“Cool” but “Weird”

 

Two words of the day for Rodin. He’s just found out he’s Archon, and everyone else is going crazy over him.

For a brief moment you all get to meet Logan for the first time. He is Rodin’s little brother and is a sugar-candy-oholic. Rodin blames Millette for supporting his habit every time he gets out of hand. My inspiration for this crazy, sugar-fueled, little guy is my youngest son, Jax. He gets super hyped, won’t pipe down, and can’t figure out what words he’s trying to say because his mouth moves faster than his brain can think. I love this character because he’s just a happy, fun, non-stop bundle of I-don’t-know-what-I’m-gonna-do-or-say-next kind of guy. (So reminds of Jax)

“Is he awake?”

 

“Will you back up and let me see?”

 

“He’s my brother.”

 

“He’s our brother too, little brother.”

 

“All of you, back away!”

 

“Dahlly, check on him.”

 

Rodin opens his eyes and smiles as he sees Dahlmür. “You guys are old!”

 

Dahlmür laughs at him quietly. “And you are so peculiar.”

 

Byron shouts, “He’s awake!”

 

Logan yelps for joy.

 

Slender looks down at Rodin. “You worried us, brother. I thought you were going to sleep for days.”

 

Rodin looks at him, startled, “Days? How long have I been out?”

 

Lawrence says to him, “Ten days.”

 

Byron looks down at him. “You look so cool!”

 

Logan squeezes by him. “Hi! I missed you! I’m so glad you’re okay. You look really cool. Your body is covered in these giant silvery web thingies that just flow around and around and around and around. You look very cool. Millette is worried about you. We told her you were sick. She’s here with us in the palace. We’re actually in the palace! Isn’t that cool? I’ll tell her you’re awake, but she can’t see you because you might be cantancherous. I know I said it wrong, but whatever. Did you know that there are people that serve us? I’m treated like royalty! Well, probably because I’m King Vaniir’s aprehentis. I know I said that wrong too, but you know what I mean. I’m going to be king, because you are Archon. Isn’t that cool? Well, I better go tell Millette that you’re awake now. She’s been crying about you. She really loves you. You didn’t tell me you were getting married in a few weeks at the festival. Now that’s just mean. I’m your little brother! You’re supposed to tell me everything! Well, I better be there. I love you, big brother. I’d kiss you, but you look too weird. Bye! I love you!” And he’s gone.

 

Everyone is stunned. Galla leans down to Lawrence. “Did he breathe?”

 

Rodin shakes his head. “Will somebody please tell Millette, no more sugar candy!”

 

Slender says, “Believe me, I will.”

 

Rodin tries to sit up, but Byron holds him down. “Whoa! You better lie there for a little bit.You just woke up.”

 

Rodin says to him, “You’re the one that looks tired. What happened to you?”

 

Byron smiles and shakes his head. “I’m okay. Besides, I’m your healer.”

 

“My healer? From what?” Rodin asks.

 

He responds, “Aranae bit you to give you the gift. She had to sink her fangs in pretty far. It is my duty to heal your wounds as you become Archon. For the first couple of days, it was just Dahlmür and me. The process is tiring, but you should be proud of my work.”

 

Rodin replies jokingly, “Ten days? I don’t know how good of a job you’ve done to keep me under for ten days.”

 

“Oh, ha ha!”

 

They all laugh at Byron.

 

Rodin spots Helana. He looks at everyone and asks, “Can I talk to Helana and my brothers alone, please?”

 

The four men stand. Coleman points to the door. “Gentleman, I think that would be our queue.” With that, they leave, closing the door behind them.

 

Rodin calls to Helana, and she joins them. He grabs her hand then grabs Byron’s. He looks at them and smiles. “I saw the entire lineage They respond in fascinated gasps and draw in closer as he continues, “There were so many before me. You wouldn’t believe the leagues that became Archon. I’m sure, by now, they’ve explained their curse to you guys. I just want to let you know that I have a special message from the Circle of Light to you, Helana, and to you, Byron.”

 

of Archons. I spoke with the Circle of Light!”

 

Helana looks at him curiously. “What message?”

 

“You don’t have to take the oath of brotherhood to be a part of our circle.”

 

Byron is surprised. “What?”

 

Slender asks, “How does she join us then?”

 

“The same way Millette will join us.” He looks at her and smiles. “By marriage.”

 

Helana bursts into tears. “Marriage?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“I’m going to get married?”

 

“To Byron, if you’d like.”

 

Helana becomes overly excited. “I’m getting married!” She leans over to Byron and kisses him. “I love you!”

 

Byron is stunned. “I’m getting married?”

 

Slender pats him on the back. “Congratulations, brother!”

 

Helana dances around like a giddy little girl. “I’m gettin’ married! Oh, my Rings! What am I gonna wear? Oh, wait! Who’s gonna be there? What are we gonna eat at the wedding feast? Oh, my Rings! I’m gettin’ married! I’ve gotta tell my father! You better tell your father! We’re gettin’ married!” She bolts out the door, screaming, “I’m gettin’ married!”

 

Byron is still stunned. “I’m getting married?”

 

Rodin asks him, “Are you okay? Maybe you should sit down.”

 

“I’m getting married?”

 

Slender laughs. “Here, brother, let’s sit.” He pulls up a chair for him.

 

Byron sits. “I didn’t know I was getting married.”

 

Rodin says to him, “Breathe. Take deep breaths. You’ll be okay. Be happy, my brother.”

 

“Why am I getting married?”

 

Slender says, “Because you love each other.”

 

Still dazed, Byron replies, “Yeah. Okay, I love her. I mean, I do. I’m in love with her. Helana is a beautiful girl. She’s funny. She laughs at my jokes. She loves me too. I’m going to get married?”

 

Rodin and Slender laugh. Suddenly, they hear laughter coming from behind the door. Galla bursts through with an arm around Dahlmür. Dahlmür has a look of loss and confusion about him. He mutters to everyone, “My little girl is getting . . . eh . . . eh . . . eh . . . eh. . .married.”

 

Galla’s laughter is jolly and celebratory. “Be proud of your daughter, Dahlly! She’s becoming a fine young lady! She will be a wonderful wife!”

 

Vaniir is escorted in by Lawrence and Coleman. “Vanii, please calmdown!”

 

“Calm down? My boy is getting married! He’s too young for marriage! Dahlly, please talk some sense into them!”

 

“My sweet, precious little girl is getting . . . eh . . . eh . . . eh . . . eh. . .married.”

 

Coleman states, “They are hopeless.”

 

Lawrence looks at Byron. “Congratulations, son!”

 

Byron looks at him with a blank expression. “I’m getting married?”

 

Slender says, “He’s been like this ever since he found out he’s getting married.”

 

Lawrence asks, “Found out? You mean he didn’t know?”

 

“Nope.”

 

Dahlmür says to Byron, “My baby girl is getting . . . eh . . . eh . . . eh . . . eh. . .married.”

 

Byron responds, “I’m getting married?”

 

Dahlmür presses the quartz of his staff onto Byron’s arm. Bzzt!

 

Byron doesn’t flinch. “Ouch.”

 

Rodin shakes his head. “Will somebody please make them stop? I’ve got a headache.”

 

Slender laughs at him. “You’re the one that suggested it.”

 

Rodin replies, “I take it back.”

 

“Too late now, brother.”

 

After a few hours of dealing with Vaniir, Dahlmür, and Byron, as well as trying to slow down an overexuberant Helana, they all come to terms and try to deal with the pressing matter of the Archon. Slender has brought Rodin a mirror so he can see himself.

 

Rodin doesn’t realize he is in Archon form because it feels as natural to him as his normal self. Now that he can see himself, Rodin is in awe of his face. Logan is right; his body is covered in what seems to be a massive weave of spider webbing that constantly flows about his body, changing directions and patterns. His face has no features. He has no nose, brow, mouth, cheekbones, or ears. It is plainly the featureless shape of an odd-shaped ball on his neck. His normally brown eyes are now yellow beads of light in a bed of a black void that cuts across the face where his eyes should be. He watches the beads move up, down, and around as he moves his eyes and head around. They don’t sit in an eye socket like eyes do. The beads of yellow light are just there, floating in dark nothingness. He looks down at his hands. They are the size and shape of his hands, but the same webbing flows about. He asks Slender to help him to a larger mirror, and he obliges him. Rodin stands in front of the mirror without anything covering him up. His body has no anatomical features even though Rodin knows he’s naked. Archon is not a suit. Rodin’s entire body is Archon.

 

This is just too weird. I really am the Archon.

 

He smiles at himself even though his featureless face doesn’t take any shape to indicate a smile.

 

I’ll work on controlling that.

 

After Rodin spends a few hours of sitting on the floor in front of the mirror, staring and studying himself, Byron and Slender sit down beside him to watch. “It’s just so weird,” Byron states. Weird is the only word any of them can use to best describe it. To use any other word aside from cool will be an understatement.

 

Slender pinches his forearm. “Can you feel me doing that?”

 

“I can feel that, but just. . .not as if you were pinching. It just feels like” —he shakes his head— “I don’t know, but I know you’re pinching my arm. What does my skin feel like?”

 

Byron and Slender rub his arms. Then his shoulders. “It feels like skin, and it looks like a bunch of webbing flowing around and over one another, but it feels like. . .” Slender tries to describe it. “But it flows. As if I’ve got my hand on top of the water of a fast-flowing river.”

 

“Yeah. I can feel the ripples and the movements as well as the curves and the direction of the flow of it all, which constantly change. You’d think I’d feel the many different strands bulging and crossing over and going under each other, but I don’t. It’s just. . .weird.”

 

“But so cool.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Rodin looks at himself and shakes his head. “Cool.”

 

Slender tells him, “You sound weird too.”

 

“Really?”

 

Byron says, “Yeah. You have a deeper, raspier voice, like you’re talking with sand in your throat.”

 

“I don’t hear it. To me I sound like my voice.”

 

Slender nods. “Yeah, but we hear different.”

 

Byron chuckles. “Your eyes are cool. Scary, but cool. I really love your eyes.”

 

“Thanks, sweetie. You’re too kind.”

 

Slender laughs.

 

Helana eventually joins them as they talk more about his features. She enjoys his eyes as much as Byron does and says that she can fall in love with him just for his eyes, but her heart is already taken. She hugs onto Byron as the two of them kiss. Slender and Rodin laugh at them and ask the two lovers to knock it off.

 

Dahlmür and the others interrupt. “Okay, you kids can stop admiring one another now.”

 

Vaniir laughs. “Stand up, Master Rodin, and let me have a look at you.”

 

Rodin stands as the men look him over. Dahlmür grasps his hands and pulls them up to inspect them. They look at it curiously. Dahlmür places his palm over the back of one hand and looks at the others in puzzlement, motioning them to do the same.

 

Coleman holds one hand and rubs Rodin’s forearm. “Weird.”

 

Lawrence does the same with Rodin’s other hand. “Cool.”

 

Rodin says in annoyance, “The two words of the day today.”

 

Vaniir says, “We need to get him down to Aranae today. Only she can help him control it. He has to be able to regain his natural form and become this form at any given moment.”

 

Coleman states, “That is his natural form now.”

 

Dahlmür agrees. “Yes, but after breakfast. I’m famished.”

 

Lawrence looks at Rodin. “Are you hungry?”

 

Rodin tilts his head at him. “Apparently, I haven’t eaten for ten days. So yeah, I’m starving.”

 

Coleman snickers. “Come. Let’s go get you something to eat.”

 

Vaniir mumbles, “If he can. He has no mouth.”

 

Rodin replies, “I better, or else, I’m going to be the Eternally Starving Archon.”

 

Lawrence laughs at his joke.

 

Dahlmür sighs. “Let’s find out.” He opens the door wide enough to stick his head out. “My dear lady, will you ask the kitchen staff to gather breakfast for us all?” He starts to shut the door and remembers something else. “Oh, and fetch that young lady . . . eh, Millette as well as Master Logan and ask them to join us. Thank you, young lady, you’re very kind.”

 

Rodin asks, “Do you think that’s a good idea?”

 

Vaniir replies, “We’ll find out.”

 

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