Monday, December 19, 2022

Somewhere Out There

 Five of them sat around the campfire quietly. It had been only four in the group for so long it felt almost uncomfortable to have a guest with them. This man felt so ominous and powerful. He wasn’t a stranger. When they first met a small smile would still meet his eyes but as their time together wore on, his expression hardened. Lunarin observed Rai always went quiet when he was around. She was drawing a curtain around herself. It served well to hide what lie within but if she wasn’t careful, Lunarin knew she would burn down everything around her. 

“So, where are you from?” Lunarin’s voice cut into the silence. All eyes slowly moved in his direction except for the man he wanted to get to know. His companions stayed silent in curiosity.

“You don’t need to do this.” His black eyes never left the fire.

“What do you mean, your grace?”

The man frowned. “Call me Silanus. And I mean you don’t have to make small chat. I’m here at Rai’s request.” Silanus looked at her and she blushed and immediately looked down. He itched at his jaw and stood, stretching and dusting his pants.

“Do you remember me, Silanus?” Lunarin leaned forward as he asked. His voice unsure but steady. “I grew up in a monastery. I can remember no other home…” Silanus’s head jerked toward Lunarin as he listened. His hands moved to his hips as he stood over them in silence. “My hair was brighter then. Wild. The monks told me they’d shave it but I screamed so much when they tried they gave up.”

Silanus’s eyes softened for a moment before getting swallowed once more in stoicism. “Long ago I would visit the orphans. I’d bring them presents…”

“Teach them how to play ball.” 

Rai’s eyes widened in surprise as she looked back up at Silanus. “Is this true?”

Silanus frowned sadly. A lost look in his eyes as he stared into the distance. “Feels like a lifetime ago. I do remember you. Golden child laughing in the sun.” He sighed and sat again, looking back to Lunarin. “Very well, what did you want to know? Where I’m from?” Silanus’s expression curled in distaste.

Lunarin pursed his lips. His black eyes flickered with emotion in the light of the fire. “I just wanted to know you better. You meant to much to me then…I understand if you don’t want to talk. It’s getting late.”

Silanus raised his eyebrow and leaned back, getting comfortable. “If you’d like to know me better, I’ll tell you a story. Will that do?” 

Lunarin noticed Rai’s jaw clench. “Yes, of course.” Lunarin smiled kindly and patted her knee. Rai looked deathly curious but retreated further inward.

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