May 12, 2010

Under the gables (6/10)

   I don’t know what I had expected from Chiwsip but I was disappointed: it wasn’t really a town at all… No wonder it wasn’t on the map. As far as I could see, it was merely a loose cluster of half a dozen large old town houses surrounded by trees on three sides and by the lake on the fourth. I couldn’t figure out why such large town houses would be built in such a remote and isolated area. I was pondering this as we walked towards the nearest house when I realised that Talrayn had stopped a few steps back.

   He looked at me intently with an unreadable expression on his fine featured face.
"This is where we part ways." he declared with a smirk.
"What? Where are you going?"
"As I said, I have an instrument to retrieve and business to attend to."
"Um... So what should I do now?" I asked uncertainly.

   This question seemed to amuse him tremendously, and there was something almost menacing in his soft laughter.

"That is entirely up to you, but I may help you depending on how you answer my question... What is it you want the most?”

   I was tempted to answer something flip but the gravity of demeanour and something in the uncanny gleaming of his dark eyes made me rethink that course of action, made me seriously consider his seemingly random question.

“I think… I want the whole story. I want to know the truth.”

   He laughed his soft unsettling laugh again, and something in the way light played on his features made his face seem older, less delicate and somehow more regal.

“You amuse me… I want you to take this.”

   With a prestidigitator’s flourish he produced a small cream coloured cylinder, which he held out dangling from a loop of string. I took it reflexively and looked down to examine the object. It was whistle. One built from ivory or perhaps bone… It was curiously warm to the touch and engraved with a complex pattern that made your eyes hurt if you stared at it. When I looked up he was gone. Glancing around produced no trace of him.

   As if on cue, the front door of the nearest house opened. A somber faced old woman who seemed to have gotten her fashion sense from the 19th century walked out…

Painting by Sandor Bihari