The month of Gra, second week, 4102 GS - Town of Dowee in the nation of Rustaria.
"Theodor, hun," A pat on Theodor's back brought him out of his reading. He blinked as he looked up at the study around him, barely lit in the soft light of the runic lamps. Quite a few seemed to have gone dry, he would need to replace the endowed within. "Theodor" A voice called out to him once again. How long has he been at this that so many have gone dry? His thoughts are slow to come. Those lamps tend to last a few days. Suddenly his body is being shaken, his attention drawn back from that deep place.
He turned his head and before his eyes stood the astounding beauty of his wife. "Ahh, how are the kids doing?" Theodor's voice was soft, his energy fleeting as his tired body sought sleep. When was the last time he closed his eyes? His left hand reached out and brought a piece of bread to his mouth. An act that was unconscious in performance.
"Well for the two weeks" His wife's tone emphasized the last two words. "You've been in here, they have adjusted fairly well. I feel it would be good for them to see their father though once in a while." As Theodor took in the look in his wife's eyes, his heart sunk a bit. It was true that his work was important, but what did it matter if he lost his family in the process.
With a sigh, he got up fighting his body's need for sleep. "Two weeks huh." He patted the dust off his pants. His head spun a little bit. "What has Randy been doing this entire time?" He asked as his arms moved to steady his balance. He breathed out, feeling his body once again. It has been a long time since he thought about the shape of it.
"Running in and out of here all day getting you what you need. I am surprised you have managed to keep him around all these years." His wife replied as she grabbed the stacks of books he left on the table. These would be the ones that Theodor would want to go over. This small act brought a smile to his face.
"He has been a good apprentice, I will need to apply for his admittance into the Amor," Theodor said as a passing thought. His eyes wander again to the beauty of his wife as the two of them work their way to the library entrance. Her green hair, once again vibrant, almost as if it had a glow to it. A smile came to his face as he thought about how his daughter had inherited that glow, that vibrancy. Though her hair has slowly lost its bright green color over the years.
His fist clenched slightly as his mind wandered from his family to the threat they face. Of the options, he wasn't sure which he wished it would be. Wars and invading armies are never good. The destruction, the pain, and the loss of so much. At least if it was a war, he could actually fight against it.
A plague, a sickness that is so devastatingly rampant. Would that be worse? At least with a plague, his children would have a great chance at survival. Their youth and vitality aiding them. Though, that is not always the case, such as with the pale death. A disease that destroys the young far faster than the old. If it is something that is prophesied, something that is to be feared, and something that great. Then it is unlikely that anyone would be considered safe.
The final option is probably the worst in Theodor's mind. An army of shadows, mythical beasts with great terror. Could man even fight against something like that? There had to be a way. They had to have done something to fight, something to end the last one. Or was it like the Laven of the plains. Great beasts that awoke every so many years, causing great unstoppable devastation before they went back to sleep for a time.
"Theodor?" His wife said as the light of the sun hit his eyes. Reflexively his hand moved up to his face to block the brightness. Next to him, his wife shook her head. "You've always been like this, ever since I met you." Her face held a mesmerizing smile as she turned towards him. "One of these days, I may learn what goes on in that mind of yours." Before her beauty, his worries fade slightly. For now, he simply must enjoy the time he had with his family.
"My mind is not that complicated of a thing, I think," Theodor said as they stand to wait for the carriage. His fears only shallowly covered by the moment.
"It might be the simplicity that is the complicating part." His wife joked as Randy slowed the carriage in front of them. Theodor opened the door for her. She quickly stepped in, books in tow.
"Have you been doing well as of late?" Theodor asked with a glance towards his apprentice. Though his youthful face didn't show it, Randy was entering his twenty-fifth year, rather old for an apprentice of the mind. Theodor had entered when he was young, an added toil to his other studies. He probably would have enjoyed being in Randy's position. Being able to focus solely on books, on research, and history.
"I am doing fine Sir," Randy replied, his body stiffened from conditioning Theodor long thought lost. Theodor had met Randy eleven years ago. During the end of the fifth Vortarian border conflict. Darith had managed to win that. A bolstering event it was. Darith had gone through a string of losses, losing border posts after border posts. Though the area in question was naught but unsettle wilderness it was still demoralizing for the nation.
"If you need a day off let me know," Theodor said stepping onto the carriage. He would do better to forget those days.
"Sir, how long have you known me? This is nothing. Let me know if you need anything else." Randy replied, his voice a mix of respect and jovialness. There was more in the tone that he couldn't place. It was this that caused Theodor to feel like he was still straining their relationship. When they first met, he took Randy in like a son. Doing what he could to keep the kid in line and protect him. Sometimes he felt that Randy is only his apprentice because he asked so long ago. That this kid followed him out of guilt.
His mind continued to jump, to wander as the carriage bounced over the stone road. The splendid stonework of the city simply passed him by. A shadow crawled across the earth as the sun continued to fall behind Skaar. As he noticed the shadow his mind wandered to that great arch in the sky, to the season that will follow. The shadow will last about an hour this day, the winter nearing. Soon the dark months will come, and the perpetual twilight will be upon them.
Eventually, the stuttering stop of the carriage brought Theodor's focus back to the present. His wife across from him reading one of the books they took from the library. He couldn't get over how cute she was, how beautiful she was. Even though the carriage is no longer moving, she is still jotting down a few notes. She truly was a blessing to him.
Theodor opened the door, the dim light of the shadowed day outside filtered in. His eyes moved up towards the Skaar covered sky. He could still, barely, see the rough outline of the sun behind a glimmering that was Skaar. It was like a thousand beads of glass reflecting the light of the sun. Turning from the sky, he looked back at his wife. She was packing up her notes and books.
He reached over and grabbed the stack of books. His wife looked at him and a smile crossed her face. He never understood how she did it. Her face held that same youthfulness as when he met her ten years ago. He was sure he was doing all the aging for the two of them.
"You can leave those there, I will have Randy help me take them in." his wife said. Theodor looked back towards her to object. "Now don't give me that look." As her words reached his ears, he realized his face already was objecting. "Your kids, they haven't seen their father for weeks. Instead of worrying about this, go and spend some time with them. We can talk once you are done." Though her words were soft, they dug into him like picks.
"You're right of course," Theodor said as he placed down the books.
"You are a great father to them, hun." His wife's voice was comforting. "You just get so focused. They are in my room, go grab them and take them to the park." Theodor nodded, his wife was as right as ever. "When you get back we can discuss these issues you found."
With a sigh, Theodor turned around. He brought his head up. His wife was right, there was no point in mopping. He needed to be there for his kids when he could. He nodded to the lady behind the front desk as he stepped through the lounge towards the stairs.
Over in the corner, he saw two young men move a trunk into position over a runic platform. The one most likely used to return people's luggage to their rooms. He paused a second as they finish stacking the four heavy looking trunks.
Theodor began to ponder the implementation of such a device. From his estimation alone, those trunks each weigh as much as a person. Even with his limited knowledge of tides, especially movement tides, he understood the immensity of the Draw that it would take.
The complexity of such a tide astounds him. It was clear that tides were quickly becoming something more than just battlefield tools. The two men step back and close the door. Theodor realized that it is the same size as the closet inside his room. One of the men grabbed a tide from around his neck and placed it inside a hole designed to accept it. The other young man placed another key from his pocket into a hole on the other side of the door.
A moment later and a faint light is seen from the cracks between the door and wall. As much as Theodor's mind wanted to stay, to examine this wonder, he needed to go to see his kids. He turned and continued his walk up the stairs.
His mind shortly left the amazing wonder and moved onto his kids and their needs. He stopped in front of the door to his wife's room and pulled out the key. He froze as he stared at the door than the key. "Drawn" He yells under his breath. He forgot to grab his wife's key. With a sigh, he turned toward the stairs.
"Sir!" Randy said as he jogged towards him. "The Ladia requested I take this to you." A slight smile came to Theodor's face as in Randy's hands was the key to his wife's room.
"Of course she did," Theodor said in satisfaction as he grabbed the key. Randy stood stiffly after he handed the key over.
"Randy?" Theodor said with a look into the young man's eyes. "Do you want to be my apprentice? Is being a master of the mind, an Olor, really something you wish for?" Randy's eyes look directly back at Theodor.
"Sir!" Randy said blinking. "As I said when I started this apprenticeship. I will follow you to the ends of the earth and back. You are on the path of wisdom, a Naor, a member of the Tior. I will become one if that is what it takes to follow you."
Theodor had heard this speech before, it was during a troubling time in his life. A time he tried not to remember. When he left that life, Randy swore to follow him to the end of days. "Randy, I know why you chose to become my apprentice. I am not asking if you would do it. I Trust you would see this through to the end of your days if necessary. I'm asking if this is what you want to do?"
"Sir, I know what you are getting at. But before you found me I had little direction. Honestly, if it wasn't for you, I would probably be dead. So is it what I planned to do?" Randy sighed looking down at the ground for a few seconds. "No, it is not what I planned to do. Because I didn't plan on doing anything. If it wasn't for you lifting me out of that bog of a life, I wouldn't be here. This isn't what I planned, but it has turned into something I enjoy greatly."
The words Randy spoke, the tone, and the look in his eyes all hit home inside Theodor. This kid had a good heart. He would need to put through his application for the Amor, the lowest of the Tior, soon. Maybe he could… Theodor shook his head and looked back at Randy. "I understand. I will put forth your application for admittance as an Amor. After this, it will all be based on how hard you work."
Randy's left foot stomped the ground and his right arm began to move. " Sir I won't let you down." His right arm quivered a bit as it moved to his chest. He stopped the motion and brought it back to his side. "I am sure your wife is waiting for me, so I request your leave."
A big smile arcs across Theodor's face. "Randy, you know you don't have to request leave every time right." He said as he moved his hand to tell him he can leave.
"Sir, you know I can never disrespect you in such a fashion," Randy said as he turned to jog off before Theodor could reply.
Theodor turned from the hallway, his wife's key in hand. A smile sat softly on his face. His mind drifted from Randy towards his kids as he slowly turned the key. A gentle breeze flowed past his face as the door opened. The balcony must be open, his mind thought as he stepped in and closed the door.
A brighter smile crossed his face as he saw his four-year-old son intently watching his older sister working on a quilting project. He was sure that his son would have been a bit more energetic, running around the room.
"Daddy!" Tate said as his head turned and exploded with excitement at the sight of his father. The four-year-old dashed towards his father. Theodor squatted down, his arms outstretched as his son collided with him. Theodor stood in a spin, his boy's face brightened as they twirled. Settling down a bit, Theodor held Tate at his side and walked up to his daughter.
"Father, it is a pleasure to see you," Maya said, speaking in the words and tone her mother had been teaching her. Though her face and words were proper, void of the excitement of Tate. Theodor had no trouble seeing the beam within her bright green eyes.
"As it is a pleasure to see the both of you," Theodor replied, his mind relaxed with each moment he is spending with his kids. "I am here to take the both of you to the gardens." As Theodor said these words, his daughter's face beamed. A few seconds later she composed herself like a proper lady.
"That is glorious news Father dear." Theodor couldn't help but laugh a little inside at her behavior.
"You have ten minutes to prepare Maya." Theodor began. "I will be taking care of Tate. Meet you out in the hall at that time." With that, he turned and exited the room. As he progressed, changing Tate, he knew his wife was right. This was exactly what his taxed mind needed. Exactly what his heart needed. Exactly what his kids needed.
Finally the two of them ready, they step out into the hall. A few more minutes pass before Maya stepped out into the hall to join them. Theodor's heart skipped a beat at the beauty of his daughter. Though her dress was a simple one meant for more vigorous activity. Her mother's beauty was clearly showing through. It brought a joy to Theodor's heart. The joy of a father as he watched his children grow. The joy of knowing they are becoming something greater than he could have ever imagined.
"I am ready father," Her voice and mannerisms again leaned towards the proper.
"As are we," Theodor said before he turned to walk towards the stairs. "So what have you been learning about Maya?"
"My studies have been going over the Darith rebellion." Maya began, her voice steady. Theodor pondered a bit in his mind on what path his wife would take while teaching that subject. "How the corruption of the royal family led the church to revolt. Unifying the nation under a new rule."
"Is that what your mother has been teaching you?" Theodor asked. His mind questioning how his wife could talk about her past in such a distant way.
"Mother did say that, while the royal family was corrupt, the church was not likely to be much better," Maya responded, her mannerisms are slowly becoming less proper.
Theodor's mouth twitched as he began to notice the change. His daughter was again feeling comfortable around her father. "Is that so? how were the two corrupt?"
"Well, the royal family was exchanging positions of power and leadership for money and promises. Leading to people governing area's they had no prior knowledge of." Maya answered, her voice growing more passionate. If Theodor knew anything about his daughter, it was that she inherited his love for history. "Though from what my mother tells me, this is not uncommon among the ruling families of most countries. As for the Church, they have been using the names of the saints to do things that are contrary to the words spoken in the seven books. Sacrificing their morals for public opinion." The three of them exit the inn and head north towards the town gardens.
"And you know much of the seven books?" Theodor asked. He knew his wife held those books in great reverence. Though he himself didn't know much of the Darian religion. Perhaps he should have studied it more.
"Mother has seen that I read on all the major religions. 'For one who understands what a person believes, better understands the person.' Mother always tells me that as I study." Maya replied, her body moving lightly along the ground. It was clear to Theodor that she was excited about the time she is spending with him.
"Indeed it does, there was many a time I was saved because I understood how another thought," Theodor said, his mind recalling situations of grave danger.
"Saved how father?" Maya asked her head turning briefly, eyes full of wonder.
Theodor sighed as he heard the question. A past he has done his best to leave behind always rears its head. "Father went through some hard times when he was younger, and at times would go against another person or people. It was times like that, in which a quick and well-educated mind was able to prevail." Theodor replied, the lies well hidden in the truth.
"Was daddy ever a warrior?" Tate asked his hand swinging a stick he picked up a while back. The young boy dodging an imaginary fighter as he looked up towards his father.
"I did learn how to fight, but a knight no I was never one of them," Theodor replied, his voice grew softer. "Anyway we are here, let's have some fun!" He exclaimed as he started chasing Tate. The worries of that time fading from the mind, for now at least.
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