September 14, 2014

In Which Sparron Takes a Chance

March 11, 1187

Very rarely did Sparron have business in the village near Veldora Keep. He showed up every once in a while for a drink with somebody at Seoth's, and that about did it. By this hour, even Seoth would have locked his doors, more than ready to snuff the lights and curl up next to his wife for the night. The only soul Sparron had seen since crossing the gate had been a stray cat.

Well... that was assuming that the fleeting Holladrin who'd led him here was just a hallucination. But Holladrin was the furthest from malevolent he'd ever known, so he'd thought it best to follow.

Just in case.

Of course, it would have felt a much less futile effort if she stayed in sight, rather than flickering in and out of existence.

Holladrin? Perhaps she was around the corner of the next house. Holladrin, where are you? Why am I here?

Just the wind, and the rush of the river just beyond the walls--and maybe a voice, crying out from near and far at once. Not Holladrin's, though. Not one he recognized. Most likely just a trick of his mind.

Holladrin? Stepmother? Are you there?


Sparron froze, though the March wind barely brushed his numb body. Holladrin had no reason to address him as such.

"Sir! Sir, I need help!"

It took a few seconds for Sparron to trace the source of the voice, very close but well beneath the level of his ear. It sounded real enough--but then again, many did.

"Sir! Please!"

A golden-haired, white-clad form flashed in front of him. Sparron braced himself and looked down.

Just a crying little girl. "Please... please help..."

Did he dare? "Are you real?"

She sobbed. Not the right thing to say. "Shit. Sorry. What do you need?"

"It's my little b-brother sir. He--he fell in the river!"

What on earth were two small children doing near the river at this hour? Alone? "The river?"

"Yes! He's holding onto a b-boulder, and my sister's watching, but he's tired and he's little and he can't hold on for long. And none of us can swim!" The little girl shivered. If Sparron squinted, trying to see if she'd disappear, he instead saw that her clothes appeared damp. As if she'd tried. "Can you swim?"

Sparron bit his lip. "Yes..."

"Then can you help? Please?"

Another tear rolled down her cheek. It wouldn't have been the first time he'd seen a hallucination cry.

But if she was real--if she and her siblings had been at the river at this time, without an adult, for some reason--if a little boy did drown, and he could have stopped it...

How did a person live with something like that?

"Please, sir..."

Was it safer, he wondered, to assume that everything was a trick of his head? Or was it necessary--every once in a while--to take the chance that it wasn't?

"Show me where."



Van said...

Afternoon? What?

Winter said...

Sparron! Oh, this isn't good. This isn't good at all. If I didn't absolutely love this story, I would hate it right now! :(

But, if this is the ultimate not good, I hope Holladrin really is there. She was more of a mother to him than Medea ever was.

Van said...

Sparron's life in general... is not good. But Holladrin was always one of the good parts of it, so whatever happens, her presence would be a comfort.

Ekho said...

I don't know how I feel about this little girl and her story about her brother.. It might be true, but seems a little suspicious to me.
I hope nothing bad happens to Sparron either way, I guess I'm just naturally suspicious and protective :S

Van said...

The strangeness of it is not accidental.

Nothing wrong with being suspicious and protective as long as the moment is appropriate. In Sparron's case, it's not a bad thing. :S

Penelope said...

That kid looks familiar. Maybe it's just the Raia hair. I vote for... real!

Van said...

Let the ballot so reflect!