AR 1212-11-29 Another Night upon the Mesa
“I’m glad you’re feeling better,” Sardi said.
Yari’s responsive smile was only partial. He exhaled quietly and pulled Sardi down against the grass. They had been sitting on top of the mesa, overlooking the elven forest and Hidden Valley; Yari now had them both laying down, staring at the night sky.
A streak of light flew across their vision, a falling star perhaps. Or, was it other than that? A piece of the moon, falling back to the ground. Maybe, it was a tiny world that strayed too close to the brilliance of Midgard and caught fire. Yari wasn’t sure, but he thought he remembered reading about a boy his own age flying too close to the sun once. It didn’t end well.
“Does our sun have a sun?” Yari asked his ally.
“I don’t know. Prob’ly not. Sol and Mani are twins, though. Maybe their father, Mundilfari, is their sun?”
“Yeah, you don’t know the story?”
“Of course I know the story!” Yari snorted, annoyed. “What kind of cleric do you take me for?”
“Only the very best,” came Sardi’s response. He bumped his head into Yari’s shoulder to emphasize his words.
“Mundilfari’s name means, ‘an ill-fated period of time.’ I think we might be headed for one.”
“Why can’t you just make a wish on a shooting star like normal people?”
“I don’t exactly come from normal stock, Sardi,” the younger boy chided.
“That’s true,” conceded Sardi for the first time. His friend’s surrender only made Yari feel more uneasy about the times to come.
“Keep an eye out,” Yari said. “There’re spies in the keep.”
“Something to do with Krunch and Sparky. I promised I wouldn’t talk too much about it, but you’re family; you should know. Watch out for anyone acting suspicious.”
“Got it,” answered the older boy, and the two fell into further silence.
Many hours passed, and many more streaks of light raced across the night sky. The boys lay, quiet and still, until the dark dome above them had calmed down. A breeze picked up, and Yari shivered. Sardi pulled him closer for warmth.
“Sure you’re okay to be out here?” Sardi asked.
“Yeah. I needed this.”
“Your many physicians might disagree.”
Sardi snorted, but said nothing. Another long period of silence passed, before Yari finally removed his friend’s arm from his shoulders and sat up. He held his knees, looking out over the trees in the valley below them again.
“What’s up?” asked Sardi, sitting himself.
Yari hesitated before answering, but finally said, “I think I’m going to ask her to marry me.”
Sardi choked and coughed violently. “Elsie?! You haven’t seen her in months!”
“No, not her.”
The older cleric’s eyes went wide as realization set in. “You mean…!”
“Yeah,” Yari whispered. “I think I actually love her.”
“Why!” demanded Sardi, perhaps a tad too violently.
Scrunching up his nose in his catchall expression, Yari glanced over at his friend and offered sarcastically, “Wha’sa matter? Jealous?”
The boy’s words caught his friend off guard, and Sardi closed his jaw tightly. Sardi grabbed his own knees, mirroring Yari’s posture, and looked at the tops of the trees for a while as well. “It’s not that,” he said finally. “Though, good job rising above the jokes.”
Yari’s nose scrunched again, and he repositioned his head to rest against his folded arms while he looked at Sardi. “I wasn’t, though. Honestly asking.”
“Maybe. But, just because I don’t think she’s good enough for you!” Sardi added quickly.
“Verona’s a good person, Sardi. Honest. She just wasn’t… I don’t know… trained right? I’m working with her, and she’s getting better. The good that’s inside her is coming out, and I’m falling more and more in love with her every day.”
Sardi put his arm around Yari once more, and said, “You’ve got a lot of love inside of you, buddy. I just hope she can return a fraction of what you give her.”
“Yeah. So do I.”
“You don’t sound very convinced,” said Sardi, with heartfelt concern. “I think if you’re gonna marry someone, you need to be sure she’s The One.”
Sardi sighed heavily and continued, “Ever since I’ve known you, whenever someone has a problem you’re always right there trying to help out, trying to fix the problem. It’s something I really admire about you. And in a way, you seem to thrive on being a ‘fixer;’ I know it gives you a sense of satisfaction when you can set something right. Well, Princess Verona has been a major improvement project and you’ve done a fine job of helping ‘fix’ her. I just have to wonder whether it’s the person you’re in love with, or the project?”
Yari’s deep blue eyes found his friend’s; Sardi cocked his head, curious about the seriousness in them. The younger boy then said, “She’s not a project, Sardi.” Sardi tried to respond, but Yari pressed on. “My father was… a mess when he was my age. Way worse than any spoilt princess. I found out a while ago that some of those scars on my Uncle Jarl, he put there. The only thing that pulled him back from the brink of darkness was the love of a good friend and a good woman.
“He didn’t deserve it, not then, and no one knew why, but my mother was madly in love with him. She never gave up on helping him. Are you going to tell me my father was just a project to my mother?”
“I love her Sardi. I can’t explain it, but I do.”
“Okay. Fair enough.” The older boy summoned a smile and was happy for his friend. Quiet and happy.