In today’s Friday Fiction, our very own squishy human (Jeremy Tully) has written a followup to his short story of late last year entitled “Bedtime Magic”. So settle in, make yourself comfortable with a warm bowl of Goblin Pulp (just like mom used to make!) and a mug of your favorite elixir. Then give a quick read to “More Bedtime Magic”…
“More Bedtime Magic”
A short story by Jeremy Tully
Brey’s pacing filled the hallway with resounding din of clicking thumps; even on carpeted floors she found it impossible to be discreet in these blasted armored boots. Just as she stopped to fidget with the buckles on her uniform’s jacket, a nurse emerged from a nearby doorway.
“You can go in now, but you can’t keep her up for too long. It is well past her bedtime and she is already very weak nowadays,” the nurse whispered to Brey while glancing down at her over-sized armored boots, “…and you may consider taking those off first. Just a thought.”
Moments later the boot-less Cleric of Krieg slipped into the room quietly. The dim light from a single lamp pierced the darkness, illuminating the silhouette of an dwarf woman laying in a large overstuffed four poster bed that marked the center of the room. As the lamp light flickered it danced across the creases and lines of the elderly woman’s face, creating the illusion of changes in her resting face. The weathered wooden floor creaked in pain under the weight of Brey wearing full plated armor from head to almost toe. Stopping and wincing at the loud creak, Brey looked up to see the weary face of her grandmother brighten to greet her.
“Brey?” asked Lady Ansbeth, her voice heavy with exhaustion.
“Yes grandma, it’s me.” Brey pulled an available wooden stool up to the side of her grandmother’s bed, sitting down with a metallic ‘thud’.
“Darling it’s past your bedtime. Don’t you have school tomorrow?” Ansbeth tilted her head slightly, taking in the sight of her granddaughter.
“I graduated three years ago, Grandma. Commission with honors, remember? I’ve been field promoted twice since then.” Brey leaned forward slightly, showing off her left shoulder pad now decorated with the rank of Captain. “I’m a Captain now, Grandma’ma”, she whispered proudly.
“I always knew you go far in the service, darling. The Tower Guard was the proud home for both of your parents until…” her voice trailed off. Ansbeth paused, her mind slightly muddled with the confusion of age and infirmity. “Oh it’s your bedtime isn’t it, darling? You are probably waiting up for a story like we always do.”
“It’s my turn to tell the stories now grandma, you just rest and save your strength.” Ansbeth smiled slightly, sliding down further beneath the pile of quilts and blankets keeping her warm.
Brey leaned back and grabbed a lamp with her left hand as it effortlessly bobbed through the air towards her. “I just came back from Paraga, far far off to the northeast… in the human territories. Thera is at it again, constantly pushing our front lines and testing defenses. It’s downright exhausting how relentless they can be when it comes to their day to day tactics. We keep them pinned up nicely on the north side of the river however, despite the occasional…”
Brey’s thought process is then immediately interrupted as she notices Ansbeth has fallen fast asleep. Almost on cue the nurse steps back into the room, closing the door behind her.
“You’ll have to go now Captain Brey. She tires easily now, especially on the days when her mental faculties are working again.”
Brey nodded, extinguishing the lamp she held and placing it back on the nearby nightstand. As she stood, she leaned forward over her grandmother and kissed her on the forehead.”
“I’ll be by tomorrow, grandma’ma. Sleep well,” Brey whispered before turning to tip-toe out of the room. Standing outside the bedroom door in the hospital hallway she quietly stared down at her armored boots, lost in contemplation. It seemed like only yesterday that she was the one listening to the bedtime stories. Now the roles were reversed and she had become the storyteller.
“I’d trade all of this rank and file for one more night of those stories though,” she silently murmured. “How I miss the bedtime magic.”