The Toymaker (Chapter VII) by Nimble Ginelle Quinn
Chapter seven: In which the twins receive a special surprise
Navajo and Sumatra led the twins over to a large wooden cabin, 20 feet in length and 30 feet in height. Flanking both sides of the front door were statues of a brave and stoic-looking Sage holding a shield in his left hand and raising a mighty sword to the sky with his right hand. The statues’ robes had armor on the chest and shoulders, and in the center of each piece of armor was a four-pointed star.
“Let’s hurry inside, quickly now!” Sumatra whispered. “You’ll love the surprise, trust me!”
She opened the door and shoved the twins inside with her father right behind her. The inside of the cabin was pitch-black, with no light at all.
Suddenly, there was a sound like a cannon going off, and the lanterns in the room immediately lit up as confetti made of painted strips of paper dropped from the ceiling. People who were hiding in all sorts of places in the room jumped out and yelled all at once, “SURPRISE!!!”
The twins fell down simultaneously, and everyone laughed. Sumatra and Navajo helped the two on their feet, and they too joined in on the laughter.
“You didn’t think we would forget about your birthday, did you?” Navajo laughed, patting Desmond’s back. “I knew your parents personally, and I would never break their hearts by forgetting your birthday. You two are now officially 14 years old this very day, and now we will celebrate!”
The crowd in the room grew silent and lowered their heads as a Sage warrior dressed in an armored robe walked through the line, holding a beautiful cake with exactly 14 small candles arranged in a circle, all lit and glowing.
Very slowly, everyone in the room began to sing “For he’s a jolly good fellow”, only instead of “he’s” everyone sang “they’re”. At the end of the song, the Sage warrior handed the cake over to the twins with a smile.
“From the society to you, we wish for you to have a wonderful birthday,” the sage said, and everyone cheered behind him. Once they quieted down, they went over to the far side of the room and got their own cake slices.
The twins stared down at their cake, not saying anything at all.
“Go ahead, get yourselves some plates and forks and knives,” Navajo encouraged them. “It’s your birthday, remember? Go ahead and have a good time, but afterwards I need to show you the view of the mountain before it gets too late at night.”
Danielle smiled at Desmond. “This is the greatest birthday ever, Desmond! Go get the silverware and let’s eat this cake!”
“I’m on it, sis!” Desmond said with a salute, running off to the far side of the room.
Danielle sat patiently in her chair, watching everyone in the room. Almost everyone in the room was a Sage, while a few people were human, wharf rats, Marleybone dogs, and at least one person, surprisingly, was an Armada Marine, which was a bit odd considering the fact that #1, he had a mouth that actually was functional, and #2, he was actually happy. Danielle thought that the Armada were heartless automatons that ignored any emotions, but this man seemed very pleased to be here, and he appeared to not be alone. A young woman, possibly 27 years old, was standing next to him, often turning to him to say something before the two would laugh and continue talking to one of the Sage warriors.
The woman turned her head and noticed Danielle, and got the Armada Marine’s attention, and the two came over to her table.
“So, you must be Miss Danielle Talbott, right?” the woman asked in a kind voice. “You and your brother are now 14 today, is that correct?”
“Yeah, only my brother went to go get some silverware,” Danielle responded. “We got a free cake for one, and we’re also going to be taught here for the summer.” She shook the woman’s hand. “So, who are you guys and what are you doing here?”
“My name is Paolina Optimus,” the woman answered.
“I am her husband, Victor Optimus,” the Armada Marine said.
At that moment Desmond came back with two plates, two knives, two forks, and two napkins. “Hey Danielle, who are these two?” Desmond asked.
“This is Paolina and Victor Optimus,” Danielle said. “Now tell me again; why are you guys here exactly?”
“We are here as new members of the Sage educational society,” Victor explained. “Not only that, but Paolina and I happened to travel with your cousin Alexandria Quinn on her adventures. She only stopped in Nightopia, but this island is where the greatest voyage to unknown islands and an amazing treasure hunt all began.”
“Wow that is really cool!” Desmond breathed his eyes wide with wonder. “So what did you guys do on the journey?”
“I saved your cousin quite a few times,” Victor said. “She isn’t exactly the strongest person around, no offense, but I was built as a guardian, and therefore I served my purpose.”
“I helped her out as well, usually with small things,” Paolina told the twins. “I also kept Victor here company on the journey, and now we’re married.”
“Aww, how sweet!” Danielle said. “Is anyone else from the journey here?”
“Hugo Clement, who was my art assistant, has his nephew going here,” Paolina replied. “His nephew’s name is Samson Clement, and he is learning light powers from the Sages.”
Victor cleared his throat, and Paolina faced him. “Is there something you need, Victor?”
“We actually should get going, since the sun is beginning to set,” Victor announced. “Shall we get going, my dear?”
“Of course we can,” Paolina said with a smile, taking Victor’s arm. “We’ll see you twins later on, so goodbye for now!”
The two left the building, and the twins ate their cake. A few of the adults were beginning to leave, but many other people stayed behind.
As soon as the twins finished their cake, Sumatra came running over. “You two, come on!” she shouted, shaking them both by their shoulders. “I want you two to meet some friends of mine.”
“Okay, whatever you say,” Desmond said with a shrug.
The twins got up and followed Sumatra through a small group of people over to the front door. There was a little round table with five chairs around it, and two were occupied by a little Marleybone dog and a young Sage warrior who looked 14 years old.
“Danielle and Desmond, I’d like you to meet my friends Samson Clement and Creole Mylfor,” Sumatra announced.
The Sage stood up and walked over to Desmond first. He looked like a younger version of Navajo, but with a slightly smoother face that was not as round. He also wore a long white robe with a gold sash over his right shoulder and white gloves, and he was holding a rugged-looking staff made of a broken tree branch with a stone arrowhead on the top and a string tied around the middle.
“My name is Creole, although Sumatra already told you that,” Creole said, shaking Desmond’s hand.
“It’s nice to meet you as well,” Desmond replied happily.
Creole turned to Danielle and smiled sweetly. “It’s a pleasure to meet you as well,” he told her, shaking her hand.
“Likewise,” Danielle responded back with equal kindness.
This time, Samson stood up and cleared his throat. He had brown fur with a black spot over his left eye and a white streak on his nose. He had a brown long-sleeved cotton shirt and tawny shorts with a brown belt a patched-on brown pockets and black pirate boots. Lastly, Samson had a sash across his shoulder woven like the clothes of Bison chiefs.
“I actually don’t feel like shaking anyone’s hand right now,” Samson admitted. “Not being rude…I just don’t feel like it right now.”
“It’s ok, I’m getting pretty tired of having to shake everyone’s hand too,” Danielle laughed. “It is nice to meet you though.”
“Thank you, it’s a pleasure,” Samson replied by tipping his hat.
Suddenly, Navajo Redd approached the group of children. “Students, and Sumatra, stop what you’re doing! Night is fast arriving, and I need to take you all to the mountain!”
“We actually were not doing anything at all, sir,” Creole pointed out.
“Never mind that, my boy,” Navajo said with a sweep of his hand, immediately opening the front door beside their table. “Follow me closely and quickly now-we need to get going!”
He hurried the children out the door and got in front of them, immediately leading them to the mountain trail. He marched up the trail with the kids following behind. The town’s lanterns began to dim, leaving behind only the luminescent glow of the Martyr and the Saturna trees, and the thick bushes and vines.
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