Dream Worlds Are Born

Story 625: Sylvie & Jarius 3

Sylvie, Isti and now ten year old Xeja were hanging out in the forest of seasons. Sylvie had noticed Isti seemed depressed lately so she was trying to get him our more. She still couldn’t figure out what was depressing him but she could always get him to perk up when they went somewhere together so she wasn’t too worried about it just yet. She hoped if it was something serious he’d talk to her, hadn’t they always talked about things troubling them?Xeja vanished but they could still smell her, she was under the snow somewhere. “now where did that girl go?” Sylvie asked playfully. Xeja suddenly shifted in the snow, using her dragon wings to fling snow everywhere, even pelting her mother and Uncle in it. They laughed, Isti helping his sister up “she reminds me of our father” he chuckled and Sylvie agreed. “she took on his good qualities though”

“yeah” A man they hadn’t noticed was also getting up, his clothes, hair eyes and almost everything about or on him was white so they hadnt seen him until Xeja cleared all that snow a few moments “hey, who are you?” Sylvie inquired. He began coming closer and she felt Isti tense “I don’t have a name”

“How can you not have a name?” Xeja asked, seeming more amused than scared of the man. “my kind don’t give eachother names”

“weird, how do you know when someone is speaking to you?”

“like right now?” she made a puzzled face then said “huh, maybe we dont need names”

“Names are helpful Xeja”

“I highly doubt you don’t have a name” Isti stated with suspicion. The man looked at Sylvie again “those eyes, they are beautiful”

“she has a mate”

“Lovely, it doesn’t change those beautiful eyes. Even in elves you don’t see purple too often, especially not that brilliant shade”

“Look weirdo, get moving”

“Isti, stop being over protective”

“He claims to not have a name Sylvie”

“He very well may not, there are many cultures that are vastly different from us Isti. I know you’re just being a loving brother but everythings okay”

“okay so what were you doing just watching us”

“you dont know how long I was there”

“Look, my sister and her daughter have a very kind, trusting nature but I know better than them when it comes to how much you can trust people. You need to take your creepy self away from my family” He ignored what Isti wanted and approached Sylvie “he’s not your master is he” she was fine until the man touched her face “woah” she pushed him back before continuing “like he said I have a mate, thats not okay”

“I just wanted a better look at your eyes” Isti shifted, being careful not to hurt his sister or niece. He lifted the man up in the air and flung him. He was high enough he’d be hurt but not so high he’d kill him.

“Isti, you didn’t have to do that?” Sylvie said as he shifted back.

“He was getting too close to you, no one should ever touch you uninvited and the way he was speaking…he was close enough to hurt you Sylvie.”

“Isti.”

He sighed. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t sound so upset, I just…”

“It’s alright, you were just worried.”

“Yeah. We should move to another spot, just in case he comes back.”

Jarius was in a mood and not in the type of mood that needed Paimon coming in and interrupting him while he worked. He wanted to be out with his family, not here, trying to decipher the words in this book he had acquired. It was full of magic, he could feel it, and its owner had found out about his proclivity for items like it and begged him to make sure it was safe. Sylvie had encouraged him and he could never say no to her, especially after what had happened to her and their daughter. He was trying to finish up as quickly as possible so he could join them.

“Someone looks like he’s thinking of burning everything down.” Paimon teased, suddenly appearing next to him and peering over his shoulder. “Oh, interesting.”

“What do you want?”

Paimon chuckled. “No need to sound so irritated, I simply wished to check on you. You’ve been in such a dark mood.”

“I will kill you, Paimon.”

“And hurt Pellegrino, I don’t think so.”

As if Paimon saying his name could summon him, Pellegrino came running through the door which caused Jarius to let out a sigh and turn to greet him. “Sorry, Jarius, I tried to stop him, but he…” Pellegrion blushed, “never mind, sorry.”

“It’s fine, but please, I want to get this done.” He turned back and the book was gone.

“This is incredibly interesting stuff.” Paimon flipped through the pages.

“Give it back.” Jarius said.

“And let you have all the fun?”

“Paimon.”

“Paimon be nice.” Pellegrino said.

Paimon looked up from the book. “I could help you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Two heads are better than one, my friend.”

Jarius couldn’t help but feel suspicious of him. “What’s your aim?”

“For you to stop brooding. It brings me down and Sylvie might feel bad for asking you to do it if she knew.” He was suddenly standing next to Pelligrino and leaned in, pressing a kiss to his cheek. “You’ll stay with me, right?”

“Uh…yes, if it won’t distract you.”

“If anything, I’ll work harder so I can have you.”

“Be good.”

Jarius chuckled like he didnt believe that possible. Xeja was running and playing as if nothing had happened but then again, in their family, nothing was truly abnormal. Sylvie sat with her brother “so you ready to talk about what’s had you this way Isti?”

“I’m fine” she gave him a look and he sighed “I guess you know me too well for that”

“Yeah, come on Isti. We’ve always talked about everything”

“I’ve just never felt like a bigger sucker in my life.” He began to tell her about the last few months of his life. How he had thought he had made this incredible friend but it turned out he was just pulling an elaborate scam “I realized soon enough but it’s just shaken me for now. I promise I’ll snap out of this, things happen but its still fairly raw”

“I’m sorry”

“regardless though, that man before was creepy. I think I would have had a problem with him regardless”

“I have the best brothers. I’ve always felt so safe”

“We’re still only a call away if you ever need us to set Jarius straight” She laughed and nudged him “Jarius is still amazing to Xeja and I”

“I feel like this book is a little confusing.” Paimon said as he looked over the page Jarius wasn’t working on.

“Hmm?”

“Well, the section before was about food and this one is about herbs, spices, and their applications. The magic also doesn’t feel dangerous. Confusing and interesting.”

“Do you think it’s a cookbook?”

Paimon shook his head. “I think it’s a kitchen witches book or something.”

“Kitchen witch?” Pelligrino asked.

“They push their magic into food and drinks and crafts. Protection spells, health spells, joy and happiness spells, all worked into everything you eat, drink, and wear.” Paimon explained. “It’s more subtle than what I do.”

“Do people still do it?”

“Of course and it’s often passed down.” Jarius answered. “The man who brought me this book said he found it in the attic of his mother’s home. I’m guessing she never got to give it to him.”

“At least you know it’s not dangerous.” Paimon said. “If anything, you’ve given them something special. So no more brooding.”

“Yeah, yeah…thank you.”

Paimon grinned. “I’m sorry, can you say that again?”

Jarius sighed. “I said thank you.”

“You’re very welcome, my friend.”

Sylvie and Isti both jumped when Xeja pegged the latter with a snowball. Sylvie started laughing when she realized her brother had been hit directly in his face. He shot her a look as he flung some at her then got up and started after his niece. The little girl let out a shriek of delight as she ran. “You better run, Xeja.” She yelled, just enjoying her little girl’s laughter.

“She is quite sweet.” She yelped at the voice and was shocked to see the same man back. How had he found them? How fast was he to catch up to them?

“You.” She said and the sound of her alarmed voice caught her brother’s attention. She glanced at him and the man grabbed her, pulling her up and in front of him, causing Isti to freeze and grab Xeja.

“Let her go.” Isti said.

“You hurt me.”

“You were acting strange.” Isti shot back.

“That gives you the right?”

“He didn’t mean it.” Sylvie said. “He was just trying to protect us.”

Isti couldn’t tell if the being was actually angry or not. It was strange, like the creature didn’t know how to express his feelings. “She’s right, listen, just let her go. I’m sorry, okay?”

The man looked him over. “Perhaps I should take her.”

“No, look.” Isti held up his hands. “Just let her go, you can have me, okay?”

“Really? Or are you lying? Will you attack me again?” He took a step back with Sylvie.

“Please, I promise, no violence. Take me, leave her with her daughter. It was my fault.” He didn’t like the man, but he knew it was his fault this was happening.

Sylive tried “Please, Xeja’s only ten, she still needs me. We’re so sorry for how Isti acted. Please, we’ll make this up to you. My mate doesnt have the collection he once did but I’m sure he would give you anything you wanted in exchange for your forgiveness”

“who is your mate?”

“Jarius Alviar”

“I’ve never heard of him” Sylvie heard her daughter make a small, sad noise as she struggled not to bawl out of worry for her mother. She wanted to comfort Xeja but anything she might say could be a lie, she didn’t know what was about to happen. The man held her tighter and suddenly moved her so his mouth was up to her ear. He spoke so quietly she wasn’t sure anybody but her could understand “he should have killed me if he was going to act like that.”

Sharp pain overwhelmed Sylvie and just as she tasted blood she fell to the snowy ground. Xeja cried out in sorrow and before Sylvie could even stand up Isti and the man were gone. Xeja ran over to her mother “mommy”

“I’m…I’m sure I’ll be fine. We need to get back to your father”

“Can you walk” The question made Sylvie look at herself, she was covered in gashes but what had he cut her with and how had he managed it that fast. She didnt feel like she hurt as much as she ought too but soon she guessed it had just been shock because the cuts to her face started massively stinging and the rest of the wounds followed. She was getting light headed causing Sylvie to stumble. She wasn’t sure if he had been intending to kill her but she worried she might just bleed out. “Mommy I’m going to fly okay. I promise I’ll come back. Just sit and don’t go to sleep okay?”

“Okay baby” Sylvie sat, not feeling she had much of a choice. Xeja knew her way home and she had to trust her. “don’t go to sleep” Xeja repeated tearfully “I wont my love” Her daughters image was a bit blurry as she shifted, in Sylvies weakened state the small dragon pushing off nearly knocked her over.

“Why? You didn’t have to hurt her. She was innocent!” Isti’s voice was full of the pain he felt at what had been done to his sister. He glared up at the man from where he sat on the ground.

“You attacked me first, for nothing.”

“That doesn’t give you the right.” He growled, pushing himself to his feet. He went to swing at the man, but found himself on his back in the snow, that pale face so close their noses were nearly touching. He was fast, nearly as fast as Paimon.

“Blood for blood dragon.”

“Then it should have been mine.” He stared unblinking into the man’s eyes. “What are you going to do to me? Beat me? Torture me?”

“Do you want me too? I believed what happened to your sister punishment enough.”

“Then what do you want?”

The man cocked his head, pale eyes searching for something. “I don’t know.” He pushed himself off of Isti. “Let’s go.”

“To where?”

“My home?”

Isti got up and dusted the snow from his clothes. “You sound unsure of that.”

“Because I do not truly have one. I have always been alone.”

Jarius was happily soaring through the air, his wings carrying him quickly to the forest of seasons. He wanted to surprise them. His joy vanished when his daughter’s scent was brought to him through the wind and with it, the smell of fear and blood. She was heading in his direction. When he spotted her, he race to head her off, catching her in his arms and pulling her into him. “Daddy.” She said as she shifted back, the heartbreak in her voice nearly killing him. Where were Sylvie and Isti?

“Mom needs you to help her, she’s hurt so bad I had to leave her because it was taking too long” Questions would have to wait. He took off, following his daughters directions until he heard his wife softly singing. She was doing it to make sure she stayed awake while she was waiting so Sylvie stopped when she felt her husband land. Most of the wounds had closed but the amount of blood was still enough to horrify him. He picked her up as well and rushed them home to tend to her. “I’m surprised she’s already healed that much. Mom heals but not that fast”

“Maybe whatever did this didn’t intend to kill her. What exactly happened Xeja?” She recounted everything to her father as he cleaned up Sylvie to accurately asses her and what he needed to do. “I dont know what he is off the top of my head but it sounds like if he had wanted to kill your mother she’d be dead. I think he was punishing Isti, taking him away with only the memory of her cut up from head to toe.”

“Moms going to be okay”

“Yes…I’m sorry I wasn’t there Xeja…”

“mom told you to work, we go out all the time by ourselves.It’s not your fault dad…I dont feel like it’s Uncle Istis fault either”

“Both he and this being were in the wrong though your Uncle had more understandable reasons. I don’t know how I would have reacted if I had been with you two instead of him” Xeja felt better seeing her mom cleaned up. “Call your Uncles, I want someone to sit with you and your mother while she rests. If one of their mates will do it I want both of them coming with me to investigate this and get Isti back. I know your mother is going to be asking and worried as soon as she’s up and in more of a clear mind.” Xeja did as she was told, leaving her father to finish up whatever he needed to with her mother.

“This is your home?” Isti asked as he rubbed his arms. He was cold, shivering, and the cave he had just walked into wasn’t helping.

“For now, yes.”

“How long have you been here?”

“A couple of months, but that could change.”

“I see.” He cupped his hands and brought them up to breathe over them. “Is there anywhere I could make a fire?”

He stopped and turned to look at Isti. “Are you cold?”

“Yes.”

“I’ve never been cold, I can’t feel it.”

“Is there a place?”

“Follow me.”

Isti kept enough space between them to hopefully defend himself if he needed to, but followed him all the same. The man lead him to a tunnel and back to another part of the cave. It opened up into a large space and up above them, the ceiling was open allowing the snow in. Isti turned in a circle, marveling at this place. It was actually quite beautiful. When he turned back around, he actually ran into his captor. “Sorry.” The man hadn’t even budged.

“You can use this spring.” He moved aside, gesturing to a pool of water that had steam curling off of it.

“Okay, uh…thanks…” He wished the man had a name, it was awkward not having something to call him. “Thanks.”

It hadn’t been just Galt and Lefan who had answered Jarius’s call, but also Paimon who had carried Xeja back to Sylvie, all the while trying to comfort her. Pellegrino had wanted to join them in getting Isti back, but Paimon had convinced him to stay and help with Xeja and Sylvie. “I can’t believe someone would hurt Sylvie like that.” Lefan said as they flew. “She’s the sweetest person I know.”

“Did he exhibit any other powers?” Paimon asked.

“Not that Xeja knows of, she was more worried about Sylvie.” Jarius answered. “All I know is the man didn’t seem to want her dead.”

“yeah…seeing her he had to have enchanted her to heal faster as he hurt her because I dont think she heals fast enough to recover from that on her own”

“lets just hope he values Istis life as well” As Isti warmed in the spring the strange man just watched him. He watched as someone might this majestic creature they had never seen before. It caused Isti to ask “do you really not have a name because your kind don’t have names or have you just never been given one?”

“I had parents when I was very young and they did not give me a name so I assume we just don’t use names”

“were they mean to you?”

“I think I was a bad child” so they were. “I could give you a name so talking wont be so weird”

“alright, what would you like to call me?” Isti put some thought into it before saying “you look like a Jaresiah” The strange man nodded 'then I will use it so people aren’t so afraid of me"

“it would have been fine if you hadn’t touched her Jaresiah”

“I was just looking”

“it’s not polite”

“I’d like to see those eyes again”

“I’m not sure she’ll ever want to be near you now, you hurt her…you”

“she’s alive, I assure you. You were kind enough to name me so I’ll tell you that”

“How do you know that?”

“Because I made sure she wouldn’t die.”

Isti’s eyes filled with tears and he covered his face with his hands as he cried. She was alive. He felt a hand touch his shoulder and jumped away from Jaresiah. “Don’t, just don’t.”

“You’re upset again.”

“Of course I am,” he snapped, “have you never been upset? Have you ever been hurt before or cried? What’s wrong with you?”

“I was not allowed to cry.”

Isti wiped at his face. “No one can control you crying, everyone does it.”

“I don’t, not since I was a child. My father wouldn’t allow it.”

Isti looked him over. Even though he had said he couldn’t feel the cold, he was still completely dressed. Was he hiding something? “What would he do if you did?”

For the first time since he had been in his company, Jaresiah actively avoided his gaze, opting to look at the entrance to the spring instead. “Are you hungry?”

“What?”

“I should feed you, I’ll be back.” Isti could tell he was retreating and he watched as Jaresiah walked away. He didn’t want to imagine what had happened to him to make him the way he was. He knew it had to have been terrible.

“This was where I found Sylvie”, Jarius said.

“The trail of blood leads back this way though.” Paimon said as he followed a line of crimson in the snow. “The cold would have helped her though.”

“How so?” Galt asked.

“It would have slowed the bleeding.”

Jarius sniffed the air, picking up the scent of the being that had hurt Sylvie and taken Isti. “His scent is so strange.”

Jaresiah brought them both something to eat and as they spoke and interacted Isti actually started to feel bad for him. He wasn’t bad, he was just the most broken being Isti had ever met. Even in taking him, he wasn’t tied up or anything, it seemed like maybe, he just wanted somebody around him. Isti felt worse about earlier, maybe they could have all just become friends if he hadn’t reacted the way he did. Maybe they still could though if his brothers and Jarius weren’t too heated about everything.

Even if they were he couldn’t imagine them not seeing in Jaresiah what he was seeing. Jaresiah just had to be taught how beings interact, whats okay and not okay, he needed to be around someone who treated him like he had feelings. Sylive woke with a start “Xeja baby?” Xeja hugged her “I’m right here mom, your wounds are all closed” Sylvie looked at herself then back at her daughter “Thank you for being brave and leaving me to get your father”

“You feel okay?” Galts mate Tasaria asked “Oh sorry, I was so worried about Xeja I didn’t notice you three. Thanks for whatever you’ve been doing Tasaria, Pellegrino and Leondra. I feel perfect”

“we’ve just been here. Your husband did all the work” Lefans mate Leondra said. “so I guess we still dont know anything?” Sylvie asked and Pellegrino shook his head “Nope, but we’re here for anything you need”

“I really am fine” Sylvie assured as she stood.

“You should take it easy though.” Pellegrino said.

“I promise I feel fine, not in pain or anything.”

“Jarius will be relieved.” Leondra said. “I can’t believe someone would just attack you.”

“He was so strange, but even when he hurt me I didn’t sense any real rage or anything. It was like it was just fair to him.”

“It was still an extreme reaction.”

“Jarius took the others to find him and Isti?”

“Yeah, they were all pretty ticked.” Pellegrino replied.

Jaresiah was watching him again, Isti could feel it and he wondered what he was thinking. He glanced at him and Jaresiah cocked his head to the side. “Are you alright?” Jaresiah asked.

“Yeah, it’s rude to stare though.”

“Is it?”

“Most people get uncomfortable when you stare at them.”

“Are you?”

Isti shrugged. “Not really. Others might be though.” He rubbed his arms and Jaresiah stood and shrugged out of the large coat he was wearing. Isti looked up at him as he moved closer to him and dropped it over his shoulders. His eyes were immediately drawn to the scars covering his arms. “What happened?”

Jaresiah looked at his arms. “My father. Are you warmer now?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, thanks.”

“I’ll get wood for a fire, you aren’t like me, the cold bothers you.”

The scent of the being who had hurt Sylvie was getting stronger, even in the snow. Jarius wondered if maybe the man was setting some sort of trap, hoping to draw someone in before attacking or kidnapping them, but from what Xeja had said, he hadn’t seemed like the type. The being confused him. He hid one minute, then left his scent the next. It wasn’t something a predator would do, but then he had managed to sneak back up on Sylvie, Isti, and Xeja without being noticed. It wasn’t something an evil creature would do, especially with how he had bargained with Isti for Sylvie’s release.

“are those why you keep clothes on?”

“yes, I’ll give you my shirt as well if you end up really needing it but…beings tend to not be able to handle the rest of my scars”

“what do you mean?” Jaresiah didn’t answer and after a long, uncomfortable pause Isti said “you know, your parents shouldnt have treated you that way and I think its cruel they didn’t even name you. I’ve never heard of a people who dont give eachother some form of name”

“Your sister doesnt hurt Xeja?”

“you didn’t see any scars on her did you? I havent even heard my sister raise her voice to Xeja since she was a toddler”

“why did she yell when she was a toddler then if she doesnt now”

“Xeja is fast, it was to get her attention quickly when she thought she was about to hurt herself doing something wild but Sylvie would never harm her daughter, no parent should. Theres a difference between abuse and discipline and I think someone should tell you you didn’t have good parents” Isti couldn’t read Jaresiahs face but soon his words told him what he was thinking “go, you dont have to stay any longer”

“Jaresiah…maybe we could help you”

“I don’t need help.”

“Yes you do.” Isti stood. “You’re not a bad person, you just need a little guidance. Being alone isn’t helping you.”

He shook his head. “I don’t think your family would allow that.”

“I’ll talk to them.” Jaresiah started to back away and Isti grabbed his arm. “Please, trust me. I won’t let them kill you, I promise. They’re not like your parents. If I explain, they’ll listen.”

Jaresiah looked down at Isti’s hand and then back up into his eyes. “Alright.”

The scent was stronger now and Jarius knew they had found the man. He called for them to land and he shifted before he touched down landing on his feet in front of the cave entrance. “Isti!” He called out. “Are you alive in there?”

“Just let me go in.” Paimon said. “He’d never see me coming.”

“No, I don’t want to set him off. He could hurt Isti to punish us.”

“I’m fine.” Isti’s voice calling back helped relieve some of their worry. “I’m here.” He stepped out and behind him came the man Xeja had described. “Everything’s alright.”

“It’s not alright.” Jarius said. “That man hurt Sylvie.”

“I know, but…”

Jaresiah grabbed his shoulder then pulled Isti behind him. “Do you wish to kill me dragon? You can punish me if you like.”

“Jarius, he didn’t mean it.” Isti protested.

“It’s fine Isti, he wants payback.” Jaresiah stepped away from Isti. “Go ahead then.”

“Jaresiah.”

“You made a promise and I know you will keep it, but he should do as I did, it’s only fair.”

Jarius let his eyes move over the man called Jaresiah, taking in the scars. What had happened to this man? Any other time he would have killed him, but something terrible must have already happened for him to not even be scared of the prospect of dying. Jarius clenched his fist. Even so, he deserved something. He moved closer and hit Jaresiah as hard as he could, knocking him to the ground. “They all lived, so I will let you go with that, but next time I will tear you apart.”

Jaresiah picked himself up “I wont harm her again” Isti came closer to his brother in law “Look I’ve been getting to know him and he just needs a little guidance. He isn’t bad”

“You’re suggesting we take him under our wing…did you see your sister?”

“I did and that was honestly my fault. I shouldn’t have thrown him like I did. He’s had a pretty messed up life. Look at his arms Jarius and apparently it gets a whole lot worse under the rest of the clothes…I know Sylvie would want us to forgive. She was upset with me as soon as I threw him” Jaresiah said nothing for his case. He just stood there, his face hard as ever to read. Paimon looked over at Jaresiah “If you hurt any of these people again I wont care about any sob story. I just need you to know that” Jaresiah nodded so Jarius sighed “he may come back with us then”

There was an emotion that was recognizable on Jaresiahs face, he was surprised “I thought it would take more coaxing and maybe not even happen at all” Isti now spoke again “Sylvie and I come from a pretty forgiving family. Shes managed to soften up old Jarius here” Sylvies other two brothers didn’t look comfortable but they both seemed like they accepted Jarius’s decision to let him go home with them.

“Jarius has calmed down.” Sylvie said as she sat in the living room, Xeja sleeping in her lap.

“That’s good.” Leondra said. “That means he got Isti back.”

“I hope he didn’t have to kill that man.”

“You’re so forgiving, Sylvie.” Tasaria said. “He could have killed you.”

“But he didn’t. He shouldn’t have touched me without my permission, but Isti shouldn’t have reacted the way he did.” She stroked Xeja’s hair. “He kept his word and let me go, he didn’t have to do that.”

“I just hope Paimon listens to Jarius.” Pellegrino said. “He always goes his own way and he adores you and Xeja.”

“I’m sure he did, Jarius doesn’t feel angry.”

Jarius was impatient as he waited for Isti to convince Jaresiah to take his coat back and allow Isti to carry him home. He wanted to get back to Sylvie and he was relieved when the man finally agreed. He didn’t miss the look of relief of Jaresiah’s face as he slipped his coat back on. He had been trying to keep Isti warm it seemed, but having his scars covered seemed to help him relax a little. “Everything’s going to be alright, trust me.” Isti said.

“I do.” Isti could see he actually meant it.

“You’ll be happy with us, I promise.” Jaresiah nodded and Isti shifted and lifted Jaresiah onto his back.

Sylive had wanted to go sit outside and wait for everyone as soon as she realized they must have gotten Isti back so when they landed Jarius was instantly able to hug her “I’m so glad to see you up and truly alright”

“he never intended to kill me.”

“still, you had me so worried” Isti landed with Jaresiah and shifted, needing to hug his sister aswell “I’m sorry” he apologized again. "Nobodies mad at you Isti. Jaresiah stood just where he had been set down “Hey”

“I have a name now…”

“You do?”

“Isti named me Jareisha”

“I like it”

“can you like me?” she smiled “I think we all could if you stick around and promise not to pull anything else like that” Jareisah nodded. Sylvie approached him, wishing it didn’t make Jarius so tense. “do you want a hug too?” she asked. He hugged her awkwardly, obviously not used to something like that. “come on in” she invited.

Jarius kept Sylvie close as they walked through their home and when Xeja came running up to him with her aunts and Pellegrino following close behind, he lifted her protectively into his arms. “That’s the man who hurt mom.” She said.

“It’s okay baby,” Sylvie said. “He’s not a bad person, I promise. We should try to be forgiving.”

“Okay.”

“And he has a name now sweetie, it’s Jaresiah.”

“That’s a cool name.”

“Isti gave it to me.” Jaresiah replied as he looked around. “Is this where I’ll live now?”

“I’d like you to.” Isti said. “It can be your real, permanent home. We’ll be your family, if you let us.”

“A family.” They could all tell he was unsure.

“Let’s get you a room.” Sylvie said.

“You should be resting love.” Jarius replied.

“I’m fine.”

“Please, for me? I’ll lay with you.”

“Alright.” She could feel his worry and took his hand, trying to comfort him. “Isti can you find him a room?”

“Of course, you guys go ahead.” He reached out and gently rested a hand on Jaresiah’s shoulder. “Come on, you can even borrow some of my clothes until we can take you shopping.”

“Pellegrino and I will do it.” He looked Jaresiah over. “Maybe add a bit more color to your wardrobe.”

“Thank you.”

Jarius looked almost aged with worry as he settled into bed with Sylvie “hey, I’m okay”

“You were so weak when I got to you…”

“but I’m alright…thank you for giving him compassion”

“I knew it is what you would have wanted…”

“I’m eager to talk to my brother and see what he learned about him”

“he has a lot of scars it seems”

“really?”

“when I first got there Isti was wearing Jareishas jacket”

“see…he’s just another broken soul who needs help”

“well, he’s still on thin ice with me honey. If he hurts you again I cant just let him stay in my home”

“Isti wouldn’t be on board with him coming if he thought he might hurt me. I mean, Istis over reaction was what started what happened. Isti wouldn’t see me hurt again any sooner than you would so everything will be fine with our new guest.”

“I can’t see you like that again, Sylvie, this is the second time you’ve been hurt and I won’t have a third.”

“It’s okay.” She ran her fingers through his hair, hoping to ease the tension out of his body. “Both Xeja and me are safe here with you and the others.”

“I know, but I may fuss for awhile.”

“That’s fine, fuss all you want, I’ll still love you.”

Isti took Jaresiah to the room across from his and watched as his new friend took in everything. “What do you think?”

“It’s nice.”

“And all yours.”

He nodded. “So this is my new home then.” He looked at Isti. “For how long?”

“For as long as you want it.” He moved closer. “We’re not just going to suddenly throw you away.”