?”

    Noom spat sparks at Chene, who felt anger coil in his chest at the little creature.

    Not long after that, Gomez had a letter in his hand, a bright green seal with the elvish print on it and the paper worn but clearly important.  

    He took Noom back, pressing her into the flames.  She bounded happily in the flickering light, rolling over into the logs and spilling more ash onto Gomez’s lap.

    “Ah, you’re a brat,” he laughed, handing the letter to Noom.  It curled at the edges but didn’t burn, her beak snapped around the corner, “Take this to the palace, give it to as many of my siblings that you can - but the nice ones, pray.  It’s an apology, so make them bring it to the king.  Can you make sure that gets done?”

    Noom nodded, sitting in the fire, her form already flickering in and out of reality.

    “Thank you, I’ll see you back home.  And please, please be safe.”

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