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Commander Christopher Riddley

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Chris was certain he must be dreaming, but the lady in front of him, seemed serious enough and kind of scary. Of course, he had fought worse; Murllen, Gemli, Orson, years of battles, just to mention some, but this woman with big thick glasses as her only protection put his nerves on edge in a way none of his enemies did before.  

“Favorite color?”

“What?”

“Which is your favorite color?”

“umm…I don’t know-gray. No blue. Bright blue.” He said and smiled as a pair of eyes crossed his mind.

“Of course.” She wrote it down in a notepad on her lap and stared back at him. “Favorite food.”

Chris chuckled. “Anything but my cooking… or Donald’s. He isn’t that good.”

“What is this place and how the hell did I get here?” Chris felt uneasy, but besides the strange lady in front of him, he didn’t feel threated, and he knew about that. Although it had been years since his last confrontation, some things don’t go away that easy. Proof of that was the countless nights without sleep that still haunted him. 

“Well,” she fixed her glasses and sat back on an oversize chair. “this is my office, and you are here because I brought you here.”

Chris frowned and crossed his arms. “You brought me? Are you a sorcerer? Because if you are, I know a wizard that may not be very happy with you kidnapping me.”

A wide smile illuminated her face making Chris believe he may have met her before. “It’s nice to know things are going well between you and…umm… the wizard. Some folks were wondering about it. Tell me, do you have a family now?”

Chris stepped around the room narrowing his eyes. It wouldn’t be the first time a spell affected his judgement. “Folks? Who wants to know about my life? I may not have a sword with me but believe me, if you hurt anyone-“

“No, no, Chris.” She sighed. “I know it is confusing, but you aren’t in danger, neither your loved ones. I understand your hesitation, though. After all, I know what you went through perfectly well. It makes sense you are so guarded and defensive. It is too complicated to explain, it will go faster if you just answer… unless you want to tell me another story?

“No!”

“Very well,” She nodded, made another note and sighed. “How is life? Can you at least give me a vague idea of it?”

“Better.” He pushed his hair back. “Way better. New stuff has come up but nothing we can’t handle. My friends are happy, my people are safe… you know. Life is good now.”

“Great.” She leaned forward and the way her eyes locked on his made him shiver. “Do you have any scars?”

“Where am I? and where is Sara? If you hurt her I-“

She put her hands up. “Sara is fine. She is probably doing whatever she has to do in Hune nowadays. You are just talking to an old friend.”

“An old friend? I kind of don’t… do I know you?”

She tilted her head and looked at the book on her lap. “So, scars. Do you have any?”

Chris stared at the view through the window. The garden was magnificent; flowers in bloom, green full trees, hidden stone paths, something he could imagine being part of any of the castles in Hune, but he didn’t recognize the city beyond that. 

“Still with me?”

He turned and pointed at the window, but when he noticed her expression, he decided not to ask. She wasn’t going to answer his questions. His best chance was going to be to finish the interrogation and find out a way out of there.

“Scars. Yes, I got a few. As you can imagine, years of war with big blades can lead to that.”

“Any that you want to talk about? Maybe one that brings you an unexpected memory from the war?”

Chris inhaled, ready to yell at this intruder but stopped short. Suddenly he remembered something.

“Yes, actually… I bumped into a tree while playing with my dad. I was very young, six, seven? Anyway, the tree wasn’t the problem, but I fell backwards and broke a few jars while landing on top of our lunch. I cut my elbow…” once again the memory brought a wide smile and a welcoming feeling to his heart. “I remembered his laugh. He worried about me, but he just burst laughing, like there was nothing to be afraid of, nothing to worry about. That is the scar that brings me back to a place without the war.” 

“Xander… I got to meet him a few years back. Great guy.” She said, but before Chris could ask about it, she stood up and walked impossibly fast to the door. “Oh well Chris. It was very nice to talk to you. I have missed you all these years. I’m here if you want to talk again.”

Chris found himself being pushed out of the door. 

“Say hi to everyone from me, would you?”

She closed the door and he found himself looking at the half-repaired city of Tundra and Sara smiling at him.

“Where have you been. Chris?” 

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