AR 1209-07 Yari, Krunch, and Sardi - After the return from the Other World
Beckum had fallen asleep first. For a twelve-year-old, his features were well defined, which the adults took to mean he had a high metabolism. This seemed to be the case, as it had been five hours since he last ate, and he was now seemingly passed out, snoring, from lack of energy. The fact that the topic of conversation interested him only just slightly more than nothing was not taken into account by the remaining three boys.
To his credit, Geo held his own for another hour-and-a-half, or so. He had never taken much interest in the studies of the gods; but, he found the themes similar enough to magical studies that he was able to improvise his way through the late-night conversation about the nature of Odin, and his relationship with Tyr and Thor. Eventually, however, even Geo realized he was outclassed and rolled over to go to sleep.
The tiny forms of Yari and Sardi, huddled close together under the blankets, kept chatting. It was well past midnight when an older member of Gargoyle finally hissed at them from his bed. “Either shut up, or get of here!” They snickered their apologies and chose the latter.
Easily sneaking their way into the cave library, the two lit a few candles and gathered around a table in the back. Yari, obviously more comfortable than his compatriot, was dressed only in loose-fitting shorts, and he turned his chair around as he sat, to lean forward against its back.
“So!” he whispered, a conspiratorial grin on his face, “I’m not sure I agree with you, but what you said about Tyr’s sacrifice is interesting. Do you really think he was inspired by Odin’s loss of his eye?”
Sardi, much more conservatively dressed in a proper night-shirt, pulled his seat up to their candle-lit table and hesitated. After a half-moment, he flipped the chair around like Yari had, and sat down. His face was brimming with conspiratorial eagerness too.
“Yeah!” he quietly exclaimed. “If Odin hadn’t previously proven that gods could still do their jobs while missing important parts of them, I don’t think Tyr would’ve ever made that gambit with Fenris.”
“See, that’s interesting, because my parents –” Yari was cut off by the sounds of a chair knocked over from the other side of the room. A muffled explicative followed immediately, and Yari’s concern was at once washed away. “It’s okay,” he whispered to Sardi, “it’s just Krunch.”
The dark-haired boy stood up, letting his form become illuminate fully in the candle lights, and waved. “Hey, uh,” he whispered down to Sardi, “actually, this is good. I’ve been meaning to chat with him for a while. Mind giving us a bit?”
Sardi was clearly offended, but to his credit, he nodded and slipped away, back their beds. He managed to give Krunch a slight smile on his way past. Krunch, confused, focused his eyes on the candles and carefully walked toward Yari.
“What’s up?” Yari asked quietly, when Krunch was at the table.
“Lookin’ for the kitchen,” came the gruff, dwarven reply.
Yari wasn’t buying it, but he smiled and said, “’Kay.
“Look,” he continued after a moment, “it’s good you’re here. I’d been wanting to talk with you for a while. We’ve been hearing some things…”
“What things?” Krunch inquired grumpily.
Yari held up his hands and said, “It’s all good, dude! No matter what, you’re still family, but…”
“But, I mean, some guys’re talking your family isn’t your own.”
“And,” Yari took a breath before continuing. “And, I wanted to make sure you knew that didn’t matter. You’re my family, our family, no matter what. And, well, fuck those guys anyway!”
Yari didn’t swear often; he looked embarrassed for having just done so, but he also smiled at Krunch. Krunch, in turn, gave Yari another confused looked.
Krunch fianlly shook his head and looked down at the ground. His shoulders started shuddering slightly as Yari hesitantly moved forward to comfort his friend, not quite sure how to proceed. The dwarf snorted, then a low rumble started, and Krunch looked up at Yari, his face turning redder than his hair. Yari stepped back, unsure what was happening.
Krunch’s laughter, loud and robust bellowed out as tears streamed down his face.
“That’s what ye’ve been worried about?” Several guffaws followed. “An’ here I thought y’were concerned about somethin’ serious!” the dwarf finished between several breaks for belly laughter.
“Me father says:” Krunch finally said, righting himself from having doubled over in mirth, “Ye can make an axe from solid gold, and it would be pretty t’look, but na’be good as a weapon. Y’could make an axe from tine and disguise it t’look like steel, but it would still be soft an’ unfit fer battle. Ye make an axe of steel, an’ at the end of th’day, no matter how pretty it is, it’s what ye’ll reach fer in times o’trouble.
“It matters who ye are, no’where ye’re from.”
In the darkness, it was hard to see, but the human boy blushed. His eyes were downcast when said, “You’re right, Krunch: You are made of steel. I’m sorry for worrying.”
“Nah, don’be. Yer jus’ being yerself, Yari. If ye didn’ care about us all th’way y’do, you wouldn’ be who ye are!”
Yari was still for a time, and then held eye contact with Krunch for another long moment. He never let his smile falter, but the rest of the muscles in his face gave way to the wave of emotions he was feeling. Finally, the boy got his whole face in line with his lips, and he spoke his next words in earnest, smiling brightly with his eyes.
“Thanks! Hey, I think I upset Sardi, so I better go make sure things’re okay!”
With that, the human boy dashed passed Krunch, leaving the dwarf to roll his eyes in private. As Krunch walked back to his bunk, notably skirting all potential noise hazards, he smiled to himself. It seemed Yari wasn’t the only one concerned about his family; though, the dwarf did have appearances to maintain.
“By the way!” Krunch said, raising his voice enough to make Yari uncomfortable. “Ye do realize Odin would be nothin’ without the help o’ Moradin? I mean, without Gungnir, what is he be a half-blind warlord? Na’t’mention Thor just bein’ yer average berserker without Mjolnir. An’, don’t even get me started on th’chains that were made t’trap yer pet wolf!”
It was hard to see, but Krunch’s dwarvish eyes were able to barely make out Yari, just on the edge of his vision, pulling down one of his eyelids and sticking out his tongue. Then, the boy was gone around the corner.
Yari moved through the bunk room of Gargoyle carefully, trying his best not to wake up anyone. Once at his own bed, he found Sardi sitting on its edge, looking at his hands. Sitting down next to him, and throwing his arm around his shoulders, Yari whispered in Sardi’s ear, “Thanks for understanding.”
“He’s like your brother, isn’t he?” the former cat whispered back, not looking up from his hands.
“Why? Don’t you have your own brothers?”
The son of Svadilfarsven knew he was missing something, but he wasn’t sure what. He was too tired to figure it out, but he couldn’t let the situation go as it was. After letting the silence hang in the air for a few minutes, Yari took his arm from around Sardi’s shoulder and – looking at his own hands – said, “I don’t know what’s bothering you, but I can tell something is. I’m sorry.
“Maybe you’ll tell me sometime – I hope you feel you can trust me – but, it’s late. Why don’t we just go to sleep for now?”
Sardi managed to crack a half-smile and nodded. The two boys crawled under the sheets of Yari’s bed and were soon fast asleep.