Year 950, day 130, Elfen territory, Forest of birds, 10h.
— The sun is hot today. — Says Roldi looking at the sky, with his big hand in front of his eyes.
Dressed in an old tunic, torn at the ends, the strong gray-haired man with long wavy hair attentively carries a wooden bucket through a vivid forest. He continues to walk patiently, and even with many leaves on the ground, each step of him is quieter than the other, just the sound of the waterfall in the background.
On this sunny day, the man with the short beard stares at the river for a while, with an irritated countenance.
"Today I really have to eat fish ..."
He takes off his tunic and jumps into the river without any weapon. His body is large and muscular, much larger than any ordinary human, with several scars of small scattered cuts and a gigantic, deep frontal scar that runs from the beginning of the right thigh to his right shoulder, in addition to another deep, thin scar , on your forearm.
Swimming faster than the fish, he takes them one by one with his own hands and in less than a few minutes, you fill your bucket with nine of them and get out of the water with a big smile on your face and no apparent fatigue.
So far, it was just another normal morning. While putting on his clothes, he looks up at something strange upstream. For some reason, that caught his attention. Stroking his short beard, he looks more closely and realizes that "that" is actually a child.
Desperate he throws himself into the water with all his speed. You take the child and take him to a rock by the river, placing the boy on the ground very carefully and lightly. He puts his hands on the boy's chest and begins to revive him. After a few seconds, the child spits some water in a strong cough and continues to sleep.
"How thin and pale he is! He must not have eaten in days."
Now completely soaked, he picks the boy up and takes him towards his cabin. While carrying the boy in his arms, the child with short dark hair finally opens his eyes slowly. Looking straight into the eyes of the man holding him, he smiles with the little strength he has left and goes back to sleep.
On the way to his hut, Roldi tries hard not to wake the boy. The wind hitting the large and bulky trees in the forest, together with the great variety of birds in the place, leaves the atmosphere more than relaxing.
— We are finally arriving ... I need to prepare the food for the boy, as soon as he gets better I take him to his family.
After walking half an hour, Roldi and the child arrive at his hut — made entirely of rough wood, looking more like a box, just a door and a window — he slowly puts the boy on his bed, takes off his wet black clothes of the boy and replaces it with a simple tunic of cloth, old and blue, not dirty, just old. After changing for a similar outfit to the previous one, the forty-year-old man takes the fish to the wooden table and begins to prepare them with a knife.
With everything ready, Roldi lights the fire in front of the hut and begins to heat his food. Meanwhile, he lies down on the lawn and decides to take a nap.
The boy wakes up getting up very slowly, extremely weak. His blue eyes are almost closing with tiredness and yet, he keeps walking and looking, running his hand over every detail of the hut, the old table with many cut marks, the wooden window, the bed on the floor, the candle side of the bed, and finally, he realizes that he has another outfit, clean and comfortable. He walks towards the exit, following the smell of the food.
"Someone saved me..."
— Woke up boy? I thought I would never get up! Come here, lie down too! The fish will be ready soon. — Says Roldi lying on the lawn, with a big smile.
The boy lies down beside his savior, scratching his eyes from sleep. The two are silent for a few minutes, just enjoying the pleasant weather. Taking advantage of the moment, the child goes back to sleep.
While gently shaking the boy's shoulder, the man says:
— Wake up boy! The food is ready, you need to eat.
The first thing that appears in your eyes when you wake up, is Roldi holding his wooden plate with a beautiful grilled fish. He delivers the food to the boy and asks:
— What's your name boy?
The boy is silent. With a confused face he replies:
— I don't remember ... What's your name, Mr. Gray! — Says the boy with a smile.
The nameless child gives in to hunger and begins to eat even though it is very hot. From the first bite, his entire face, which before appeared to be tired and weak, is now happy and alive. He continues to eat without stopping, and before Roldi can say anything, he says:
— One more fish please!
He hands her one more and the child continues to eat without stopping, without cutlery or the like.
— My name is Roldi. Don't you remember your name? Remember where your home is or at least your city?
The boy thinks a lot and answers him puzzled:
— I don't really remember ..
— What's the last thing you remember?
— I was in the forest very hungry, then I went ... to drink water! So I woke up here.
— Do you know your age at least boy?
"He's probably seven years old."
— No ... — Says the boy lowering his head with a sad look.
"I think I better stop asking questions, he is still very weak, maybe he will remember when he gets better ..."
Ruffling the boy's hair, he says:
— Well, there's nothing to do, let's just eat in the meantime!
The two of them sitting on the grass, side by side eating their fish; the sunlight is still very strong and only the sound of cracking wood burning in the background.
— Boy, it makes me anxious not to call you by a name ... Shall we think of one?
Apparently, that was all the boy needed. The smiling boy jumps up and replies:
— Let's go!
— What do you think of the name ... Anthony? — Asks Roldi.
Laughing a lot, the boy replies:
— Sorry Roldi, I didn't like it!
— How about Larkin? Ah, this is a good one, don't you think? — Question Roldi extremely excited by the idea.
Placing his hand on Roldi's shoulder, holding on with laughter, the boy replies:
— Roldi ... You are very bad at this!
After an hour, many names and many laughs ..
— Boy, this is my last attempt! What do you think of Kalui? — Says Roldi while laughing.
— Well, of all, this was the least worst. — Answered the boy.
Lying on the lawn, the boy says:
— I'm going to sleep a bit longer.
— It's a boy, that's a great idea.
The sky is beginning to rise, the sun is about to set. The wind and cold increase moderately, the leaves of the big trees swing a lot. Roldi stands up with extreme laziness. He searches inside his hut among the pile of clothes for a blanket for the boy.
When covering the boy, a silhouette in the forest draws his attention. Roldi is serious, his large and extremely strong body stiffens, his skin seems to harden, even reflecting the moonlight a little. The shadow begins to take shape, slowly emerging from the gloom of the tall forest — a tall, strong body, like Roldi's, but a little thinner; long hair, just like Roldi's. — The silhouette finally approaches the light, showing a man wearing white mesh armor close to the body from head to toe, a white vest with green edges, with the emblem of a closed yellow fist. The stranger continues walking towards him. Roldi gets up with open arms, with a surprised and at the same time cheerful face, and says:
— As always, you don't make sense, soon you, to be sneaky out of the darkness! It almost kills me from the heart, Enion!
— Oh! And you as always ... eating!
— What brings you here? Came back earlier than usual! Don't tell me you miss it already? I know, you love me! ���� Says Roldi walking towards Enion.
Roldi takes his arm.
— First of all, sit down, eat with us!
Enion turns his face to the side and looks deep into Roldi's eyes.
"With us? Don't tell me that he brought someone here?"
He looks more closely at the hut and notices the child sleeping by the fire.
— Roldi, we need to talk. — Enion says in a serious tone.
With joy, he replies:
— Food first, problems later! Sit down!
Enion remains tense, but respectfully accepts to eat willingly.
— Ah! I hope you understood that when I said "sit down" I meant the floor! — Says Roldi laughing out loud.
The two head towards the fire and sit near Kalui.
— So ... Do I speak first or do you speak? — Enion asks.
— You can start! This is definitely not good news.
The atmosphere between the two becomes more serious. Enion raises his arm, points to the northwest and says:
— They're close.
"Dramatic as always ..."thinks Roldi.
— Aren't you going to eat? When the boy wakes up, he'll eat the rest alone if he leaves.
— Speaking of him, who is this boy? He's very thin! Also, why did you bring someone here?
Enion and Roldi catch a fish from the campfire.
— He was passed out in the river, floating. One hour he was going to arrive at the waterfall, I had to rescue him. Before you ask me, I didn't take him to town, but I intend to take him as soon as he remembers something. He apparently has no memory of anything, I already asked his name, where he lives, but he doesn't know anything. We chose a name for him, to have something to call him.
— Have you taken him to any of the nearby villages? — Enion asks.
— Not yet, he was too weak. It still is, actually. Anyway Enion, let's eat.
— Roldi, returning to the subject. The army is coming to this city now, you better leave as soon as possible. Jehan wanted to come this time, but he had to stay in the army.
— Thanks for coming to let me know. I intend to leave as soon as I find the boy's family.
— I understand...
— Have you come home since the last time? You must be homesick! — He puts his hand on Enion's shoulder, smiling. Just wanting to comfort an old friend. But even with a smile, his look is sad.
Enion hugs him with watery eyes as he says:
— Not yet, but I know who misses you most!
— I'm fine. Do not worry. But how's Mila doing?
— She is fine! Your brother is not being a king as bad as we think. Stopping to think, not much has changed. Now that the troops have arrived at the tip of the continent, it is time to head towards our home. I'll see you soon.
Roldi gets up, wiping away his few tears.
— Sorry to mention that. Sometimes I want to go back, face everything and what happened has happened, but that would be the same as throwing all our effort up until now in the trash. Sorry, I don't even know why I'm saying this hahaha, it's not good for me or for you. Eat one more, only three left.
While the two friends ate in silence, the boy wakes up rubbing his eyes, with the genuine dented face of someone who was sleeping. He instantly gets up and catches another fish, without even realizing that there is now another person near him. He sits down again and starts eating with his eyes closed. Roldi and Enion make sure not to laugh, watching the boy's lack of concern.
— So boy, what's your name? — Enion asks.
The fragile boy gives a little jump of fright.
"When did he get here? He also has green eyes, just like Roldi ...",thinks Kalui.
He looks at Roldi and replies:
Enion crouches, getting very close to the boy.
— Oh, so, Kalui, do you want to play with me?
The boy's eyes shine like never before.
— Let's go! What's the joke?
"I feel lighter. I don't think I have eaten properly"thinks Roldi.
"Strange feeling ...", thinks Enion.
— Let's play "What do you see !?". This game works like this: I speak the name of something or place, and you answer the first thing that comes to your mind, both speaking and demonstrating. Understood?
"Maybe I can get him to remember something."
— The first thing is: Food. Without being fish!
Without thinking and with great excitement, he answers it.
"Honey ... Honey is a very expensive thing in any empire, so he may have belonged to a wealthy family or he ate it once and never forgot it. I think the second option is more likely. Besides, I know now that you remember something. This game was already more productive than I imagined. I hope it stays that way. " , thinks Enion.
"Enion as always, extremely intelligent and handles children well. It's strange, since he is much more serious than me ... What a jealousy!"
— I remember! I remember the honey! I remember how I always ask my mom! I remember ...
Before he can continue, Kalui puts his hands on his head with wide eyes. At that moment, all he felt was despair. He lets out a cry as he squeezes his own head and starts to cry.
Roldi puts his hand on the boy's head, giving him a pat, he says:
— Are you okay, boy! Calm down, everything will be fine! Calm down, talk to us.
After a few seconds of crying, he passes out.
Roldi and Enion at the same time, running up to help the child. Roldi picks him up and puts him on the bed inside the cabin.
— What was that Enion !? What happened to him?
— I don't know either, but whatever he tried to remember, we better not ask again. We already know that he has a mother, who gave him honey, so this child's family has money. You have a place to start.
— We can only wait. — Says Roldi.
The two wait sitting next to Kalui. Enion carefully examines the boy's head, looking for any injuries, but finds nothing.
"I don't know if I'm happy or sad that I didn't find any wounds on his head ... What happened to just memories causing you to pass out? He's just a child! Were there too many memories to remember at once? Or just a memory too bad?", thinks Enion.
— What will we do when he wakes up? Pretend nothing happened and wait for someone to come looking for him or try to find out more? —Roldi asks, scared.
— I think the best thing to do is to wait for him to remember naturally. I will be leaving tonight. Shall we cheer him up a little before I leave? The last time I came to update you on the army, we didn't dispute it.
While the two talked, Kalui quickly wakes up, but this time he was not sleepy, just confused.
— Did I sleep again? My head hurts. Roldi, what happened?
Roldi crouches beside the boy and, offering him some water, says.
— Kalui, come watch our dispute! It will be fun!
The three leave the cabin. Kalui sits by the fire. Roldi and Enion stand upright facing each other. Even without understanding, the boy feels that the climate is more intense and gets excited about it.
Enion takes off almost all of his clothes, leaving only his underwear. His large scar on his abdomen shows, as if a spear had passed through him.
Roldi and Enion adjust their posture, putting their right leg back, lifting their arms forward and interlacing their hands, preparing to push.
— Can I start, Roldi?
— Of course! First the elders.
Enion's anxious smile fades slowly. Your body starts to grow, your muscles change, your head gets bigger; claws grow in place of your nails, your teeth turn into fangs, hair is born all over your body slowly. His posture is no longer that of a human being, his body is deformed and continues to change and grow. When its size reaches three meters, it stops changing.
Kalui is startled, wide-eyed, not understanding what is happening. Roldi looks at the boy and says:
— Boy, this is a bear, but a little bigger than normal.
— He's in a diaper! — Kalui shouts, rolling from side to side on the floor, laughing a lot.
Roldi and Enion start to laugh too.
The bear says in a voice that is thick and difficult to understand, as if it has a stuck tongue:
— Your turn, Roldi!
The boy stops laughing and watches carefully what is going to happen.
Roldi now needs to look up if he wants to look Enion in the eye.
— Do you really think I'm rusty? — Says Roldi, with a smile on his face. — My turn.
He goes from a laugh to a focused face. As he holds Enion's big paws, his skin hardens, his hair stiffens, his wavy gray hair, is now hard as rock.
"What's going on? I thought he would become an animal too ... How do you two do that?", thinks Kalui.
— Enion, shall we start at three? I tell.
"What is going to start?", reflected the child.
— One two. Three!
The bear, three meters tall, puts all his strength down, his weight on Roldi is so big, that the gray-haired lord's leg enters the earth up to the knee!
"It looks like he just strengthened his stamina. As usual, he starts out slow.", thinks Enion.
— I don't like being buried, Enion.
Veins start to appear all over your rigid body, your skin is slightly red.
"Now, it's my turn to force myself."thinks Roldi.
With almost half of his leg sunk in the ground, Roldi does not appear to be concerned. He easily begins to push Enion backwards, forming a ditch in the ground with his legs sunk. The bear adds even more strength, letting out a loud roar with his effort. This extra effort has no effect, and it is being pushed back faster and faster. After being pushed back six steps, they release their hands and Roldi raises his arms in celebration.
"Yeah ... I don't think he's really rusty! As always, Roldi is the strongest person I know."
— You are much stronger than the last time, Enion. Maybe in 300 years you will defeat me! Haha ha!
"Too bad we are no more than 150 ...", thinks Enion.
The bear's hair starts to fall in chains, his whole body returns to normal in a matter of seconds. Enion puts on his mail armor and says as he hugs him with a smile:
— Congratulations Roldi, I missed you. It always reminds me of our childhood hahaha! You know that we will always love you, right brother? — He says with his eyes full of water.
Roldi hugs him back in silence, with a sad look. The two calm down and sit in front of the cabin.
— So Kalui, what did you think? — The gray-haired man asks as he sits down.
The boy is agitated, barely able to contain himself. His smile and look only show curiosity and anxiety.
— You are amazing! How did you beat such a big animal?
"Yeah, he doesn't really know anything ... At least he looks fine."thinks Roldi.
Enion interrupts the conversation with something that has puzzled him for some time:
— Kalui, what is your element?