Alaia Skyhawk: Aaaaaaaand another plot point getting filled :)

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I don't own Tales of Symphonia so please don't sue me. I do however own Krishka, Dallinius (Dalli), Aluran, the Alurannai and any OCs, except Sanaro and Annule, who belong to Mr Who 2123, Mika and Fiuras, who belong to WingedWithFireyMana, and Gaea Silverleaf, who belongs to Sparkling Moon Phoenix, so please don't steal them...

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Chapter 11: An Inestimable Gift

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If being stared at by five elves had been uncomfortable back at the meadow, being stared at by over fifteen thousand of them was by far worse. Having pasted a calm facade over his nigh trembling self, Yasin showed no outward sign of the fact that at this particular moment in time all he wanted to do was run. He felt like some tiny creature backed into a corner by a baying pack of predators, despite the fact he knew he was welcome here. The real pressure was the fact that here and now he was representing his entire race in front of these people, his race being one only two years in existence.

Having passed through the outer part of the town and its surrounding fields, the group had reached the point where homes with large cottage gardens gave way to the more closely arranged buildings of workshops and businesses. Also what had initially started as just a few individuals coming out of homes to watch him pass had become a solid wall of murmuring people on either side of the street. He was, quite frankly, terrified by the situation, and the man who had led the group seemed to notice it.

Kirian moved from his position at the front of the group to instead stand beside the Alurannai Ambassador, his presence a partial shield against the stares as well as moral support. True to the request sent ahead, magic had been temporarily banned within the settlement. A few disgruntled murmurs came from younger less experienced elves to be picked up by Yasin's sharp hearing, but all of the older elves accepted the need with grace and decorum. That much reassured him, but still didn't do much for his pounding heart. He was one single alurannai, stood amid thousands of elves, and all eyes were on him and what he would do next.

The group picked up their pace, clearly wanting to spare Yasin as much of what was a clearly distressing situation as possible. Hurrying him to the centre of the town, they joined him in a deep sigh of relief when they entered the front door of the Elven Elder's home and that door was closed behind them.

Yasin wrapped his arms about himself, staving off the desire to tremble. Offering to come visit the elves had seemed so simple at the meadow, a pity that fifteen thousand elves was actually a number far more daunting than it had seemed back then.

Kirian left the alurannai man standing there, giving him a chance to compose himself, while he proceeded down the short hallway and lightly tapped upon the door at the end of it.

"Great-Grandfather, may I come in?"

"You may."

Kirian took at deep breath, the response having been immediate... He now had to hope his highhanded order for magic to be banned wasn't about to get him into trouble. Knowing he couldn't put this off, he entered the room not looking at the elderly elf sat upon a cushion at the far end, walking forwards with his head down before kneeling and putting his forehead to the floor.

"I've brought the Alurannai Ambassador, Yasin, to see you, and I report that Ratarani is protected from the weather by his people and is flourishing. It has grown in size due to their care, and continues to grow in strength with each passing day."

He remained as he was, not moving from this position that left him nothing to fix his anxious gaze on other than the weave of the rug under his nose. He might even have said he was as scared right now as poor Yasin had been outside, here beneath the gaze of the Elven Elder, his great-grandfather.

The elderly elf frowned a little as he gazed upon the prostrated form of his great-grandson, considering all he had learnt from the elf who had been sent ahead with the message. A small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, his eyes softened as he spoke with a note of pride.

"You have done well, Kirian, and represented the Elves admirably in what is most certainly an unexpected situation. We had no idea why Ratarani forced us to leave, but you have brought us not only answers as to that, but a new friendship as well." Grey eyes lifted to look at the closed door of the room, his voice carrying to the person beyond. "You may enter, honoured visitor. I believe you and I have much to discuss."

The door opened, Yasin edging inside and closing it behind him before beginning to wring his hands. He was twitching like a frightened bird at the slightest stray sound, so much so Kirian immediately rose to his feet and hurried over to him.

"Yasin, come, sit down. I'll get you some tea."

He planted the alurannai man on one of the cushions set near the one upon which an amused Elder sat, darting over to a kettle set upon a brazier by the window of the wooden-walled room. As for the Elder himself, he watched as his descendant fumbled with small pottery cups before directing his gaze at his visitor.

"I was informed that your name is Yasin Perelir, and you are of a newborn Race called the Alurannai." Amber eyes fixed on him nervously, Yasin so tense he barely breathed. The Elder just smiled. "You need not worry about formality with me. When one reaches the age of nine hundred and sixty-two, you tend to worry less about such needless flustering."

The corner of Yasin's mouth twitched with the tiniest of smiles, the Elder's manner putting him at ease enough that he blurted his next words without really thinking.

"Well I'm only two, so I wouldn't know about that ye..."

He clamped a hand over his mouth, horrified he would be so pert. The Elder, though, just burst out laughing, the sound almost causing Kirian to drop the cup he was holding.

"Oh no need be ashamed about being blunt. Even if you were as old as myself, I would not expect you to beat about the bush. We are here to begin a friendship between our races, and friends do not worry about being honest with one another. Now, let us begin by explaining to one another about our peoples."

Yasin's smile became more open, as he nodded.

"Indeed. While I was gifted a great deal of knowledge about the Elves and your culture by Ratarani, knowing it in theory is much different from witnessing it for myself. I understand you use a council system, with several councils, each led by an elected Elder, all answering to the First Elven Elder who is in turn elected from among the others when the previous holder of the position passes away."

The Elder nodded.

"That is correct, although at present there is only a single council. Until we begin to spread out and form other settlements besides this one, we only need the one. Now, seeing as you know our leadership structure, please describe yours to me..."

---.--.---.--.---.--.---.--.---

The sigh that was cast into the night air was one of deepest relief, relief that the one who cast had come through this most challenging of days. Stood on the back porch of the Elder's home, looking out at the secluded garden that lay there, Yasin paused for a moment before stepping out into that lovingly cared for space.

Walking down an earthen path between flowerbeds that might have actually been natural clusters of plants, he marvelled at how the Elves cultivated the land and yet still found a way to maintain the balance of nature upon it. They showed a deep understanding of action and consequence when it came to nature, and also a deep respect for it that he found himself admiring them for. He could learn a lot from these people, things that he would in turn teach to his own. Entranced by the sense of contentment he could pick up from those plants, when he found a bench secluded in a quiet corner among them he sat there to listen. So much peace, it soothed away the fears he'd felt upon being confronted by so many people. Up until now he'd known only the others of the handful of alurannai, and now he knew just how few they really were right now.

Footsteps reached his sharp hearing, but he didn't move. Four weeks in the man's company meant it was exceedingly easy to identify Kirian's mana signature. Waiting until the elf had reached the corner in which the bench stood, Yasin smiled to himself before speaking.

"Your Great-Grandfather is a remarkable man. I can understand why he was picked to lead your people... He listens, and never stops learning from what he hears."

Kirian chuckled, sitting himself beside the ambassador.

"He can be harsh when he wants to, when he needs to, but you're right about him listening. He was the one who said we had to leave Derris Kharlan. That we had to move here or be doomed to die. I... don't have a lot of happy memories of Derris Kharlan. It was dark and without hope, and the only real brightness anywhere was the azure glow from the flowers of the Kharlan Trees."

Yasin turned and looked at him, curious.

"There are other Kharlan Trees? On Derris Kharlan?"

The elf nodded.

"Yeah, though not many. When one of them produced a seed just a few months before Derris Kharlan was due to pass close to this world, Great-Grandfather took it as a sign the Trees understood we were doomed if we stayed. When the seed germinated it was placed into a special urn rather than planted in Derris Kharlan's soil, our magic keeping it small enough to carry until we could use our world's mana to bridge the way to this one. The Tree was planted on the hill right after that, growing to its proper young size as soon as the spells were released."

"And it was then the Tree created Origin, Maxwell, the eight Elemental Summon Spirits, the Protozoans, and all other plants and animals on this world."

Yasin soft conclusion was but a whisper, one that brought a light of deep thought to Kirian's eyes.

The elven man sighed, before looking up at the stars.

"You've taught us so much today that we didn't know. Summon Spirits exist on Derris Kharlan, and are the only form of sentient life other than the Kharlan Trees that truly flourishes there. We had no idea the Tree had created Summon Spirits for this world, not until you told us. Up until today we thought the Tree had created the Humans and Dwarves our scouts came across during their exploration this past year, but now we know Origin, the Summon Spirit of Creation, was the one who made them. I wonder if any of our summoners will try to make pacts with any of them."

Yasin smiled.

"Might as well wonder when the first Protozoan will evolve to the stage that they leave the lake near Ratarani... It's bound to be a long while before it happens. Besides, the Spirits like to move around at this time, so catching up with one of them to make a pact might be difficult."

Kirian laughed.

"Yes, that might prove a bit awkward. I suppose someone will come up with a solution at some point, but for now pacts with them will have to remain a distant dream." He paused, seeming to remember why he'd come out into the garden. "Oh, I brought this for you, since you mentioned your one is in need of replacement parts. I figured it would be easier just to give you a new one."

He pulled an item from his pocket, offering a pristine new wing pack to the startled alurannai man.

Accepting it, Yasin gazed at it before regarding the elf with gratitude.

"Thank you, this will help me a great deal."

Kirian chuckled.

"I'm sure it will, I've already half-filled it with paper, pens, ink, and drawing tools. Just let me know when you run out and I'll get you some more." He pulled another item from his pocket, a bundle of cloth wrapped around something. "I also want you to have this. It's been handed down in my family for generations, and it's one of the few remaining Ancient Amulets of Derris Kharlan."

Pocketing the wing pack, Yasin accepted the new bundle with puzzlement and unwrapped it to reveal a thin flat piece of metal half as wide as his palm. The symbol upon it was made of broad interlocking bands, and even just looking at it he could sense the age and potency of the enchantment it held.

"This... I can't accept this, it must mean so much to you and your people..."

Kirian picked it up and placed it on Yasin's right wrist, the amulet's strands extending to form a bracelet to hold it there. His voice was sure as he spoke.

"The Derris Emblem will protect you from falsity and illusion, which in truth you are not likely to encounter as a danger. I give it to you not so much to protect you, but as a sign of friendship. Consider this my promise of trust in you, and my hope that we will continue to be friends until the ends of our days. Just as I hope our peoples will remain friends for always."

Stunned into silence, Yasin stared at him for a few moments more before closing his eyes and smiling.

"I promise you, Kirian, I will always consider you my friend... Always until the end of my days."

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Alaia Skyhawk: And so the origin of the Derris Emblem is explained, and obviously how Ratatosk will come to have it in his possession later. Also, I have to say, Yasin's last sentence was rather profound a promise. More profound that Kirian will ever know. Awww