Six shadows are gathered in the darkness. Their laughter echoes within the laboratory, and the man can hear them. He is leaning against a wall, a bottle of alcohol on his right hand. Eremes quietly listens to their conversation from behind the wall, not wanting to show up to the younger ghosts. Tch. “Ugh,” he recognizes Wickebine’s voice from the other side of the wall “I’m so boooored! Hey, wanna do something?” “Like what?” Errende, the acolyte, wonders what does the thief has in mind. The girl shrugs. “Dunno, what do ya got in mind, eh, guys?” Wickebine gives a look at the other kids gathered around there (a swordswoman, a merchant, an acolyte, a magician and an archer) with a thoughtful stare. The play dates were frequent on this floor; the labs could get awfully boring when there wasn’t any pests roaming through the hallways. The kids entertained themselves with little games they’d invent, and it generally worked. And today was no exception to that. The girl awaited from an answer, but only one person raises their hand, and it was the last person Wickebine expected to do so. “There was this game I used to play all the time by myself. I think you might like it.” Kavach says, quietly. By himself? That sounds sad, Wickebine thinks for herself. The others soon become curious about it, even Eremes himself. The archer wasn’t the one to spoke out loud, that place belonged to either Laurell or Wickebine, but not this time. The kids stare directly at him, and Kavach continues speaking: “You just have to use your imagination, it’s easy.” “Ooh! That sounds fun!” Wickebine chippers “So, what do we have to do?” “Don’t you have heard of imagination?” Laurell jumps in as he takes a look away from the book he’s reading. “To me it sounds pretty self-explanatory.” The thief takes offense on this statement, but before she could say anything, Egnigem grabs her by the arm to stop her. Wickebine casts one last glance at Laurell, who was reading his book, before she sits on the ground again with her arms crossed. “I’m not very imaginative, though…” Armaia, the merchant, mumbles quietly. Only Errende is able to hear her words. “It’s like telling a story,” is all that Kavach says. So they were going to start, interesting. The assassin drinks the sweet antique wine from its bottle, the purplish-red liquid falling from his mouth and reaching to his chin. He should be continuing with his patrol, but curiosity got the best of him. He doesn’t have any memories about innocent children games, anyways. Kavach is thoughtful, eyes focused on the wall. He looks absent, but not at all. The kids pay attention to his every move, and it was when he spoke to them: “So the game goes like this, one of us starts describing a scene and the other go on describing their point of view of the place.” They stare at each other in confusion. What an odd game indeed. “So, who starts?” he asks. Armaia, out of everyone there, meekly raises her trembling hand. Usually, she was good at blending with the background and disappearing, but the game caught her attention enough to actually partake of it. She’s thoughtful, trying to make up scene, but her ideas were scrambled. But, she knew there was a scenery she liked. “I…” Armaia mumbles “I find myself on the shore and, uh, it’s really warm. T-the soft sand is wet, I feel at home, uh…” Her words end abruptly. At least, it gave them a vague idea of the place. The other kids starts to catch up the rhythm of this strange little game. “I sat on the shore,” Egnigem continues once the opportunity is present “It’s a sunny day, and it feels like everything has disappeared from my reach. The sunset is setting and the water takes an orange color. I see a girl in the distance.” “I was, travelling and stuff,” Wickebine shrugs and jumps in as soon as Egnigem finishes “And boy, do my feet hurt! So I see this beach in the middle of nothing - oh, thank gods! I see the sunset, woah! It’s really that late?” Laurell barely pays attention to the narration, it takes Errende to punch him lightly on his arm to make him come back to reality. The magician sighs and joins in the game, finally. “Where I am? I can’t explain, but I find myself in a peaceful shore,” Laurell begins “My body is aching, my feet can no longer stand the horrible pain that I’m feeling. I sit on the light coloured sand as I listen to the sound of waves coming back and forth. My eyes catches the glimpse of a girl walking to the beach. I see two more figures far away from me, as well.” Errende is the next one to speak. “When I see a beautiful beach not too far away from me, my heart starts beating faster. I walk towards it as my feet are swallowed by the ground, I’m sweating but I don’t care. God must have guided me there.” And that left Kavach as the last one to speak. “When I woke up, I felt the gentle summer sun touch my skin. The sound of the sea waves seemingly sang a song for me, and I could have sworn that I heard a mermaid said ‘Good morning’ to me. Five unfamiliar figures are near to my location, I can feel it in my body. Have we met before?” (They aren’t aware that Eremes is listening to their game. Imagination, uh? To him, it seemed like a cheap way to forget the reality they are in. Not that he could blame them, though; sometimes, he wanted a small escape, too. So he decides to listen in silence from behind of the wall.) “I feel I know this boy? he’s lying on the sand, I’m not sure, but…” Armaia says “I think I know the other figures, as well.” “With slow steps, I approach the girl not so far away from me,” Egnigem continues “Her blonde hair shines beneath the sunlight, her pink dress is blowing when the sea breeze goes past her. Within me, I have the feeling that I know her, but I can’t explain why.” “Uh? And what’s up with ‘em?” Wickebine asks, her legs crossed on the ground “Wait - I think I know them? Dunno, but damn - the sun is burning me! My skin is itchy, too, ugh! Should’ve brought some water from Morroc.” “Is she approaching to my location?” Laurell wonders “She seems vaguely familiar, and just by looking to her face, I can tell she’s exhausted, a few drops of sweat go down her face. When she approaches me, it’s not hard to tell she’s thirsty. I kindly remind her that there’s water all around us, and that she can drink it.” “A tree lends me its shadow, protecting me from the intense heat,” Errende says “My eyes focus on the blue haired girl that is walking to my general direction. Yes, she’s familiar, I remember seeing her somewhere. Perhaps it was fate?” Kavach starts his part. “We have met before. Each of your faces tells a different story, maybe it was destiny, maybe not, but we’re tied together yet again. Strangely enough, I can’t recall any of your names, but I feel at ease when I look at you. The sea keeps singing to me an old lullaby from my mother, telling me that, indeed, it was destiny.” (By now, Eremes is too into this odd story to even think about going away. No making any sound whatsoever, he sits on the floor and leans against the wall. He can hear Wickebine shouting shrieks of laughter behind him, only to be followed by an angry Laurell shooting her down. Well, it was getting way too good, the story, at least.) The kids await for the merchant to start up with her part of the story again, but all she does is look down at the ground and blush a faint red. Laurell sighs loudly, his eyes locked on the girl’s face. That attitude of hers sometimes destroyed the small bit of patience he had with her. “Armaia, do you think we have all the time? Just keep talking.” His words are harsh and sharp. “What’s wrong now?” “I’m sorry, I just…” she sighs “I’m not doing a good job at this, aren’t I?” Wickebine’s eyebrows furrows and she gives the blonde merchant a small slap on her back. “Don’t listen to him, y’know, you’re doin’ a good job. Just keep it up!” Armaia nods and continues her part. “Why is that girl approaching me? But… I know her? I know her? The water splashing against my toes kind of helps to calm me down, but a part of me doesn’t understand it… What’s going on?” “Dinze. That’s her surname, I know remember it,” Egnigem mutters “But her stare seems so… vacant. It’s like as if it were her and the ocean and nothing else. I don’t remember if she was talkative or withdrawn, sensitive or straightforward. Her pink dress is still dancing along with the wind.” “Is he crazy?” Wickebine proceeds “I ain’t drinking saltwater, even I know you can drink it! So I kindly tell that that salt water isn’t drinkable. Ugh, he seems like a smart-ass, just the kind of people I hate.” “But she stops when she approaches the blonde girl.” Errende says “And when I catch a better glimpse of her face, her comes out of my mouth: Egnigem Cenia. I still think we were fated to meet like this, oh, Odin, what should I do now?” “I stand up, the girl is so much shorter than me,” Laurell goes on “And I tell her that yes, she isn’t wrong, but if she doesn’t have any water with her, then she has no other options. She is brunette and looks like a delicate doll with a fiery attitude. Night is coming, I can tell it when the sun sets and the starts proceed to come out.” “I feel that I’m one with the scenery,” Kavach continues “The soft voices of mermaids from the ocean echoes in my ears, I forget about the five vaguely familiar figures on the beach. Soon, I find myself singing the language of sea dwellers, telling the adventures of pirates, of sailor and foolish adventurers that died on a ship. We’re one now.” (It’s the first time that Eremes has ever heard the archer sing, but there’s something comforting about his voice; it’s melodic and soft, gentle and full of emotion. He feels at ease with his small song, and he assumes that the kids feel relaxed by it as well. The bottle of alcohol that he was holding rolls through the ground. And for a second, he swore that his eyelids felt heavy.) Instead of being Armaia’s turn again, though, is Kavach who speaks up as he ceases to sing. Those deep red eyes of him are beaming within the darkness and his floormates look at him, puzzled. “Wickebine, Errende, Armaia, Egnigem, Laurell. I sing their names at the rythm of the breeze. Yes, I know you, my dear friends. The waves keep coming back, only to leave yet again. They approach me in silence, I can hear their heartbeats. Wickebine, Errende, Armaia, Egnigem, Laurell. My dear friends, together again.” “Kavach, our dear friend.” the other kids say simultaneously “We meet again.” (Eremes’ ears perk up. Was this the point where this game got strange?) “The sun is warm,” Egnigem says “And we’re together again. Together, like always, under this summer sun.” “The end.” The first one to laugh is WickebiAne. The other kids follow soon after. Eremes is confused, but also very intrigued about this game they were playing. He stands up from his place and, picking up the bottle, stops on his tracks before leaving, his thought racing through his mind. He couldn’t deny it; the game itself seemed found. And with that, the assassin goes on his usual patrol as the kids’ laughter becomes more and more distant, until he can no longer hear them. They seemed to enjoy good stories, just like him.