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  “He’s waking up,” announced Sylvanna, when did I fall asleep?

I squinted, slowly opening my eyes to the peering visage of Sylvanna. Her annoyingly bright green eyes were too scintillating a sight to look upon first thing after waking.

I groaned in retaliation.

“You’re practically suffocating him by being that close, let the lad breathe a little,” a familiar raucous voice spoke some distance from where I lay. What was his name…Craig?

“Don’t chastise me when you’re doing the same thing, Conner,” Sylvanna argued, oh yeah, Conner.

“How am I- “Conner began.

“Stop arguing,” interrupted another voice, silvery and higher pitched. “Waking to arguments does nothing to quell headaches.”

I let my eyes slide open, blinking a few times before I raised an arm to cover my face from the sunlight streaming in onto the wooden bed.

“Are you awake, lad?” Conner hesitantly asked, the chair he sat on creaking with effort as he leaned forward.

“Where…am I?” I muttered, slowly surveying the humble home I slept in. It was a quaint shed, around the size of a decent master bedroom and nothing more. I lay on the only bed in the cobblestone house. The roof piked upwards, like pyramids, made entirely of wood beams.

To the left of me, Conner sat on a hand-crafted, by the looks of it, seat which leaned against a table. On the table, a plethora of glass jars containing different herbs and substances littered it, along with some curling paper and underneath, a stack of firewood.

“I brought you to Greta’s, do you remember?” Sylvanna spoke, she sat on the bed beside my blanketed legs and watched me with an intense gaze. Of course, I remember, I’m not an idiot. Who could forget falling through a roof and surviving at that.

“Yes, I remember,” I replied, pulling myself up into a sitting position. In front of the bed, a shelf full of…something, separated me from looking directly out of the front door.

“Oh, I see, that’s very good,” Sylvanna praised, reaching forward and fixing a strand of my hair that was moved askew in my sleep. Why is she touching me? Who gave her permission to do that-I took a breath, hiding my immense disgust. Samson was dopey, remember to be dopey.

I gave Sylvanna a small grin as she fixed my hair.

“Does anything hurt?” Conner asked from his seat as Sylvanna coddled me. “Anything out of place?”

“No, I don’t think so,” I replied, looking down at my body. Everything was in place, just like yesterday, the only thing bothering me was the odd sense of fatigue that practically overwhelmed me in this medicinal-smelling house. The least they could do was open a fucking window.

“That’s what worries me the most,” that silvery voice spoke again, from behind me. I turned around and in front of the still-burning furnace, a taller woman stood. She turned around, and a shock of red hair bounced with the motion as she eyed me with dull pink eyes. “Falling from any length leaves broken bones, bruised muscles, or at worse, internal bleeding,” She stated, holding a metal tankard that still emitted smoke and offering it to me.

I took it, the cup warm in my hands.

“But you show no signs of even stubbing a toe. No human can do that, neither can any elf, dwarf, or goblin.” She continued, moving to stand in front of me and leaning down to my face, “So, what are you?”

My eyes darted to the gold woman in the room. She sat on the table, completely unnoticed by everyone as I looked to her for guidance. Samson was a human right? So why aren’t I injured, what am I supposed to tell them?

The golden woman chuckled, before hopping off the table and reaching her glowing hands towards Sylvanna.

“Well, what are you?”

“He could be him, Greta,” Sylvanna suddenly interjected, as Greta frowned in response.

“Syl, what story are you trying to push on him?” She sighed, backing away from my face as a sweat droplet fell to my blanketed leg. “Don’t tell me you actually bought what the seer said.”

“Seer? You let her buy a service?” Conner barked at Greta who rolled her eyes.

“Of course not, the Seer was just offering free readings at the market, and she got one before I could stop her,” Greta growled back.

Sylvanna was suddenly leaning in close to me, inspecting me like some specimen, I shot a glance to the golden woman who returned to her seat, what did you do? You made it worse!

“I didn’t notice yesterday, but his clothes are so foreign,” Sylvanna deduced aloud. “And he didn’t know he was in Achilion; I thought it was shock, but what if it’s because he’s not from here?”

Where is this line of thinking going? She’s right, of course, but how the fuck did she reach that conclusion from simple confusion?

“Greta, it’s really him! It must be,” She yelled, leaping from the bed, and gesturing wildly to me, “you’re my good luck streak!”

What?

“Excuse me?” I questioned her sudden, completely wrong conclusion.

“The Seer said I’d meet someone of a different world who had been blessed by the Goddess Solis herself. He said all I must do is grant you aid, and I’ll be blessed as well!” Sylvanna laughed taking her seat once more as Greta smacked her forehead in tandem with Conner.

Blessed by the Goddess Solis herself…that line was said by one of Samson’s surrogate parents-I’m sure of it. Don’t tell me that the irritable green-eyed elf was one of the important characters of Samson’s development, my eyes shot to the other two who watched me suspiciously, and them too?

The golden woman nodded, devolving into a fit of silent laughter. Fucking hell. That means I have to play to that one’s fantasy, right? The golden woman nodded, and I closed my eyes, before opening them again and facing Greta.

“I can assure you I’m human.” I replied, then turned to Sylvanna, “and of my relation to the Goddess.”

“See! I told you Gre-“

“How?” Greta interrupted, clapping her hand on Sylvanna’s mouth as Conner stood from his seat in shock at my announcement.

I pulled aside my bed hair, revealing perfectly round ears, “I suppose you could do a blood test or whatever you do here for that,” I nonchalantly remarked.

“Not that-the Goddess, how can you assure us of that?” She demanded; I shot a quick glance at the golden woman who grinned at me before touching the back of Greta’s head. Instantly, tears began to collect in her eyes as the goddess approached me.

“My sister, the goddess would know, what was her name?” Greta asked, swiftly regaining her composure.

It took all my self-control from flinching back from the outstretched golden, warm hands that gently cradled my face. In an instant, a name appeared and effortlessly slipped off my tongue.

“Alice.”

Conner stepped back, knocking over the chair he previously sat on. Greta covered her mouth at the name and Sylvanna gasped, for once, lost for words to say.

Suddenly, the eyes on me felt heavy and I shot my gaze down into the tankard in my hands. In the reflection of the black murky liquid, two golden eyes stared at me. Glowing, no, burning. Burning with the ferocity of the sun a beautiful gold, until they slowly melted away, back to a boring grey.

A wave of dizziness struck me, and I lost grip on the tankard. Releasing the tankard and holding my head, I waited for the inevitable hot splash on my lap.

But it never came.

I opened my eyes, Sylvanna had caught the boiling cup, her bare hand cupping the small amount of liquid that fell towards my legs.

“Syl!” Greta yelped, reaching forward, and grasping Sylvanna’s hand, tilting it to the floor and letting the steaming liquid fall.

“Are you okay, lad?” Conner hesitantly asked, his suspicion completely washed away, leaving only remorse and pity as I held my head.

“I’m dizzy,” I replied, even though the wave of dizziness had fully passed by now. “But what about Ms. Sylvanna?” I dubiously asked, watching as Greta wrapped Sylvanna’s burned hand and then gripped it to her chest, muttering something as her dull eyes glowed a pastel pink, making her dark brown skin almost illuminated with an otherworldly glow.

“Greta’s the town’s healer, a burn is nothing to her.” Conner surmised before approaching me and helping me to lay back down, “but you are something new for her. Rest, you’re in no danger here.” He assured and suddenly that fatigue that dragged at my eyelids became ten times heavier and I found myself drifting to sleep once again.


Submitted: January 25, 2023

© Copyright 2023 GCJ. All rights reserved.

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