Carpathia III: Epilogue 11 - Coarse Awakening

Jaze's House, Rune Lake, New Carpathia

Since returning to his home, Jaze's sleep pattern had been erratic. Sometimes he fell asleep early, sometimes late. Sometimes he woke up early, sometimes late. His bedtime seemed to have no bearing at all on the time he would rise the next day. Nights ranged from restful and short to sleepless and long, and everything in between.

The next day was the day of the visit with the tokki Queen and the leader of the dragons. As they were scheduled to arrive in mid-morning, Jaze thought it wise to set an alarm before he went to bed the night before.

This was a grave error.

The alarm dutifully sounded it's shrill "beep beep" at the correct time and then many things happened all at once.

First, Jaze awoke suddenly from his unnaturally deep slumber with a shriek and an involuntary spasm of fire. Toma, being the hyperaware tokki that he is, reacted instantly, despite having been sleeping himself, by jumping straight out of danger.

Toma: Whoa!

Jaze scrambled out of his smoldering bed while Toma darted into the hallway.

Toma: Fire extinguisher!

Jaze frantically opened his bedroom window and started throwing the remains of his blankets out when Toma returned with Kaoru.

Kaoru: Turn on the bathroom sink!

Again, Toma raced out of the room and a moment later, water was running. Kaoru waved his arm around a few times and the water from the sink arced into the bedroom where Kaoru trained it on the bed with astonishing precision. Within moments, the fire was out and everyone breathed easier in a figurative sense. More literally, the smoke in the room prevented actual easy breathing. A moment later, the smoke detector began its own shrill beeping to accompany the alarm clock.

Kaoru: Lucky I was on my way to the bathroom. Come to think of it, I could have taken the water from the toilet instead of the sink. Are you two okay?

Before Jaze could answer, his mother and father ran into the room waving their hands in front of their faces.

Elektra: What happened?

Tier: Is everyone okay?

Jaze brushed himself and did a quick check of his body.

Jaze: I'm fine. Toma?

Toma: Fine.

Jaze had a glance at his blackened bed and his ears sagged.

Jaze: Sorry.

To his surprise his mother smiled as she pulled her phone out of her pocket.

Elektra: It's okay, sweetie. Tier, honey, you know what to do.

To Jaze's befuddlement, his father immediately nodded and left while Elektra tapped on the screen of her phone and then held it up to her ear.

Elektra: Bedding department, please... Yes, this is Elektra Bond... No, queen size, this time, with sheets and a quilt. How long? 30 minutes?

At that moment, Tier returned with a mop and a fan and began to plug the fan into the wall.

Elektra: Honey, how long before our guests arrive?

Tier switched on the fan and first pointed it to the hallway at the smoke alarm.

Tier: About a hour and a half.

The smoke alarm mercifully ceased, leaving only the alarm clock, which Jaze hastily shut off as well. Elektra put her phone back to her ear.

Elektra: Thirty minutes will be fine... Thank you.

Elektra tapped her phone one more time and sighed.

Elektra: Well, that's all taken care of. Everything should be back to normal soon. Now let's haul this thing outside.

Jaze, Toma, and Kaoru all looked at each other quizzically.

Jaze: Mom, what was that about?

Elektra started tugging on the crispy mattress while she matter-of-factly explained the situation.

Elektra: After Tuomas got his fire power, he did the same thing when he had a nightmare. We installed a sprinkler system in his room and got on a first name basis with the bedding department at Coppins. They have good delivery times. Anyway, Tuomas has himself under control now, so that doesn't really happen anymore.

While Elektra was explaining, Jaze and Toma rushed over to help pull the mattress from the box springs while Tier readied the mop.

Jaze: It's okay, Mom. We got it.

Elektra straightened herself up and brushed her dress.

Elektra: Thank you, dear. I'm going to finish tidying up downstairs. Just put that on the side of the house with the trash.

Elektra left the room ahead of Jaze and Toma while they maneuvered the mattress onto its side and into the hallway. There, a small crowd gathered to see what the commotion was. Not wanting to dwell on his embarrassment, Jaze gave a hasty explanation and continued to push the mattress down the hallway toward the stairs. Though floppy, the mattress was light enough and reasonably easy to slide down the stairs and out the door, where they propped it up against the house as instructed.

Leading up to the advent of guests was a flurry of activity. First, breakfast was delivered as ususual and Elektra made sure that everyone ate quickly so as to make sure there was plenty of room for the visitors. During breakfast, the new mattress was delivered and taken to Jaze's bedroom. After applying the sheets and quilt, it was as though the morning incident hadn't happened at all.

Once breakfast was over, Elektra and Tier ushered most of the inhabitants into the backyard in order to make room for the coming guests, leaving behind Jaze, Kaoru, Adell, Toma, Kagurain, and Jaze's parents. All that was left to do was sit and wait. Finally, the doorbell rang and Elektra opened it. In the doorway was the diminutive frame of Veritas, who Jaze and Toma met on Tokkastra. Elektra took a step back and put her hand on her chest.

Elektra: Oh my, Lord Veritas! Forgive my surprise! I knew you were coming, but it feels strange to have the former leader of Carpathia on my doorstep! Do come in!

Veritas smiled and stepped over the threshold.

Veritas: Thank you. You can just call me Veritas, by the way. There are going to be enough important titles to go around today without mine.

Elektra held out her hand, gesturing toward the living room.

Elektra: Please, have a seat!

Veritas: Thank you.

As Veritas accepted Elektra's offer and made his way to the living room, it was clear that there were many more waiting at the door. After Veritas followed Shuichi, Lianne, Artemis, and Phobos, the last two of which made Adell jump out of his chair.

Adell: Artemis!

Adell darted to Artemis, who braced himself, not sure what to expect. Adell skidded to a halt and smacked Artemis hard on the shoulder.

Adell: You slept the entire time when you were here last!

Artemis rubbed his shoulder and grimaced.

Artemis: Well, excuse me for building us a son!

Adell grinned and playfully elbowed Artemis in the ribs.

Adell: "Us?" That almost sounds like a proposal.

Unbeknownst to Adell, Lianne was slowly scooting up behind him.

Lianne: Did Artemis tell you his full name?

Adell: Of Phobos? No, he didn't He slept the entire time.

Lianne: It's Phobos Deimos Amaranth-Leingod.

Artemis turned bright red and looked away as Adell glanced back and forth between Artemis and Phobos.

Adell: D'aww, Artemis, you really are a softie.

If it were even possible, Artemis appeared to turn even more red.

Artemis: Shut up!

Adell kneeled and drew both Artemis and Phobos into a hug. Meanwhile, Elektra called out to the guests from the kitchen.

Elektra: Would anyone like something to drink? We have...

Elektra rattled off a long list of drinks, from basic water to elaborate cocktails. The guests, in turn, called out their requests and both Tier and Elektra started work on putting everything together. Meanwhile, Veritas addressed the group of six who did not go to the backyard with the rest.

Veritas: The others are on their way. I just wanted to get here first to help you relax. It's just a meet and greet, so don't expect anything heavy. It is worth mentioning, however, that Queen Maoh is a bit on edge right now. It turns out that nobody on Tokkastra knew anything about the portal generators and the data on that was sealed thousands of years ago at a security level nobody even knew existed.

Kaoru: Great, so we've caused an intergalactic incident.

Veritas shrugged.

Veritas: Nah, don't worry about it. It's not your fault and the tokki know that. As for the nekomi, they're too preoccupied with finding Ramewet and with the possibility of completely curing the infertility disease to care much about the fact that there seems to have been a war so long ago.

Jaze sighed heavily as some of the tension left him.

Jaze: That's something, at least.

Veritas put his hand on Jaze's shoulder and squeezed gently.

Veritas: Relax. They are coming because they want to meet you and thank you, not to yell at you. Also, don't worry too much about formalities. The Queen really only expects that when people visit her, not the other way around.

There was a "beep" on Veritas's tablet and, after a quick peek, he stood and straightened his suit.

Veritas: They're almost here. I'll go greet them outside and show them in, if that's okay with you, Mr. and Ms. Bond?

With Elektra buried in the fridge in search of the correct drinks, Tier gave his acknowledgement.

Tier: Go right ahead.

Almost out the door already, Veritas gave a quick nod to indicate that he heard, leaving the rest to wait in anticipation. Lianne, however, took that moment to speak with Kaoru.

Lianne: Do you still have the contact info I gave you?

Kaoru thought for a moment and pulled out his new phone.

Kaoru: I think it's up in my room. I just got this phone yesterday and haven't had a chance to put it in yet.

Lianne held out the beautifully-sculpted brass fingers of his mechanical arm.

Lianne: No problem. I'll just put that info in right now.

Kaoru didn't respond, but rather became entranced with Lianne's arm, running his eyes all the way from his shoulder to the realistic-looking pressure guage on the bicep, and then all the way down to his delicately crafted fingers. Suddenly, he remembered that Lianne just asked him for his phone and came to his senses.

Kaoru: Oh! Right, yes, here you go.

Kaoru held out his phone and Lianne took it, immediately beginning to tap the screen in the conctacts information.

Lianne: Now that things have settled a bit, I'd like you and Roose to call me tomorrow to set up a consultation for your new arm and his wing.

After swiftly entering his contact details into Kaoru's phone, Lianne handed it back. Kaoru took the phone and held it in his hand like it were made of solid gold.

Kaoru: Yes! Thank you, I will definitely do that!

The group continued to chat as they awaited the arrival of the rest of the guests.

Commissioned art in this episode from:
Atomic Clover

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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