Monthly Archives: May 2018

Adventures in Friendship and Lightning, Part 12

“How did you forget the tent?”

“I thought you were bringing the tent?”

“Why would I be bringing the tent? Did you at least remember sleeping bags?”

“I thought we had a spell for that.”

“We do?”

“I think so?”

This had gone on for two hours. Zibnizik wasn’t sure if he was still enraptured with Yuva, though he did know he wanted to scream.

They currently were huddled underneath a piece of conjured tent. Their fire blazed next to them. The crackle was far merrier than the two campers felt.

Food, however, was a success. Zibnizik had pulled out a couple potions, and handed one to Yuva. “Want a vegetarian meal, or steak?”

“Sorry,” Yuva said. “I don’t really like simulated meals.”

“This is not a simulation,” Zibnizik popped the cork. A cranberry scent wafted out, making Yuva’s mouth water. “This is my own design. It is a dinner, waiting to be drunk. It is real to the taste buds, and gives the same health benefits as eating a full meal.”

Yuva looked warily at the glass container. “Seriously?”

Zibnizik took a drink. Right, this was a vegetable chowder. Too much onion, but there were benefits to that.

His eyes bulged, and he rushed for his potions chest. The gnome scrambled at the clasp, breaking it open.

“What is it?” Yuva rushed up behind him. “Misplaced magic, wrong ingredients? Poison! Oh, no, you’re poisoned, I need an antidote…”

Zibnizik popped a cork, and downed the bottle. He sighed, and slumped to his knees.

“Quick thinking,” Yuva said. She looked down at the bottle. “What was that. A cureall?”

“Water,” Zib said. “I put too much cayenne pepper in that one.”

Yuva stared. She collapsed to the ground, laughing hysterically. “You’re serious!” She shouted. She clutched at her side, feeling the laughter ache into her ribs.

“It wasn’t that funny…” Zibnizik filed his potions away.

“Sorry.” Yuva snatched the onion potion from him, giggles dying down as she caught her breath. “I haven’t had anything to eat all day.”

“Careful, the pepp…”

Yuva took a long drink, and sighed. “Been eating peppers for decades. The hotter, the better. One of the few cooking thrills that aren’t risqué for an elf in high stature.”

Zibnizik sighed, and made another note in his book. An acquired taste, then.

Yuva looked around, and smiled. “That just made today better, don’t you think?”

The gnome shrugged. “We’re still wet, and alone, and tired.”

“And sober,” Yuva said.

Zibnizik pulled out a flask and two containers.

Yuva stared at him openmouthed. “How did you…why?”

“Potion expert?” Zibnizik said. He cocked an eyebrow. “It would be a crime to not always have alcohol on hand.”

The night was getting better. The rain eased off and ended. After a few drinks, they looked at each other.

“Bed time?” Yuva asked.

“Um…yes,” Zibnizik managed to not stammer. He spun and rolled onto his side, curled by the dying fire, trying to close his eyes. Yuva settled on the other side of the fire, quickly drifting off to sleep.

The gnome’s mind was not letting him sleep. He didn’t know what was going on with Yuva, or Bin. Was he being a good friend? Is this what friends did? And was he charming with Yuva, or just asinine?

He didn’t even notice the blade as it pressed against his throat.

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

Adventures in Friendship and Lightning, Part 11

Goldmight floated apart from the group. He smiled,and put his hands out to the fire. He basked in the warmth for a time.

“You’re a lot like us, Bin.” Goldmight said. “The Leaves aren’t the best, or the most popular. We’re together, because we’re better that way.”

“That’s a stupid way of putting it.” Pidelle said. she was enraptured in her books, making notes of a cobbled spell for a tent.

“Is it?” Nutrose said. He pointed to the gnome sisters. “How often do you two get pushed aside, too brainy for your own tongues?”

Kleb grunted. “Or a troll that is too refined to participate in the older rituals of the tribe. I can’t enjoy a good glass of wine or a piece of art without it being considered a freakish hobby.”

“We’re actually cousins,” Goldmight said, hugging Nutrose close. “A couple of fairies who no one takes seriously because we’re too colorful.”

Ona set down his cuirass. He tapped it twice, and then rubbed a hand over his inked right arm. The cuirass expanded, and folded over itself, becoming a makeshift dwelling around the campfire. He sat down next to Bin, and shrugged.

“Look at me.”

“I can’t.” Pidelle shouted from the carriage. “You shut off the light!”

“Get in here, then!” Ona roared back. He grinned at Bin. “Gotta love a good chance to be together with friends.”

Bin nodded. He pretended to understand. He knew that was a thing that most people could.

Goldmight wasn’t fooled. He laid a hand on Bin’s shoulder. Bin looked up at him.

“I don’t have any friends.” Bin said. “Since I got here, everyone treats me like I’m not good enough, or in their way. Only Hilt is willing to give me any time and not sound like it’s a burden.”

“And she’s scary in her own right.” Goldmight said. “Well, look at you now!”

He spread his hand forth. “In just two days, you found six more.”

Bin smiled, and nodded.

“So can you maybe scrounge up something else for us to eat?” Goldmight grinned. “We’re not exactly the best at outdoor life, especially as dark is getting on.”

Bin ran out of the dwelling. His arms were engulfed in flame, lighting his path through the woods. Squirrels, birds, all the wooded creatures ran away, but he didn’t care. He had friends!

And friends needed food. He had seen some mushrooms, and even more of the berries. And the root vegetables. This place had food aplenty. Not the bark he had had to live on for a few days that time. He dug up a few tubers, and set to finding something better. Maybe even a rabbit…

That was probably insensitive to Ruby. Maybe something else, but bigger than squirell…

“You’re too nice, you know that?”

Bin looked up. Nutrose was perched up in a tree. He held a few birds, geese by the looks of them. Throats slit with a minimal cut, blood dripping down on the ground.

“You found food.” Bin said.

“You too.” Nutrose said. “Thought I’d help. Everyone else seems to just be content with letting you do everything.”

“They don’t know how to…”

“Goldmight doesn’t want them exerting themselves.” Nutrose waved his hand. The dead geese floated down next to him. “He knows that the Glass Cliffs are too important to waste energy on something like food.”

“Then why me?” Bin asked.

Nutrose smiled. “You’re a nice kid. In a stupid way. And you got us some fire without any fuss, so I’ll give you some free advice. You need to top trusting everybody.”

“I don’t.”

“Right.” Nutrose looked out in the dark. “Everyone at the Circle has their own agenda. And for the most part, no one cares what happens to anyone else. If you don’t watch out, you’re going to end up on the short end of someone’s little scheme.”

“You guys invited me here,” Bin said.

“And why did we do that?” Nutrose asked.

Bin didn’t have an answer.

“Food for thought.” Nutrose said. he laughed, and gathered up and shook the geese. “Better get these back to camp.”

“Everyone has an agenda…” Bin reasoned. “Including you?”

“Especially me.”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder