Memories of a father
Smiling slightly, Headmaster Morituri looked at his son, who sat sleeping on the armchair at the fireplace. The young man had had a hard day, and so, before his father could bring him a cup of tea, Adair was asleep.
Morituri thought of the day when his boy slept the first time here, on this armchair. Twelve years had gone by since he found this small shapeshifter-child. First he had had doubts if he would really be able to raise a child ... Before this he already raised other creatures, yes - but never a creature which was actually humanoid. After the boy got something to eat and drink, and then fell asleep, he went to his dragon Elias to talk with him ... and then to decide that he would try it and to do everything to give the boy the best home and the best education he could.
He remembered the first days, the first weeks ... how the boy (whose name was Adair de'Khell) told him about his parents and that his elven father Gareth de'Khell had been a researcher from an elven village at the other end of the island. That he lived with his parents some miles away from the village, at a big lake. And how the shapeshifters came, at a beautiful night, as they made a walk at the shore of the lake.
Morituri still saw the slim child sitting on his lap, telling him under tears how his mother told him to run away, that he didn't want to, but, after all, ran as fast as he could, but nevertheless heard the loud screechings of the shapeshifters and the outcry of his father. Later, when Morituri went to the place where Adair's parents lived (of course without the boy) he only found in the small hut their belongings. At the lake he found some ragged clothes with dry blood at them (they seemed to be from a man) and some elven bones ... nothing more. After burying the mortal remains, Morituri took all the things in the hut which could be important for the boy with him - among them a golden medaillon with a red gem on it, which surely belonged to his mother - and returned to the academy.
At the first days, he showed Adair the academy and introduced him to the teachers and the pupils who studied there, but the boy always stayed right at his side. Adair didn't trust any other people besides Morituri - but this changed soon. He got curious of this big new world of the academy, and when he realised that he was safe and that nobody here would hurt him, he explored his new "territory" and learned to know new friends - first of them was Angus, who came to the academy shortly before him and who was back then 17 years of age. Adair's days were full of adventures, and he learned many new things. The afternoons were always a little bit boring for him because Morituri thought it the best for him if only few people knew what he really was. And because he had to shift back into his real form at the afternoon for some hours he meanwhile had to stay in Morituri's castle.
At the evenings Morituri and he made themselves comfortable on one of the big sofas, with hot chocolate and a book to read in. The elven boy snuggled up to him, listening to the stories his new father told him, and when he finally fell asleep, Morituri held a black scaled shapeshifter boy in his arms, clinging at the collar of his robe. He always brought Adair to bed - to find him later before he would go to bed too, in this big armchair, curled up and sleeping.
By and by Adair got used to sleep in his bed. But one thing should stay for almost one year - his nightmares. More often initially, and decreasing by and by, he dreamed from the night when his parents died. But when Morituri began to train with him to try his powers and how to fight, they completely disappeared.
It had been a wonderful feeling for headmaster Morituri to have somebody he could care for; a child which reacted to his kindness and his love, and which gave him love back, too. By and by Morituri noticed that this child brought him back some of the old strength he once used to have. He had fun in teaching Adair how to use his magical abilities, different languages and much more; and Morituri had been astonished when he saw that his adoptive son was rudimentary able to create illusions (pictures of himself at other places) which was something which usually only more experienced mages could do. Over the years he got better and better with this illusion spell, but Morituri also noticed that Adair would need very much power to use both the same time, holding a strange shape for longer time and using magic. To do this, he still would need some time of practicing and growing stronger. But one magical ability he learned was very useful for him, and he would use it in the future every day - letting his clothes disappear when he shifted from his elven form into another shape.
One of the weirder moments in their common life had been the one when the usual "talk" between father and son became necessary .... Morituri had absolutely no idea how to do this O///O ... or how shapeshifters would -- O/////O ... Well, he could only try his best, and later he would see that (if luckily or not, he had been then not quite sure of) it hadn't been in vain.^^
Adair had been 13 years of age when he saw one of his own kind for the first time since he lost his parents. It had been a single shapeshifter he ran into accidentially when he explored the near forest. He instantly fled without looking back only for a second - and, after that, didn't come out of Morituri's castle for three days. Strangely enough, it had been Ricky who helped him to get over his fear from other shapeshifters; back then they had been good friends. Morituri's love and his trust in him and also Ricky's friendship taught him to find self-confidence. Adair took much pleasure in playing and romping with Ricky - and thanks to him he became a downright prankster.
Now and then Adair also made some "small" mistakes: One of them had been getting between Lady Mertillia and Lady Lhoris when they - how they did every time they met each other (and yet do) - had a quarrel which soon tended to become a fight. In his unreasonableness Adair intervened and told them honestly they should calm down and not act like quarrelling toddlers ... Well, he had indeed success in calming down their quarrel - for now both of them were after him! - Not to mention the moment (he had been only a few days at the academy) when the 10 years old Adair had been light-headed enough to let his temper get the better of him. At this day, Lady Mertilla teased Morituri like she already did the day before (she loved teasing people - and especially Morituri) - and Adair, who hated when somebody was bad to his new dad and already saw it the day before, told her to leave Morituri alone and called her - a strange grandma! Of course it drove her up the wall and she grabbed the boy, railing and shouting, and held him up at the hem of his shirt - which scared him so much that he avoided her for the next months. After this Adair never again risked to be impolite towards Lady Mertillia!
Morituri remembered a certain joke which Adair played on him - Adair had turned 15 years back then. It was when he came home at the evening, tired from a long day, when a strange girl (instead of Adair) brought him his tea and something to eat. With wide eyes he looked at the pretty blonde girl (the upper part of her feminine curves a little bit too well developed, and with a slightly too deep neckline at her alarmingly short dress ...), asking her please to tell him who let her in and what she was intended to do here?! When she told him she would be the new housemaid and was sent from Lady Mertillia, he argued as politely as he could be in this odd situation, that this must have been a mistake and that he needed no other housemaid ... no, really, he would get along by himself, and if she would please leave now ... and no, please, she should stop crying ... O_o
A moment later Morituri realized, that this 'crying girl' was indeed laughing ... and that this laughing belonged to ... his son! "By the gods, where did I go wrong ..." had been his aghasted comment. Nevertheless, this evening had been one of the very few days when he went to bed in better mood then usual, and at this night Morituri even slept without one of those nightmares he always used to have when he was haunted from his past.
One event brought a change into Adair's life. Before that, he didn't care about other shapeshifters. But after that - he was determined to learn everything about them.
Adair was 16 when a team was sent out for a mission. Rumours had been heard from a larger horde of shapeshifters being spotted in the area, and they had to find out if there was any truth in it. Six people were sent out - and five of them returned alive.
They couldn't know that there was indeed a bigger horde wandering towards the north ... And because shapeshifters were ambushing their prey mostly in shapes of animals, they only realised them when it had been too late. The whole team had been excellent fighters, and all of them defended themselves bravely - but against a horde of more then 20 adult shapeshifters they had no chance. It was not until one of the team, a teacher, got killed and most of the others wounded when they managed to flee.
It had been a shock for the whole academy. And especially for Adair. Again he lost one member of his family. Of course he loved his father Morituri the most, but the whole academy belonged to his family too. And now the shapeshifters killed one of them.
Adair began with learning everything he could from the books of his elven father. When he worked all of them over, this nevertheless hadn't been enough for him. To Morituri's worries he went out to search them more and more often. Sometimes Adair had been away the whole night and only returned at the early morning. Slowly but surely he became a master in understanding them and knowing their ways of living and fighting.
But, he also had his mind on other things. He had fun in flirting with girls for quite some time, and Morituri remembered one special evening (Adair had been 17 years of age) when he searched for his son because the boy had promised to be back already at afternoon, and Morituri feared if he maybe searched again for shapeshifters. And indeed Morituri found him ... in the old barn near the academy ... with a young woman from the village. Both of them were occupied with a 'work' that needed no clothes ... Morituri didn't really expect to find him there - and the more in such a situation! He only heard a noise in the barn, looked for it, and ...
O_O ... My little boy ... seems to be busy right now ... O////O
For a second their eyes met, then Morituri hurried out, smiling over Adair's blushing red face when he saw his father. Morituri couldn't help but noticing that this young woman had been indeed attractive! ^^
Another year later a time begun for Morituri when he became more and more restless and when he finally decided to leave the academy for a while. Adair had been shocked, but Morituri promised him he would return - he couldn't tell when, maybe weeks, maybe months, he just didn't know ... but his father would come back to him. He still saw his son's sad teary eyes when he left, remembered how he wished that he could stay - but ...
Morituri didn't want to think further about the following time - it had been a too horrible time to remember it.
Instead of months, four years went by until Morituri returned. When he was back, his son just finished his 22nd year of age. He had grown a little bit, although Adair would never be as big as he was anyway. Morituri was so proud of him when they met again - he had grown up to be a handsome young man, self-confident and strong, and became besides being a student even a teacher in a new school topic as Lady Mertillia told him. A teacher in knowledge about shapeshifters! And although Morituri feared it maybe could be otherwise, Adair's love to his father didn't change in the slightest.
And now, there his extraordinary son slept, in this old armchair, just like the little shapeshifter-boy did back then after Morituri found him.
Slowly Morituri's thoughts returned to the present. He put the cup of tea aside, then he took the blue woolen blanked that lay on the sofa like he did it all those years ago and covered his sleeping boy carefully.
It's a The Night Watchers fanstory - with some ideas that came from Avalon - thanks for it! :)
#TheNightWatchers, Headmaster Morituri, Ricky, "Grandma" Lady Mertillia ^^ and Angus belong to @AvalonTheQuin
Lady Lhoris belongs to @OldSoulUser