First things first, I apologize if today’s scene isn’t very good. I’ve had a pretty bad headache since I woke up. Which is, of course, a natural impediment to my natural talent and brilliance — case in point, I initially wrote that ‘which’ as ‘witch’…
Partly because it hurts to think — also, I think I can taste Plaid — and partly because I really liked the concept and characters from yesterday, today is basically Yesterday, Part 2. And that probably reinforces the idea that I want to make a full story out of these characters (which this isn’t at this point; this is still pretty much two isolated scenes)
So, anyway, here we go.
Roland is, without a doubt, the strangest alchemist Lucia has ever met. He’s big enough that a family of four could probably live comfortably in him. His muscles have muscles on their muscles.
With the notable exception of a brain.
And yet, despite the clear and obvious fact that he’s otherwise dumb as a bag of bags of hammers, he actually does seem to know his stuff here alchemy is concerned. It’s all a bunch of nonsense to her, but Lucia has watched the big musclehead chatting happily away with Apolline about potions and distillations and extractions and bunch of other ways to turn things into other things.
She hates to admit it, but he might actually be a good addition to their group.
Lucia watches Roland turns to Petra and stares thoughtfully at the Half-Troll.
“No offence,” he ventures, all but guaranteeing he’s about to say something stupid, “but, uh, why are you blue? I’ve never seen a blue Amazon before.”
Luckily, the perpetually, ineffably unflappable Petra takes the idiocy in stride. “Because my father was a Troll,” she explains.
“So, like, you’re a… Trollazon?” Roland asks.
Petra actually cracks a faint smile. “Yes. I suppose you could say that.”
Since now seems to be the time for everyone to ask indelicate questions, Lucia decides to take the opportunity to ask one of her own.
“You said Alda’s your sister, right? But you two don’t really look alike,” Lucia notes.
“Well, yeah. She’s really my sister,” Roland explains, “but she might not actually be my sister, you know?”
“No,” Lucia answers.
“We grew up on the streets,” Roland continues. “I don’t really remember my parents, or even having parents. And I can’t remember if me and Alda have the same parents. All I remember is that it’s been me and Alda since forever. So, she might not be my sister, but she’s still the only family I’ve ever had.”
“And how does a street kid end up learning so much about alchemy?” she asks.
“That’s all thanks to Uncle Chuck,” Roland answers. “He took us in and adopted us. He got all kinds of tutors and instructors for us. Most of it was boooo-ring, but alchemy ended up being a lot of fun.”
“Roland had a crush on our teacher!” Alda exclaims.
Roland blushes and turns bashful. “Well, yeah,” he admits quietly. “She was gorgeous.”
“Wait,” Apolline interjects. “Uncle Chuck? As in Charles?”
“As in Duke Charles?”
Roland nods again.
“As in the Duke?”
“Yeah,” Roland says. “Is there more than one Duke of Middlesbrooke?”
Lucia’s jaw drops to the ground. “You’re royalty? You?”
Roland shakes his head. “Technically, we’re just his wards. I mean, I’m not going to be the next Duke, or anything. But he’s still family, basically the only family me and Alda have.” He shrugs. “And that’s enough for us.”
Lucia nods. “Yeah. I get it.”
Maybe, just maybe, Roland’s not nearly as dumb as she thought.
She glances over at Apolline and Petra. She never had sisters growing up back in Natalis. It was just her, her parents and acres of waterlemon fields. But Apolline and Petra have become as good as family now.
“Hey,” Roland continues, “you ever wonder why they’re called bullfrogs? I mean, they don’t even have horns!”
“Ugh,” Lucia groans.
Along with most of Lucia’s burgeoning respect for the musclebound alchemist.
Headache aside, that actually went well. I think I’m definitely onto something with this group of characters.
Also, as a quick sidebar, I’ve just got the next draft of Charge of the Lyte Brigade back and will begin working on the next round of ideas over the next couple days. It shouldn’t be too much longer before Charge goes up for sale.
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