Thomas: Old Friends New Acquaintances

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The lightning crashes around me and the rain pours. The piece of wood that I’m holding onto barely stays afloat through the giant, crashing waves. My fingers threaten to let go from the cold, and I’ve lost feeling in my feet hours ago. This wasn’t what I expected, to be tossed to and fro in the cold, dark ocean. I’m exhausted and tired, but I know that if I sleep now I will never wake up.

“Skahart!” I scream hoarsely, “Save me please!”

As I’m screaming a giant wave tosses me over. I swallow some of the sour tasting water, and I splutter, momentarily losing grip on the wood. Alas, it was only a moment that was needed for the wood began floating away out of my reach. Exhausted and with no way of staying afloat, I begin to drown in the stormy seas.

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I wake up with a shudder in the spare room of the apothecary shop. Jordan, the healer of this apothecary had graciously let me sleep here. She said I reminded her of her son. Anyways, after I had woken up I went downstairs where she was making breakfast.

“Did you sleep well?” She asked with genuine care in her voice.

“Yes, lovely,” I lied, but she wouldn’t be able to tell.

“So, you said you were from the future. How does that work out?” She says, lifting a cooked egg onto a plate and putting it down in front of me. “I didn’t know so I made it over-easy, I hope that’s fine.”

My eyes widen at the sight of such food. My stomach rumbles and I begin to devour the egg. “Oh no, this isn’t fine, this is delicious. But yes, the future. After the rebellion was over and we were victorious I threw myself into the ocean in an attempt to find my father. Eventually, I did and he brought me to an island far away from here, it’s called Yokai. So, anyways, I washed up there and met my wife to be,
Aquealis. She dragged me into her parent’s house and tended to my wounds, she had the ability to heal. However, the town didn’t trust me and so they wouldn’t let her marry me. But, I earned my trust by slaying monsters.”

“Monsters?” She asked, as she sat down with her own egg.

“Yes, monsters, there are these strange rifts all over Yokai and their hard to find, but monsters come through them. Basically, if an animal walks through it becomes a twisted version of its former self. However, the same doesn’t happen to humans for some reason. A human can pass through the rifts at any time. So, I went through my first rift at the age of 16 and I was there for two years. It was an amazing place filled
with these four-legged creatures called Mulefa. They were very interesting. But, the rifts could only be closed for good when I completed the mission that needed to be done. For example, in the first rift I had to kill this overlord who was slaying thousands of Mulefa, once he was dead a portal opened up in front of me and I walked through it. I had been gone for two years, everyone thought I was dead, but I wasn’t I was in the rift. Aquealis and I got married that year, and I went into another rift. I got back half a year later and went into another rift. By now I’ve been through four, this is my fifth. And I have to amazing kids at home, Peter and Paul. Peter’s the eldest and he takes after his mother, he can do healing magic quite well for his age. And Paul is the youngest, but he seems to have combined Aquealis’ and mine powers. He can control water and he can heal with that water. As for their ages Peter is five and Paul is two.”

“Oh,” she replies as she chews silently. “So, you’ve been gone for about nine years.”

“Yeah, quite a bit.” I nod in agreement as I eat my egg. Suddenly a thought hits me. “Is Avantra still around these parts?”

Jordan looks at me, slightly surprised. “Yeah, Avantra is still around here. She gives me my stocks of Belladonna.”

My face lights up with the prospect of seeing my old guardian again. “Can you show me where she is?”

Jordan nods and finishes her egg taking both hers and mine plate away. She puts the plates in a sink and walks outside. Its early morning, dawn actually, and dew is still on the grass from last night. I remember my dad telling me when I was really young that dew was made by magical elves spitting on the ground. Now I know it’s not true, but I tell the same thing to my kids, something to keep fantasy alive.

Jordan leads me to the outskirts of the village known as Samkirt. We head towards the forest and Jordan leads me on a well-travelled trail. We’re walking on it for about twenty minutes when I hear the familiar wolf call of Avantra.

“Ar-Ar-Aroooo!”

I call back, “Aroo-Ar-Ar!”

I hear rustling in the trees and a thud behind me as Avantra fell from the canopy. I turn around and she embraces me, lifting me a foot off the ground and squeezing my body in her capable arms.

“Thomas! Thomas! I thought you were dead! I saw you drown! You drowned! You were dead! But here you are, alive!” Avantra screams refusing to let me go.

“Yes, Avantra, I’m alive. Please let go, I can’t breathe.”

“Oh,” Avantra says as she lets me go. “I just can’t believe you’re here after all this time.” She gets a good look at my face, “Wow, you’ve grown.”

“Well, I’m from the future…” And so Avantra and I stand around talking and I tell her everything that happened from going to Yokai, to going through the rifts, to getting married and having kids, to fighting dragons, even down to Jordan fixing me up.

“Well, that’s very sweet of you Jordan,” Avantra says, and then she looks at me. “So, we need to find out your mission, how to get you back to your family.”

Jordan says her goodbyes to Avantra and me and heads back to her apothecary and I stay with Avantra. While I’m hunting and trapping with her we come across a bobcat in one of her nets.

“Oh, what do we have here?” Avantra’s eyes widen, “A bobcat, they make for good prices on the market, especially their skin.” Avantra’s lips curl into a wide smile.

But I look at the bobcat and into its eyes, and I see they’re the same color as that one bobcat that Gwendolyn owned. Snickers I think.

“Snickers?” As I say this immediately the bobcat stares at me, with a look of mixed curiosity and confusion. “Avantra, I don’t think we should kill this bobcat. It belongs to someone else.”

Avantra looks at me, “But she’s in my net.”

“She belongs to a friend of mine. And that friend could be very dangerous if her pet suddenly winds up on the butcher’s table.” I warn Avantra without giving all the details.

“Fine.” Avantra says her eyes more cold than anything I’ve seen before.

She walks over to the net and cuts loose Snickers. She looks at me with a look of realization and then runs off, probably to find Gwen.  “Snickers!” I
yell, “Tell her I’m back!”

Avantra and I finish checking and resetting the rest of the traps. As the sun goes down it’s time to go to sleep. I look at Avantra, curious of where we’re staying. Avantra leads me into an abandoned village, not a soul left, but all the houses intact. Each house is just a little shanty, enough for a fire and a bed, nothing more. The houses themselves were made out of mismatching objects, obviously from gathered
materials thrown away by the surrounding towns and villages.

“What is this place?”

“It’s an old rebel camp. They were against the reign of the Magister Lords long before your parents took up the cause. In fact, your parents passed through here on their way to the Magisterial Palace. When the Magister Lords were taken out of power two years ago these rebels had no more reason to be rebels. So they left this village and moved back to the towns.”

“Wow, so we can sleep in whichever house we want?”

“Yeah, but don’t forget to get wood for a fire, otherwise you’ll be very cold during the night.”

I nod, remembering my nights out at sea. Nothing could be colder than that. So I walk around the edge of the clearing, cutting off dry branches. Then I put all the dry wood on the fire pit inside the house. Wishing I had a pyrogizzard I go to Avantra’s hut and knock on the door.

“Avantra, can I have one of your brands to set my fire?”

Avantra opens the door and nods, letting me in. I grab one of the sticks that were half on fire half not and I brought it to my hut and used it to set my sticks on fire. As soon as I hear the satisfying crackling of the fire I lie down on the small cot and drift off to sleep.

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The lightning crashes around me and the rain pours. The piece of wood that I’m holding onto barely stays afloat through the giant, crashing waves. My fingers threaten to let go from the cold, and I’ve lost feeling in my feet hours ago. This wasn’t what I expected, to be tossed to and fro in the cold, dark ocean. I’m exhausted and tired, but I know that if I sleep now I will never wake up.

“Skahart!” I scream hoarsely, “Save me please!”

As I’m screaming a giant wave tosses me over. I swallow some of the sour tasting water, and I splutter, momentarily losing grip on the wood. Alas, it was only a moment that was needed for the wood began floating away out of my reach. Exhausted and with no way of staying afloat, I begin to drown in the stormy seas.

The End

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