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The New Adventures of Jamie

by Jamie Mac

Chapter 7

Little One

Swift sat at the dining room table, deep in thought about the events of the morning, when he suddenly heard the thumping of feet running down the stairs. He looked up at the door to the dining room just as Kyle burst through immediately followed by Eric and Jamie. The boys were all very animated and their laughter and loud arrival drowned out the specifics of the taunts they were tossing in each other's direction.

"So what are you all carrying on about?" Swift asked suddenly in an almost commanding way without quite realizing how he sounded as the boys came to a sudden halt in the room.

Jamie, recovering rapidly from his earlier panic attack, quickly noticed the unusual change in Swift's demeanour. Realizing that the tension was a bit too thick he decided to get everyone laughing and exclaimed, "It's all Kyle's fault! He started it!"

Picking up on Jamie, Eric chimed in as well, "Yeah Kyle started it."

"I did not, Jamie did!" Kyle exclaimed, following along with the others.

"No it was Eric," Jamie said suddenly changing tack, trying at the same time to not start laughing.

"It was Jamie," Eric said, with finality.

Jamie could not hold back any longer and started to giggle. Within moments he was joined by Kyle and Eric as well. Swift, finally realizing he was on the receiving end of a collective joke started to laugh as well.

"I'm sorry I didn't mean to come off like that. I just got done talking with Thondir. He is heading for town and left just a couple minutes ago. When I talk with him I get a bit different," Swift offered in explanation.

Jamie spoke, "S'okay we were just messin' too. Kyle had to snap me out of one of my panic thingies, and then he got us all going."

Kyle replied, "Yeah, I knocked on Little One's door, and he opened it as if death was right there. Scared me I think more then he was. But I got him through it with Eric's help - and the smell of food. Is that Gwinis' thimbleberry jam I see on the sideboard, and her homemade biscuits?"

With that introduction, Kyle and Swift turned towards the other two boys as they looked longingly at the food that was already set out for lunch. One can always recognize a child of the streets by the way they look at food. It is very much like watching a lion stalk its prey. In the sight of so much laid out before them it was easy to know that Jamie and Eric had been going hungry for a long time. In spite of the large breakfast they had had that morning, that was several hours ago and the boys were ravenously hungry once again.

Although the pangs of hunger had set in with a vengeance, Eric and Jamie stood still just looking on, not quite sure what to do. Kyle seeing this pulled a chair out, sat down, and then motioned for them to do the same.

A soft voice from behind startled Jamie and he quickly turned to see who was speaking. A woman had walked into the expansive dining room from a side door that led into a large butler's pantry with the kitchen further back. She was carrying a couple more jars which she then set down on the sideboard.

"I was not sure what you boys might like for lunch, so I made a mixture of things. I have it all set up for you, so help yourselves. I am Gwinis. I'm the official chef here since Thondir and Swift can barely make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches correctly," she said with a grin.

This earned a laugh from all the boys other than Swift, who feigned mock outrage at the comment. He promptly crossed his arms and stuck his nose up in the air, doing his utmost to look snobbish with an added air of arrogance.

"I happen to like my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches just fine thank you very much," Swift replied stiffly, continuing with his pretense of offence, in spite of a sly grin spreading over his face.

Kyle had stood up and walked to the sideboard while Swift was giving his performance and was starting to load his plate with different selections from the laid out food. Swift noticed Jamie was hesitating, as he also stood up to follow Kyle's lead, Eric having already descended in behind Kyle like a vulture zooming in on a fresh kill.

"Are you okay, Little One?" Swift asked, pretty much knowing the answer that would follow.

"I'm not sure," Jamie replied, very uncertain of what might be awaiting him. "I'm hungry, is it okay to have some?"

Gwinis spoke from near the door, "It's fine sweetie, you eat all you want. There is plenty more where this came from."

Jamie swiveled his head and said, "Thank you Ma'am, I guess I'm being a bit silly."

Swift replied this time, "No, not at all. I know this is all new and going to take some time for you to get used to. It's okay. Kyle went through the same thing a year ago."

"Yeah I did, I was sitting in the same chair you're in and questioning everything. It'll get easier as you learn more," Kyle replied as he sat back down at the table with a plate full of all sorts of goodies.

Gwinis spoke again, "You do not have to call me Ma'am, Gwinis will be fine. Go eat before your brothers there get it all," As she gently nudged Jamie towards the food.

Looking at all the different things to eat on the sideboard, Jamie decided he would sample a little bit of everything. It all smelled wonderful. Placing a smoked sausage on his plate then adding some sauerkraut, red skinned potatoes, corn, coleslaw, and green beans with it, along with a couple of biscuits held in his hand. He went back and sat down, picked up a knife, and began spreading some of butter and jam on his biscuits. He turned and looked at Gwinis, who was watching him closely.

Gwinis smiled at Jamie as he sat at the table saying to him, "They call you 'Little One' but you have a plate fit for a Big One," she quipped.

Jamie feeling a bit awkward replied, "I can put some back."

"Nonsense you'll do no such thing. You are a growing boy and I think you can use some meat on those bones of yours," said Gwinis, with a light air in her voice while gently poking a very skinny Jamie in the ribs.

Jamie giggled realizing then that she was only joking. There was no denying that Jamie was rather skinny and he quickly began to eat with the other boys, who all grinned back at him. It did not take very long before they had virtually cleared the sideboard, and then young boys being boys, they sat around the table having a belching contest. Gwinis smiling all the while, walked around gathering up the empty plates. She then headed back towards the kitchen through the door at the rear of the dining room to get started on washing the dishes. Jamie promptly got up and started to clear more of the dishes and going through the door brought them to her.

"Thank you, sweetie, but you can go and burp with the boys if you'd like. I can manage this," Gwinis said to Jamie with a kindly look.

"It's okay, I don't mind. I don't think I can burp anymore anyway. The food was the best. Thank you very much," Jamie replied.

Gwinis smiled, "For someone so young you have the manners of a gentleman. You are very welcome, and if you ever feel hungry help yourself, we have plenty."

With the table cleared and their bellies full the boys sat around so they could talk about the morning's events. Swift began by asking a few questions of Jamie and Eric.

"So, did you enjoy lunch?" Swift inquired, wanting to make Jamie and Eric feel more at ease.

Jamie replied, "It was great, I enjoyed everything."

"Yeah it was all good. Do you guys always eat like this?" Eric added.

"Yeah it's pretty much the norm around here. I guess there's some more explaining we need to do," Kyle said. He was feeling a bit guilty that he had had to keep a secret from his friends for the last few months, but was now relieved they had figured it out faster than others, if ever, had.

Swift began, "I hope you don't feel like we misled you at any time. I've been on those streets a long time; just you wouldn't know it. I found Kyle before I met both of you, but Kyle did mention you guys as being friends so it made sense I should check you guys out as well."

Jamie asked Swift, "So did you like have a feeling I was something more; or how did you know?"

"It's kind of a gift. I get little impressions if someone will figure things out. Most of the time I don't sense anything different in people, but with you and Eric it was strong. I knew I had found a couple of possible protectors," Swift replied.

"What's a protector?" Eric asked.

Swift began, "It's like a groundskeeper or even a zookeeper. They handle the daily tasks of running a preserve and help with other events as well. There really isn't a ton of work; preserves mostly run themselves.

"You and Jamie are different. Since humans got into the habits of disbelief we do not run into many now who can help or even realize that all the whimsical beings are real.

"Jamie, you have some abilities we have not seen in over a century, maybe even longer. Thondir is in contact with some of the Elders now. They should have some answers since they have been around a long time," Swift finished.

Jamie cocked his head a little taking it all in, "So the weird things I saw on the street besides seeing you are all real? I kept checking to find out what I was seeing but the libraries didn't really have the information. There's a book in my room I was flipping through before lunch. While I was looking at it I found some of the creatures I saw on the streets. They were like hermit trolls, there was even a small little man that I still haven't found."

"That answers the next question I was going to ask you. Yes, they are all real. I do have one thing to ask, how long have you been able to see them?" Swift queried, almost certain what Jamie would say, but needing to confirm it.

"Since I can first remember, I've always seen odd stuff. I think it's part of why my parents hated me so much. I'd always point at some odd thing and say look at that and they'd yell at me or worse," Jamie said with a tear running down his cheek.

"Thanks Jamie, I know it's tough. Remember you'll be seeing unusual things all the time now, and they're real. No one here will ever punish you if you say 'Hey, there goes a gnome!'" Swift replied with a sigh, realizing just how much Jamie had been hurt over his knowledge of the world Swift had spent a lifetime in.

"Okay now I have a question for you, Swift," said Eric. "How did someone know what would fit me? When I got to my room there was a leather jerkin, and it fits perfect, although I'm not sure if I was putting it on right, along with all the other new clothing. I know you said there would be things we could wear; I figured it would be leftover stuff but it's all brand new!"

"Yeah, and how did someone know I loved camouflage stuff?" Jamie added.

"Hmm, can I just say we listened and you both gave us all the information we needed?" Swift began, getting a laugh from both of the boys.

Swift continued, "It is quite an involved answer. The simple one is that it's magic, but there is more to it than that. There are certain types of beings who live to serve. For example, there are different types of trolls: some are born fighters, and others are like the hermit troll and have nothing to do with any form of work. Then there are some trolls whose only desire in life is to serve."

Jamie spoke up when Swift paused, "You mean like slaves?"

Swift shook his head and said with a frown, "No, slaves are something man did. Let me go into detail here. Every type of being including man, breaks itself up into classes. With people it's usually based on money and so you have upper, middle, and lower classes. If you want even more structure you can add in things like an aristocracy at the top and divide the other classes up into smaller groups if you want.

"The classes with whimsical beings are fighter, worker, and tualle," added Swift. "The closest English word for the last one is 'servant', but that's not quite right."

"It's more like trusted friend and companion," said Kyle interrupting. "It's someone that wants to be with you, will never leave you, and that you can trust with your life and never doubt that they'll always be there."

As he said the last Kyle was staring straight at Jamie and although everyone heard the words, Jamie knew that the message was for him alone and a slight blush crept over his cheek. Swift looked on, a faint grin appeared on his face as he realized the full import of the words Kyle had just spoken.

Eric hearing the words but not catching the unspoken meaning behind them then spoke, "I get it, it comes right down to having a job. You start off at the bottom just like anyone and work your way up. But I think in this case, you're saying some like to stay in the position they're in just like people do."

"Not bad at all Eric. So what we have in the house here…" began Swift.

"BROWNIES!" Jamie shouted interrupting Swift, excited that he had figured it out.

Everyone looked at Jamie with surprise. Even Swift was taken aback by the revelation that had suddenly come from Jamie. He sat there looking at the younger boy marvelling at how quick and sharp his mind was. Jamie suddenly turned a bright red, realizing he had just blurted out the answer without thinking. Feeling embarrassed by what he had just done Jamie looked sheepishly at the others, and then folding inwards on himself looked down towards the floor. Kyle catching the signs of Jamie shutting down stood quickly and stepped behind Jamie. Kyle put his arms over him to comfort his little friend and tried to carefully cut off the panic that he knew had begun to set in.

"Jamie it's fine, you're right. We're all just surprised that you figured it out so quickly. Never be embarrassed or ashamed to speak. I understand from what you have told me about your home life why you got worried. Nobody, and I mean nobody here, will ever hurt you for jumping in like that," Kyle said as he hugged his young friend from behind.

Eric spoke next reaching over and taking Jamie's hand, "Yeah Little One we won't let anyone hurt you."

Swift smiled as well saying, "They're both right. You're right as well. How far into the Druhull book did you get?"

Jamie wiped his nose on his sleeve sniffling a bit as he spoke, "Quite a ways before I dozed off. I remember reading about how Brownies live under the ground and they come out to do stuff. They fix things, cook, and all sorts of other stuff."

Feeling better he continued, "I think… Wait a sec… I've got it! They're the ones who hung the clothes on the knob of that cabinet in my room! I knew there weren't any clothes hanging there when I walked in."

Swift smiling said, "You're really on the ball. Most of the ways that they do it we don't understand since they live in an isolated community. Their magic is unknown to almost everyone. How they know someone's exact size is beyond all of us, and yet somehow they do. They even know the things you like. When I said the rooms were almost the same as each other they are, that is until the Brownies go in. After sensing a person's desires and needs, they adjust the rooms to fit the individual. By the time you opened the doors to the rooms you had chosen the Brownies had all but completed their work."

Swift added as an afterthought, "If I had to guess I would say they sense what we desire and then figure out a way to supply it. Now other things like the games and stuff that is all stored below the steps, as well as other toys in boxes and chests in the attic, it's just gradually accumulated here over the years. But if there's something you want, just think about whatever it is long enough and it usually appears."

"So if I think of say a video game it will just appear?" Eric queried.

"No they are good, but not that good. Besides, the game system is on WiFi, so anything you want just load it up," Swift replied. "Okay, I think we've covered the mystery of how the house works, so I think now some fun is in order. Jamie, I am betting you are dying to try that bow in your room. Eric, how about we find a sword for you and I help fit you into your armour."

This got a huge smile from Jamie as well as Eric. They all got up and headed for their rooms to get ready to go outside and enjoy a nice afternoon. Jamie stopped by Kyle's door, tapping on the large black poster.

"I knew this was your room. That's like your favourite CD," Jamie said with a smile pointing at the poster.

Kyle smiled back, "I wish we could have come today like we had originally planned. We didn't expect the gang to appear like that and come after us. If that hadn't happened, I think it would've been much easier for you to accept all this."

Jamie hugging Kyle said, "You did great. I don't want to think of how it might have turned out. Things would have been a lot worse if I'd been alone without you."

Letting Kyle go Jamie ran to his room. Going over to the cabinet that held the bow, he reached up grabbed the key, opened the cabinet, and then carefully set the bow and arrows on the bed. He decided the key would be safest around his neck, so he slipped the chain over his head and tucked the key under his shirt. Not sure how to carry the bow he slung the quiver of arrows over his left shoulder, then thinking about some of the pictures he had seen of other archers with bows, he slung it over his right shoulder.

Kyle stood in his room for a moment with confusing thoughts and emotions running through his head. He did not fully understand the breadth of the sensations he was having. That morning had been full of unexpected feelings towards Jamie and Kyle felt certain that this was likely only the beginning. He suspected that it was going to happen a lot more in the future and as he grabbed his gear and then opened the door, he smiled at the prospect.

Swift had joined Eric in his room to help him put on the leather jerkin. It was complicated to put on, but after Eric had it on he found that he could still move freely. Swift punched him hard in the gut unexpectedly. Eric doubled over, but then stood up. His reaction was more from the shock of Swift's action than anything he felt.

"Hey!" He cried out. "What was that for?"

Swift grinned and asked Eric, "Did you feel it?"

Eric looked at him with a puzzled look when it suddenly dawned on him that he was not feeling the slightest hint of pain at all and in a surprised tone replied, "I didn't feel a thing."

Swift laughed, "So I guess it works then."

"Cool! What about your hand though, that had to hurt?" said Eric as he worked through the fact that Swift had punched him really hard.

"It's just fine," Swift replied, showing his hand to Eric and wiggling his fingers.

"Can I hit someone that hard? I mean only if I need to, I don't want to hurt anyone," Eric queried, worried he might have spoken too soon.

Swift thought a second and said, "I can teach you, but you will always have to remember to only use it in self-defense."

"I only want to know how to defend myself, or to protect you guys. I'm not into trying to beat people up for the fun of it," said Eric.

"Okay, let's go to the armoury. I'm sure Jamie doesn't want to wait long with that new bow of his," said Swift.

Opening the door of Eric's room, they stepped into the hallway still talking just as Jamie swung his own door open, bow and arrows slung over his shoulders. Jamie had a huge grin from ear to ear on his face as proof of just how incredible he thought it all was.

Kyle stepped out a second later wearing his short sword on his belt. Jamie saw it commenting right away, "You're wicked fast with that. I swear I saw teeth flying and even heard crunching sounds! I'd forgotten since I really didn't have time to say anything to you right then. We were so busy trying to run afterwards."

Jamie with tears running down his cheeks ran over to Kyle and wrapped his arms around him in a big hug, "Thank you so much, I think I'd have been dead if you hadn't been there."

Kyle stood there stunned for a moment. He had known that the boys had been behind him, but in the heat of the battle they had slipped from his mind as he and Swift dealt out their version of street justice on the gang. Now with the memories flooding back and the significance of what might have been suddenly overwhelming Kyle, he started to cry as well. This quickly brought Swift over in addition to Eric, and the boys stood there clinging to each other in a giant group hug.

They all remained there, just holding onto each other. Kyle and Swift knowing all too well that they had spared Eric and even more-so Jamie from a very painful day had matters gone the other way. The emotions flowing between the boys were running high at that moment and it was a while before anyone could speak.

The tears finally subsiding Kyle looked at Jamie, "I would do anything for you, Little One. You've always brought sunshine to me even on cloudy days."

This earned Kyle one of Jamie's famous smiles that spoke more than any words could say. He also gave the same smile to Swift and Eric, even though their roles in saving his life were somewhat smaller. Jamie wished there was something more he could do or say, but somehow he felt that this special moment with his friends was enough.

Eric deciding that they all could use break from the seriousness said, "Okay, now that we are all officially brothers, can we go and play?"

Swift, Kyle, and Jamie looked at him for a moment like he had lost his mind. However, thinking of what Gwinis had said when they were at the table Eric's remarks had been completely serious. He then added, "What are you all staring at me like that for? I remember Gwinis saying that we're all brothers."

"Cool!" Jamie cried out in excitement. "Now I have a real family! I guess that means that I can start calling you all names now," he said grinning at them.

This announcement took the others by surprise, but they all quickly agreed the description fit them. They all felt as if they had been family for some time, but none of them had fully realized it until just now.

Swift was the first to recover saying, "Okay Brothers, let's head for the armoury and then go have some fun. There'll be lots to do soon enough, for now we can all just enjoy ourselves a bit."

The boys made their way downstairs. They went back through the dining room into the kitchen, passing a work table in the centre of the kitchen and a couple other doors on the left side, to the big door that lead out to the back porch. Once outside Jamie and Eric still took a moment to take in the splendour of everything they saw, from the gigantic flowers to the tiniest faeries. Swift led them of the rear porch and down the steps to the grounds below. He then headed around the corner of the house to an entrance that led to a cellar.

Opening the bulkhead doors that were facing upwards Swift walked down several steps and proceeded to open another door at the bottom of the stairs. The boys followed along with Jamie bringing up the rear, a look of caution written on his face. Swift noticed his expression, and smiled again which seemed to ease Jamie's fears.

Swift announced, "This is the armoury. Although we store weapons at other locations around the preserve the best are kept here. Choose whatever you'd like. Also, just so you know, the odds are the weapon will choose you. Like your bow Jamie, the reason it was in your room is it was meant for you."

"Wow, that's so neat, but besides magic how does it know?" Jamie asked.

"Good question, Jamie," Swift replied. "Eric will walk in there and somehow the same way as the bow was drawn to you, he will be drawn to a sword or whatever weapon really speaks to him. It could be anything. I am going to go out on a limb here and using a bit of intuition guess that it will either be a long sword or a Katana like I have. There is magic involved, but I think it goes even deeper than that."

"So what you're saying is the sword will speak to me in a way I can sense but nobody else will? Will it also be hidden from others as well?" Eric asked.

Swift replied, "That's right, you got it precisely. Like I was saying back on the bus, you're quick and you're now figuring things out as fast as Jamie. It was just lying dormant within you until you found it. I'm also sure you and Jamie are the ones that we've been looking for."

Eric smiled at the compliment he was given; all his life he had been run down and called slow or dumb. His home life had been spent more as the dumb child who was a nuisance, rather than as a potential bright one who simply needed some encouragement and real love in order to shine. The youngster was beginning to think that he had found a home for life in Druhull. He knew that something bigger than himself was coming, but he also felt certain that dwelling on the situation too much would not be the best way to figure things out.

"Oh and to answer your last question, yes. The sword will stay hidden from others," Swift concluded as he opened the door at the bottom of the steps that led into the armoury. "Okay Eric, Jamie, go on ahead we're right behind you. Jamie, see if there's anything that catches your eye."

Kyle and Swift stood by the door as Eric and Jamie entered the armoury. It was well lit as they entered, the lights shining and reflecting off of all the different weapons that were hanging on the walls. Every possible type of weapon could be found including swords, daggers, halberds, axes, bows, and many other types filling almost every square foot of the room. The only kind of weapon not present were firearms of any sort.

Jamie noticing this asked, "Why are all the weapons old-fashioned?"

"Another good question. For most of the beings we deal with, if a fight occurred, using a firearm would be like feeding them candy. Most are magical by nature, and weapons like these are made with metals that most have no knowledge of. Weapons like these would be the only thing that could damage or even kill if the unfortunate need were ever to arise," Swift stated.

"For example, Jamie's arrows are made of flint. Flint is a natural substance and can penetrate most magic, even magical shields. My sword is edged with adamant one of the hardest minerals known to man. Kyle's sword is pure adamant, which is why it hits so hard and crunches teeth," Swift finished grinning at Jamie.

Eric slowly approached the wall to the right side of the door and almost immediately he sensed something. He felt like an invisible force was drawing him to a particular sword out of the dozens that were laid out before him. Not wanting to be seduced by mere appearance, he stood there looking closely at each weapon; not even daring to touch them until finally he saw it. Eric felt it; more then he saw it; and then he knew in his heart this was the right one for him. Reaching up he took hold of the dark blue hilt of a Katana. The sword seemed to ring in his ears, almost as if it had spoken to him. He held it up, and when he pulled the sword slightly out of its sheath he noticed a shimmering of light coming off of the blade.

Swift whistled softly and said to Kyle who was standing next to him, "Wow, I knew to expect something from what Thondir had said. But I really didn't think it would be so visible."

"I can see the light as well. So that's it then eh?" Kyle replied as he looked at Swift. "We've found both of them. What does it mean?"

Jamie was walking towards the back of the room where the bows were hung. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a pair of long jewelled daggers attached to a strap that looked like it would also hold a bow and quiver. The design of the dagger's handles also matched that of Jamie's bow. The young boy reached out almost instinctively and picked up the harness the daggers hung from. Without turning around, he took the bow off that he had been carrying and hung it on the hook next to where the daggers had been, and then placed the quiver on it as well. Placing the straps of the harness over his shoulder, he adjusted them to fit. Then picking up the quiver of arrows he slid them onto the strap and positioned them on his back next to the daggers. Lastly, he added the bow and the outfitting was complete.

When Jamie turned around both Swift and Kyle stared in amazement. They looked on and the young boy in front of them seemed to have been transformed. The most noticeable change was in the colour of his eyes. The former ice blue had hardened into an almost cold blue steel colouration. The young boys face appeared to have filled out a bit, and it almost seemed as if a power was radiating from deep within him. There was also something else about him, but at that moment Swift nor Kyle could not put a finger on what it was.

Eric was still holding the Katana he had just picked up. He felt something within him that seemed to blow away the last of his doubts and fears as he felt the power of the sword burning into his blood. Not sure what to do or say, he turned and saw that Jamie had changed as well. He looked much more sure of himself and his eyes reflected an image of will and strength.

When Jamie looked at Eric, he noticed the changes in him as well. Eric seemed to be more confident of himself and settled. Eric's hazel eyes now burned with a subtle fire. This combined with a new look of strength gave the impression that he could have easily taken on all of the members of the gang single-handedly if they were to run into them now.

Kyle was the first to speak, "You are them." He then bowed to the two smaller boys standing in front of him.

"Yes, they are the ones we have spent the last century looking for, as are you, Kyle. You all have gifts, and you are just beginning to feel them. Now we must bring them all to the surface and teach you how to use them," said Swift, also bowing to Eric and Jamie. Then turning to Kyle he added, "It means there is hope now."

Jamie looked on and in his head he heard a deep solitary voice which said one a single word, "Done."

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