Bracken, her first year

Fourth in a series of character-building vignettes following a bunch of characters through their time at Addergoole & beyond.

Fafnir shows up in Addergoole: Year 9 in Æowyn’s chapter. We have seen Bracken once before, many years later in her life – Amends.

Addergoole, Year 11, early October
“I need to meet D.J.” Bracken braced herself, head down, looking at Fafnir’s chest instead of his face. When she had to, she could do non-confrontational. She had enough practice at it.

“D.J.? Why?” Fafnir, on the other hand, had never had to be non-confrontational in his life, and it showed. “I’ll have to take you out to the Village; I don’t think it’s keeping regular office hours right now.”

Bracken wondered at the it but didn’t ask. “Professor Akatil thought D.J. would be a good Mentor for me.” Every other Mentor-possibility had gone badly so far; even Professor Valerian didn’t really want to deal with her. Everyone had suggested Doug or Akatil. She couldn’t stand to get near the former, and the latter… he’d taken one look at her, asked her five pointed questions, and said “D.J. The Procurer will be able to help you.”

The Procurer seemed like a good bet. Now, all she needed was to be able to get out the door and meet this mysterious person.

“All right.” Fafnir came to whatever decision he was coming to. “Get your shoes on and grab a coat. It can get cold outside.”

Coat? Outside? She followed her orders without question, took Fafnir’s hand when it was offered, and followed him silently outside. He was in a hurry, dragging her along, so she had little time to marvel at the orchard, or the meadow, or the tiny imitation town that was, apparently, the Village. He pulled her down the pretty garden path to the fairy-tale cottage and pounded on the door.

A skinny woman? man? person opened the door. Behind them, a toddler appeared to be holding on to its tail. Fairies, Bracken reminded herself. Fairies. Magical Fairies. “Fafnir?”

“D.J. This is Bracken, she’s my Kept. She needs a Mentor. Can you bring her back when you’re done?”

“Tchah. Yes, of course. Come on in, Bracken, pleased to meet you. Go on, Fafnir, be somewhere else. He’s not all that comfortable with the Daeva-blooded.” D.J. said the last in an aside to Bracken, but before the door was closed. “I think he likes people in nice binary boxes, and, between you and I, I’m really not like that.”

“I can hear you.”

“Two, three hours. Four at the most. Go on, now, the child needs a Mentor and you’ve brought her to me.” With that, D.J. shut the door in Fafnir’s face. When he… she… maybe that’s why they said it… when D.J. turned to look at Bracken, it was with a completely different expression, far more piercing. “Well, then. You need a Mentor and you’ve come to me. Let’s see what we’ve got, shall we?”

This might work out after all. Bracken cleared her throat and began to explain her position.

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