1 Tom stood on the shores of Lake Ken-i-po, gazing at Najarin's castle. It wasn't long ago that he found out what had happened to Najarin's apprentice, Afjak, or the revelation he had had afterwards. Afjak had been Najarin's apprentice and the two of them had been very close. Tom only met Afjak once, but once was enough.
It was getting very close to Father's Day. The Creatures of Perim did not celebrate such holidays, but Tom was thinking about making an exception. In his hand, Tom had a small bunch of purple hyacinths. Flowers were usually for Mother's Day, but Tom knew that Najarin enjoyed his garden. With a scan of Najarin's castle loaded into his scanner, he 'ported.
That afternoon, Najarin was out watering the garden. It had not rained for a few days and the flowers in dire need of a drink. Out of the corner of his eye, Najarin saw something leaning up against the doorway. It was bunch of purple flowers tied together at the stems with a blue ribbon. Najarin took the flowers inside and found a vase for them.
Tom returned to Lake Ken-i-po that night. He couldn't bring himself to face Najarin after what all had happened. Najarin told Tom that Afjak had heard him telling Najarin about the Dranacis Threshold and that Afjak set out for the Threshold, using it and not being able to get back.
Meeting with Afjak and looking back on those few memories showed Tom that Najarin didn't just lose his apprentice. He had lost his son. Tom blamed himself for that. If he had been more careful, none of this would have happened. Or would it? Time travel was confusing and he wished that he had never learned about Dranacis Threshold.
Fresh, hot tears spilled from Tom's eyes. When he first learned that Afjak was Najarin's son, he cried like a baby, not able to stop until his eyes were completely dry and resolved to chest-hitching. His chest was still sore from the first time and he was hoping he would be able to stop crying if someone came around to see him.
Something touched Tom's shoulder. He quickly wiped away the tears that were flowing from his eyes. Najarin was standing behind him with a hand on Tom's shoulder.
"Enough tears, Tom," Najarin said.
"Najarin, I'm so sorry," said Tom.
"Don't be," said Najarin.
"He was your son," said Tom.
Najarin turned Tom around. "It's not your fault," Najarin said. "Do not blame yourself. You couldn't have known what would happened."
"Somehow that doesn't make me feel any better," said Tom starting to cry again.
"You are like him," said Najarin. "Enthusiastic, energetic, although a little impatient." Tom let out half a snicker. "You always want to help others. We need more Creatures like that. You may be human, Tom Majors, but you set the standard."
"You don't hate me?"
"No," answered Najarin. "I forgive you."
"Thank you," whispered Tom. Then added in a lower voice, one so small that Najarin could not hear, "Happy Father's Day."