Unknown - Chapter 9
The town was bright with the splashes of orange colored flame dancing to the tunes of the sea breeze. The streets were empty of people and the horses and the donkeys were already put to their barns. The tavern was filled with music and the cheers and applause of women and men filling their bellies with wine and food.
Alen and Enil sat in their room above the tavern. The music and the voices were muffled but still could be clearly heard. The bed creaked as Enil shifted to his side. Alen sat on the chair at the corner of the room overlooking the sea and the blue moon floating in the sky with its brilliant silver light. A lone mug sat on the table in front of him.
“You really think this old man Edabu going to show up tomorrow?” Enil spoke with his eyes closed.
Alen sighed. “I don’t know, but he is the only lead we have”. He took a sip from the mug and placed it back on the table. He slump his back to the chair, ears opened to the howling of the sea breeze tapping on the windows. Enil rolled in the bed and snored.
“Lord Varoum” Bara’s voice reached into the cave through a chameleon on the table. “I have lost the seal bearer” the words trembled. Varoum’s eyes bulged. He clenched his teeth and gripped the arm rest of the high chair tight. The azure flame from his eyes burned the air in front of the high chair. The chameleon cowered underneath the scrolls and parchments on the table. “What?” his voice shook the entire room.
“I am sorry my lord, I will send my spies. They will not get away, my lord”. The flame in Varoum’s eyes faded.
“Make sure you don’t. Get that seal, kill them if must, burn the whole island down to the ground if it please you!” Varoum’s voice calmed though tinged with anger.
Bara went silent. “Yes, My lord” his voice crackled from the chameleon’s larynx and the room turned silent again. The chameleon disappeared underneath the table.
“Enil!” Alen shook Enil’s body. “Hey wake up! It’s time!” Enil startled and looked to the room. “What? What for?” he mumbled and wiped the drool from the edge of his mouth. Alen stood on the edge of the bed looking at him with his weird face. “The old man’s waiting for us at the pier”.
Enil scratched his head. “Oh…” he adjusted his eyes and yawned. His hands flew into the air and jerked. “Give me a moment, I’ll come down once I’m done” he slid out of the bed and stepped into the toilet. “Hurry up” Alen closed the door behind him.
The sky was gray. Armies of gray clouds blocked the sun like a translucent glass, scattering the beautiful warm yellow back into the sky. The morning merchants had begun to move their donkeys and horses and caravans down the trail into the forest. Alen stepped out of the tavern and watched as the last group packed their belongings and saddled them to their rides.
He kicked the dirt road and walked towards the pier behind the tavern. The sea was a blue harmony of blue and green. The water was a crystal wave. Foams broke the shallow beach underneath the pier as the wave strikes the sands with its gentle slap.
Alen looked to the horizon. A couple of ships sailed across, some were heading his way others were heading some other ways. He wondered what it will be like sailing on a ship. The silver gauntlet on his arm sends his vein and cool chill. He smiled and stared at the gauntlet wondering if the gauntlet could actually know what he was thinking.
“Hey, is he here?” Enil’s voice startled Alen. He turned around. “No, not yet” Enil tucked his shirt into his pants and tugged his coat closer. The chill from the sea breeze pricked at his skin. A yellow ray of sunlight caught the gauntlet. It glowed and send warmth down Enil’s spine. “Oh, wow… didn’t know this thing can do that” his raised his eyebrows. Alen smiled. “Yeah, me neither”.
The pier turned brighter as the gray clouds disperse and allowed the sun to reach the land below.
“You two are early young ones, what a surprise” the same old voice came to them. The two boys looked behind them but saw no one. A crow landed on one of the old flag poles around the pier.
Alen and Enil looked at the crow. “Okay, don’t tell me you’re the crow” Enil squints his eyes.
“No, I’m not the crow… I’m the flag pole” the old man’s voice joked. The two boys looked at each other. “Oh”
The two stepped closer towards the flag pole. “So, how do we find this port town?”. A tap on their shoulders made them jumped. “Over here” Edabu stood behind them and gestured them to follow him. The two looked at each other again and then turned their heads to the flag pole. The crow above the flag pole cawed as if laughing at them.
“So how do we find this port town?” Enil shot the question as they moved back into the small town. The three went past the tavern and into the entrance to the dock. “Nobody has ever found that town” Edabu spoke. His head turned to the side. “The sage Orof and the town were lost from the map a thousand years ago” they walked past the first merchant ship.
They glanced at each other, unable to grasp the meaning of Edabu’s words. “But my uncle told me to seek the sage and the town” Alen walked to match the old man’s pace. Edabu stopped and looked at the young man with his empty eye socket. “That is what intrigues me” he continued his long stride across the narrow planks of wood of the dock. The second and third ship passed them like a statue.
“So, honestly, do you know where it is?” Enil matched the old man’s pace. The two teenagers walked shoulder to shoulder with the old man. Both mesmerized and awed at how the old man could walk like a completely healthy man with his empty eye socket and his crippled looking face. Edabu turned to Enil. “Yes I do”
“How?” they both stopped. Alen’s hands on his hip while Enil’s crossed on his chest. Edabu turned to them. “Because I was once the guardian of that place”
The trio sped past the fourth and fifth ship. Enil looked at the huge ships behind them and wondered how big their ship will be. The old man stopped and spread his arm to his side. “This, my young friend, will be our ship” he points to a galley made of black woods. The sails were whiter than any other sails they had seen and the mast was huge, three times their hands stretched. They eyes bulged and jaws dropped. “You two looked surprise”
The trio wandered above the ship. Enil ran his hand down the rails and the ropes and the mast and the wheels. They were all shining, reflecting the sun. The rope was coiled into a neat circle and place on an iron bracket clamped to the huge mast. The sails were all ropeless. The wheel turned and the deck was clean without a speck of dust or dirt on it.
“Where did you get this ship?” Alen looked around him, mesmerized by the unimaginable beauty. “Yeah, it looks brand new, too new in fact” Enil continued.
The old man smiled at them. “Ah, it is new, but it will not sail today”. Alen and Enil looked at the old man, surprised. “Why not? I don’t see any problems with it, except for maybe the sail” Enil pointed to the huge mast and the ropeless sail suspended above it.
“It is still in construction” the old man said and turned his back towards them. They looked at each other. “What do you mean? I don’t see anyone working on it” Alen shot a glance to the old man.
“This ship is not being built by someone, it is being built by something” the old man spoke again and sat cross legs on the deck, face facing the sun. Enil jumped down from the aft to the deck and trailed Alen closer to the old man.
“What thing?” they asked.
“Magic?” both boys cocked their eyebrows.
“Yes, magic” the man spread his arms and placed them gently on his lap.
“I don’t see any magic happening” Enil looked around the ship.
The man smiled without turning his head. “Man is not the only thing that needs time, my young friend. Magic too needs time. Things that happen without the binding of time are called sorcery and in the realm of the lordship, sorcery is useless” the man took a steady breath. He spread his arm again and placed it back onto his lap.
“You might want to come here again tomorrow, by that time, the ship will be ready and we will sail into the open sea. Although I must warn you first, we may not be able to reach the port town in just one sailing” the old man pressed his palm together in front of his face and meditated.
The two frowned. “Why is that? I thought you knew where place is?”.
“I know where it is, but that is not the problem, the problem is the assassin coming for you” the words of the old man stroke fear into the two boys’ heart. “He’s alive?” Enil looked to Alen who was sweating profusely.
“Yes, and he already know where you are. If you are lucky, we will be able to sail tonight, but only if you can outrun the killer”.
“Then we need to set sail tonight!” Enil demanded.
“Patience, young friend, if you are lucky, we will. If you are not then you need to find a way to survive if the killer comes for you tonight”.
“Can’t you help us?” Alen’s stepped forward.
The old man shook his head. “I do not know, my young friend. It will be on your fate to decide what will happen to you”
The two boys looked at each other. They gulped. The favorable situation they thought they were in suddenly felt dire. The killer knew where they are and they don’t know when it is going to strike them. “Then let us stay here, on this ship” Enil looked to the old man.
The old man sighed. “That is not possible, my young friend. The magic of building needs concentration and a clear path. It cannot be disturbed if it is to finish what it started”
“Then make sure the ship is ready tonight” Alen demanded. The words surprised both the old man and Enil. “I will see what I can do” Alen and Enil found themselves on the pier again.