Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The King's Challenge #209 and #210

TKC 209 and 210

It is Hal’s turn to speak. After gently squeezing Marian’s shoulder, knowing how hard it must be for her to share, he gazes long in my direction.

The light is more shadow than illumination, but I am aware he is gauging me … or is he trying to read my thoughts? That does not sit well. “Are you reading me?” I snap out.

He smiles. “And there is the reaction I receive from everyone who knows of my ability.”

Sighing, I realise he is right. We hide what we can do because of expectation, not judgement. “Sorry,” I murmur.

“Don’t worry; I was merely illustrating.” Hal shifts his attention to Kay. “What can you do?”

Kay frowns. “I have no talent.”

“Wrong, friend. All Ilfin have something extra … hold on, let me finish. The ancient writings are largely gone now, mostly due to the ravages of time upon the materials they were written on, but some remains. It does not gift the full view of history, given parts are now forever missing, and yet pertinent knowledge is still with us. Few read now, of course, and it is a quest to actually find the old scrolls, as it is dangerous to be caught reading them.” Hal offers a grin. “Messengers get to go where others fear to enter.” His attention now moves between Kay and me. “A long time ago scribes recorded what the future was not to forget. I was as surprised as you will be to discover those scribes were Ilfin …”

“We tend to read stuff written after,” Marian inserts as my eyes grow bigger. “Some of that borrows from the old writings.”

Hal nods and continues. “Ilfin of the past needed us to remember.” Again he focuses on Kay. “In the past Ilfin grew up knowing their talents; today we discover them by accident. The four big ones are not all there is. Delver and Warrior are not alone in the sub-category. My point is; there are many variants of talent … and you have one also.”

Kay swirls his tongue over his teeth and does not speak, although he inclines his head and becomes thoughtful.

Hal lowers his head to stare into the still water in our midst. “Always I have seen images and it meant years of soul-searching for me, but today I am comfortable with what I am able to see.” He glances up. “When the Glonu went weird out there I saw the image to identify them.”

“Damin can as well,” I say. “That is how we knew to separate the host of Arc.”

“Did he tell you what he saw?”

“No, but I overheard him discussing it with Lyra.”

Hal sighs. “I need to know if the image is personal to the Delver or whether it is specific to race. Please tell me.”

“You first,” Kay says without inflection in his tone.

Hal inclines his head. “A maze etched in …”

“… stone,” I finish. “It is race related.”

“Which makes it a whole lot easier for me to communicate with Damin; we have now established common ground.” Hal spreads his hands.

“Do you ‘see’ an Ilfin image?” Kay demands.

Hal stares at him for a long while. At first I think he is unwilling to answer and then I understand he is delving for the required image. Kay stares back unflinching, and Marian and I wait it out.

“A curly, three-armed … thing,” Hal eventually says.

I burst into laughter. “A triskelion! I did not know what that is either!”


Kay grins and finally relaxes completely.


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