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Lucas smiled at her and slowly got up, taking Avia's hand into his own. "Yeah... yeah you're right." he said, looking at Lucy. "Lead the way Luce."
This was an old Elven custom. You [I had] to be led to the elven camp by an elf, or your chances of getting attacked were greatly increased.
"Actually, why don't you scout ahead Lucas? I'll help Avia clean up camp." Lucy replied.
Lucas looked like he was about to argue, but shrugged instead and went into the woods, to make sure they weren't ambushed
When Lucas was out of earshot, Lucy becan to clear up camp and said quietly to Avia "I've seen the way he looks at you." She didn't sound angry, or jealous, even. She sounded... sad.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/E3kOE2O.jpg] [left He was right that it probably wasn’t going to be easy. It certainly was a daunting task, but Avia was hoping his father’s suggestion to come here would lead to things working out alright. Avia was eating her breakfast slowly, her appetite greatly diminished.
When he mentioned that he was scared Avia looked over at him. She looked worried as she put her hand on his shoulder,[#0b90e3 “Anyone would be. I’m scared too, to be honest. But you aren’t alone, at least. I... “]
She trailed off, not sure what else to say. She looked down at her breakfast again and rubbed Lucas’s shoulder reassuringly,[#0b90e3 “The best thing for now is to keep moving. I think I’ll go nuts if I sit still, you know?”]]
Lucas smiled back and accepted his food, but didn't really eat much. His father's death was still on his mind. "Thanks for trying to make me feel better, Avia, but I think you know as well as I do that if I don't go back in a while, someone else will take the throne... Someone unwilling to give it back up."
He sighed deeply and met nobody's eyes. "I'm scared, Avia." he admitted
[pic https://i.imgur.com/E3kOE2O.jpg] [left Without good options for breakfast drinks Avia returned to sit by the fire, listening to Lucy explain about the Harvest Festival. It sounded really interesting.
Avia looked at Lucas and offered an encouraging smile,[#0b90e3 “I’m sure we’ll figure things out and you’ll be able to go home. We don’t know if things are really so bad.”]
She was worried that things were [i worse] than they could see, but she didn’t want Lucas to have to worry too much about that on top of his fathers death. At least not until they could get some more solid information.
Avia took the plates and served up the breakfast on them, then handed them out. [#0b90e3 “We’ll need to eat whatever the case. It sounds like it’s going to be a long day regardless.”]]
"Well, unlike from what Lucas has told me about human Harvest Festivals, the festival lasts all day, ending with a magnificent feast of whatever our hunters can find. The one who gets the most food is given a blessed tool as a gift. Whenever Lucas comes, he always wins. He's already gotten a blessed shield, sword and satchel, right?" Lucy said
Lucas nodded and added "But there all... well, I can't say their home, can I? I don't really have a home anymore."
[pic https://i.imgur.com/E3kOE2O.jpg] [left Lucas reaching out for her hand was a little bit of a surprise, but that only showed on her face for a moment before being replaced with a bashful smile. She curled her fingers around his hand gently and looked at the fire. He needed comfort and support right now, and she was glad he was comfortable enough with her. She wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it though. Did he consider her a friend at this point?
[#0b90e3 “The Harvest Festival?”] Avia had been to human harvest festivals, but she had a feeling an elf harvest festival would be different. She just wasn’t sure how. She looked at Lucy, openly curious,[#0b90e3 “What is it like? Oh, let me get plates. Or something.”]
She gave Lucas’s hand a light squeeze before letting go to hunt through the basket to see if there were any dishes to eat off of. Sure enough she found two little ceramic plates and two cups, and went to her bag to get one more set. It was just enough for the three of them to eat and drink. She went back to the basket and started looking again with a little frown,[#0b90e3 “I’m not sure what he packed… it looks like a lot of… wine? Which doesn’t seem like a good choice for breakfast… I suppose that’s what he had on hand though. It’s sweet of him.”]
She was almost musing to herself more than actually telling them. The innkeeper had been very kind to send them off with anything, let alone such a generous basket.]
When Lucas looked back at her, his eyes were full of gratitude for changing the subject. "Not much, just some eggs, ham and bread..." Lucas muttered, slowly reaching out for Avia's hand. He half expected her to pull her hand away, but e wanted her to know how he felt without him saying it in front of Lucy
"I guess, but we don't have a lot of time. The Grandmaster is waiting for you both. He hopes you'll be willing to join us for the Harvest Festival but if the king is... Well, we should let our people mourn."
Lucas shook his head. "No. I know how important the Festival is to you guys. Don't postpone it on my account. I'll tell everyone later."
[pic https://i.imgur.com/E3kOE2O.jpg] [left Avia nodded, looking rather distressed. She glanced at Lucas. He was having a hard time, obviously,[#0b90e3 “There was an attack…”]
Avia looked at the girl again. She wasn’t sure Lucas was ready to go into details, or have her talk in detail about it, so she changed the subject,[#0b90e3 “Ah, I’m Avia, by the way. It’s nice to meet you, though I wish it were under better circumstances. Did you want to join us for breakfast?”]
The way she looked at Lucas when she went closer to the fire was full of concern, but she didn’t voice it. She doubted he wanted her fussing over him. Instead she knelt down next to him by the fire and held her hands closer for warmth,[#0b90e3 “That smells good, what are you making?”]]
Lucas sighed in relief and deactivated his sword. "Lucy." he said calmly to Avia. "She's an old friend of mine. A forest elf." As he said that, a slender female approached from the tree line, one with long blonde hair and bright green eyes. She was putting an arrow back into her quiver.
"What are you doing here, Luke? We weren't expecting you for another week!" She asked.
Lucas hesitated and made a fire, cooking some food for him and Avia. It was clear he didn't want to talk about what had happened. He didn't need to, however, for Lucy had noticed the grave, and her pale face whitened even further. She looked at Avia for confirmation. "King Gleam...?"
[pic https://i.imgur.com/E3kOE2O.jpg] [left Something to eat would be good. She nodded and started to fold her blanket. She was sure they hadn’t gone through all the food the innkeeper had given them. He’d been pretty generous.
Avia didn’t quite realize that anyone else was there until she heard the voice and looked up a little alarmed. [#0b90e3 “Who…?”] It sounded almost like the stranger knew Lucas, but she wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing yet.]
Lucas turned around, hearing Avia wake up. His eyes were puffy and red. He hadn't slept. It was quite clear. He had stayed with the grave all night, a standard way of mourning a king, keeping vigil all night, refusing to sleep. He turned away, not wanting her to see him like this and said "We should get moving. Do you want something to eat before we go?" he asked looking around. They were still alone. He paused when he heard a silent bowstring and slowly began to activate his Light Sword when a teasing voice said "I don't think I'd ever see the day where the Dragon Prince would be caught off guard."
[pic https://i.imgur.com/E3kOE2O.jpg] [left In the morning it was the sun that woke Avia. It was still early, the sun was barely up so the light was dim under the trees, and it was still cold. She blinked and shifted under the blanket. In the light the pattern woven into the cloth could be seen. It was a large tree with branches and leaves stretching out in a stylized pattern common to elves. The whole thing was various shades of green. The tear in the corner had been mended with green thread, but of poorer quality.
Avia sat up slowly, keeping the blanket around herself. She remembered last night, the inn, and escaping into the woods with Lucas. It hadn’t been a dream. She looked for Lucas, rubbing sleep from her eyes and making an inquisitive hum instead of using actual words. Her throat felt scratchy and dry from the cold air still,[#0b90e3 “Mm?”]]
When Lucas was sure that Avia had fallen asleep, he slowly crawled out of the blanket and tucked her in, finding a boulder and carving out a tombstone with it. on the tombstone, he carved "Here lies Gleam Lightburst, king of Dragons, and the greatest man I've ever known." He then pulled out of his bag a tooth he had been given to by his father. "In case you can't bury me." he had said. Lucas brushed the tears out of his eyes impatiently and made a perfect hole and buried the tooth. He fought back the sudden rage threatening to pour out of him at the sight of the grave. His father didn't deserve this. Lucas thought he didn't deserve this. Avia absolutely didn't deserve this.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/E3kOE2O.jpg] [left Avia could feel the grass move more than she could see anything happen. The grass became more like a sort of cushion, and Avia made a little gasp of surprise. She couldn’t help but feel the grass with her fingers, finally realizing that the blades were woven together now. Avia wasn’t used to magic much. She nestled under the blanket, aware of Lucas next to her. Her face still felt warm, though she told herself they were really trying to stay warm and comfortable for the night. It just made sense.
It was still a little hard to fall asleep, even though she was very tired. The trees left enough space to see little pieces of the sky between branches, and the stars were beautiful to look at. Eventually she did doze off to sleep after staring at the stars long enough. Once she was actually asleep it wouldn’t be that easy to rouse her, she was too worn out.]
Lucas nodded and crawled into the blanket. since he couldn't conjure a tent, he used his magic to at least make the ground comfortable, controlling the grass around them to make the rass weave into a soft pillow, then did the same to the ground directly below them, giving them a soft green bed, He understood that she wanted him to at least be warm, but he secretly hoped that she did like him and just wanted to be closer to him. He didn't dare say this, however, in case he was wrong and ended up pushing her away
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