Part 41: Shove

6 to Burning Sun, Inalis

I made a fool out of myself. I can’t believe I did all that tonight! Ugh, it was a disaster, Heath! Why? Why do I drink so much?

You know why I drink. It’s easier to drink. It makes things hurt so much less. I don’t think straight. Stupid, damn Rendu! He just had to go and cure my drunkenness. I was perfectly fine being fuzzy-brained and not remembering what an idiot fool I was being.

I know, I know. “Stop it, Flee.” That’s what you’d say to me right now if you were here.

Rendu didn’t do anything wrong. Of course he didn’t. Rendu is one of the kindest people I know. He was being helpful. Same with Briar when she put that restoration magic on me. I shouldn’t have done that, least of all in front of Clio and the others. I got carried away. It’s so easy to get carried away.

I was riding an emotional high when we got to the Dapper Dragon tonight. Despite the word ‘tavern’ being on the sign out front, I think it was much more of a fancy restaurant. Some of the other champions in the Great Games were here already, and we were quickly welcomed by everyone. I guess they saved us a table because we all got seating immediately despite the crowd. Little pseudodragon waiters took our orders and filled our table with steaks, noodles, and appetizers galore.

We each got a few drinks, too (which was where my trouble started). Torag, Rendu, and I tried the Golden Dragon Gin, and it was a lot stronger than I thought it would be. I felt that all-too-familiar buzz and became… Well, you know how I get when I drink. The gin is supposed to be a sipping drink but I drank three glasses within minutes of each other. Rendu and I got into a magic fight again. It was all playful and everything, but I guess I went overboard. He made me float, I tried to make him glow, we changed the color of the candles and torchlight a few times. I made a dumb joke to Clio but it didn’t land. Rendu and Briar each cast a little helping spell on me to clear my head when we were ready to walk home. But even as they did, waves and waves of embarrassment washed over me. So what did I do, you ask? Obviously I just kept drinking. After all, why should I face my mistakes when I can drink them away? But alas, that didn’t work. Only when I saw Clio talking to that handsome nymph hunter that I realized how dumb I had been.

I can’t be jealous. Remember the last time I was jealous? I made myself into a girl for you, Heath, because I thought you liked that other girl, whats-her-name. And you weren’t even into girls! (or were you? I could never tell exactly) But how can I not be jealous? Kano is clearly so much better than me in every way. He’s tall, handsome, strong, and can shoot that bow well. And me? I’m no one. I told Clio that I like her, and she knows it now. But really, why would Clio ever want someone as dull as me when Kano is so much nicer. And if not Kano, anyone other than me.

Xsio1! Clio doesn’t drink anymore. So why did I?

I’m hopeless.

5 to Burning Sun

I tried giving Clio a cup of tea this morning. I wanted to say something about last night. But what do I say? Ugh, never mind.

Breakfast was good. Rendu made something, but Briar had to step in to make it better. Torag and Actaeon didn’t say much. Actaeon didn’t sleep very well last night, and Torag was very focused all morning, meditating everywhere in Shadow’s home. We all seemed in good spirits and headed up to the colosseum for the next events.

Today’s contest of strength was the javelin throwing contest! We met Shadow’s coach, Lumi, and she gave us each some cookies. What a kind cat lady! Rendu and Actaeon were the contestants representing the Heroes today, and they played against Hatria, Spira, Leyland, and Falana. The competition was to throw a javelin as far as you could, and each contestant had two throws.

In the first round, Rendu and Spira led the game. Rendu was in a particularly good mood (and apparently not hung over in the slightest) and was performing splendidly. Actaeon did very well, too, but he was distracted by how well Rendu was doing. That makes sense, I guess. I mean, Actaeon always uses javelins. We all kind of assumed that was his thing, you know? But Rendu’s an athlete, too, and is very talented. In the end, Rendu ended up winning! Actaeon took second place, but he was cool about it. He and Rendu shook hands and came back to us with smiles on their faces.

The grand spectacle for today was a tower climbing event called King of the Hill. This one was thrilling! The game is that each contestant has to climb up the tower – about fifty feet up – and keep their position on the top as long as possible, all the while shoving off their competition. What fun! I kind of wished I could have played in it, too, but clumsy and short as I am naturally, I would have been easy prey.

We coaches could only cast a quick spell on our champions before the game started. I thought I was being so smart by wrapping a small pelt around Torag’s wrist and giving him a magical strength buff. Not sure if I mentioned this or not, Heath, but Torag and I have a secret plan: a minotaur should win the entire Great Games! What a sight that would be! Torag was pumped and ready to go. I also gave him my winged boots for the competition since flying was allowed.

The reason why I said I thought I was being smart is because the others had some very neat ideas, too. Not that my idea was bad or anything. My fellow coaches are just very smart, too. Clio made Actaeon crazy fast again, as did Lumi for Shadow. Briar surprised us all by making Rendu huge with some cool spell. Rendu’s angelic wings came out and he was ready to take this event on, too. The other competitors, Hatria, Leyland, Jorges, and Spira, each had their coaches cast some magic on them.

After that, we coaches were done. Unlike the last game, this one required nothing further from us. We stood aside to watch the game. I bought some more popcorn as we came in, and we munched happily. I shared plenty with Lumi, too, as she’s kind of part of our little group right now. Absolutely no popcorn was shared with the coach from the League of Storms. That guy can chew on a brick.

The game began and, to mine and the crowd’s utter astonishment, the Heroes of Prophesy were already on the top of the tower! Clio and Lumi’s spells of speed made the climb more than easy for Actaeon and Shadow. Actaeon’s incredibly strong anyway and just kind of… heaved… himself right up. Shadow did the cat claw thing that he does and was perched on top of the tower in an instant. Torag activated by winged boots and fluttered quietly to the top and just stared daggers down at the competition. Rendu flew up a little slower, getting the feel for the competition before settling on top and choosing a target. Clio put a protective barrier around Actaeon.

Oh! I should mention our plan! As we said yesterday, our goal is to have at least one of us win the Great Games. However that happens is up to us. Like I said, I think it would be grand if Torag, a minotaur, won the whole competition, but he and I both understand that something like that may not happen. Rendu, Actaeon, and Shadow are all marvelous athletes, too. So for the King of the Hill spectacle, the Heroes decided that they’d each get to the top and shove the others down. At the very end, they’d all fight against each other once our victory was secured. It will make for a fun and entertaining bout of strength!

The competitors took a while to even get up to our Heroes! Part of me wants to feel bad for Jorges, but he’s with the League of Shadows (literally our enemy), so jacio’ xsio2! He climbed up pretty slow and was rewarded with a punch to the chest by Torag. Jorges kind of just groaned a lot (and very loudly) before he started climbing up again. When he got to the top, Giant Rendu kicked him hard in the face. He stopped moving after that and the medics came to take him away. He may have broken a rib or two.

Hatria didn’t get much done in the competition, either. She faced down Shadow several times, managing to throw him off the tower once. But right as she did, some pteradons (more dinosaurs!) flew in to pester the contestants. Hatria got bit and fell hard to the ground just as Shadow sped past her and back to the top. When she came up to fight him again, he shoved her right back down to the ground and knocked her out.

Spira kept trying to fight Rendu, but Rendu was too large and kept kicking her back down. She finally got to the top and shoved Rendu away, but he flew right back at her. Torag slammed into Spira a few times and knocked her back down to the ground. She couldn’t catch up.

Leyland was the toughest of the competitors, but even he couldn’t get away from Torag. Actaeon held a defensive position and Leyland tried his best to throw our friend down. But every time he tried, Torag shoved him again. Leyland looked like he was having fun at first, but was very soured by the end of it.

Some air elementals swooped in towards the end of the event to spice things up. They slammed Actaeon and Leyland down to the ground before trying to drag Rendu away. Torag held his ground the best and ended up winning the competition! Yay, Torag!

The crowd was going wild, mostly because the spectacle was so great, but also partly because a minotaur won today. Clio’s speech about the minotaurs yesterday made a lot of people think differently about the minotaurs, I think, and they were pleased to see one do so well. Torag loved the attention and started doing jump kicks in the air. I wanted to give him a high-five, but I think I’ll wait until he’s not absolutely raging on the vibes of the colosseum.

We stuck around the colosseum for snacks and drinks, and this time I abstained from anything spirited. Everyone had a good time, and a lot of the crowd wanted to come meet the Heroes. We are surprisingly popular right now. Sure, we’ve done a lot of good things since we’ve been in Ellandyr, but these people wanted fun and we gave it to them!

We’re back at Shadow’s home now. There’s another big day of games tomorrow, and we all need some rest. I put some new spells into Clio’s pretty ring, and Rendu’s playing some soft music in the courtyard tonight. Our little celebration is quiet and pleasant.

You know what? I’m done drinking.

No more alcohol for me.

I should never have started that awful habit when I was a child.

Just tea for me from now on.

I like tea.

Tea tastes good.

I can do it.

I need to apologize to Clio and everyone else for being dumb last night. What kind of hero makes a drunken fool of herself himself themself what am I himself in front of strangers?

1 Draconic: Vulgar expletive, typically said in anger or frustration

2 Draconic: Vulgar expletive directed at another person, said with much disdain