Part One | Part Two
The word Sabizi made them flinch. Outsiders call us all sorts of names. Names like the Greenfolk ogda'epona, which means something like dancing wanderers. Others spit at our name. But we Sabizi know what that word means. Sabizi are all family. And Sabizi know better than to cross a brother or sister.
All Sabizi are brothers and sisters. The two Azuro-masked children stared in horror at me. They were losing control of the situation.
"Yes. You mock my name." I twirled as I approached the stage. Even if it were just for a minute, feeling this young again felt amazing. "I am Sabizi. I know the dance, I remember the song of the Azuro, and I grow tired of your mockery."
The Azuro-masked boy stammered something in my direction. I didn't bother waiting to for him. If it was important, it could say it.
"No. You got to have your little stunt, and you've done a great job of continuing the tradition of making others think of us as thieves and rambling roustabouts." I felt part of dress slip off one shoulder. I suppressed a cringe. Of course the spell didn't care that fifty years also was three or four different sizes of dress.
I adjusted my movement a bit. I decided I could enjoy this last spell without giving the poor boy a show. It reminded me of the angry medusa in Boilport, back when I'd grown a reputation with my adventuring crew before the War. The damn monster never expected a blind, naked witch.
That threw the Medusa off, right up until it's head came off.
I opened my palm. Adanya's eyes glowed black. Then a tangle of black tentacles swallowed the Azuro-masked boy. He struggled, but his gun clanked to the ground uselessly.
"They used to be harder." Adanya observed.
"They didn't see it coming." I laughed. I looked over stage, wondering if it was just the two of them. A girl was crying. I stepped onto the stage, looking over my handiwork. The spell continued to restrain the boy. Near my table, the girl I'd burdened with my advanced years just watched me in horror.
I didn't think old age was that bad. I shook my head. Then I paused.
"Well damn it." I looked at the woman on the stage. Still cowering behind her bodyguards, the Voice looked nothing like I had expected. "Why didn't you do anything about this?"
I waved at the pair of them. The Voice just shook her head, trying to smile. It clicked in my mind.
A fake. The singer wasn't the real Voice. The singer and I exchanged a look. We both knew it. The Banker had been too cheap to even get the Voice to actually attend this affair. A fake.
Well, that meant this had to be the height of the affair.
"Dear, don't ever fake the Voice again. Its bad business, you understand?"
"Its- you don't-" The girl stopped herself, realizing she'd said too much.
"Whatever, dear. Listen to your elder on this: real art isn't faked." I turned to the audience. "That's it for the show, kids. And yes, that's the most excitement you are going to get."
A pair of fighters finally arrived to contain the situation. After a few words, the two Azuro-masked intruders were hauled off in the fashion on those with muscle for brains can muster. I looked for Durrig.
I felt my older years pour back into my body. Creaks returned. I regretted taking them back. Not that I had a choice; the spell would end one way or another. My black hair returned to its gray-white. My skin crackled. Bones and muscles returned to their previously geriatric state.
I continued to track down my grandson. At first, I blamed it on old age. Or perhaps the incident caused people to interrupt me. But after ten minutes of looking and searching, nothing.
I couldn't find my grandson at all.
"Durrig?!" My chest hurt. Adanya gave me a worrying paw. "Where is he?"
Was all of this a distraction? The ball, the explosion, the Azuro masks- I stared at my table, where it all had began. A single Azuro mask laid there. I gazed down at the mask. Under it was a slip of paper:
Why did you take the small children?
Why did you make our sweet boy die?"