“Well, you do live in a house decorated a lot like a castle.”
James shrugged. “I can’t help that. My father is benevolent with his what we have though; I can say that much.”
“That reminds me! Where have your parents been all day?”
“Working. It’s a pretty long journey from here to… umm, where they work?”
“Is it? What kind of work do they do?”
“Government,” James replied, starting to sound as though he did not want to give details.
“Oh. I see where you got the baron joke earlier, then.” Cerys turned and looked towards the front door. “I should get inside. My mother probably has dinner ready to eat.”
“If you must,” he conceded. “Think about this, will? My parents would love to have you over for dinner tomorrow. Do you think you’ll be able to stay?”
“I can ask,” she said, turning to go. “Goodbye for now!”
* ** *** ** *
The next day was another less-than-noteworthy day at the high school. Cerys was relieved to see that her brother’s bullies were nowhere to be found, but other than that everyone was looking forward to heading to James’s house at the end of the day. They had exchanged promises to do homework together before the game for permission to go straight there rather than head home first, which turned out to be not so bad. James was quick with his own work, and ended up helping Pater and Bayani understand the math that they were supposed to be learning. He had more snacks to share that afternoon, and it was not long before they were ready to start the campaign.
“What is this thing?” Bayani asked, pointing with his pencil at a large chunk of crystal that sat on the center of the table.
“Oh, that?” James said, peering up from behind his dungeon master’s screen only briefly to look at what he was talking about. “My mother was unpacking today and put out this centerpiece. She thought it would go really well with our game.”
Cerys stared at it for a moment. To her, it looked like a chunk of crystal that had been mined and only roughly worked before being mounted on a wooden base. She had seen similar pieces in the new age store in the mall before, but this one really took the cake. It wasn’t the typical amethyst be far. There was the crystalline lavender, to be sure, but also a whimsical pink and a bright, sunny yellow. Parts of the amethyst faded into a sort of cobalt blue that reminded her of the evening sky. She imagined that, if it had been a fantasy world, the crystal would have been something to attract faeries, or perhaps a wizard’s dearest treasure.
“Did you hear me?”
She blinked, and looked around for who had been talking.
“Cerys!” James called.
“Relax, she’s usually like that,” Peter told him with a slight chuckle. “Spacing out is what she does best.”
“I was thinking!”
James cut in before any kind of sibling rivalry got started. “What I was asking, Cerys, is whether you’ve completed the spell book for your mage.”
“Oh,” she said, and looked down at her character sheet. “I have eight spells right now, which is just right for my level.”