He looked up from his book to see the waif. Capri, he reminded himself. “Miss Donnelly,” he nodded. “I am sorry for your loss.”
“Thanks.” She had to be hearing that over and over, and it showed. There was a numbness there.
She was so young.
“I heard that you helped a lot. That you saved a lot of people.”
“In a way, I suppose. I wasn’t physically out there fighting, you know.”
“Fenris says that you were like a switchboard, though. That you helped relay commands all over town. That you helped coordinate the Kirayth.”
“That is what I do.”
“Did you feel my parents die?” The numb look was gone now, replaced by an edge in her eyes, a tension in her posture.
He shook his head. “I did not. The only people I felt were of the Kirayth.”
“Oh.” She relaxed. “Good. I – no one should have to feel that.”
“You felt it, did you not?”
She looked down, biting her lip and struggling to keep her voice steady. “I felt it and I saw it, both at once.”
“You may wish to speak to your godfather of this.”
“I may.” She looked up. “But you’ve felt people die, too.”
“I have. And I will listen if you wish to speak. But your godfather-“
“I’m not a little kid anymore, Telenias.”
“Not after that night, Miss Donnelly. No.”
She nodded almost imperceptibly. “No. Thank you. A lot of the guys here think I’m a baby. But I’m not.” She sighed. “I think that I might have to stay here for a long time. So I’m just, I don’t know, wandering around and seeing who’s who around here. Who treats me like a baby and who doesn’t, I guess.”
He nodded. “I can see how that would be important. Well – you have your kiri’toth and your godfather. And you have me. And?”
“Not many others, so far.”
“Ah. I am sorry.”
She shrugged. “Mom always told me that, at our height, that’s always going to be a problem. She – she always looked way younger than she was. And I will, too. So. It’s a matter of seeing who sees the brain as well as the body, she would say.”
“Do keep in mind that many people see all thirteen-year-olds as children – because most thirteen-year-olds are. It is not a judgment on you, when they do not bother to see. You may wish to save these evaluations for later in life.”
She nodded, then looked up at him sharply. “Why are you called ‘the Telenias’?”
“I know that ‘Telenias’ isn’t your first name. And I know people call some people by their last name. Like Halloran. But people call you ‘the Telenias’. Why?”
“Ah.” He stroked his wrist; his shirt covered the tattoo. Teneo casiens. “How much do you know about the Fall?”
She shrugged. “We lived in a utopia, and we were immortal and really strong. Then something really bad happened, and the gods took away paradise and immortality and made us weaker.”
“Do you remember what the ‘something really bad’ was?”
“No – but Mom said that no one did.”
Her eyes widened. “Tell me!”
He shook his head. “I cannot. This is what it is to be the Telenias – knowing. Holding the memory. And being the only one to do so.”
She was speechless for a moment, arms wrapped around knees… then tentatively asked, “Does it hurt?”
He gave a short laugh, and she blushed. “No, Capri, I am not mocking you. I have just… never heard it put that way.” He looked out the window at the busy street. “All of them – all of you – you have no idea what life was like before the Fall. And no idea what your ancestors did. There are so many things… imagine that you are reading a book with its first two chapters missing.” He shrugged. “I have the whole book.”
“Please tell me.”
“I cannot. I have sworn an oath.”
“Why do you have to remember, if you can’t tell anyone? What’s the use?”
“If we forget history, we are doomed to repeat it. It is my job – and the job of my mentor, Martin – to remember. One day, we may be called upon to reveal all. This is not that day.”
“When you can tell – will you tell me?”
He regarded her closely, this bright and determined girl. “Yes. I will tell you.”
Still holding at $2,666.52 - can we get to $3,000?
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I'm using another repost card, because I couldn't think of a way to address the Telenias's tattoo.
* wired_lizard is blogging for The Heifer Project: “I will be blogging to benefit Heifer Project International, a charity that my family and I have been involved in for years. Heifer Project is the ultimate manifestation of the 'teach a man to fish' philosophy: rather than handing out food to poor families in need, they hand out livestock. Families are educated in caring for their animals. Milk or eggs can form the basis of a family business. And when, as animals are wont, they start reproducing, the gift is passed on: the offspring are given to new families, spreading the benefits throughout the community.
I happen to think it's a marvelous idea. And, as many of my fellow bloggers (more later) are blogging to benefit local charities, I liked the idea of giving an international bent.” - Sponsor her!