Gently gliding across a lake is a fishing vessel getting ready to dock at the town of Evermore.
Evermore is a quaint little town situated at the far end of the Black Lake on the Eastern outskirts of the Riggandia Continent. It has a total population of 222 and is known for three things. One: it's Starfruit pies, which can only be found in this region. Two: a very rare breed of moonlit jackalope that locals say, if you're lucky, can be seen prancing about on the night of a blue moon. And finally three: Evermore Academy of Magic, where many a strapping young witch or wizard can come and learn to harness their magical abilities.
Anchoring the ship to port, the Captain of the vessel is a large man with broad shoulders, dark red hair and a cigar glued to his mouth. A large shadow engulfs the man as he finishes securing the ship.
"Welcome back Captain!"
The large man looks up and smiles at the familiar face, grasping his hand firmly.
"Thanks Einar, good to see ya again".
This man is Einar Silverfoot. Though beastial in his appearance, many say he has a kind heart. He is currently an assistant teacher at Evermore Academy.
"So, what brings ya down here?"
"Well captain, I was doing a bit of shopping for dinner when I saw you come in. I thought to myself, if anyone's going to have the best fish it'll be you."
"Ay, yer right. Had quite a haul today."
Jumping off the boat, a cat of pure white with a spot over her left eye and a fish-like tail walks up to Einar and nuzzles his leg. Einar crouches down and pets her.
"It's rare to see a catfish in these parts, don't they tend to be native to the west?"
"I'm just as surprised as you are honestly."
As Einar continues to pet the cat, a young girl with bright blue wavy hair and a tattered dress holding a stuffed rabbit hops onto the dock. Upon seeing Einar, she hides behind the captain, peeking out just enough to meet this stranger's steely gaze.
Einar walks up to the girl and crouches next to her with a large smile.
"And what's your name, little lady?"
The girl looks at the captain who nods his head encouragingly before turning back to the large hairy man.
"Ah, what a lovely name you have, Wendy."
The captain clears his throat, prompting Einar to stand up again.
"I found her stranded in the middle of the lake, poor girl. Most likely from the recent storm."
He motions toward the catfish, who ignores him, electing to bite Einars laces.
"This little lass here brought me straight to her."
Einar eyes Wendy for a few seconds, lost in thought before finally breaking the silence.
"Ya know wendy, it's rare to see anyone with hair such as yours. In fact, I've only ever met one person just like you…"
Einar stands again to face the Captain. It seems like he's finally come up with something.
"I'll take her off your hands if you'd like Captain. I have a feeling someone we know would be very interested in meeting her."
The Captain raises his brow.
"Oh, of course! I don't know why I didn't think of her myself. Well, tell you what. Come by later, I'll be sure to put something to the side for ye."
"I appreciate it, Captain."
The men shake hands and Einar picks up his groceries.
"Come with me Wendy, there's someone we'd like you to meet."
Catfish begins to follow Einar, and Wendy looks at the Captain again. "Go on now little one, he won't hurt ya. You can trust him."
She begins walking toward Einar, waving goodbye to the Captain before running to catch up.
'Knock knock knock'
A fist can be heard pounding on the door to a cozy little cottage in the woods.
A woman yells as she places down her book and rises from her arm chair, gliding towards the door. She opens the door to find Einar, Wendy, and the catfish at her doorstep.
The woman is of average height. A bit thin, but strikingly beautiful for her age, with long bright blue hair that waves in the wind.
Looking down, she sees Wendy, her eyes growing wide, and immediately embraces her.
"Oh Wendy! It's so nice to see you again."
Wendy hugs her Aunt Aurelia tightly for what seems like an eternity, before she finally pulls away, straightening her dress.
Aurelia Bennet is a witch and the older sister to Wendy's mother, Margaret. Currently she has taken residence in the small town of Evermore as the new Headmaster of the magical school.
She looks around for a moment, past Einar, scanning the treeline and pathways.
"Wendy… where are your parents?"
The night sky is especially dark tonight, save for a small cluster of stars not covered by clouds. Wendy can be seen sleeping in her aunt's bed with the catfish lying next to the slightly open doorway, licking itself clean. Through the crack, Einar and Aurelia can be seen having some tea.
"Thank you for bringing her here, you don't know how much this means to me…"
Einar and Aurelia have been discussing the situation revolving around Wendy. The specific details around the situation elude them, but from what they've gathered, Wendy had so far been the sole survivor of an attack aboard the 'Fellowview', a local tourist ship that was set to land at Evermore port several days prior. The 'Fellowview' regularly stopped by every month to deliver goods and tourists, so it was well known when the next shipment was set to arrive.
"Had it not been for the catfish, the girl would have surely lost her life that night."
"...I'm going to need some time to think about all of this. Will you inform the others that I'll be away for a few days? I want to spend some time with her."
"Take as long as you need Ma'am."
She sighs and nods her head. It's a lot for her to process all at once.
Einar places the tiny cup down onto the small wooden coffee table.
"Well, it's getting late, I best be off."
"Ah, wait, two seconds."
Aurelia stands and grabs a small bag out of a little drawer next to the fireplace.
"Give the Captain my regards."
Aurelia places the small bag in his hand, avoiding his gaze as he clasps both of hers for a moment. She keeps her face toward the floor, not wanting to show weakness in front of her friend.
Einar says his final goodbye, not wanting to overstay his welcome, before closing the door behind him. After a few moments, Aurelia lifts her head and walks to the fireplace where a small picture frame rests atop the mantle. The picture shows a family; A mother and father with two girls and a boy, all of which have bright blue hair. She takes the picture and falls back onto the sofa, staring at it for several seconds before she begins to finally break down into tears.