Prologue: Lloyd's reflections on Tylor...

Tales of the tiger

Author's Note: This is going to (eventually) bethe whole story of Tylor's time in Iselia, after the main story I might put up some ficlets, turn it into an archive, but that's for thefuture. I want to get Iselia down pat, and the religion of Martel (for those curious), and I like Tylor so he's going to be the center of things for a while. This is an overview of the project in my notes told in a interesting way... figured it makes an OK prologue. this fic will be updated slowly as I'm trying to finish "Song" and the next "Shards" chapter.

I learned about hard choices from Tylor. I learned how to make them, how to take them. I learned of tolerance, and how to have fun. Kinda hard to think of me not as fun loving… but I was really serious way back when. If there was ever a man I admired, it was the Father Tylor, the man who took in a tainted dwarf spawn, a wild wicked child.

But to one man I wasn't any of those things, for that I was grateful, and all the words in the world can't capture the depth of that.

He tolerated me, the heretic, the demon spawn, he accepted me for being me, and that meant the world. Not to say that one man's tolerance changed the world. It didn't make everything "all right"; a lot of my childhood wasn't all that great actually. The teasing, the fights, I dealt with a lot of that. But it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I had one place to turn, one person to trust, and maybe it changed my world around.

I wasn't alone anymore, I wasn't hated by the whole world, and that gave me a bit of hope to carry on.

Yeah, I know Noishe was there, and dad, but Noishe couldn't save me every time and Dad… Dad didn't understand.

No offense Dad, but there is differences between Dwarves and humans, and I guess hating people for stupid reasons is one of them.

Anyways, oh yeah, Tylor, he gave me my childhood I guess. He would invite me to play the Tiger Hunt when I was too shy to ask. Oh, and I met Colette cuz of him (she tripped into me when we were playing) I almost forgot about that. I lost count of the games, of the times he'd tuck me under his arm and run his knuckle over my head. Sometimes he'd pick me up and toss me, catch me, toss me again. I used to say I was flying and he'd laugh and tell me that when I flew for reals, without any of his help, not to fly too far.

"Cold for one thing, higher you get the colder it gets, and it makes you sleepy too..."

"Sleepin' while I'm fl'in' would be bad huh?"

"Very." Tylor chuckled. "Of course when you get back, you must tell me all about it."

"I'll take you with me!"

Tylor only laughed, reached down and ruffled the wild chestnut locks.

Tylor always laughed I guess… He was always laughing, if it was at how somber the Mayor was to how stubborn the priests were. He always found a way to shrug off the worst of what was happening and chuckle about it. He always smiled, always laughed, and was able to make anyone join in too.

That's what I liked best about him, his ability to laugh, to find the best in everything, or… well almost anything. There was one time he didn't laugh, that he was nearly crying. He knelt, drew me close and I snuggled against his white robes wondering what was wrong. He sighed, stroked my hair with a shaking hand, and then tilted my head up. His eyes were ringed with dark circles, his face pale paler then normal, with strands or red tangled hair falling across it, almost masking the red streaked eyes brimming with tears. Tears that stood in the corner of his eyes yet did not fall. In a quiet, a choked voice, he told me that he had to move, that he had to go to a place called Palma Costa and that it was far far away.

"The Voice of Martel commands me, as a Son of the Church, I must obey."

"But why!" Tears ran down his face, from a world away he heard Marche snort. It was like he was laughing and calling him stupid all at the same time.

Lloyd would grow to hate Marche for that sound.

"You can't go, I… I won't let you!" Lloyd wrapped his hands around the priest's neck, burrowed his small face in the crook of Tylor's neck.

"Will you leave your father?"

Horrified Lloyd let go of the priest, startled by the cold tone.

"Will you leave your father, leave Noishe, and leave Iselia, to come to Palma Costa with me?"

Slowly Tylor stood, trails of wetness, streaked with a touch of gold by the sun light, ran down his face.

"You will be a good Son Lloyd; you will stay with Dirk, take care of Noishe. Remember, family, taking care of your family is the most sacred duty that anyone, Goddess or Man, can lay upon you."

Bawling Lloyd clung to the hem of the priest's robes and wept in front of all of Iselia. Hands wrapped around him, white wings seemed to shield him from the world.

"Mer Osin, mer Osin, phaeres. Forgive me, but as you are a good son, so I must be a good Son. Sometimes… hard choices rip families apart, but eventually, eventually they come back together in some way. Know, Mer Osin, this is the hardest choice I've made in all my life."

I hated Martel for that, for a long while, for taking Tylor away. Maybe if Tylor would have stayed I wouldn't have been so skeptical, a little less wild, I don't know because he was a good Son, and I was too. He left and I stayed, though I ached for him to come back every day.

I think that's why I wrote him, told him everything, because I knew he would never be allowed back so I brought little pieces of home to him.

He had given me everything, it only seemed fair that I try to return the favor.