Alec’s determination
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Ives carried Lori and Cyrille carried Alec while Farin took the old temple master's arm to lead him down the mountain. None of them spoke over the sobbing sounds, only quiet coaxing could be heard once in a while.
Everyone was quite worked up about the issue, that had already spread through the whole temple, so they were greeted not only by worried adults but also the wailing group of children that had started the whole issue in the first place. The two children they had brought back had just calmed down but started crying along with the others again. 

They were brought into a quiet room in the main building, where they were once again searched for injuries. Only then did the temple master inquire about what had happened and, since everything was exactly as they had heard, dropped the topic and instead focused on making the children understand that they absolutely had to keep their mouth shut.

Farin was the one who explained with so much conviction that even the children believed it: One of the Gods' servants had taken a liking to Farin, the carrier, so Farin had become the servant's servant and beloved. Farin had begged the Gods to help him and, in a fit of good mood, the Gods agreed. Usually, the Gods would never allow a human close to them, so they had sent their proxy to help Farin.
Still, that didn't change the fact that the Gods were very easily angered, so the children must absolutely keep quiet that the Gods had helped them. If they didn't, then the Gods would certainly know and the lives that the proxy had saved would be taken back again.

Both of them had, white-faced, nodded. Lori had tugged on Farin's clothes, carefully asking whether Farin was scared being the servant's partner. Farin just smiled lovingly, thinking about Alvarr, and Lori appeared relieved.
They were brought to bed and watched over, always someone around. Their nervous fidgeting calmed only slowly but at least it didn't appear as if there would be long-lasting damage.

Of course, the temple master couldn't just assume that the children would not talk about the appearance of Alvarr as their savior. They had some confidence in Lori - especially since they simply decided that the girl wouldn't be allowed to leave Farin's side for even a minute - but Alec was a different story. Alec was uncontrollable and had no obvious reason to owe them their obedience, unlike Lori who had a much better life in the temple and was greatly attached to Farin. As long as Alec wasn't feeling well, they could easily watch him, but he was still a problematic variable that needed to be solved.
At first, anyway.
Several days later, when both children had gotten through their shock, Cyrille was determined to take Alec back home.

"I'm not going back! I'm staying!", Alec declared, proudly. He still had roundish baby-cheeks but his face was already showing his prideful nature, beautiful black hair framing it. He huffed, hands in his sides. "We will tell my father that I've decided on my future wife, so I'll stay here until we are of-age and I can take her back!"
Dumbfounded silence. Cyrille swallowed, heavily, and kept his expression forcefully calm. "...Wife?"

Alec pointed over to Lori. She blinked her bright, intelligent eyes and dropped her jaw. "Wait a second, when did I ever say I want to marry you when I grow up?! I won't marry anyone! I'll stay with Farin and work for him!"
She ran over to the carrier, hugging his waist. It was the first time the carrier heard about that plan of hers, either. At least everyone in the room was confused about at least one thing.

Alec's eyes widened. "You can't! You'll marry me!"
"You can't marry a commoner! Moreover, an orphan!" Cyrille tried his best to stay calm, almost dropping to the ground. "There are dozens of beautiful girls you can marry, why her? Just come back home, you can take your time to choose one."
Alec's eyes turned into delighted half-moons, following Lori with his eyes. "My wife can't just be beautiful like the ones in the capital! She needs to be special! Lori knows all about how to survive in the wild, she knows everything about wild fruits and vegetables, how to deal with wild animals, she knows how to set traps, she is even better at fighting than lots of the boys... In the future, she can accompany me when I go hunting! Besides, I'm sure she'll be really pretty if she lets her hair grow out and wears a nice dress!"

Ives snorted at the side and hurriedly slapped his hand in front of his mouth. Farin did the same.
As it turned out, the little noble - friend of a prince, son of a prominent family, with a nearly limitless future - didn't want to marry a vase, he wanted a companion. Farin found himself praising Alec and even Lori had a flush on her cheeks. "Well, well, will you look at that. He doesn't have a bad taste."
Although Alec's praises were a bit too much - Lori certainly didn't have knowledge that deep -, it still was obvious to see that Alec greatly cherished her for how she acted when they were in danger.

Cyrille reached up to pull at his hair but held back and let his hands sink powerlessly. He spoke between gritted teeth, reaching out to hold Alec's collar. "Alec, there's no way I can explain to my uncle why you want to marry a commoner! You're going back to the capital with me!"
Alec shrugged nonchalantly. "No. I'll stay here. If you or he tries to drag me back, I'll stop eating. Let's see how he deals with that."

Ives reached out to pat Cyrille's shoulder supportively. "He certainly has the determination of a growing noble."
Cyrille ground his teeth. In the meantime, Alec freed himself from his grasp and skipped over to look at Lori, clasping his hands behind his back and lifting his nose high into the air like the little aristocrat he was. "I have time. I'll make you come with me willingly, you just see."
Lori snorted angrily and hid her face in Farin's waist. "Two things." "Say them." "Number one, you mustn't make trouble for Farin or Master! If you do, I'll hate you! And number two, if I don't want to go with you by the time we're adults, you'll leave me alone!" "Okay, but, in that case, you also must admit if you want to come with me! You're not allowed to hold back out of pride!" "Fine!"

"I suddenly have hope for the capital's future", Farin said, amused. 
"I look forward to how they'll raise their children", Ives agreed with a slow nod. Cyrille cursed.
"You! This isn't agreed on!"
"They did agree on the terms already", Farin reminded him, pointing down at Lori around his waist and Alec who looked quite satisfied with himself. Since that meant that Alec would be likely following Lori around, Farin felt a bit safer. That way, he could keep an eye on him, too.

"Farin, I'll help you too, whenever you need it! Just tell me!" Alec looked up at Farin with a haughty expression, as if it was a great honor to be served by him. Farin smiled wryly at the little boy. He ignored Ives pulling Cyrille to the side to calm him down.
"Alright. Can I ask you two to come to the seamstress with me and fix my robe?"

After he had ripped a part of it away to run faster, the long train was unusable. For the second day of the sacrifice right after getting the children back, Farin had needed to wear one of the old carrier's robes that were still around.
Which was hopelessly too broad.

Alvarr had stared quite curiously, opening his mouth several times and shutting it again without saying anything. The last carrier had been a former hunter, chosen for his unshakable calmness, with a strong body. The robe had been designed to accentuate his strength, contrary to Farin's, whose was more elegant.
Basically, it looked rather weird on him and only held with the help of numerous needles.

Alvarr had wisely not commented and just inquired about the children's health while feeding his pet some pastries that Farin had brought as a reward. He had also mentioned having something he wished to talk about Farin once he had more time, so Farin promised to hurry up for the next visit in order to gain some more minutes to talk.

Anyway, his robe needed to be fixed and Farin needed to give the children some tasks to keep them busy around himself. The seamstress would be happy to have some small hands to help her fix the new robe around his body and hold her things while she worked.
Lori was the first to happily nod. "I'll come and make sure you won't get bored!"
"Thank you very much", Farin gently said, patting her head. Irritated, Alec puffed out his cheeks and came closer. "Me too."

With the two in tow, Farin gave a bow to Ives and Cyrille before walking out. He heard Ives chuckle good-naturedly at the sight of the little ducks following their leader with small, childish steps.

The seamstress was already waiting for him, having prepared most things already.
"Come in, come in", she called and motioned. "Put it on, I'll fix it immediately. ...Oh, you've brought someone along?"
She peeked around him and smiled lightly at Lori and Alec.

"Yes, my two assistants. You won't mind, will you? You can order them around as you see fit."
"I always appreciate the help. Come here, you two, you can hold up some things for me." She already readied needles and all kinds of other things for the two children who obediently stood to the side. Farin began to tug at his clothes and Lori pulled her hands in front of her face, turning away from him. Only when the rustling of his clothes stopped did she glance out to make sure he was dressed again.
Alec studied the white-blue robe with a skeptical gaze.

"Can we shorten the train a bit?", Farin asked desperately and the seamstress clicked her tongue.
"It did look so nice on you, though. Well, a bit, then. Otherwise, there shouldn't be any changes, right?"
"No, the same as before."

She nodded and began her work, pulling Lori and Alec around to always have them standing where they needed to be. Farin, as well, was prodded and turned as needed. He looked at the ceiling and allowed himself to be treated as a doll. 
After a while, Lori began to babble away, telling Farin about stories that she had experienced as an orphan or in the temple. Alec tried his best to be interesting to her and soon began to tell his own stories. Since none of them had been in the capital before, they listened intently about the hunting trips and dinners and festivals. The capital was vastly different from the temple grounds or the village, despite it having grown considerably already.

"That's amazing", Lori exclaimed with wide eyes. "It sounds so interesting! Is that how all rich people live?"
She turned to Farin, who could only give her a thoughtful hum. "Don't look at me, Lori. I am not rich, either."
With no other choice, she had to turn to the proud Alec again for more details. The boy was happy to oblige and even the seamstress smiled knowingly at their interactions.

"How cute", she whispered to him. "It's nice to be young."
The carrier thought about his own, very recent boyfriend and lowered his eyes with an agreeing hum. It certainly was nice to know that there were many years to come together.

Told you it'd get happier!
Alec has the bearings of an arrogant kid, but he'd never force Lori if she really didn't want to come along. He's quite cheeky, though :3