A Bonus Article!
The shimmering sun made the stone walls glisten a majestic silver...
It was hard to believe only one man lived here. The place was big enough to host dozens of families. How could someone keep all this for himself? Prejudice against Leor was already growing in my mind, but I still needed the Hromstone, a powerful, yet mysterious gem.
I initially planned to be as diplomatic as possible; However, my ever growing grudge against the man was leaning me toward a different approach. Perhaps I could overtake him and steal it. After all, He had minimal guards and no servants. I realized the danger of such ideas, but my patience had been worn thin by the last several days on the road.
I collected my thoughts as I came up to the main entrance. Two armor-clad men searched me head to toe, taking my knives and my sword. They were severely underestimating my mind and body as weapons, but how could they know. They either had little to say or were incapable of saying much. The air tasted hostile, which didn’t slow the shortening of my temper one bit.
The heavy doors slammed shut behind me. I was left standing in a dim lobby with a high, vaulted ceiling. I could hear someone coming, though their footsteps were creepily quiet, barely discernible from my own breathing. Before long, a small, self-righteous looking man entered the lobby from a side door.
He hesitated awkwardly before greeting me. “Hello, Anthon. I am Leor. Allow me to invite you to dine with me.”
“Thank you, but I’ve eaten already. Feel free to dine while we discuss why I’m really here.” I was lying obviously. I didn’t plan to be here for as long as he seemed to want me.
”the Kyaymara are not Vermin. They are my kin.”
“And we shall, but let us do so in comfort” His voice felt inhuman somehow. I followed him through the door he came from, and down a flight of stairs. The room we entered glowed warmly from magical lamps. They looked to me like prayerlights, but who’s prayers lit them?
Looking around, I started to notice signs that several people were in here very recently. There were used dishes stacked behind a bench as if someone hastily tried to hide them. There was also fur, probably from someone’s coat, caught in a wooden chair. My frustration grew. This man was hiding people, probably outlaws.
“Where’s the Hromstone?” I was done with this man already, and was making it clear with my body language. Still, he seemed to be entirely relaxed.
He had an obnoxiously patient look on his face as he replied: ”It belongs to my people, your family stole it.”
Damned idiot actually believed the letter I had sent. Reluctantly, I gave diplomacy a shot. “Then I say it’s time a proper trade happened for it.” It felt almost as if he wasn’t even paying attention. Regardless, I continued pulling at strings. “It’s a matter of life and death...”
His countenance, already devoid of any sign of intrigue, somehow displayed even less interest now. His next words might seem to be thoughtful, but his tone made them sound hollow: ”indeed, many lives are at stake, and it is my duty to protect.”
This evoked a thought, which I didn’t even try to hold back. “Protect who, Outlaws? Vermin?”
”the Kyaymara are not Vermin. They are my kin.” Suddenly, the veil of illusion, which was already weakened by my perceptiveness, collapsed entirely under my intuition when I received this information.
The Kyaymara were two legged relatives of Fox-kind, known as the Aldarmaka. A group of Fox-kind had defied the way of the Aldar by accepting human emotion into their lives, forming into the two legged Kyay people.
I felt my surroundings change completely and immediately...
We were in a cramped cellar with doors along the east and west walls. A rickety wooden staircase, in place of the grand one I had come down just earlier, at the north end of the room. A few decrepit chairs and tables were scattered about.
My knowledge of the Kyaymarans history of persecution and turmoil, combined with my attention to detail allowed my mind to discern reality from his illusion magic. All this was to shelter his people from prejudice and mistreatment, at the cost of his own image? People everywhere knew the name Leor as that of a rich, selfish bastard.
Leor was now a Fox-kin standing on two legs, characteristic of the Kyaymara. Now, the light made him seem saintly, rather than like a slave keeper. Though, I was still struggling against all the bias I’d built up.
”Someone needs to help them, Anthon.” His voice was now wavering slightly.
Gentle Kyay chants came from the eastern rooms, and the sleeping sounds of other Fox-kin from the chambers to the west.
”Sure, they can help themselves, all they’re doing is proving the cowardice that the Aldar’s nail to them.” I decided to stay diplomatic. These people had indeed been humiliated and assaulted many times by those who were once their kin and many humans who were influenced by Aldarmakans
“The difference between us, Leor, is that I am at least searching for truth.”
”it’s not cowardice, it is recognition of their current and dire situation.” He was right. Still, knowing is only half the battle. They needed to do more about it.
”I didn’t say it was, but that’s what it looks like. Which will only increase people distaste for your kind.” As I spoke, some of the lights began to dim. That’s when I noticed I was being watched. A few Fox-kin were eavesdropping.
”That is why I need the gem, it’s the only way I can hide them from unjust persecution.” His voice rose a slightly in pitch and volume, attracting several more Kyaymarans to gather.
I could tell they would need a lot more than this man had to offer if they’d ever get themselves out of this situation. And I was going to need that gem. ”hiding will only hurt them, they need to fight.” Looking now, at the physique and posture of the foxes that currently filled the edges of the room, I still didn’t feel confident in their ability to do so in these conditions, and I was formulating a way to get the gem. He just needed some convincing.
”They are not strong enough.” Leor nearly shouted. I would clearly have to do a lot of persuading. I helped myself to a creaky old chair, to get comfortable. Although the chair didn’t quite permit that.
In response to the lack of prayerlight, as a result of the foxes no longer chanting, Leor had started around the room lighting torches. I thought aloud as he did, ”You are so caught up in your own illusions.” I rubbed a hand across my tired face to show my hopelessness for the situation. I thought for a moment, and sized up Leor mentally. “If I train them to fight, will you give up the gem?”
”What will you do with it? Conceal yourself? How are you any different? We are all dishonest in the end.” He certainly didn’t believe anyone was capable of thinking differently than him. Apparently obsessed with his own mindset. I had more in mind for the stone. Ideas that I wasn’t sure would even work.
“The difference between us, Leor, is that I am at least searching for truth. You continue to hide.” I paused, considering whether to say more. “I believe it can reveal things as well, things that should never have been hidden...”
This article was created in response to a challenge issued to me by Bowels of the Forge, a World Anvil chapter.
Challenge: Same person/place/thing from two different perspectives. Under 500 words each. I initially followed the word count, but now the challenge is in the past, and I liked how this story turned out, so I decided to make it into something more.
Justification: In the first half, Anthon has a very negative outlook on this upcoming interaction, even up to the point when he actually meets Leor. Anthon’s distaste only grows as their conversation begins. In the second half, Leor says something that leads Anthon to determine what’s really going on. Certain realizations resulting from this lets him break through the magical illusion that was in place. Anthony’s physical perspective was drastically changed by this, as well as his mental view of the situation. So, in this article, we see Leor’s Manor and Leor’s Manners from two completely different perspectives, through the same set of eyes.