Tiny Surprises

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Marcel Ghostraven was trying to solder a hinge on the hatch of his wrecked vessel. He was also certain that his Auric Rectifier was the most infuriating, second-hand, cheap salvage, bloody Consortium piece of …

He threw his soldering iron hard and fast into the brushy undergrowth of Lys, burning his thumb and then promptly hitting his head on the hatch door.

“Son of a…” Holding his head and cursing his thumb he realized that there was a giggling lady behind him. His fury melted into embarrassment as the woman, who had not revealed a name but responded to TriAnna, stepped further into his clearing.

She wore her auburn hair loose and it curled in long ringlets over one shoulder. Her dress was the pale silver of a cinder and it lay like a delicate sheath over her ivory skin. She walked silently and with the grace of a dancer and he knew her to be as light of heart as she was of foot. Marcel had never once looked upon her that she did not take away his breath. She was enchanting.

TriAnna gave him a broad and sparkling smile. Without a common language they had taken to communicating through gesture and with careful drawings in the ash and dirt. Marcel had to admit that she was learning at double his pace.

Unexpectedly, TriAnna mimicked his tantrum, one hand holding her head and the other stuck a thumb into her mouth. She was still giggling.

“You think you’re funny?” Marcel chuckled.

TriAnna looked at him playfully and examined the hatch door that he had been frustrating over. She could see the issue that he was having fairly clearly. The atmosphere of Lys was causing too much heat on the flux and Marcel’s instruments could not compensate. TriAnna smiled at him.

“Occasionally, I think that the ship will come together again,” he said sadly,  “and then I find another rut in the road. Now I’ve lost my soldering iron.” Marcel looked out into the brush and cursed his impulsivity.

Ominous dark clouds were inching their way across the amber sky that never seemed to lighten, the world framed in perpetual golden twilight. His instruments continued to show massive shifts in the energy field above this strange planet, and it made him apprehensive and irritable.

TriAnna could feel his distress and in an effort to cheer him she grabbed his empty teacup from where he had left it atop of his toolbox. He had come to understand that she was unusually empathic, and made great efforts to keep his spirits high. He realized that he might have given up hope of returning home and accepted his death, were it not not for her company and her kindness.

“Thank you,” he said, “a cup might be nice…” He watched her with the teacup and halted himself, realizing that he had been mistaken about her intentions.

She extended the china cup in her right hand, and giving Marcel an expectant grin as if she were going to show him a magic trick, she pursed her ruby lips softly and blew over the top of the cup, then covered it over with her left hand.

“What are you up to?” Marcel smiled looking at her with a curious raised eyebrow. She was jubilant.

She removed her left hand abruptly, revealing her surprise. She tipped the cup into her hand and out tumbled two points of fire, neither any larger than the head of a match. One was a deep purple flame that spouted glorious pink carnations of light; the other a delicate amber that moved in cautious, dance-like spirals. TriAnna watched Marcel’s fascinated eyes with delight.

She moved towards the hinge and said something to the two sprites, who danced around one another happily and then set to the task. The amber sprite was precise and quick witted though a bit shy of her audience, while the purple was teasing and silly, performing with no attention to the job at hand. Occasionally, the two seemed to argue, the purple ending each eruption with a tease and the amber would huff before returning to her work dutifully.

When the job was done and the flux was nicely joined into the hinge of the hatch, the two lights returned to TriAnna’s palm. They had made quick and immaculate work of the weld.

Marcel had watched agape. This world was altogether dark, toxic and foreboding – and yet the more he learned about it, the more fascinating and magical it became.

TriAnna stared up at him with sparkling green eyes and gestured with her hand that she wished for him to hold the two dancing sprites. She looked at them both and said something in her language that Marcel took for praise, and he realized that TriAnna was demonstrating what she wished for him to do.

Marcel extended his hand.

The purple sprite flew into his palm and wiggled a jaunty jig. The feeling of her was warm, but not unpleasantly so. The amber sprite was less enthusiastic, taking careful steps toward the strange man with delicate spiral motion, like a tiny music box dancer.

When the two stood together in the safety of his palm he said, “That, was the most miraculous, most precise bit of work I have ever seen,” He adulated with absolute honesty. The two flames within his hand did not understand his words but he continued, “and I am honored to be assisted by two beauties who are absolutely beyond compare!”

He handed the sprites back to TriAnna, and bowed to them both deeply and with a flourish. The sprites seemed to giggle and whisper to TriAnna before crawling back into the teacup. TriAnna replied to them with a sly sort of grin at Marcel  before placing her hand softly over the teacup once more.

The two sprites disappeared as unexpectedly as they had arrived.

Marcel watched all of this like a man who had walked fully conscious into his own dream.

“How?” Was all he could say to the smiling TriAnna, who was amused by his response. She could sense his wonder and disbelief and it pleased her when she could impress him.

She shrugged her pale shoulders and laughed, “TriAnna.”

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