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Chapter Twenty Five:

The small home was located right on the edge of the city of the Tenth. The buildings were much more spread out at the top of the hills surrounding the valley. The home Navihm was leading them towards was so far away from it’s neighbours that it was able to have its own gardens and fruit trees. In the city proper, yards were considered a luxury and trees were unheard of. Rose could hear the laughter of children and friendly, mock-shouting in Genti. It sounded like a woman’s voice. Rose thought they were going to see a war hero named Conan, but this seemed more like a family home with toys strewn around the yard and the smell of something sweet baking in the air.

As they approached the door, it was flung open. Two small children came tumbling out, shouting delightedly. The smallest, who was leading the charge, plunged right into Navihm’s legs, knocking herself over. The other boy, about three years older than his sister who was now sprawled on the ground, pulled up just short of trampling  the small girl.

“Nai!” the older boy called over his shoulder. He shouted a few more things in rapid Genti to whomever was inside.
The girl, who was about three, was laying on the floor, resting on her elbows and staring up at Navihm. He smiled kindly and bent to help her up.

“My name is Enfeitar Navihm,” he introduced himself in Genti. “I'm here to see your father. Is he around?”

The girl blinked up at him and pointed towards the fields behind the house with her tiny fingers. As soon as Navihm looked away from her, she bolted past her brother into the cottage.

They entered close behind the two children. A woman with deep black skin and flour powdering her hands and dress came in from another room to greet them. She wasn't of Genti descent. Her children were talking to her rapidly over the top of one another. Rose couldn't see how the woman could understand what they were saying.

“You are here to see Conan?” she asked.

Navihm replied in Pershus, introducing himself and explaining why they were there.

“My husband will be back from work any minute,” she explained. “My name is Hana. These are my children, Jak, Remy and Lian.” She gestured towards to where the children sat on the floor staring at the intruders. Between Jak and Remy lay a small baby, wrapped in a blanket and cooing.  Hanna wiped the flour off her hands and picked up the baby, murmuring to her softly. Navihm looked over her shoulder at the baby, running a soft finger over the baby’s cheek. Lian grasped onto his finger and began sucking on it.

“She likes you,” noted Hana.

“Something smells divine. Have you been cooking all day, my love?” called a voice from outside the house. “I thought I told you to take it easy, you just had a baby and…”

The voice trailed off as Conan entered and saw the visitors.

“Good afternoon,” he greeted them uncertainty. Navihm noted that he walked with a distinct limp. He knew that he’d injured his leg in battle some years ago. It must be a permanent injury, uncommon in Genticus because of the magical healing talents of the residents. Still, not everything could be healed.

“Salve, Enfeitar Conan,” said Navihm. “I am Enfeitar Navihm. I was hoping to speak to you on behalf of Rei Amias of the First and Rei Levi of the Tenth. This is Regina Kaia of the First and Ducherina Elspeth Rosaline Leilani II of Ianterra.” He gestured to the two girls in turn and Enfeitar Conan bowed to each.

“Of course, Enfeitar.” Conan gestured for him to take a seat.

“I insist you all stay for dinner,” said Hana.

“It would be my pleasure to help you prepare it,” offered Kaia. “I love to cook and it has been so long since I have been able to do so.”

“Thank you, Regina,” Hana said, smiling broadly at the princess.

“Please, call me Kaia.”

“Perhaps it is best we give the men some privacy,” suggested Hana, moving towards the kitchen. Navihm, loath to force his finger from the grasp of the tiny baby, followed her for a few steps.

“May I?” He asked when Hana noticed him shadowing her. She smiled gently.

“Of course.” She handed him Lian. The huge Genti’s arms swallowed the little newborn, but he cradled her softly, taking care with her head. Hana left with the two girls and her children, leaving the men seated in the cottage’s small exedrium.

“You are aware of the extra soldiers stationed at the Tenth,” said Navihm. It was not a question, Navihm knew that this would not have gone unnoticed to a seasoned veteran, but Conan nodded anyway.

“There is to be an attack on the Tenth within two months,” Navihm continued, deadly serious. “It has been foretold by the great Prophet Healani of the First. The outcome of this battle between Genticus and Somal will determine the fate of the entire continent.”


“You are here to recruit me.” This wasn't a question. Navihm nodded. “I have left the life of a soldier behind me, son. I am old and I have a young wife and children whom I love too dearly to get myself slaughtered in a senseless war.”





Bonus:

Conan has almost zero magic. He comes from a long line of farmers who were absolutely useless mages. He has a very slight instinctive ability to sense others emotions but other than that, his slight magic has almost no practical applications.

His father was the same, (as well as all the men on his father's side) and Conan in the first in his line to earn more than one bead, let alone become an Enfeitar.

Conan's father died when he was still at war in Pershus. He didn't attend the funeral.

Next bonus will be about Hana and Conan ;)
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Birdie42

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