Brigitte Pt.5

So presently my laptop is stricken with a memory issue virus leading to crashes, and as safe mode is ill-equipped to handle a Remember comic at its current level of quality, I’m afraid there is no comic to be had today.

However, the wonderful Miss Vikkie Moule graces this dim and dusty corner of the Internets with another installment of the Morgan family history, this time transpiring at some point between 95 and 100 AC and I think you’ll all enjoy it quite a bit ;)

The sun danced through the cold, clear water, making it shine as it trickled and gushed down the pebble-coated creek. Trees hung over the happy river, casting some aches into shadow. Save the babble of the brook, and the warble of birdsong, all was silent. Amid the slowly stirring scene, and possibly invisible at first glance, stood a boy. The overhanging leaves dappled his grey-toned skin, and the light that bounced off of the sparkling water caused his blue eyes to dance and shimmer, and yet they remained calm and focused. He stood, the water flowing just over the top of his leather boots, stock still. His frame was slender, yet muscled. The athletic form of a sprinter or hunter as he stood, silent and still, surrounded by lightly trickling water and lightly whispering birdsong. He wore thin, black breeches, but no shirt, exposing more of his young, nimble body. His heavy, stocky features were set in concentration, and his short, rounded fingers were grasping a glass jar. Still, he stood in the river.

Then, in one second, there was a flash of silver, a glint in his eye, and a swing of his arm. He plunged his hand into the water, grabbing a handful of small, glistening fish and dropping them in the jar. Grinning, he held the jar up to the sunlight, counting seven rather confused minnows exploring their new container. The sun shone off of their scales as he placed the lid on tightly, before jumping out of the river and heading out of the woods.

Erik Morg’han wandered through the town, grinning up at the various people who came and went, his large blue eyes shining happily as he waved. Since he and his Aunty Bridge had moved to the town of Crestview in the middle of summer, they had become quite prominent members of the village. At first, Bridge had been reluctant to socialise, after bad experiences with prejudice against spell-crafters in previous villages, but there was no such worry here. People asked for her advice and help, rather than, as they had experienced, blaming “her kind” for the deaths of loved ones and the destruction created during the war. But here, in busy, self-contained Crestview, the news that a spell-crafter had taken home in the old forge was practically celebrated. Apparently, so Erik’s school-friends had told him, the last proper spell-crafter in the village had died twenty years ago, and had been the daughter of a certain prolific minnow-blender.

“Mr Lamburg!” Erik threw his hand up and waved as the stall came into sight, running through the crowds of people to get to the old man. Arthur Lamburg smiled over the counter at the young boy, who grinned back up at him, holding up the jar of minnows. “I got seven of them, and five are fat ones!”
“Oh, indeed? Let’s see…” Arthur gingerly took the jar, holding it up to the sunlight and examining it closely. “Hmm… I suppose that’s worth your pay. Hang on, then.” Arthur turned and shuffled through to his small workshop at the back of the stall, returning with a brown leather purse. It was a small job Erik had been doing for some months now, open to any children in the village; they got one lyot for each three live minnow they caught and brought back to the stall. Erik had become known as the star employee, catching at least twenty a day, in batches before and after school on weekdays. At the weekends, he caught anywhere between ten and thirty. Erik smiled with dazzling eyes as Arthur handed him three lyot.
“But I only caught seven. That should be…” His brow furrowed as he struggled with his maths, “two and… um…”
“Yes, yes.” Arthur smiled, kindly pressing the coins into Erik’s hand. “You caught seven. But five are fat ones. Think of it as a bonus for being such a good minnow catcher, eh?”
Erik gasped, then grinned even wider and smiled as Arthur handed him the now empty jar.
“Thank you, sir! I’ll be back tomorrow!” He laughed as he started running back to the forge; his large, clumpy boots making his lithe form look all the more innocent. Arthur chuckled as he watched the child run off through the town. It was at that moment that Andrew returned from making deliveries, leaping the counter instead of wandering around to the workshop.
“Show-off.” Muttered his father, giving him a wry smile. “You just missed young Erik coming by with another jar full of minnows.”
“Oh!” Andrew tutted, rolling his eyes. “Haven’t managed to get up to the forge in ages. I wanted to ask him how Brigitte was doing.”
“I bet you did.” Arthur chuckled, leaning against the counter as Andrew donned his apron once more. Andrew also gave his father a withering look, but Arthur had long since gotten used to far worse. “You should go up and see her yourself. I’m sure she’ll be glad of it.”
“She’s far too busy now, with her catalogues and her service and all.”
“Then she’ll be all the more glad of it.”
Andrew shot his father another withering look, and Arthur held his hands up, taking the hint. Arthur sighed for a moment, looking out over the town again.
“He really does remind me of him, you know…”
“Who?” Andrew tutted, fumbling with his apron strings. “Who reminds you of who?”
“Erik.” Arthur looked as though it had been obvious. “Reminds me of Abraham, back when he was young.”
“Really?” Andrew raised his eyebrows. “Well… if you say so.”
“You wouldn’t remember Abe at that age. You were only a baby.”
“I would barely have been born when Abe was Erik’s age.” Andrew laughed, leaning next to his father. “He was ten years older than me, remember?”
“Quite right, quite right.” Arthur nodded eyes out of focus as he wandered through memory lane. “Same eyes though. Same hair.”
“A lot of people have blue eyes and blonde hair, dad.” He tugged a stray lock of his own hair, as if to illustrate his point.
“Aye, but there’s more to it than that. His… manner, his gait… there’s just…” Arthur waked his hand, trying to sum up his feelings into words, before eventually shaking his head and dismissing it. “Probably just an old man’s nostalgia. Come on, there’s orders to be done.” Both men chuckled, as they set to work. The dutiful silence quickly turned to a pensive one, though, as they both turned to memories.
“It’s been a while since I’d thought about Abe.” Andrew mumbled, staring down at his chopping board. “I miss him.”
“Not half as much as I do.” Arthur shook his head, his expression saddening. “I miss all of them.”
Andrew didn’t reply.
“You must be careful, son.” Arthur was looking at him, his eyes suddenly stern. “You know better than most how messing around with spells and so on… you know how it can wipe out a family.”
“It wasn’t magic that killed Abe.” Andrew sniffed. “It was… naivety. And foolishness.”
“I know.”Arthur consented, looking at the floor. “A tragic accident. Him, and Minnie, and… and their girl.”

They continued work that day in silence and, once they had decided to call it a day, Andrew ran his hands through his hair, and decided to lope off to the forge. He knocked gingerly on the heavy door, suddenly very aware that he should have washed and gotten changed before coming straight over… he was about to turn and leave when Brigitte opened the door, her hair cropped short around her jawbone, hanging straight around her face. She blushed slightly, and smiled.
“Evening, Andrew. What can I do for you?”
“… Your hair… it’s short.”
“Is it?” She smiled, furrowing her brow and wrinkling her nose. She reached a hand up to her hair and pulled on it, gasping. “My god! Not again! Oh, the shame!” She wailed melodramatically, before sticking her tongue out as Andrew rolled his eyes, smiling. “It was getting in the way of everything. Impractical. Do you like it?”
“It’s nice. Suits you.” He smiled, kicking his feet awkwardly. Shoulders, as usual, hunched over, he smiled up at her from under his scruffy sandy-blonde hair, sadness in his eyes. “Hope you don’t mind my coming by. I just… felt like I could do with some company.”
“Of course.” She smiled, hugging him. “Come in. I’ll make some char and you can help me catalogue the ground mammals in a mile radius.”
“Oh, wow, what do you know, I’m feeling much better!” Andrew turned, laughing as Brigitte giggled and pulled him back into the house. No matter how long it had been since he’d visited, they both felt as though there had never been a time of separation. And so they laughed into the night, making cataloguing land mammals surprisingly amusing. Before they knew it, hours had passed and night had fallen.

They had paused for dinner, in which Erik and Andrew had swapped stories of fishing, and Brigitte had regaled them with her tales of the time she was a sentry, completely self-sufficient, and then it had been back to work. It was ten pm, and Erik had long been in bed before they finally stopped.
“I should really go.”
“I suppose so.” Brigitte smiled, her glossy black hair shining in the candlelight. There was a silent pause.
“I… don’t want to.”
She looked up at him, eyebrows raised, but his hand was quicker as he stroked her cheek.
“You’re my dearest friend.” She said, smiling, but her eyes were set. “Andrew.”
“Please.” He looked down at her, resting his forehead against hers. “Just…”
She could feel every part of her screaming that she shouldn’t, that it was a bad idea, and yet, as she sank into his arms, as the warmth of his lips met hers, she could think of fewer and fewer reasons why.
The kiss was passionate, and caring, but eventually, she pulled away.
“I don’t know, Andrew. There’s a lot we don’t know about each other… There’s a lot I still don’t know about myself.”
“Maybe… maybe I should just go.” Andrew was glaring at the door, his cheeks and ears burning red. Brigitte felt her heart sink as he spoke so curtly. “I’ll see you around. Friend.”
“Andrew…” She grabbed his hand, moving in front of him. “This isn’t a rejection. This is… a…”
“Delay?” Andrew was still curt, his eyes still harsh, but when he saw her smile at him, he found it hard to stay angry and embarrassed.
“Please. Keep trying. I just… need some time.”
A grudging smile on his lips, he held out his hand to her. She reached to shake it, but suddenly found herself being swept into another kiss, this time longer, sweeter… when he let go, he stepped smartly to the door, shooting her a wink.
“Oh, I guess I’ll just have to keep trying.”
“You… tricky toad!” She gasped, mock indignation as she chased him out of the door, before waving goodbye. Both slept a little more happily that night.

Posted by: Lying

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