"Mooooooorgaaaaaaaaan!" it was a sound he was all too familiar with. His mother.
"Mooooooorgaaaaaaaaan!" she repeated again.
"In here mother."
""There you are. Your brothers and sisters are outside, enjoying the fresh air. Why don't you go out and play!" Urgana was standing in the doorway to his room now, her arms folded across her chest. The smile never left her face. She always made him feel better, even when he was in one of his depressed moods, as he was today.
"I love you, mom"
"I love you too, Morgan. Salany is asking about you. She's worried you know. You spend far too much time looking at these old maps and things and not enough time out doors."
"Did my father really go to all of these places?" he asked, not even hearing her.
"Oh yes, Morgan, he really did. But that was so long ago. That was back before time itself began." She smiled, hoping he would as well.
Morgan, simply looked back down at the old wooden table, it was covered with old maps and journals, along with various items that didn't make any sense to him at all. The musty old pack that belonged to his father sat on the floor nearby, worn thin from the years, but still holding up. It was the only thing that had been saved from his family.
Morgan's mother walked silently across the room, untying her apron and tossing it over a nearby chair, she sat next to him, and gently put her arm around him.
"All these places, and all these adventures. He never tired of telling us the stories. He was a great adventurer, Morgan. Your father was a man to be proud of. Now, put these things away and go outside!"
Morgan sighed, which made Urgana think again how much like his father he had become.
"My birthday is soon." He said, his mind still wandering through the maps. "I am supposed to choose my adult name. I haven't, mother. I have tried to think of a name that would honor my father, but I don't know anything about him except from the stories."
"You will, Morgan. I have no doubts. You are a very bright young man. You have time yet. Your celebration is yet a few days away. You have time."
His eyes danced across the maps and papers on the table, and spied a map he had seen many times before. It was one of the most worn in the pile. It was marked with drawings and sketches of frog and lizard like people, with a large 'X' drawn in one of the corners with the word "Cazic Thule" written above it. Across the top of the map, in large bold letters were the words, "Feerott, S. Antonica." He had looked at this map many times over the years, and wondered what great adventures must have taken place there. Even the elders talked about it, and though none had ever been there, they described it wonderfully.
"I think I do have a name chosen, mother. And I think it will honor my father."
She put her arms around him and gave him a big squeeze, and said "That's fine, dear. That's just fine. Now, Get this mess picked up, get yourself dressed, and get outside. You sister has been wanting you for hours!"
Morgan wandered outside. It really was a nice day. The yard was full of children of all races. His mother was always there to be the mother of any child without a family. He had no idea how many "brothers and sisters" he has had over the years. So many of them were human, and of course they grew up so fast, most of them were married and had children of their own now. Sometimes he resented still being treated as a child. At 39 years old, a human was considered ancient! But to a dwarf, he was still very young.
Salany spotted him from across the yard. She was a lovely girl for a human, he thought. She was every bit as adventurous as he was, and they often walked for hours into the forest in search of adventure, even if it was all just imaginary. Salany waved at him to come over, not missing a note from the lute she was playing. Apart from having someone to adventure with, Morgan truly loved her music. She played the Lute, the drums, and sang. Sometimes when they were walking, she would play her hand drum and sing a song, and it made the walk seem effortless. Other times when he was fighting something, pretending it to be one of the ogres he had heard about, she would play her lute and sing a song, and he felt so strong. It was truly a magical ability. Salany's mother had the same gift. Morgan had a vague memory of her parents. Salany's mother would often play and sing at the evening campfires, entertaining everyone. It was a sad day when they died. Salany's parents had taken her with them to forage, and were attacked and killed by a bear. Salany's mother had thrown her into the brush to hide her. It saved her life, but left her, like Morgan, without a mother and father. This fact also brought the two of them closer together, having that bond between them. She was more like a real sister than anyone else he had known.
"Heya, Morgan. Where have you been hiding?" she asked in song. "I've been waiting for hours, my time I have been biding. The day is young, the forest green, the monsters are a-playing, time for us to venture out, it's time to go a-slaying."
Morgan's laughter at the horrible verse made her laugh at herself as well. The song stopped as she rolled backwards in the grass, setting the lute carefully aside. Still laughing, she caught Morgan in the side of the leg with a swift kick that made him lose his balance. Dropping to his side, she rolled quickly, and jumped on top of him while he was still on his back.
"Not fair! I wasn't ready!"
"You laughed at my song. You're going to get it now!" and she began to tickle him in earnest, knowing full well he couldn't resist that.
Laughing so hard his sides began to hurt, he finally grabbed her and threw her off of his chest. "I'm going to tell mom on you if you don't stop it!"
"You're going to tell her what, that you were beaten by a girl? Some warrior YOU'RE going to make!"
"You take that back!" he said with a laugh. "You are going to be in SOO much trouble. I'll tell mom that you kissed the neighbor boy!"
"You wouldn't dare!" she shouted back at him. "You do, and I'll tell that YOU went to the mountain the other day!"
"You were with me! You would be in just as much trouble!"
"Yes, but in MY version, I only went to bring you home"
"But YOU were the one who jumped in the stream!" he countered.
"YOU were the one who came home sopping wet!" she fired back.
"It was my armor. It wouldn't dry fast enough!"
"Armor? It's wicker. What kind of warrior wears wicker. That's for Monks!"
Morgan grabbed her and threw her to the ground, tickling HER this time, both of them laughing and screaming so loud now, that Urgana stepped outside to see what the commotion was about.
"What is all this noise about you two! You are going to wake the Gods."
"Sorry mother" they both said in unison.
"I should hope so. If you can't play nice, don't play at all." She said with a smile, knowing that the bond the two of them shared would last forever.
Morgan rolled over on his back along side Salany, and the two just laid in silence for a while lost in their own personal thought. Salany was the first one to break the silence.
"Morgan, I'm moving away soon. I am 18 now, and it's time I found my own being."
Morgan was stunned. He knew the other human race brothers and sisters had all moved away at that age, but he always thought it would be different with Salany.
"I'm going to stay for your coming of age party, I mean, you're my favorite big brother. I wouldn't miss it for the world. But then…." It was silent for a long while.
"Where are you going to go?" he asked quietly.
"There is a human outpost in a place called Qeynos. I will fit in there."
Morgan rolled onto his side to face her. "You fit in here! What are you talking about!"
"Come on Morgan. I'm a human, growing up as a dwarf. I mean, I love you and mom, but I need to discover what a human girl is supposed to be!"
Morgan laid back and stared at the sky for a while, not sure what to say. He knew she was right, but didn't want her to be.
"Come with me, Morgan. We can have such WONDERFUL adventures together there. I mean, you've been studying those maps forever. Isn't it time you saw the places for real?"
Morgan continued to stare at the sky, and sighed.
"You always do that when you want to say something. What?"
"I was just thinking, that you're right. It is time I saw those places. It's what I've been training at school for for years. But…."
"Well, I wouldn't fit in there. Just as you want to go to a human city, I think I would rather go to a dwarven city. I do know of a place I've been wanting to see and visit, but it's so far away from here, and from Qeynos."
"Tell me about it, Morgan? Where. What's it like?"
"It's a place called Kaladim. It's on one of my fathers maps. The notes say it is a dwarven city, that has a warriors guild. I can go there for more training. Someday, I'm going to slay the dragon that killed my parents, and the only way I can do that is to join this guild. They will train me in the ways of fighting."
"Morgan, You know we both have to go soon anyway. I'm 18, you're almost 40. It sounds funny, but really, we're the same age. The world is a small place. We will see each other again. I know it. You're my favorite big brother. You'll not get away from me THAT easy."
"And you are my favorite little sister. Who's going to protect you if I don't go too."
At that, they had to smile at each other, and the smiles quickly turned into laughter, and the laughter quickly turned into yet another tickle fight, complete with the laughing and screaming that goes along with it.
From the house they faintly heard, "Will you two PLEASE stop that fighting!"