The Followers - Part Eight¶
A day had passed since the incident in the alley. Nih'na had stopped crying but she had turned silent even to Feuor. She was ashamed that she had not been able to tell him of how she had felt recently and that events had become so serious in order for him to find out. Attempting to resume some normality, she had returned to the Academia but she now ensured that she took the lesser used corridors between the classrooms. She tried to make herself as small and invisible as possible in fear of the aftermath of the incident. As she trailed along her solitary path, however, she felt her arm seized in a tight clasp.
“Nih'na? Why are you hiding like this?” Feuor asked calmly.
“Fe..Feuor, I am .. “ She tried to explain, but the words just stuck in her throat.
“I am your friend Nih'na, not your enemy. You can trust me I swear.” He said with a voice full of kindness. A voice she recognized.
“I know, I am sorry. I thought that... I wanted to spare those important to me from this pain, sorry.” She said as she felt the tears starting to come.
“Come, lets go somewhere. “ Feuor said and walked her away still holding her arm.
They hurried through the doors leading outside and then rounded a corner and soon they found themselves on a small field a few hundred meters behind the school.. It was a place that was sporadically used for combat training or magical learning. But it was not as large as the main practice grounds so it was mostly used by students that wanted to work in peace.
“I think we are pretty safe here Nih'na. No one usually comes here. So what is it that you want to tell me?”
“I.. I don't know what to say Feuor. I though it was my fault, I am the only Zoraï in the class, and a short one too. I thought it was why..” She started to confess.
“You know that that is just your imagination Nih'na. You are not the one at fault here, they are, for hitting out at what they do not understand and are jealous of. They are weak cowards acting as they did.”
“I am alone, I don't have any friends and indeed I feel as if no one wants to be friends with a strange blue Homin like me.” Tears wandered down her cheeks as she finally was able to tell someone how she felt.
“You have at least one friend, there was one that came looking for you right?” Feuor said with a smile. “We have been friends as long as I can remember Nih'na, don't think for a second that I attacked that Kincher only so you could get hurt through the whim of some Matisian rich man's kid and his skewed views.”
“But.. what will happen now.. What will they do to me now?” She asked him, afraid of their reaction now someone had finally fought back
“I have already sorted that out too; I confronted him during a training session this morning and made him confess in front of everyone how brave he was attacking a lonely girl with two trustworthy men on his side. I don't think he will try to harm you again, especially not if he wishes to keep his hands attached to his arms.” Feuor said, as he winked at her and smiled.
Nih'na remembered what had happened in the alleyway and suddenly she did not see him as the frightening Homin she had seen him as back then. Now she could see that there was a reason behind his anger, and she understood his actions. Although it was disquieting to see him transform like that, she now realised that he could never act in this way towards her, only to those that tried to harm her. He was her friend. A little smile started to form behind her mask as she considered this.
“Uhmm, excuse me. But I want too... ehm..” A voice said from behind them.
“Oh, hi there Dinah, didn't hear you!.” Feuor said. “I'm sorry, but I am busy for the moment could we...”
“It's fine Feuor.” Nih'na said, and she did actually smile for what felt like the first time in an eternity.
“You sure Nih'na?” He asked her and she nodded yes. “Well then, what was it Dinah?”
“There is , ehm.. an assignment... for school, that requires... ehm.. “ She started to explain.
“Don't be nervous, just say it, will you!” Feuor said with a broad smile and a little tease in his voice.
“There is a requirement for an assignment for school which needs you to work with someone else. And I was wondering if you wanted to... ehm.. work together with me..” Dinah said it as fast as she could and she was almost surprised that she had just said it.
Feuor looked at her and then at Nih'na and smiled. He had heard of the assignment; it was a preparation for a crafting lesson where they were required to hunt and harvest for materials so they could craft. No specific materials were needed, the main idea was to train the ability to work in team, and to ask for Homins to form teams.
“Well, I have sort of already promised Nih'na here that we would do it together.” He said, and it was an obvious lie, since he had not said a word to Nih’na about it. In fact she had almost forgotten about it herself.
“Oh. Well then I am sorry for disturbing you both.” Dinah said, bowed and started to walk away.
“Hey Dinah, stop will you.” Feuor looked at Nih'na with eyes telling her he had something on his mind and she looked at him and nodded without really knowing why she did. “You know, a team can be more then two Homins, do you want to join me and Nih'na?”
Dinah stopped and turned around quickly looking back at them.
“Are you sure that is alright?” She asked. Nih'na was surprised that it seemed as if Dinah was not bothered by the fact that she would be in the same team as her.
“Haha, it seems as we have ourselves a team of three then!” Feuor said happily and stood up. “I'll be your warrior; taking hits and dealing blows!”
“I will heal as it is what I do best...” Nih'na said with a lowered voice as she thought that her interference might burst the bubble of happiness that had formed in the last few minutes since Dinah had arrived.
“That is great, so what do you want to do then Dinah?” Feuor asked and smiled so much that Nih'na thought that his jaw would come loose.
“I have had.. ehm.. some ease for the afflictional skills.. I was wond.. hoping that I could..” She started to say and found her voice to become even lower then Nih'nas.
“Haha, wonderful then we have the fighter, which is me, the healer Nih'na and Dinah the afflictionist. Sounds like a team to me. Come and sit here with us, we are a team now!” Feuor said.
Dinah did as she was asked to and sat down next to them and Feuor started to talk about the objectives of the assignment and how they should plan it, and soon they all found themselves involved in heated but cheerful conversation. They devised some tactics after discussing what they wanted to craft and Dinah and Nih'na agreed to look up what animals they needed to hunt in order to get the materials they needed, while Feuor would investigate where and what to harvest for the rest of the parts. It seemed that after a while it became natural to them all to divide tasks quickly and sensibly and to come up with new ideas as they melded into a team indeed.
As Feuor and Nih'na waved good bye to Dinah for the day and walked home they stopped at a small cliff and watched the evening sun shining red as it descended.
“What do you say Nih'na, are you looking forward to tomorrow and the hunt?” Feuor asked her as he stared into the darkening sky.
“I am.. I really am Feuor, thank you.”
“It’s a nice evening tonight. Remember this Nih'na; there are days that are rainy, it’s natural. But there are also days that are like this one. And if it rains too much you have friends that can give you shelter.” Feuor turned back to the path that led home.
Nih'na stood there for a moment looking at the vanishing sun, astounded by Feuor’s words. Sometimes he could make so much sense. Then she ran to catch him up and walked companionably beside him thinking that even though she had been through some bleak times, they faded in comparison with the events of today and her hopes for the future.
She was looking forward to tomorrow.