• Memory • Zealous Vices

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Zealous Vices

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33rd of Ymiden, 711
14th Break
When the boy first appeared through the trees, yells of worry and panic overcame the thousand crickets living in the grass. It was the mother whom approached first, with her brunette hairs fluttering in the winds, her perfume smearing through the air, and her kind features now tearing up. Her arms circled around the boy, and the soft blanket wrapped around the gaunt body of the Mortalborn.
“Are you okay?” she whispered to him, her voice cracking.
The boy stared up into her eyes without a word.
“Where are your parents?”
No reply.
The kind-hearted mother tried to comfort the boy with a smile even when her tears were escaping. She then offered her palm, which perhaps had been delicate once.
The Mortalborn looked towards it, his hand approaching hers with obvious doubt. They touched.

The boy was guided towards the house, the eyes of the father fixed upon him, their son and daughter whispering questions of worry towards the father, whom offered no replies. Those stares left the boy once they entered the humble home, the door shutting behind them. Despite the exit being blocked, the windows were wide agape, allowing the sound of crickets to fill the room, just like the so craved for summer breeze.
The mother guided the boy towards the table, and gently peeled off the blanket, revealing the naked and blood-coated frame of the child. Her worry was obvious. She crouched, gently scanning the boy’s frame with a finger.
“What happened to you?” she asked in a whisper.
The boy merely stared back, his features completely alienated from whatever the female felt. His stomach growled.
“Are you hungry?” The female left him for a moment, moving towards the kitchen, where she would extract boiled corncobs from a large pot. Sprinkling some salt on them, she’d return with a full plate. “Go on, eat.”
The boy glared towards the mother, eyes setting on the plate. He sniffed the aroma that escaped the plate, his mouth growing restless under the temptation. His hands reached for the cob, and his teeth dug into it immediately.
Whilst this happened, the mother moved towards the door. Creaking it open, she’d whisper to her husband.
“Set up the tub, will you? Betrix, go help your father. Felix, go to general shop and buy a bar of soap. Tell Pea I’ll come by later to pay for it. Hurry.”

The door was closed then again, the mother returning to the table, taking the seat next to the boy. As the boy dug into the corn cobs, eating loudly and fiercely, the mother couldn’t help but chuckle. Her fingers wiped her eyes, and with a smile, she stared towards the boy. She spoke not whilst the boy ate, and only left the table on one occasion, that being only to bring another set of corncobs.
Once the boy had finished, his blue eyes once again flew towards the female, staring, watching and waiting.
“Did you like it?” she asked.
No reply.
The female smiled, a hand coming to stoke the boy’s golden hairs. Her touch was warm and gentle, the type only a loving mother could grant.
“I’m Zannifer,” she said, pointing towards herself.
“Zinfer,” repeated the boy, voice quiet and lightly taut.
“Zannifer,” she repeated, chuckling lightly.
“Zannifer.”
“That’s right,” she exclaimed, running her fingers down the boy’s cheek. “Do you have a name?”
The boy merely stared.
Zannifer rose from her seat and moved towards the window next to the door, glancing outside before returning to the boy.
“Come on, let’s give you a nice bath.”

Taking a hold of the boy’s hand, Zannifer took the boy outside, the bath having been filled near the small barn. The husband was dismissed with an authoritarian glance from the female’s part, and so she and the boy enjoyed the privacy of Ne’haers’ surrounding territories. The sun was scorching from above, and despite the tub’s water being cold, it would feel like a blessing in comparison to the heat outside.
“It’s a little cold,” warned Zannifer, tapping on the end of the tub. “But it’s nothing terrible. Come on.”

The boy’s staring continued. Whether he understood or not was still a mystery. However, he obeyed at last. The water was cold indeed, and the boy grimaced under the sensation, taking his time to introduce himself whole within the waters. His body shivered at first, yet it calmed down shortly after. As Zannifer began running her palm across the boy’s flesh, tracing circles that peeled off the dried blood, tears of empathy invaded her.
“What happened to you?” she whispered once again.
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With every stroke, with every ounce of water poured, the boy lost his crimson carcass. The water tainted, yet the boy grew cleaner, his pale body shining in the shade of the barn. Zannifer did not stop there, however, for once the soap arrived, and she gently scrubbed him, as if the processed animal grease would cleanse whatever the boy had experienced to end up coated in dry blood. She no longer asked questions she got no replies for, instead humming a soft melody, pleasant to the ears and soul alike. Her smile shined often, yet not as often as the occasional tears she attempted to hide. Her heart seemed large enough to holster not only her own troubles, but also allowing the troubles of everyone else to be stored in her kind soul.

The boy was quiet. His eyes often stared forth into the nothingness, his interaction with his environment being similar to that of a barn animal. Every so often he’d glance towards Zannifer, laying his large blue eyes on her red hairs or her green eyes. His mannerisms were awkward and alien, his motions were harsh and alert, and his speech was almost non-existent. Ever since pronouncing the female’s name back into the family cottage, he hadn’t said anything.

It wasn’t much of a surprise to find curious eyes staring through the cottage’s window. It was often the two children, the boy and the girl with golden hairs, which stared towards the scene, morbidly curious about whatever was happening. The bearded male often came and separated the children from the window, taking the occasion to stare through the glass himself with far more subtleness. Zannifer did not notice those intrusions of their privacy, yet the boy often locked eyes with whomever laid on the other side of the distant window.
“Look at you,” she whispered. “Not only big and gorgeous, but also clean.” Wrapping the remains of the soap in a rag, she placed them aside, raising a finger to signal the boy to wait. Just like that, she returned to the cottage, leaving the door open and the boy still dipping in the bubbly waters.

Birds sang around him, and the heat creeped onto his flesh no matter the shade or the waters that damped his pale skin. How much he waited was unknown to him, for his eyes only stared forth, watching the hot trial with cold and empty eyes. It wasn’t until Zannifer returned that his lethargy was ended, the mother carrying a few clothes and a towel along with her sympathetic smile.

“Let’s get you dressed,” he said, helping the boy out of the tub. She scrubbed him dry, the towel being soft and pleasant to the touch by default, yet the amount of motherly force she applied to her motions capable of almost shattering a bone. Only mothers had those power-scrubbing abilities. She then offered the boy the undergarments and the aforementioned clothing, which she had to slide onto the boy’s frame herself due to his lack of a reply. The clothing did not fit him very well, as her son almost doubled the boy’s age, yet it was good enough for the time being.
“Come on, let’s get you inside for a nap. Do you have a name?”
No reply.

The boy was taken inside, where the family was busy eating the remainders of the boiled corncobs. Everyone stared at the boy, whom stared back without a word. Their attention then shifted towards the mother, whom must’ve had an expression clear enough to inspire a general retreat from the family. Both children gathered their plates and left the house with their corncobs, the man tiding up the chairs left behind by his children. Then, the boy was taken to one of the main bedroom, and he was laid on the large bed and covered with thin blankets.

Zannifer remained with him once he was safely tucked in, stroking his golden hairs with delicate fingers, her smile shining towards him again and again like a star. He liked that smile. He found it comforting for some reason. His eyes began closing, even if the ocassional clatter coming from the kitchen returned him onto the waking world. Soon enough, his eyes were closed, and the boy entered a light sleep.

Before he could notice it, Zannifer was gone. It was her voice what shot the boy’s eyes open, yet she was not in the room. His eyes fixed on the half-open door, and he listened.
“What are you going to do with him?” whispered the man in the other room.
“What we are going to do with him,” Zannifer corrected. “Is we’re going to take care of him. Did you see how he arrived?”
“I did see, but-“
“But nothing. What else is there to do, Robas?”
“Don’t you think we should take him to the authorities? This is a boy we’re talking about. He must have family.”
“And you want to send him back? What kind of family leaves a boy starved? He can barely even speak, or wandering about naked and covered in blood?”
A pause and some clatter.
“I’m not taking him to the orphanage, Robas. I won’t let him be raised with those little rascals. This boy’s been through enough.”
“He reminds you of him, doesn’t he?”

A harsh clatter was heard, loud footsteps, the cottage door opening and slamming shut was the last thing Kovic heard before falling sleep.
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The bed was extremely comfortable, and so the boy made good use of it whilst he slept. Often his limbs would move and his body would shift, unconsciously trying to convince himself of how good a soft and warm bed felt. More than once he had tried to reach the borders of the bed in his sleep, yet he never managed to find the end to the comfortable fantasy he lived. He slept comfortably and warm, perhaps for the first time in his life.

When he awoke, the boy found himself alone in the room. The daylight seen outside the window had grown dim, for apparently most of the trial had passed him whilst he slept. Bright sunlight and punishing heat had now become a gentle and somewhat windy afternoon, the brightness replaced with a somewhat morbidly appealing red hue that promised astonishingly beautiful sceneries were someone to dwell outside their home. The sounds of the birds, on the other hand, was unheard of, for besides the call of hunger, the boy heard how the premises of the cottage were disrupted by eager young voices of youths.

Pushing himself off the bed, the boy came near the half-open door and listened. Voices, clatter of dishes. Bravely, he pulled the door open, and left the room at last. There was doubt in his movements, fear perhaps, yet the voice of Zannifer inspired him with courage. Her smile, her hairs, and her sweet scent had lodged themselves onto his brain. Perhaps this was due to sleeping in her bed, for the sheets too had been blessed with her essence. Rubbing his eyes, the boy would finally stand at the end of the hallway.

He was still a stranger, and so everyone in the house stopped in their tracks once they saw him. Much like him, nobody knew how to react, what to say. Nobody save Zannifer, of course, whom left the dishes immediately and approached the boy. She crouched down, shining her smile to him, and only to him, and immediately quenching whatever doubts he had.
“Slept well, I see,” she commented lightly, snickering. “You’re going to stay with us from now on, okay? You don’t have to be afraid. Nothing bad will happen to you.” She then moved behind the boy, both hands placed on his shoulders, her features waiting near his features. His guardian angel.
“See the big scary man there?” she pointed towards her black haired and bearded husband. “That’s Robas. Don’t be afraid of him, he’s a sweetheart.”
The boy offered no answer, but merely stared towards the man as dictated by Zannifer’s finger. The man stared back in return, offering an insincere smile.
“This boy here is called Felix,” said Zannifer, pointing towards her son, a twelve arc old boy with messy dark hairs.
Felix stared towards the boy, offering a quick wave of his hand, which the golden haired boy imitated.
“And this lovely,” Zannifer pointed towards an eight arc old girl with long black hairs, whom hid behind her father’s large frame. “Is called Betrix.”
Betrix did nothing but stare, and so did the Mortalborn. He was an awkward creature.
“What’s his name?” asked Felix.
Zannifer shrugged, and glanced towards the boy somewhat morosely. She stood up now, and took the boy’s hand, conducting him to the dinner table, sitting him right next to her.

The awkwardness remained as everyone returned to their tasks, the chatter previously heard now being gone, and instead leaving tense silence to seep into the family’s home. The boy stared here and there, more often than not his eyes locked on Zannifer. The smell of boiled corn invaded the nostrils of everyone, and the roar of hungry stomachs became a repetitive theme within the household. The hunger of everyone grew. The boy’s plate was filled the first, and he immediately began digging into the corncob with his hungry maws. The rest of the family followed.

The boy’s speed in the devouring was alarmingly fast, Zannifer eventually bringing the pot in the middle of the table in order to avoid standing up every bit. Everyone ate swift on this night, for a mysterious and insatiable hunger has seeped onto everyone. In truth, everyone ate even faster now, fearing they would not be able to eat as much as they liked, especially now that the strange boy had joined the competition.
“So what are we going to call him?” asked Felix.
Zannifer looked towards Robas, who shrugged.
“We’ll wait to see if he remembers, but if not, then we’ll name him something respectable and beautiful. Maybe Barnabas.”
“I vote for Corncob Addict,” said Felix, giggling.
“Cob-ict,” tried to repeat the boy as best as he could.
“See, ma? He likes it!”
“Felix!” exclaimed the mother.
“Cob-ict,” Repeated the boy.
“Cobic it is, then!” exclaimed Felix, busting into laughter.
“I like it,” said Robas, whom was trying to avoid laughing as well. Even Betrix was trying to snuff out a smile.
No dessert for you tonight, Felix,” announced Zannifer, outraged. Losing the chance to name a child was not something she seemed to appreciate. She glanced towards Robas, whom would not be having something else this evening. She now stroked the boy’s golden hairs, shaking his head.
“Don’t mind them… Cobic.”

They laughed.
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Zealous Vices

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Kovic


Points!:

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: NA (solo thread)
Structure: 5/ 5
Knowledge:

Detection: Noticing small details of your surrounding
Detection: Knowing when you're being watched
Detection: Listening to others speaking in another room.
Psychology: The importance of a gentle touch
Psychology: The feeling of being cleansed
Zannifer: Looked after you
Zannifer: Argued with her husband over her
Zannifer: Will look after you
Felix: Zannifer's son
Felix: Named you after your corn cob addiction

Loot:
None
Fame:
None
Magic:
These points may NOT be used for arcana

Overview:

General comments. Loved it! I really like how you wrote this. It's so powerfully written, the way that you've shaped your writing style for this thread.
Story A powerful story, of a boy being taken in and given a name. I can't wait to see what happens between then and now - great stuff!
Structure No worries, this thread illustrates an awesome ability to write beautifully. Great stuff!

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