In Iceland, the nights are cold, silent. Life seems asleep or paused. It is the perfect place to take a breath and forget the raging course of the outside world. Maybe this is why the White Guardian sent the Temple of Ra's young Chief into this white and dead desert where no one would think to look for him. Or maybe was it because of the hundred melodies he could hear in the world, only one had fled far enough from the war raging in the East and found peace.
Yassine had woken up in the middle of the night, not because of a nightmare as was usually the case, but because of a cold certitude.
They are coming.
The white light that had inhabited his mind for a fraction of a second made it odd to open his eyes to the darkness of his bedroom. He had no time to question what he had heard or felt and for a moment it was as if he had no mind to question anything. He found himself in his kitchen, calmly preparing his favourite drink during winter days like this one. He prepared four mugs even though he had lived alone for many years now and had rarely any visitors. He liked it that way. That was why he built his modest house here years ago. The silence. The peace. Nothing around but trees and snow and the feeling that nothing could get to him here.
He had hoped the Children of Ra had forgotten him as he had wished to forget them but evidently they had both been unsuccessful and today felt like fate long overdue. His gaze drifted toward the black ring encircling his right arm and almost burned himself while pouring the last mug of hot chocolate. Was this how his long years of exile was to end? They had taught him "What once was, is and will be." and he ran away screaming "No more!", yet here he was accepting fate coming his way, defiling his home and robbing him of his peace. And preparing them hot chocolate at that. It was easy to think of himself as a free man as long as no one asked anything of him. Now, he wasn't so sure who he really was anymore. Or if anything changed at all.
What once was, is and will be.
He lit a fire and drank his hot chocolate and waited for them.
The Sun had barely crossed the horizon when they appeared with a flash in his living room, the smell of danger still emanating from their clothes and flame of panic in their eyes. Yassine sat still, greeting them with a smile although he felt his heart grow heavy in his chest. He knew they were trouble. Trouble he spent his life running away from and yet, he was not about to turn them away. Everything about them was so raw, it made him want to disappear all over again and find peace somewhere white, silent and empty. And here he was. Trouble had come to him.
"You..." whispered the young Chief incredulously while looking at the man. It wasn't as much his face as the scent of hot chocolate and wood, and the cold he recognised. But he had to make sure... He raced to the door and opened it wide. There they were, the place where Telg had brought him in a dream to look at the Sun. The edge of the world. It was real. But instead of being marvelled like he had been the first time he laid his gaze on those white plains, a surge of nostalgia and sorrow pierced his tired heart. He had never thought he would actually stand here one day. He never felt so far from home as he felt standing here, without his best friend by his side.
"I was warned of your arrival. And I heard it wasn't going so good so I made you some hot chocolate. Here." Seeing the young teenager rush into the cold night, he fetched a big pullover for him and layed it on his frail shoulders since he didn't seem to notice him handing it to him. "I have other warm clothes in my bedroom if you need any." he added towards the young girl and the tall hooded figure accompanying them. "My name is Yassine."
"Putain." blurted out the blue haired girl caught by surprise by the cold and this new environment. She stayed close to Rê and quickly took advantage of the big woolen pullover provided by their host. "We can fit two people in this thing, look!" She said joyfully in her mother-tongue before slipping into the warm pullover with Rê in it. She snuggled with him and giggled, as if she was trying to chase the fear away with laughter.
"I know this place... Telg... My friend. He brought me here once." the boy murmured weakly while staring into the rising Sun.
"No chocolate then ?" the host asked as he left the two teenagers keep themselves company and let their hearts calm down from whatever crisis they had just ran away from. Yassine turned towards his last guest. He was silent, discreet and dark and the way he never let the two kids out of his sight left no doubt as to his purpose here. But they were in Iceland, far from anything and everything. No harm could come to them here. He wished he could assure it to the man but he didn't want to be out of place. His face, although familiar was too dark to be brightened up for the moment.
After observing him in silence, the tall man finally pulled back his hood and approached the table to take a sip of the hot beverage. You could tell by the way he wrapped his hands around the mug that he was cold but his face showed none of it. His face... Although his skin had the same dark and warm tone as Yassine's, and his traits were typical of those an Egyptian brother from the Temple of Ra would have, there was something more to it. Yassine thought he recognized the man and it wouldn't have been such an odd thing to happen despite the years as he had grown up and fought alongside many Sons of Ra in his youth. He had to look away not to be rude before he could replace that face in his memory.
"Where are we ?" asked the man, barely looking up to figure it out himself. Now that he had visibly relaxed a bit and indulge himself to a warm drink and conversation, he seemed strangely distant. As if he had no real wish to stay here.
"Iceland." answered Yassine with a smile. Despite his stiff and somber demeanor, the stranger was less of a stranger now that he could hear his voice. It was soft and sad. Before he added anything, he felt the urge to ask what had brought the group to his house so far away from Egypt but once again, he stopped himself from asking any questions. He might have accepted to help those who came all the way here but he did not sign up to get mixed up in whatever trouble they were in. The fresh blood stains on the man's robe reminded him exactly why he had ran away from this life so many years ago. "There is food and water too if you want some." he simply offered.
"I'm not hungry." answered the man in a monotone voice before turning his head towards the two teenagers cuddled together by the entrance door. "Someone will come to take over, some day." he added, dutifully enough not to sound too eager.
Yassine nodded. He was thankful that the man wasn't more talkative. Evidently, the man's mission was clear: look after the children. And for that, Yassine was willing to help. "Well, if you are staying, I have rooms upstairs. I think you'll be comfortable. If you want I can show you around. There isn't much, aside from snow, woods and some wildlife." he described, hoping to lay a first picture of the environment for the man who was to keep the Chief safe. "It's peaceful here." he added, hoping to make him understand that there was no need for any safety measures or battle plans.
The man nodded but obviously, he was to decide about that himself. He finished his drink, ready to get to work but before anything else, he went to check on the Chief and the girl. Both had fallen asleep in each other's arms. Yassine thought he saw a flicker of emotion break the man's placid mask but it was gone before he could read it. Magic flowed from the tall man's golden jewels to surround the couple and lift them softly from the ground. Not needing direction, the wizard levitated the sleeping teenagers up to one of the rooms upstairs.