Written as a comment to a writing exercise on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors group on Facebook. It's based on an actual incident at Old Fort Henry when I was a small child.
Apr 02, 2016 6:44pm
"When I was about six years old," Rani said, "my mom took me to the first big Market of spring down in Mashelamar. I think she was trying to expand her clothing sales beyond Liftlabeth into the big city. It probably worked, because she has lots of clients there now." He looked at Cort. "Did you ever see her there? She used to go a couple of times a year."
"Once, I think," Cort said.
"Did you talk to her?"
Rani took a long look at his father. Cort seemed disinclined to elaborate, so Rani continued his story. "Anyway, this one time, she took me with her. And I lagged behind, looking at a stall full of pinwheels and tops and wooden horses. Then I realized I was alone, and I ran to catch up. There was a pale woman up ahead in a blue dress, and I thought it was Mom, so I ran up behind her and asked if she'd buy me a toy. Then she turned around."
"And it wasn't her," Cort guessed.
"Not only that, but she spoke to me in some language I didn't recognize. Maybe Parsai. That's when I started to get scared."
"Did the woman help you find Rithe again?"
Rani shook his head. "No. It was a man who helped me."
"Why are you telling us this story, Rani?" Meligor asked.
"Because of the man. He was dark like, like both of you when you look human, like me when I was human. He took my hand, and bought me a pinwheel to stop my crying, and then he helped me find the right woman in a blue dress. 'Run to her,' he said, so I did. When I looked back, the man was gone."
Cort nodded, but said nothing.
"It was you, wasn't it?"
Cort shrugged. 'Maybe. I've reunited a few lost children with their parents over the years. Were you one of them? I don't really know."
"Now you've reunited Rani with his father and grandfather," Meligor said. "That counts for something."
Cort shook his head. "No, I didn't. Rani did that himself."