“You finally managed to get expelled, I see.” A charmingly, smooth and masculine voice greeted Herah.
“You say that as if it wasn’t her choice to pretty much expel herself.” A distinctly brash, yet feminine voice, much like Herah’s if it was older, responded back.
Herah walked into her house and was immediately greeted with a pair of aquamarine and emerald eyes, from her father and mother respectively, staring her down. Her father, Orange, a well built and muscled orange colored Cendreux, was standing in the kitchen chewing some meat.
Herah’s mother, Rouge, a much slimmer but still muscled, red-colored Cendreux of the same vein as Herah, was sitting on their couch glaring at her daughter, her emerald color eyes filled with both annoyance and disappointment. Herah seeing this glared back with a light blush upon her cheeks, slightly annoyed at the accusing stare.
Herah then looked back to her father, rolling her eyes at his clothing. The Elder was wearing a light blue polo shirt with the top two buttons unbuttoned, and his khaki slacks that had a few new rips and tears. Orange saw Herah staring at him, and turned his smile towards her. The father then used his tail to rub his unruly, neck length hair, a few strands of it sticking out wildly, before pointing towards Rouge with his four-foot appendage.
Herah turned to her mother, who was still glaring at her with a small snarl in place, now standing up with her arms crossed. This allowed Herah to see Rouge’s green tunic, which had a bit of gun powder on the sleeves and the scent of oil upon it.
Herah said nothing else, only walking into their home, a modest two-story house, and throwing her backpack next to her couch. The youngling then walked into the kitchen the pursuit of food on her mind.
Their kitchen was small, only able to fit four Cendreux into it at any given time, which was perfectly fine, since there was only the three. The tiled floor was cool, something Herah found soothing to her bare feet. There was some meat defrosting in the center area which the family used to place groceries they recently picked up, quarry Orange had recently hunted, or food that was to be eaten soon. Orange was standing at the bar still chewing on the meat from earlier when Herah walked up to her father and asked him a question.
“Hey dad, what’re you eating?”
Orange looked back at his daughter and said, still chewing,
“Where does it come from?”
“The type you eat.”
Herah, seeing that her father wasn’t going to give her the answer, turned to her mother who, once the elder realized Herah was staring at her, decided to share her thoughts.
“I’m not talking to you about anything except for what happened at school and what we are going to do now, so unless that’s what you’re asking about, you’re getting nothing out of me.”
Herah rolled her eyes in response and sniffed her father’s food.
“You finally got around to killing the boar, I see.”
Herah stated this while grinning cheekily towards her father. Orange rolled his eyes and grinned right back at his daughter, letting out a small chuckle at their exchange.
“Oh wow! You managed to use your nose, should I get on my knees now and worship the all mighty, all knowing Herah?”
Rouge mockingly interjected Herah, flourishing her hands in an overly dramatic fashion, as the elder walked over to the bar and leaned onto the counter.
“Piss off.” Herah said, feeling a bit fed up with her mother’s hostility.
“Was that a challenge I heard my dear daughter? Unlike that pathetic teacher of yours, I can actually beat your ass and I’ll do it rig-”
Orange’s tail shot through the bar counter, stabbing at Rouge’s eye while the elder launched his hand towards Herah’s face, his claw just tapping her chin. Both Herah and Rouge began to breathe hard, puffs of cool air coming out of their normally warm mouths. Their pupils also changed from their normally slit states, to a more circular form and enlarged as well. Frost began to form on the red duos’ scales and clothing, slowly creeping up from their legs and towards their heads.
Herah was terrified, her father’s Presence rapidly changing from playful and nice to deadly and bloodthirsty. The two stared at Orange, who was the only thing seemingly unaffected by the sudden shift in temperature of the room, the only thing different about him being his glowing and pupil-less aquamarine eyes. The father then shifted his eyes back and forth between them,, a neutral expression adorning his face.
“No fighting in the house. Herah grab your food and go into the living room. Your mother seems rather intent on talking about the school thing, so let’s do exactly that.”
Orange said all of this with his smooth voice, now a flat monotonous tone. The elder Cendreux then moved his claw and tail away from the mother and daughter. The room returned to its original temperature, the frost that had appeared out of nowhere disappearing as it came. The only evidence of what had occurred ever happening being the two Cendreux still catching their breath. Once back to normal, Rouge gave a small huff, and walked back over to the couch.
Herah began to say something but stopped herself and just grabbed some food instead. Herah might’ve been hard-headed, but when it came to her father obedience was always given, definitely once subjugated to his Presence.
Herah grumbled to herself, reaching into the fridge and cutting some tendon off of the recently killed boar with one of her claws, before walking back into the living room. Herah gave said room a sweeping glance as everyone went to sit down.
It was a much larger than the kitchen, able to fit a three-Cendreux couch, loveseat, coffee table, lampstand, recliner, and a modestly sized TV. The walls of the living room followed the same pattern as the rest of the house, being a dim yellow, and the floor being spruce wood. The furniture was all white while the table, TV, and stand were black. The living room was directly connected to the kitchen, the only separation being the bar. The couch was a few feet from the bar counter, the coffee table right in front of it, and the TV in front of that. The decliner was a suitable distance to the right of the coffee table, facing the TV, with the lamp and lamp stand just on the left of it and a window on the right. The loveseat was to the left of the coffee table and facing the recliner, it also had two yellow pillows on it, which Orange immediately laid against after getting into the living room and sitting down. Rouge had moved over to the recliner and angled it towards the couch, which Herah sat upon chewing her tendon as the three stared at each other.
After a few awkward moments of Rouge glaring at Herah, Herah glaring back and Orange just watching the two do this, Herah folded her arms and asked,
“So, what do you want to talk about?”
Orange seeing this smiled and answered back. “Well, I think it’s a good idea to try and get you back into that scho-
Orange said nothing in response, the elder just gave Herah a look making it clear an explanation was needed and it was supplied.
“I made the decision to leave, and I refuse to go back on it. I’m not fickle enough to tell someone to do one thing, then ask for them to do the complete opposite. Actions and behavior such as that are not befitting of one of La Flamme’s most devote follower.”
“Sweety, I’m pretty sure La Flamme won’t look down on you for choosing to go back on your decision, it’s not as if this was a premeditated thought,” Orange paused briefly, ” It wasn’t, was it?”
Herah nodded no in response.
“No, I only thought about it when Elder Noir asked why I shouldn’t be expelled.”
Rouge hearing this saw an opportunity to add her thoughts into the equation.
“What did you think you should be expelled for anyway? It’s not because of the destruction you two created is it? After all, you’ve caused more damage on your own way before this. I remember you managed to destroy over half the school once when you went into one of your feral rages. The only reason you weren’t expelled for that one was because it was found out you had the wrong medication to deal with it.”
Herah shook her head once again, another response already leaving her mouth.
“For a while now, I’ve known and acknowledged the fact that most of our instructors are completely and utterly undeserving of their jobs. They rarely ever stood up for themselves, just allowing the students to do whatever they wanted if they deemed them too “troublesome”. As if! Those weaklings might’ve been able to hurt a teacher if they weren’t so passionless. Nearly every Cendreux in that school was utterly useless, and I refuse to allow their way of thinking rub off on me.”
Herah stood up and began gesturing to herself and towards the ceiling.
“I want to be able to show my appreciation for La Flamme, by forging weapons our Nettoyants, those handpicked by her to expand her will beyond our galaxy. But that school taught me absolutely nothing about smithing, just how to add and subtract rational expressions and how to speak and read a language I already know.”
The youngling then spat out the final sentence, her disgust very clear, “Going back is definitely not an option.”
Rouge sighed in irritation, bringing her palm to her head, and matter-of-factly stated,
“You know what, you seem so fucking sure on what you’re not going to do, do you have any idea what you’re going to do?”
Herah paused for a moment, then somehow blushed even deeper, as the youngling realized that getting expelled was the farthest her thoughts went. Rouge immediately caught onto this and made it clear.
“You didn’t think ahead, did you?”
Rouge mocked Herah, standing up and wagging one of her fingers in the youngling’s face, causing Herah to growl and bite at the extended digit. Drawing her finger back, Rouge gave a victorious smirk as Herah began to shake in anger and embarrassment.
“Don’t throw a tantrum now, it’s not my fault you’re an idiot.”
“Well, you’re the only one getting fucked right now. You don’t even know what to do with yourself! In fact, I bet you wo-”
But before the mother could insult her child any further, Orange glared at Rouge again, forcing his Presence upon her at the same time, causing his wife to halt in her statement and for her body to rapidly gain a frost cover. Orange then walked over to Rouge and hooked one of her frozen horns with a claw, giving it a light tug to make her face him. Rouge turned her terrified face towards Orange, who shook his head disapprovingly with a small snarl upon his face.
“Stop verbally assaulting our daughter. I know your frustrated with her, but acting like a cunt isn’t going to make you or anyone else here right now happy.”
Orange said this with ire very clearly laced within his voice. Orange then redrew his Presence, his glare and snarl losing all anger in the process, and transforming into a knowing look. Orange continued, his voice now much kinder,
“Just tell Herah what’s bothering you, we’re not going to get anywhere if you two just keep yelling at each other.
Rouge, hearing this, turned away from both Cendreux, and began to frown. After a few seconds of this, Rouge turned back to Herah her frown still in place, but her expression less hostile. Letting out a breath, the elder Cendreux began to speak, her tone losing much of its brashness and anger,
“I’m not apologizing for what I said, but I will say I might’ve been a bit unreasonable. It’s just,” Rouge looked away from Herah, and let out another breath before continuing, “You’re a very, and I mean very, proud Cendreux and while I’m happy that you’re so sure of yourself and La Flamme, I’m afraid that this self-assurance is going to limit your vision, and leave you with no options.”
Rose pointed at the living room window, presumably towards where the mother worked.
“Remember when you told us that you wanted to become a blacksmith, we tried to get you an apprenticeship under some of the local blacksmiths. You were so sure of the fact you would be apprenticed under one of them, that you had no other options when every single one of them turned you down.”
Rouge’s shoulders sagged as her face lost its frown completely and just looked really sad.
“The only reason you ended up at Noir Academy was because we had managed to pull a few strings. Herah, you only ever consider the now and the distant future, never in between and that keeps biting you in the ass.”
Rouge then crossed her arms and gave them a nervous rub, looking away from her daughter.
Herah, both seeing and hearing her mother’s reaction, looked away and frowned. After a few seconds of this, Herah found her face turned back towards her mother, by Orange, who was giving the two his “makeup” stare. Herah and Rouge looked at each other, pensive expressions covering each of their faces, this awkward standoff lasting until Rouge opened up her arms and gestured towards herself with her hands.
Herah looked at her mother for a few seconds, then awkwardly shuffled up to her, hugging the elder Cendreux just as awkwardly. Orange seeing this, gave a big happy smile, showing each and every single one of his blood covered fangs to the two hugging Cendreux.
“See isn’t that better. You two always argue, but we always end up here. No shouting, no anger, just hugging. Now get ready for me, cause I’m coming in for my own.” Orange said, his voice back down to its original smoothness.
The elder then threw the last of his tendon into his mouth and crushed the hugging duo in a hug of his own. Though Rouge was taller, being 8’10 compared to his 7’11, Orange’s naturally superior strength allowed him to lift up both his wife and child, and swing them around in a circle.
After a few seconds of this, Orange sat the two down, Herah and Rouge stumbling a bit as they did so. After Herah and Rouge regained their balance, the group of three returned to their seats and spent a while talking about what to do now that Herah made it clear Noir E. Blanc wasn’t an option.
“Maybe we could try the apprentice route again, a new blacksmith just moved in from out a town. Maybe they’ll take you-”
Herah shouted this as the sound of glass shattering was heard. The figure in question was swiped out of the air as they tried to fly by the youngling. Rouge looked at their now shattered living room window that was next to Herah, then back to her daughter with a look that was clearly not amused. The elder then told her with a flat tone,
“You’re fixing that.”
Herah snarled and threw Jeffery at her father, walking over to her backpack to get supplies to fix the window. Orange caught Jeffery with one hand and laid them across his lap and began to rub their spine, while speaking to Herah.
“You should treat your art supplies better sweety,” Orange then threw Jeffery back to Herah while giving her a smirk, “I hear it’s unbelievably hard to get your hands on giant pencils nowadays, some might even say impossible.”
Herah caught Jeffery with her free hand, the other occupied by a sketchbook and pencil. The youngling then twirled Jeffery and tossed them into the air.
Jeffery righted themselves in the air and froze. Herah then gave the pencil a glare, looking them up and down to get her point across. This examination also allowed her to make sure nothing new had been added to the pencil, especially red, as often happened when they were left alone.
Jeffery was still the same color of an average pencil, no spots or lines of any other color running across their orange jacket. Jeffery’s eraser was still red, no signs of discoloration or the sort which Herah was happy about. By the look of it, Jeffery was still 6’4 and they were no thicker or thinner. The last thing Herah checked for was Jeffery’s lead, which was still as sharp as possible.
Seeing that Jeffery had no changes (that were perceivable by her) made to them, Herah turned back to the broken window and tossed her normal sized pencil into her now unoccupied hand. After giving the window a bit of an examination, Herah began to sketch a version of the thing that wasn’t broken.
The design was simple enough for Herah, a square with a four by four design that had a different flower for each pane. The top left pane had a white dandelion that covered the entirety of it, the top right a white lavender that ran from the top left to the bottom right of the pane. The bottom left, the pane that had been broken, had a white rose in the center of it, in the process of blooming. The final panel had another flower, this one being the only one that wasn’t white. It was a wisp lantern, as blue as the one Herah had blown that morning.
Herah finished up the sketch in a second, her hand blurring as it drew each detail down to the exact scale. Now finished with the sketch, Herah began to shade the drawing in, this taking just a bit longer than the creation of it. After the shading was done, Herah erased the sketch lines and found herself with a drawing that replicated the unbroken state of the window perfectly. With that finished Herah activated her gift, Traduire, on the drawing. It then glowed for a brief instance, afterwards the paper seemed to slowly push it out. As the drawing was pushed out of the paper, it grew until it was the same exact size as the original window.
“Jeffery, help me install this.”
Herah ordered the giant sentient pencil, causing them to fly over to the original window and begin to erase at it. And erase it they did, after a few seconds of Jeffery’s eraser scribbling at the window all that was left was a perfect opening for another one to be placed. Seeing this, Herah lifted up the new window without even a grunt and slid it into where the other used to occupy. Herah then looked at Jeffery and nodded her head. Jeffery in response to this outlined where the new wall was placed and then tapped the outline with their head. The outline gave a brief glow then sealed the window back into place.
Throughout the entirety of this, Rouge and Orange just watched in silence, a small tinge of wonder filling both of them as it always did when they got to see their daughter’s gift at work. After the youngling finished, Rouge walked over to the window and gave it and the area around it a light shove. Seeing everything still in place, Rouge gave a small whistle and turned to Herah, her face dancing between subtle joy and wonder in rapid succession.
“No matter how many times I see it at work, I always find your Traduire fascinating.”
The mother’s voice still retaining some of its brashness that was offset by the same wonder that filled her. Rouge then shook her head and began to walk out of the room.
“We can finish talking about what to do with Herah later. I’m going to go take a nap. Care to join me, sweety?”
The question clearly meant for Orange, the father gave his wife a brief look then shrugged yes. Orange then got up and followed Rouge, giving Herah a wide, fatherly smile as the two left the living room and went up the stairs to their bedroom. Herah watched this then turned to Jeffery, who was just floating in the air besides her and glared at them. Jeffery, noticing this, flew over to the wall and began writing. Once Jeffery was finished the message came out to be: What? You want to go? Cause I’ll go right now. Herah read the message then glared even harder at Jeffery.
¨Ouch! Dammit Jeffery, that hurt!”
Herah rubbed the top of her head as a bruise formed where Jeffery hit her with their eraser. The bruise also proved to be a trigger for the youngling’s body to Réunir. This meant that flurry of punches Rose gave to Herah’s stomach earlier in the day came back with a vengeance. The signals the nerves on her stomach had tried to send to her brain earlier, were finally being received.
Herah let out a groan, doubling over in pain and holding her gut with both of her arms, the surge of pain leaving her shocked. Jeffery seeing this, quickly erased what they wrote on the wall and flew over to Herah, allowing the youngling to lean onto them for support. Herah gave a few wobbly steps before falling over, Jeffery darting under her arms being the only thing that stopped her from being splayed across the spruce floor.
With both of her pits resting atop the giant writing utensil, Herah was raised from the first floor to the second, completely bypassing the stairs and guardrail. After reaching the second floor, Jeffery flew Herah down the decently sized hallway. The walls were lined with a variety of hunting trophies her father had created, mostly boars since Orange had some sort of vendetta against them, and a few of her mother’s gun designs. Jeffery eventually stopped at the door to Herah’s room, located at the end of the hall, perpendicular to the restroom on the right wall. Herah used one of her arms to open the door to her room then allowed Jeffery to carry her in.
Herah gave her small room a brief once over, making sure her mirror hadn’t been moved while at school. Her walls and ceiling were completely white, this couldn’t be seen however due to the numerous pieces of art that covered everything that wasn’t the floor.
The left wall when entering the room was covered with an assortment of fully covered and lifelike portraits of every Cendreux Herah had ever encountered that carried any significance with her. Both Rouge and Orange were on the wall, as well as Rose. Each of the blacksmith who had turned her down for an apprenticeship were on the wall as well. They were also multiple portraits for each Cendreux, and they all tended to overlap with each other.
The wall right across from the portrait gallery, as Orange called it, was where Herah stored the weapon and armor schematics normally kept in her sketchbook, removed once they filled up about a hundred pages in her sketchbook. Some of the designs were simple, a set of steel armor for example, while others were rather outlandish, example being a sword made of swords. Orange dubbed this wall: A Blacksmith’s Dream.
The back wall was covered in works Herah didn’t finish, many of them half colored, painted, shaded, etc, it was called To Be Continued…. Herah’s room also had a bookcase full of sculpture of the Cendreux in her portraits, that sat in the dead center of her gallery wall.
The youngling’s closet door was on A Blacksmith’s Dream and Herah’s bed was in front of To Be Continued… with her mirror and window on right and left side, respectfully. The entire floor was covered with a white fur rug, that had quite a few paint stains from some of Herah’s projects.
Jeffery carried Herah into the room and over to her mirror, allowing her to stand on her on once in front of the mirror. After the brief trip up to her room and a few deep breaths, the crippling pain Herah had turned into a light throb, allowing her to move with only slight discomfort.
Herah then took off and threw her red tee to the side. After doing that, Herah allowed herself to examine her reflection.
Since Herah only had a green sports bra under the shirt, Herah was able to get a good look at her abdomen. There was no visible damage shown causing Herah to let out a satisfied sigh, glad that her healing speed wasn’t affected in any way by her fight with Rose. The youngling then became distracted, as would often occur when her reflection was involved, and began to watch herself run a hand over her ab covered stomach, tracing each of her six wonders with her claw. The reflection then began to pose and flex, showing off the lean, strong muscles that cover the entirety of her body.
After a few poses, Jeffery, who had been floating next to her the entire time, gave Herah another whack on the head, sending an image of one of Herah’s earlier sketches into her head. It was of one of her first drawings and showed a crudely drawn image of a teenage Herah doing the exact same as her current self. It was quite clear that Jeffery meant this as an insult, and Herah responded in kind.
“I’ll kill you!”
The youngling shouted, chasing the pencil around her room for a few minutes, only stopping because of Rouge yelling at them to do such. After this, Herah decided to lay in her bed for a quick nap, seeing that it was around the evening. After laying down on her back, Jeffery floated into Herah’s bed, preparing to be cuddled. Paying Jeffery no mind, Herah stared at her ceiling.
The ceiling to Herah’s room was different when compared to the walls because it was covered in a single art piece, a real-time, mentally manipulated display of her solar system. It had costed Herah an arm and a leg, but it was worth it.
The centerpiece, also being the center of the system, was the white dwarf star named Ellon. Ellon had four paths of orbit around it, or four layers, and on the first layer was Herah’s homeworld, Incendié.
Incendié wasn’t too much larger than Ellon, and was one of three planets with life on it that orbited the star. Incendié’s model was mostly a grainy grey, with a small blue octagon to the left of the north pole, representing the only significant body of water for the planet. There was also a slightly larger perfectly round green circle, located right on the equator of the Incendié, representing where most of the plant life and animals dependent upon them lived. The rest of the planet was covered in ash, hence the grey coloring.
Directly across from Incendié and on the same layer, was the planet most Couver who gained infamy on Incendié fled to, simply named Flint. Flint, when compared to Incendié, was mostly green with quite a few pockets of blue, representing the plant life and significant bodies of water respectfully.
The next planet was on the layer after the ones before it, and this one was completely green, but not because of plants. This planet was as green as it was due to its incredibly toxic atmosphere. This planet was four times larger than Flint, and had no natural life on it. A few Cendre lived on the planet, and being a solitary bunch exploration was nearly impossible.
The final planet, this one located on the final layer, was named Bious. Bious was by far the largest, twelve times the size of Incendié in fact, and this was where many Cendre went to live once they outgrew Incendié. Bious itself was constantly growing, at a rather small pace, thanks to the Cendre who lived wrapped around its core. This Cendre also provided enough heat to allow life to develop on Bious, this life being only plants. Bious was mostly blue with large chunks of green covering the rest of it.
After quietly observing her map, Herah chose to focus on Incendié and called for the map to zoom in until it was on her room. Herah’s ceiling now showed her lying in bed and staring up. Herah watched as Jeffery lazily spun themselves next to her as the youngling tired to think to herself about what was to be her next course of action now that school wasn’t an option.
Herah let out a gasp of surprise as the ceiling showed a mass of black appear in front of her door, causing the youngling to look up and directly stare at it. As soon as Herah did this, the mass began to suck her in.
But before the youngling could finish, her body was sucked into the mass, leaving the room with only Jeffery inside. Once Herah was gone, Jeffery floated into the air, and down to the living room, grabbing their creator’s backpack and then zooming back up the stairs. After making it back into the room, Jeffery organized a few supplies. Once done with this the pencil flew into the parent’s room.
After an awkward pause, Jeffery wrote out a message to the duo about what had happened to Herah, causing Orange to quickly redress and secure the bag to Jeffery. After this was done, Jeffery shot out of the ceiling, leaving a substantial hole in their wake as they left to help Herah.
Rouge saw the hole, herself now dressed, a bit worried about her daughter but also miffed about the damages and said,