Continued (December – 1026 YD)
Gesula Forest, Lenyol
A blue fairy-wren skipped the length of a fallen tree, perching on the peak of its unearthed roots. He chirped and sung, twitching and spinning on his twig-like legs. Kesia whistled; he replied, then flitted off to impress others in the forest.
__In his wake, the song of the forest rose. She listened quietly.
__A flock of parrots passed over the canopy, twittering merrily, forcing her eyes open; the sun had reached the treetops, illuminating the white branches of the ghost-trees and basking the forest in the golden light of daybreak. Kesia shivered.
She focused to absorb the energy of those rays which pierced the foliage, drawing it near; and faint specks of light glided over, spiraling her and the boulder she sat upon. She watched them drift for a minute. Exhaling, she released them, and they returned to their original trajectories.
__Morning proper came, evening out the light, and still Kesia sat. She was not expected in the workshop until eight—it was presently half-six, at most.
__She played with something Kengar had said two evenings prior: that weavers could learn to draw upon each of the seven forces. Concentrating on the moisture of the forest floor, she reached out her right hand, extending her fingers gently, and lifted it; so with it a thousand droplets of water rose from the sodden leaves. Startled, she snapped her hand back to her breast; and the particles fell from the air.
__Brushing her hands as though such manipulations left them dusty, she unfolded her legs and turned her mind to Kengar’s comment several days earlier. His regret that she had been ‘reduced’ to taking up carpentry continued to irritate her. Who was he to judge? He was yet to see her work—it was better than good. It was exceptional. It had immediately caught the eye of the wealthier patrons of the Alendae markets. The Duchess of Alendae’s own lady-in-waiting had made an order, and promised to show the Duchess upon completion. Did Kengar expect her to pass up the opportunity of meeting and serving the Lady? Of course she intended to return to weaving; but his own undependability had encouraged her to find an alternate path, and she had done, in good faith. And now he expected her to drop it the moment he returned—as though she had merely been idling in the background, and not deliberately crafting her life?
__Too annoyed to appreciate the beauty of the forest now, she found her feet and stalked back to the village. Approaching home, she saw her uncle awaited her on her doorstep.
__Geared to defend her new trade, her passion waned on noticing the despondence in her uncle’s posture. He had turned his head toward his knees, and was clutching his shaggy hair. She instantly feared for her aunt and hastened to a jog.
__He looked up. A sleepless night creased his face.
__‘Is she okay?’
__He said nothing. She thought he might cry.
__‘What happened? Tell me,’ she touched his shoulders. ‘What has happened?’
__‘The library. Her library.’ His voice broke. ‘In ruins.’ He held her hand, bringing it to his lips, and whispered: ‘I don’t know where she is, Kesia. I don’t know where she is.’
Toran exited the library, shaking his head. ‘It’s a mess.’
__Kesia laughed involuntarily. She had asked him to assess the damage—hoping for something more precise.
__Toran grinned, feebly. He ran a hand through his hair and lost the smile. ‘To my eye, little has been taken. Yet someone sought something.’ He looked at Kengar, who turned away. ‘Sorry—how can I help if you keep hidden what you know?’
__Kesia was surprised at his anger. ‘Toran, please.’
__Kengar remained with his shoulder to them. ‘If you can put it right, I will be grateful, and thank you with coin. I think there is a catalogue.’
__‘I know!’ Toran failed to quell the heat in his voice. ‘I have spent years in that room!’
__‘Toran!’ Kesia intervened, taken aback. ‘My aunt has been gone almost a fortnight. Kengar is very concerned.’
__‘He has every reason to be concerned.’ Toran fired hostilely at Kengar, who had turned in time to receive it. ‘Tàvae demanded that I never return here—I came only as a favour to Kesia. Keep your damn coins; go and find her!’