A frantic knocking sounded against the ivory door of the tower, a knock which soon turned into a full on hammering and was accompanied by a worried voice. “Aarindarius?! Are you here?! Please, please be here…” A few seconds later, the large door swung inwards and said wizard poked his head out, only to be assaulted by a sobbing elf. He stared down at the head of green hair that was buried into the front of his robes, trying to assess the situation.
“Inkyrius! What in the world has happened that’s led you to trying to knock down my door?” He gently pried the baker’s arms from around his waist, then put an arm around the sobbing elf and steered them both back into the tower and into a drawing room off the side of the main hall.
“Yes, yes, whatever it is you just cry it out while I get you something to drink.” He said, seating the elf down on the sofa and hurrying away.
He returned a few seconds later with a teapot and two large mugs. Sitting down on the sofa beside the other elf, he handed over a mug of strong tea, half of which Inkyrius gulped down in one go. But it had the desired effect because the previously uncontrollably sobs had calmed down to a quiet sniffling, although the elf’s hand were still shaking.
“Now, tell me what the problem is.”
“There’s a dead dragon on my lawn.” Inkyrius blurted out.
“What? “Aarindarius blinked in surprise, and then laid a hand gently on the other elf’s arm. "Please, calm down and start from the beginning.”
Inkyrius nodded and took a few deep breaths before continuing. “It started about an hour or so after the – the children got back from kindergarten. Can you believe they’d made yet another macaroni picture of-? Anyway, we - we’d just had lunch and while I was clearing up they’d gone out to play in the garden. Then suddenly there was a loud crashing noise, and they began s-screaming. So I ran outside and there was a dragon, sitting on the remains of the fence, and it had – had picked them up in its claws and it was hanging them upside-down. Not d-doing anything in particular to them, just sitting there, w-watching them scream and – and struggle.”
At this point Inkyrius broke down into tears again prompting Aarindarius to put an arm comfortingly around the elf’s heaving shoulders until he was able to continue.
“It was then the dragon caught sight of me. It dropped my children – and t-they were at least twenty feet up in the air at the time – and it knocked me over and pinned me down as if I were just an insect to it, then it lowered its head towards me and spoke, said “So this is the best its mate can do. Watch carefully, elf, this is the price of taking my family from me.” It then picked me up, held me against the tree and used a spell to stick some bits of wood from the fence through my hands and feet, pinning me there. It spent a few minutes spewing acid everywhere and knocking the cottage down. I tried reasoning with it, pleading with it, but - but it ignored me. It w-was turning its attention back on us, when su-suddenly a wizard appeared out of nowhere and began fighting it, then turned into a d-dragon to kill it.” The elf started sniffling again.
“Shh.” Aarindarius muttered what he hoped was comfortingly, hugging Inkyrius who was now crying into his shoulder again, the half drunk tea forgotten. "It's okay."
“No it’s not!" Inkyrius said, pulling away suddenly, sitting up straight "The wizard who appeared was an elf, d-dressed in black, all glowing eyes and fangs. After defeating the dragon, the elf landed and – and it was Suvie!”
Aarindarius looked shocked, but after refilling the mug from the teapot and pushing it back into the elf’s hands, indicated to continue.
“I tried to talk to Vaarsuvius, but was ignored except for being freed from the tree. Instead Suvie went over to the dead dragon and reanimated it, then cast some spell on it – no idea what, but even I could tell it was powerful. They flew up in the air and talked, and then the dragon’s head was destroyed.
“Vaarsuvius flew down and I – it seems so stupid now, but I picked up a stick and waved it around, like I could actually defend us with it. I thought Suvie was possessed or something. But then we argued and - and – and it turned out that my Vaarsuvius h-had made a deal with Fiends! We argued a bit more, and then V-Vaarsuvius flew off and disappeared. I carried our children down into the village and took them to the healers – they b-both had broken legs from when the dragon dropped them. The healer gave th-them something to put them unconscious while she fixed their legs, s-said it would be a while before they woke up, so when I was sure they were going to be okay I ran over h-here to see you.”
Aarindarius remained silent for a moment turning the information over, before asking "Do you know where Vaarsuvius went?"
Inkyrius gave a choked laugh. "Of course not. As usual Suvie didn't think in necessary to tell me. Did mention having to find someone though."
"I could try to contact-"
"N- no! No." The elf sighed "I.. I don't think I have anything to say at the moment."
Aarindarius nodded. "Understandable. You are alright, aren't you? Being attacked by a dragon… isn't something most people are well equipt to deal with."
"I've had my injuries healed. I'm fine."
Aarindarius studied the other elf's face carefully; the baker looked anything but fine. "Do you and the children need somewhere to stay?"
"I wouldn't want to impose-"
"Nonsense! You know you're always welcome here."
"If you're sure."
Aarindarius leaned over and placed a hand on the other elf's arm."Inkyrius, you've known me long enough to know I'm happy to lend assistance in any way I can."
"And I appreciate it. Thank you." Inkyrius wiped a few tears away with a green sleeve and stood up awkwardly. "I should be getting back to the healers."
Aarindarius stood too, and then led the other elf back onto the hallway, opening the large front door. As Inkyrius started down the steps, Aarindarius said "I was sincere about offering you a place to stay. Not to scare you, but I think it would be also be safer."
Inkyrius looked uneasy. "I suppose so. Again, thank you." the elf said, before hurrying away down the road and disappearing into the trees. Aarindarius watched until the baker was out of sight, then closed the door and leant against it.
A dragon? Vaarsuvius making deals with fiends? Aarindarius wondered at what on earth could have led to these events, and had half a mind to try contacting his apprentice right then. The purple-haired elf had always been ambitious, but had never seemed to type to treat with dark powers… He shook his head. If this was true, he doubted the younger wizard would care for his meddling. Not that he wouldn't, he thought as he ascended the stairs to his study to prepare a scrying spell.
However, as he entered the room a slight smile was crept across his face, which he quickly suppressed. But it was enough for him to realise guiltily that, despite the macabre circumstances, he was cheerful. Maybe it was the welcome break in monotony, but more likely, it was the prospect of a certain green haired elf coming to stay.