Sialla and Idiby Zephir
Chapter 1Sialla and Idi
Things were simpler in the times before the Disturbances. There weren't any wars or famines, the balance of the world was straight, and people lived in relative peace. Things were simple, indeed...
A young girl turns around in the street and looks at the woman yelling at her. She glances around while she runs up and points a hand at her own chest. "Me?"
The old woman slows to a halt in front of her and continues yelling, drawing the attention of a small crowd. "Yes, you, thief! Crook! Felon!"
"Whoa, whoa, slow down..." the girl tells her, pushing out at the air with her arms.
"Scoundrel!" the old woman yells in her face.
The girl gets defensive and puts her hands on her hips. "Scoundrel?!"
"Wait a minute, wait a minute..." The Mist village constable pushes his way through the crowd and stands between them, holding out his hands to each party. "Everybody calm down... Now, what seems to be the problem?"
The old lady sticks a bony finger out at the girl. "She stole from my shop!"
"Did not!" the girl immediately retorts. "I didn't do nothin'!"
Another woman shoves and elbows her way through the crowd now and joins the three of them. "Sialla! What did you do now!?"
"Nothing!" she insists.
"Liar!" The old lady wags that bony finger at her again. "I saw you take that charm off my counter."
"What did you take this time?" asks her mother.
Sialla looks between them for a moment, her jaw agape. "Mom, I didn't steal anything from her--"
"Don't lie to me, Sialla, just tell me the truth."
"I AM telling you the truth!"
The constable interjects now, using his hands to wave the three of them to silence. "Wait a second, wait; Miss Freya, can you prove she stole it?"
"Yes, search her!" replies the old lady enthusiastically.
Horrified, Sialla turns to her mother. "Mom!"
"If you don't have it, you don't have anything to worry about, do you?" she states matter-of-factly.
Sialla looks around at everyone, then at her mom and scoffs. With a sour look on her face she holds her hands out and submits herself for a quick search.
"Hmm..." mutters the constable under his breath. He checks her robe's sleeves and finds nothing there, then checks the inside of it and pats down her sides and legs, and all the while she bounces impatiently on one foot and looks around at the sky. Satisfied she doesn't have anything on her, he stands up and gives her one last glance and a sigh before turning to face the other two. "I didn't find anything."
"I'm telling you, she stole it!" Miss Freya presses.
"It's not on her, so she doesn't have it. You must be seeing things, Miss Freya."
And with that, the constable steps aside and starts dispersing the crowd, while Miss Freya follows him and tries to convince him to look again, fruitlessly. Left alone with her mother, Sialla goes over and tells her, "I told you I didn't do nothin'."
Her mom looks away after Freya and the constable for a moment, then looks back at Sialla and eyes her suspiciously. "Where'd you hide it?"
Sialla looks hurt and protests. "I didn't hide anything! I didn't TAKE anything!"
"Come along, young lady," her mom tells her while taking her by her arm. "You're going to go home, think this over, and when you're ready, you can tell us all about it and take it back to Miss Freya."
"Don't 'but Mom' me, come on!"
"Mom... you're hurting my arm..." Sialla protests weakly.
"Suits you right," is all she tells her.
Back home, her mom throws her into her room, where she finally releases her and closes the door behind her. From behind the door she tells her, "Now you think about what you've done and you can come out when you're ready."
Sialla spins about and grabs the door handle, but finds it locked from the outside. She tugs on it a few times and knocks loudly, then finally gives up with a shove and a heavy sigh. Pouting and sullen, she shuffles over to her bed and throws herself down on it heavily, where she lies staring at the ceiling for a long, quiet time, playing with her hair or the sheets mindlessly. Her fingers eventually find the clip holding her hair in place and reach up to take it down, then fumble around with it over her head, removing a small trinket from its many beads and ribbons. She brings it down and turns it over in her hands, inspecting the little charm she'd hidden away there. Her mom had been right, but it doesn't help the fact that she never believes a word Sialla says, even when she's telling her the truth.
Feeling frustrated as she thinks about it, Sialla sits up and looks around for something to do, letting her eyes fall on the window. She stares at it for a bit, biting her lip in thought, then gets up and sneaks out that way, making straight for the alleys between houses so she won't be spotted. She passes by people absent-mindedly, keeping to herself while marching onwards towards the forest. She walks on for what must be an hour, getting deeper and deeper into the forest until there's nothing and nobody around but her and the trees and the birds. Finally finding that special spot of hers, she settles down in a nest of leaves and moss and lays back against a tree trunk, curling her hands behind her head and lying there in silent contemplation.
And it would be the most perfect few hours for her, if not for the animal creeping up on her. At first she's oblivious, staring serenely up at the low-hanging clouds. The beast makes its way slowly over towards her, crouching low to the ground, moving noiselessly through the brush and grass... closer it comes, and yet she still doesn't notice. It moves over to her left and she begins noticing faint rustlings, fur brushing against grass. Her heart jumps in her chest and she spins around and sits up suddenly, scrambling backwards for cover. Her motions startle the thing and it hops back and crouches, peering at her through the grass blades.
All she can think to do for a moment is sit against the tree and wait for it to move, but when she sees that it's not doing anything, she begins to relax and hope that she can get out before it does anything... but then swallows a big lump in her throat and breathes harder as it moves towards her again and pokes its head through the grass revealing...
A tiny little thing, not more than thirty centimeters at the head and looking no more than four kilos in weight. She blinks and studies its features: two very bushy tails and a thick white coat of fur, with a mane of longer and darker hair running from its head to partway down its back, and tufts of fur covering its four feet. Looking back into its oversized, overly cute eyes, she can't help but giggle and let go, slumping down in place and breathing a long sigh of relief. "Oh... whew. Aren't you just a cute little fella?"
It tilts its head at her curiously, then sniffs at the air and proceeds to tiptoe over to her side, smelling at her robe. She looks down at it for a moment until it clicks. "Oh, you want my food?"
She reaches into her robe and takes out a small morsel of sugared bread, a snack she'd been saving for herself later on, and offers it to the animal. Its ears perk up and it sniffs at the bread, then licks at it and eventually laps it right up and nibbles. Feeling unthreatened, Sialla leans over and pats it on its head gently, then tries to scoop it up into her hands carefully, and to her surprise it doesn't resist or try to run away.
She holds it up to her face and places it in her arms, cradling it and letting it lick at her nose. She laughs softly and wonders about bringing it home with her, to which she agrees upon in an instant. And then, in her next thought, she wonders what she should name it. "Hey, you wanna come home with me, little guy?"
It licks at her nose again with bright eyes, in apparent agreement. "Ha ha, okay then. What should I call you, hm? Boy or girl?"
She holds it up in the air and glances down. "Girl."
Lowering her back down to eye level and watching her sniff at her face, Sialla contemplates. "Hmm... how about it... Sherri? Nala? You like those?"
She doesn't seem to react, so she thinks a little harder. "What about... Idi! You like that one?"
She reaches out and licks her on the nose again, and Sialla takes that for a yes and giggles. "Okay, Idi it is!"
Idi, as in short for idian'tel, the Mistian word for "mystery". Sialla scoops Idi up and stands, then faces home. "You wanna come with me Idi?"
Idi wags her tails and tries to reach for her face again, and Sialla again takes that for a yes and laughs. "All right, onward, ho!"
Sialla then sets Idi back down and sets off for Mist, looking back once in a while to make sure Idi's following; which she always is, and happily, too.