A year goes by, part 3…

(( Well, things are rocky with Ovistine and her mum. But what about Geoffar? ))

3.

"Moxie flux-bridger."

"Here you go."

"Saronite stembolts."

"How many?"

"Dozen. One at a time."

Ovistine chuckled and started handing them over; Geoffar smacked each of them into place with his arclight spanner and pushed himself out from under the steam tank. Ovistine rolled out, too, and pushed her goggles up. "That do it?"

"We'll see, eh?" Geoffar said. "Hop up, we'll take a look."

She followed him into the steam tank, where he sat at the driver's controls and she landed in the gunner's seat. "All clear here, Da."

"Here too. Shall we take 'er fer a spin?"

"If you can–"

"Pfft. No reason not to. We're needing less an' less of 'em these days."

He rolled them out through the gates and started angling toward Amber Ledge. Ovistine lined her targeting sights up with a bird… a rabbit… a wind rider, and she quickly lowered her gun. "Looking fine, Da."

"Well, I thought so." Halfway to Amber Ledge, he brought the tank to a stop, and hopped out of the compartment. "Grab that bag, there, aye? Under yer feet?"

Ovistine blinked and looked under her feet; there was a small bag, the sort of sack one might expect from–

"You keep chocolate in the steam tanks?"

"Only when me girl's out helpin' me wi' th' repairs," Geoffar said, beaming. "C'mon out. We'll have a few stout brownies an' a little chat."

"Stout brownies," Ovistine said dreamily, and then, realizing, "oh–chat." She frowned. "If this is about Mum–"

Geoffar shook his head violently. "I got me beard bit off frae both directions trying t' keep th' peace when ye were wee," he said. "Ye're grown now, ye both are, an' it's yer own to decide how ye'll get along now." He sighed a little and scratched his beard and muttered, "An' anyway, I see little enough o' 'er t' pick fights when I do."

Ovistine patted his back and nodded. "Hasn't been back much lately?"

"Ye'd think she'd be ready t' stand down, but nae–Varian feckin' Wrynn has whatnot fer a veteran an' paladin like 'erself t' do," Geoffar grumbled. "Likes 'im so much, mebbe she married th' wrong lad."

"Oh, but he's a human. She wouldn't want anything to do with him," Ovistine said, and the stout in the chocolate wasn't half as bitter as her tone.

"Aye," Geoffar said, sighing. "About tha'…" He leaned back on the grass and shook his head. "Ye've a good elf, an' I know ye dinnae need me to say so, but there it is. I know he means a lot t' ye."

Ovistine nodded, still chewing her brownie–it was easier than trying to say something, after that.

"Pity yer dimensional ripper didnae make 'im a dwarf," Geoffar said gently, tugging one of Ovistine's braids.

"A wee pity," Ovistine admitted. "Would've made some things nicer, while he was changed. But I like his ears the way they are."

"Aye. Well, it's a complication, surely, but 'e's been around fer ye through thick an' thin. I dinnae 'ave a problem wi' it, an' th' Ironhammers are pleased as punch, tell th' truth."

"They do seem charmed. Talk of dwelfs or no."

"So there's tha'," Geoffar said decisively. "An' wha' else be new fer ye?"

"I don't know," Ovistine admitted. "I'm not sure where to look next. I've read everything I can get my hands on, when it comes to the Light and its sources, and the Dimensional Ripper was the best idea I'd had in months and months."

Geoffar nodded slowly–and then he tilted his head, and said, "What's so bloody important about th' Light, anyhow?"

Ovistine gaped at him, crumbs falling out of her mouth. "Da!"

"Really. This huff-an'-puff yer Mum put int' yer head all those years ago, jes' 'cause she were made a paladin–" Geoffar's expression went dark for a moment, and Ovistine shivered; she'd never asked, never been told, never wanted to know the answers to some questions about Nancie's past. "Better she hadnae been, I think, sometimes," he murmured.

"She's saved so many–"

"Ye cannae weigh it so. She'd 'ave done other things, 'ad she no' been wha' she is." Geoffar poked a finger into Ovistine's cloak-collar. "An' so would ye, ye know."

"I–what are you talking about?" Ovistine asked, frowning. "I can't imagine not being a priest–"

"Oh, aye, bet ye cannae. But did ye know it wasnae always yer calling?"

Ovistine blinked; she could only ever remember wanting to go to the Cathedral and learning the things her mum knew, taking Nancie's battlesmasher of healing and helping people with it. "I wanted… sommat else?"

"You lit fires when ye were small," Geoffar said, and there was a strange little burst of pride in his voice. "An' ye liked water. Swam like a fish, sorta glided a bit some days, when it were cold. Ye picked up th' gifts o' th' Earthen before ye could say yer letters–when tha' scorpid stung ye, by th' time yer mum got home, ye'd shaken off the poison all by yerself."

"I lit fires?" Ovistine could only boggle. "Did I set a lot of them?"

"Until I got yer attention on th' buckets o' water, aye. You liked th' buckets better."

Something about that rang true for her… there was something about… a little wooden pail, water that jumped from one bucket to another… had she poured them, or…? "You built springs," Ovistine said slowly. "Little springs so the buckets would pour into each other?"

"Aye. But some of it was you." Geoffar reached out and took Ovistine's hand in his. "Lass, I might've been a lousy gryphon rider, but I'm still a Wildhammer. Ye never thought t' look int' tha' half o' th' family? To wonder how th' Wildhammers do their healing?" He squeezed her hand. "Did ye feel a call, when it was nature-magic ye were using?"

"I–" Ovistine looked down at her hands, blinking hard. "I thought–I thought all the time with Alishe and Harken… I thought it was because of the Light…"

"Ask yerself," Geoffar said fiercely. "Is it a call t' th' Light ye've had all yer life? Or a call t' heal?"

She was quiet a while, but then she nodded, and she threw her arms around Geoffar, who let out a soft "oof".

"Thank you, Da," she whispered. "I'll think on it."

Dec 13th, 2010
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