“Show yourself right now!”, she loudly exclaimed and looked around frantically. He had been here a moment ago, but now she had lost sight of him. These dreaded shrubs everywhere! She skillfully twirled the staff that she had been holding in her hand and let out several beams. It took a few seconds, but then the shrub right in front of her was ablaze. It had not rained in days and the twigs made some nice crackling sounds, but nothing else could be heard. “Not here”, she mumbled, and while she already knew she had lost his trace, she was not yet ready to accept that. She had been so close to catching this blasted empty-headed Skritt thief! And now he probably found a hole to hide in and there was no chance for her to get her revenge – and her stolen goods back.
“One more and I can go home”, she had quietly said to herself prior to that incident. She had been saying the same thing for the past couple of hours, which was why she had needed the constant reminder. Of course, she could have sent somebody to do the work for her, but she preferred collecting those precious plants herself. One could never trust those idiots in the lab to do this work, especially not when it came to such a delicate plant which needed to be in pristine condition with not even the tiniest hint of imperfection on it. One single flaw and her carefully brewed tonic would taste like rotten chickpea salad. True, the effect would not be extenuated, but Gechii was a perfectionist.
And now, instead of “one more”, she would have to start all over again. Since it had already turned dark, she decided to call it a day and head back now. She would probably have to send somebody to collect the plants after all, as her trip to Verdant Brink could not be delayed much longer. Her expertise was desperately needed there.
“Graarrrr!”, she suddenly heard a growl from her left. Quickly, she raised her staff again and turned around to see where the noise had come from. She could not hold back her chuckle: There stood a little Charr cub. His beige striped fur was bristling in the wind. He – or she… it was hard to tell, especially at such a young age, but she guessed it was a male – had raised his paws ready to attack. His tiny claws were reflecting the light of the flames from the shrub.
Now there were two. Then three. He tried to stand steady, even though his reflexes wanted him to take a step back and possibly even try to find a hole to hide in. ‘Never show fear’, he heard his Primus’s voice and he straightened his posture slightly more. The figure chuckled again… or rather, all three of them did. Then he realized, “You’re a Mesmer!”, he exclaimed clearly impressed, but he did not let his paws sink even an inch. If only he knew where he had put down his sword before he had fallen asleep. The yelling and the fire had startled him and he had gotten up and prepared to fight for his life, but now he was not sure whether this had been such a smart choice. The attack had obviously not been directed at him and the figure may not even have noticed him.
He did not know where to look and which one to address. A moment ago, there had been just one and now he looked at three identical copies, all standing in a different position, so that he could not figure out who was the real one. She – or he, it was hard to tell, but he went with “she”, mostly because of the way she had styled her hair – was roughly his height. Her dark brown hair had carefully been braided. Her yellow eyes and her pale skin seemed even brighter with the reflection of the fire. Some spots around her eyes were darker skinned as were her ears which were surprisingly short. This paleness stood in stark contrast to her clothes which were a weird mixture of gold and orange. The only accessories she wore were two beaded chains in front of her ears which seemed to be connected to the braided hair somewhere.
All three figures had their staves still raised, ready to shoot more fire, but their facial expressions suggested they may not kill him right away.
“What are you doing here? Did you see a Skritt?”, asked the voice on the right.
“No, ma’am”, he replied as politely as he could to her second question. “It’s just me.”
She snipped and her two clones disappeared leaving only her and the cub. “Then what are you doing here all alone?”, she asked again with a slightly more pressuring tone in her voice. ‘Charr are rarely ever alone’, she had learned. They were with a group of other Charr from the beginning on and this little one seemed old enough to have such a krewe already.
“We got attacked. Giant earth worms! They left me. Ran away like cowards”, he said with disgust in his voice thinking of his former warband. He still could not believe they had done that! “Once I realized I was alone, I decided to run away, too. I am brave, not stupid!”, he added, puffing his chest just a little bit.
Gechii nodded and chose to believe him. She was certainly not scared of having to fight a krewe of cubs. Of course, he, just as all Charr, was far inferior to any Asura when it came to intellect, but some Charr possessed qualities she had come to value lately. Intellect only gets you this far. She made an almost inaudible noise thinking of the Inquest and their latest effort to try and steal one of her inventions. So much intellect wasted – and worse, combined with sheer foolishness. It was simply nauseating. For her, being this intelligent came with a huge amount of responsibility. Not only did she think all Asura had to try and strive for the best, she also thought that they were responsible for the wellbeing of the races below them, just like the little furball in front of her. On top of that belief, what she valued about Charr the most was their loyalty towards their krewe – something Asura certainly lacked – and bravery!
“And now you’re lost and scared, right?”
“I’m not scared!”, he yelled loudly with pride in his voice. “I can defend myself!”, he added to make his point clear.
Gechii slowly took a step to her left and shuffled with her foot. “Is this yours?”, she asked after she had moved a tiny blade closer to him.
“Yes”, he said, slightly embarrassed. He did not recall putting the blade that far away from him, but it was definitely his.
“What’s your name?”, she asked now, her voice being a lot gentler.
“Good, Oci. My name is Gechii. Pleased to make your acquaintance. Now please tell me what exactly you are planning to do now, except for becoming devourer breakfast if you stay here sleeping with no further defenses set up?”
He was thoroughly ashamed now. For a few hours, he had wandered already before laying down here close to the shrubs, just to rest a bit and close his eyes for a few moments, of course! He decided to make one last attempt to show her he could handle himself on his own: “I was on my way back to the Black Citadel!” He puffed his chest again and pointed ahead into the distance behind her.
“The Black Citadel is that way”, she pointed to her right.
” I know of a portal that is not too far away which should bring you to a safe town. From there, you can go back home.”
He scoffed. As far as he was concerned, he had no home anymore, no family. They would have let him die here, after all. Such Charr could not be a family. Then his gaze brightened. “Can’t I come with you?” He looked at her excitedly. Surely, such a bright Asura was leading an exciting life and he had always found mesmers fascinating! Maybe he could even become one himself one day…
The answer came out of her before she had even thought about it. Then she shrugged. “But…” She paused again. What was she doing? Her mind had certainly had enough time to process the thought and think of at least a dozen possible scenarios for every possible answer should could have now. Adding a Charr cub to her krewe… – but there was something special about him! He had touched something inside her. Certainly no motherly instincts! She knew she did not have those. But there he was, such a young little cub – and even though she could have killed him with just a little snip of her fingers earlier, he had not even blinked, yet alone moved away from his spot. He could prove useful. Yes, she reassured herself. That was the only reason she had hesitated. He could prove useful!
Oci stood in front of her with big eager eyes. He had almost jumped up and down excitedly when she had hesitated, but had resisted that urge as it might have made him look childish.
“But you can’t come with me right now”, she finally added. “I have important business to do.” She could not imagine Oci in Verdant Brink, not with the recent happenings over there. “I will bring you to my krewe and you can stay with them if that’s alright.” Oci nodded and smiled.
This would be interesting. A young Charr being instructed in Asuran fighting techniques. Stepping a bit closer to him, she finally patted his head. The sound that followed could have either been a purr or another little growl. It was settled then.
This story is part of the Story Contest hosted by Kit the Traveler. The prompt is easy: Write about an adventure (set in the Guild Wars 2 universe) with at least 300 words and publish it in the GW2 Community subreddit. The contest is open until February 26, 2016, so there is still plenty of time to participate! You can win gems and weapon skins. :D
I decided to post my entry here as well, so I can save it for eternity (we all know how Reddit works, right? Things will get lost there over time) and to point you all to that contest, because I like such contests!