The cart was pretty much loaded by the time I got my trunk downstairs. I double checked the room to make sure I hadn't left anything behind after dragging my trunk into the hall, then one of the porters came and helped me. I had to get on the other side of it, though. We wound the thing down the main stairwell, and through the front office door. He went out the Halfling door by mistake, so I had to duck a little going through, but I managed it. By the time we had gotten out into the yard, things had quieted down a bit. Mr. Boflin took my end of the trunk, and they loaded it onto the wagon. It nearly tipped, and I heard a jingling clatter from the strong box. Mrs. Boflin was hugging her daughter tightly, wishing her goodbye. Dad came up and loudly told me we were going. He asked me, in public(!) if I had used the bathroom. I was so embarrassed I prayed to Hattori to open up the ground beneath me like the long-suffering heroine in that story. Of course, I'm not marrying an orc or anything, but the rules apply. I was waiting to say my farewells to Mr. and. Mrs Boflin when Tarry came up and tapped me, quickly and nervously, on the back of my elbow. I think he would have liked to have done me shoulder, but he couldn't reach it. He stood there silently, for a moment, looking at the ground. I thought he was being unusually shy. Finally, he mumbled what he had to say.
“I'm real sorry about yesterday. Uh, You got hurt, and it was my fault.” He said it to the dirt, but I'm sure it was meant for me.
“Don't worry about it. It's our secret.” I bent down. “But you're going to have to stop going off on your own like that. Your sister isn't going to be here to protect you, and she'll worry.” It felt weird talking like this to someone my own age. Maybe I shouldn't have said it that way, because he looked up at me fierce eyes.
“You don't get it. I'm not just running off. I'm being called to battle. It's hard to say how, I just know that I have to sometimes. The town's in danger! I just want to save everyone, but then my vision always goes red, and... and... he couldn't go any further. He broke down sobbing and I hugged him close. He was the same as me, and I didn't know what to say to him. I was going to learn about myself, but what would happen to him? Without his sister to protect and look after him, would they lock him up? I knelt down and let him cry on my shoulder. I knew everyone was watching us, but I whispered in his ear.
“You have a wonderful gift, Tarry. I saw it yesterday. But you owe it to everyone you care about not to let it consume you. Train, and study, and grow stronger. When your family really needs you, be ready.” I don't know why I said that, but it felt like the right thing to say. Tarry stopped crying and reached into his pocket. I thought he was going to pull out that fist of his, but instead, he came out with a long silvery chain. At the end, was a large pendant, about an inch tall, in the shape of a bird in flight. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. He pressed it quickly into my hand and whispered back in my ear.
“You saved my life with your magic, Lizeth. I found this in the ruins, but I want you to have it. When you come back, you'll see how much stronger I've gotten.” His eyes were still wet, but he broke into a wide grin. I stuffed the necklace into my pocket before anyone else could see. We broke the hug, and we both got on with our goodbyes. Gloria was watching me from the cart. I climbed into the back and wedged myself between her and the cart.
“What did Tarry give to you, just now? I couldn't quite see.” She demanded. I was put back by her tone. Tarry was right, after all. Even if I didn't know quite what I did, or how exactly I did it, I saved our lives last night. The future danger of accidentally blowing myself up or shocking a friend pales compared to being torn to pieces by war-mad skeletons. I decided that until we settled out our feelings on what happened the day before, I wasn't going to trust her with the pendant, as much as I wanted to take it out and look at it again. It is my first real present from a boy, even if he's not human and still a child. He was quite impressive under the hill. He might turn out to be a dashing little hero, with the right encouragement.
“Oh, nothing just a bit of shiny string he picked up. You know how kids are.” I brushed her off, but she wasn't satisfied.
“Yeah, but Tarry has a habit of picking up dangerous things in the ruins. Once he brought back a broken wand, and nearly gassed the house. I just hope Mother can keep him inside now that I won't be there to watch him.” She looked at her family and brightened They were gathering. She started waving and shouting, but I couldn't bring myself to do the same. She though Tarry should be locked up. What did she think of me? I knew then that I couldn't trust her with any more of my secrets. I couldn't count her as a true friend. I patted my pocket, and felt the weight of the silver bird. Dad climbed into the front seat, and cracked the whip. We were off once again, but the sun felt cold. What if the mages all were like Gloria? What if I wasn't going to be taught, but imprisoned, or worse, put down like a dire rat? I shivered and watch the inn shrink away. Soon, we turned against the hill, and they were lost to view.