Friday, September 4, 2015

The King's Challenge #36

TKC 36

Attis again opens the inn’s back door to us. He proceeds to lead us through a busy kitchen. The hour is yet early and meals are still being served. Attis, bless him, has the presence of mind to snag two loaded platters.

Swiftly we are in the same room as before. Clothes we discarded there sit stacked neatly on the bed.

“Told madam you’d be back,” Attis says on a grin, handing us our dinner.

I kiss him on his cheeks, take my plate and eat like someone starving. Damin is more formal. “You are a worthy friend, Attis,” he says with hand over heart. Attis grins and shoves his plate at him. Laughing, Damin starts eating.

The boy hunkers before us. “Rumour is that the lower city is empty. Some laugh and say it’s because everyone drowned, and others whisper that folk walked to somewhere safe. I can’t go look; the edge is unsafe and there’s a barrier up.”

“Both,” Damin murmurs. “Half drowned, half left.” Abruptly he stiffens, spoon in the air. “Wait. Mirlin is your uncle you said.”

Attis shrugs. “Not by blood. We met on the road outside Normur and made a deal. Looked better to be uncle and nephew, and we’d watch out for each other.”

“You sister?” I ask.

“She’s much older than me, lives up north.”

“You are quite the liar.” I glare at the tousle-haired boy. “Why were you so frightened of me the night I arrived in the city?”

“He told me, Mirlin did, of the woman with two eyes, how she would save people. I didn’t believe him, and then you came. Scared me, it did, for then his story about the thing in the sky could be real too and …” Attis lapses into silence, and then, “I’m going with you.”



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