Making up for the lost time, Adam worked into the night. After singing Radish to sleep with the lullaby, Adam went to gather more mud to finish the remaining hand. This would be his solution for Radish.
The night was dark, the moon nearly nonexistent. Adam could hear animals rustling as he lugged back the final load. Only once the body was complete could he begin to invite magic into it. It was then he saw it out of the corner of his eye. Yellow eyes, glinting in the dark. The silhouette of a beast could barely be made out by Adam’s keen eye at the edge of the plateau.
Panic. Sheer, utter terror seized Adam’s mind. Without thinking, Adam sprinted for his shack. “Radish,” he breathed. The seconds it took to reach the wooden structure seemed hours. Bursting through the door, he found his son safe, asleep. Adam sank to the floor in relief, the fear that had consumed him beginning to slowly seep away. Adam glanced at his hand. Somehow, he hadn’t lost too much of the mud, enough that he would be able to complete the figure. Sighing, he turned to the door, barring with the heavy pot he planned to give to the kind fish people. No beast would enter the hut on his watch. Taking the mud to the planks where the body lay, Adam began his work.
The sun’s rays entered the shack through the cracks between the logs that made up its frame. Adam, though a bit tired, was satisfied with his work. A golem’s figure lay before him, slightly cracked in some places where the mud had dried incorrectly, but it would more than serve its purpose. All that was left was some runing over the body, a piece of parchment or bark to write upon, and perhaps the hardest-to-obtain ingredient. A gourd to place atop the inanimate frame. Adam hadn’t seen any such plants on his journey and he doubted he would find any such around the area. Slightly crushed, Adam still had his hopes. The air was growing colder each day, which greatly worried him. He had to find one soon.
Radish roused himself soon after, greeting his father with a hug to the knee. Adma smiled and placed his hand around his son, hugging him to his leg. Then, opening the door he had barred in the night he searched the horizon for the beast. With the threat not in sight, Adam allowed Radish to run out to play in the morning frost. Mist clung to the mountains, hiding the features in a sheath of fog.
Adam shook his head wryly. The cold made his limbs feel stiff, as though they might crack and crumble. The memories of playing in the snow when he was with Father also tainted the winter weather.
“He loved you. And you murdered him,” a small voice whispered in his mind.
“Father was going to kill Radish, I had to save him.” Adam argued back.
“You didn’t stop after saving Radish. You hunted him down, smashed his body to a pulp.”
Adam had no answer.
“He loved you. Radish loves you. Are you going to kill him too?”
“Never!” Adam shouted into the crisp air. Bringing himself back to reality, he noticed Radish looking at him strangely.
“It was nothing son.” The statement did nothing to dissuade Radish’s concern. “I made something for you.” Now that got the small golem’s attention. Adam quickly went back into the hut, collecting the toy he had made for his son in the night. It was a house, more detailed and sturdier than the structure they resided in. It wasn’t terribly large, but enough that Radish would likely enjoy it as a scenic structure. Sure enough, as soon as he was presented with it, the little golem ran off to collect his other toys. Satisfied in his distraction, Adam sat, watching the sun slowly melt the frost off the grass. He would have to search for the gourd today, hopefully it would be somewhere close. Otherwise… He couldn’t think of the alternative.
Again, Adam was brought back to reality, this time by Radish. His son ran up pointing in the direction he had just come. Looking up, the large golem could see the fish people, the same three as before, coming along the plateau. “Searching for gourds can be done another day,” thought Adam as he waved at the newcomers.
After the two groups exchanged greetings, Adam led them back to his house, stepping inside, he grasped the pot with his hand. It was slightly awkward to hold with his one hand, but it was more than easy enough to carry. Stepping out, he found the translator playing with Radish. Make strange sounds, the fish person moved a golem doll back and forth as his son giggled. It made Adam happy and strangely sad, as though Radish’s playtimes no longer belonged to him.
“But that’s what you want isn’t it?” said the voice. “Shut up.” replied Adam.
The large golem looked to the leader, Fionn was it? “Ready,” he lifted his hand to show the pot. The fish people’s eyes widened as they looked in awe at how easily he raised the pot. It was no extraordinary feat, but somehow it made Adam embarrassed. He quickly put his arm down.
Radish ran to Adam, clinging again to his leg. The translator person stood and seemed to ask a question at Fionn. She responded, repeating a sound Adam had heard yesterday. “Niall,” appeared to be the name of the translator.
Niall then turned to Adam. “Go village, bring gift?”
“Yes!” Adam nodded happily. Radish looks quizzically at his father. “Come along, son.”
The fish people, Fionn, Niall, and the silent one led the two golems through the gravel paths that wound through the mountains. The mist serpentining around the coils of sheer stone sometimes made the travel difficult for Adam, but with the help of his guides, he was able to manage. As the small group crested a ridge, the fog that had surrounded them lifted, and he was able to see clearly.
A valley lay below them, the white clouds still shielding the sides from the rays of the early afternoon sun. Small wisps of smoke could be seen rising from the village below, the huts and cabins seeming to be ants. The shining snow-capped peaks that ringed the valley blinded Adam for a moment, but it soon passed. It was then his eye fell upon the giant.
The massive figure dominated the range, seeming to have fallen backward upon it. Its rigid stone features blended in with the surrounding rock and greenery, but it was clearly a humanoid figure. A strange feeling ached in Adam’s chest, one he could not explain.
Adam glanced at Fionn. It was the first time they had spoken directly to him. He nodded, looking back to the giant.
“Colossus.” said the voice.
The party arrived in the valley as the sun reached its zenith, the mist that once covered the peaks having burned away to reveal the forest underneath. A horn blew from the village and a pair of gates opened in the wooden palisade. A small sense of nervousness wracked Adam’s senses, but he shook it away.
As they passed through into the village proper the golems could see that the town had gathered to watch them pass. Curious eyes from inside and out of cabins followed them as did the townspeople, filing out of their homes to trail the small group.
Fionn finally halted as they approached a small ledge that broke through the relatively flat ground. Climbing upon it, the leader turned to the villagers who had followed them. Sounds and noises came out of their mouth, things impossible for the golems to understand. The crowd seemed hesitant, almost as if they were terrified of the earthen beings. At last, she gestured to Adam. Thinking quickly, he held up his pot.
“Hello!” he rumbled.
The villagers appeared shocked, just as Fionn and the others had when he had spoken to them the first time. Then excited. Clapping started at the back, then spread quickly. While Adam had never heard such a cacophony before, he felt as though they were happy noises. Radish clung to his leg, unwilling to let go and face the onlookers.
Fionn appeared suddenly beside him. They gestured ahead, to a small stream that ran through the village. It sprung from a crack at the top of a boulder pile, where it cascaded down back into the rocks. There was no room for any kind of basin or well to draw the water from, but the pot he held would work perfectly. Placing the pot so it intercepted the stream, it began to fill. Clapping once more thundered through the air, the villagers jumping excitedly. Radish buried his head into Adam’s leg, where he was still attached.
With his hand now freed from the burden of the pot, Fionn offered hers. With all the gentleness and delicacy of handling an egg, Adam took it, bending down slightly to do so. Leading him away from the basin, the villagers rushed in, bringing pots and jars and other such transportation devices to fill. After they had reached their fill, the villagers returned to the ledge, some placing their jars down to clap happily. Fionn raised Adam’s hand as high as they could, which wasn’t very far.
“Tagair eòlas!” She shouted.
“Tagair eòlas!” The crowd roared back.
Adam looked at Niall, seeking understanding. Niall smiled, “Claim Friend.”
Turning back to the crowd, Adam rumbled, “Tagare eullus!”
Even with his butchering of the phrase, the villagers seemed to understand, vigorously applauding their approval.
Though Radish still hid on his leg, Adam smiled. They had made friends with the neighbors.
With the celebration at an end, much of the town rushed back to their homes with their newly acquired water. Some stayed, approaching Adam. Mostly children, it seemed as though they wished to touch the strange creature that was now their friend. Adam’s glowing purple scars around his missing arm seemed of particular interest to the few adults. Adam protectively cradled Radish in his arm but nodded at them to approach. Soon his legs were covered in small hands, eagerly feeling his clay skin. Occasionally a hand would touch one of his scars and a shot of hot fire would run through Adam. He did his best to keep from flinching. He sat there as the hours passed, greeting each villager that would come. Eventually though, the sun began to set and the tide of greetings began to subside. Fionn again arrived at his side, taking his hand and leading him to an empty cabin. It was small, it was cramped, but it was something. Exhausted by the day’s events, Adam set Radish down on the woolen cot provided to them before beginning the lullaby that would send them to sleep. For the first time in a long while, Adam allowed the night to take him.