Chapter 34: Finding Familiars
Edwin was in the back of the caravan with Ly, busy playing Wizard in the Dungeon. At the moment they were having an argument.
“How can you be a level twenty already?”
“Well how can you be a level forty?”
“I’ve been playing this game since I was a child! That was long before you were even a twinkle in your great-grandmother’s eye!”
“Well I’ve been playing since I was a kid. You think that just because I started a new game, I should start all over?”
“Well I think since you won the last game you should start over!”
“Like I would re-level myself just because I won the first in the series! (What kind of idiots would do that!)
“Well, I’ve never beaten the game but I would take the levels away.”
“You would willingly take away levels because you completed the first game? (Ridiculous!)
“Well, that’s what the game makers wanted you to start over.”
“It’s idiotic! (Never would I start over!)”
“Well, okay, but I’m going to kick your ass, coño.”
“We will see. (Foolish Drow, I will conquer you!) He exclaimed.
Jaheira was minding the fire that was cooking the rabbits she had caught for dinner. They were outside of the city. Just far away enough that no one would notice them. She sat besides Anni. They had found the young half elf in the woods, sleeping in the light, with a smile on her face. A rather silly smile. One she still wore. Anni looked content, sitting next to her as she stared at her diary. She was trying to draw something, but it looked rather like stick figures. In their group, Edwin was the talent with the arts. Though she would have to disagree with his fashion sense and mostly everything else he did. She wondered if Edwin awaking had anything to do with that smile that was on the girl’s face. That brought another thought to her mind.
“Anni, do you know what day today is?”
“It’s the eighth of Eleint.”
“And?” Anni went about doing her sketch.
“Today is your birthday... Your twenty-fourth.”
“Is it? I don’t think it’s my real birthday. I think today is just the birthday that Gorion gave me. As much as I treasure it, without Gorion, it’s pointless. I don’t think about it anymore.” Anni said solemnly.
“As little as it means to you, I have a present for you. Something Gorion wanted you to have.” The druid held out a scroll. Anni stored her book back in her bag and looked at the scroll.
“You never let me have one of these!” She said astonished.
“Gorion want to wait until you were more grown up, I think you’ve reach that time.” Jaheira received a big hug from the girl.
“Off! Off!” The druid laughed as she pushed the girl away.
“Let’s cast this!” Jaheira chuckled, all the time aware of Ly and Edwin arguing in the back of the caravan. Anni jumped up and walked a few feet away all the while the druid watched with some amusement. Anni held the scroll up and studied it for a moment before she started the incantation. The wind picked up, clouds covered the moon, lighting crackled in the distance and thunder rolled. She read the scroll and it turn to dust. The skies cleared and light shone down on the meadow they were resting. “Did I do something wrong?” Anna asked, disappointed.
“Look behind you!” Jaheira jumped down and stared. Turning Anni was shocked to find a winter wolf there. It was massive, it’s shoulder almost was as tall as her and it was long. So shocked she let out a little scream and hid behind Jaheira.
-Scared you?- It asked.
“Yes! Don’t do that!” Anni chided.
-Sorry.- It chuckled.
“Are you my familiar?” Anni asked as she walked towards it.
“Oh.” There was a thud and screaming from inside the caravan and Edwin and Ly falling out. They backed away from it and out slid a snake. A big snake. A really big snake. It was only half way out of the caravan and it already measured thirteen feet. It was a large amelanistic reticulated python, the gold pattern was replaced with bright lemon yellow, the gray areas with white, and the black areas with an almost translucent lavender color. Anni knew at once who and what this snake was. “Taltos!” She said with joy. “You survived my death, didn’t you? You’ve grown since I’ve seen you.”
-Of course I did. I’m meant to live no matter what happens. I’ve been Bhaal’s loyal subject since you passed... You do not plan on dying again, do you?-
“No, of course not. How did you...?”
-I was created by Lord Myrkul. I die but can be reborn. If only you didn’t have to wait for your father to do the same for you.-
“What is that thing! It’s fucking huge!” Ly said as she hid behind the loin clothed Edwin. They didn’t have any clothes to fit him, and it wasn’t like he didn’t mind showing off his body.
“It’s a snake. A rather large one. And heavy, it landed on my lap. (Talk about having a snake between your legs.)”
“I can see that!” Ly shrieked as it moved.
“Taltos? Can you still change your size? Something smaller, perhaps?” Anni asked.
“Anni, if that is your familiar, why is that wolf not attacking us?” Jaheira asked.
-Hunt for drow. Found her!-
“Aww, come on Nanook, you wouldn’t kill me now would you?” Ly said as she started to back away.
-Not kill, just maim.-
“Come on Nanook, he’s safe! He’ll be fine!” The wolf howled and started closer to come closer.
“Nanook? Can you not hurt her? She’s a friend.” Anni said as she stood in the wolf’s path.
-Her? All she does is backstab.- The wolf growled.
“Come on, you know that Yuri’s my best mate! I only did what I was told. And I had to get you away or they might have executed him. But you found your way back didn’t you?” Ly laughed sheepishly.
-Don’t like the plan. Want Young Master back.-
“Don’t worry, we’ll all be going there soon.”
-Next time I bite your head off.- The wolf laid down away from the fire and glared at the drow.
“Holy shit, how big is this snake?” She said as more of the snake came out.
-I am twenty seven feet long and weigh two hundred and seventy five pounds.-
“How do you propose that we take either of you with us? (Must stay away from the snake... or is the wolf more dangerous?)
“Taltos, if you please?” Anni said with some amusement as she walked over to the snake. He lifted up and started to shrink as he rose. He was wrapped around Anni’s shoulder at a mere three feet. “See, he’s a good snake. He comes quite handy at times.” Taltos’ pink tongue slithered out as he stared at the Red Wizard. She nodded her head in response to the snake. “Don’t tell, it could ruin everything.” She whispered. The snake hissed. “Taltos, I’m warning you. I’ll put you in a box. With spiders!” She threatened. The snake passed out. She sighed and went back to the fire and sat down.
“Why does she get a familiar and I do not!? (The unfairness!) Edwin yelled.
“Calm yourself Edwin. I have one for you too.” Jaheira chuckled. He strolled over and took the scroll.
“It’s not as if I need a familiar, it will only compliment my power. (Now for something more powerful than the girl.)” He read the scroll by the fire light and it crumbled. They all heard a screeching chirping. Edwin looked pale. “No, this is impossible. (NO!!!! How could this be?).”
“What is it Edwin? Is there a problem?” Anni asked when he buried his face in his hands.
“It’s called Jack and it wants to know where all the rum has gone.”
Misery & Happiness 34
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