Writer's comment : Over time, Little Vierna stories turned out to becoming more sporadic over time. I had Tnt and Growing Up going on then, breaking into the time left for little Vierna. Still, I enjoyed writing this tale and other Vierna's very much. Viconia is still very much worried about Vierna.
"Have you got your shawl?" Viconia asked a bit too sternly, even for her own liking.
"It's never cold here, momma!" Vierna protested, but a sharp look from her mother convinced her to simply accept her predicament.
"You never know," Viconia replied, "And do you have your bread?" She asked.
"There's good food at Clarissa's house, momma!" Vierna protested again, but it was received with yet another stern look from her mother.
Still, it would appear Vierna was ready to go. Even though it was quite warm, even in winter, her mother made her wear a thick coat over her tunic. She wore a small backpack containing drawing material, a stuffed animal, her pyjama's, but also a shawl, enough bread to last her for three days and, last but not least, a healing potion.
"Do you want me to walk you to Clarissa's?" Viconia asked hopefully.
"Momma," Vierna said with a pouty expression, "Clarissa's house is a stone-toss from the keep!"
"Come here..." Viconia said, bended to one knee and adjusted the lapels on Vierna's coat.
"If anything happens... Or if you want to come home," Viconia said with an uncharacteristic quiver in her voice, "Just remember that momma is waiting for you here..."
"Don't worry, momma," Vierna said, while noticing her mother's discomfort, "I'll be fine."
"I love you, little one," Viconia said while hugging Vierna, "I hope you'll have fun." She felt a pang of guilt as she realized she actually hoped her daughter wouldn't enjoy herself, so Vierna would come home this night, to sleep in her own bed.
"'Love you, momma." Vierna replied and returned the embrace. And then, she sped off.
Viconia sighed heavily when she saw her little adventurer walking towards the gate for her first, and, Viconia hoped, her last sleep-over.
"My, my," A cheerful voice called from behind her, "Aren't we the protective mother hen today?"
"Are you comparing me to a chicken, Imoen?" Viconia asked icily.
"From the way you're treating Vierna, hell yeah!" Imoen chuckled, "Come on, you're acting as if she'll be gone for a month! You make her wear a thick coat on this hot day, give her rations and even a healing potion! Gods, Vic, she's barely four hundred yards away!"
"I don't have to listen to this... Mind you, a lot can happen to a little girl. She needs her mother." Viconia snarled. Why did she ever agree to this sleep-over? She knew the answer, however. Vierna would be bugging her and pleading with her until she would no longer be able to withstand her daughter's pleading eyes.
"Come on... She'll be fine..." Imoen tried, as they both waved to Vierna as the girl looked back one more time.
"Don't coddle me!" Viconia snarled and walked past her, into the keep, leaving Imoen to think that this time, her words would not be enough to keep her Drow friend from brooding...
"Hi!" Vierna greeted as soon as the door to the farmhouse opened.
"Hello, Vierna," Risa told the tiny Drow as she opened the door for the girl, "Clarissa is in her room."
"Thanks!" Vierna replied, and prepared to make way to the attic of the house, which was Clarissa's domain.
"Why are you lugging around such a heavy backpack, Vierna?" Risa asked the tiny Drow in surprise
"Oh... Momma is just worried about me again, that's all..." Vierna called back as she ran up the stairs.
After running up the second flight of stairs which led to the attic, she popped her head over the opened hatch. The attic was reasonably large, but it was devided into two parts by a thin wooden wall. Behind Vierna was the storage area which was filled with chests and what-knots, while the part on the other side of the wall was a child's bedroom, filled with colorful drawings, some toys, some carpeting and a small bed. Vierna noticed Clarissa lying on her bed, engrossed in her drawing.
"HI!" Vierna yelled from the other side of the room. Clarissa yelped in surprise, grabbed her drawing and hid under her bed as quick as a flash.
"It's just me, Clar," Vierna giggled as she aproached the bed and popped her head under it.
"Oh... oh," Clarissa stammered, "I...I... I knew that... I just wanted to... to... find my BEAR! Yeah, my Bear!" She said as she showed Vierna a gnarly old dusty teddy, which had probably been lying untouched under Clarissa's bed for years.
"Really?" Vierna asked with a raised eyebrow.
In reply, Clarissa hugged the bear, making a cloud of dust explode from it.
"Did you also leave to get your bear when you ran from our ballgame at the river last week?" Vierna giggled.
"Urmm," Clarissa stammered, "Yeah! Love my bear!" She said while cradling the dusty bear again.
"Clarissa," Vierna giggled, "You ran from a bee!"
"I didn't want it to go all stingy on my arm..." Clarissa pouted. Vierna softened and hugged her friend briefly.
Recovered from her fright, Clarissa dropped the bear on the floor and showed Vierna the bed which her father had set up for her friend. It was a small cot, with a soft pillow and a warm blanket and stood at the footend of Clarissa's own bed. Vierna giggled as she pushed on top of the bed with her hands. This cot was very, very bouncy... Moreso than her own bed at the keep. A wicked idea formed in her head.
"You've been quiet this evening, Viconia." Karis remarked just before dinner, "You've been sitting here staring at the corridor leading to the entrance all evening now."
"Why didn't you come out to say goodbye to Vierna when she left for Clarissa's house, ssinsrig?" Viconia asked, almost an accusation.
"I was in the study, but she stopped by for a hug before she left." He replied.
"Oh..." Viconia said, but it seemed to Karis that her mind wasn't exactly on their conversation.
"Worried about Vierna?" He asked, but he was answered with his lover's silence.
"She'll be back tomorrow, love. And..." Karis hesitated for a moment, but then realized that what he was about to say, was something that had to be said to her. "And... You know she wants to be an adventurer more than anything else. So one day she will leave, hopefully fully grown up, but still. Someday she will leave to go adventuring and you know how dangerous a profession that is."
"I know..." Viconia replied, "And that doesn't mean I have to like it... But she's just a little girl now, unable to defend herself."
"Are you kidding?" Karis joked, "Have you ever seen her kick someone in the shins?"
"You know what I mean!" Viconia replied sharply.
"I do..." Karis replied, "But there's nothing we can do about it now. Come on, let's get something to eat."
As Viconia nodded and got up to join her lover into the dining hall, she wonder how she would ever cope with the fact that, one day, Vierna would leave the safety of the Keep for a very dangerous life indeed. No matter how strong and experienced an adventurer she would become, Vierna would always be a little girl in her eyes...
"Higher! Higher!" Clarissa yelled when jumping on her bed.
"I can jump higher than you!" Vierna shouted in return while she was bouncing up and down her cot.
After hearing the noise the two giggling girls were making, Clarissa's mother Rise walked up the stairs to the attic.
"Hey, girls!" She laughed, "Please don't break your beds, or you'll both have to sleep in the doghouse tonight!"
"Will the dog still be in it?" Vierna giggled.
"Sure..." Risa chuckled, "But it's suppertime now, so get downstairs."
"Okay, then." Clarissa's father told the two girls with a smile. "We've got a busy day tomorrow, so I'd like some peace and quiet tonight."
"Okay, I'll be quiet." Clarissa replied.
"And I'll be peace, then." Vierna giggled, while pulling her little stuffed dragon from her backpack and put it next to her pillow.
"Okay, okay," Clarissa's father chuckled, "There'll be plenty of fun to be had tomorrow morning, girls? Have you ever milked a cow, Vierna?"
"No," Vierna replied pensively, "But it sounds like fun!"
"That's the spirit. Goodnight, girls." He smiled as he blew out the candle.
"Can't sleep?" Karis asked Viconia, who was simply staring at the nightsky from the window from the bed. It had started to rain softly and drops of water ran down the windowpanes of the doors leading to the balcony of the master-bedroom.
"It's night..." Viconia replied softly, with a sleepy voice.
"Vierna?" Karis asked, but he already knew the answer.
"She's not at the keep, Karis... There are no soldiers to protect her, if... That Carsis Willowbrook is an idiot, ssinsrig! He'd be just the type to invite a vampire inside his home! And what about bandits... Those rivven slash each other's throats for a bit of coins... And what if a Troll stumbles upon..."
Sensing her distress, Karis embraced his love from behind and held on to her tightly. "You don't know that, Viconia. And she's out at night far more often that we know about, I think. Vierna is a very energetic little girl, remember?"
Viconia simply sighed and put her head on her pillow, wondering why time always seemed to crawl when you really, really want it pass quickly.
The sound of thunder filled the attic and Clarissa woke with a start. Seeing there was nothing to worry about she snuggled against her pillow again, listening to the rain blowing against her window. Again the sound of thunder crashed through the room, but this time Clarissa could hear a sharp intake of breath coming from her friend, who was sleeping at the footend of her bed. When Clarissa briefly looked over to her Drow friend, she noticed Vierna was shivering whenever the lightning struck. Forgetting her own fear of the dark, and going against her better judgment by risking to attract the evil monsters lurking in the shadows, Clarissa spoke up.
"Vierna?" She asked, "Are you awake?"
"No..." Was Vierna's soft reply.
"Are you afraid?" Clarissa asked.
"No!" Vierna said a little too sharply, "It's just that... It's... It's rumbling outside and momma isn't here to comfort me..."
'Lightning,' Viconia thought, 'It's thundering outside... Vierna has never been without her mother during a thunderstorm at night...'
Thinking back to all those times she had held her daughter during those violent storms, comforting Vierna, making her fears go away, she made her decision. She moved out of her lover's embrace, being careful not to wake him, silently took some clothes from her dresser and quietly slipped out of the bedroom.
"I always thought you weren't afraid of anything!" Clarissa said in amazement. "I... I know I'm a scaredy cat..." Clarissa stammered.
"Oh, Clarissa, I'm afraid of things too, but they're different things, I guess." Vierna replied softly.
"Aren't you afraid of the dark? I mean, you can't see anything! If it wasn't for your white hair, I couldn't even see you."
"I see pretty good in the dark, and I see you just fine. You're all red, you know!" Vierna giggled.
"Really?" Clarissa asked in amazement and checked if her skin was still the right color.
"Yeah, and the floor and beds and toys I can see perfectly well too! There's nothing to be afraid of in the dark!"
"But I always thought you weren't afraid of anything!" Clarissa told Vierna, "That's why I look up to you, Vierna!"
"I'm not afraid of bad people or monsters, because my momma and daddy aren't afraid of them either!" Vierna replied, "But I'm afraid of other things too, besides lightning..."
"Oh?" Clarissa asked, her curiosity piqued, "Like what?"
Vierna rolled to her side until she was facing the wall. "My... my daddy is going to live shorter than me and my momma... And so will my aunty Imoen, aunty Nalia, Uncle Minsc and Uncle Jan... And you and Rowen..." Vierna told her in a muffled and sad voice.
Noticing Vierna's sadness, Clarissa decided to change the subject. "Well, now that we're both awake, how about a game?" Clarissa suggested.
"Okay... But didn't you just say you can hardly see?"
"Sure, but I know where everything is! This is my own room."
"Okay, you start..."
"Eye Spy with my little eye... something beginning with... D!!"
Vierna looked around, but saw nothing which started with the letter D...
"Drow?" She tried and pointed a finger at herself, but Clarissa shook her head with a smile.
"Urmmm...Drawings?" Vierna tried, but again Clarissa shook her head.
"I give up," Vierna conceded after staring across the room.
"It's a Dragon!" Clarissa giggled.
"Clarissa, that's my STUFFED Dragon... That begins with an S!"
"It's a dragon, isn't it?"
"Well, yeah, but..."
"I win! I win!"
Again, thunder roared through the small room, but both children were too occupied to take notice. The next few minutes, the two girls sat on Clarissa's bed, talking out all types of things...
"What would the world look like if Cats would be called Dogs and Dogs would be called Cats?" Clarissa wondered.
"We'd have Cats chasing Dogs!" Vierna giggled.
"And what if Dragons would be called Paladins and Paladins would be called Dragons?" Clarissa challenged Vierna again.
"Well, then the Paladins would eat the Dragons whole!" Vierna laughed again.
Suddenly, a rattling sound could be heard from outside, followed by a muffled curse.
"Did you hear that?" Clarissa asked, "Someone just tripped over the path!"
Vierna recalled how the raised stones on the path leading to the front door of this house, had caused her to trip and scrape her knees many times. She smiled when she recalled the time when her momma almost went over to the house with a warhammer to personally ram the stones back into the earth after healing her knee for the forth time that day. But now it seemed someone was trying to break into her friend's house!
"Should we wake my dad?" Clarissa asked.
"No, he told us he wanted to get some sleep, so we can't!" Vierna replied. An eager glint flashed in her blue eyes as she got up from the bed. "We have to stop the burglar ourselves!"
And fear gripped Clarissa by the throat again...
The door to the kitchen flew open, revealing a shadowed from in a thick cloak, covering all of the burglar's features. Vierna gritted her teeth, and prepared to dash into the open. The burglar slowly moved into the kitchen, dripping water from the thick cloak. Vierna waited until the burglar passed the kitchen counter, and then, like Vierna and Clarissa had agreed, she came out of her hidingplace and ran towards the burglar, with the intention to kick the offender in the shins as hard as possible.
But as she came closer to the burglar, realization hit her and the tiny Drow came to a screeching halt. She recognized the burglar's reddish glow as familiar... If fact, this person wasn't a burglar at all! It was her own mo...
"Clarissa, no!" Vierna yelled as the burglar bend over to take Vierna in her arms, "It's mo..."
But it was too late. Ruled by fear, Clarissa burst from the cupboard and landed the flat end of the fryingpan she was holding squarely on top of Viconia's head.
"We're sorry, momma." Vierna said, close to tears, after a dazed Viconia had managed drop the cloak and dragged herself upstairs. She was lying on top of the cot, and was busy healing her own head from the sharp, throbbing pain.
"We're so sorry..." Clarissa added, while nodding her head in agreement.
"I came here to see if you needed me..." Viconia said while rubbing her head, which still hurt, even after two healing spells. "I guess, I am a bit too overprotective for my own good," She chuckled and suppressed a yawn. She hadn't slept for half the night, after all.
"Don't worry about me, momma!" Vierna said, "I'll be fine! The lightning has stopped, now!"
"I'll always worry about you, ssinjin eoul. I always will." Viconia sighed and lay back on the cot.
"I'm sorry about hittin' you, Lady Viconia..." Clarissa told the Drow again.
Viconia snorted, "Don't worry about it, Clarissa. If this was the Underdark, I would be dead by now... It seemed you parents slept through the whole encounter, as well," She chuckled and tried to get up, but the tiredness and the pain in her head prevented her from doing so. It seemed she would not be getting back to the keep anytime soon.
"Why don't you stay here tonight, momma," Vierna said, "You can help me milk the cows tomorrow!"
"Oh, that sounds just great," Viconia replied sarcastically and dropped her head on the soft pillow.
"Momma?" Vierna asked, but she noticed her tired mother had dozed off. Vierna smiled, quickly removed her mother's muddy boots and carefully put the covers over her mother with gentleness, like her mother and father had done for her so many times before. "Goodnight, momma," She said, and kissed her mother on the cheek.
Then, Vierna got into bed with Clarissa. There was just enough room for the both of them to sleep comfortably. And Vierna dozed off as well, thinking about the milking of cows, instead of the explanation that was sure to be asked by Clarissa's amused parents if they saw the dented frying pan the next morning, as well as the Lady of the Manor sleeping under their roof on an old cot.
As for the Peace and Quiet bit, I wish I could take credit for it, but I used those lines from one of my favorite movies : What about Bob? (Go to your Videoshop and buy/rent a couple of copies right now!) with Bill Murray. I thought it was kinda fun to give the same line to Vierna...
17. The sleep-over
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