Prayer for the Dying Part I

Getting Nowhere

By Azure Angel

12,000 b.c.
Last Village

”I think it best if we explain how we found you first.” Said the Elder.

Turning slightly, he gave a flitting wave of his hand to those who had accompanied in. As the men turned to leave, the Elder leant close to them just long enough to whisper, “There should be no trouble with them, though do not worry the others about all this yet.”

The small group nodded in unison and left for the Commons.

The Elder smiled warmly as the two strangers eyed him wearily. “Now then, it is good to see you are both alive an well after all this.” He shifted down to by the fire, Vitani helping him to the neglected wooden stool that sat alone and unused in the corner. Vitani in turn, having nothing better to do, and since it technically was still her shift to watch, sat down awkwardly within the hammock across from the others. The Terran, no, the Elder, she reminded herself, either did not mind or simply ignored her.

Stroking the figurehead of his worn old staff, the Elder finally turned his gaze to the foreigners. After a long pause to gather his thought, he finally began.
“Quite a lot has happened in these past three days.” He sighed.

“E-excuse me, sirrah?” The frog-man echoed. “Doth thou honestly mean to say we…

“Have been unconscious for three full days?” The elder chuckled as he finished the creature’s own sentence. “We were a bit surprised you came about as soon as you did actually!”

The frog said nothing in reply, he merely blinked thoughtfully, and sat back once again. As if in a low, uneasy hum, the strange creature uttered a series of very soft croaking noises. And the girl it seemed, was still stuck in her state of shock to take much notice in what they said, which oddly the Elder did nothing about for the time being.

The Elder listlessly began tracing patterns in the dirt floor, it became obvious to Vitani he was trying to avoid the inevitable retelling of the chaos from the days before. “But as I said.” The Elder continued, of the hut. “It is best if I explain first.” He hesitated. “There shall be… plenty of time to hear of your adventures since we last met…”

Vitani caught a fleeting glimpse of the Elder’s face as he spoke, his eyes had darkened into a rueful look as he spoke now. The horrid events had certainly left their mark on him, as they had everyone, and now, there was not much left for any of the survivors saw much to live for any more. It was all so pointless, some of the more pessimistic said. Vitani was beginning to agree. She didn’t have time to go any deeper into her dark brooding, the Elder was already beginning his tale…

“I doubt there is any accurate way to describe exactly what happened. None of we from the Terra even knew Zeal had fallen until the title wave caused by it nearly send us all to our own watery graves.”

“Didn’t ye hear the commotion up above?” The frog-man croaked skeptically. “Or feel the trembling afterward?”

The Elder shook his head. “Earthquakes were quite common on the ground here, especially since the construction of the Ocean Palace had begun. Had you lived here, I’m sure you would…” He paused abruptly, for once he turned his gaze from the fire to the foreigners. “Say.. You never did say where you were from.”

The Frog nearly fell back into the fire pit from surprise. “Ahm… Erm…Yes.. Well… Quite true! How rude of us all!” He almost choked on his own words, letting a low, croaking laughter from what Vitani clearly saw as blatant anxiety.

Strange he would avoid such a simple question so. The Elder, however, did not remain on the subject long, his attentions had already shifted to another as she soon realized.

“Ah yes, that reminds me.” Said the Elder. “What became of the wild red-haired boy with you earlier? We saw no trace of him where we found you.”

The Frog scowled, or managed an expression close to one. “I believe…” The coal slits within his golden orbs of eyes narrowed, “The bargain was to hear of your story first. Was it not, sir?”

The Elder was not given the chance to retort to the Frog’s statement, though it was true he had gotten well of the subject in his absentminded musings. It was true what the Terra Villagers said of his often being a scatterbrain.

Vitani didn’t care either way, she was eager to hear both sides of the story. It was the new, third voice, that caught her off guard.

“W-what happened…?”

All three of them, even the Frog, turned to face the new voice’s source.

“Ah! Marle!” The Frog cried out in relief. “ ‘Tis good to see you coming around!”

“F...Frog…?” She tilted her head slowly, weakly, to face her companion.

The strange creature nodded in reply, smiling wanly. “Aye… ‘Tis me.”

He was hiding something obviously enough, even without her aura reading abilities, Vitani could see it.
The girl, Marle as the Frog called her, was no fool either.

She blinked several times, as if to clear the muddled thoughts that were no doubt rampaging through her head. Just what however, was a mystery. Within the instant, she began to glance around the hut uneasily, scanning over every nook and craning, and taking every one in it in account.

“Where is he?” Her voice was barely above a whisper, but the complete silence made it seem as if she screamed the words.

“Who…?” The Elder cut off the Frog’s own reluctant answer.

Marle looked from him, to the Frog, even to Vitani at her corner hammock. Turning her gaze slowly back to the Frog-man, her voice sliced through the air once again in a low whisper.



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