~ Jaden coughed self consciously.
“Um...Hi...I'm Jaden. McAllister.” Väinämöinen stared at him. “I, um...What can I do for you today?” Väinämöinen smiled.
“I think, that you should really be asking what I can do for you, young one,” he said.
“Alright. What can you do for us?” asked Jaden.
"He's always one to please," muttered Andrew from behind him. Väinämöinen leaned forward on his staff.
“I can abstain from killing you where you stand.” Jaden nodded thoughtfully.
“That'd be nice. I think we can all agree that we'd like that. Right guys? We'd like that?” He looked back over his shoulder and his comrades nodded their agreement with vigor. “So...What now?”
"Now you complete a task for me or you die." Väinämöinen made it sound like they had some sort of choice in the matter. Jaden raised one finger.
"Could we have just one second?" He turned around and leaned in towards Andrew and Takyle. "Is this guy the challenge or are we supposed to do his task?" he whispered. Andrew shrugged, Takyle shook her head.
"I don't know. Is there even any way to tell? Maybe we should just go along with it." she said. Andrew seemed to mentally cast around himself for an alternative, but finally conceded.
"Let's keep a very close eye on him and pretend like we're just going along with it." Without really meaning to, Jaden started to smile. He turned back to Väinämöinen.
"Allright, what are we supposed to do?" Väinämöinen stared into his eyes for what felt to Jaden like a very, very long moment. He jerked his head toward the path and began walking.
"Ok, you're the boss!" Jaden called. He paused for a moment for Andrew and Takyle to draw even with him before starting after Väinämöinen. He grinned at Andrew. Andrew shook his head.
"You're as subtle as a train wreck."
"Less nuanced though." Jaden added of himself.
"Way to pull that name out of your butt by the way. How do you do that?" asked Andrew
"I dunno, it just came to me is all. An epiphany if you will." Jaden shrugged. "Guess I just have grace under fire!"
"Oh yeah, definitely! Grace is the first word I think of when I imagine you under fire."
"Lords above!" Väinämöinen yelled back at them. "Don't you all ever stop talking?" ~