Well, that took quite a bit shorter than the last one. If anyone is still reading take a moment and drop me a short comment. Oh, and if anyone wonders what this means to my posting schedule… I don’t have one and I’m not going to make any promises. So, here you go. Enjoy.
‘See the one down there with the green awning? Between the red and the yellow one? That’s Niry’s stand. I think.’
They were sitting on top of the hill that housed the citadel, its wall in the back, and Laiva was pointing things out to Mynor. She was oblivious to the fact that her wild gesticulating was impossibly hard to follow, if at all, but then again Mynor didn’t complain. He even politely looked into the general direction she was pointing.
‘And as soon as I’ve cleaned up a bit,’ she continued, ‘I’ll go and say thanks. Promise. I know I should have done right away, but… Well, it won’t matter if I wait just a bit longer, I guess. Cleaning up first. And once I look respectable again, maybe I’ll even find someone to hire me. Someone just has to need some help and be going to the capital, don’t you think?’
Not that she had high hopes. It was unlikely the other merchants would react differently from Niry. Then again, she had nothing to lose trying, and going to the capital on her own would be a lot harder.
‘Anyway, I just have to get my stuff from ooover’ she said, circling her index finger in the air as if the city below them was a large map she was trying to pinpoint a location on, ‘there. The two little towers next to each other? That’s the south gate, where… I didn’t get in. And a little bit behind that is the forest. And home… Pala.’
For a moment she let her look linger on the forest, but then she turned the other way.
‘And over there somewhere has to be the capital. That’s where we’ll go. Well, where I will go and you are free to accompany me to. I mean it’s up to you. It’s not as if I could make you or anything.’
She looked at Mynor, but if he had any thoughts on the matter, he didn’t feel like sharing.
‘You can’t see the capital from here, of course,’ she continued, ‘it’s somewhere behind the horizon. You’d have to be real high to see it from here. I wonder if you can see it from up there.’
She pointed over her shoulder at the citadel behind her.
‘Not that they’d let me on top of the wall at any rate. I bet they wouldn’t even let me through the gate in the first place. The duke lives in there, you see. That’s also why they don’t let anyone build on the hill. So nobody can dig a hole in the wall of climb up or something. Probably not such a bad idea, considering… Although I wonder if I could even climb up there.’
Mynor gave her a look that for all matters and purposes said: You have to be kidding.
‘No, I won’t try, don’t worry. I had enough of that, besides, I have no reason. It’s just that the walls are so smooth. Daddy says the elves build it. And that there were large trees in the middle and a lake. He also says they levelled them to put the duke’s palace there after the king bashed the elves. Mummy says he never did that and it’s a shame about the trees and the lake.’
‘I think it’s good that king protects us. The elves are creepy.’
‘Yes, you are right; time to go. No point in waiting until the sun comes around. It’s hot enough as it is.. But you have to admit that the view was totally worth the climb.’
Commander Rowrig absentmindedly sipped at his tea. He couldn’t help it; the papers in front of him told a clear story. And he had just under an hour to come up with a better one before his report to the duke was due.
There was a knock at the door and Captain Arris entered. Well, even he couldn’t make today any worse.
‘Any news of our perpetrator, Captain?’ he asked, carefully putting his tea cup down.
‘No, sir, but I’ve put together a team to comb the sewers, sir. Just wanted to inform you, in case anything happens to me. Sir.’
The commander sighed. Why couldn’t the noble families find a better place to dispose of their surplus offspring than the military? Or at least an other place. Any other place.
‘You’ll find that quite unnecessary, Captain.’ he said out loud, a phrase that he had found himself using far too often lately.
‘Please, tell me what you make of these, though.’ he said, turning the papers he had been pondering towards the captain.
‘I don’t quite follow. Sir.’
‘Just say what comes to mind.’
‘With all due respect, Sir…’
‘That’s an order, Captain Arris.’
‘Well… There’s a missing person report. The girl from Pala who, as you pointed falls under my responsibility…’
‘And don’t you forget it.’
‘No, sir. I won’t sir. Then we have a report from the south gate about someone demanding too be let in after nightfall, A guard reporting he’s seen a wolf entering the city by the east gate? Now that’s something you don’t hear every day. But that was during day, so we can rule out a werewolf… And, ah, that’s the preliminary report I put together, detailing the incident from tonight. That’s it. Sir.’
Commander Rowrig waited for his captain, to add something, but the captain didn’t seem inclined.
‘So, does anything strike you odd about this? Do you see any pattern?’
‘Um… There are many strange things happening of late, sir?’
The commander waited.
‘You mean… There’s a conspiracy? Someone creating an elaborate diversion so we won’t notice what they are really planning? Clever of them, but of course they didn’t account for you, Sir. I’ll close the gates immediately. And double the guards. They won’t escape you, Sir. Well done, Sir. I’ll be right on my…’
Commander Rowrig shook his head and took a deep breath. This couldn’t be true.
‘Can’t you think straight for once? A girl and a dog or wolf or whatever. We have been played for fools by a child, Captain. An eight year old child. That’s the truth of the matter. I suggest you find her. You have half an hour.’
‘What are you waiting for? Get Moving. And no force.’
As he watched the captain storm out of the door, he wondered what he had only done to deserve this. At this point there was only one thing that could possibly get any worse.
‘But let’s hope the duke doesn’t find out…’
Meanwhile source of the guard’s troubles was cheerfully down the road to the east gate, Mynor at her side and enjoying herself. There were so many people, she could look wherever she wanted and there’d always be more than in all of Pala. And everyone seemed interesting in a different way.
And then there were the shops with their large windows, presenting all kinds of things. There were many things she was familiar with, of course, but there just as many she wasn’t. And some were just plain weird, like the globe with a miniature winter scene inside. Who had use that?
She would have time later to look all the displays, though. The day was promising to get at least as hot as the last and the weather just asked to be spent in water. Well, at least a few hours until the greatest heat was over. She wouldn’t make the same mistake twice and be be back in the city well before sundown. Besides, she had still to thank Niry and look for someone going for the capital and to find a stable for the night.
And then she’d go and browse the shop windows, when each was lit and the whole city was aglow with light. She always wanted to do that, but on the few occasions they had spend the night in the city, daddy had only ever let her watch from the window and never that long either. Tonight was different. She would stay up real late and it was going to be great.
First things first, though. The gate was just ahead and…
‘Hey, were are you going? The gate is that way.’
All of the sudden, Mynor taken off to the left, heading for some small side alley.
‘At least wait for me…’ she called after him. That drew a few looks, but she didn’t care. Unfortunately, neither did Mynor. Well, what was she to do? She braced herself and pushed through the crowd after Mynor.
Liked it? Comment. Didn’t like it? Comment. Remember, commenting is your way to pay for my time. A couple of your seconds spent commenting versus hours of mine creating is not too bad a deal, is it?
This is the latest instalment for now. Stay tuned for more. And remember, subscribing to the RSS feed prevents you from missing any updates. Subscribing via e-mail is possible now as well: Have a look at the sidebar on the right.