Home Read Count : 16

Category : Stories

Sub Category : Fantasy
He’d look over at her, nothing but the sound of fire crackling and the sharp tension buzzing through the air, like a string pulled too tight and a thorny feeling curling in his stomach.    

“Hey,” He’d whisper, prodding at the fire and finally breaking the taut silence, “Tell me of your home. I know you hate me. I just wanted to know what it was like.” 

She wouldn’t look up at him, instead deciding to pull out her knives and sharpen them, steel ringing out.      

“I won’t force you to. Just curious. I know that you’re Eshyx but-” She’d suddenly stop, tension rising up with the smoke.     

“I’m not. Not even close. That’s what they tell everyone, so their precious little champion wouldn’t be hated.” She’d snort, slowly sheathing her weapons. “I’m actually Strithyl,” She’d murmur out, body hunching in on herself, expecting him to scream at her, throw things at her, or anything. But he doesn’t, just keeps staring at her. She doesn’t know what’s going on in his head and it makes her want to scream.     

“Home was…” She’d suck in a quick breath, trying to figure out how to phrase it. 

“Home was the sweet smell of nectar wherever you walked, your parents laughing as they cooked, inviting more of your friends inside. Home was cold during winter, but it never really bothered anyone because the lanterns always made it so pretty. It was the ground resonating under your feet as you walked, responding to you in a way that nobody can understand.     

“Home was the bittersweet tang that you tasted in the fruits when you were young, reminding you of friends and laughter lost. Home was scraped hands and knees, blistered feet and bruised legs. It was the echoes that you made at the tops of trees with your friends, proudly climbing up without a care in the world. Home was flourishing against the world, taking up weapons and helping your friends up after a sparring session.” She’d go quiet, the present coming back to her.     

“Sorry, sorry, didn’t realize I was rambling-”     

“Tell me more.” She’d look up at him, stopping her stumbling words. She’d quickly realize that he said that, and sigh.     

“It was… Calloused hands and small tools, making intricate jewelry and weapons, loud laughs and colors. It was singing badly and feeling the deep rumble in your throat when you hear the man who comes around once a year playing music and telling stories. Home was forgetting you earned and made all these things and taking it for granted, parents scolding you with a small twinkle in their eye, reminiscing about their own childhood. 

“And the voices. Always the voices. My best friend’s voice was silvery and rich, like-” She’d look up at him to see if he was still listening. “Like something melting in your mouth, like dipping into a river or the tension in your body easing. Around those lines. My brother’s was calm, happy, and always like he was singing.” She’d laugh a small bit, eyes crinkling at the corners. “He loved doing that. Never stopped.”  

“What about your parents? Did you get your voice from one of them? A mix?” He’d ask, realizing very suddenly he had toed over a line he had not meant to cross.   

"I can’t remember. I can only remember them yelling at me to get away, to run.” Her voice would turn guarded, face expressionless and steely, posture straight and careful.      

“Home was all of those things, those great things, until you ruined it.”

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