A son learns a lesson of great value.
|Jofurr watched from the safety of the grass. The nice dry grass. The two guards were already quite soaked and he did not care to join them. Besides he was here to evaluate one of those guards, Vordr, and it was much easier to watch his interactions from here.
His youngest daughter, Visi, stood in the shallows, the water lapping at her knees. At six she was on the cusp of a growth spurt, though you could not readily tell. Vordr lay on his belly next to her having just returned from a bit further out with a most magnificent seashell, they were having a very animated discussion regarding the merits of that particular shell. Jofurr could not hear the conversation, but judging by the gestures and smiles, he assumed that seashell had some quite wonderful qualities.
The other guard stood in the shallows a few feet away, smiling broadly as he eavesdropped on their conversation. His eyes constantly roving the vicinity, his ears alert to the slightest deviation from the norm, he was good at his job.
The question was Vordr. When Jofurr appointed him just six turns of the moon ago there were some that questioned his judgement, there were those that thought the position required someone who took life a bit more seriously. Bottom line, they thought Vordr too immature to guard the second in line for leader.
Jofurr was not so sure. Visi was just a small child after all, she had a lot to learn, social skills being one of those things. It was very difficult for a child growing up around guards, not other children, just siblings and guards. Visi needed someone she could converse with, someone that saw the world the way she saw the world. At least that is what his father has been telling him. His father is the one that recommended Vordr. Jofurr was still trying to decide if it was the right choice.
His father was not exactly the serious type either. When Jofurr was young, his father was different, almost cold in his cynicism. But, then, Jofurr’s mother died, Father changed after that. He started to laugh more, smile for no reason, joke around with the children, and he became the family storyteller. The children adored him. He could tell a story like no other, playing all the parts, he could scare them half to death one moment and have them rolling with laughter the next. He behaved like a big child himself.
Vordr signaled the other guard that he was once again heading into deeper waters. Jofurr smiled, apparently the seashell was not as magnificent as it first seemed. Moments after Vordr vanished beneath the surface a spout of water burst from the depths rising high above them. Vordr dangled from the top of that spout. As the foam settled the form of a giant serpent took shape, the hapless guard clamped tight in its jaws.
Jofurr, momentarily stunned, stared in disbelief. There were no such creatures here! Impossible!
Quickly coming to his senses, he ran for Visi. The wave from the emergence of the serpent had knocked her down, she sat in the water right where Vordr had left her, staring up at her friend. The other guard, sword drawn, was closing in on the serpent. He had seen Jofurr running for Visi, his only duty now was to kill the beast.
Jofurr slid in next to Visi spraying a wall of water and snatched her into his arms, digging his heels into the wet sand he was heading back the way he had come without actually coming to a full stop. As he ran back to dry ground he passed his two seconds, their swords drawn, as they headed for the beast.
The beast got away that day, with its prize. Its freedom was short lived. You do not attack a planet of warriors and expect to get away with it. Five of the beasts had been unleashed on their planet. In two days time all five were accounted for and the one that put them there was identified. A Vifill, the lowliest of beings, it will be found and it will pay for what it has done. Eleven warriors were lost to the beasts, the Vifill will be very sorry indeed.
Visi would take longer to heal, still she refuses to relinquish the blood stained seashell, she does not speak, she does not eat, her Grandfather was on his way. He understood Visi on a level Jofurr could not get to, if anyone could get through to her it would be him.
His arrival was met with much relief, after two days time Visi’s state was getting quite worrisome. He went straight to where she sat huddled on her Mother’s lap and knelt in front of her, “Hello Little One, I hear you have had a very bad adventure.”
She looked at him, her eyes still numb with shock.
“Ah, I see you have found some very strong magic on this adventure,” he gently touched the shell she held to her small chest.
“Magic?” the first word she has spoken in two long days. Relief flooded Jofurr’s heart, he had tried everything he could think of to get through to her, to no avail.
“Oh, not just any magic, Little One, that there is special magic! Can you feel it?”
She clumsily picked up the large shell and held it out in front of her, then stared at it intently. As she looked for the magic her eyes cleared and focused, her brow furrowed, her lips pressed together. Then she heaved a big sigh, let the shell fall into her lap, and hung her head, “no”, came the small teary voice.
“Would you like me to show you?”
Great big tears fell on the dirty old, magical, seashell. Gently she picked it up and handed it to her Grandfather. “Yes”.
Grandfather took her hand and led her to his workshop. Jofurr followed at a respectful distance, he did not want to intrude, but he did want to understand.
Upon entering the workshop Grandfather set Visi on a stool next to the workbench and he carefully set the shell in front of her then he went about collecting up some supplies. Returning to her he placed a cloth under the shell and set a rather large size hammer next to her.
“Okay, now to access the magic you have to break the shell.”
She looked at him, her face clouded in doubt.
“I am very serious. Just pick up the hammer and smash it down on the shell as hard as you can.”
She looked at the hammer for a long moment then tentatively picked it up, it took both hands to hold it, its weight almost too much for her. She held it aloft, her eyes on the shell, time slipped away. Suddenly she smashed the hammer down on the bench. “I cannot!” she cried tearfully.
“Do you want me to do it then?”
She nodded. As he picked up the hammer she covered her face with her hands, splaying her fingers slightly so that she could peek through. She jumped when the hammer came down, the magical seashell was now just many magical pieces of shell.
“Vordr is my friend you know?”
She looked at her Grandfather, “But he is dead, you are supposed to say he WAS your friend!”
“No,” Grandfather chuckled, “his body has died, but his soul still lives and he IS still my friend. And, when it is my time to join him, we will still be friends. Now that we have clarified that, I want to know if he is your friend too.”
“Oh yes, Grandfather, he always knows where to find the best seashells!”
“It is my understanding Vordr found this shell for you just before he was killed, so that is why there is so much magic here. It has been my experience that people tend to know such things just before they die. It is like Tevar is trying to tell them by giving them something very special just before the end.” He glanced over at his granddaughter, she was staring at him, hanging on every word. “Now, I need you to look through these pieces of shell and find the one, the one meant for Vordr. Then we will prepare it by sanding down the rough edges, punching a hole for a chain to go through, and putting Vordr’s name on it. Okay? Now tell me when you have found it and I will get the tools ready.”
Visi set to work, lining up the bigger pieces, carefully looking at each one, looking for that special one for her friend. Then she started talking. She told him what happened that day, what SHE saw happen. She told him how scared she was, how sad she was to lose Vordr.
My father talked to her, she talked to him. They talked of magic, of death, of friends, of beasts that come straight out of nightmares. They were kindred souls, at times laughing, at times crying. Grandfather told her stories of Vordr, how they met, how he knew that Vordr would be perfect for Visi’s guard.
As Jofurr watched and listened he came to understand his father and Vordr. They were not immature. They did take life seriously. They chose to deal with life with laughter instead of sorrow. Because of this there were those that did not understand, that called them childish and immature.
Jofurr left the two to their “magic”, he needed to find a new guard, to replace Vordr, and he now knew the kind of person he was looking for. As he walked away he shook his head in wonder, “I still have a lot to learn from my father if I am going to be even half the Grandfather he is, I have to learn how to harness the magic kept in a child’s heart.”