Pancakes dripping with syrup, three strips of bacon, four links of sausage and a fried egg lay across Deborah's plate while her fork and knife dug into each piece so that she could eat them greedily. L’lorne had a cup of coffee, still steaming hot, in front of her, untouched since she ordered it.
An elderly waitress stepped up to ask if there would be anything else, but L’lorne waved her off before she could speak. The woman nodded an acknowledgment and moved to talk with a fat man in a tattered tee shirt and overalls.
"So, what's his name?"
L’lorne shook her head clear slightly. "Who?"
"The man you're looking for," Deborah repeated. "What's his name?"
"Oh," L’lorne smiled. "I'm surprised you remembered that much. You were pretty tired."
"Yeah, I guess so. Walking for seven hours does that to a person." Deborah bit a link of sausage in half. In the background, the old cook called out for another order. "So are you going to tell me or not?"
Llonre considered not. His real name wouldn't make any sense to her, and Ritch 'arrd would be even more confusing, that is unless she used an acceptable substitute. "Richard," she finally said.
"Yeah, I suppose." A skinny girl dressed in black entered with her boyfriend and the two sat down the booth behind Deborah. He squealed as she kissed him, long and deep, as he ran his fingers through her brown hair that had been messily dyed black.
"So was it love at first sight?" Deborah had finished off the eggs and was halfway through the pancakes. "Did he just show up one day, sweep you off your feet and you both ran off to fall in love?"
"I think you've been watching too many movies," L’lorne teased. Her finger fiddled with the rim of the cup in front of her. "No, we didn't fall in love right away. I'm not even sure he knew we'd fall in love." The statement hung there for a moment, until the woman at the end of the counter knocked her glass onto the floor with a crash. The fat man got up and tried to help the red head as she desperately tried to apologize for the accident to the waitress. L’lorne took the opportunity to move the conversation along. "I was looking to expand my horizons, learn about the world. He was," she paused for the right term. "Looking for an apprentice."
"Apprentice? Is that like something to do with wizards and stuff?"
"Something like that." Actually, it wasn't too far off, but only in a very broad sense. "He wanted to teach someone everything he learned, and he found me."
"Then you fell in love?"
L’lorne's finger dipped into the coffee and began to stir the steam around. "Eventually."
Deborah finished off her pancakes and settled back into her seat. "You make it sound so boring."
"Hardly boring. Never a dull moment with him, unless I wanted one, which wasn't often." L’lorne replayed some of the better events, watching as she and Ritch 'arrd went about their own version of romance, and all the steps of love.
"Isn't that hot?"
L’lorne shook herself out and noticed that her finger was in the coffee. "Ah, no, not really." She pushed it to the side, away from Deborah's eyes.
"Geez, you must really have loved him, you're daydreaming about him."
The girl wasn't wrong, and L’lorne gave a wry smile to agree. "I did, I really did."
"So what happened? You had a fight?"
No, if it had been a fight, the universe would have known about it. "We had a falling out over something that doesn't bear repeating." She couldn't bear repeating it. In fact, she couldn't even bear remembering it.
"Come on, it couldn't have been that bad."
Yes, it could. In her mind, L’lorne could see the memory of the event, blocked out by a giant black seal, locked away and inaccessible. All the mental tools to carve her way through were available, but she declined to use them, she knew better. Behind the block was something so terrible that even she couldn't face it and stay in control. Even so, that memory still played havoc on her, emanating emotions, sad and angry emotions right through her, warning signs of what was behind the block. "I don't want to talk about it, okay?"
"Alright." The waitress returned and began gathering the plates and cups. As she did, the girl in black starting yelling for service and when there was no immediate response, she began complaining very loudly about the poor quality of the diner and waitress’ ability. The old waitress simply shook her head and finished her task, ignoring the woman's complaints.
With the table bare, Deborah leaned across it so she was nearer L’lorne. "You're looking for him to make up, right?"
No, she wasn't. No matter what the bulk of her memories said, L’lorne wasn't looking to make up. He had gone beyond that point, gone to a place where she could never, ever forgive him. The only choice she had anymore was when she found him whether she would let him live, and she wasn't sure there was much choice there either. "Maybe, we'll see."
L’lorne nearly collapsed onto the hard granite surface of the mountain. Muscles she didn't know existed ached from the excursion of climbing up to the top of this boulder that was bigger than anything she had ever seen or even heard of before.
"Tired?" He was already here, standing a short distance away, staring at the landscape around them. She said nothing, more concerned with reclaiming her breath and reconsidering whether following him was a good idea in the first place. "That's alright. I'm surprised you actually made it up here. Well, maybe not surprised, but you've got spirit, and you'll need it later."
His hand surprised her shoulder and he held it there for a moment. Her energy seemed to grow, her breath returned and she felt stronger than she had ever felt before. L’lorne stood tall as the hand left and took a deep, relaxing breath. "Oh, that's better."
"Of course it is." He led her to the edge where he had previously been standing and waved his hand over the landscape. "Wonderful sight isn't it?"
"Yeah, never seen anything like it before."
He smiled and then whispered into her ear. "This is nothing." L’lorne looked at him with a bit of confusion. "Nothing. This landscape is a spec so small compared to what I will show you that it is, in fact, nothing. This mountain, that one, the fields over there, the trees," he pointed to each as he spoke. "Are nothing."
She cracked a small chuckle. "You mean we came all this way just to look at nothing?"
"Ah," he said with no small amount of pride. "No, of course not. There are many reasons to come here. The first is to see if you could make it, and if you would try to make it. I don't think you questioned any of it until you got up here, and that is worth quite a bit to me." The smile he grew with that sentence sent a chill through L’lorne. There was something there she couldn't quite understand, but she knew it was there. "Another reason is for your first lesson. Now, touch the rock of the mountain. Go ahead."
L’lorne did so, bending over and rubbing her hand along the smooth yet rough rock. She told him so.
"Feels solid, doesn't it?"
Her nod was interrupted halfway through as she continued to move her hands along the rock face. "It feels solid, it looks solid, but, it really isn't, is it?"
He motioned her to stand up and pointed to a mountain in the distance. "Watch." A single beat followed, and a chunk of rock snapped off and triggered a landslide into the ground far below.
"Wow." Honest amazement, the sight of such a large amount of seemingly solid stone slipping off like that took her breath away for the second time today.
"It's not solid, none of it is. Beneath the surface are cracks and fissures that one can't see. You can feel them, a little, but you can't see them. You don't know when one is just going to give way though." He turned her toward him and looked right into her eyes. "I am going to teach you how to see the cracks, know when they're going to give way, know how to repair them, and how to cause them."
"But you said this mountain is nothing."
He chuckled. "There is more beneath the surface of everything than can be seen at first glance." He turned around and headed away.
"Where are you going?"
"Back down," he called out. L’lorne let out a groan. "You can stay if you like," he looked back with a smile. "Of course, that chunk of rock you're standing on might just slip and break off if you do."
Her eyes grew big for a moment, and then shrunk back. "You bastard," she muttered and followed after him.
1. What kind of person is Lcorn Llorne? What does she look like (in your mind)?
2. What kind of person is the Deborah Ignigus? What does she look like (in your mind)?
3. Does the setting seem fitting? Would you like to know more?
4. What do you think Ritch 'arrd did to make L'lorn so angry?
5. From what little has been said so far, where do you think L'lorn is from.