The village of Mushuk stayed quite still on these hot nights. The purple moon shown down its soft light on the pink waters of the Ugor and the sound of a fiddle could be heard way off in the distance. Walah, an elf, was intently stirring the stew she had put on the fire for dinner, tasting a bit of it here and there to test its readiness. Her long dark hair was tied back in a bit of string and hung to the middle of her back in loose curls; deep green almond shaped eyes with long lashes complimented her olive toned skin. She tucked a strand of stray hair behind her pointed ear before she wiped her hands on her apron; then walking outside she called to her children, “Rinkas, Brumillian dinner is almost ready make your way inside please!”
She could hear the patter of little feet running, each time getting closer and closer and she smiled. She imagined that their little tummies must be quite hungry; they had been out playing since the early afternoon sun had risen in the sky. They loved to play on the banks of the Ugor, picking up rocks and skipping them across the water and when the dry heat set in they would take off their cotton dresses and cool off by swimming. Today must have been one of those days because their hands were quite pruned. Walah rolled her eyes as she urged them to the basin sink to wash up; both girls shared their mother’s bewitching features and lithe way and if not for the age difference it would be hard to tell the two apart.
Brumillian ran out and took her seat at the table; she anxiously banged her utensils on her bowl awaiting her filling meal.
“Mother, will father be eating with us tonight?” she asked as she chewed on a piece of her long, dark chestnut hair.
“I’m sorry brum, but your father has gone into the city tonight to take care of some business and he won’t be back until morning.” Walah answered.
Krankton, Walah’s husband and the girl’s father, was a Sefier whom made his living by helping the Nerm’s budget and pay their taxes correctly. He was a much-needed asset to them and so it was not looked down upon by anyone. As most people of Myriad knew, you must pay taxes here for nothing more than to prove that you were dedicated to the King.
“But mother!” Brumillian cried out; her deep green eyes pleading, “father never eats with us anymore, father is never home!” she folded her tiny arms in protest of her father’s absence.
“Oh hush up!” Rinkas retorted. “You are such a baby sometimes. Father goes into the city because he has to. It’s his job. You don’t want those silly nerms to send him home without money do you? How else will you get the clothing on your back?”
“Hrmp! Mother will sew me my clothing.” Brumillian shot back.
“Oh yes yes mother can sew but where will mother get her thread?” Rinkas reminded her matter-of-factly.
“She can borrow it from one of the neighbors.” Brumillian replied.
Rinkas rolled her eyes and took her seat at the table across from her unsatisfied little sister.
“Now you two stop your fighting. I will not have little angries at my dinner table.” Their mother scolded as she poured stew into each of their bowls; just then a bird flew in an open window and landed on a ceiling beam. Walah smiled and said “why hello Graphee. Joining us for dinner are you?” Rinkas and Brumillian giggled as they began to eat.
Graphee was a neighboring Sefier and Rinkas’s best friend. He often joined she and her family for dinner and so Walah was used to expecting different creatures to enter her home around this time of day.
“Lucky for you I have an extra place setting, now if you’ll kindly come out of my rafters you are welcome to some stew.” Walah added jokingly.
Graphee flew down from the ceiling beam and landed on the floor; they laughed playfully at him struggling to morph back into himself. Usually when Sefiers morphed it was in a very fast spinning motion and from their feet to their head they would change leaving a cloud of sparkling dust hanging in the air after them; Graphee however was still young and grasping the concept of it and so it took him a bit longer to get back to his former self.
“I wish you would use the front door Graph, then we wouldn’t have to wonder if every animal that came meandering on in here was you.” Rinkas said to him in between bites of stew.
“Ah, but if I use the door then I will lose part of my magnificent charm.” Graphee responded coyly. His sandy blonde hair was quite a mess from the morphing fiasco; he ran a hand through it smoothing it down. His eyes were a light blue and he was a little short for his age, which wasn’t unusual for a Sefier. They were known to start out small and grow into themselves when they reached adulthood.
Walah shook her head, if this is how Graphee held himself now at this young age what would he be like in a few years when he became a man? Walah knew she need not worry because Graphee was the most kind being she had ever come in contact with, even over her own children at times. She was sure enough that he would grow up to be quite a man.
Graphee eagerly sat down at the table and joined the family for dinner. “Where’s Mr. Krankton on this fine summer’s eve?” he asked.
“He’s in the city.” Brumillian mocked.
“Young lady do not take that tone.” Walah reminded and then turned to Graphee and answered with, “Krankton went into the city earlier this afternoon to take care of some business and won’t be returning until morning.”
“He’s always in the city.” Brumillian mumbled.
“I heard that Brum, now don’t make me send you to bed without finishing your dinner.” Walah snapped.
“Well Brum,” Graphee began, “It doesn’t mean he wouldn’t rather be here with you.” He finished softly rubbing her small hand.
“I know but I miss him and I hate that he spends all of his time in the city.” She responded on the brink of tears. She sniffled as she pushed her bowl away from her.
“Now, now Brum. Dry those tears.” Her mother cooed as she wiped away a few stray tears that had found their way down her youngest daughter’s face. “Father wouldn’t want you a mess like this now would he? So cheer up, he will be back before you know it.” Brumillian nodded in agreement as her mother led her upstairs to her bedroom and started to put her to bed.
Downstairs in the kitchen Rinkas and Graphee were both practicing their morphing skills. Rinkas was part Sefier while Graphee was a full bred. She could only morph into living creatures; Graphee on the other hand could morph into anything he wanted living or non. They both started laughing as they turned into frogs, dogs, cats, rats, bats, they were constantly trying to outdo each other and usually Graphee won and only because he had more things to morph into.
“Graphee!” Rinkas cried as he turned into a broom. “That’s not fair!”
And as the broom he said, “Why not? It’s not my fault you’re only part Sefier.”
“Turn back this instant or I am never speaking to you again.” She threatened.
“Oh Rink you are so dramatic.” Graphee sighed as he began to turn back.
Just then Walah walked into the living area and put her hands on her hips looking at the both of them in disapproval. She tapped her right foot sternly against the wood floor and said, “What did I tell you about playing this morphing game in the house?” They both looked at her with sorry eyes. She smiled partly and added, “Okay now no more of this game, Graphee it’s late you best be getting home to your Mother and Father before they worry about you. Rinkas it’s time for you to come to bed.”
“Alright.” Rinkas complained as she walked toward her mother. “Goodnight Graph I will see you tomorrow.”
“Night Rink. Thanks for dinner Mrs. Walah.” Graphee called as he walked out the front door.