Family Ties: Yami
(The Founders Arc – Chapter 1)
A giggle from the kitchen made the young man smirk as he snagged his tall leather boots in two fingers and wandered over to the couch. His aunt’s words, her smooth tones gentle and soothing as always, sounded clearly through the small apartment, though the voice from the other side was too muffled to make out its words. Still… the hearthstone’s magic conveyed a sound he’d know anywhere, and the curious and momentarily unoccupied elf couldn’t help but listen as he plopped on the cushioned couch and worked on getting himself shod.
“Let me guess, my sister. You’ve found yourself with two idle minutes, and you wish to know everything the children have done in the past hour.” The occasional tock of a dagger on the board betrayed the fact that his aunt was cutting herself a snack. An apple from the fresh, sweet smell that wafted around the living room corner.
There was a moment of silence before the other speaker came back through the stone, sounding distinctly sheepish. Yamiriel Whispersong’ef’Silverwing heard the fond warmth and the smile in the little priestess’ voice after the incomprehensible response.
“We’ve just finished their snack, and Sarren took them all three out in the pram. I fear you’ve just missed them.”
He lifted his head, silver hair flopping against his cheek. “I’m still here, min’nu! Just getting my boots on.”
Yami was opening his mouth to say more when he heard a deep voice mutter from outside the front door and a child’s answering babble, their words unclear. He glanced at the closed portal when a whine advanced to a cry and someone amongst the youngest in their family launched into a fruitful wail.
From the kitchen, his aunt said, “Ah. Yami hasn’t yet left, if you wish me to-”
“Sorry, but I’m running out the door! Sarren is waiting for me, and I hear someone crying,” he announced with a wince, tugging his laces tight with a greater sense of urgency.
The click that followed sounded like the healer setting down her knife, and he laughingly wondered if she did it to pat the stone by her hand as a proxy. Rhoelyn was always one for the little touches, and he was endlessly amused by her habit of handling the hearthstone as if it were the person she was talking to. His father tended to do the same.
Yami knew he had it right when she said, “Apologies, sister. I’m afraid I am all that is left to tell you tales of their mischief.”
While the voice from the other side of the enchanted stone said something long and unclear, the voidling young man chuckled to himself and tied the last lace on his boots.
“They are healthy and happy, and we would protect them from any threat with everything we are.” Yami sobered, his brow furrowing while Rhoelyn paused before she gently added, “But I understand your fear. I share it when you both are out in the field, even though I know well how strong you are together.”
The words made him sigh softly. More worry.
The family was so infected by fear, even here in Boralus. Infected and broken in half by whatever his parents and aunt had endured in the fires of Teldrassil. The sensitive young voidling could feel all their emotional scars, but he didn’t know what to do to help heal them, to bring the family back together.
Yami finished the last knot on his boot, looping the leather thong around itself and missing his uncles while he listened to the next indistinct mutter from the stone.
The sudden pang of extra fear that filled his aunt at whatever was said had the young man hopping up and hurrying around the corner. He only paused to be nonchalant for a moment before he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her cheek. Her surprise drowned some of the fear, and her love for him drowned a bit more.
Rhoelyn gave her nephew a warm smile, taking a moment away from the conversation. “I thought you were rushing off, darling boy.”
Yami nodded and gave her a little squeeze. “Yeah. An’nui needs me, but I didn’t want to go without a hug.”
His aunt smiled warmly and kissed his cheek in return. “Dear Yami… Will you say hello to your mother before you leave, then?”
Her gesture toward the pulsing hearthstone was brief but graceful.
“Min‘da! Hi and bye and I love you!” The young man’s black eyes crinkled at the corners as he waved at the device, and suddenly he had to chuckle. So he was prone to doing it, too?
“I love you, too, my darling boy. Make sure you behave and help an’nui. I’ll be home soon, and I’ll tell you all about our travels.” The young woman’s voice took on the sweet tone it always did with him.
Yami nodded, again – not that she could see it. “Don’t worry, min’da. I’ll help take good care of everyone. I can’t wait for your stories!”
Another surge of wailing sounded from outside, and the young night elf winced. “I’d better go.”
Rhoelyn nodded and shooed him off, an imperious wave of her hand. “Have a nice walk, Yamiriel. I will be sure to have dinner ready when you all get back.”
Her words were practically offered to no one, and scant seconds after she finished he yanked the front door closed behind him with a satisfying click.
“An’nui!” Yami rushed over and swept a squalling little infant with a head of aqua hair barely peeping out from beneath his little woven cap into his arms, cradling Rhylian against him. “Sorry I was slow. Did they get impatient?”
His grandfather, looking as calm as ever despite the second infant crying against his shoulder and the toddler tearfully trying to climb out of the tall pram, smirked and answered, “Oh, you know how they are. Mirrase got restless, so her twin got incensed on her behalf. And Alen is just upset because someone is upset.”
He deftly short-circuited Alensyr’s attempt to swing his pudgy little leg over the side of the pram and settled the boy back on his seat. “Come on,” Sarren said, wrapping his hand around the stroller’s handle. “Let’s get moving and see if we can’t distract them from themselves.”
Chuckling, Yami nodded and settled in his wake as the hunter deftly maneuvered the conveyance down the path past the long row of tidy brownstones that was the heart of their displaced family’s little neighborhood. He leaned down to blow a raspberry on his tiny brother’s cheek, another distraction, and was rewarded with a reluctant giggle from the baby. Rhy promptly forgot his tears and reached up to grab fistfuls of the shifted voidling’s floppy silver hair.
Their grandfather chuckled, patting Mirrase as she hiccuped. Alen stared up at them with pale, silver eyes, his face a study of serious contemplation as if he tried to decide whether to be amused or envious, his previous excuse for tears all but forgotten.
“There, now, little star.” Yami looked over at the green-haired night elf as he muttered to Mirra while they strolled. “Your boys are calm, and we’re moving. It’s time to stop your crying and enj-”
So far from home. So isolated and alone. Let the messengers come to bring you back.
As the ominous voice in their heads went silent, a loud crack of thunder rang through the cloudless afternoon sky, and the voidling young man gasped, doubling over, his night elven form rippling like a dusk-shadowed pond. Fear was sudden ice through his whole being, leaving him trembling and clutching his baby brother to him as if Rhylian might be snatched away at any moment.
“Not mine!” he bit out, shuddering, even though he couldn’t have said for sure what he meant or who he addressed. “None of mine!”
The thunder was followed immediately by a rush of golden Light and a feeling of energized well-being, but neither the voidling nor his grandfather noticed amidst the chaos that exploded closer when the twins and their toddler cousin burst into terrified wails.