Sylvie, Isti and now ten year old Xeja were hanging out in the forest of seasons. Sylvie had noticed Isti seemed depressed lately so she was trying to get him our more. She still couldnâ€™t figure out what was depressing him but she could always get him to perk up when they went somewhere together so she wasnâ€™t too worried about it just yet. She hoped if it was something serious heâ€™d talk to her, hadnâ€™t they always talked about things troubling them?Xeja vanished but they could still smell her, she was under the snow somewhere. â€śnow where did that girl go?â€ť Sylvie asked playfully. Xeja suddenly shifted in the snow, using her dragon wings to fling snow everywhere, even pelting her mother and Uncle in it. They laughed, Isti helping his sister up â€śshe reminds me of our fatherâ€ť he chuckled and Sylvie agreed. â€śshe took on his good qualities thoughâ€ť
â€śyeahâ€ť A man they hadnâ€™t noticed was also getting up, his clothes, hair eyes and almost everything about or on him was white so they hadnt seen him until Xeja cleared all that snow a few moments â€śhey, who are you?â€ť Sylvie inquired. He began coming closer and she felt Isti tense â€śI donâ€™t have a nameâ€ť
â€śHow can you not have a name?â€ť Xeja asked, seeming more amused than scared of the man. â€śmy kind donâ€™t give eachother namesâ€ť
â€śweird, how do you know when someone is speaking to you?â€ť
â€ślike right now?â€ť she made a puzzled face then said â€śhuh, maybe we dont need namesâ€ť
â€śNames are helpful Xejaâ€ť
â€śI highly doubt you donâ€™t have a nameâ€ť Isti stated with suspicion. The man looked at Sylvie again â€śthose eyes, they are beautifulâ€ť
â€śshe has a mateâ€ť
â€śLovely, it doesnâ€™t change those beautiful eyes. Even in elves you donâ€™t see purple too often, especially not that brilliant shadeâ€ť
â€śLook weirdo, get movingâ€ť
â€śIsti, stop being over protectiveâ€ť
â€śHe claims to not have a name Sylvieâ€ť
â€śHe very well may not, there are many cultures that are vastly different from us Isti. I know youâ€™re just being a loving brother but everythings okayâ€ť
â€śokay so what were you doing just watching usâ€ť
â€śyou dont know how long I was thereâ€ť
â€śLook, my sister and her daughter have a very kind, trusting nature but I know better than them when it comes to how much you can trust people. You need to take your creepy self away from my familyâ€ť He ignored what Isti wanted and approached Sylvie â€śheâ€™s not your master is heâ€ť she was fine until the man touched her face â€śwoahâ€ť she pushed him back before continuing â€ślike he said I have a mate, thats not okayâ€ť
â€śI just wanted a better look at your eyesâ€ť Isti shifted, being careful not to hurt his sister or niece. He lifted the man up in the air and flung him. He was high enough heâ€™d be hurt but not so high heâ€™d kill him.
â€śIsti, you didnâ€™t have to do that?â€ť Sylvie said as he shifted back.
â€śHe was getting too close to you, no one should ever touch you uninvited and the way he was speakingâ€¦he was close enough to hurt you Sylvie.â€ť
He sighed. â€śIâ€™m sorry, I shouldnâ€™t sound so upset, I justâ€¦â€ť
â€śItâ€™s alright, you were just worried.â€ť
â€śYeah. We should move to another spot, just in case he comes back.â€ť
Jarius was in a mood and not in the type of mood that needed Paimon coming in and interrupting him while he worked. He wanted to be out with his family, not here, trying to decipher the words in this book he had acquired. It was full of magic, he could feel it, and its owner had found out about his proclivity for items like it and begged him to make sure it was safe. Sylvie had encouraged him and he could never say no to her, especially after what had happened to her and their daughter. He was trying to finish up as quickly as possible so he could join them.
â€śSomeone looks like heâ€™s thinking of burning everything down.â€ť Paimon teased, suddenly appearing next to him and peering over his shoulder. â€śOh, interesting.â€ť
â€śWhat do you want?â€ť
Paimon chuckled. â€śNo need to sound so irritated, I simply wished to check on you. Youâ€™ve been in such a dark mood.â€ť
â€śI will kill you, Paimon.â€ť
â€śAnd hurt Pellegrino, I donâ€™t think so.â€ť
As if Paimon saying his name could summon him, Pellegrino came running through the door which caused Jarius to let out a sigh and turn to greet him. â€śSorry, Jarius, I tried to stop him, but heâ€¦â€ť Pellegrion blushed, â€śnever mind, sorry.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s fine, but please, I want to get this done.â€ť He turned back and the book was gone.
â€śThis is incredibly interesting stuff.â€ť Paimon flipped through the pages.
â€śGive it back.â€ť Jarius said.
â€śAnd let you have all the fun?â€ť
â€śPaimon be nice.â€ť Pellegrino said.
Paimon looked up from the book. â€śI could help you.â€ť
â€śWhat do you mean?â€ť
â€śTwo heads are better than one, my friend.â€ť
Jarius couldnâ€™t help but feel suspicious of him. â€śWhatâ€™s your aim?â€ť
â€śFor you to stop brooding. It brings me down and Sylvie might feel bad for asking you to do it if she knew.â€ť He was suddenly standing next to Pelligrino and leaned in, pressing a kiss to his cheek. â€śYouâ€™ll stay with me, right?â€ť
â€śUhâ€¦yes, if it wonâ€™t distract you.â€ť
â€śIf anything, Iâ€™ll work harder so I can have you.â€ť
Jarius chuckled like he didnt believe that possible. Xeja was running and playing as if nothing had happened but then again, in their family, nothing was truly abnormal. Sylvie sat with her brother â€śso you ready to talk about whatâ€™s had you this way Isti?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m fineâ€ť she gave him a look and he sighed â€śI guess you know me too well for thatâ€ť
â€śYeah, come on Isti. Weâ€™ve always talked about everythingâ€ť
â€śIâ€™ve just never felt like a bigger sucker in my life.â€ť He began to tell her about the last few months of his life. How he had thought he had made this incredible friend but it turned out he was just pulling an elaborate scam â€śI realized soon enough but itâ€™s just shaken me for now. I promise Iâ€™ll snap out of this, things happen but its still fairly rawâ€ť
â€śregardless though, that man before was creepy. I think I would have had a problem with him regardlessâ€ť
â€śI have the best brothers. Iâ€™ve always felt so safeâ€ť
â€śWeâ€™re still only a call away if you ever need us to set Jarius straightâ€ť She laughed and nudged him â€śJarius is still amazing to Xeja and Iâ€ť
â€śI feel like this book is a little confusing.â€ť Paimon said as he looked over the page Jarius wasnâ€™t working on.
â€śWell, the section before was about food and this one is about herbs, spices, and their applications. The magic also doesnâ€™t feel dangerous. Confusing and interesting.â€ť
â€śDo you think itâ€™s a cookbook?â€ť
Paimon shook his head. â€śI think itâ€™s a kitchen witches book or something.â€ť
â€śKitchen witch?â€ť Pelligrino asked.
â€śThey push their magic into food and drinks and crafts. Protection spells, health spells, joy and happiness spells, all worked into everything you eat, drink, and wear.â€ť Paimon explained. â€śItâ€™s more subtle than what I do.â€ť
â€śDo people still do it?â€ť
â€śOf course and itâ€™s often passed down.â€ť Jarius answered. â€śThe man who brought me this book said he found it in the attic of his motherâ€™s home. Iâ€™m guessing she never got to give it to him.â€ť
â€śAt least you know itâ€™s not dangerous.â€ť Paimon said. â€śIf anything, youâ€™ve given them something special. So no more brooding.â€ť
â€śYeah, yeahâ€¦thank you.â€ť
Paimon grinned. â€śIâ€™m sorry, can you say that again?â€ť
Jarius sighed. â€śI said thank you.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re very welcome, my friend.â€ť
Sylvie and Isti both jumped when Xeja pegged the latter with a snowball. Sylvie started laughing when she realized her brother had been hit directly in his face. He shot her a look as he flung some at her then got up and started after his niece. The little girl let out a shriek of delight as she ran. â€śYou better run, Xeja.â€ť She yelled, just enjoying her little girlâ€™s laughter.
â€śShe is quite sweet.â€ť She yelped at the voice and was shocked to see the same man back. How had he found them? How fast was he to catch up to them?
â€śYou.â€ť She said and the sound of her alarmed voice caught her brotherâ€™s attention. She glanced at him and the man grabbed her, pulling her up and in front of him, causing Isti to freeze and grab Xeja.
â€śLet her go.â€ť Isti said.
â€śYou hurt me.â€ť
â€śYou were acting strange.â€ť Isti shot back.
â€śThat gives you the right?â€ť
â€śHe didnâ€™t mean it.â€ť Sylvie said. â€śHe was just trying to protect us.â€ť
Isti couldnâ€™t tell if the being was actually angry or not. It was strange, like the creature didnâ€™t know how to express his feelings. â€śSheâ€™s right, listen, just let her go. Iâ€™m sorry, okay?â€ť
The man looked him over. â€śPerhaps I should take her.â€ť
â€śNo, look.â€ť Isti held up his hands. â€śJust let her go, you can have me, okay?â€ť
â€śReally? Or are you lying? Will you attack me again?â€ť He took a step back with Sylvie.
â€śPlease, I promise, no violence. Take me, leave her with her daughter. It was my fault.â€ť He didnâ€™t like the man, but he knew it was his fault this was happening.
Sylive tried â€śPlease, Xejaâ€™s only ten, she still needs me. Weâ€™re so sorry for how Isti acted. Please, weâ€™ll make this up to you. My mate doesnt have the collection he once did but Iâ€™m sure he would give you anything you wanted in exchange for your forgivenessâ€ť
â€śwho is your mate?â€ť
â€śIâ€™ve never heard of himâ€ť Sylvie heard her daughter make a small, sad noise as she struggled not to bawl out of worry for her mother. She wanted to comfort Xeja but anything she might say could be a lie, she didnâ€™t know what was about to happen. The man held her tighter and suddenly moved her so his mouth was up to her ear. He spoke so quietly she wasnâ€™t sure anybody but her could understand â€śhe should have killed me if he was going to act like that.â€ť
Sharp pain overwhelmed Sylvie and just as she tasted blood she fell to the snowy ground. Xeja cried out in sorrow and before Sylvie could even stand up Isti and the man were gone. Xeja ran over to her mother â€śmommyâ€ť
â€śIâ€™mâ€¦Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll be fine. We need to get back to your fatherâ€ť
â€śCan you walkâ€ť The question made Sylvie look at herself, she was covered in gashes but what had he cut her with and how had he managed it that fast. She didnt feel like she hurt as much as she ought too but soon she guessed it had just been shock because the cuts to her face started massively stinging and the rest of the wounds followed. She was getting light headed causing Sylvie to stumble. She wasnâ€™t sure if he had been intending to kill her but she worried she might just bleed out. â€śMommy Iâ€™m going to fly okay. I promise Iâ€™ll come back. Just sit and donâ€™t go to sleep okay?â€ť
â€śOkay babyâ€ť Sylvie sat, not feeling she had much of a choice. Xeja knew her way home and she had to trust her. â€śdonâ€™t go to sleepâ€ť Xeja repeated tearfully â€śI wont my loveâ€ť Her daughters image was a bit blurry as she shifted, in Sylvies weakened state the small dragon pushing off nearly knocked her over.
â€śWhy? You didnâ€™t have to hurt her. She was innocent!â€ť Istiâ€™s voice was full of the pain he felt at what had been done to his sister. He glared up at the man from where he sat on the ground.
â€śYou attacked me first, for nothing.â€ť
â€śThat doesnâ€™t give you the right.â€ť He growled, pushing himself to his feet. He went to swing at the man, but found himself on his back in the snow, that pale face so close their noses were nearly touching. He was fast, nearly as fast as Paimon.
â€śBlood for blood dragon.â€ť
â€śThen it should have been mine.â€ť He stared unblinking into the manâ€™s eyes. â€śWhat are you going to do to me? Beat me? Torture me?â€ť
â€śDo you want me too? I believed what happened to your sister punishment enough.â€ť
â€śThen what do you want?â€ť
The man cocked his head, pale eyes searching for something. â€śI donâ€™t know.â€ť He pushed himself off of Isti. â€śLetâ€™s go.â€ť
Isti got up and dusted the snow from his clothes. â€śYou sound unsure of that.â€ť
â€śBecause I do not truly have one. I have always been alone.â€ť
Jarius was happily soaring through the air, his wings carrying him quickly to the forest of seasons. He wanted to surprise them. His joy vanished when his daughterâ€™s scent was brought to him through the wind and with it, the smell of fear and blood. She was heading in his direction. When he spotted her, he race to head her off, catching her in his arms and pulling her into him. â€śDaddy.â€ť She said as she shifted back, the heartbreak in her voice nearly killing him. Where were Sylvie and Isti?
â€śMom needs you to help her, sheâ€™s hurt so bad I had to leave her because it was taking too longâ€ť Questions would have to wait. He took off, following his daughters directions until he heard his wife softly singing. She was doing it to make sure she stayed awake while she was waiting so Sylvie stopped when she felt her husband land. Most of the wounds had closed but the amount of blood was still enough to horrify him. He picked her up as well and rushed them home to tend to her. â€śIâ€™m surprised sheâ€™s already healed that much. Mom heals but not that fastâ€ť
â€śMaybe whatever did this didnâ€™t intend to kill her. What exactly happened Xeja?â€ť She recounted everything to her father as he cleaned up Sylvie to accurately asses her and what he needed to do. â€śI dont know what he is off the top of my head but it sounds like if he had wanted to kill your mother sheâ€™d be dead. I think he was punishing Isti, taking him away with only the memory of her cut up from head to toe.â€ť
â€śMoms going to be okayâ€ť
â€śYesâ€¦Iâ€™m sorry I wasnâ€™t there Xejaâ€¦â€ť
â€śmom told you to work, we go out all the time by ourselves.Itâ€™s not your fault dadâ€¦I dont feel like itâ€™s Uncle Istis fault eitherâ€ť
â€śBoth he and this being were in the wrong though your Uncle had more understandable reasons. I donâ€™t know how I would have reacted if I had been with you two instead of himâ€ť Xeja felt better seeing her mom cleaned up. â€śCall your Uncles, I want someone to sit with you and your mother while she rests. If one of their mates will do it I want both of them coming with me to investigate this and get Isti back. I know your mother is going to be asking and worried as soon as sheâ€™s up and in more of a clear mind.â€ť Xeja did as she was told, leaving her father to finish up whatever he needed to with her mother.
â€śThis is your home?â€ť Isti asked as he rubbed his arms. He was cold, shivering, and the cave he had just walked into wasnâ€™t helping.
â€śFor now, yes.â€ť
â€śHow long have you been here?â€ť
â€śA couple of months, but that could change.â€ť
â€śI see.â€ť He cupped his hands and brought them up to breathe over them. â€śIs there anywhere I could make a fire?â€ť
He stopped and turned to look at Isti. â€śAre you cold?â€ť
â€śIâ€™ve never been cold, I canâ€™t feel it.â€ť
â€śIs there a place?â€ť
Isti kept enough space between them to hopefully defend himself if he needed to, but followed him all the same. The man lead him to a tunnel and back to another part of the cave. It opened up into a large space and up above them, the ceiling was open allowing the snow in. Isti turned in a circle, marveling at this place. It was actually quite beautiful. When he turned back around, he actually ran into his captor. â€śSorry.â€ť The man hadnâ€™t even budged.
â€śYou can use this spring.â€ť He moved aside, gesturing to a pool of water that had steam curling off of it.
â€śOkay, uhâ€¦thanksâ€¦â€ť He wished the man had a name, it was awkward not having something to call him. â€śThanks.â€ť
It hadnâ€™t been just Galt and Lefan who had answered Jariusâ€™s call, but also Paimon who had carried Xeja back to Sylvie, all the while trying to comfort her. Pellegrino had wanted to join them in getting Isti back, but Paimon had convinced him to stay and help with Xeja and Sylvie. â€śI canâ€™t believe someone would hurt Sylvie like that.â€ť Lefan said as they flew. â€śSheâ€™s the sweetest person I know.â€ť
â€śDid he exhibit any other powers?â€ť Paimon asked.
â€śNot that Xeja knows of, she was more worried about Sylvie.â€ť Jarius answered. â€śAll I know is the man didnâ€™t seem to want her dead.â€ť
â€śyeahâ€¦seeing her he had to have enchanted her to heal faster as he hurt her because I dont think she heals fast enough to recover from that on her ownâ€ť
â€ślets just hope he values Istis life as wellâ€ť As Isti warmed in the spring the strange man just watched him. He watched as someone might this majestic creature they had never seen before. It caused Isti to ask â€śdo you really not have a name because your kind donâ€™t have names or have you just never been given one?â€ť
â€śI had parents when I was very young and they did not give me a name so I assume we just donâ€™t use namesâ€ť
â€śwere they mean to you?â€ť
â€śI think I was a bad childâ€ť so they were. â€śI could give you a name so talking wont be so weirdâ€ť
â€śalright, what would you like to call me?â€ť Isti put some thought into it before saying â€śyou look like a Jaresiahâ€ť The strange man nodded ‘then I will use it so people arenâ€™t so afraid of me”
â€śit would have been fine if you hadnâ€™t touched her Jaresiahâ€ť
â€śI was just lookingâ€ť
â€śitâ€™s not politeâ€ť
â€śIâ€™d like to see those eyes againâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m not sure sheâ€™ll ever want to be near you now, you hurt herâ€¦youâ€ť
â€śsheâ€™s alive, I assure you. You were kind enough to name me so Iâ€™ll tell you thatâ€ť
â€śHow do you know that?â€ť
â€śBecause I made sure she wouldnâ€™t die.â€ť
Istiâ€™s eyes filled with tears and he covered his face with his hands as he cried. She was alive. He felt a hand touch his shoulder and jumped away from Jaresiah. â€śDonâ€™t, just donâ€™t.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re upset again.â€ť
â€śOf course I am,â€ť he snapped, â€śhave you never been upset? Have you ever been hurt before or cried? Whatâ€™s wrong with you?â€ť
â€śI was not allowed to cry.â€ť
Isti wiped at his face. â€śNo one can control you crying, everyone does it.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t, not since I was a child. My father wouldnâ€™t allow it.â€ť
Isti looked him over. Even though he had said he couldnâ€™t feel the cold, he was still completely dressed. Was he hiding something? â€śWhat would he do if you did?â€ť
For the first time since he had been in his company, Jaresiah actively avoided his gaze, opting to look at the entrance to the spring instead. â€śAre you hungry?â€ť
â€śI should feed you, Iâ€™ll be back.â€ť Isti could tell he was retreating and he watched as Jaresiah walked away. He didnâ€™t want to imagine what had happened to him to make him the way he was. He knew it had to have been terrible.
â€śThis was where I found Sylvieâ€ť, Jarius said.
â€śThe trail of blood leads back this way though.â€ť Paimon said as he followed a line of crimson in the snow. â€śThe cold would have helped her though.â€ť
â€śHow so?â€ť Galt asked.
â€śIt would have slowed the bleeding.â€ť
Jarius sniffed the air, picking up the scent of the being that had hurt Sylvie and taken Isti. â€śHis scent is so strange.â€ť
Jaresiah brought them both something to eat and as they spoke and interacted Isti actually started to feel bad for him. He wasnâ€™t bad, he was just the most broken being Isti had ever met. Even in taking him, he wasnâ€™t tied up or anything, it seemed like maybe, he just wanted somebody around him. Isti felt worse about earlier, maybe they could have all just become friends if he hadnâ€™t reacted the way he did. Maybe they still could though if his brothers and Jarius werenâ€™t too heated about everything.
Even if they were he couldnâ€™t imagine them not seeing in Jaresiah what he was seeing. Jaresiah just had to be taught how beings interact, whats okay and not okay, he needed to be around someone who treated him like he had feelings. Sylive woke with a start â€śXeja baby?â€ť Xeja hugged her â€śIâ€™m right here mom, your wounds are all closedâ€ť Sylvie looked at herself then back at her daughter â€śThank you for being brave and leaving me to get your fatherâ€ť
â€śYou feel okay?â€ť Galts mate Tasaria asked â€śOh sorry, I was so worried about Xeja I didnâ€™t notice you three. Thanks for whatever youâ€™ve been doing Tasaria, Pellegrino and Leondra. I feel perfectâ€ť
â€śweâ€™ve just been here. Your husband did all the workâ€ť Lefans mate Leondra said. â€śso I guess we still dont know anything?â€ť Sylvie asked and Pellegrino shook his head â€śNope, but weâ€™re here for anything you needâ€ť
â€śI really am fineâ€ť Sylvie assured as she stood.
â€śYou should take it easy though.â€ť Pellegrino said.
â€śI promise I feel fine, not in pain or anything.â€ť
â€śJarius will be relieved.â€ť Leondra said. â€śI canâ€™t believe someone would just attack you.â€ť
â€śHe was so strange, but even when he hurt me I didnâ€™t sense any real rage or anything. It was like it was just fair to him.â€ť
â€śIt was still an extreme reaction.â€ť
â€śJarius took the others to find him and Isti?â€ť
â€śYeah, they were all pretty ticked.â€ť Pellegrino replied.
Jaresiah was watching him again, Isti could feel it and he wondered what he was thinking. He glanced at him and Jaresiah cocked his head to the side. â€śAre you alright?â€ť Jaresiah asked.
â€śYeah, itâ€™s rude to stare though.â€ť
â€śMost people get uncomfortable when you stare at them.â€ť
Isti shrugged. â€śNot really. Others might be though.â€ť He rubbed his arms and Jaresiah stood and shrugged out of the large coat he was wearing. Isti looked up at him as he moved closer to him and dropped it over his shoulders. His eyes were immediately drawn to the scars covering his arms. â€śWhat happened?â€ť
Jaresiah looked at his arms. â€śMy father. Are you warmer now?â€ť
â€śHuh? Oh, yeah, thanks.â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll get wood for a fire, you arenâ€™t like me, the cold bothers you.â€ť
The scent of the being who had hurt Sylvie was getting stronger, even in the snow. Jarius wondered if maybe the man was setting some sort of trap, hoping to draw someone in before attacking or kidnapping them, but from what Xeja had said, he hadnâ€™t seemed like the type. The being confused him. He hid one minute, then left his scent the next. It wasnâ€™t something a predator would do, but then he had managed to sneak back up on Sylvie, Isti, and Xeja without being noticed. It wasnâ€™t something an evil creature would do, especially with how he had bargained with Isti for Sylvieâ€™s release.
â€śare those why you keep clothes on?â€ť
â€śyes, Iâ€™ll give you my shirt as well if you end up really needing it butâ€¦beings tend to not be able to handle the rest of my scarsâ€ť
â€śwhat do you mean?â€ť Jaresiah didnâ€™t answer and after a long, uncomfortable pause Isti said â€śyou know, your parents shouldnt have treated you that way and I think its cruel they didnâ€™t even name you. Iâ€™ve never heard of a people who dont give eachother some form of nameâ€ť
â€śYour sister doesnt hurt Xeja?â€ť
â€śyou didnâ€™t see any scars on her did you? I havent even heard my sister raise her voice to Xeja since she was a toddlerâ€ť
â€śwhy did she yell when she was a toddler then if she doesnt nowâ€ť
â€śXeja is fast, it was to get her attention quickly when she thought she was about to hurt herself doing something wild but Sylvie would never harm her daughter, no parent should. Theres a difference between abuse and discipline and I think someone should tell you you didnâ€™t have good parentsâ€ť Isti couldnâ€™t read Jaresiahs face but soon his words told him what he was thinking â€śgo, you dont have to stay any longerâ€ť
â€śJaresiahâ€¦maybe we could help youâ€ť
â€śI donâ€™t need help.â€ť
â€śYes you do.â€ť Isti stood. â€śYouâ€™re not a bad person, you just need a little guidance. Being alone isnâ€™t helping you.â€ť
He shook his head. â€śI donâ€™t think your family would allow that.â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll talk to them.â€ť Jaresiah started to back away and Isti grabbed his arm. â€śPlease, trust me. I wonâ€™t let them kill you, I promise. Theyâ€™re not like your parents. If I explain, theyâ€™ll listen.â€ť
Jaresiah looked down at Istiâ€™s hand and then back up into his eyes. â€śAlright.â€ť
The scent was stronger now and Jarius knew they had found the man. He called for them to land and he shifted before he touched down landing on his feet in front of the cave entrance. â€śIsti!â€ť He called out. â€śAre you alive in there?â€ť
â€śJust let me go in.â€ť Paimon said. â€śHeâ€™d never see me coming.â€ť
â€śNo, I donâ€™t want to set him off. He could hurt Isti to punish us.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m fine.â€ť Istiâ€™s voice calling back helped relieve some of their worry. â€śIâ€™m here.â€ť He stepped out and behind him came the man Xeja had described. â€śEverythingâ€™s alright.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s not alright.â€ť Jarius said. â€śThat man hurt Sylvie.â€ť
â€śI know, butâ€¦â€ť
Jaresiah grabbed his shoulder then pulled Isti behind him. â€śDo you wish to kill me dragon? You can punish me if you like.â€ť
â€śJarius, he didnâ€™t mean it.â€ť Isti protested.
â€śItâ€™s fine Isti, he wants payback.â€ť Jaresiah stepped away from Isti. â€śGo ahead then.â€ť
â€śYou made a promise and I know you will keep it, but he should do as I did, itâ€™s only fair.â€ť
Jarius let his eyes move over the man called Jaresiah, taking in the scars. What had happened to this man? Any other time he would have killed him, but something terrible must have already happened for him to not even be scared of the prospect of dying. Jarius clenched his fist. Even so, he deserved something. He moved closer and hit Jaresiah as hard as he could, knocking him to the ground. â€śThey all lived, so I will let you go with that, but next time I will tear you apart.â€ť
Jaresiah picked himself up â€śI wont harm her againâ€ť Isti came closer to his brother in law â€śLook Iâ€™ve been getting to know him and he just needs a little guidance. He isnâ€™t badâ€ť
â€śYouâ€™re suggesting we take him under our wingâ€¦did you see your sister?â€ť
â€śI did and that was honestly my fault. I shouldnâ€™t have thrown him like I did. Heâ€™s had a pretty messed up life. Look at his arms Jarius and apparently it gets a whole lot worse under the rest of the clothesâ€¦I know Sylvie would want us to forgive. She was upset with me as soon as I threw himâ€ť Jaresiah said nothing for his case. He just stood there, his face hard as ever to read. Paimon looked over at Jaresiah â€śIf you hurt any of these people again I wont care about any sob story. I just need you to know thatâ€ť Jaresiah nodded so Jarius sighed â€śhe may come back with us thenâ€ť
There was an emotion that was recognizable on Jaresiahs face, he was surprised â€śI thought it would take more coaxing and maybe not even happen at allâ€ť Isti now spoke again â€śSylvie and I come from a pretty forgiving family. Shes managed to soften up old Jarius hereâ€ť Sylvies other two brothers didnâ€™t look comfortable but they both seemed like they accepted Jariusâ€™s decision to let him go home with them.
â€śJarius has calmed down.â€ť Sylvie said as she sat in the living room, Xeja sleeping in her lap.
â€śThatâ€™s good.â€ť Leondra said. â€śThat means he got Isti back.â€ť
â€śI hope he didnâ€™t have to kill that man.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re so forgiving, Sylvie.â€ť Tasaria said. â€śHe could have killed you.â€ť
â€śBut he didnâ€™t. He shouldnâ€™t have touched me without my permission, but Isti shouldnâ€™t have reacted the way he did.â€ť She stroked Xejaâ€™s hair. â€śHe kept his word and let me go, he didnâ€™t have to do that.â€ť
â€śI just hope Paimon listens to Jarius.â€ť Pellegrino said. â€śHe always goes his own way and he adores you and Xeja.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sure he did, Jarius doesnâ€™t feel angry.â€ť
Jarius was impatient as he waited for Isti to convince Jaresiah to take his coat back and allow Isti to carry him home. He wanted to get back to Sylvie and he was relieved when the man finally agreed. He didnâ€™t miss the look of relief of Jaresiahâ€™s face as he slipped his coat back on. He had been trying to keep Isti warm it seemed, but having his scars covered seemed to help him relax a little. â€śEverythingâ€™s going to be alright, trust me.â€ť Isti said.
â€śI do.â€ť Isti could see he actually meant it.
â€śYouâ€™ll be happy with us, I promise.â€ť Jaresiah nodded and Isti shifted and lifted Jaresiah onto his back.
Sylive had wanted to go sit outside and wait for everyone as soon as she realized they must have gotten Isti back so when they landed Jarius was instantly able to hug her â€śIâ€™m so glad to see you up and truly alrightâ€ť
â€śhe never intended to kill me.â€ť
â€śstill, you had me so worriedâ€ť Isti landed with Jaresiah and shifted, needing to hug his sister aswell â€śIâ€™m sorryâ€ť he apologized again. “Nobodies mad at you Isti. Jaresiah stood just where he had been set down â€śHeyâ€ť
â€śI have a name nowâ€¦â€ť
â€śIsti named me Jareishaâ€ť
â€śI like itâ€ť
â€ścan you like me?â€ť she smiled â€śI think we all could if you stick around and promise not to pull anything else like thatâ€ť Jareisah nodded. Sylvie approached him, wishing it didnâ€™t make Jarius so tense. â€śdo you want a hug too?â€ť she asked. He hugged her awkwardly, obviously not used to something like that. â€ścome on inâ€ť she invited.
Jarius kept Sylvie close as they walked through their home and when Xeja came running up to him with her aunts and Pellegrino following close behind, he lifted her protectively into his arms. â€śThatâ€™s the man who hurt mom.â€ť She said.
â€śItâ€™s okay baby,â€ť Sylvie said. â€śHeâ€™s not a bad person, I promise. We should try to be forgiving.â€ť
â€śAnd he has a name now sweetie, itâ€™s Jaresiah.â€ť
â€śThatâ€™s a cool name.â€ť
â€śIsti gave it to me.â€ť Jaresiah replied as he looked around. â€śIs this where Iâ€™ll live now?â€ť
â€śIâ€™d like you to.â€ť Isti said. â€śIt can be your real, permanent home. Weâ€™ll be your family, if you let us.â€ť
â€śA family.â€ť They could all tell he was unsure.
â€śLetâ€™s get you a room.â€ť Sylvie said.
â€śYou should be resting love.â€ť Jarius replied.
â€śPlease, for me? Iâ€™ll lay with you.â€ť
â€śAlright.â€ť She could feel his worry and took his hand, trying to comfort him. â€śIsti can you find him a room?â€ť
â€śOf course, you guys go ahead.â€ť He reached out and gently rested a hand on Jaresiahâ€™s shoulder. â€śCome on, you can even borrow some of my clothes until we can take you shopping.â€ť
â€śPellegrino and I will do it.â€ť He looked Jaresiah over. â€śMaybe add a bit more color to your wardrobe.â€ť
Jarius looked almost aged with worry as he settled into bed with Sylvie â€śhey, Iâ€™m okayâ€ť
â€śYou were so weak when I got to youâ€¦â€ť
â€śbut Iâ€™m alrightâ€¦thank you for giving him compassionâ€ť
â€śI knew it is what you would have wantedâ€¦â€ť
â€śIâ€™m eager to talk to my brother and see what he learned about himâ€ť
â€śhe has a lot of scars it seemsâ€ť
â€śwhen I first got there Isti was wearing Jareishas jacketâ€ť
â€śseeâ€¦heâ€™s just another broken soul who needs helpâ€ť
â€śwell, heâ€™s still on thin ice with me honey. If he hurts you again I cant just let him stay in my homeâ€ť
â€śIsti wouldnâ€™t be on board with him coming if he thought he might hurt me. I mean, Istis over reaction was what started what happened. Isti wouldnâ€™t see me hurt again any sooner than you would so everything will be fine with our new guest.â€ť
â€śI canâ€™t see you like that again, Sylvie, this is the second time youâ€™ve been hurt and I wonâ€™t have a third.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s okay.â€ť She ran her fingers through his hair, hoping to ease the tension out of his body. â€śBoth Xeja and me are safe here with you and the others.â€ť
â€śI know, but I may fuss for awhile.â€ť
â€śThatâ€™s fine, fuss all you want, Iâ€™ll still love you.â€ť
Isti took Jaresiah to the room across from his and watched as his new friend took in everything. â€śWhat do you think?â€ť
â€śAnd all yours.â€ť
He nodded. â€śSo this is my new home then.â€ť He looked at Isti. â€śFor how long?â€ť
â€śFor as long as you want it.â€ť He moved closer. â€śWeâ€™re not just going to suddenly throw you away.â€ť
Jaresiah looked around the room again then back at Isti â€śI still dont understand you all doing this Isti but thank youâ€ť
â€śThank us by helping me out if you want. Iâ€™ll think of something we can do for Sylvie as an apology. We both need to apologize to herâ€ť Jaresiah nodded. â€śIs her mate always so loving?â€ť
â€śyeah, youâ€™ll get an up close look at what a relationship should be while youâ€™re here. Itâ€™ll be good for you when you find someone to love. Iâ€™ve heard one of the hardest thing for some abused kids is learning how to love someone. Its hard to be a good partner when nobodies ever loved you properly.â€ť He was mostly an unreadable guy but Isti could definitely see that Jaresiah didnâ€™t feel he was loveable.
Paimon and Pellegrino came back with their arms full of clothes and took them to Jaresiahâ€™s room so he could look them over. Paimon had made good on his word to add more color to Jaresiahâ€™s wardrobe, bringing in shirts of blue, green, and red. He had also bought a few black pieces and a couple of white. â€śHow much did this cost?â€ť Jaresiah asked.
â€śNothing, my alter ego Thompson is friends with the woman who tailors my clothing and she had a bunch of stuff she was practically getting rid of. I told her a sad story and she gave me the clothes for free.â€ť
â€śWhat he means is heâ€™s far too charming for his own good.â€ť Pellegrino added and Paimon chuckled.
â€śAre you jealous my sweet prince? I can make it up to you if you are.â€ť
Pellegrino blushed. â€śNo, itâ€™s nice that you managed to get him so much.â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll make it up to you anyway, just in case.â€ť
â€śDo you want to try some of them on?â€ť Isti asked.
Jaresiah glanced at Paimon and Pellegrino. â€śAre they staying?â€ť
â€śNo, I have to go spoil my mate.â€ť Paimon said. â€śWhatever you donâ€™t like, Iâ€™ll take back.â€ť He took Pellegrinoâ€™s hand and pulled him out of the room.
â€śDo you want me to leave too?â€ť Isti asked.
â€śYou can stay, youâ€™ve already seen some of them.â€ť
Isti sat down on the bed as Jaresiah pulled his coat off. He let his eyes move over the scars on his arms and when Jaresiah finally pulled his shirt off, Istiâ€™s eyes widened in shock and a small gasp slipped past his lips. His torso was covered in long scars, some bigger than others and when he turned to pick up one of the shirts, Isti could see a really bad one that traveled the length of his spine. â€śJaresiah, what did he do to you?â€ť
â€śCut me, burned me, beat me, did what I did to your sister, but worse. Once, he threatened to take my eyes when I wouldnâ€™t stop crying. I know they are ugly.â€ť
â€śOthers have said otherwise.â€ť He pulled one of his new shirts on and Isti was glad Paimon and Pellegrino had taken the time to get the shirts with long sleeves. â€śSo?â€ť
â€śYou look good.â€ť
â€śI suppose a bit more color is betterâ€ť Jaresiah picked up a midnight black shirt and Isti said â€śBlack is probably going to look especially good on youâ€ť Jaresiah changed shirts and looked at himself in the mirror â€śyesâ€¦I do like colorâ€ť
â€śYou know a lot of people are going to find how snowy white your hair and eyes are cool now that youâ€™re not hiding in the snowâ€ť he didnâ€™t seem to know how to react to that as he changed again to see what he looked like in a different color. Everyone else warmed to Jaresiah fast but it took Jarius understandably longer. Truly what mattered to him currently is that his mate and daughter were safe, once again thinly avoiding disaster. He hoped with all that he was this would be the last time heâ€™d have to be that worried over them.
~ The End