escorted Firesmyth into the cottage and announced the stranger’s
presence. His papa
approached the man smiling and the two bowed a little to each other with
hands pressed flat and with fingers pointing up in the proper court
style of greeting. His papa
did this warmly although it seemed Firesmyth arrived unexpectedly just
in time for dinner. He
offered Firesmyth a seat and as he sat down, Talon caught a glimpse of
his ruby hilted sword under his cloak.
said Talon forgetting his shyness.
“Do you want to practice with me?
I’m pretty good.”
waved him back. “Now, now
Talon, this man has very important business and doesn’t want to
Firesmyth cut him off. “I
would love to,” he said mussing Talon’s hair.
“But not now, later. I
have some things to discuss with your grandparents.”
couldn’t wait. It soon
seemed that Firesmyth’s definition of the word “later” took on an
entirely different meaning than Talon’s definition.
Except for the nice things that grown ups usually say to young
kids, the conversation tapered off into distant reminiscing.
By the way they spoke about their past, Talon guessed that they
and Firesmyth knew each other when they were very young.
you heard of anything from the south?” asked Talon’s grandmother.
Her name was Fossa, Salmi for ‘morning child.’
Only her friends addressed her Fossa, and only her closest
friends, those who knew her origins called her Morning Child.
answered Firesmyth, “I have been away to the north and east on other
matters. But I encountered
the enemy within your own borders, at the ruins of Cah Bel.”
did they get across the...” began Endvar, but Firesmyth cut him off.
do not know. The fact of
their crossing does not disturb me as much as the devices they brought
with them. He is using the
lost arts again.”
sat up, alert. His eyes
narrowed. “In violation
of the treaty?”
shook his head. “I do not
think so. Not the SYLC
Treaty at least, perhaps one of your local treaties -- I am not familiar
with the currents ones.
These shadow knights bio-implants ... well at least one of them did.”
yours?” asked Fossa.
one of mine, yes.” He
pulled up the sleeve covering is left arm and turned his palm upward. “This one and yet...”
looked up, curious now, and saw a flesh colored device more like a
growth than a machine. “Euuu.”
looked over and chided Talon, “Now that’s not polite, dear.”
you tell no one about it, understand?” added Endvar.
nodded, wide eyed.
conversation soon meandered off into more mundane tales of old times, which
alienated Talon and strained his patience although he tried his hardest
to listen and understand. Soon
he found himself outside playing alone again hoping Firesmyth would soon
join him. Being young and
inventive, he often found things that would bore adults ... meticulous
things that exemplified his organizational gifts.
His attention now turned to a frog that lazily hopped across the
path. Talon followed it
with eager fascination. He liked how it looked; dark, thin front legs with webbed
fingers splayed out and powerfully thick back legs.
Most of all, the brilliant blue stripe down its shinny back
looked as if it had been painted with a color more vivid than he had
what are you doing outta Papa’s pond?
I’ll help it back home.”
But every time he tried to catch it, it jumped away.
“Wait up,” he called out gently, “I won’t hurt you.”
Then he tried a different tactic by methodically laying down
barriers in an effort to guide the frog’s path.
He continued his pursuit and before long he heard voices again.
He looked up to see that the frog had jumped off his path to a
bush under the window of his papa’s shed.
Talon recognized the voices as belonging to his papa and
Firesmyth. Apparently, they
had made their way over to his shed for more talk.
Talon was about ready to resume his frog hunt when he heard his
name mentioned. He stopped
and listened intently. The
visitor was talking, something about the boy’s future vital to the
fulfillment of an old prophecy.
what your kind said about me when I was a youth,” replied Endvar.
talk about himself was almost enough to peak his curiosity to the point
of eavesdropping, but talk of his papa’s mysterious past was too much
to resist. He eased his way
between the bush and the cold stone shed wall.
He edged as close as he could to the window without the chance of
being seen. He wanted badly
to look into the window, but dared not take the chance.