The tale of children's laughter

The tale of children’s laughter.

It was not too unusual that it would rain on Atys, in fact, during some seasons it was quite common. So therefore he had set out on his preplanned journey to travel through the lands to visit his small branch that was setup in Crystabell just some months ago. It was always good manner to come visit the new little places to see if they prosper, or perhaps was in need of improvement.
Since it was not but a days worth of travel he set out with a light packing only covering the needs of water and a short meal during the trek.
Only carry what you need for the moment and move fast, was almost a motto of his, specially when it came to doing business he was known for always having the proper items available at a strikingly suitable price. Some said that he was manipulating the mark, that he was just playing everyone around. But he always saw that as their way to ventilate their envy, and he did not think any of it. He had worked himself up from the bottom, starting as a shop assistant when he was young as he was unfit for battle due to a knee injury. From there he had learned the tricks of the trade and had developed on the basics and improved them with his own wits and skills. Perhaps what he was lacking in his legs he made up with strategic knowhow.

He did have his own apartment in Fairhaven, but the last days he had spent in Fount looking for some more rare materials that was only available during some special times, unfortunately he had not found as much as he was hoping for. Though it was not much of a problem as he did still have quite a stock available.
But as the weather changed he decided to give it up for this time and move about, and why not take a route to see how things faired in Crystabell. So he packed up his tent, prospecting equipment and readied his mount for the travel. The route was quite ordinary and common, so it would pose no problem for him and he intended not to rush it, hence the estimated time of about one day. No matter what season, there is always something beautiful to see in the lakelands.
He headed towards Resting Waters, a nice and relaxing area to stroll in from time to time, there were of course some troublesome animals in the area, but nothing that would be too disturbing. From there he wold travel to Windemeer, Darkmoor passing Dew Drops before he reached Crystabell. A nice little scenic tour it would be. As he rode out the rain slowly turned colder and colder until the drops changed from liquid form into ice, it felt like a storm suddenly had caught him off guard as it started to hail quite a lot in just a few minutes. He was forced to seek some rest below a small cliff in Resting Waters as soon as he arrived there to wait out the worst of the storm. Also he wanted to make sure that his mount was not freezing. The air felt a bit strange as this odd change of weather had come so suddenly, it was almost as if something sinister was about. Still he could not afford to let his fantasy prosper on such thoughts, now it was time to move as quickly as he was known for. So he found the cliff, made sure that both he and the Mektoub was safe from the falling drops of ice and then see to it that they both kept warm whilst waiting out the storm.
He even managed to find some wood to make a small fire to keep them both warm enough removing the need to cover with more clothing. Still he placed a blanket on the Mektoub while reassuring it that all was fine, just a minor setback in the planning. The storm lasted for about another hour, but the fire was still burning well and he was not in a rush to get anywhere particular at the moment. He had his route planned and set, now it was just to enjoy the ride. So he relaxed enough to actually sleep for a shot while. He woke up about thirty minutes later as his Mektoub was prodding him gently with its trunk.
The storm had calmed down and it had now turned from falling ice into small white flakes that gently swirled through the air before landing on the ground creating a nice white sheet. He stood up and got some food for the mount and had a quick bite of a piece of bread himself before he put out the fire and they both headed out from their little safe haven.

The ground was all covered in snow as they walked out towards the water, it was the first snow for the season and it was covering the ground making it glistening when the sun was in the right angle. It was quite a lovely sight. The temperature of the water seemed nearly unaffected by the storm, something that was often seen as odd by newcomers in the lakelands, but an obvious thing for all Trykers. Slowly he rode his mount through the water until they were both able to walk on dry land again. Since they had lost some time he decided to walk a bit faster to make it up, but he neglected one thing in his planning, the ice. They had just managed to get a few hundred meters to where the sand turned into mountains when he slipped on the snow lying over blank ice and he fell, badly. He hit his head into the ground, hardened by the ice, and his right ankle was twisted out of its position. His right elbow also took a bad hit.
It took him a few minutes to regain control over himself and get over the dizziness, he most likely suffered from a concussion he diagnosed himself. He would be unfit to move any further distances now. This was quite troublesome to him as his mount would not be able to help him much either due to his arm, if it had not taken most of the weight in the fall he could have dragged himself up on his mount, but now with one arm only it would prove impossible for him.
Instead he urged his mount to find its own way to Fairhaven, when a mount comes back without its rider into a town it is a sign of that something has happened to him or her. If it was to happen Homins would quickly gather a search party and look around for the owner, if he was not quickly found, they would start to look around in case something had happened. So he hoped it would work this time also, specially since some of his friends in Fairhaven knew that he would be in Fount for a few days, they would most certainly find their way to him quickly. And his mount would know its way quickly and safely through the waters. But in the end he could only hope that it would work out, that his dear Mektoub would understand that its master was in danger and that it needed to find a town quickly for aid. But it ran off towards Fairhaven, so he kept his hopes up while trying to move somewhat closer to a place where he could sit and keep warm. The cold ice on the ground in combination with the snow put a forceful chill in his body and he realized that if he was not able to get warm soon he would be in big trouble. The upside was that the cold helped to dampen the pain in his foot and arm, which made it a bit easier for him to crawl along the ground. Soon he was sitting under a short palm tree that provided some cover from the weather, but he still needed to keep warm somehow, and just rubbing his hand would not suffice.

Time passed on in what seemed to be a rather slow pace for him, perhaps it was just the sun moving slowly, or worse, the cold that was slowly getting its upper hand over him. Soon he could not help but to feel exhausted and worn. As he blinked trying to keep himself awake he noticed something that he had missed earlier; there was a large pool of blood surrounding his foot. Then he fell asleep.

“How is he doing dear?”

“I am not sure, he is still very cold. I am surprised that he is still able to inhale.”

“Here are some more blankets to put on him, I shall fetch a bucket of warm water to place underneath his bed to warm him up.”

The voices seemed distant at first, but slowly they came nearer and nearer, turning more vibrant for each word spoken. There was a sting of pain coming from his right arm and foot, and as if that would not be enough his head was aching like it would explode. He tried to open his eyes, but was met with a sharp light that he used the last of his strength to make a face of pain.

“Rest for now, you’ll be all right but you need some sleep.” A female voice told him before he passed out again.

He woke up hours later still with a fierce headache that did not seem to want to go away. Still he did not bother too much about the headache, nor the arm and foot, instead his focus turned into the ceiling above his head and the four walls surrounding. The last thing he could remember was falling in sleep in the cold snow and as he thought about it he also recollected hearing voices earlier. But it was all fuzzy too him, enough for him to doubt that it had really happened. For all he knew it could have been a dream.

“Awake already?” A gentle voice said from somewhere inside the room, but he could not tell from where exactly.

“Yes, I could not sleep. Even though I wish I could as my head is aching badly.” He replied as he tried to touch his forehead with his right arm and was promptly reminded that it too was in pain.

“You’d better lay as still as you can my friend, both your right arm and foot took a bad hit. But I cannot say that these wounds are related to any battle, how did you manage to get them? If you can remember that is.”

“I fell, simple as that.” It was almost with a bit of shame in his voice when he admitted to his clumpsyness.

“It would explain the way your foot was damaged, it seems more like it had been twisted then taking a direct hit. I am guessing that you landed with your entire weight on your elbow also.”

“Your guess is as good as mine to be honest, I know that it was slippery all of a sudden. And then I came to lying on the ground in the state you see me now.” He moved his head to the right and noticed that right next to him there was a somewhat younger Trykerette sitting. She smiled as he looked at her and gently lifted a cup with something warm in it towards his lips.

“This is some tea made of the buds from Stingas that grows near the lake in Fount. They are said to have a relaxing effect on those in stress, and relieving for those in pain. Have a sip please.” She said with such a voice that he could not but to trust her good intentions. And the tea was good indeed, not only did it seem to have somewhat of an instant effect, but it was also warm. He thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Thank you, it was really tasteful.” He said.

“I am glad that you found it to your liking. Please finish this cup and then try to get back to sleep again. Rest is the best medicine. And do not be afraid, you are with friends.” She said as she gently added a pillow under his head and gave him the cup.”

“Can I just ask for your name, so that I can thank my rescuer properly?” He said before she left the room.

“The one who found you lying outside is D’emil, my name is Be’ana.”

“Thank you. My name is Ba’gipsy Froggan.” He said before the tea took over and gently rocked him into more sleep.

Once more he woke up without really having a grasp on how long he had been asleep. Still the same ceiling and walls were there to greet him and his head still ached as it had done when he fell asleep. But this time it was different, this time there was another Homin sitting next to him, a male.

“Welcome back, you’ve been asleep for almost a day now. Rest well needed if you ask me.” The man said with a gentle voice, somehow he reminded of Be’ana.

“Sorry, I completely forgot to introduce myself. I am D’emil, the one who found you frozen on the ground. I believe that you have already met Be’ana, my dear wife.” He said as he brought up a smile that in itself seemed to dampen some of the pain.

“Yes, she has spoken of you and your kind deed. I am forever in your debt for this. My name is Ba’gipsy Froggan.” He turned his head a little more in order to get a better view of the man sitting next to the bed. “How come you were able to find me ?”

“Well, I was on my way home with some food when I ran into a ownerless Mektoub. The gear on it told me that it would be someone that was less used to travel and more into the art of harvest, so I decided to look around since no one was answering me when I yelled. And I found you not far away, still you were quite taken by the cold. Judging by it you had been lying there for a while. I brought both you and the Mektoub here since I noticed that you had quite a wound on your foot. Do not worry about that though, it has been taken care of already. But you might not want to try to use that foot for a week or two. Your elbow had taken quite a hit also, it has some small fractures only though, so in a few days it will be aching less, but I recommend that you keep it as still as possible for about the same time as your foot. You are most welcome to stay here meanwhile if you want, the trek back to Fairhaven could prove to be too much strain for the moment.” There was something about the voice of the man that rocked Ba’gispy into a restful comfort and he could not see any reason not to accept the generous offer. Still there was something about this man that kept on nagging his mind.

“Would that really be well with you if I stayed here and occupied space, food and warmth?” He asked with a submissive voice as he knew that the man was right, there was no way he could move any longer distances in his current condition.

“Sure, why should I have made the offer if I was not to stand up to it? You are more then welcome here for the time you need, besides the storm has brewed up again and is about as bad as when it started earlier.”

“Thank you, you have been most kind and generous sir, I am deeply in your debt.” Ba’gipsy honestly replied to the man’s resolution to stay true to his promise.

“Good, now that is out of the way, and we have gotten to know each others names I would recommend you eat some of this food. It is not much, but I am sure it will please you. And please drink this tea also, it will help for the pain and let you sleep again. You’ll need another good nights rest and we can go through things tomorrow.” He said as he showed the tray next to the bed before getting up.

“The scent alone is a treat, thank you.” Ba’gipsy said and reached for the food with his left arm.

“Good, then we’ll talk more tomorrow. Good night.”

The dinner that was presented to Ba’gipsy was not in any larger amount, but it was well enough to satisfy both his hunger and his body’s need for energy. And as he ate it he could feel how it worked through his body, it was one of the best meals he had ever had in his entire life. There was also the tea that he remembered from earlier, the sweet taste and gentle rush of warmth it brought as he finished the cup and laid back, with a sting of pain going through his arm as he mistakenly tried to lift it. But soon the tea soothed his mind and he fell asleep.

The following day seemed to be passing almost too fast, still it was calm and restful for Ba’gipsy. He had a chance to talk a bit more to both D’emil and Be’ana, and the more he spoke to them the more he grew to like them. Still though just a day had passed by it felt like they had gotten to know each other over a longer time. But there were still this odd notion that he knew D’emil from somewhere, somewhere very familiar. But he drew blanks as he tried to remember from where or when.

Three days had now passed and Ba’gipsy had gotten over the worst pain in both his foot and arm, he had also found ways to move gently without stirring any greater pain but it felt more uncomfortable then painful to move in the bed. On the fourth day D’emil entered the room together with a young boy that he introduced as Ne’cal, his son. He had been stuck at his school during the worst of the storm and had not been able to get back home until now.
Ba’gipsy greeted him heartily as he was confident that the offspring from D’emil and Be’ana would be at least as pleasant to meet as them. And he was quite right in his guess. It did not take long until Ne’cal offered to support Be’gipsy so that he could move from the room into the kitchen so that he could finally join them for dinner.

During these days Ba’gipsy had forgotten all about his business, the trek and the need to check up on things. He had basically been focusing on his own recovery, trying to get well enough so that he would no longer be a burden to the kind hosts, but still it felt like home to him somehow. Quite unexplainable in itself.
Another few days passed on and Ba’gipsy started to feel stronger and stronger, the splint around his foot had done a marvelous job in keeping it aligned well enough for the healing process to be optimal. Even his arm was useable for simpler things like lifting a cup of tea, dressing and undressing and so on. So it closed into the time when he would leave his hosts and take on the short trek home for further rest. The evening before, when he was packing what little he had in his bag D’emil came into the room with two glasses and a bottle.

“I have a treat for the two of us before you get to rest this night.” D’emil said as he put the glass on the table and filled them both to the brim.

“What is it that you have there?” Be’gipsy asked him curiously.

“This is fine Stinga Rum, also known as Fire of Pyr. The strongest and smoothest beverage that can be acquired in the lands!” D’emil said with a smile.

“Isn’t that expensive?” Ba’gipsy asked.

“Yes, it could be called that too. But I prefer to name it as liquid leisure among friends. There is no price for the joy of friends.” Was the quick reply, still it was almost as fast as a witty sarcasm it also was one of the most honest things Be’gipsy had heard to date. He had no other choice but to raise the glass in a toast to his kind host.

“You know” he said “There has been something bothering me since I woke up in your house.” Ba’gipsy did not really dare to continue the sentence as it might destroy everything that had been built up during the last few days.

“Yes, it might not seem to be much of a house. But to me it means the world. I struggled to build it during the end of a winter many years ago just after me and Be’ana had gotten married. We built it together in fact, starting out small with just a kitchen and a bedroom, then slowly adding a living room and so on. It might not look like much to many, but for us it is the world. It was built with one purpose, and that is to give our family a roof and four walls. And it has done so, sturdily, since the first nail was hammered in. So, what was your questions? I am sure it was not regarding the house really.”

“Well, it is about you. I thought that I recognized you from somewhere, but I could never really put my finger on it. But now I know, well I have known since yesterday really, when you showed me your workshop. You are the man whom I competed with in getting a location to put up a store in Fairhaven some years back.” There was no turning back now, he had spoken his questions and could only reap what he had sown now.

“Haha, indeed I am that man. And regarding you, I recognized you from the second I found you lying in the snow. So why have you been holding this in?”

“Well, I did remove a good opportunity from you. I know that you would have benefitted at least as much as me from getting that location, perhaps even more after seeing your well made craft. So you mean that you are not angry at me for doing that to you?”

“No, why should I be angry? You won it fair and square, and I can tell you that it is at rare occasions such happens. Besides, knowing who you are and learning more from our conversations during your time here I have come to the understanding that by winning that deal you have also given me something, even if it might not have been intentionally.” He smiled at the thought of his answer and Be’gipsy could not help but to ask what it might have possibly been that he could have done for D’emil.

“Its easy once you open your eyes to it, by not having that store, with all the starting up needs that have to be covered, I had more time to spend with my family. It was just months after that deal that Ne’cal was born. And spending the time with him was the best of my life.” D’emil leaned toward Ba’gipsy as he poured another glass of the fine rum. “And, I can let you in on a little secret too, Be’ana is carrying our second child!”.

“Oh, that is a wonderful surprise indeed!” Ba’gipsy almost shouted with happiness, but he was soon hushed by D’emil.

“It’s not official, so lets just keep it between us please.” He said.

“Oh, but of course. But let me ask. With a newborn soon entering this world, how will you find time to travel around to sell your goods to make enough dappers to support everyone?”

“Well, I was hoping that Ne’cal would help me out, but it seems as he was born with the brains of his mother as there have been talk about him entering an academic school soon. But it will sort itself somehow, do not fret.” D’emil answered and took a sip of the rum.

“I must say that you have such a positive attitude grand enough to keep a whole town smiling for years. How come you can keep such a cheerful mood all the time?” Be’gipsy felt that he just had to ask that question.

“For the children’s laughter of course, without them we would not have any future.” D’emil replied almost wittingly fast again.

“What do you mean?”

“You see, the future that we build for them today, will be the foundation on which they will build tomorrow. And I want to give them the best foundation I can.” He raised the glass in a cheer.

It felt like there was no more need for words to explain what D’emil meant, it was as if he spoke straight from his heart and right into Ba’gipsy’s. He could not explain the feeling of hearing it, but it was good.

“You know, I believe that I can actually help you with that.” Ba’gipsy said.

“How then?”

“I want you to take over the shop in Fairhaven, to run as you see fit. With one condition.”

“You have peaked my interest, please do tell my friend.” D’emil said.

“That you make sure that what you and your family have built up here will never be neglected, that it will come first and foremost.” Ba’gipsy could hardly believe himself saying it, but afterwards a warm sensation traveled through his body. Perhaps it was the rum, perhaps it was just the right thing to do.

“Well, I would have to ask my family about it. But it sure would solve many questions in one sweep, I’ll tell you that. But why would you do this sudden gesture to me? Isn’t that store one of your more profitable?” D’emil asked Ba’gipsy.

“As you said, it’s my store and thus its mine to do whatever I want with. And as I was given the opportunity to get it up and running many years ago I now chose to give it to you with hopes that it will open many opportunities to you and your family. Besides, I have well enough dappers, but what you and your family have allowed me to experience the last few days I have come to realize that I have spent years in pursuit. It is time for me to let my inner child stop being so serious all the time and start laughing.” Ba’gipsy said calmly.

“If those are your reasons, and pure they are, what can I do but to accept your offer.” D’emil said and extended his hand.

Be’gipsy grabbed it and they shook firmly, the deal was now sealed.

“Ah, the day has changed it seems. Time do fly when you are in the company of friends!” D’emil said as he filled the glasses again.

“It means that it is now that special day doesn’t it?” Be’gipsy said.

“Yes, you are right about that.” D’emil answered.

They both raised their glasses with a cheer, and said together:

“Merry Atysmas!”