Lionhart FarmsteadMature

The sun was far off into the sky when Frederick arrived in Queensbury. The roads were modestly paved with cobblestone, a large hexagonal well in the center of the town square. Shops and homes were clustered together, colorful awing producing wares of baked goods, shoes, tools and produce. The farmer's cart circled past and went up the road, stopping a quarter mile away from town.

"Here's your stop, doctor."

Frederick pushed himself off from the back, digging out his billfold.

"I can't thank you enough, sir." He said, pulling out two blue bills.

"Keep ‘em. What's a neighbor for if he cannot help a fellow brother?" Jim smiled.

He smiled and tipped his hat, snapping the reins and clicking his tongue. The cart jerked back into motion, Jim waving over his shoulder as Frederick adjusting his rucksack. He faced the winding road before him, a sign and postbox labeled "Lionhart Farmstead" that needed some touching up. He clambered over the long wooden gate, his boots crunching on the dirt as he trudged up the beaten path.

Trees lined either side of the road, twilight beginning its descent and bleeding orange light through the branches. The conifers peeled away to reveal a large expanse of cultivated land, tall green stalks of grain rippling in the evening breeze while squat clusters of various herbs accompanied them. A large barn stood above the land like a watchful guardian, quiet sounds of livestock echoing from within.

Frederick combed his fingers through the grain, stopping for a moment to feel the air around him. He breathed in the smells of a life he left behind, and somehow felt unclean being back here. He stroked the grain pod between his fingers, listening to the crackling sound of husks before his gaze went towards the house. Smoke snaked out from the chimney top, the light dim from the windows.

Something dark shot out from the crops, bounding towards the farmhouse. Frederick snapped back to reality and raced over it, noticing the animal had a strange gait. He caught up with it to see it was a cervine creature, its cloven hooves scraping against the dirt. Frederick grappled it by the hindquarters, pulling it to the ground just outside of the front porch as it yelped.

Taking a strong kick to the gut, Frederick managed to keep a firm grip on the animal, noticing now that one of its front legs was bound to its body.  His eyes widened.

"Oh dear Lord no..."

The hind looked down at the Elbanian and brayed softly, its body morphing back into a human form as Kelstrin now lay beneath Frederick, catching his breath.

"I told you not to follow me!" He hissed.

"Nothing will stop me." Kelstrin breathed, a crafty grin on his face.

Frederick got to his feet, dusting off dirt and mud from his cloak before gripping Kelstrin by his collar and heaving him up. He saw that the package he had left behind was tucked between Kelstrin's injured arm and his chest.

"Get it through your thick skull, Kelstrin; I want nothing to do with you!"

"Oh, lie to me all you want, Frederico." Kelstrin retorted coyly, licking the tip of Frederick's nose.

Frederick grimaced and shoved Kelstrin away from him, wiping his nose with the back of his hand.

"Do you understand that now half of the police force in Silestra will be looking for you?! As me as well!? Did you have any concept on how you could possibly ruin my life any more than you already have?!"

"{I came to protect you!}" Kelstrin puffed, his shoulders dropping.

"{By what, destroying what little I have left in my culture?!}" he spat back, his face livid.

"{Then you decide.}" Kelstrin resolved, kneeling before Frederick, "{My fate is in your hands.}"

Frederick wanted to throttle the Mystic right then and there, but given that night was falling, time was against him and he somehow found his family home, that option was not readily available. He gripped his head, cogs grinding in his mind as he tried to figure out a plan.


Frederick knocked on the door, trying to adjust himself. He looked over his shoulder to see a young Elbanian student wearing round spectacles and short blonde hair slicked back.

"{Now, you must respect the customs of my family. One toe out of line and we're dead.}" he whispered to Kelstrin.

"{How do you greet family members then?}" he asked, tilting his head.

"{Well, depends on who answers the door. If it's my father-}"

The door flew open to reveal a double barrel shotgun shoved into Frederick's face.

"Meredith, send for the patrolmen! I've got a Mystic!" shouted a gruff voice, a pair of mad blue eyes behind the firearm.

"For once, father, can you NOT greet me with a shotgun in my face?!" Frederick responded, leaning away from the weapon.

"Then tell me, what did I say to you the day you left for the EAF!?" his father demanded, jabbing the gun closer at Frederick.


"Tell me!"

"You said to me "If you die, don't die for honor, or for glory, but to protect the ones you love."."

Frederick's father relaxed, lowering the shotgun. Both he and Frederick exhaled, letting a moment pass before both laughed quietly. Frederick glanced at his father's hand to see a smaller Lore Stone dangling on a string.

"Isaac, what in Lord's name are you-" called a female voice, a middle aged woman coming alongside his father, "Frederick!"

His mother dove into Frederick's arms, gripping him tightly as she squeezed the life out of him.

"Oh my darling boy!" She kissed his forehead, finally letting him go as she held his hands, "You should have told us you were coming to visit!"

She peered around his shoulder to see the student staring awkwardly at the situation.

"And that you were bringing company. Who's this dashing gentleman?"

Kelstrin opened his mouth to speak, but Frederick interjected.

"This is a transfer student from Belgadane. His name's Rufus Clairemont; he doesn't speak much Elbanish, but-"

Kelstrin gently pushed past him and took Meredith's hand, kissing the knuckles with a delicate touch.

"My lady," he said, his voice deep.

Meredith's cheeks grew flush, unable to correct his misinterpretation with her title.

"Oh my." She said, cradling her burning cheeks.

Issac rolled his eyes and shouldered the firearm, moving back to let Frederick and his guest in. Frederick saw the leg braces around his father's legs, bars of bronze and iron holding the limbs up.

"Come on in, Anabel will be overjoyed to see you."

Frederick thanked his father and walked in, Kelstrin following close behind as he bowed his head so low his chin touched his chest. Meredith came to her son's side and busied herself with taking their cloaks. Kelstrin winced as she took off his coat, Meredith tilting her head. She saw the sling on Kelstrin's arm and gasped.

"Young Rufus, what happened to you?"

He tried to make light of the subject, not making eye contact with her. Frederick heard the question and coughed.

"Fell off a carriage, unfortunately." He said quickly, his explanation cut off by an excited cry.

Frederick was tackled against the wall by two beings, one being Elsanor, the family dog that was built like an ox, and Anabel, his younger sister. She had her arms woven around his middle, burying her face in his chest as Elsanor barked and skipped.

"Freddie!! You should have told me you were coming!" Anabel squealed, her long umber plait swinging over her shoulder.

"I wanted to surprise you." He said with a smirk, ruffling his sister's hair.

Without hesitation, Anabel sauntered up to Kelstrin, eyeing his arm.

"Geez, that looks terrible. Did my brother patch you up?" She curled around Kelstrin, her curiosity causing him to lean towards the wall for safety.

"Anabel, be respectful!" chastised Meredith, shooing Anabel into the kitchen, "You can help me set up dinner."

She gave a flickering side glance and a smirk before she was corralled into the kitchen, Isaac limping in front of the two gentlemen.

"If you care to follow." He said gruffly, his prosthetic leg squeaking as he hobbled into the common area.

"Your family is strange." Kelstrin whispered, using Frederick like a body shield.

The End

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