AR 12-12-05 Yari and Verona, Sitting in a Tree

The caravan had stopped for the night and circled the wagons. They were a day’s ride from Melinar, scheduled to arrive late the next evening. The demigod’s son and the princess were perched atop a large tree, overlooking the gathering. Though there was still movement amongst the wagon circle, both teenagers’ eyes were focused skyward, keeping watch for any stray shooting stars.

“Your eyes are doing that thing again,” Verona said, her voice calling Yari back from the brink of Everywhere.

His eyes remained black, but he tore his gaze from the heavens and looked at Verona. Deep into her own eyes, the boy lost himself once more. It was the same abyss he fell into, but the color had changed from black to green. She blinked, and the connection was lost; Yari was back, his eyes their normal sapphire.

“Sorry,” he said, embarrassed.

“Where do you go?”

“Sardi asked me that once. I don’t really know. Everywhere? Nowhere?”

The princess rolled her eyes, but kissed his cheek just the same. “Well, I’m glad you’re here now. With me.”

“There’s no place else I’d rather be.” They kissed again.

Several celestial dots shot across the black canvas of the night sky. Verona tried to make a wish on every one, but soon there were too many. For several minutes, the heavens were a busy throughway of stars, rushing, streaking, falling down to Midgard. The boy and the girl watched in silence, the boy noting how comfortable that silence finally was.

“The stars have been falling every night for over a week,” said Verona at last.

“Yeah, I think the sky is trying to tell me something.”

“What’s that, now?”

Yari was suddenly very nervous. He moved his hand from around her waist to her shoulder and fondled the locks of her hair. Verona enjoyed the gesture, but she was adamant in her query. “Stop that,” she said, invoking her princess tone. “What do you mean?”

Dutifully ceasing playing with her hair, Yari held her shoulder and rubbed her neck with his thumb. It almost worked to distract Verona, but he answered, “I think the sky is trying to talk to me.

“I know that’s weird,” he went on, still caressing her neck. “But that thing my eyes do, I think they’re reflecting the sky.”

The touch of her boyfriend was stirring sensations all about her body, and Verona inhaled sharply. Then, she took another breath, steadying herself, and grasped Yari’s hand, staying his fingers’ movement across her neck and shoulder. Bringing his hand closer to her lips, she kissed his fingers, and said, “I think you may be crazy.”

The impish grin on Yari’s face told Verona he was thinking something mean. She could only guess what thoughts were going through his mind, and while most of her wanted to know, the smarter part didn’t. She gently placed his hand in his lap and let go.

I’d have to crazy to be in love with you. That was probably what Yari was thinking, she decided. Over the past year, she had grown so much, and part of her wondered why Yari was with her at all. She had been so spoilt! Why did he put up with her?

“Maybe,” he said, bringing her out of her own thoughts. “but I don’t think so. There’s so much out there, above us, and it’s like all of it is trying to talk to me! It’s getting better, or maybe I am, I don’t know.

“Ever since my accident,” he continued, then stopped. Reaching up to grab a branch for balance, Yari stretched his back. His spine popped and snapped, eliciting a contented sigh from the boy and a grimace from the girl. “Ever since my accident, I’ve been feeling more connected to things. To Everything. I think I’m finally starting to understand what the sky is trying to tell me.”

“I’m glad you’ve recovered so well from… from your accident, Yari.” Verona kissed his cheek again, then went on, “But, why do you think the sky is talking to you?”

“Look at these stars!” he said, releasing his balancing branch and gesturing out above him.

“It’s a meteor shower.”

“It’s a message. Like the earth gave my sister.”

“What’s that?”

“Oh,” said Yari, suddenly very embarrassed. The boy really was not good with secrets. “Yeah, the spirit of Midgard, Gaia, occasionally has words with my sister.”

Verona raised her eyebrows in disbelief. “Oh, really?” she said.

Yari scrunched his nose. “Yeah,” he said.

“And, what does this Gaia tell her?”

“I don’t know. Look, don’t worry about Rissa. She’s got her thing; I’ve got mine. At least, I suppose, it’s not like I hear voices in my head, or anything.”

“Well, there is that.”

More stars fell from the sky. Then, more stars fell, still. The rest of the stars slowly arched from their starting points to their fading points, as Sol found her way back to illuminate Midgard.

“It’s gonna be a big thing,” Yari said, rousing Verona from her dosing.

“Hm?”

“Franziska’s sixteenth birthday, the Festival of the New Moon, Twelve-Twelve-Twelve-Twelve. Lots of reason to celebrate coming up.”

Verona made a few more noises and tried to stretch. She nearly fell from the tree, but Yari quickly steadied her. “Thanks,” she mumbled, still waking up.

“I’m gonna get a copper wolf for Franziska,” said Yari, carrying on, somehow bright and chipper. “I think she’ll like it. Clarice is really special to her.

“Zen’s a businessman, or at least he will be. Every good businessman needs a signet ring. I figure I can procure a nice one for him.

“Wolf, though… Wolf’s a tough one. He’s so closed off; I had a hard time figuring him out. I might not’ve gotten it right, but I think he’ll like what I got.”

“Wha’ssat?” Verona mumbled, still trying to reconnect her tired brain to her body.

“An engraving of his family’s crest. He didn’t have a proper family for so long; now that he does, I thought it’d be nice for him to be able display their symbol on his wall. I wrote ahead and had my dad commission it from a woodcarver in town.”

Using Yari to steady herself, Verona rubbed her eyes and blinked several times. Her mouth was dry, and she moved her tongue around for a while in an effort to alleviate the problem. Finally, the fog of sleep cleared, and she remembered where she was. “Did we sleep in this tree all night!”

“Oh,” the boy said, smiling a little. “Yeah.”

“I think I have a kink in my neck.”

“Here, eat one of these,” he offered, passing her a large, red berry.

“Thanks,” said Verona, accepting. Then, forgetting her royal training, she added through a mouthful of juicy pulp, “That helps!”

Yari smiled, and cast his attention to the caravan below them. The first signs of movement were showing, and soon everyone would be ready to go. He cherished his final moments alone with his girlfriend. He hoped they would have many more such moments to come.

“I’ve been working on carving a couple of roses out of these stones I found,” he said. “They’re almost done, but I think they look more like lotus flowers.”

“Who’re they for?”

“Krunch and Sparky, of course. They’ve been friends for so long, I can’t remember when we weren’t. I wanted my gift to them to be something special, something I made.”

“I’m sure they’ll love it!”

“You don’t know Krunch that well, then,” Yari snorted. Then, sighing, he added, “It is what it is. I did what I could. Whatever.”

Verona sensed there was more she could pull out of her boyfriend, but she was still too tired to try. Also, her legs had gone numb during the night, and while the berry Yari gave her was full of healing magic, it did little to alleviate the tingling sensation of circulation being restored to her extremities. “We should get down,” she said.

“A’ight,” he said, and dropped to the ground.

“Yari!” exclaimed Verona in fear, but he landed on his feet, bending at the knees, and righted himself. “You great fool!”

The impish smile she knew too well spread across his face as he looked back up at her. “C’mon! I’ll catch you!

“C’mon! Trust me! I’ll never let you fall.”

There was something about what he said that both filled Verona with confidence and trepidation. Were his eyes black again? No, of course not; she decided to trust him and cast off from her branch.

True to his word, Yari caught her about the waist, and diffusing her downward momentum, twirled her around in a circle. Verona squealed in shock and delight, and when they were still, took his face in her hands and kissed him passionately. “Well, that woke me up!” she beamed. Yari scrunched his nose and stuck out his tongue.

“Anyone else,” she said sternly, smiling just the same, “and I’d have you tried for treason for that!”

In response, the boy winked and kissed her again. She kissed him back. “For what?” he asked.

“For disrespect!” she exclaimed.

“Bah!” he responded, and kissed her once more. “We should get back.”

“You didn’t finish, though!”

“Hm?”

“What’re you getting Rissa?”

“Oh, you were listening.”

“Of course I was!”

“Well, Rissa’s tough. Tougher than Wolf. I mean, how do you get a meaningful surprise for your twin?”

“I wouldn’t know.”

“Yeah… well, I think I figured something out.”

“Tell me!”

“Promise you’ll keep it secret?”

“I promise.” Verona’s words carried with them earnestness and honesty, and Yari believed she meant what she said.

“I’mna hook her up with Sardi.”

Her eyes went wide, and she gasped, “What?”

“They obviously like each other, and I can’t think of a boy I’d rather date my sister.”

“How’re you planning to do this?”

“By opposing it every step of the way.”

Verona’s jaw dropped, and her eyes went wide. “Oh, that is genius, Jarl Hastae,” she gaped. “Diabolical, even!”

“Lots of things are diabolical, girly,” he answered. “Loki, Hel, Professor Trent, all sorts of infernal monstrosities. Even the sky, when it wants to be! I’m not, though; I’m just me.” Despite his words and his smile, Yari’s eyes had gone black again. Verona looked cross at him, and slapped his cheek. “Ow!” he complained, scowling at her. “That hurt!”

“Your eyes were doing that thing again.”

“They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. We both’ll just have t’get used to it.”

“Not if I break up with you,” she said mischievously.

“You’d never in a million years!”

“Probably not,” she admitted. “But, as they say, ‘The best laid plans of gods and men…’”

“Bah!” he snorted. A bell struck, summoning the caravaners to leave. The two amours kissed once more, then hurried to rejoin their party.

AR 12-12-05 Yari and Verona, Sitting in a Tree

Thraes NatheDM