The Followers - Part Thirteen¶
That evening, when they returned excitedly home, they were warmly welcomed by their parents who were delighted with the surprise gifts and proud that their young homins were growing up so fast.
As the dusk drew in, the two families sat down at the sturdy outside table to share a celebration feast together.
There was much hilarity as old tales were retold, some which seemed to be dragged out on all such occasions, and a few which were new to the young people. Perhaps indeed, this was intended, as some of the stories carried the seed of wisdom if the outer core of humour was stripped away. Still, it was an evening of laughter, joy and festivities. The hours passed quickly as did a few pints of Shooki Ale as throats were moistened between songs, stories and general merriment.
When dinner was over and cleared away, Feuor and Nih'na took a little stroll towards a nearby hill. It had almost become a habit for them to do this together now and then, and tonight seemed a special occasion. Perhaps it was due to the successful day, the pleasant time together, the gifts or just the ale. Towards the summit they paused to survey the shadowed landscape spread out before them in shades of grey.
“Dinah is a bit uncertain about herself isn't she?” Feuor suddenly asked.
“I think so. But I can understand her, I mean she does not seem to have it as easy at home or in school as we do.
“What do you mean? You know we haven't had it easy either, especially not you.” He kept staring forward into the distance.
“I know, and I should have let you know earlier too. For Dinah it is a slightly different case. The Matis are a proud people who hold honour and aesthetics as absolute values. They have high standards and a feeling for society and hierarchy. Dinah is struggling within herself to come to terms with her role and her sense of what is important in life, especially in the light of her father’s strange disappearance.
“What do you mean? That she was upset because she couldn't afford the armour by herself?”
“In a way, yes. I remember when I saw her once during a training session. Her dress had been torn by a practice weapon and the others just dismissed it by saying she should go and buy a new one, and what a good chance to spend some of her parents dappers. She laughed with them and said that they were probably right. But later that day I saw her sitting alone, carefully sewing her armour back together again. In her eyes, as she looked up to greet me, I could see the glint of incipient tears.
“So, she was crying because the armour was torn?”
“No, seeing her today has shown me what was going on. It was not merely because it was damaged, I think it was because it was a precious gift. Perhaps she got it from her mother a long time ago, you know they are not wealthy and sometimes have to struggle. I think that it was probably a gift from her mother and that they did not have the dappers to replace it. You still have your first dagger right?”
“You mean the one I used to stab that Kincher as a kid? Yes I have it in my room.”
“Then you realize how Dinah must feel.” Nih'na said and looked at Feuor.
“Yeah, I guess I do.” He answered her.
They stood there silently for a long moment as the sky drained of the last vestiges of sunset.
“You know Nih'na, jewels...” Feuor started saying.
“Yes, but what about them?” She asked him curiously, wondering what he was hinting at
“They are made by adding certain kinds of raw materials, created from what at first sight seems to be just a pile of junk. By the crafting process, they are moulded and refined to a glittering gem which is then used in a necklace, pendant or ring.”
“Yes, I know, but what has that got to do with anything?” She was still at loss as to his thought processes.
“We are her friends, right. Then we can be the crafters that show her the gem that she really is!”
As the sun rose again, both Feuor and Nih'na were up early and after a quick breakfast they headed rapidly towards the town as they had agreed to meet Dinah for their day off and did not want to waste any time. They passed the crossroad and headed towards the gates of the town, then strolled to the fence near the merchants’ stands where they had decided to meet up with Dinah. She had already arrived and when she saw them approach she grinned a greeting.
“Hello there Dinah, you seem cheerful today.” Feuor returned the grin.
“Oh yes, you will not believe how happy my mother was with the dress. It took some time for her to believe that it was really hers. She is no longer accustomed to receive gifts like that. Thank you so much, both of you.”
“It was a pleasure, besides we worked together!” Nih'na said happily
“Haha, indeed we did. Though it seems as though some of those sources were tougher then I thought.” Feuor added, which made both the girls start giggling.
“Oh, very funny!”
This just made the girls laugh even more as they recalled the mighty hero battling the enemy on the source field.
“Ok you two, let’s go find some sweets. These are on me!” He had to shout to make himself heard above the peals of laughter that echoed out over the town.