Echoes of Invasion: Homeward Bound | Scene 5

The village where Tric Manu and Hepalonia live is bedecked with butterfly-shaped blue and gold banners hanging from horizontal flag poles outside some homes and serving as curtains in others. Based on the reception they have already received from the border patrol, Heppa believes it would be best to take Glammur straight to her house, to give the dwarf’s visit some legitimacy. “I think we should just start with Daddy,” she tells her companions. It is always better to start with Daddy, she reflects, remembering some scrapes from her youth.

She leads them around to the back door of her family home. “We do not want to be tracking mud from the road through the house,” she tells the others. If she is honest with herself, really she is hoping to make it to her father’s study without running into anyone else in the household. She and Glammur have just started up the spiral staircase leading to the library when she hears a door open in the hall. She rushes up with the dwarf, while behind her she hears Tric Manu’s voice. 

“Hey, Quimmy, how are you doing? Haven’t seen you in a while,” Tric greets his older cousin when she steps out into the hall in front of him. He knows her even less well than he knew Hepalonia before they started their adventure together. They just do not travel in the same circles. “How’s druid school?”

Heppa’s older sister frowns at his informal use of a nickname. “I’m a sorceress. If you had been at the promotion ceremony at the full moon, you would have heard that I was top of the class.”

Tric babbles out some platitudes and compliments. He knows very little about how magical schooling is organized. If she were an elf, Hezzis would say that is all women’s work. Tric just wants Quaemilya to go away so that they can get on with their task here without her nosing her way into it. “You know, I heard that the border guard on the east just spotted a dwarf recently. Had you heard this, Quaemilya?”

“How recently?” she asks. “News of this has not reached the village.”

“Oh, you hadn’t heard? I thought all information came to you,” Tric baits her, hoping to get her to go off and investigate. Over her shoulder, he sees Heppa and Glammur disappearing at the top of the staircase. 

Quaemilya frowns at Tric Manu some more. She does not know her cousin well, but she does know he is prone to fanciful tale-telling. “All right, all right. The border patrol did not catch a dwarf,” Tric admits. “But we did encounter dwarves on our recent adventure,” he claims. “And we encountered undead and humans and a saurian,” he rambles on. “Have you ever met a saurian?”

“Who is this ‘we’?”

“Oh! Your sister and I. And we met like three or four different humans. And they were all totally different from each other. Well, Connie and Marvin not so much…”

Hepalonia is not here? She has been away? For how long? Quaemilya wonders.

“And this knife!” Her cousin pats his sheath. “Did you know it is actually a human-made knife? I have had it my whole life, and I had no idea! Oh, and we learned a little bit about magic.”

“And what do you know about magic, Tric Manu?”

“There are these crystals that can enhance your magic. I don’t know if you know that. Do they teach that in sorceress school?”

She crinkles her brow. “We do not use crystals—”

“No, but you can! The dwarves sometimes do, but they consider it spooky. Well, not spooky, but it’s a guarded secret among the dwarves. But they were kind enough to let us in on it. I coaxed it out of them, plying them with their own ale….”

Eventually—long before Tric Manu runs out of stories—Quaemilya runs out of patience and continues on her way, no longer caring at all what her cousin is doing in her home.