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Honey-Nut (#10); White Chocolate (#15)

Author: crossyndrome
Challenge: Honey-Nut (#10: "The busy have no time for tears") & White Chocolate (#15: "Indifference")
Story: Lands of Valor 
Story Title: Distant Departure
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,441
Summary: Elsa's holiday gets cut unexpectedly short.
Note: Yo, yo. Used to b fluorescent_x on here. I come with a new account, new stories, and hopefully more appealing writing. Huzzah! All of my stuff here on RaTs will also be put over on my tumblr for easy access. I'll eventually include a link for it. Also, totally BS'd the actual story-story title because I have not thought that far ahead.

Time was an unkind thing that never ceased, never slowed and refused to show mercy as it marched on—seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years crept by slyly and caught people off-guard. The days in which they lived with youthful vigor soon became nothing but mere memories that they reached for, chased after in a fruitless effort. They could never regain the time that they had lost nor the opportunities they missed and the easiness of life they had while their skin was unmarred and beautiful. Time was an especially cruel thing to humans, a race that died young in the eyes of the Immortals and long-lived races in the world. Elsa wouldn't say she knew the woes of time as worse as some, but she didn't much care for its progression either.

When she would venture home once or twice every six months or so she made a point to keep a time piece on her person without fail. It was an odd thing considering the woman often had little sense of direction almost as much as she did little sense of responsibility. Still, at some point between all of her travels and being gifted with the chance to return to her family for a while, she had developed this habit.

It never did her any good while she was traveling and studying, the latter being what she purposely avoided until the end when on holiday. She never saw the point in wasting perfectly good free-time studying when she wasn't even receiving instruction. Maybe, she thought, just maybe she was worried about aging too quickly as she was human, after all.

Elsa slowly craned her neck to gain view of the roof-hatch squeaking as it was lifted, her elder brother's head popping up through the hole. She made a face and resumed making invisible shapes in the air with a stick she found earlier.

“The Tutor is here, Elsa. He seems to be in a rush, so hurry up.”

“He's always in a rush. It wouldn't surprise me if he's managed to upset the High Counsel again. One of these days they're going to kick him out of the city and he won't be able to come back in.” Elsa said, throwing the stick in the air and hopefully off the roof.

Her brother rolled his eyes and hoisted his body up enough to sit on the edge of the opening. “Unlikely. Those fellas in the High Counsel grovel at his feet. I think they've learned by now that a Mage does whatever they please, whenever they want to do it. That's rather handy if you ask me.”

“Mages have rules they've got to follow, you know? They--”

“Ah, ah. Don't get all scholarly on me. Dumb folk such as us don't understand the affairs or grand lives that you Mages have.” He teased, smiling smugly at her before dropping down through the hatch to the second floor. Elsa stared blankly at the open hatch for a moment, debating whether she was really in the mood to face her tutor again so soon. With a weary sigh and deep stretch, she jumped down to the floor below and went to her room to retrieve her books.

She had all kinds. Most of them were low-level spellbooks that were less of actually teaching her spells and more of the dynamics behind casting spells effectively. Then there were others worn and yellow with age with spines barely keeping them in tact that discussed the history of Mages along with some of the forbidden practices, most of which she found quite fascinating.

With her backpack protruding with books, scrolls, and vials of different sorts, she descending the main staircase and passed through the front door that was open, braced against the wall with a large stone that glittered when the sun caught it.

Outside of her family home was a wagon. It wasn't large enough to accommodate their supplies and them very cozily, but for the past twelve years its been resistant to the harshest weather conditions and repeated abuse from bandits shooting arrows into it and swinging around sharpened axes. Elsa couldn't really complain about it and she didn't.

“It's too bad you have to go so soon, Elsa. You will be missed.” An older woman said, approaching her with a sad smile and arms spread wide. Elsa said nothing to her mother nor did she crack a smile or do much of anything but walk into the woman's embrace and remain there quietly for a moment. She couldn't say the embrace made her feel much, but she felt such a sense of relief when she was finally released.

Her mother inhaled sharply, fit her lips into a tight smile and blinked back tears while stroking the side of Elsa's face. “My, look at you. You've become such a beautiful young woman, Elsa. It never gets any easier to see you leave, my child. You always have your mother's love, remember this.” The older woman kissed her daughter's forehead tenderly, allowing her lips to linger there for a few seconds. Again still, Elsa couldn't say she felt anything.

Elsa's father simply rested a hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently and what she assumed reassuringly. She didn't need to be reassured about anything. Regardless, she reached up and patted his hand, then lifted it away and continued on her way to the wagon. Her brother was waiting behind the wagon and took her backpack when she handed it over to him.

“It's a shame you have to leave so soon, but I guess that's the life of a Mage, huh?” he tossed her backpack into the wagon, throwing the door shut afterward. “You need to write us letters more often, telling us all about your great adventures and dragon slaying and whatnot. Keep things exciting around here.”

“Hah, that'd be great,” Elsa started, walking around the side of the wagon to the front where a great black beast stood licking the cobblestone, likely searching for salt. “Dragons haven't existed for over two-thousand years, says Tutor.”

Her brother blew a raspberry and shoved his hands into his pockets, jingling the spare change inside around. “Yeah, well, that man would know. He's just about as old as this city.”

“I'm about one-thousand fifty years from being the same age as this city, young sir.” Elsa wasn't as surprised by the Tutor's sudden appearance as her brother was, who gave a big jump at the man's voice being close behind. The Tutor clapped the other man on the shoulder as he walked around him towards Elsa. “I'm glad you showed up early enough this time. We're leaving now.”

“What's the rush? I haven't even been here for four weeks. Usually you give me month, sometimes longer.” Elsa followed him to the front of the wagon and watched him climb up to the seat and take the reins. “One of these days I'm not going to follow you when you want to leave.”

The Tutor looked down at his nose at his pupil, extending his hand for her. “Do what you will, but now isn't the time to turn into a child, Elsa. Come on.”

She sighed, grabbed her hand and hoisted herself up into the seat next to him, managing to get as comfortable as she'd be able to on the splintery seat. The Tutor clicked his tongue and flicked the reins. The massive ox gave a dissatisfied groan but lifted its head and began walking forward. Elsa looked to her family, frowning at their sad looks and hard waving. If it weren't for the fact that she knew she wouldn't be seeing them again for quite a while, she wouldn't have waved back or even willed a smile on her lips. Once they were out sight, her face drooped and her hand fell limply into her lap.

“You should be appreciate your family more. They love you dearly.” The Tutor spoke up after a while, his gaze never lingering from the path ahead of them for long.

“Sometimes... that is a love that I don't want.” Elsa replied passively.

The Tutor let his grip on the reins loosen a little as he slipped down in the seat and propped his feet up. “I suppose I'm the one at fault for that. I took you away at such a young age...” He said solemnly.

“Maybe. But, I don't think I'd change anything about my life.”

“Wonderful to know, my dear. Now take the reins for a while. I need a short nap.”

“Find your grave early, you lazy old man.”


Runaway Tales



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