To Walk With Mortals

BY : Lucreace
Category: A through F > Dragonlance
Dragon prints: 1426
Disclaimer: I dont own Dragonlance, I do not make money from this

Warm summer sun graced the dawn as a gentle breeze swept the fringes of the long grass. The dappled early morning light filtered through the verdant leaves on the trees spreading mottled shadow onto the meadow floor. It was still too early for the heat of the sun to burn the dew from the grass but the promise of heat was already in the air. Slowly, the first birds began their blissful, rampant song announcing the day was about to begin.

 It was always like this. Always warm when her bare feet graced the soft earth of Krynn. Though where on Krynn she was, she had no idea. The nausea was close on her heels, knocking her to her knees and leaving her reeling. A moment later however, it had passed and she was left enjoying the warmth of the sun on her back. She remained on her knees for a moment, letting the heat flow through her mortal flesh. So this was what the fuss was about.

At that thought, she looked down at her hands, her mortal hands. There was a small scar on her left middle finger, a scrape from one of her earlier adventures in the realm of the living and she smiled when she remembered the red liquid that had flowed freely from the wound. The sting of pain she also recalled and her smile slipped from her face. Slowly, she climbed back to her feet again and looked down at herself. At least this time she wasn’t naked. The first few times she’d done this, she’d known nothing about clothing. Apparently, it caused quite a stir when you walked around with nothing on. Though why, she was unsure. There was nothing wrong with being bare and when she thought about it, she preferred it that way. Clothing had a way of irritating her skin and causing it to itch, however the red dress she now wore would be adequate.

Dismissing the thought, she took a brief look around. The landscape was breath-taking. High mountains hung in the distance topped with white snow and a deep mist. They gave way to foothills and then to the rolling meadows, of which she now stood upon.  Behind her, was a large, crystal clear lake. The water was a beautiful blue and reflected the first light of the morning. Stooping down, she cupped some of the water in her hand and sipped it. The crisp coolness of it slid down her throat and into her stomach, settling there in a most comfortable manner. A frown marred her clear brow as she looked around. She wasn’t sure where she was but she had the feeling it was Ansalon…Abanasinia if those majestic mountains were anything to go by. She’d seen them from her usual vantage point enough times. That would mean the small town of Solace was to the south. Very well, south it was then. Turning her bare feet in that direction, she began making her way around the lake and towards the treetop town.

An hour later, she found herself at the other side of the lake. The only thing about being mortal was the walking. If she’d been in her usual form, she’d not need to spend an hour travelling but then again, she’d not be here if that were the case. The sun had begun it’s slow rise in the sky, warming the air and drying the dew. A smile graced her features as she strolled along and took in the beautiful morning.

Presently, she found the road leading away from the lake. Turning her back on the crisp clear water, she began to follow the track that led to the town. The thought of actually visiting the town in the trees sent a small rush through her, which she reckoned must be excitement and a smile curved her mouth up at the corners.

As she approached the town, voices drifted down to where she was walking. Angry voices at that. Curious more than frightened, she kept her pace steady and the voices grew louder. It took a moment for her to process what they were saying but when she had, she frowned. Rounding the corner, she saw three large teens push a smaller lad onto the floor. The laughter directed at him made her blood boil and she strode forward, a spell came to mind but the words seemed illusive, like a dream half forgotten. Still, as she watched them kick a book form the young man’s hand, she let out a shout and the three of them turned to look at her.

“Don’t you know how to treat people?” she snapped. Her voice sounded tinny, from disuse but the message was clear enough.

“He’s all yours anyway, we’re done here.” The largest of the three spat his words out and with a jerk of his head turned away. One of them leaned down and whispered something hateful that she didn’t quite catch, something like fortunate, girl and fighting. She watched them leave before she walked towards the prone figure on the ground. Seeing that he was still breathing, she picked up the book that had been kicked aside and hunkered down beside him. She lingered near his shoulder, his head turned away from her.

“Are you ok?” she asked, her voice still sounding rusty. Slowly, he turned his head to face her. A red trickle streamed from his nose and he was certainly dusty. Her eyes however, were drawn to the piercing ice blue of his and she tilted her head a little curiously, she’d never seen eyes that colour before. It’s a shame the skin around them was crinkled into a scowl and the line of his thin mouth set already into a firm line.

“Who are you?” His question took her by surprise and she returned his scowl. The question was a good one though and she sat back, confused for a moment.

“Who am I?” she muttered. This was something new, although she’d observed before and spent time among mortals, conversing with them was something else entirely. She could tell him the truth but that wouldn’t be the best course of action, a quick lie then, “Luni, I’m just passing through,” she answered. His eyes narrowed further for a brief moment before he pushed himself into a sitting position.

“I’m fine,” he muttered. Without a word, she held out his book with a small smile. He took it and dusted the cover with a sigh.

“Who were they?” she asked sitting down on the road beside him.

“Buffoons seeking their daily amusement.” He brushed the tips of his fingers against his bloodied nose and snorted. She reached for her magic only to find it absent. A wave of confusion passed over her before she recalled her mortal form. She wanted to wipe away the brilliant red from his pale skin, to heal the hurt there but had no means in which to do so. She frowned, not liking the powerlessness of it all.

“They do this to you daily?” she asked instead. He nodded and turned those eyes away from her. “Why?”

“You tell me?” he spat. The level of his venom shocked her and she sat back, wondering what this mortal had done to deserve such treatment. She knew his kind were fond of beating each other but to see it first hand was more than a little shocking. Opening her mouth to speak, he shook his head. “Don’t,” was the only word he said as he wiped his blood-stained hand on his dusty clothing. It was then that she realised he was wearing robes rather than the standard garb she usually saw on these trips.

“You’re a mage!” she gasped. Her eyes widened and another one of those rushes came over her. Something must have changed about her because he too became slightly more animated than before. Perhaps her cheeks had coloured, the certainly felt warmer. The lad nodded.

“You’re not bothered by that?”

“Should I be?”

He gave her a look that made her feel as though she had said something odd before he shook his head, “Maybe a little.”

“Why?”

“Never mind,” he said shaking his head once more. Luni crossed her legs at the ankle and regarded the young wizard beside her. How fortunate to find a mage on her wondering, albeit a trainee by the looks of it. He’d be drawing his magic from her brother, rather than herself but who knew, in a few years’ time it could be from her. It made her smile. The thought of this person drawing on her reserves warmed her for some reason.

“Who are you?” she asked all of a sudden, aware that she hadn’t even asked his name.

“Raistlin,” he replied. The name sounded nice in her mind. She spoke it aloud, trying how it felt in her mouth and nodded. The odd expression appeared on his face once more and she could only smile. Wisps of auburn hair were tugged in a sudden breeze, mingling it with her fine red locks. She made up her mind. She would spend the day with this young mage and see what he could teach her.

Extending her hand, she smiled and said, “I’m pleased to meet you Raistlin.” He took her hand in his, the moment they touched, a sharp spark flushed through her and she inhaled softly. He didn’t seem to notice however and merely shook her hand.

“Thank you for your help Luni,” he said. He smiled a little at her then; it did weird things to her blood but she found it a pleasant sensation. “I should get going,” he muttered.

“Where are you going?” she asked tilting her head.

“To the lake, to study.” At any other time, she’d have been proud of the young mage’s dedication to his art. Today however, she was only disappointed. Maybe she should tell him the truth, maybe then he’d leave the studying for the day and show her the town. It wasn’t that she needed anyone to help her, far from it; however, she’d just had her first real conversation with a mortal and she found she wanted to talk a lot more. There was just so much to learn here!

“Oh,” the noise was out of her mouth before she could stop it and she looked away from the scrutiny of those blue eyes.

“What’s wrong with that?” he snapped. Her eyes widened at his tone but she didn’t say anything. This conversation stuff was harder than it looked it seemed.

“Nothing at all,” she replied. “It’s good to see someone so dedicated to their learning.” Her voice was full of pride and slowly, they both rose to their feet. It was then that she noticed how dreadfully thin Raistlin was. Taller than her by a few inches, he was also slender to the point of looking wasted. “Have you eaten?” she asked. He shook his head.

“Why?” he frowned at her again. He spent a lot of time doing that it seemed and she wondered if he knew it made his face screw up in such an ugly manner.

“Because I haven’t either and I’d like to spend some time talking with you. I’ve never met a mage before.” Her voice fell to a whisper and the smile crept back onto her face. Raistlin nodded and he gave a small shrug.

“I’m going to be here most of the day; you’re welcome to join me.” His words were flat, almost begrudging but she wasn’t too sure what he meant by it. Still, she also wanted to see the town so she gave a nod.

“I’ll go and find some food from town and then bring it back here.” A nod at her was all the response she got and the mage turned to leave. His footsteps were light and she watched him go before turning round and walking towards Solace.

She dismissed him from her mind as she walked on. The sun was now a little higher in the sky than before and the day was really starting to heat up. Dust rose from the road, making her cough and she was only glad when she reached the ramp up to the tree top town. A few people were coming and going about their business and she smiled at the inhabitants. Some of them returned her smile, most did not. Luni had always thought this was a friendly place but the inhabitants seemed less than welcoming.

A delicious scent wafted passed her nose and she walked until she could find the source. It reminded her sharply of the simple pleasure of tasting food and another smile crept onto her cheeks. Finding the baker, she purchased a couple of warm rolls and a honey cake. These were simple things that she’d tried before and knew they were delicious. The money came from a small pouch in her dress and she thanked the baker profusely before turning away. She’d liked to have visited the inn as well but found the door was shut. Perhaps Raistlin would bring her there later.

Her return journey to the lake didn’t take as long as she expected however when she arrived, she was hot, sweaty and feeling a little more uncomfortable than she liked. What was more; Raistlin was nowhere to be seen. Biting her lower lip, she looked around again for the elusive mage. Had she said something wrong? Had she given herself away? Maybe she’d acted a little too oddly for his liking and he’d simply left the area. A wave of a new emotion, one she’d never felt before, crashed through her and she stooped forward, placing their lunch on the floor for a moment.

A rustling from a nearby hedge caught her attention however and out stepped Raistlin, a look of consternation on his face, “You shouldn’t walk around unarmed like this,” he said as he approached her, “Anyone could be out here.”

“No one’s going to hurt me Raistlin,” she said as she picked up the food once more. “What’s behind the bush?” His face coloured a rather alarming shade and she got the feeling once again that she’d asked something silly. Hastily she asked another question, “Where are you studying?”

He gestured to the roots of a rather large tree, when she looked, she spotted his book and she smiled. “I come here most days when I’m not working.” When he sat down in the bole of the tree, she sank down beside him once more and unwrapped the rolls. Handing one to him, she watched him as he tore a small bite off and popped it in his mouth.

“What do you do?”

“I help the local healer,” he replied simply after swallowing his mouthful of bread.

Hundreds of questions flooded in Luni’s mind and she asked them, one by one, as they sat by the lake. Slowly, the sun reached its zenith and began its slow descent back down to the horizon once more. The heat of the day lessened as they talked and slowly, the light began to fade. The day was no less beautiful for the loss of the sun however and she was eager to make the most of this unusual opportunity. “Where are you from Luni?” Raistlin asked after a momentary lull in the conversation.

The question caught her off guard and she swallowed. Her throat seemed to be dry all of a sudden and her mind heavy. “Palanthas,” she answered after a pause that had stretched for too long. His shrewd eyes narrowed but he didn’t comment on her lie.

“That’s a long way,” was his only thought. She nodded, knowing that much was true and a sort of silence descended between them. She looked over at the mage’s hands and noticed for the first time that his fingers were long, finely built and delicate. As she studied them, he flexed the digits before curling them around the book and sighing, “I need to go home, my brother will be livid with worry,” there was no mistaking the bite behind his words. Were mortals not meant to love their siblings?

“I shall walk back to the town with you,” she said. The warmth in her voice surprised her and slowly, she rose to her feet. Smoothing the fabric on the front of her dress, she noticed that her foot felt odd, she’d been sitting on it and a slight stabbing, tingling sensation now pecked at it. Raistlin too got up and stretched. It was almost hard to believe they’d been sat talking all day and by the looks of it, he was as surprised as she was. “If you don’t mind.”

“Why would I mind?” he asked. She pondered the question before falling in step beside him. It had been an interesting day spent discussing some of the looser details of magic use. He didn’t have them all correct, for instance how each user was connected to the god but she refrained from correcting him. It wouldn’t be right and he’d certainly start questioning where it was she came from, how she knew these things. Slowly, the road changed from a dusty track to the boardwalks that would take them up into the trees. The sounds of laughter drifted down towards them and she couldn’t keep the smile from her face.

“Where are those people?” she asked.

“The Inn of the Last Home,” Raistlin pointed to the huge tree that was the central part of the town, “You’ll find a room and a warm welcome inside.” When he explained that, it was without a trace of warmth and she wondered why he felt so bitter about it at such a young age. He was just sixteen years with a disposition that bespoke of someone far, far older. Gently, she reached out and laid her hand on his forearm.

“I have no need for a room,” she replied, “And I’ve found a warm a welcome as any I could hope for.” The smile he gave her warmed her cheeks and she gave his arm a small squeeze. She noticed once again how slender he was and she made sure she didn’t grab on too hard. “You’ve taught me much Raistlin,” she added when they stopped outside a small house nestled amongst the branches of a great Vallenwood tree.

“You’re welcome,” he said. “Will you stay here long?”

“I don’t think so but if I pass through this way again, I shall come and find you.” Tiptoeing up, she placed her lips against his hollow cheek and smiled. The young mage looked more startled than anything and he rubbed the tips of his fingers against the place she’d kissed. That was the sort of thing mortal humans did surely? She’d seen them do so often enough while she was in her rightful place at least. “Fare well Raistlin,” she squeezed his hand a final time, feeling the spark travel through her once more before turning away.

“Goodbye Luni,” he whispered after her. She just caught his words as she continued along the wooden walkway and began her descent to the ground beneath. Her thoughts were with her newest friend as she turned back towards the lake and into the gloom. It was time for her to take her rightful place once more.



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