It was a long day of tinkering with the warband. These were the few days that I actually enjoyed my duty. Mostly it would be everyone working together to find more innovative ways to take out our enemies. It was mostly guns or other mechanisms, sometimes new designs for engines or simply plot out new concepts. I was mostly a solitary one during these days, since most of my ideas would involve magic. Thoc would handle any technical aspects the project would require while Garfas would provide the metal work and structure. If the Project involved any sort of energy they would ask me, I was a little more versed in that area than Thoc.
This time was quite different. I felt much more included with the process, helping everyone with their new project. A more efficient shield that could project a reflective barrier, it was something simple but making i use less energy would make a huge difference in battle. Itan also played a minimal part in this process so it was cheerful smiles all around. If anything he would only come in to check on us every few hours or so. Other than that we would spend most of the day tinkering and experimenting. It was days like this where I remembered why I joined the iron legion.
I also remembered that days that involved tinkering were also the longer ones. Since Garfas was incharge of metal work, he would be one of the first to be done for the day. I was not so lucky, since next to Thoc I was one of the more knowledgeable, I ended up being one of the last to leave. The sun had long set once I left the workshop. It was a solitary walk back home, but it was a relaxing one. Recent events were quite chaotic, but overall I would say they were beneficial. The warband stopped seeing me as an eccentric, Garfas and I were inseparable, Thoc kept things interesting with his constant inventions, and I was closer and closer to learning the death shroud.
I found it interesting that the lights were still on when I had reached my home, perhaps Thoc was staying up late and working on one of his creations. I walked up to the door and took out my key to unlock it, before I had the chance however, Thoc swung open the door with an exhausted look on his face. Next to him was a giggling Garfas that had obviously downed one too many mugs. From the smell it seemed like whiskey.
“Take your lumbering oaf home please,” said Thoc as he pushed the hulking white charr out f the door. “He’s been waiting for you for hours now and I need some sleep. We have a mission tomorrow by the way so come back soon.” With that Thoc closed the door on booth of us, garfas looked down at me with a wide grin and a mild case of the hiccups.
“Hi cub,” chuckled Garfas.
“Hello yourself,” I said amused. I took his arm and did my best to support the drunk Charr without collapsing from his weight. “Let us get you home.” I began to help Garfas walk through the canton, admittedly it was a much more difficult task than first expected. Garfas could barely take a few steps without introducing his face to the floor.
“Remind me to remind you that you owe me for this,” I said as I dragged Garfas a few more steps.
“Shorry,” said Garfas as he rested his chin on me head. “You took a long time and I got bored. Sho I started drinking.”
“Might I suggest other activities besides…” I trailed off as I saw a looming figure in the darkness. His black shroud concealed most of him, had it not been for his massive form I probably would have missed him completely. The way he stood, the silent manner he strode, it all screamed ash legion. I did not need to guess who this person was though, I’ve known him for a long time.
“Garfas can you stand up by yourself for a few minutes?”
“I’ll try,” said Garfas suspiciously. “Whash wrong?”
“Do not fret,” I said releasing him cautiously. “I just need to talk to that charr over there.”
“Wow,” said Garfas as he squinted his eyes at the general direction where I was pointing. “I wouldn’t have sheen him if you didn’t point him out.” Garfas released another chuckle as I began to make my way towards the charr.
I drew closer to the charr, his pale eyes were the only thing that glowed in the night. He looked down at me with his piercing gaze.
“Good evening, cub.” He said to me, I could see faint traces of a subtle smile in the shadows.
“Father,” I said slightly bowing my head. “I see that your undercover mission went by without incident.”
“Indeed,” the Charr’s eyes widened as they always did. In truth it was an unsettling sight, but I had grown accustomed to it over the years. “I drew out quite a bit of information as well, I wish I could tell you but it is classified.”
“Understandable,” I said. “Well it is nice to see you again after…” I trailed off as I did my best to remember when was the last time I had seen him.
“twelve years, six months and four days.” said my father as he crossed his arms. “You were still in the fahrar when I left. I heard you eventually joined a warband.”
“Y-Yes…” I stammered. There wasn’t much I could hide from him, and I could rarely keep my composure in front of him. “The…’less’ warband.”
“Less?” Asked my father intrigued.
“Like, merciless, soulless, names like that.” I elaborated.
“I see,” the charr glanced at Garfas who had just fallen on his rear. Garfas released a sheepish chuckle. “A bandmate of yours? rather late for you two to be strolling around is it not?”
“I was taking him home,” I said sternly. “He drank to much and I cannot allow him to wander around the streets in this condition.”
“Yes of course,” nodded my father. “I shall assist you then.” my face went blank.
“Come again?” I asked.
“You are my son,” said the charr. “why would I not help you and your friends?”
“That won’t be necessary!” I said thinking of any excuse to make sure he would not come along with Garfas and I. I knew him well enough to sneak in a few words with Garfas, or worse, he would invite himself into Garfas’ house! I needed to stop him at all costs.
“You need not trouble yourself, father,” I said offering a smile. “If I cannot perform this simple task, what would that say about my usefulness to my warband?” My father lowered himself to my eye level with a wide grin. The fur on the back of my neck stood up.
“We both know strength is not your specialty, Anavari,” said the looming charr. “And I know my son well enough to know that he’s making excuses. Come, let us stop lollygagging and help your friend.” With that my father walked over to Garfas. The white charr looked up at my father, he tilted his head curiously.
“Hello,” mustered Garfas. I ran in with a panicked expression, I guessed that Garfas saw it and he himself grew Concerned. “Are you okay, Anavari? Is thish guy shaying bad things to you? Cuz if he is I’ll beat him!” Garfas got back on his feet while baring his teeth, he was wobbly but he still seemed capable enough to put up a good fight. I then realized how much taller than Garfas my father was. My father simply smiled from under his cloak.
“I see you have gained the liking of your bandmates,” my sire glanced at me. “Are you not going to introduce us?”
I glared at my father and then faced Garfas defeated. “Garfas this is my sire, Fumus Shadow Fiend. Fumus this is Garfas The Merciless.” Garfas looked at the taller charr in surprise and then a wide grin spread across his face.
“So you’re Anavari’s old man?” asked the white charr.
“Indeed,” said my father. “But out here in the cold isn’t the place to talk about such things. Perhaps we can continue this in your home, Garfas?”
“Shay no more!” Said the charr excitedly. “C’mon Anavari!”
“Right behind you,” I said sulking.
I replayed the day over and over in my head and wondered how I ended up in such a mess. I was sitting next to garfas in his living room, having tea with my father. My father was telling garfas childhood stories of me while I soaked in the humiliation.
“So when I came into the room,” said Fumus doing his best to hold in his laughter. “I found Anavari dressed in some robes he found, small wooden toys were scorched and in pieces on the floor. This was after he found out about his talent for necromancy mind you. I asked ‘what are you doing, son?’ and he shouted, ‘smiting those who do not bend the knee to their lich king!’” Garfas released a guffaw while Fumus was a bit more controlled, I sighed. I wished that Garfas had been more drunk so that at least he would not remember all these stories. Sadly by the time we reached his home he was sobering up. “And that is when I learned that Anavari would make quite the ruler.”
“Must have been funny when his mom saw it,” said Garfas. That was when Fumus and I froze. He glanced at me with his wide eyes and a smile.
“You haven’t told your warband?” He said.
“Told the warband what?” asked Garfas.
“My my, popular and enigmatic. You certainly have quite a presence my son.” Fumus looked at me expectantly and as did Garfas.
“Um…” I gave Garfas a sheepish smile. “You see I never had a mother, and Fumus isn’t my real father. I was abandoned just outside the citadel, Fumus found me and decided to raise me…” I released a nervous cough at the silence that followed. Then I saw Garfas look down his lap.
“Cub, Your tell is wrapping itself around my leg.” Said Garfas as he poked at my tail. I do not believe I had looked more shocked in my life. I suppose Garfas was sitting close enough to be caught in the crossfire of my dreaded tail. I took it and yanked it away. Placing it by my waist it immediately coiled around my waist. I do not think I have ever offered any more embarrassed grins at people in one night.
“Huh,” said my father. “Still does that I see.” I gave up at this point and held my head down. Garfas seemed to be finally noticing my discomfort and decided to move the conversation along.
“So,” began Garfas. “Is that why his name is unusual?” I mentally thanked Gafas for not lingering on the tail business.
“Indeed it is,” said Fumus. I then remembered a vital piece of information about the subject that I had remembered that I wanted to keep a secret from Garfas. “The cub had a cloak wrapped around him, there was a note and a…” Fumus trailed off when he saw me move behind Garfas slightly and began to signal my sire by shaking my head and hands. I kept working out “Don’t tell him” over and over. Fumus raised an eyebrow at me.
“What are you doing, cub?” Asked Garfas.
“He doesn’t want me to tell you about the medallion that was also found with him.
Fumus I hate you so much right now, I thought. This tiem it was Gafas’ turn to look shocked. Our eyes met, our gazes unwavering. Meanwhile Fumus picked up on the immediate tension.
“I think I should go,” said Fumus playfully. “It was nice talking to you, Garfas.” With that the massive charr made his way over to the door and stepped out. I glanced over at my father and stood up.
“I know you have questions,” I said cautiously to Garfas. “J-Just give me a minute to talk to Fumus and I’ll come back and explain everything.” With that I ran out the door and found my father waiting outside for me.
“What was that?!” I asked outraged.
“What was what?” It infuriated me that he dared to pull the oblivious card.
“You disappear for twelve and a half years and now you want to be involved in my life?!” I could feel the necrotic energies seethe out of my body as I lost my control. “And now you tell Garfas about the medallion and you ruined everything! You had no right, absolutely no right come in and chat up my friend about me and then give him my life’s story. There are reasons I keep things from others and you know why!” Fumus simply regarded me with his usual smile. He drew closer to me, remaining calm and composed. I hated it.
“When I first found you I was uncertain of many things.” He began. “Was this a good idea, would I make a good father, could I honestly say that I would raise you correctly? On top of that all the things you came with, the obvious fact that you came from who knows where. But I was certain of one thing. When you looked at me with those cute blue eyes, I was certain, that you would get a shot at living. If fate had chosen me to do it then so be it.
“And as you grew up we learned things about each other. You learned that I was different than most, I learned that you were unique in your own way. That’s why I took the time to visit you after the fahrar. That’s why no matter what I did my best to stay with you. Then I was given this mission, and I knew I would be gone for a long time. Given the circumstances I would say that I did a fairly decent job at raising you, and I could only hope that the world would be kind to you while I was gone. That you would be happy and assimilate with the citadel.
“But that’s impossible isn’t it? You are not from the citadel, you are not one to put your warband first, or your legion for that matter.After all these years there is no changing the fact that you are an outsider. When I come back what do I find? You alliedthe same charr that bullied you when you were young, you are barely gaining the favor of your warband, and you are still as reserved as always. I know your necessity for secrets, my son. I know why you have to keep some things hidden for everyone’s sake. But what you’re doing is denying your initiative, and above all you’re lying to yourself.”
“Lying to myself?” I spat. “Don’t take me for a fool, Fumus. I’ve taken every opportunity available to me, did my best to be a contribution to the citadel!”
“Exactly!” I raised an eyebrow at my father. “And look where it has gotten you. You deny your nature, you deny that which make you unique. That medallion around your neck tells you what you are, Anavari. It is a constant reminder. It is the brand you carry, and it is the burden you are more than willing to bear. Because this!” Fumus began to gesture around the whole canton with his arms. “This isn’t you. I know that this doesn’t bring you happiness. I know that you don’t give a damn about the citadel, you don’t give a damn about your legion and I can honestly say that you don’t give a damn about most charr ideals. What you do care about is your own path and your own way. And that is what makes you unique my son. And then there’s Garfas.”
“What about him?” I said, calming down. “There is nothing wrong with him. I’d be dead if not for him.” Fumus simply gave me a wide smirk.
“That’s the problem now isn’t it?” he said. “You’ve been telling yourself that you’re iron legion for so long, that you don’t see what you really want. Regardless, you will see it soon enough.” With that Fumus turned around and began to go on his merry way.
“Where are you going?” I called out.
“I’ll be around!” was the last thing he said before vanishing into the shadows. Now I was left with no choice but to meet back up with Garfas. Once I came back into his house I found the white charr staring me down.
“I want to see it,” he said crossing his arms. I knew what he spoke of, I sighed and yanked my shirt open. Some of the buttons flew out, but I at this point I was too tired to care. I drew out the medallion that always hanged around my neck and underneath my shirt. I presented it to Garfas while it was still around my neck. He gently reached out to the trinket and held it in his hands. Examining the intricate design on the metal, how his rough pads traced the surface. His eyes met mine. “Why did you keep this from me?”
I sighed as I averted my gaze. “Because it happened a long time ago and I was over it already.”
“That’s not it,” Garfas shook his head. “I know you, you would have at least brought it up to rub it in my face and make me feel bad for a little bit.” I took the medallion back as I leaned by the door frame.
“I don’t know really,” I shrugged. “I suppose part of me was scared that our relationship would take a negative turn.”
“Why would you think that?” Asked Garfas.
“Well it was back when we were just getting to know each other and I didn’t want to risk anything. And I the time I,” I stopped myself before I said too much. “I should go…” As I moved to the door garfas stopped me and placed his hand on my shoulder.
“No, stay please.” He pleaded. “Look, I know it changes some things but we’re still friends right? We can work it out and it’ll be like its always been.” I was starting to see where Fumus was coming from. Truth be told I did not want things to be “normal”, I was not happy with how they were right now. I had been denying my desires. I turned around to face Garfas, his eyes were solem. As if worried that our relationship actually did change for the worst. Could he see what I saw however? Could he see the longing in my eyes, the desire I held back? But no matter how much I wanted something, something like me did not have the luxury to allow people to get too close. Especially people I cared about.
“Anavari?” Garfas seemed to have noticed a change in me. “Is everything alright?” His hand began to travel down from my shoulder to my chest. My body began to tremble. I wasn’t ready to show him, I wasn’t ready to see how he would react. “Cub, what’s wrong? You’re shaking.” Finally his hand went down to the center of my chest. I waited for him to realize it, for him to realize that the sensation he expected would never arrive. Then I saw his look of confusion. “What—” I shoved garfas away.
I wasn’t ready, I couldn’t stand to see what he thought of me. All I could do was cower before him, as he looked at me as something abnormal. As some sort of abomination. I could feel the tears streaming down my eyes and I couldn’t stand it any longer, I moved towards the door.
“STAY BACK!” I bellowed as Garfas tried to draw closer. I traced my hand infront of me and erected a barrier behind me as I ran out. I could hear Garfas calling out to me as I ran, begging me to come back. I continued running however. I continued running until I arrived home, I only stopped once I arrived at my room and locked myself in. I was falling apart, I was unable to see who I was anymore. Everything became so painfully apparent to me, everything changed in that instant. I knew what I was becoming, what I desired. How I had been refusing to make the first move for so long. How I had denied myself what was right in front of me. And now what use was there to question what to fight for when it had been staring at me in the face this entire time. But now there was no way he could see me as a normal person now.
I was such an idiot.