Short bit of fanfic for the new Numenera Kickstarter. #Numenera2
I worked in the garden in front of the house. A sense of home growing within me as I worked the rich loamy drit. With a smile, I pulled another bulb from the sack on my right. I acquired the young plants while exploring in the Beyond and I was eager to get them into the ground, now that I had a home. I turned it over in my hands examining it. Until that moment, I had not noticed how much the roots of my mystery plant resembled little purplish brains.
As I dropped the bulb into the hole I’d just dug, Eda touched my arm. The girl was maybe six and her family lived two doors down from the cottage I’d bought here in Ellomyr. Her mother, Val asked me to watch her daughter while she went down to the market. While I gardened Eda sat chattering local gossip and complaining that her father wouldn’t let her have a seskii, even though Lillis got one for her nameday and Eda’s was coming up in just two weeks.
Again, Eda’s small finger traced across the one of the scars on my arms. Hundreds if not thousands of the tiny things covered my hands, arms, and legs. Eda frowned as she poked a particularly broad scar. “Why did you fight? You obviously weren’t good at it.” She stressed the word “obviously” in a way that simultaneously made me want to hug the precocious child and hide from her too accurate judgement of my abilities. I’ve seen my share of fighting and I’m just not very good at it. However, these scars weren’t from battles lost but rather a childhood spent scavenging the Glass Forest for food and numenera.
Haima on the other hand is very good at fighting; I glanced towards my other companion leaning against a nearby tree. Haima’s head crest bristled with suppressed irritation. I’m not sure why she hovers so close all the time, especially while I garden or tinker. It can’t be easy to always be bored to the point of aggravation. Haima regards my activities when we’re not travelling or exploring with complete disdain. Frankly, I suspect that Haima means to kill me should I “transgress” again unrestrained. I suppressed an involuntary shudder of dread and the urge to check the chronometer in my belt pouch. Most days however, the tall varjellan just acts as my bodyguard.
I turned my attention back to Eda, “Actually, these aren’t from fighting.” I said as I dug another hole in the soil with my bare hands. “My scars come from the shards of the trees and leaves of the forest near where I grew up.”
“Shards?” She wrinkled her brow in disbelief.
“Our trees were all organic glass and like other glass, the trees were prone to shatter. Especially during the wind storms.” I decided not to elaborate on the horrors of being caught out in the forest during a slash-storm when the wind tears through the trees like enraged raster. “It probably would have been safer to stay out of the forest but amazing treasures could be found hidden in the shard drifts that banked in the hollows of the land and at the bases of the trees.”
“Didn’t you have gloves?”
“Yes but the glass is sharp and strong. Some shards are strong enough to cut through all but the best gloves and we were poor. Plus some of the shards were small enough to work into your gloves from the cuffs.” I smiled, “Would you like to see a leaf from my forest?” I reached around my neck and pulled a leather-corded talisman from beneath my shirt.
Floating magically inside a ring of black stone was a single translucent eight-point leaf. “My good luck charm. It reminds me where I’m from. The leaf is more fragile than the shards of bark but still plenty dangerous.” I explained. Eda stared transfixed, as the prismatic color of refracted sunlight glinted through the slowly rotating charm.
The spell was broken when Eda’s mother’s voice rang out in the distance “Eeeedaaah!” Then once she was sure she had her daughter’s attention Val added, “help me inside!”
“I gotta go.” She said with uncharacteristic solemnity as I dropped the talisman back under my shirt.
With Eda gone I turned my full attention on my planting, I patted six more lightly fragrant bulbs into the soil. I looked down on the small patch garden I’d started since arriving in Ellomyr. It wasn’t much to look at but the dark earth held a great deal of pride and promise. The bulbs represented an exciting bio-numenera discovery; I wasn’t certain what that discovery would be yet.
I grinned imagining the possibilities then nearly jumped out of my skin when Haima spoke in my ear. I had not heard her approach. “Congratulations, it’s a patch of drit. How long are you planning on staying here?”
“I like Ellomyr, the people are nice, it has that Trilling Shard – I’d like to get a closer look at that, and I bought a house with a garden,” I answered with a grin. She grunted, clearly dissatisfied with my response. Perturbed I snapped back, “You know, you can go Haima. You don’t need to wait with me.”
She took no offense from the sharpness of my reply and responded in quiet but severe tone. “What happens if you transgress without being properly secured? I won’t have it. You are dangerous no matter how noble your intent with this drit.” She waved dismissively at my garden.
“Haima, the discovery is worth—“
She cut me off with a hard look. “You hired me. With good reason. I’ll stay.”