In another world, there is so much magic, the people see no reason to advance their technology. Their history has been altered as well, resulting in a barely recognizable twentieth century. Wes, however, doesn’t know anything else. All he wants is to live a peaceful life with his small family -- his ward Mica and his friend Ollie.
For his part, retired assassin Ollie never wants to leave Wes and Mica, but when Ilixo shows up, Ollie may not have a choice. Ilixo, his Chieftain, has a necromancer to find and Ollie is the perfect person to go hunting.
Wes has to make a choice. He can accompany Ollie and help him capture the rogue necromancer, but then they will have to leave Mica unprotected at home. Mica is vulnerable, as she is on the verge of discovering her magic gift, and needs gentle guidance to help her through the process. Or Wes can stay home, and let Ollie face the danger alone.
Torn between Mica and Ollie’s best interests, Wes makes his decision. Will Wes and Ollie survive and return home? Will Wes realize his love for his best friend reaches far deeper than loyalty and respect? Will Wes and Ollie maybe even find love?
The necromancer is a problem for three tribes that happen to share a border point: Pomo, Shoshone, and Nez Perce. They’ve had missing people so when Ilixo said he was going to send somebody, the other chieftains agreed to let them pass. Wes doesn’t fool himself into believing that they did so without keeping an eye on them, but it’s a big thing in and of itself. It shows urgency and desperation to solve a problem.
That’s very well and good -- or well, not -- but it doesn’t change the absolute lack of information. Ollie and Wes have been walking in a circle. No one knows where the necromancer is. They’ve had to give up on sleeping under the stars, as was their preference, and get close to villages and towns and still nothing. Everybody knows where the necromancer is and everybody refers them to another place.
But if they manage to map their way into a circle, of people disappearing and possible locations, chances are that what they’re looking for is in that circle. They’ve made some progress; they’ve been doing this for too long not to find something. It takes a lot of time, though, even more if the circle is as big as they’re beginning to suspect.
Wes is starting to worry about Mica. She was ... odd when they left her and her reaction still leaves him feeling like he missed a step. They didn’t have a choice, but he doesn’t like the thought of leaving her. She’s his little girl, his tiny Dragon. He wants her close where he can take care of her and offer her everything and ...
Ollie’s giving him a look. “I know.”
Of course, Ollie knows. Wes never doubted it. They’re in this together.
“I’m sorry,” Ollie says.
Wes shakes his head. He doesn’t want an apology and doesn’t think the situation warrants it. “Not your fault.” He bumps their shoulders together.
“It feels like it, though.”
Ollie sighs and sits on the grass as soon as they reach the incline. He takes out his leather-bound journal and starts detailing what they found out. Ollie can be very detail orientated, Wes knows, it’s just that the sheer number of years he’s lived takes its toll when it comes to the exactness of the information. It makes things fuzzy so Ollie has said many times that he’d rather Wes correct him than to find inaccurate information later.
Wes sees a mistake as he tousles Ollie’s red hair, hovering above him. “It’s 1987.”
Ollie frowns at the date. “No, it isn’t.”
Ollie looks up at him. “No, she isn’t.”
Ollie mouths, “Shit.” He smudges a finger over the year. “Our tiny Dragon,” he coos absently. He crosses out 1985 and writes 1987 next to it. “We should be home for her eighteenth.”
“We have three more months, chances are --”
“Not what I meant.”
Wes narrows his eyes. “What did you mean?”
Ollie sighs and shakes his head.
“No, tell me,” Wes says and budges Ollie with a knee.
“I was trying to understand why now,” Ollie explains. “Yes, a part of me keeps the blame with me and every time I’m reminded of an aspect that we’re missing or something that comes hard to us I feel it all over again. If I try not to think about it, though, I’m still left wondering. Why now? What changed? When did this whole thing with the necromancer start?”
“That’s why you kept asking people about the first and last disappearance?”
Ollie huffs. “They’re worse than me.”
Most people had answered that the first disappearances happened a long time ago and Ollie couldn’t get them to be more exact than that. Wes watches him as Ollie tries very hard not to be a hypocrite, but Wes doesn’t see him succeeding. And Ollie’s right, if one was interested in the chronology of events, such a date is important to know. Wes just doesn’t think it’s that important.
“Don’t,” Ollie warns.
“I didn’t say anything,” Wes defends.
“After all these years, I think I know when you want to.”
“Maybe I did, but I didn’t say it,” Wes sings.
“Ha!” Ollie exclaims. “Weak defense.”
“We’ll make it in time,” Wes says quietly. He stiffens for a fraction of a second. “Wait,” he whispers to Ollie.
Ollie knows better than to react, but Wes doesn’t have to look at him to be aware that Ollie’s ready to go. He’s just waiting for the word. Wes closes his eyes and listens. Though he’s lived less than Ollie, Wes has lived plenty. Enough to have the magic in his surroundings speak to him, to understand the soul and nature of beings, and to feel when something’s out of balance. Something is coming.
“Ready,” Wes whispers.