Story for the day: Destiny
There was Haanta of kindly and sagacious distinction who sat on the western coast of the eastern continent. It was his daily occupation to remain in a meditative state and project his awareness forward and over the great seas. Though his body remained behind, he had trained and focused his consciousness enough to solidify it into material form, able to traverse the terrains of the opposing mainland with ease. His exploration of the distant lands was of a harmless nature. He was merely prying into the affairs of the northern continent and was not meant to interfere with the variety the mainland had to offer, but there was something he witnessed that he wished to investigate.
During his morning ruminations, he chanced to visit a place called Lucentia, and as the bustle of its capital provided much to consider and reflect upon throughout the remainder of the day, his consciousness frequented the city on numerous occasions. The advantageousness of having his awareness travel where his form could not was that he could choose to keep his massive projection hidden or transparent if he so wished. He was a monstrosity in stature compared to the varying peoples of Lucentia and though many of the Elves who inhabited coastal capital were of a lofty height in comparison to their human counterparts, he was a mountain even when being contrasted with them. Where the average male Lucentian Elf was more than six feet standing tall, he was three feet over their tallest aspect. His might was overbearing from his centuries of conditioning and his hair, as high and in fibrous strands, only added to his build. His consequence was immense and he chose to remain concealed through most of his journey until one morning, when seeing an event of strange significance and unfortunate situation, he chose to reveal himself to a selected creature.
His projection passed what he believed to be a place of education. It was not a temple as he had been accustomed to seeing but more of a structure devoted entirely to the instruction of the Lucentian young. He maintained his transparency while inspecting the intriguing stone building when a sudden confrontation caused his focus to turn. He heard the telling sounds of an older male Lucentian reproaching someone. The small whimpers and sniffles he heard in reply of the man’s chiding told him that a child was being disciplined but for what he could hardly tell. He removed his conscious efforts from his assessment of the stone building and placed it on the Lucentian altercation. He observed an Elven man of tall figure and ragged features standing over a sweet-faced child. Her cheeks were warm and flushed from crying, her hair was divided into tails and braided down her back, her eyes were large and fixed in a pleading stare, but more concerning than how she appeared was what she was holding. Within her tiny grasp was leaf of parchment but the image upon it he could not discern without drawing closer. He did, but rather than inspect the object that seemed to cause so much discord between the two Elves, he listened to the harsh words being spoken.
The one-sided conversation seemed to be on the subject of the young girl’s conduct. She was being blamed for disgracing him by drawing and being lost in fanciful worlds when she ought to be paying attention to her lessons. Her instructors were confounded with her and in their desperation to have her learn, they were forced to tell this Elven man of her constant inattention due to her drawing in the classroom. The girl cried bitterly through the reproach and when there were pauses in the man’s speech, she parted her quivering lips to form a reply in her deference but nothing was said. She would only look down at her feet, bow her head in submission and cling to her parchment.
Hebhiitsu watched with increasing displeasure. He felt it was not necessary to treat a child with such brusque accusations when her offense had been so insignificant. He supposed the two Elves were part of the same clan and, as the Haanta were considered all one collective, he equally surmised that these two were a part of a smaller and more intimate family. Though he has seen similar discussions of less vehemence endure on the mainland of the west, he had never seen one so unfeeling or over something believed to be so trivial. It was a rectifiable situation and there was no need to impress how shameful her behavior had been when the child displayed her remorse so openly. He could not apprehend why the exhibition of one’s proclivity and talents was such a discreditable occurrence and he questioned that if she did not learn the art of drawing during her lessons what was she being taught that could be considered more valuable than her own advancement.
The man had done with his rebuke, his words silence by the force of his frustration. He threw up his hands and turned his back, unable to say anything further that would convey his disappointment. He began walking away when the child suddenly awoke from her obedient state and waved the parchment at him in hopes of gaining his attention. Though he heard the sounds of the girl’s footfalls walking after him and the slight whipping din of the parchment, he was too irritated to acknowledge her and felt that his discounting of her want for his consideration was a fitting punishment for her offensive demeanor.
The girl stopped chasing her father when she realized he would not recognize her desire. Her hand holding the parchment dropped to her side, her eyes lowered in despair and her shoulders wilted. She was pained and bemused, understanding that her conduct during her lessons was wrong butt feeling justified in her inability to do little else than draw. She enjoyed hearing her teacher’s instruction in the background while using her hands to draw instead of write and though her illustrations were met with forbearance on her teacher’s side, they were rejected with callousness on her father’s. At merely six years old, she felt herself already a hopeless case and, would only her father give his approval, all her aspirations for herself would renew. He would not, however, and she could only sigh while looking down at the portrait she had drawn on her piece of parchment.
Hebhiitsu had seen enough. Such blatant disregard of a child was not to be borne and it was here he had chosen to reveal himself. He waited until the child had calmed and found refuge beneath the auspices of a nearby tree. He watched her sit and rub her eyes to keep her tears from falling onto the parchment in her lap. Remarking what she had drawn only worsened her sentiments and she closed her eyes to remove her attention from the page. It was then Hebhiitsu came to sit beside her. He materialized his projected form and waited for her to show him recognition when she was ready.
The child sniffled and wiped the remaining tears from her cheeks, and when she opened her eyes once more, she noticed a colossal and enrobed knee beside her. Her eyes widened in astonishment and she looked up to see the face of a smiling giant looking down at her. She looked higher still to gauge the height of his still locks and the fullness of his form. She had never seen such a creature: his skin was an odd blue and violet hue, his eyes a pale yellow, his countenance becoming and sagely, his long robe cascading over his immense and defined form, and the child was uncertain whether to cower before such a monstrosity or to think she had conjured him. Her fingers grazed the large knee at her side to test which of her theories were true and once she felt his material state, sensing the warmth he exuded and the fineness of his cloth, she drew back her hand and was frozen in horror.
Hebhiitsu responded with a disarming nictation and a genial smile. “Do not fear me, Young One,” he said in a low, placid voice, leaning down to her so she might understand his docility.
The child at first thought to call out for help, but when she looked about her, she noticed that no one else seemed to be able to see the giant. She looked up at him and then out to crowds of the marketplace before her. Not one person looked in her direction even though she felt such a gargantuan creature could not be missed. She spied the giant with terrorized suspicion and moved back when he leaned his head down to address her.
“The others are not able to see me,” the giant kindly explained, holding out his hand to her in friendship. “I have made certain we are alone.” He noted that the fear in the child’s eyes began to dissipate but she still clutched parchment close to her chest for comfort. “I am called Hebhiitsu and this is my companion, Kairhi.” He lifted his arm and from his draping sleeve slithered a colossal serpent. He realized the young girl might be frightened of so large an animal and bid his friend to crawl from sleeve to sleeve to show herself to the child while still keeping away from her. After a pause and friendly glance he asked, “Do you speak, Young One?”
The child blinked and said nothing.
“I will not punish you for speaking,” he said, as he supposed her father might have done. “What are you called?”
The girl parted her lips to speak but the chastisement she had received was still fresh in her memory and she could only succumb to further tears. She gripped her parchment with all the might her small arms could gather and wept with her head down.
Hebhiitsu exhaled in displeasure for seeing so affected a child. He placed his immense hand delicately on her back and nestled his nose against the side of her face. “You are pained by what was said to you, but it is done. When he comes again, I will be beside you.”
The girl’s tears ceased and she looked up at the giant with a beseeching glance.
His eyes wrinkled with a smile and he pressed his thumb against her cheek to remove any sustaining tears. “Show me what you hold, Young One. I wish to see what has caused so much suffering.”
The girl shook her head, terrified that the giant would have the same sentiment her father held on the subject, but his tender manner and quiet voice eventually thawed her inhibitions. Her hands slowly presented the parchment and the drawing on the page, though agonizing at the moment, caused her to cry no longer.
Hebhiitsu hummed in deliberation when the image was revealed to him. The depiction was of a small child, seemingly the girl beside him, holding the hand of another Elf. He assumed the tall and dark-haired representation was of the man who reproached her. He understood why the depiction caused her anguish given the situation but could not comprehend why it should be distressing to her father. The drawing showed them smiling together, skipping hand in hand through a flowerbed, and all that she found disconcerting Hebhiitsu found agreeable. For one so young, he thought her to have exceptional skill. She had paid attention to detail and composition and had even taken care to draw numerous different types of flowers at their feet.
“Hmm, you have excellent sense of form,” he thrummed, pointing to the parts of the illustration he found incomparable. “Is this portrait finished?”
The girl shook her head.
“You wished for approval before continuing?”
“You have it, Young One,” the giant said, playfully shaking his fibrous hair about her features.
She simpered and closed her eyes, feeling the tickles his stiff hair accorded her.
“Continue with your portrait, Young One,” Hebhiitsu purred. “I am here to guard you until you finish.”
The girl gave a short nod and took her pencil from her pocket. She began drawing the lines for a brilliant sun and billowing clouds and she felt a sense of ease overcome her. She began to half-smile as she sketched and, without her knowing, her fingers began to curl around the giant’s forefinger. A comfort rushed on her and though her instructor began calling for lessons to begin, she was too enthralled with her new guardian and the serenity he afforded her to remove herself from them. She drew until the depiction was finished and before she could feel the passing of time, the morning had turned into evening and she had gained a friend.