"The Journey Begins"
All left the elder's house in utter shock as they met near the crystal once more. Clouse's father was working away at the forge as he saw the depressed group sitting on the stairs.
"Hey kids. What's got you down?" he asked as he wiped his forehead with a handkerchief.
"Later dad….we have to be separated before we talk to our parents. That or bring them all here."
Clouse's father raised an eyebrow in curiosity as he laughed. "Oh? I think I might have an idea but I won't spoil it. Kiddies, run along and get your parents. Then you all can tell us what's going on.
"Okay, we'll meet back here in an hour once we've all cooled down, okay?"
All nodded as each of them left. Naila and Len walked home alone together.
Great. Naila Feye thought. The one person I didn't want to walk home with.
Surprisingly, he was quiet the whole walk except when they arrived at his house.
"Hey...you nervous?" He asked as he placed a sneaky hand on her shoulder and slowly edged closer.
"A little….yeah. I think all of us are after the news we just heard. Not only that, but now we have to tell our parents. My big sister is going to flip!" Taking her foot, she gave a light kick to Len's shin and pulled his hand away. "However, don't use the situation to think you can get a pass at me!"
"Ow! OW! OWW! OKAY!" Hopping on one leg and holding his hand he gave up.
"See you later, Len!" Naila Feye called out.
As she came up to the outer fence surrounding the front, she greeted her little sister Momo Phiy who was playing with a ball of magicite.
"Feye-Feye, want to play magicite with me?" Momo Phiy asked in an excited manner. Feye-Feye was what Momo Phiy called her, a sort of nickname she guessed.
"Maybe later kiddo, I've got to talk with mom and dad okay?"
Momo Phiy looked a little disappointed but smiled and ran back over to her magicite. As she walked into the house, Naila Feye noticed Foo Kloo, her big sister, running around in a panic. Marking her scroll as she went around the room, she frantically mumbled to herself. There were lots of items all over the tables and chairs. Even the floor was cluttered with stuff. Naila Feye gave a puzzling look and walked over to some bannock piled on the countertop.
"Don't even think about it Naila, that bannock is for the store." her sister called as she still eyed her scroll.
Naila Feye gave a nervous chuckle then gave Foo Kloo a peeved look.
"What's the point, Foo Kloo? We barely have enough customers anyway so why let it go to waste." She reached out for some bannock when Foo Kloo slapped the top of her hand with the quill she was using.
"I said no, Naila Feye. Geez, you are going to be a terrible merchant if you eat all the merchandise before selling it."
"What if I don't want to be a merchant, say I was to leave here and be a mercenary or an adventurer? What then?"
Foo Kloo laughed at the thought. "Right, like anyone would let an eighteen year old go out into the dangers of the miasma. All so she can go on an adventure. Keep dreaming, kiddo."
"You won't be saying that soon enough. I just got done meeting with the elders along with my friends. I'm going to get mom and dad, meet us there if you want or wait to talk to them tonight." Naila Feye ran off into the kitchen.
Len Sol walked into his home, still rubbing his hand, when he was put into a choke hold.
"Hey little bro! Welcome home!"
"Ah! Gan Noo let go! I'm already in pain over here!" Len yelled.
"Aww, did that Naila Feye give you a hard time again, little brother? Just give up, she won't go for you. Now, let's talk about you skipping on doing the chores for today and leaving your nice older brother to do them, huh?"
"Gan Noo, let your brother go. I made a fresh pot of beef stew. Would you both like to try some?"
Both Len Sol and Gan Noo winced at the thought. Their step mom could NOT cook and if someone was dumb enough to eat her food...big mistake.
"Um...no thanks. I just ate at the elder's house. We're all bringing our parents to the square later today, so be ready. It's a bit of a shocker. Gan Noo would love to have some of that stew, though. He just loves your cooking Loo Kul!" A devilish grin stretched from ear to ear as he freed himself from his brother's choke hold and left him with a strangely smoking pot of beef stew.
Breyna waltzed into her finely decorated home. Fine silks and threads filled the shop and she couldn't help but feel a bit of nostalgia.
"Breyna, darling. Is that you?" her mother called from the shop.
"Yes mother, it is I. How is business?" she asked as she traced her hand against a fine Alfitarian piece of silk.
"Slower than I am use to, darling. Don't worry, things will get better." her mother came from the shop and saw Breyna eyeing the Alfitarian silk longingly. Breyna's mother placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "It will get better, I am most certain it will. Besides, you have friends that you did not in Alfitaria."
"I know, mother but they are not as refined as we are. I try not to judge them because then they would despise me. If only that crude man had not blackmailed father."
"I know, my darling. I know." her mother could tell there was something else bothering her. "Can you tell me what is really troubling you, my dear?"
"I...I have just returned from the elder's home, mother. We are all bringing our parents to the square later. Elder Roland and Malayde can tell you the news then. It is that very news that bothers me."
"I see. Well, I'm sure it is nothing too serious, dear. I made some tea if would like some?"
"That sounds wonderful, mother. Thank you. I think I will turn in for a nap. Then we may be off to the center of town."
Breyna's mother gave a light kiss on her cheek and handed her a cup of Alfitarian tea.
"Sleep well, my darling."
I dreadfully doubt it. Breyna thought as she went to her room.
"So tell me son. What's got you in such a slump, huh?" Clouse's father asked as they worked on a sword together.
"I...can't tell you. Just that we, being myself and everyone you saw at the crystal, are bringing our parents there to have elder Roland and Malayde talk to you."
"Is it bad?" he asked curiously. "What did you do?"
"Nothing! We...I can't tell you but promise you won't get mad, okay?"
Clouse's father just sighed in frustration but nodded. "Okay. I promise."
The door to their home opened and out came Clouse's mother, Katey and his little sister, Paulie.
"Be careful with that, honey. Give it to your brother." Katey said with a smile.
"I will." Paulie came up to Clouse with a cup of spring water. "Here you go, big brother."
Patting her head softly, Clouse took the cup of water and drank it. "Thanks, Paulie. It really hit the spot." He said while wiping his forehead with his sleeve.
"Is everything alright?" Katey asked her husband.
"Yes, apparently we have some news to discover in the next hour or so. Clouse won't tell me but he said not to get mad."
"I see. Well I don't think it's bad if Clouse is involved. I mean, you did teach him better."
"I'd say that was more you than me but I'll take that as a compliment." Clouse's father teased.
They both laughed but Clouse still felt uneasy. They won't be laughing when they hear the elder's news later.
Alicia was unpacking some books from a box when her mother, Marianne came in.
"Wow...you're almost completely unpacked. My goodness, so many books. When will you have the time to read them all." she chuckled lightly as she kneeled down beside her.
"I know it was hard to move away from your friends in Fum, but you will make new ones. Your father told me you talked to some people your age today?"
Alicia nodded. "Yes. They are all nice and I can't wait to get to know them but..."
Marianne tilted her head curiously.
"Well, we all went to the elder's house today and they gave us some news. We have to bring our parents to the square so Roland and Malayde can talk to you all."
"Is that what's bothering you? I'm sure it's nothing dear. It'll be alright. Lunch is on the table, come sit with us okay?"
"Sure….oh and mom?"
"Yes?" her mother asked with a cocked head.
"Will you ask dad to find me the map of our world please? You know, the one with all the towns and stuff?" Alicia asked nervously, fearing her mom would catch on.
"Sure, honey. I'll go ask him right now, if he's not in his lab that is." With that, she left Alicia to a tall stack of books.
Whistling a melancholy tune, Kreise sat on the edge of the fence surrounding their cow's pen. One of the cows, Bessie, came up to him and nudged him slightly.
"It's alright old girl. I'm fine." he said as he patted the top of her head.
The door to his home opened and out came his brother's, Alphonse and Heinrich.
"Oh, hey Kreise, when did you get back?" his older brother Alphonse asked.
"Just now….tell dad he has to meet the elder's later today with me."
"Did you get in trouble again?" Alphonse asked.
"No, but I might as well have with the news he's going to get today."
"I swear, you are such a troublemaker." he teased as he hit him lightly on the shoulder. "Heinrich, get the cows some more hay please!"
"Okay!" Heinrich called.
"You sure you're okay?" Alphonse asked an unusually quiet Kreise.
"Huh? Oh yeah. Yeah, I'm fine. Just...tired is all."
"Okay, well get to your chores or dad's going to freak." Alphonse added as he handed Kreise a pitchfork.
"Yeah..." Kreise hopped off the fence and went around back to help Heinrich with the hay.
Later that day...
That afternoon was total chaos in the square. Arguing had ensued and the young teens all felt like they were being scolded. All because it was their "duty" and "destiny" to seek out the myrrh and save their home.
"Foo Kloo please try to understand, we don't want her to go as much as you do. So please calm down." Rah Sie said with a concerned tone.
"Calm down?! How can I calm down?! It should be me going on the caravan, not her! It's too dangerous for her to go out there! It's not right to send an eighteen year old girl out into the miasma, let alone two sixteen year olds!" pointing to Kreise and Breyna.
"I agree with Foo Kloo. My son is too young to do this! Gods rest my wife's soul if she had to endure this!" Kreise's father yelled.
"My daughter is a frail thing! How can you both even think to send these children out into that forsaken world full of monsters?! It is positively vile!" Breyna's mother added.
The arguing and talking over one another continued when Len Sol yelled out to them.
"HEY! WOULD YOU ALL SHUT UP!"
It grew quiet and the young teens all looked to their parents with serious faces.
"Naila Feye? Tell them you don't want to go...you're not ready for this. You see elders, they will listen to reason." She looks over at Naila Feye again. "You don't want to go collect myrrh do you? You should just let me…"
"No…." Naila Feye interrupted. "We're going to do it…we will go on the caravan." They all held each other's hands, trying to fight the guilt that clung to their hearts. Foo Kloo looked at her sister in shock. The parents were shocked by this as well since no one said a word. Some of the mothers were almost in tears while father's and older siblings were angry.
Foo Kloo gave off a nervous chuckle. "You can't be serious….right?" she placed her hands on Naila Feye's shoulders expecting her to admit she was wrong.
Naila Feye continued to keep her head down, ashamed of the answer she was about to give. "I'm sorry Foo Kloo, but I'm going. It's our responsibility now and we have to do what is right."
Tears began to stream down her cheeks. She heard a sniffle come from Foo Kloo and then out of nowhere she slapped Naila Feye across the face. Gasps of shock followed and Naila Feye stood there holding her cheek as it slowly turned a pale red.
"Foo Kloo!" their father yelled.
"You stupid fool! Are you willing to throw yourself into the dangers of the miasma so carelessly?! You could die and…and…." Foo Kloo covered her face and started sobbing uncontrollably.
"Yes, Foo Kloo I could! Would you rather everyone else die?!" hot tears streamed down Naila Feye's cheeks as she ran off to the hill near Breyna's house.
"Naila!" Clouse called as he ran after her.
"I'll go talk to her...I-"
"No!" Len yelled at Naila Feye's mother. "You've all done enough, leave us alone!"
Len, Breyna, Kreise and Alicia followed the direction in which Clouse and Naila had gone, leaving their families to ponder their responses.
The next morning….
Naila Feye ate her breakfast and grabbed her knapsack that her mother prepared for her. Inside were a few loaves of bannock, some fish, fresh striped apples, and some gourd potatoes. Beside the knapsack was a silver belt, some traveling clothes which looked the same as her regular clothes but with iron shoulder plates and boots and an old racket. She walked outside to see her little sister playing with magicite again, her father was tending to the store outside and her mother was watering some flowers on the windowsill. She looked around, but there was no sign of Foo Kloo anywhere. She didn't blame her if Foo Kloo was still angry at her.
"Is it really time for you to go already?" Rah Sie said with a concerned smile.
"Yeah…where's Foo Kloo?" Naila Feye asked.
"She's out, don't know where. She was pretty upset last night. Oh, hello Len."
Their conversation was interrupted as Len Sol came walking up to them.
"Good morning. Naila, are you ready to go?" Len asked.
"Yeah." Naila Feye said with a nervous smile.
"Yo! You guys ready?!"
Len and Naila turned their heads to see a hyper Kreise standing with Alicia.
"Good morning!" Alicia called.
"I'll go over there. Give you time to say goodbye." Len ran over to Kreise and they greeted one another with a high five.
Naila Feye hugged her parents and patted her sister on the head.
"Be careful. Write to us every day, okay?" Tears forming in her mother's eyes as she hugged Naila Feye.
"I will." Naila looked over to her little sister. "You be good, kiddo. Don't cause Foo Kloo any trouble."
"I won't. Be safe, Feye-Feye." Momo Phiy wrapped her tiny arms around Naila Feye and hugged her tightly. "I'll try to write you too, so write back."
"I will kiddo." Naila looked around, hoping to see Foo Kloo. Looking both ways to find nothing, she realized that her big sister wasn't going to see her off. Waving goodbye she joined the rest.
"Hey, so who are we waiting on?" Alicia asked.
"That would be Breyna and Clouse. Knowing Breyna, she's taking forever doing her hair. Geez, women." Kreise moaned.
"I heard that." Kreise froze as Breyna and Clouse walked up.
"Hey guys, sorry we're late. My mom wouldn't let me go." He chuckled as he nervously rubbed the back of his head.
"No problem, we're waiting on elder Roland and Malayde anyway."
"We're here, children." Elder Roland and Malayde came behind Len and Naila. "Are you all read to go?" he asked, eyeing Alicia's knapsack.
"Don't let my bag's size fool you. It's just my books and maps."
Everyone stared at her.
"Well, we might get lost and not know what we're dealing with so..."
Clouse put a hand on Alicia's shoulder. "It's okay. To be quite honest, none of us would have thought to have brought a map. Good thinking." he smiled and turned to Roland and Malayde.
"Here you are dears, this is for you. Keep it with you at all times and never keep your eyes off of it." Malayde walked over with a strange bowl-shaped sculpture and handed it to Clouse.
"It is ever so beautiful…what is it?" Breyna asked curiously.
"It's a crystal chalice. This is what you will gather the myrrh with. It is very important that you fill it up and come back to us safely. Three drops of myrrh will keep the miasma away for a whole year. Wherever you are, you will be protected by that crystal on top of the chalice, even if you don't have myrrh inside of it. To return to a recently visited area, the tree takes two year to replenish its myrrh so you must venture further away if you hope to find more. Your caravan is over there." Pointing to the edge of town, a large beast was attached to the large wooden caravan. All of the teens eyed the beast in worry.
"What the hell is that?!" Kreise whispered violently in Len's ear. "That's the biggest cow I've ever seen!"
"This is Poma, a papaupomous she will pull the caravan and keep you all company. She's a gentle giant but she is easily spooked so be careful. Now go, collect myrrh and fulfill your destinies."
They all packed their gear into the caravan and were ready to leave. Breyna hopped inside the caravan with Alicia sitting on the back. Her feet dangled off the side.
"Who's driving?" Len asked nervously.
"I'll give it a shot." Kreise said as he held the reins.
"Marvelous. We will be dead before we even get to our first destination." Breyna teased.
Kreise just huffed at the pompous Lilty.
"Alright. Naila, why don't you sit with Kreise in the driver's seat or inside the caravan? Len and I will take the first walk on either side of the caravan." Clouse added as he helped Naila Feye into the caravan.
"Are you sure? I can walk too."
"Don't worry about it. I hear the first place we need to go isn't that far. Everyone has weapons, right?" Clouse asked as he made sure his sword was in its sheathe.
"Yup, I got my dad's old spear! He used to be a mercenary before he met my mom."
"I have no weapon but I know magic." Alicia added. Everyone looked to her astonished. "What? I am an alchemist's daughter. We use magicite to craft the things you all use. It's not that uncommon."
"While I detest violence I as well have a lance. I took some fencing lessons back when I lived in Alfitaria as a young girl. My skills are sub-par, but I will take any advice you are willing to give." Breyna held her head proudly.
"Well aren't you little miss perfect." Kreise teased.
"Len? Naila? What about you two?" Clouse asked.
"I never really fought but I was taught a few things by my father. I hope I can help." Naila added in embarrassment.
"No worries. I can teach you some things since we use the same weapon, Naila. We can swap techniques if you want to later." raising his eyebrow at her.
"Don't make me go get your step mom's cooking." Naila Feye threatened.
"Okay, okay. Have it your way." he said while backing up.
Clouse rolled his eyes at the arguing Selkies. "Alright, looks like we're ready."
They all looked at the edge of town. The miasma was visible beyond the town's crystal barrier. Kreise and Len gulped nervously while Alicia gripped onto the caravan. Breyna clung to Naila Feye as Clouse walked with the chalice.
"Here goes nothing..." swallowing nervously he walked out into the miasma. Instantly, the crystal on top of the chalice glowed and they were protected by a barrier. Everyone let out a sigh of relief as Kreise yelled for Poma to move.
"This feels weird. We've never left the town like this, well, besides you Alicia. Where did you move from anyway?!" Kreise yelled back.
"The Fields of Fum! I really liked it there but I'm giving Tipa a chance."
"We're glad to have you with us, Alicia." Naila Feye said with a smile.
"Hey guys, something up ahead!" Len called.
Looking straight ahead they saw something in the distance.
"Are those bandits?" Alicia asked nervously.
"I don't think so. I think I see a caravan with them." Clouse added as he pointed over to it.
They got closer and Breyna inhaled sharply. "Why...they are Lilties! Not only that but they are guards of Alfitaria!" she darted further back into the caravan.
"Why are you hiding? I don't think they know who you are." Kreise added, almost laughing.
"Just watch the road you oaf!" Breyna yelled.
The knights of Alfitaria were huddled together talking, a crystal chalice was next to them. The gang greeted them and the knights looked over. The leader walked over, ready for conversation.
"Hello travelers! My name is Sol Racht…."
(End of Chapter 2! What's next for Tipa's caravan? Will our heroes get to River Belle and get their first drop? I hope you guys enjoyed it. PLEASE review and I hope you will look forward to my next chapter. ^.^ Next Chapter: River Belle Blues.)