Chapter IX – Joys of Life
Life utterly changed with three daughters at her side. As soon as they were able to walk properly (it seemed that it took more time for children than adults to fully regain their abilities), Aeris presented them the entire town. Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup were not the only 'Hero' children. The school - and unfortunately but necessarily – an orphanage, were standing in front of the temple. The teacher, Miss Meryl, was a beautiful young human woman with pink hair. But what truly amazed Aeris was the constant peaceful aura that seemed to emanate from her, calming even the most turbulent of her students. The time table was settled. During the day, they would be in class. Eventually, Aeris would come and see them at lunch. Then, when the class sessions ended, she trusted then well enough (even though she did not know them very well) to let them roam freely in the town, with the only instruction of being careful and staying together as much as possible. Before dinner, the girls would always find their way to their mother, selling flowers as usual, and eventually they (especially Blossom) would take a long time marveling the beauty of such plants.
Her discussions with the librarians were more than useful. Having awakened since nearly one century, in the early hamlet that turned into a relatively large city, he almost knew every one. His gigantic memory did not seem to fail him at any time, he was more reliable than any book she could find at the library. Ms Meryl, he told her, should be in her late twenties. She had awakened about ten years ago, and – similarly to Aeris – had an strong inner motherly sense. The second day after her awakening, she was already teaching at the school. He also told her that she had befriended with a strong swordsman, named Jack, with whom he had battled trolls before his blindness had completely taken over his eyes. "Ms Meryl is someone that is similar to you in many ways, you two could share a deep friendship", he told her. Yet, every time she saw her, she was too intimidated to start any kind of discussion. How wise she seemed compared to the new mother. Experience was the gap separating them. Thus, Aeris did not developed a friendly relationship with Ms Meryl, but she held a very deep respect for her, instead.
Her kids were also enjoying their new lives. The first day at school, though, Buttercup had lightly wounded another child. Embarrassed, but not angry against her daughter, Aeris begged for Buttercup not to be too rowdy, and even promised her daughter to teach her how to use simple weapons (when she will be older, of course), although herself had some hard time with the martial training. Bubbles befriended with a strange dog, and the mother discovered later that the animal belonged to Jack. However, since he had not much time to spare for the poor animal, he usually let him wander in the school, for children liked to play with him. Dogs were rare in this region, pink dogs even more. Since most of them had never seen a dog before, they assumed that these animals were, in fact, pink. Some silly rumors between the students even said that Ms Meryl had changed the animal's skin color, to make it look cuter.
Her three girls each had a hobby. Bubbles, of course, liked to play with animals. If searching for her, Aeris usually found her daughter in the school playing with the dog, or around some farms bordering the town. To Aeris relief, the people there were rather nice, and having a little children talking and brushing their horses, cows, sheep or whatever animal, did not bother them for the least. Buttercup spent her time watching with awe the soldier training sessions, and Jack, instructor in the war-training academy, had even let her take some lessons with him (of course, weapons were made out of wood). The prowess of Buttercup intrigued him. Although she was barely able to hold correctly her weapons, she did have amazing reflexes and could deliver powerful blows - with a bad aim, however. Even the students, who were at least seven or eight years older than her, came to show a minimum of respect, since she was hard to hit (even though dodging her blows was an easy feat). To Aeris surprise, it was Blossom who stayed with her the most. Earlier, she had thought Bubbles to be often by her side. But Blossom was truly interested in the fine art of wizardry, and spent a lot of time reading any books that fell under her gaze in the library. Aeris even taught her some minor tricks, such as producing a small orb of pure light (very useful for reading in the dark library, for lamps were kept to a minimum to avoid degrading the ancient books).
Mith Solen was the first she introduced to her daughters. Amazingly wise, she knew that he would easily go along with the story she had invented, for he knew that truth wasn't always necessary. Buttercup, of course, was the first to complain.
What does such a name mean? She asked with disdain.
In you language, young child, it means Grey Eyes.
Grey Eyes? Why? Asked Bubble in her casual innocent curiosity.
Look at my eyes. See? I can't see any of you, for I am blinded.
How did that happen? Asked Blossom, also intrigued by any story that would extend her knowledge.
Let's explain it rapidly. Each of you already remarked that I'm not like the other elves, since I have black skin, right?
The three children nodded.
I am what everyone calls a drow. A dark elf. "My" people live in the dark corridors of the Underdark, and their eyes are accustomed to see without any light. They can discern any variation of heat, which make their eyes much more effective in the permanent darkness of the Underdark. However, such adaptation has make them unable to stand normal light. When I first came here, I tried to adapt to the strong light of the sun, but in less than a century, this strong orb of heat and light has permanently blinded me.
Then why didn't you return to the Underdark? To live with your own kin?
Children, it's more difficult than this. The Underdark is a place where you have to be weary at any moment. If not, you die.
Bubbles gasped in disbelief.
It is as simple as that. And another reason is, my kin is one of the most evil you will find in this world. Never trust the words of a dark elf! Remember well, kids.
But… You are a dark elf… And such places don't exist… Do they mommy? Asked Bubbles for some guidance.
Unfortunately, it seems that it does, honey.
Bubbles had already backed into her mother's waiting arms. How protected she felt in her mother's embrace…
Have you ever been there, mommy?
No, she answered quietly.
In what way is your… errr… People evil? Asked Buttercup, skeptical.
Drows like to kill, enslave, and especially torture, the dark elf answered casually.
But why didn't you stay hidden during the day, and live during the night? I mean, if the sun was your problem, then…
It seems more complicated than this, child. First, I firmly think there is some cursed placed upon my kin, so they don't get back to the surface. Second, the moon is also burning my eyes, and the thousands little stars in the sky are to me like a thousand painful candles right in front of my face.
The conversation did not last much longer. It was getting late, and Aeris could already see that Bubbles was dozing off. She knew that the information her daughter had just received had shaken her, for Bubbles was living in an utopia for the moment. This revelation had shaken her little world, but it was a necessary thing.
This night, Bubbles held tight to her mommy's arm.