A Thousand Years of Stories

Disclaimer: I don't own Lost Odyssey. I'm not doing this for any monetary gain or personal advance beyond the improvement of my personal writing abilities.

By the Fire Side

Snow Covered Trail

Magic Industry City of Gohtza

He'd ordered them behind him from the second they were reunited. Jansen had taken the lead against rushing snow, freezing air and whatever angry beasts had happened upon them so that the children had that almost insignificant speck of additional protection. He was a mage after all, if anything really wanted to go through him and was quick enough, well, it wouldn't exactly be pretty. But he was adamant. Or at least, the part of him that wasn't screaming at him was.

They're in the same group as you genius! That part of him shouted in his mind. Come on, at least have the freakin' queen next to you! A few oversized termites and monkeys aren't going to hurt them after all the crap they've been through!

But something compelled him. Something other than the memories of how vicious Kaim could be in combat, though that probably helped. Sure, they may have been magic wielders. Sure, one of them might be able to call up freakin' thunder storms just by crying, but goddamn it they were still kids! There are certain situations you just don't put kids into, and if they're already there, you have to do your best to keep them as safe as possible. It was a man card requirement.

So the Uhran mage, who'd started off his part in the adventure utterly doused in alcohol and complaining all the way, lead the way down the frozen train tracks, using one arm to shield his face, his staff to create a small warming light with which to see, and his body to shield the two children and an immortal queen behind him.

What a weird freaking day. Hell, what a weird freaking few months.

When they'd found a small breach in a stone wall that was partly shielded from the blizzard, he could have cried for joy. He may have actually done it too, but he was really too tired to care.

As soon as some torn up wooden debris were gathered he cast a flare spell and the little pile suddenly burst into flames. It wasn't a roaring fire, and there wasn't anything else to warm them, but it was something. A scatterbrained part of him briefly reexamined the absolutely crazy idea that any grandfather could let their granddaughter walk around dressed like Cooke was, but, hey, they were Numarans. Their queen wasn't exactly overly clothed either. Besides, who would have expected a giant ice ball to fall on Ghotza?

They sat in exhausted silence for a moment, trying to warm themselves off of the minuscule fire.

"Thanks Jansen," Mack finally said in a quite voice.

The mage's head almost snapped around and he stared at the boy like he'd grown a second head.

"Huh?" He asked, ever articulate.

"For trying to protect us from the snow, for the fire," Mack explained. "Thanks."

Thanks…Jansen? Wow, now there were some words that he hadn't been used in the same sentence in a while; years maybe. At least not actually directed at him.

There was a pause where only the fire crackled.

Then Jansen put a warm hand on Mack's head and gave it a fond rub.

"Hey, no problem kiddo," He said, a weird sort of fuzzy feeling welling up in his chest that had all together nothing to do with booze or female company. "I mean, what kind of a mage would I be if I couldn't light a little fire?"

"A pretty crummy one," Cooke supplied helpfully.

The fuzzy feeling was sucked out of Jansen so fast that it could have not been there in the first place. The Uhran mage gritted his teeth into something gruesome that vaguely resembled a smile.

"I just love kids."