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Sian's story part 4 - Pare for the Course


jfraser

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I can't say I'm fond of Pare.  But that's not really news - very very few people are. My first impressions of him have only grown more pronounced the few times I have seen him since that first visit to Windhelm.

 

He wasn’t hard to find. Candlehearth Hall’s common room is on the second floor and full of people, but one single inquiry gave me rolled eyes and a finger pointed directly at a sallow-skinned elf (I didn’t know he was an elf – or that elves even existed – at that point, but I did note the unusually long and pointy ears, a detail I was able to comment on in a manner so clever that only I was in on the joke, as you’ll read in a moment) who sat against the wall near the center of the room talking loudly about nothing in particular to whomever was in his near vicinity. As I approached him and began speaking, the others nearby took the opportunity to clear the area.

 

“Are you Pare?”

 

He looked at me with an expression best described as "slight panic." 

 

“What? No! Never heard of him! Or her!”

 

I frowned at him, back to the person who had pointed to him (who was quite studiously looking in a different direction), then back. “So Lysha said…”

 

He sat up straighter and interrupted, “Lysha? Why didn’t you say so? Wait.” He looked around warily. “Is she here?”

 

“I…no.” Visible relief. “But she said you would be able to help me.”

 

His expression turned to pomposity so quickly that I imagined it to be his natural expression. Which turned out to be accurate. “Of course! Any fried of Lysha’s is a friend of mine! How may I be of service?”

 

“I...well, I was sucked into this Middle-Earth ripoff by some fucking nutjob.”

 

In retrospect, that was really very little to go on from his perspective but, to his credit, he caught on immediately. He’s a pompous ass but at least he has actual brains with which to back up his attitude.

 

‘No, you are far from the middle of Tamriel. That would by Cyrodiil.” He waved a hand as I began to protest. “But I understand your meaning. You have been transported from your world to here, yes? Impressive work, I must say.” I tried to speak again, but he overrode me. “There must have been some sort of translation component to the spell. Fascinating.”

 

And that’s when I got to use my witty line that he had no way of understanding. “Yes, thank you, Mr. Spock.” (See? Witty!) “Can you beam me home now?”

 

He frowned. “Apparently the language component was flawed. I only understood part of that. Still,” again, as I began to speak, “I understand that you need help, and help I shall give you. For a mere thousand gold.”

 

My open mouth stayed that way for a few heartbeats because I was bereft of words. It took a bit for my brain to parse through his statement, at which point it had only one thing to say.

 

“What? I don’t have that kind of money!” I had asked Kra’aft to give me the rundown of the monetary system and he had given me a few coins for some of the items I carried (such as my Earth clothing, which interested him greatly). I had about 120 gold on me at that point.

 

“Well, that’s not my problem, is it? I don’t work for free, you know!”

 

I sighed. Apparently my stay was going to last a little longer than expected. “Fine. I’ll go back and tell Lysha you wouldn’t help. Maybe she will know another…”

 

His face had gone pale at Lysha’s name and he held up a hand. “Um…did I say a thousand? Silly me, I misspoke. Ten, is what I meant. Ten gold and I will help you.”

 

I paused a moment, watching his eyes with wary…well, wariness, then reached for my coin purse and pulled out the coins. “Fine. Here.”

 

He took the coins, gave them a once-over, and shoved them in his pouch.

 

Then, nothing. A long moment of nothing, in fact, until I prompted, “Well?”

 

“Hm? Oh! Yes. Well, I don’t have the power to send you back. Your best bet is to head north to the College of Winterhold.”

 

My best bet was to… “What?!” My cracking voice drew attention from the room. Until they saw who I was talking to – that appeared to explain everything, and they went back to their business as I continued, “You said you could send me back!” I hadn’t realized how much hope I had pinned on this until he had already dashed it. It was what I thought was my first taste of despair.

 

I had no fucking idea what despair was.

 

“No,” he responded in his stupid smug face-punchable way, “I said I could help you. And pointing you to the college is very helpful, believe me.”

 

I ground my teeth. And my clenched nails into my palms. “I want my money back.”

 

His eyes widened a bit and he said quickly, “Sorry, no refunds!” Forestalling hands saved him from my fist (not that I was strong enough at that time to be a real threat). “But you’re right, I do owe you more than that. Go to Winterhold. You want to speak to Rayya. She doesn’t spend much time in the college itself, so try the inn, the Frozen Hearth. Just…” A pause. “…don’t tell her I sent you.”

 

A college, eh? “What kind of college?”

 

“Hm? Oh! The College of Winterhold is one of the largest schools of magic in the world.”

 

“What do you mean by ‘magic’?”

 

He frowned, for the first time lost for words. He found them quick enough, though. “Magic. You know, mystical energy that can do unnatural-seeming things? Fireballs and levitation and…it’s what brought you here, for Divines’ sake. Don’t tell me you didn’t have magic in your world.”

 

“As a matter of fact, we did…do not.”

 

“Interesting. Well, this one does. How did you think you were summoned here, anyway?”

 

“I…” I hadn’t really thought about it. Now that I looked back, Lysha had mentioned summoning words and I had been standing in that pentagram and… “I don’t know.”

 

He nodded, a bit unexpectedly, and a look of pity crossed his face. “A bit of a slow one, are we? Well, that’s okay. The world needs your kind as well. If Rayya cannot get you back, perhaps you can find a job befitting your intellect. A scullery maid, perhaps. Or you could try whoring. You look…”

 

This time my slap was not interrupted – it cracked across his face. He turned to me with crazed eyes as several people in the room tittered, but I didn’t care. I turned and stormed away, silently thankful that he chose not to follow.

 

Don’t feed the bastards. They’ll just want more.

Edited by jfraser

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