EoP – Part 115

Echoes of Power

Part 115

Alexandre woke up to the sound of his alarm. 7’15. Still got time to sleep a little more… He groaned as he shifted around in his bed, letting his mind drift back to the wonderful feeling of sleepiness. When he opened his eyes and looked at the clock again he cursed.

“7’40! Damn it!”, he exclaimed as he realized he had dozed off for to long.

The teenager had originally planned to stay in bed for another 5 minutes, leaving twenty minutes to get up, get dressed, eat a quick breakfast and leave, but now if he didn’t leave immediately he would be late. And, despite his excitement at the idea of getting his questions answered, he had a feeling he would regret it if he was late. He threw on a T-shirt, a pair of jeans and a grey hoodie before rushing out of his room, barely managing to reach the lower floor without falling, phone in hand and a glass of orange juice in the other. He placed it in the sink once it was empty before jumping in his shoes and rushing out, starting to run as fast as he could towards the rendezvous point after making sure the front door was locked.

It was Sunday but his father wasn’t there, he had told him he would be gone until late in the evening, some kind of exceptional management meeting from the main branch of the company he had to attend… Alexandre had welcomed the news with enthusiasm because that meant he had the house to himself but now it seemed an even better thing because it wouldn’t interfere with him having to go meet a middle-aged man who claimed he could do magic on his own, not that he was scared but he knew he would have had to lie to his father, had he not been away. The air was fresh, almost cold, and he could see the thin clouds of steam that rose over the gardens as he passed by. The sun was up but it wasn’t high enough yet to sufficiently warm the air. Alexandre was glad to have taken a sweatshirt with him.

He looked at his phone as he reached the bottom of the hill, near the hiking path that lead to the top. 7’58. Damn! New record! He had made the journey in less than 12 minutes! But he still had to climb the whole damn thing before reaching his goal, Damian had arranged the meeting at the top. To make things easy of course, he groaned inwardly. He groaned before resuming his race against time, already sweating and short of breath but determined not to be late. Well, not too late at least… After all, it wasn’t a few minutes more that would kill him. Right? Suddenly he felt a cold shiver run along his spine and increased his pace. Perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea after all. He definitely didn’t have a good feeling about this…

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The rider in the storm

Image source unknown

Night. The darkest hour. When all hope disappears. Thunder is rumbling, the wind is howling madly. The grass on the hills is bending under the power of the storm. Rain is falling hard on the ground, plundering the earth. A dark shadow is moving. A horse is running, a rider on its back. Running as fast as it can, as if its life depended on it. Running as quick as the wind. He rides, never looking back, hoping they are okay. Praying to reach them in time. The world seems against him; as if the gods were mad at him. As if they had unleashed Hell on Earth. Droplets of water, as cold and hard as ice hits him in the face, rendering him unable to see more than a few meters in front of him.

Lightning strikes, once, twice, giving shape to the shadow of a ghost. A ghost from the past that is catching up on him. He knows he should run away but he can’t. He has to cope with that growing unease growing inside him. They need him! He has to get there at all cost! He has to make it, his steed knows it also. The mighty stallion gains speed, outrunning the heavy gusts of wind. Its mane buzzing frantically as it gains more speed, sparks forming around its legs. Getting bigger and more frequent with each new step. Suddenly it lights up in a thunderous boom, thousands of tiny lighting bolts coming out of its mane and its tail, covering its entire body. It gains even more speed, running so fast it outruns even the heavenly flashes. Cutting through the mad rain, leaving a burnt trail behind it. He runs an impossible race. A race for his friends. A race against time, against himself. A race against death…

Here is a text I wrote some time ago, a scene from one of my stories that I have had in mind for some time.

EoP – Part 114

Echoes of Power

Part 114

Alexandre was left there, standing before the bus stop, unmoving. His mouth hung half-open as he could still faintly feel the slight coldness of the trace of moisture on his cheek. His eyes were looking straight forward but were unfocused, he could still see the red lights of the bus slowly disappearing far down the street. The night was cold and the light wind didn’t really help but the teenager was completely impervious to that, it didn’t bother him in the slightest. He even felt a bit hot at that exact moment. He closed his eyes, replaying the previous instants in his mind and couldn’t refrain a wide smile from spreading on his lips once again. Slowly he raised his hand and traced along them, from one corner of his mouth to the other, having a hard time believing what had just happened.

His skin was still tingling intensely at the touch, as if her lips were still on his, as if Chloe was still there, kissing him. A few moments passed before he opened his eyes again and let out a nervous yet overjoyed laugh, they had kissed… He and Chloe had kissed… This all felt like a dream, it was too good to be true, it had to be! As if the universe had sensed his doubt however, and had somehow decided to punish him for not believing hard enough, his phone rang at that exact moment. Alexandre sluggishly took it out and checked his notifications, he had one unread message. He felt as if someone had poured cold water over him as he read it.

‘Tomorrow, 8 o’clock, the hills. Dont be late. D.’

He had given Damian his number a few days before when he had agreed to teach him about Empirium. Alexandre had felt pretty good and confident at that moment but now it didn’t seem like such a good decision, he had the feeling the man wasn’t someone to trifled with, dangerous even, but the light-haired teen also began to fear he was going to be a very strict teacher… On the other hand he wanted to learn more about his abilities and Damian was the only one who knew something about it and cared to explain (not counting Bryan of course, but telling his best friend was not an option). No he had to go.

“Well,” he said out loud, though more to himself than to anybody around –there is no body around anyways– as he locked his phone and put it back in his pocket, “at least the evening was worth it. So worth it!”

He couldn’t help the giggle that escaped him and hastily looked around to make sure there was nobody around. He let out a small relieved sigh when he realized he was indeed all alone ont he street.

“Yes!”, he exclaimed again, throwing his fist in the air with a large smile.

Alexandre started to walk back home, the house was almost half an hour by foot but he didn’t want to take the bus. He wanted to take some alone time to wander around and think. He took out his headphones and started the music where he had left it earlier that evening while he waited for his date to arrive. Everything had went so well, he had a hard time believing his luck. Chloe was such a beautiful and nice girl AND she seemed to enjoy spending time with him and talking about all sorts of things (most of which interested him). Alexandre wasn’t really sure why she was interested in him, he wasn’t really that handsome per say and he was a bit dorky on the side, but somehow she had set her eyes on him and she hadn’t seemed disappointed after that evening with him, on the contrary! After all she had been the one to kiss him… And what a kiss! Wait ’till I tell you how this evening went Bry’, you’re gonna be so jealous!

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EoP – Part 113

Echoes of Power

Part 113

How many apologies since the beginning of the evening? Damn it! Not the time to be worrying about that, he scolded himself as he managed to straighten in his chair. He noticed after a quick glance that almost everybody around was looking at them, even the waiters were ready to spring into action the second the situation seemed to worsen. He made quick sign towards them to reassure them and drank the rest of his glass of water. Slowly he managed to calm down his heart and the burning feeling in his lungs, this was not remotely as bad as with the creatures in the alley –Alexandre! I said not now!– but it still hurt like hell.

Plus his pride had taken a hit too, he had managed to mostly ridiculize himself in front of Chloe… Not that she would hold it against him surely, she looked like she was more inclined to laugh than anything else, but it didn’t make him feel very confident, that was for sure! He took a few deep breaths before trying to speak again.

“My apologies, I wasn’t planning on dying tonight but apparently someone is not okay with that…”, he managed to smile as he said that.

“So it seems…”, nodded his date as she tried to stifle her laugh.

Alexandre found himself unable to resist the urge to smile and giggle with her and soon they were both laughing at his near near-death experience, both had tears rolling down their cheeks and had to restrain themselves so as not to bother every other client in the restaurant. Once he finally managed to calm himself the light-haired teen found that his pain and his anxiousness at the thought of having ridiculed himself in front of Chloe had both faded away int he back of his mind. He let his eyes wander on her figure, from her hands covered in numerous small scars -apparently she was an art lover and it was not as relaxing and fluffy as everyone might think- to her clear eyes and her golden hair.

“What?”, she asked as she finally noticed him staring at her.

“Nothing!”, he replied hurriedly, “it’s just…”, he paused, unsure once again.

He locked his gaze with hers, unsure why he hesitated, she cute, she was funny, she was intelligent and charming, he liked her and, most of all, she also liked him… Almost certainly as more than a friend. So why wasn’t he sure? He himself didn’t even know, he couldn’t explain why, it was something unconscious, nagging him at the back of his mind. As if a voice was whispering things in his ear… Why? He had no clue… Alexandre was trying to put his finger on what it might have been when he saw Chloe smile once again. All his doubts suddenly evaporated. No, it was different this time. He like her, he knew it, no, he was sure of it.

“Well?”, the object of his reflection asked as she seemed to wait impatiently for an answer.

Alexandre didn’t understand why he would even think of refusing this, a beautiful and charming girl had practically confessed her feeling for him, feeling which were mutual -at least on his part- and he had wanted for a second to say no? Hell! He had to get his head checked, this thing with the geiger must have left some brain damage…

“Well, it’s just that…”, he paused again, not because he was unsure this time, just to toy with her a little more, and to make this moment last a little longer, “I really like you too Chloe…”, he added, unable to hide his wide smile.

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EoP – Part 112

Echoes of Power

Part 112

“Sorry, could you repeat that? I didn’t quite catch what you said…”, he quickly apologized to his date.

Great. Very smooth Alex, very smooth… he scolded himself silently with a mental smack.

“Yeah, I guessed from the look on your face…” Chloe replied with a laugh. “Well you know what we say about ears and a good wash, don’t you?” she added, taunting him with a smirk.

“Yeah, sorry, I uh… sort of lost track of the conversation here…”, Alexandre explained, cringing slightly.

“It doesn’t matter, I know I’m not that interesting anyways…”, Chloe nodded as she took a sip of her drink and shrugged.

“No! That’s… it’s not what I meant,” Alexandre tried to explain, starting to uncomfortable.

He suspected she was just toying with him but he didn’t want a moment of inattention to ruin the evening… Plus she had seemed serious as she spoke earlier so he was pretty sure it was something important.

“I’m sorry for not listening,” he repeated once again, “so what were you saying?”, he then asked with curiosity.

The blonde girl looked at him for a moment, a look that Alexandre couldn’t quite describe or understand. There was something deep in her eyes as they sparkled with her usual playfulness, but at the same time he could tell she was slightly nervous. She was looking straight at him, as if she was pondering her options. He couldn’t for the life of him guess what was going on in her head at that moment, that was one of the things he liked about her. She slowly put her glass back on the table and he saw her shoulders rise as she took in a deep breath.

“Ok,” was all she said for a moment, breaking the silence only to let it take over again.

Alexandre was about to say something when she opened her mouth and cut him short.

“I quite like you, you know…” she added, pausing again. “That’s what I said…”

Alexandre almost didn’t catch the second bit, the short justification was drowned in a torrent of white noise as his mind went blank. Had he heard right? Had she really said that? Did she mean what he thought she meant? What was he supposed to reply? Why did the room suddenly seem to shrink? What kind of fish was that on the table over there? Focus damn it! He scolded himself as he looked at her, unable to (and mostly unwilling to make the effort to) hide the half-blank half-shocked expression on his faced.

“Uh…”, was all he managed to replied after a few seconds.

“‘Uh…’ what?”, Chloe asked, not looking very fazed by what was happening. “I just said that I liked you, is ‘uh…’ all you have to say to that? I thought you were better than that Alex, has a kitten gotten ahold of your tongue Mister Parson?”, she added, a small smirk spreading on her face once again.

Alexandre almost choked as he tried to speak, falling into a coughing fit for a second as he tried to get his breath back. He felt the heat quickly rise in his cheeks, which probable had turned scarlet red by that point. Damn! What a fool he was making of himself… Having seen his difficulty, the blonde teenager had leaned over towards him and given him a few energetic pats on the back to prevent him from really choking.

“Deep breaths, deep breaths!” she exclaimed as she did so, her smirk still half there.

The other half of her expression was something akin to worry. Oh god, she’s worried about me! Alexandre felt his cheeks become even warmer, if that was even possible. They would probably catch on fire very soon if this kept going on.

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Ombre & Plumes – 2 – Carmen


D’ombre et de plumes



L’agitation des quartiers portuaires se dissipait petit à petit à mesure que Thrista avançait dans les rues d’Eneleïa ; le quartier est vers lequel il se dirigeait était comparativement beaucoup plus calme. Seuls quelques passants s’y baladaient tranquillement. Cela s’expliquait par le fait que la partie est de la ville était principalement composée d’habitations et de résidences ce qui avait pour effet de n’attirer que très peu les touristes. L’adolescent aperçut quelques locaux en train de décorer le bord des rues et les façades des bâtiments de draps et de fleurs aux multiples couleurs. Cela contrastait avec la clarté des murs qu’ils recouvraient, ces derniers étant majoritairement marron ou blanc-beige dépendamment qu’ils soient en pierre ou en bois. Thrista savait que les habitants profitaient de ce moment de répit et de calme pour se préparer à la tempête qui allait venir avec le début du festival deux jours plus tard. Lui même avait décidé de revenir quelques jours avant pour se donner le temps de flâner dans les rues alors que celles-ci étaient encore relativement peu en proie à l’agitation. Il pouvait cependant déjà sentir la tension qui montait à l’approche de la célébration du mariage princier, tous attendaient l’annonce du début des trois jours de célébration pour se laisser aller à la joie et à l’ivresse. Il passa par l’une des nombreuses rues secondaires, déjà peu fréquentées par les locaux et encore moins par les touristes, et se retrouva devant une petite bâtisse faite de bois et dont l’enseigne usée par le temps mais toujours bien lisible indiquait le nom : En Carménie.
Malgré sa taille peu imposante, encore réduite par les deux hautes résidences s’élevant de chaque côté, la réputation de l’établissement n’avait rien à envier aux autres auberges. Elle était réputée chez les connaisseurs comme l’une des meilleurs du coin, une des perles cachées d’Eneleïa grâce à popularité de son plat spécial préparé par la patronne elle même. Un excellent minestrone avec courgettes, carottes, pâtes, viandes hachées et quelques dizaines d’épices et autres ingrédients gardés secret. Cette seule pensée du jeune homme suffit à lui mettre l’eau à la bouche, cela faisait tellement longtemps qu’il n’avait pas goûté à la cuisine de Carmen. C’est là que Thrista comptait loger le temps de son séjour car il connaissait bien la patronne, une petite bonne femme approchant de la cinquantaine et dont les cheveux couleur rouille commençaient tout juste à grisonner. C’était l’endroit où il avait séjourné à chaque passage dans la ville portuaire avec son père et il en gardait d’excellents souvenirs. C’était aussi là qu’il avait passé ses quelques jours avant de quitter le continent au début de son périple. Le jeune homme se dirigea donc droit vers l’enseigne au fougueux cheval de noir et de blanc qui semblait avoir été repeinte depuis la dernière fois. Les rideaux étaient tirés aux fenêtres, signe que l’établissement ne rouvrirait qu’au prochain repas, mais il poussa la porte sans la moindre hésitation et entra. Il ne fut pas surpris de voir la pièce déserte, par une journée pareille et à ce moment de l’après midi il était tout à fait normal de n’y trouver personne : tout bon touriste s’était déjà éclipsé depuis un moment. Il salua tout de même dans le vide, plus pour signaler sa présence à quiconque serait dans l’arrière cuisine que pour s’introduire réellement, mais fut surpris d’entendre une voix familière lui répondre du fond de la salle.
« Bienvenue à vous, entrez, entrez ! Je suis à vous tout de suite ! »
Thrista n’avait pas eu le temps de s’habituer à la pénombre mais dès qu’il entendit la voix il ne put s’empêcher de sourire. Nul besoin de ses yeux pour savoir qui venait de lui répondre. Il s’avança et dut attendre d’être au milieu de la pièce avant que ses yeux ne se soient entièrement habitués à l’espèce de pénombre qui y régnait pour apercevoir la petite silhouette penchée au dessus d’une table.
« Bonjour ! s’exclama-t-il à nouveau, toujours en souriant. Je ne t’avais pas vu Carmen, je croyais qu’il n’y avait plus personne. C’est fou, j’ai l’impression que rien n’a changé depuis la dernière fois !
– Ah ! Oui, je suis désolé pour l’obscurité. Je profite de l’absence momentanée de tout le monde pour faire un peu de ménage et je ne supporte pas de le faire avec le soleil qui me tape dessus. En plus il fait une de ses chaleurs aujourd’hui ! On est bien mieux à l’intérieur, répondit-elle tout en continuant de s’affairer sur la table qu’elle s’efforçait de faire reluire. Mais, nous connaissons nous ?, demanda-t-elle enfin en relevant la tête en souriant, l’air satisfait.
– Eh bien ? Tu ne te souviens pas de moi ? Remarque cela fait un moment que l’on ne s’est pas vu, concéda le jeune homme. »
La dénommée Carmen s’approcha alors de plus près pour l’observer, elle resta ainsi à le regarder, les sourcils froncés par dessus ses yeux gris, pendant quelques secondes. Le sourire du jeune homme s’agrandit lentement alors qu’il attendait que la patronne de l’auberge le reconnaisse enfin. Il avait bien changé depuis la dernière fois, plus grand d’au moins dix bon centimètres, les épaules plus larges, ses cheveux sombres avaient poussé, ils lui arrivaient à présent au milieu des oreilles alors qu’il les avait toujours gardé très courts auparavant. Bref il était presque méconnaissable. Presque, car la femme fronça soudain les sourcils.
« Tes yeux…, murmura-t-elle, oui ! Je m’en souviens ! Thrista ! Mes dieux ! Je ne t’avais pas reconnu ! Comme tu as changé… Combien de temps cela fait-il ? Un an ? Deux peut-être ? », demanda-t-elle alors que son sourire, disparut au profit d’un froncement de sourcil un moment auparavant, reparaissait à présent.
– C’est bien moi, acquiesça le jeune homme, toujours le sourire aux lèvres.
– Mes dieux, cela fait tellement longtemps…, murmura Carmen avant de franchir la distance les séparant en quelques pas et de le prendre dans ses bras.  »
Malgré sa petite taille la quinquagénaire possédait une force hors du commun, cela, couplé à un caractère et une volonté de fer, lui permettait de toujours parvenir à ses fins. Thrista eu un instant le souffle coupé mais lui rendit ensuite son embrassade avec joie, heureux de la retrouver après tout ce temps. Dès sa première visite à Eneleïa avec son père, ce dernier lui avait présenté l’aubergiste, une vieille connaissance à lui, et le jeune homme s’était attaché à cette bonne femme au caractère bien trempé mais à la gentillesse sans pareille. Visiblement l’attachement avait eu lieu dans les deux sens car Thrista vit une larme rouler sur la joue parsemée de taches de rousseur de l’aubergiste alors que celle-ci le relâchait enfin. Elle lui fit un sourire avant de se retourner pour se moucher légèrement et essuyer sa joue.
« Comment m’as-tu reconnu aussi vite ?, demanda-t-il alors, curieux de savoir car le jeune homme espérait pouvoir la faire marcher un peu plus longtemps avant de lui dire.
– Ce sont tes yeux, répondit-elle en se tournant à nouveau vers lui, tu as beau avoir grandi, tu as toujours le même regard que ton père quand il était jeune. »
Thrista acquiesça à nouveau. Elle n’était pas la première à lui dire qu’il ressemblait à son paternel.
« Tu sais, reprit Carmen avant qu’il n’ouvre la bouche, je pensais vraiment que tu courrais à ta perte en voulant partir aussi loin… Tu n’étais qu’un enfant, trop jeune pour ce genre de choses… Mais apparemment je me trompais, puisque te voila revenu en pleine forme ! »
Le jeune homme pu voir l’éclair d’inquiétude qui passa dans l’œil de la patronne de l’auberge et imagina aisément tout le souci qu’elle avait pu se faire pour lui, aussi fit-il un grand sourire. Ce périple n’avait en effet pas toujours été simple, au contraire, il avait fait face à des situations dangereuses plus d’une fois, mais il était revenu sain et sauf et, il l’espérait, plus fort. C’était tout ce qu’elle avait besoin de savoir.
« Oui. J’ai eu la chance de voyager en bonne compagnie, dit-il en posant sur l’épaule de l’aubergiste une main rassurante.
– Tant mieux alors. »
Carmen sursauta soudain, semblant se souvenir de quelque chose d’important.
« Que je suis bête ! Je ne t’ai toujours rien proposé ! Je suis là à discuter avec toit depuis tout à l’heure et je ne remplis même pas mon rôle d’hôtesse… s’exclama-t-elle en se donnant une légère tape sur la tête. Veux-tu quelque chose à manger ? Tu dois être affamé après ce long voyage…
– Ne t’inquiète pas, les repas étaient très bon à bord du Leikan ! répondit Thrista avec un petit sourire. Mais je t’avouerai que je ne suis pas contre un petite collation, si tu as quelque chose de simple bien sur ! ajouta-t-il immédiatement, ne voulant pas la faire se déplacer pour rien.
– Bien sur mon choux ! s’exclama Carmen en lui adressant un clin d’œil avant de se diriger vers la cuisine, j’ai toujours quelque chose pour toi ! Oh ! Et assied toi où tu veux, j’en ai pour deux minutes. »
Thrista ne répondit pas mais s’installa à une table non loin, posant sa besace et sa cape à ses pieds et profitant de l’absence de l’aubergiste pour jeter un regard à son établissement. L’auberge paraissait minuscule de l’extérieur mais une fois à l’intérieur elle dégageait, grâce à son aménagement intelligent et efficace, une impression d’immensité. Plusieurs chandeliers pendaient du plafond haut, loin au dessus de la tête, aucune cloison ne venait entraver la vue des clients, seules quelques énormes poutres en chêne massif soutenaient le tout de ci de là. On aurait dit l’intérieur d’une église faite de bois au lieu de pierre. Thrista entendit Carmen siffler depuis l’arrière cuisine et ne put empêcher un petit rire. Cela lui rappelait de nombreux et bons souvenirs. Peu avait changé depuis son dernier passage, la seule différence qu’il pouvait apercevoir était le nombre de tables qui avait légèrement augmenté et l’apparence de la salle, tout semblait comme neuf. L’adolescent savait cela du à la grande attention que l’aubergiste prenait à astiquer, rénover et conserver son mobilier mais il ne pouvait s’empêcher d’être impressionné. Son ventre grommelait son insatisfaction lorsqu’il aperçut la petite femme revenir vers lui les bras chargés d’un large plat recouvert de nourriture.
« Ne t’inquiète pas, c’était sur le feu et le reste je l’ai pris dans les placards, rien de bien compliqué. Je comptais moi-même manger de toute façon, expliqua-t-elle avant que le jeune homme en puisse protester. »
Thrista se contenta donc d’accepter silencieusement, préférant ne pas énerver son hôte en protestant car il la savait extrêmement persuasive quand elle le voulait. Il se servit donc de la viande grillée dans une assiette et commença à la déguster. Il mangèrent un moment en silence, le jeune homme piquant dans tous les plats disposés devant lui, mangeant des biscuits secs, des légumes, de la viande, des fruits et du fromage avec grand plaisir et grand appétit. Carmen elle dégustait une soupe à ce que Thrista pouvait dire et semblait grandement l’apprécier. Le jeune homme en déduisit que ce devait être la célèbre ragoût de poisson de Wlad, le cuisinier habituel de l’établissement.
« Comment se fait-il que tu sois déjà de retour ? Je croyais que tu n’avais prévu de revenir que pour le tournoi… s’enquit enfin la patronne avec un soupir de contentement en reposant son bol vide sur la table.
– A vrai dire j’ai changé d’avis, commença-t-il en prenant une dernière bouchée de son morceau de viande, au cours de mon voyage j’ai eu l’occasion de voir d’innombrables choses et de rencontrer de nombreuses personnes. J’ai appris énormément, seul mais aussi avec des compagnons de voyage que j’ai pu rencontrer. Mais je crois que lorsque j’ai appris pour le mariage j’ai réalisé qu’Ore me manquait et qu’il était temps de rentrer.
– Oh ! s’exclama Carmen avec un petit sourire en coin, ton retour n’est donc pas une simple coïncidence, tu es bien revenu pour voir la princesse !

– Oui. Répondit Thrista, tentant de ne pas rougir. Je ne pouvais pas louper ça… »
Carmen le regarda un long moment avec attention, le fixant de ses prunelles vert-de-gris, avant de sourire en hochant la tête, comme si elle approuvait silencieusement ce qu’elle venait juste de penser.
« Eh bien en tout cas, tu as bien raison ! dit-elle en prenant une gorgée de son verre d’eau. Tu ne peux pas savoir à quel point ça me fait plaisir de te revoir ! Combien de temps comptes-tu rester cette fois ? Demanda-t-elle. Le temps du mariage j’imagine.
– Oui, le temps de la célébration, acquiesça Thrista.
– Eh bien mon humble auberge t’est ouverte autant de temps que tu le souhaite, tu es le bienvenu ! s’exclama-t-elle en désignant l’établissement de la main. »
Elle se leva ensuite et, une fois s’être assurée que le jeune homme n’avait plus faim, ramena le plateau en cuisine avant de revenir presque immédiatement. Thrista s’était levé et regardait à nouveau autour de lui lorsqu’elle reparut à ses côtés.
« Viens, je vais te montrer ta chambre. Je dois en avoir une ou deux de libre au deuxième qui sont très calmes et très confortables si cela te convient.
– Tout ce que tu auras à me proposer, tu sais que je ne suis pas difficile. Et puis je me sens toujours bien ici. »
Le jeune aperçut les joues de la femme rosir légèrement à son compliment alors qu’elle passait devant lui pour le guider jusqu’à ses quartiers le temps de son séjour. Elle attrapa au passage une clé sur un large tableau de bois fixé au mur. Ce dernier était presque vide, ce qui indiquait que l’établissement était quasiment complet, pourtant tout était silencieux et le jeune homme n’avait vu personne depuis son arrivée. Il en déduit que les clients devaient soit être en train de faire la sieste soit en train de flâner dans les rues d’Eneleïa. De plus l’heure du repas n’étant pas encore arrivée, tout était et resterait calme un moment. Lorsqu’il eu fait le tour de la pièce et déposé ses affaires à côté de son lit le jeune homme redescendit dans la grande salle, fermant la porte à clé par sécurité. Il retrouva la patronne en train de nettoyer les différentes tables tout au fond de la salle.
« Tu as eu le temps de t’installer ?, demanda-t-elle en lui adressant un sourire sans s’interrompre dans sa tâche.
– Oui, merci, répondit Thrista en hochant la tête. D’ailleurs, combien te dois-je pour la chambre ? »
L’adolescent ne put même pas le temps d’insister tant le refus de l’aubergiste fut immédiat et catégorique, elle refusait de faire payer un ami de longue date qui logeait dans son établissement et il n’allait pas l’en dissuader. Thrista ne put que se résoudre à accepter la décision de la patronne avec un léger soupir, il savait qu’insister était peine perdue. Aussi préféra-t-il proposer son aide pour les tâches ménagères, ce que Carmen accepta avec plaisir après un court débat. Le jeune homme se mit donc immédiatement au travail, assistant la petite femme dans son travail. Ils discutèrent ainsi pendant les quelques heures qui suivirent, astiquant les surfaces boisées, récurant le sol et disposant les couverts sur les tables pour le repas du soir. Le jeune homme raconta à son hôte les nombreuses découvertes et rencontres qu’il avait pu faire au cours de son périple, notamment sur Simériah, terre que Carmen n’avait jamais visitée jusqu’à présent.
Lorsqu’ils s’arrêtèrent enfin la nuit tombait déjà et, à travers les fenêtres dégagées pour laisser entrer la lumière affaiblie du soleil, on pouvait apercevoir les rues commençant s’illuminer et à se remplir de curieux. Les chars, en préparations pour le défilé depuis de longues semaines déjà, étaient sur le point d’être achevés et prenaient enfin véritablement forme. De nombreux badauds venaient en observer l’apparence. Quelques clients commencèrent à affluer et Thrista aperçu Wlad qui rentrait visiblement de sa pause de l’après-midi alors qu’il montait en direction de sa chambre. Le jeune homme se résolut à aller le saluer plus tard et prit sa cape avant de se diriger vers la porte. Une fois dehors il se dirigea vers le nord de la ville, il aurait tout le temps de visiter les quartiers sud et ouest ainsi que ceux du palais lors des prochains jours. Le jeune homme préféra la tranquillité du nord de la ville au vacarme croissant dont il savait faire preuve le sud dernièrement. Cela lui permit de réfléchir à ce qu’il allait bien pouvoir faire à partir de maintenant, par où il allait commencer son voyage en terre d’Ore et quels allaient être ses objectifs à présent. Il marcha ainsi, perdu dans ses pensées, se laissant guider par ses pas, jusqu’à ce que la nuit tombe définitivement, rencontrant ici et là bateaux, guerriers géants et autres dragons faits tout de bois qui attendaient patiemment leur heure de gloire lors du défilé ayant lieu le surlendemain. Lorsque les dernières lueurs du soleil s’éteignirent derrière l’horizon il se décida à rentrer à l’auberge, la journée avait été longue et il aspirait à un bon repos avant de se lancer dans les festivités qui animeraient la ville dès l’aube.
Le jeune homme observait les étoiles en marchant et remarqua qu’une des constellations de la voûte céleste semblait briller d’un éclat plus vif que d’habitude ce qui l’étonna car il ne se souvenait pas avoir remarqué la brillance de cette étoile auparavant. Même lors des nombreuses soirées passées avec son père à observer le ciel lorsqu’il était plus jeune. Cela fit remonter une foule de souvenirs et il se rappela de ce que lui avait dit un ami et qu’il avait décidé de mettre à l’épreuve en revenant en terre d’Ore : « Il ne sert à rien d’attendre que la chance vienne à toi, il faut parfois savoir la forcer.».

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Récits d’Ore

EoP – Part 111

Echoes of Power

Part 111

Why? The question echoed in his mind for a moment. He looked at her as she slowly sipped the content of her glass. Why? Alexandre had been asking the question to himself for a moment now. Why did he like her? She was cute, yes. He found her light medium-length hair very suiting. It was not completely blond, there were a few streaks of darker shades here and there, but it was her natural colour and he like it. The few freckles speckled here and there on her cheeks accentuated the cuteness and her eyes, despite their cold blue-grey colour, were bright. Her nose wasn’t very thin nor very small, it wasn’t too big either, somehow just the right size. He also found the way her eyebrows moved when she expressed herself or concentrated on something very likable. She was as tall as him, perhaps even a little taller, which didn’t bother him in the least. He quite liked it. Her frame was slender but not thin, almost on the chubby side, or the athletic one, he couldn’t really tell since he hadn’t seen her with less clothing than her daily attire.

Yes, she was beautiful. He found Chloe beautiful. But it wasn’t only her appearance that he liked, he loved the little quirks he had managed to spot during the time they had spent together : her fingers putting her hair behind her ear from time to tim, the captivating movement of her eyebrows,  the way she turned her whole body around from time to time when she wanted to look at something or to change direction. He liked her voice, how it could be calm and excited, suave and playful all at the same time, it resounded gently in his head. He also loved how she knew so much about things and yet played the curious girl to make him talk, it had taken him a while to notice that the first time, but after a few minutes of explaining things about the old architecture of the buildings in the city he had somehow caught a glimpse of something that assured him she already knew all that.

She was playful and fun to be around. She liked what he liked, he liked what she liked. Not everything of course but quite a bit more than what he had expected at first. She played video games, listened to all sorts of music but mostly jazz -which he had found quite fun to discover for some reason-, she liked sports and apparently played in a handball team at a high level, like writing, painting, singing but also watching action movies and going out with friends or alone. Her favourite colour was yellow because of butter. She was good at math but hated physics for some reason.

“Math is great because it’s so surreal but physics feels so down-to-earth and grounded, I hate that…” she had told him.

She was in her first year of a math oriented licence, somehow studying economics, statistics, applied and non-applied math but had also pursued learning Latin and Greek while also participating in a theatre club and continuing to play sports. He found that amazing considering he had trouble just keeping up with his studies, playing video games and the few outings he had with Bryan. He liked the way she dressed, casual but classy, just formal enough to always attract his gaze. No. Saying he didn’t like her would be the greatest lie of his life. He liked her. Maybe more, almost certainly more, -also, that was almost surely mutual, even if it had not been explicited yet-, no, what puzzled him was the reason to this. Why he liked her. Because she is who she is, I like her for who she is, for her. That was the best answer he could come up with: he like Chloe because of what she was and all that was to be liked about her. Am I over-thinking this? Yes obviously… He thought, before mentally scolding himself when he realized he hadn’t heard what she had just said.

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EoP – Part 110

Echoes of Power

Part 110

Apparently the last-minute planning had borne fruit, and tasty ones at that. Alexandre thanked the seven, new and old for having a best friend as awesome as he had. Bryan hadn’t helped him this time but thanks to the tips he had given him the previous time Alexandre had managed to organize something quite interesting and enjoyable despite being planned far too late for his liking. He had decided to take Chloe to visit the local aquarium, which he had somehow heard she had never been to, much to the blond girl’s pleasure. The genuinely happy smile plastered on her face all along the visit was the confirmation that he had chosen right.

“Wow! That was really cool!”, Chloe exclaimed as they walked back to the entrance of the park, “Thanks for bringing me here!”

“Well it is one of the sights to see here in Echo Valley…”, replied Alexandre in a faux sophisticated accent.

“I can’t believe I never came here before…”, the blonde girl sighed, looking around one last time as they passed through the main gate.

“Yeah, that surprised me too… But it’s what makes my idea for this afternoon so good!”, Alexandre said with a smirk.

“Oh, yeah, your idea…”, she retorted with a wink.

It took Alexandre a few seconds to catch up on what she meant, moment during which she walked a few meters away from him. Oh… She’s good! He couldn’t help a small smirk.

“Are you lagging behind?”, he heard her exclaim with a mocking giggle.

“Coming!”, Alexandre exclaimed as he caught up.

Yup, he was liking this girl. Perhaps more than he should, considering their relationship, if they had one at all, was more akin to very close friendship than to something else right now. But who cared? She was quite cute and fun to be around, Alexandre didn’t care if he was friendzoned. Well, no, that wasn’t entirely accurate. He would in fact care, a lot. But he liked her enough to be ready to take the risk. Plus their still seemed to be hope. After all, wasn’t it her who had come to him first and didn’t she look like she was enjoying her time with him?

He had to stop over analyzing everything. This day was going great, the thought of his ability and Damian hadn’t crossed his mind since the previous day and they had still a few hours together to go. Yes, he had to enjoy this as much as he could. Damn! he couldn’t help but think as she turned to look at him once again, her grey orbs looking at him intently and her smooth lips curved into a smile he couldn’t help but think of as sexy.

“So, what have you got planned for us next mister gentleman?”, she asked as she took his arm, still smiling.

“What about a movie, my dear?” Alexandre replied with a question of his own, using his faux sophisticated accent.

“Hmm… why not.”, the blonde nodded.

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EoP – Part 109

Echoes of Power

Part 109

The next few days seemed strange to Alexandre. It was like his world, or his view of it, had changed. Everything kept moving on as it normally, it all seemed to be the same, but something was different. He had felt the exact same thing when he had first discovered his ability, suddenly it was like a new facet of the world around had just made itself known to him, like he had been included into a bigger picture which was hidden until recently.

The whole week had passed before he had been contacted by Damian. Alexandre had found it surprisingly difficult to restrain himself from using his ability. Well, empirium actually, now that he knew what it was called. The temptation had been great. Somehow even greater because he hadn’t, and didn’t want to, tell anyone else about this. Especially not Bryan. His best friend had to remain ignorant of all this, he’d never understand why someone would want to pursue something so dangerous. Plus he didn’t trust Damian enough to put his friends in the loop, if that guy was as dangerous as he seemed it was better to keep them away from it.

Alexandre couldn’t help himself though, this was something he wouldn’t stop thinking about, he couldn’t get his mind off of what it meant. The images also kept replaying in his head each night. He could see the bright eyes of the monsters, their bloody teeth and the dark hand piercing his chest. It woke him up each morning with a start. Somehow he didn’t feel traumatized despite these common occurrences but he knew he had to be careful when thinking about this, a sane mind didn’t need much to be pushed over the edge. Each time he did wake up like this, shivers coursing through his body and cold sweat running down his temples, he only had to look at the three scars on his side to remember it was all real and that he wasn’t going nuts.

Strangely the wound to his chest had not left even a scratch after Damian’s treatment, which puzzled Alexandre but he chose to think it was because of what the older man had done. He didn’t know if he was thankful for it or not though. Yes it helped hiding whatever was going on from the others -he already had trouble keeping anyone from seeing the scars on his side, which was quite a feat especially during sport classes, so he didn’t need one more to be careful about- but, on the other hand, it made a proof of his sanity disappear… If anyone could consider wanting to remember surviving to three monsters trying to eat their heart out and almost killing them being sane.

His mind was so focused on his encounter with Damian and what had resulted from that he didn’t see the week go and only realized by the next Friday evening that his second date with Chloe was the next day. This event was the only one that took his mind off the rest and that made him focus on planning what they would do.

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EoP – Part 108

Echoes of Power

Part 108

He threw his bag in a corner and fell heavily on his bed. Alexandre felt like his body whole body had been beaten bloody, he had barely managed to get up to his room and now that he was lying down he couldn’t even muster the strength to get back up and undress. Well, in a sense he had been beaten to a pulp. He hd almost died too.

“Again…” he added out loud with a groan.

He had trouble understanding how he could remain so calm about all this. A group of weird creatures that looked like demon come straight from hell had tried to torture him before killing him and devouring his heart, luckily he had been saved by a strange man who could apparently do magic -or, as he had been told, empirium- and crazy powerful one at that. All this while he himself could apparently use said empirium, without even knowing why, and heard a voice in his head that said things he couldn’t even understand. And all that had happened in the span of just a few weeks; if it wasn’t him that was becoming crazy then the world was seriously fucked up…

He had been relieved when, a few minutes earlier, he had walked in the house half expecting his father to already be there, worrying about where he could be. Fortunately the house was still empty, David Parson was still at work and wouldn’t come back until much later that evening. Alexandre had no desire to explain what had happened to him nor any way of doing so convincingly. He had already much difficulty believing what he was living himself. His aching body and his shirt, which had been ripped apart and stained with blood, were the proof that at least, if not what he believed, something had happened to him.

After discussing with him about what had just happened, his savior had deemed that it was more reasonable for them to leave it at that for the moment. Damian had however decided to accompany the teenager to his house, “to be safe” he had said. The trip had been made in silence, the older man refusing to answer any other question the teenager had before he had time to rest.

“It’s useless for me to tell you now something that you might forget tomorrow. No, you either wait until you’re fully rested or I simply disappear and you won’t see me ever again.”

Alexandre had accepted this without protest, nodding vaguely at Damian, he was too exhausted to say anything anyway. He had barely noticed they had arrived until the older man dropped him without any gentleness on the front of the porch.

“The pain will fade away quickly but for that you have to rest,” he had said as the teenager groaned from the pain. “Don’t try using your empirium anymore. As you probably understand now, it’s extremely dangerous when you don’t know how to hide or control it.”

Alexandre had nodded but the man had grabbed his face, squashing his cheeks between his strong fingers and forcing the teen to look into the depth of his eyes.

“I want you to say it. I haven’t agreed to teach you anything yet but if you want me to consider it favorably you will listen to me. Is that clear?” Damian asked in a steel cold tone.

Alexandre nodded again reflexively before telling the man before him he understood. A shiver ran down his spine as he felt the same danger as earlier. That man was dangerous and he wasn’t about to mess with him.

“All good then!” Damian exclaimed as he broke into a light smile, the storm in his eyes had seemed to pass. “I’ll let you know soon enough when we begin. Until then, no empirium.”, he added, his tone friendly but his eyes still as cold as ever.

He had then left after getting the response he wanted from the teenager without another word. Alexandre had struggled to get back up before going inside and heading for his room almost immediately. Once he was lying down on the bed, still fully clothed, it took him less than a minute to fall asleep. Despite the pain and the feeling of danger he couldn’t shake away, the pull of the deep, dark and calm slumber was irresistible.

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