Kim & Khore
Eliste sat in the Room of Records walking around in circles.
Bored...bored...bored...I don’t want to go outside, but no one wants to talk to me. I wish Uncle Fobro were here he would tell me what to do. Hmmm what would he say. Probably tell me to go study or walk around the realm. Oh, Kim is here.
Eliste closed her eyes and sent a thought out to the Goddess.
“Uuhm....I hope I’m not interrupting you, but I’m wondering if i could interview you?”
“Oh no your not, ok sure, I’d be honored'.
“Where would you like to hold the interview?”
“I’ll just go to you.”
Kim popped in through a hole in the sky and landed on her butt!
Kim smiled happily.
Kim stopped using a set of divorce papers and holds a HUGE candy cane in her hands.
Eliste looked at Kim.
Kim is probably the shortest and skinniest Goddess of them all. Kim, looks like shes has a look in her eyes, that she would do something to you...given the chance.
“Ok well can we start with where you were born?”
Kim thought about the question.
“Did you enjoy it there?”
“Not really, I have a major dislike of the mayor”
“He’s a pig.”
“Oh, he always seemed so polite while yelling.”
“Oh well I made one small mistake a long time ago and accidently casted on him. He just held on to the grudge for a long time. So I like to make the feeling mutual.”
“Makes perfect sense so where did you go after that?”
“Ok that would be Mithas, I stayed there the longest.”
“Why the longest?”
“I always enjoyed taking my time, talking to people.”
Kim coughed again.
Eliste looked questioningly at Kim.
Kim blushed a rose pink.
“Fun to meet but...I shouldn’t say it.”
Eliste looks at Kim confused.
“He was my first husband I believe.”
Kim thought deeply.
“How did you meet?”
“Oh, well I was a newbie and he helped me with my CR.”
“And you fell in love over your corpse?”
“That sounds sick doesn’t it?”
“Not really. Was it mutual?”
“Well, I met a lot of interesting people doing my own CR. By far its how I met the bulk of my early friends. What can I say, I died allot. It was interesting at how many people were always willing to help me.”
Eliste smiled happily.
“Though I must say the thing with Jerald involved very little going out.”
“I guess fear of dying, and we just loved to sit and chat.”
Oooo sounds like me. I hate going out after I’ve died.
“So you got married after some time?”
“That is what I’m trying to remember, the early stuff is all a blur. Yea, it did take quite a while. I guess I get awestruck easily and before I knew it blammo there I was married to this goodie goodie.”
I’m a good. *sniff*
“You don’t like goodie goodies?”
“I do, but A certian type. He got a little....pushy with my early friends. I hung around with Blade and Thaygar.”
Kim leaned forward and whispered to Eliste.
“Thaygar, my second husband.”
“Jerald didn’t much care for that. I was always into motiviated self interest in keeping alive by being friends with everyone.”
“So what happened?”
“It just feel apart.”
“So then Thaygar moved in?”
“I enjoyed that time while he was around. He was a very interesting fellow. A bit off in the head, but yet again, so am I. I really enjoyed picking on him and Blade.”
“Why off in the head?”
“Well, he was a little too much into the whole 'I gotta kill this person or that person. And he had a tendency to get in situations with out looking first.”
“I believe that was his name. Its been so long.”
“That’s scary that I remember his friend Blade better than him. I took endless enjoyment at calling Blade Balde. He never seemed to mind to terribly much. But then again he was an orc I think.”
“Did you ever marry him?”
“Him and I stayed married for...quite a while. But it was...well...a bit...cool at times. I know I’m not the easiest person to get along with.”
“So he was your third husband?”
“Oh Blade. No I never married Blade.”
Kim realized her mistake and lightly slapped herself.
“Ok that’s it.”
Kim stopped holding a HUGE candy cane and held a clue in her hands.
“I now have a clue.”
“While I was with Thaygar and Blade, I was among the first group to kill the executioner. The plaque is somewhere in here still I believe. Yes plaque 10.”
Kim read plaque 10.
“Oh no. That was with Jerald?”
Kim screamed loudly.
“Scary him and my third husband.”
“Who was your third husband?”
“Or rather my 3rd husband’s best friend. My 3rd was Cerebus. And his bestfriend was Syrinx, or as Nalya used to call him Shrinks.”
“Did that marraige last?”
“It did for a long while, but at last Cerebus moved on.”
“So he left you?”
Someone leave Kim? Impossibly what kind of man would do such a thing. She isn’t saying anything I guess she wont tell me.
“We used to sit and bug Natilena about her eating habits.”
“Were they bad?”
“Oh if you want to witness the horror for yourself feel free. It’s a scary sight.”
“Was there a fourth husband?”
“There was but it only lasted a day.”
“Who was it?”
“I wanna say Ozymandius, I could be wrong though. I chalked it up to a moment of temporary insanity.”
“Why did it only last a day?”
“Oh he was a good guy and all, and we didn’t part on bad terms.”
Kim tried to think harder to remember the day.
“OH. I remember, we thought we were going to be married on this one day and we were, but then we found out it wasn’t official and just never got around to it. It was for that I had these divorce papers drawn up for.”
Kim put away a clue and held a set of divorce papers in her hands.
“I didnt go out much at all after that. Just stayed up in the immortal realm and occasionally poked at a few mortals.”
“So you married all these people while you were immortal?”
“Well, Cerebus was my first marriage as an immortal. I immorted at the same time as Ginny and Coleman. In fact I was friends with them both.”
“Why did you decide to be an Immortal?”
“Well...honestly, it looked a lot easier than it was watching Darkmoon.
“And you wanted to have an easy life?”
“And I had toped out, I didn’t have the stamina to withstand becoming dual classed. To be quite honest I always thought I made much better ambassador than an immortal with a following.”
“And you couldn’t stay an ambassador forever?”
“Well at the time, no, and I THOUGHT I was ready to become a full immortal. But then I had a following and saw how much went into it, it was quite scary.”
“But didn’t you love your followers?”
“Ohh I loved a few of them, but I wasnt really good leadership material.”
Khore ruffled your hair playfully.
I can’t see him where is he?
“Well, I have more of an artists temperament, which does not always lend itself to keeping ones self organized. I would always have a tendency to overcast on followers. And when something big would come up I would tapped out.”
“Ah, what was your following about?”
“Acceptance and practice of vice. It was a small following, which showed a lot of promise.”
“I fell apart. I retired after that and for the longest time I just stayed retired.”
“Do you miss it?”
“Yea I do, there was such a good group of fun people.”
“Why not unretire?”
“I wouldn’t try it again though... 'I did try it again, and I found out, it will always continue to be that way with me, the grass is always greener type of thing. When I did the second time, I just never really had much of a chance.”
Khore walked up from behind Eliste she flinched.
That slight prickling feeling on my neck was probably nothing...
Kim and Eliste giggled and smiled simultaneously at Khore.
“You guys are making me nervous.”
“Synchronized smiling and giggling. Oh yeah and Kim kicked me in the groin.”
“Ohh now, like anyone will believe that.”
“Oh was that just between us, Kim?”
Kim giggled at Khore’s comment.
Khore ruffled Kim’s hair.
“Am I interrupting something?”
Kim beamed a smile at Khore.
“Was Kim a good goddess Khore?”
“No, she was an evil goddess.”
“But I loved her anyway.”
“He’s too good to me.”
Kim poked Khore.
“Was she a great evil goddess?”
Kim tickled Khore.
“Definitely one of my favorites.”
Eliste’s eyes became to show hints of yellow mixed in their deep brown. She bit her lip to keep from grinning too much. She quickly sent a thought out to Kim.
“You have to help me convince khore to let me interview him.”
Eliste tried not to betray the fact she was hearing Kim in her mind.
“OHHHH ok will do.”
Kim cleared her through.
“So when you gonna interview Khore? Its really fun.”
“Oh, she doesn't want to.”
“'But I do.”
“She interviews everyone else, but ignores little 'ol me.”
“Not true. I asked if I could interview you.”
Khore looked directly at Eliste.
“Are you interviewing Kim?”
“Oh, don't let me interrupt you.”
“No. You stay, young man.”
Kim hugged Khore.
Khore sat. Panted. Nodded.
“He’s so melodramatic.”
“Ooo I want a hug.”
Kim hugged Eliste.
Eliste smiled happily.
“He’s a fun guy.”
“fun - NY.”
“Kim anything more that i should write in my interview of any other loves and husbands?”
“I think that covers it.”
“WAIT. AM I LISTED AS A LOVE?”
Khore cried on Kim’s shoulder.
Eliste’s eyes widened.
Kim blushed and giggled as she huged Khore.
“It meant nothing to you, Kim?”
Kim comforted Khore.
“our... our... children??”
“Uhm..... would you like to mention that in your interview Khore?”
“Better not. Lawsuit fodder.”
“Kim is great. I adore Kim.”
“No Khore is great.”
“No no, KIM is great.”
“An I should get an interview about Khore?”
“well, wanna go Khore?”
“Interview that is?”
“Sure, when do you want to do it?”
“Is Kim going to hang out?”
“Kim will if you mind Kim being here.”
"Is she going to keep her big mouth shut when I start lying like crazy?”
Khore hugged Kim.
“I don't mind Kim. Never have. Ok, go ahead.”
“First may I look at you?”
Eliste looked at Khore.
Fear prickles the hair at the back of your neck and a fine, chill sweat
One elegant, pale hand brushes back locks of the darkest inky hue, drawing
An invisible wind, laden with the dry scent of caves hidden deep within
Khore strutted proudly.
“Like what you see?”
“Well where were you born. Although the idea of you being born is odd for me.”
“I hatched with a clutch of my siblings. No, just kidding.”
I like Khore is a very funny guy, he doesn’t seem too scary like everyone makes him out to be.
“Uhm, I don't remember where I was born. Kaern and Syla found me in the mud of Midgaard. And Kim was my nursemaid.”
“Did you and Kaern and Syla become friends?”
“Kaern and me go waaay back. Me being a level 4 mage, Kaern being level 20 something. Syla, I ended up following. I was her only follower for a long time.”
“She was retired. I talked her out of retirement to take me. Then I stuck with her until I immorted.”
That’s so sweet.
“Why did you do that?”
“Talk her out of retirement? She was kind to me. Helped me learn a lot. Wanted to pledge my mortal existence to serving her.”
“Did you love her?”
Khore thought deeply.
“Yeah, I would think so. Not in the same way I love Kim. Syla doesn't kick me in the groin.”
“So what was Syla's following like?”
“Close knit, very cool. Small.”
“I thought you were the only one.”
“I was at first. Then she unretired in earnest, and I started helping her recruit.”
“And what was the purpose of the following.”
Eliste clapped her hands together in delight.
“She was the goddess of mischief, and I was the archmage of Mischief!”
“What was the most mischieviest thing you did?”
Khore snickered softly.
“Let's see. I ID'd Tokugawa's corpse for his killers. There was a lot, hard to remember. It was so long ago.”
“What made you want to become an Immortal. And were you a vampire before becoming an immortal or after?”
“I was bored being a naked level 30 mage. I was literally sleeping on the GWR. People would walk by and bless me and stuff. I went into DR, naked, alone, or in large groups. I was fearless... and it got boring. I didn't realize my heritage of vampirism until after I immorted.”
“How did that work?”
“Oh lord. That's a long story.”
“That’s what we are here for.”
“I found my heritage in Sanguinna. My history.”
Eliste snuggled against Kim to prepare for the story.
“And formed the Kindred to do honor to my past and my heritage. That's it in a nutshell. The actual history itself is long... hours long. Better that I point you to logs on Cordir's library.”
“I suppose. Well what was it liking finding out that you were a vampire?”
“Shock, of course. But gradual acceptance. Like never knowing what rain is, while you're standing drenched in it. Then one day, you raise your head, and have an epiphany... then you just stand there, drinking it in.”
“Were you sad to find out? or happy?”
“You feel like a river... when the dam bursts, you know there will be great destruction, but just then, you're too busy thrilling in the freedom of it.”
“But you don't miss the life you once had?”
“Of course I do. Would I go back? Probably not.”
“So were you bitten, or born a vampire?”
“I don't think it's the traditional vampirism... I was born with it.”
“So when did you start biting people?”
Khore looked at Kim. She immediately removed her black silk shirt.
Khore snickered softly.
Kim snickered with Khore about their shared secret.
Eliste sniffed sadly.
I’m always left out of the fun stuff.
“Shall I show her what I did to you Kim?”
Khore looked at Eliste.
Eliste felt over come with the compulsion to remove her dragonscale corselet.
Kim snickered softly.
Blushing Eliste quickly put her dragonscale corselet again.
“I hope you asked Kim whose Divorce papers those are that she's holding. Cause I want to know. Anyway, did I start biting people? As they were accepted, they were indoctrinated into the life, or unlife of the Kindred.”
“She said it was her fourth husband, the one for a day.”
“Did I personally bite any? Yes, but only very few.”
“Clue was one that you bit right?”
“Very recently, yes. Clue was never a follower of mine. I probably bit Kim a few times.”
“But you did bite her right?”
“Yes, Clue, I did, yes.”
Kim snickered at her own evil thoughts as she put on her black silk shirt.
“Why did you bite her if she wasn't a follower?”
“I've left all that behind me now, I'm a shadow of my former self. She asked, and out of respect for her, I did as she asked. I left it all behind. Too much pain and suffering. I disbanded the Kindred. Though some stayed for awhile...”
“What then after you left it?”
“I became a god, divorced myself from the dealings of mortals.”
“Don’t you like us?”
“You're like stones. Some of you are pretty, some are sharp and ragged.”
“I never thought of it like that.”
“I hope I’m pretty.”
Khore grinned evilly.
“You shine like a gemstone. Or maybe, you know, a throng of people. Or, more accurately, children. You're all so young. Some of you are pretty and amusing and sweet.”
“Are you so old?”
“Old, tired, same thing. I'm worn out. Though I still joke with you. I feel like a benevolent/malevolent grandfather figure. Depending on my mood. Play with the children...Amuse the children. Harm the children. I’m such an ass. Aren’t I an ass, Kim?”
“You know in a very odd and distant way you are my grandfather. Honest you are. See your Clue's blood father, and Clue is Wolfwood's blood mother.”
“Yeah, my bloodlines are long and tangled.”
“And Wolfwood is my adopted father.”
“I didn't know you were related to me though. Or I would have spent some time to say hi to you and stuff. 'm not even a very nice grandfather!”
“Well its by adoption.”
“Too busy chasing Rhina and Bliss and Kim around, I guess. Holy crap.That means I'm a dirty old man!”
“Any stories about Rhina?”
There was a long pause where no one moved.
“Well. I'm deciding which ones I can tell you and still expect to survive the day tomorrow. Rhina and I are old friends. Nothing really more. Oil and Water. We don't mix very well, pretty much opposites. Ever been to my office?”
Without being able to say a word Khore stepped backwards and melted into the shadows.
Eliste found herself in Khore’s Office. Warm and comforting, and apparently well lived in, this office exudes a sense of security. High above the chamber below, someone has carved this office into the stone of the cave. Torches hang in even intervals around the perimeter of this circular chamber. It, too, is mind-boggling in size. The torches directly opposite are barely flickers in the dark. Leather chairs and oaken bookcases appear to be randomly strewn about. Worn leather-bound books on every thinkable subject populate the shelves. A massive desk of ironwood dominates the center of the office. A section of the office is inexplicably decorated in bright pastels and flowery trimmings and is obviously inhabited by someone other than Khore. An ungainly tuft of greenery sprouting in a squat bowl.
Rhiannyon smiled brightly at them.
“Look at the picture. I’m not going to name any names, but that MIGHT be a goddess whose name starts with "R" and rhymes with "eena"”
Eliste looked at the picture. A green haired dryad, compromisingly clad in a tight-fitting leather vampire's dress appears absolutely furious at whoever was holding the camera. She's kinda cute when she's furious.
Eliste looks all around her and all she saw were books tightly packed togetehr on bookshelves surrounding the room in all directions.
“Why so many books?”
“I like to read.”
Eliste looked over at Rhiannyon. Sitting amidst cushions of rose-pastel, Rhiannyon smiles daintily up at you. She is small, no taller than 5' in height, and quite shapely. Slightly pointed ears peeking from behind luscious honey colored hair betray her somewhat elven heritage. Small fang tips overhang her ruby lips as she smiles at you with warm golden topaz colored eyes. Her excessive energy veritably streams from her petite frame as she bounces up and welcomes you to her corner of the office. She looks no older than a sixteen year old human... and yet, behind that wide innocent smile, you sense both power unbridled... and immense wisdom.
She's clad in a tight fitting black leather vest which manages to quite nicely accentuate her... neckline. Her slender arms taper to small gloves which, though somewhat out of place, seem to give her a slightly rebellious look. Her feet, clad in black leather boots connect with quite shapely legs which disappear underneath a black leather miniskirt. She looks at you with obvious mischief in her eyes and winks. She then proceeds to giggle.
She is listening to an old Fleetwood Mac song that faintly reminds you of her name.
“Uhm...who is she?”
“I'm ME! I'm Khore's secretary!”
“No, she’s not that.”
Khore poked Rhiannyon in the ribs.
“An old friend. She's a lot older than she looks. A LOT older. Probably older than me.”
“Oh I thought maybe a daughter or maybe a niece?”
“I'm not starting to wrinkle, am I?”
“She's a charge of mine. A niece, close enough. No, dear, you look fine. She's vain.”
“Most of us are.”
“She was rescued... or really, she's a part of my history. She lives with me now.”
“I wrote a story about how I came to be here.”
“Really? Where can I find it?”
“I think Khore stole it and entered it in Tamar's story-writing contest.”
“Ahem, you told me I could submit it in your name.”
Once again the room was filled with an uncomfortable silence.
“And sometimes we have soup.”
“And then we talk or don’t talk, and have soup. We are pretty good at talking...or not talking.”
“What kind of soup?”
“Oh gosh all kinds. Oh oh, it was Tiax's and sometimes we have soup after we have soup. So thats 2 soups.”
Eliste nodded solemnly.
Nodding helps in these situations.
“What the hell are you talking about? What soup? Oh Eliste go to Cordir’s library. Once your there pass the tapestries and look for Tiax’s entries, my story is under that.”
“Did Khore not like soup?”
“Khore likes soup fine!”
“Hehe! NO HE DOESN'T! Not any that I cook him anyway.”
“You cook for him?”
Khore nudges Eliste.
“Inxnay on the ookcay.”
“I should more often!”
“No that’s quite alright.”
Eliste looked around quickly trying to find a different topic.
“So uhm. Rhina. Why the picture?”
“The picture... hehe, I finally got her to try on that ridiculous outfit. Lemme see if I still have it.”
Khore got a tight fitting, black leather vampire’s dress from the black Cape of the Ordinus Nosferatus.
Khore gave a tight fitting, black leather vampire's dress to Kim.
“Try it on, Kimmy! Anyway, she refused to wear it. When I finally talked her into it, I took a picture. And she's not been too happy with me about it ever since. So I take every opportunity to show it off.”
“Why did you want her to wear it?”
“Because she didn't want to.”
Kim giggled as she wiggled into the vampire’s dress.
Khore enthusiastically cheered Kim.
Eliste clapped her hands together.
Khore touched Kim’s shoulder with his finger and made a sizzling sound.
“Was there a love between you two?”
“Rhina and I?”
“Still is. Love hate relationship. She LOVES to hate me.”
“I hate to love her, but I do anyway. Just friends though.”
Khore winked suggestively.
“Are you sure?”
“But what of the vampire plants I heard about.”
“You aren't supposed to know about those.”
Khore winked suggestively.
“How did you meet her?”
“Me: Dumb mortal stuck at the bottom of vile rune. Her: New ambassador gloating close by. And that's all there is to say about that.”
“Ah I see. Did you ever get out of the vile rune?”
“But he should of had the soup that day.”
“Soup is good.”
“So I’ve been told.”
“Ask about how I had to keep fighting Kim off me!”
“That is something I would like to know. Apparently four men lost that battle.”
“Hehe, they made the mistake of trying to possess her. Kim's a bit of a free spirit.Better to observe the pretty bird of paradise from afar or reach in and pet it real quick, then run like hell. If you stay close, it pecks your eyes out and kicks you in the groin”
“I must find out what you did to deserve the kick.”
“Let me tell you. I had the nerve to RUFFLE you. RUFFLE you.”
“Ohh now he likes it.”
“So why haven’t you gotten married Khore? I mean I heard its nice. If your not sure ask Kim she liked it so much she did it four times.”
“Well, that's a tough one. I once was married to an ogress named Risa, I think, briefly.”
“'I sent her to charm school. And well, ogres never learn charm. So I haven't seen her since. Other than that, marriage isn't really for me. It's not for Kim either, or she would have STAYED married.”
“Why isn’t it for you?”
“ I dunno. Never found anyone like that. The ones that might have been aren't here anymore.”
“What about Rhina?”
“Tell you what. YOU convince her to marry me. You get her to agree, I'll consider it. Besides, if I get hitched, I can't flirt with Kim and Bliss anymore. That'd be tragedy.”
“I suppose so. So any old mischief stories?” .
“I don't remember any.”
“Not a single one?”
“Honestly, that's ancient history!”
“No naked level 30 stories?”
“Well, sure, I mean, there's a few of those. I was PKd once, by Lancelot. But what do you get when you PK a naked mage? Tons of acid blasts.”
“Did you beat him?”
“No, he killed me. And got an empty corpse. And all his armor etched to hell.”
“So it was a waste of time?”
“For him. It was fun for me. Oh yeah, and the shark. The blasted shark.”
“What shark? What about it?”
“Madman used to like to feed me to him. Bluto the shark.”
“I remember that dude.”
“Did Madman not like you?”
“Did Madman like anyone?”
“Well, he probably did. He just had a problem showing emotion. So he drowned me whenever I logged in.”
“That was very thoughtful of him. Did you ever get mad at him?”
“Yeah, a few times. You know what Eliste?”
Please don’t say chicken butt, please don’t say chicken butt.
“I've got like... 10 years of history. There's a lot of important stuff you're not going to be able to cover. Why don't I get back together with you a few times and I can tell you some stories.”
“I would like that.”
“Then I can tell you about Saphyre. More about Risa, Syla, Pyros, and Kim.”
“Although I was always an angel.”
Kim smiled happily.
Khore hugged Kim.
Kim hugged Khore.
“I want a hug.”
Khore hugged Eliste.
Rhiannyon hugged Kim.
Kim hugged Eliste.
Rhiannyon licked Kim.
Rhiannyon hugged Khore.
Kim kissed Rhiannyon passionately.
Rhiannyon hugged Eliste.
“Cut that out you two. Kim, how'd we meet?”
Kim thought deeply.
“Oh yeah. That figures.”
“It just does. Ginny had a very... hmm... How would you say it Kim?”
“HEY! I liked it!”
“I was NOT aGinny follower. Kim, did you follow Ginny?”
“I wan an honorary member. I did her. Ummm...I mean ummm.”
Khore plugged Eliste’s ears.
Good think I put a spell on my pencil to record everything that is said.
“I didnt say that.”
“...and her husband...”
“I didn’t want to know that.”
“Yes you did.”
“No I didn’t!”
Khore unplugged Eliste’s ears.
“I’m feeling very strange. I need the soup.”
Kim shakes Khore's hand.
Khore shakes Kim's hand.
“Nice to meet you too. Freak!”
“Ok, the noise in my head has stopped.”
“It was lots of fun talking with you Kim. I enjoyed myself immensely.”
“Was fun talking to ya too.”
“Even if I did miss the soup.”
Khore grinned evilly.
“May I have goodbye hugs?”
Khore nodded and hugged Kim and then Eliste.
“Was fun, Eliste.”
Eliste latter on went through Cordir’s library looking for Khore’s story. Luckily she found it with little incident. Below is the story as she copied it.
I DANCE IN THE LEAVES - By Khore
I dance, because that's what I do. I see them all, creeping through the bushes, trying so hard to be quiet they forget to breathe. Then they start gasping for breath or slip on something and make a racket. Me? I dance, and I know it's loud and noisy, but they never see me. It's always me, watching them sneaking about. No one watches me dance.
Seems it's a waste of sunlight to not dance in it. I dance through the leaves until they're flying up all around me like a snowstorm of golds and oranges and reds. I love the colors.
I'd like an audience. No one ever watches me dance. I walk up to the keep.
I like the way the setting sun kind of burns off the roof tiles. The little wavy patterns from the heat remind me invisible little dancers, jumping around up there. I wish there was music for them.
I know where I'm supposed to be. If I'm late for my lessons again, Khan will be furious.
The sun's setting. I can tell by the color of the stained glass. The reds get a little brighter and the blues start turning black. I hop up the stairs, hopping over the one that's broken. Don't want to slip!
I'm early for once. I pick up the rose on the floor. It's the color of the sun when you look right into it. After awhile, when the whole world's gone that teary-eyed white. The rose is always here. Khan leaves it for me.
Somewhere, I guess the sun sets. He appears before me. He's wearing that gaudy robe again. It's black and there are words embroidered in red thread.
"Rhi?" he says.
He nods. He does that a lot. Like he's always agreeing with himself.
"Conjure a light." I blink and a giant ball of light appears. I make it the size of his head.
He looks irritated. I blink again and it shrinks down to fist-sized, like I'm supposed to make them. It's glowing white. White's boring though, don't you think?
I start flashing it all sorts of colors, reds and golds and oranges, just like the leaves.
Khan reaches out and grasps the ball in his hand. He dismisses it.
"Rhi, I am in no mood for this."
He's never in a mood for it. I blink, and a small fist-sized ball of boring white light hovers in the air.
"Thank you, Rhi."
Rhi. It's short for Rhiannyon. Everyone calls me Rhi though. I like Rhi better, anyway.
Khan raises a small block of wood.
I raise my hand, picture it getting hotter and hotter. It's glowing now, and I can feel the heat on my face. I place it up against the wood and it catches on fire.
Khan nods. I told you he does that a lot.
"Can't we do something fun today? Maybe we can go play with the brothers downstairs?"
Khan's face gets all dark and angry. I know he doesn't like me playing with them.
"No. Why aren't you concentrating?" My mind wanders. He can't teach me anything I don't already know. One of these days, he'll admit it.
"I dunno. Is Khore coming to play today?"
I know the answer already. But I ask anyway.
"No. You know he hasn't been around in a long time."
He's sad. Not from his voice, he controls that really well. You can tell though, by the way his eyebrows move. He knows I'm watching him. He moves over to a chair and sits down. He looks tired.
"What's the matter, Khan?" He stretches out, rubs his bushy eyebrows with his fingers.
It's always nothing the matter with Khan.
"Are you mad that I'm not concentrating?"
Khan shakes his head. "We both know I don't have anything to teach you. You should be teaching me."
It takes me by surprise. I don't guess he's reading my mind, but, it's disconcerting nonetheless.
"Tell me about your day," he says.
"It was bright today. Sun was high in the sky, no clouds. I danced and played in the leaves."
Khan nods. (I told you.)
"Were you lonely?" he asks.
I freeze. Yeah. I'm always lonely.
"Yeah, I guess."
Khan nods again.
"Come on, let's go." He gets up.
"Where are we going?"
He doesn't say anything, but I follow him as he climbs down the stairs. The crazies are out now, since it's night time. Some of them drool and walk funny.
The bats fly around everywhere, though mostly, they ignore me. Khan walks past them, they steer clear of him.
He utters some words and vanishes. Well, mostly vanishes. I can still see his outline, pretty clearly, but the crazies can't see him and the crazier ones won't try to fight him now.
There's someone in the bush by the gate. They're sneaking about again.
"Come along, Rhi."
I bound after him. More than enough time and go back and scare the invaders.
"Where are we going?"
He still doesn't answer me. We walk through the town past the old statue and out past the nest. We're by the old tree.
I don't come here by myself. It makes me sad.
Khan kneels down in front of the tombstone.
Something shimmers in the air, and then Ybarra appears. She's like the heat off the roof in the sun, all wavy.
"Hi, Ybarra," I say.
"Hello, Rhiannyon." She always uses my full name. "Hello, Khan."
"Can you see her, Rhi?" he asks me.
"Yeah. She's here," I say. I know he only sees her like a shadow, a shade. Her eyes are distant. She gets like that a lot. I love her, but I'm afraid of her. Afraid of where she goes when her eyes get like that. It makes me sad.
"Why are we here?"
"Tell her about your day."
I frown. I don't really want to do this.
"It was bright, the sun was out. I danced in the leaves." I smile, or try. Ybarra looks at me.
"It was bright today for me too. The sun was out." She glows for a moment, then fades. She nods and smiles.
Something dark and familiar passes over us. Then Khore steps from behind the tree.
I rush up and hug him. He picks me up, ruffles my hair. Khan bows at him.
"You woke her," Khore says. His voice is disapproving.
"I'm sorry. Khan told me to tell him about my day and-"
He puts his finger against my lips.
Khan bows at Khore.
"She misses you, Khore," he says.
I do, but I don't see what that has to do with anything.
Khore looks at me. His eyes are almost distant too, but they snap back. He actually looks at me.
"Did you tend the gardens today, Rhi?"
I nod. "I watered them, and cleaned and made the shears cut the grass."
"Do you like it here in Sanguinna?"
"It's my home," I say.
"I can take you away."
I blink. I know what he's asking. I know what he's offering. I'll stop haunting this village and the keep. I won't be alone anymore. Khan will be able to see me, everyone will be able to see me, not just Ybarra and Khore.
But, I know there will be no more sunlight in Sanguinna. The crazies are out every hour of the day.
And I won't be alone anymore.
"Okay," Khore says.
Khan smiles at me. He looks at me. He takes my hand and presses it up to his mouth.
Ybarra is all shimmery, like a ghost.
I twirl in the grass and laugh. Just a little dance.
And they're watching.
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