by thefourpartland

“Behave, children.” Ira shot an amused glare at them both. “You’re right, though. It’s been more drudgery and less excitement than I’d expected. Not that I particularly want to be fending off hordes of ravening monsters each night, but we’re journeying through a land that was once owned by the greatest of arcanists and is now returned to the wild. Shouldn’t there be something of that around here? Some ill-advised summoning spell or magical predators that have made their new home here?”

Pondering the question, Canere responded. “I think… most of those died when the skycities fell. Either from the fall itself, because they were on the skycity, or from the impact, because having a mountaintop crash into a valley from the sky above is going to eradicate most of the life on the ground. Plus, we were always the enchanting types. The Biyani are probably ones who had to deal with hordes of monsters rushing about. But they never really understood magic.”

Yaden stifled a laugh. There were a few civilizations under the old Arhosan Empire that had risen to their positions using magic, and of those, Biyan had almost certainly been the greatest rivals to the Hanians. Not in proximity, for neither was located particularly close to one another, but in proclivities and talents, most certainly. Tinges of that rivalry had come through in Canere’s statement, dismissing their long term foes in terms that any Hanian could understand.

“Aside from that prejudice you snuck in at the end there, I’d say you’re most likely correct. Hanians did always love their enchanted trinkets. Their continued existence has done wonders to ease the ongoing lives of our people.”

At the looks he got from both Ira and Canere, Yaden blushed slightly. “I did pay attention in school. And I’ve got eyes that work, as well.”

“Yes, they always slide attentively over the nearest girl.”

“Just without the courage to go talk to her.” Canere finished Ira’s thought.

Stung by their remarks, Yaden disappeared from his spot by the fire, slipping away to stand outside, looking into the star filled sky, partially hidden behind the arching mountains that lived to the north. He was never quite sure where his reputation had come from. Certainly, he’d earned parts of it, but it had ballooned into something beyond anything he’d done. Perhaps that was because in the dreary day to day life of Yn Dref, people needed something to gossip about, stories that would make them laugh and smile. And he’d become the object of those stories. Certainly, he’d had tales repeated back to him about his exploits that were patently untrue. Like the one about him stepping off the edge of Yn Dref and floating to the ground.

Not actually a particularly difficult task, that, provided one knew the right spell and could cast it a time or two. It was just that Yaden didn’t particularly possess much in the way of magical talent at all, aside from a few minor tricks he could pull. Which, while not a rarity amongst the Hanians, was at least unusual enough to be noted when both of his parents had been magically inclined.

As a result, he’d always had to be exceptional in others areas of life. Which was why his swordplay was good enough that only the best of the guards could defeat him, and even then they were only just managing it. If he was allowed to use the little flashes of light and other illusions that he could manage during one of those training bouts, he had little doubt he could overcome them.

From there, his maudlin thoughts turned inwards, twisting and twining about themselves until they resulted in nothing so much as a tangled web, one in which he was stuck.

Now sitting on a large stone, eyes focused on nothing out there in the world around him, Yaden didn’t hear the approach of Canere, who settled himself to the ground next to his friend.


No response.

“Yaden?” This time the question was followed with a little nudge, one that disturbed the flamboyant youth enough that he snapped out of the cycle of thoughts which he’d been stuck in.

“Canere? What is it?”

“Time for your watch to end, and for you to get some sleep. You’ve been thinking too hard tonight. Try not to do that, it’s not good for you.”

At that, a little of Yaden’s normal spirit came back. “This coming from the man who spends his entire life buried into books and doing nothing but thinking.”

“Do as I say, not as I do.” Canere accompanied the statement with a touch of a smirk, knowing how it sounded.

All the same, Yaden chuckled, touching his friend on the shoulder before heading inside to find his blankets next to the fire.


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