Chapter 5: In Which Aria Buys A Sweet

Aria was growing up fast and both Vaella and Eldrin constantly wished they could freeze time so their daughter would stop growing up on them. Vaella smiled, watching her finish her day at school, Aria focusing on writing her alphabet in the human languages. Her teacher was a fairy, however, all children learned many of the human languages, as Evermore used to see thousands of different kinds of humans and the school had never stopped teaching the children how to communicate with humans ever since. Aria’s feet dangled over her chair, and Vaella stared at her, longing for the days when she was small enough to be cradled in her arms. Aria had always been small for her age, however, she was also the only elven child her age, all the other elves had been born over a hundred years before her, so there were no others to compare her to.

The bell rang and her teacher smiled at the class as they rushed to put away their papers, eager to enjoy the late spring air, “Remember class, tomorrow we will be having our darkblood drill, so don’t forget to tell your mommies and daddies what you’re supposed to do so you remember for tomorrow.”

Aria grabbed her backpack, and ran up to her mother, “Hi mommy!” She gasped looking at her mother’s dress, a light blue dress that fell just below her knees and matched the sky, “No training today?”

Vaella smiled, “Not yet, later though baby. How was school?” She wrapped her daughter in her arms, hugging her tightly, feeling less anxious now that she was with her. She was always busy while Aria was at school, checking the barriers for any activity, patrolling the town, and attending various meetings with the Council, however, she constantly felt anxious about being too far from her, she couldn’t protect her if anything happened while she was away.

“Mommy, you’re squishing me again.” Aria wriggled out of Vaella’s arms.

“Sorry, I can’t help it. You’re too cute. How was school?” Vaella waved to her teacher and they followed the crowd of excited kids and their parents out the doors.

Aria shrugged, “It was okay. We talked about the barriers and what we’re supposed to do when they go down. I want to do more elf stuff though. No one knows what I say when I speak Elvish.”

Vaella laughed, speaking in their native language, “That’s because you’re the only elf in your classroom. We speak it at home so you never forget where you come from but at school, speak what the other children and your teacher speak.”

Aria nodded, grabbing her hand, and stood closer to her as they passed a barrier close to the forest then let out a breath as they eventually passed it. Their teacher had told them the barriers could fall at any time, and Aria had stared at her wide-eyed, wishing her mother was there, “Mommy, I’m scared.”

Vaella was on high alert, one hand holding on tight to her daughter’s and the other tense next to her quiver, ready to load her bow at any moment. The town’s barriers had fallen more often than they were kept up, however, the Council, Vaella included, had agreed to postpone the curfews until they had no other choice. Vaella tried to loosen her tense shoulders, wondering if her daughter was picking up on her emotions, “It’s okay baby, you’re safe with me.”

Aria nodded, her heart pounding, then gasped, “Mommy look!” Aria pulled on her mother, staring at a cart selling sweets.

Vaella was on edge, she needed to return home so she had time to change into her Ranger’s uniform and patrol the borders once more, however, she was torn between her duties and experiencing a normal life with her family; her family always won.

She let go of Aria’s hand and followed her to the cart. The cart was wooden and hundreds of chocolates filled the shelves behind glass of which Aria was now pressing her hands against, staring at the chocolates in wonder. The top of the cart was lined with colorful candies of every variety, cotton candy hanging off the edge, and lollipops as big as Aria’s face stacked in a rainbow of colors.

“Hello Vaella! Ahh you’ve brought your little girl along with you, hello there.” The owner of the shop was a bright and cheerful dwarf, and he made all the sweets himself, his cottage near the woods bringing a sweet and rich smell throughout the town every morning. He was a smaller man with chestnut colored eyes and hair that fell down in many braids both hair and beard moving whenever he spoke. He had a large button nose that shone in the sun and puffy cheeks that were always smiling at the rest of the town.

Vaella smiled at the dwarf, “Hello, Thasson, it’s always nice to see you.”

Another little girl and her mother walked up to the cart, and Aria giggled, standing next to her, waving excitedly, “Hi Lilly!” Lilly was a good friend of Aria’s as she was in the same class. Lilly was a human child, a bubbly four year old with blue eyes and wild blonde hair.

Lilly’s mother, a woman from London, was a teacher at the school the girls went to. She had a kind face that matched her kind heart, her face usually lit up and bright behind the glasses she wore. She looked exactly like her daughter, blonde wispy hair she kept in a bun, and she was thin though she stood strong. She laughed, smiling at Vaella, “Are we sure we’re making the right choice in letting the girls eat sugar? I know my Lilly will probably be up for hours past her bedtime. At least it’s a Friday, right?”

Vaella smiled at the woman, knowing Aria wasn’t affected by sugar in the same way human children were, then laughed, “Hello Miranda! You know, Aria will be up past her bedtime waiting for me to come home anyways, so I might as well make things fun for her.”

Miranda’s face grew serious, “You’re going back out there already? So soon? Is it really that bad out there?”

Vaella nodded, watching the girls giggle, “It’s pretty bad. We are lucky our barriers have stayed active for as long as they have,” She looked around the town, children running and playing, shop’s doors open wide, letting the warm almost summer breeze in, fairies skipping around, and the two little girls who were now talking about what sweets they wanted to get. She smiled at her daughter, her pig-tails lopsided and spring dress wrinkled after a good day at school learning and playing, and she smiled, “It’s worth it though, keeping the town running as long as we can, we do it for them right?”

Miranda looked at Vaella, “You know, Aria is always welcome in our home. My husband and I adore her and you know Lilly and Aria are best friends.”

Vaella smiled, putting her hand on her arm, “Thank you Miranda, that is very sweet of you. We should have a playdate before things get harder around here.”

“Mommy!” Aria was tugging on Vaella’s dress, excitement in her eyes, “Can I have the elf chocolate lollipop? Please?”

Vaella smiled at her, “Of course baby.”

She handed Thasson a handful of gold, asking for the elf lollipop, and he chuckled, handing the sweet to Aria, “It looks just like you.”

Aria giggled, hiding behind her mother, and Vaella nudged her forward, “What do you say?”

Aria peeked out from behind her, hanging onto her leg, and smiled shyly, “Thank you Thasson.”

Aria waved good-bye to Lilly as Vaella and Miranda bid their farewells, and Aria skipped happily down the path, licking her lollipop, the chocolate melting on her tongue in the warm sun.

They reached the outskirts of town near where the Longborn home sat and Vaella enhanced her hearing, hearing darkbloods just beyond the treeline, the barrier down near the forest, “Aria, come here.”

Aria ran up to her mother, her eyes wide with fear, and Vaella picked her up, holding her close, “It’s okay, you don’t need to be afraid, I just feel better when you’re with me. You know mommy can run faster when I’m holding you because you are magical and give me strength.”

Aria giggled, the fear vanishing from her face, “I’m so fast too.”

Vaella smiled, “That’s because you’re my daughter.”

Aria rested her chin on her mother’s shoulder, her lollipop in her mouth, then she took it out again, watching a darkblood darting from tree to tree, close to them, “Mommy, there’s a darkblood behind us.”

Vaella kept walking, “I know baby, I can sense him. It’s okay, he won’t attack you when you’re with me,” She closed her eyes a moment, knowing the work of protecting the town would never be over, and stopped walking, setting Aria down next to her, “Stay close to me.”

Aria nodded, watching him, the darkblood now on the path, growling at them. The darkblood looked at her then, and she gasped, stepping behind her mother, “Mommy, you don’t have your bow.”

Vaella stared at the darkblood, daring him with her eyes to come closer, “I don’t need it Aria, just don’t move,” She sighed, knowing she couldn’t get close to the darkblood wearing a dress with no protection from being touched, and slipped out a dagger from her pocket. “Close your eyes Aria.”

She covered her eyes with her hands, then heard a thud, her mother then picking her up again. She opened her eyes once more, seeing the darkblood lying motionless on the path, and stared at him, wide-eyed as she put her chocolate elf back in her mouth, biting the elf’s head off. 

Recommend0 recommendations Published in Adventures in World Walking, WW Backstories

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