“Every decision presents one with two choices – fortune or failure. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell which is which until after the choice has been made.”— “Treatise on Divination”, Magus Venefix
Ward looked up from his position, slumped glumly against the wall of the temple, towards the sound of footsteps padding towards him. Gek pulled his hands into his jumper and looked at the metal giant for a moment.
“Vaka trakan ta Narinn,” the kobold said.
“I…sorry, I don’t understand,” said Ward.
Gek contorted his face in frustration. He tapped a little claw against his chest. “Gek.”
“Yeah, you, yeah. Gek.”
Gek nodded. “Gek…Gek scare Narn.”
“You scared him?”
Gek shook his head. “Scare…for Narn.”
“Oh! You’re worried about him?”
The kobold nodded and slumped down next to the automaton, resting his head against Ward’s metal torso. He recoiled quickly. “You cold.”
“Sorry,” said Ward. He turned his eye down towards the small figure. “I’m worried too.”
“For Muir. But all of them really.”
“Gek like Moor. Scare for Moor too. Don’t like be scare.”
Ward nodded. “It’s not a fun feeling. But it means your emotional processor’s working.”
Gek looked confused.
“It means you care,” Ward explained. “It means they’re important enough to you for your body to spend energy just…for them. Even though it doesn’t make any sense to. That’s what I got told, anyway.”
Gek nodded. “Gek care.” He slumped his head against Ward again. “You still cold,” he said, but he didn’t move away.
The two sat in silence for a few minutes, before Gek spoke up again.
“You fink they gon be ok?”
Ward’s great monocular eye twinkled once. “I’m not sure.”
“Is Vallersar bad?” Gek looked at him with wide eyes.
“Valasar? I’m not sure. Everyone says so.”
“What he gon do Narn?”
“I’m…I’m not sure, Gek. I don’t think it’s going to be nice.”
“Then we got do something! We got save them!”
“I don’t think we can, Gek. They’re too far away.”
“But you big, you run biggin’ fast! Gek ride Ward’s back an we save them!”
“I can’t run fast enough, Gek. And even if I could, there’d be too many people trying to stop us.”
“But we got save them!” Gek’s eyes began to well.
Ward shook his head. “We can’t.”
“Well we got…we got try!” Hot tears began to run down Gek’s face and he threw himself around Ward’s chest as he sobbed.
Ward wasn’t sure what to do. He looked at the little kobold for a moment, analysing it, then stroked its back slowly.
“Narn save Gek an makeGekcabinboyanpartofcrew an Moor save Ward, make Ward big Ward from little Ward! Right?” sobbed Gek, looking up into Ward’s impassive visage. “Make Ward purple!”
Ward nodded. He could feel his emotional processor working.
“An now Narn an Moor need saved from Vallersar an Gek an Ward sit here sad when Gek an Ward can save them!”
“We can’t, Gek, it’ll never—” Ward began.
“We got try! We got try! If Gek an Ward were need saved from Vallersar, Moor and Narn would save Gek an Ward. You know!”
Ward stared at the kobold for a moment, processing.
“We got try!”
Ward looked at his heavy metal arm, open hand resting on the kobold’s back. He saw his face reflected in the purple paint.
“We got try,” whispered Gek.