It was raining. It always seemed to be raining.
The library’s court yard was lit by lanterns swinging in the wind. The light, although artificial, threw heavy shadows across the scene. Water dripped from the lanterns and pooled on the meticulous pebble paths and flower pots. A gasp of exclamation could be clearly heard from a distant alcove and a set of sturdy looking, wooden doors burst open. A heavy set figure rushed out into the court yard struggling to fasten his robes and thrust a broad cowled hat onto his head.
The monk’s robes were held together with an ordinary length of un bleached rope. Fastened to the rope was a crude metal hourglass and a large rune of ivory. The man took particular care to ensure these items were not tangled up in his effort to get dressed. He twisted the belt until the icons rested upon his right thigh. They bounced and jostled as he run through the open courtyard; a door on the opposite side his obvious destination.
Bastian reached out to open the door. As his hand fell upon the brass handle he recoiled at the age now showing in his leathery hands. These hands, he remembered favorably, had once turned simple timber into fine musical instruments fit for nobility. He knew his Th’ghallan blood would keep his heart beating longer than other mortals but 143 years was a long time for any man; and what an incredulous 143 years it had been. Shaking the rain from the brim of his hat; he steadied himself and pushed on. It was urgent information he carried, and he knew this particular cleric would want to hear it immediately.
He composed himself and urged the door open. The door gave and silently twisted on it’s well oiled hinges. As he entered the grand cleric’s chambers his nostrils flared at the spicy scent of Gahlak weed. His master had been in prayer for some time and the smoldering herb had filled his chamber with strong smelling smoke. In the centre of the room, on a raised dais, sat the grand cleric’s bed. The bed, ornately carved from teak and gold gilded, was as luxurious and inviting as it was unused. The eastern most corner of the chamber contained a large writing desk littered with ancient scrolls and tablets . The heavily padded leather chair, Bastian knew, had supported the cleric through his rare bouts of sleep much more often than his large bed.
This night, however, Grand Cleric Bartholomew Helmsworth had used neither. As Bastian’ gaze shifted to the other end of the room he saw the all too familiar sight of his master sat prone before the life size image of Th’ghall. The brass statue was meticulously carved and showed a level of detail that could have only been attained by the most professional of artisan and metal workers.
Th’ghall was a foreboding sight to any who did not know his wisdom or tolerance. Standing some eight feet tall, the ape like visage of the Ancient was a threatening sight. Contrary to his appearance, however, Bastian’s Ancient was known as The Keeper. He was the Recorder and the Reporter of Events, he was burdened with watching time fly pass and, with limited to no interaction, was assigned the duty of retaining said information for everyone, Ancient and Terran.
Unlike a normal statue, however, the image of Th’Ghall seemed to shudder with life. There was a pulsing of light and, it seemed, the very metal the object was wrought from, ebbed with a living force. On closer inspection the statue’s face was obviously moving and was, somehow, clearly interacting with Cleric Bartholomew. While Bastian was a leading bishop among his order, he had never witnessed a direct communique. He felt instantly in-awed and acutely aware of his own unworthiness.
“Grand Cleric”, Bastian breathlessly voiced, instantly feeling ashamed for disrupting the connection between Ancient and Minion.
Cleric Bartholomew’s head turned in an obvious display of effort and concentration. His eyes fixed upon those of Bastian. Bastian recoiled slightly after realising the head and gaze of the Ancient Th’Ghall was now also looking directly at him, unnaturally intent. The Ancient bore an inquisitive look as opposed to one of irritation. Was he expecting something, Bastian thought.
“I’m sorry master but I have pressing news” he continued, glancing between both Human and Ancient masters.
“The barrier has failed, the door and its runes lie in rubble.” he exclaimed.
“She is free!”
Note: Photo by Geetanjal Khanna on Unsplash