Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Second (The second episode)

There must have been thousands of them. Tens of thousands. Hundreds of thousands. He
couldn't count them all even if he tried. Well, at least not out loud. There were moons and
forests and brooks, songs and parodies, lost and familiar, snowy peaks and silent deserts;
kings along space shuttles and strange looking insects ("are those things doing what I
think they're doing?” he mused. "Eww"). Crisscrossing the "platform" were rivulets of
dynasty mixed with ketchup, which was the best way he could describe it, or try to
comprehend it for that matter. His old master told him of these moments and warned him
of the danger the hid behind their sheer sense of "overwhelmness", as he termed it. He
claimed that the 'unknown is generally feared among mortal men and that this is but
natural. But the real dangers lurk in the places and moments where the unknown meets
the familiar, mates with it and gives birth to reality. For that reality is never quite what
you'd expect. Some of it may look familiar and comforting', he pointed, 'but look at the
gaze in its eyes and you'll find terror there, if you seek it'. Knowing about these moments
beforehand hadn't really prepared him for this, he had to conclude. So, finally, only slightly
holding his breath, he took a small step in the direction he thought was forward.
The lights, even those on the platform sides, seem to flicker for a moment and then
returned to normal. In fact, he realized, the lights were pretty much the only thing that
was normal around umm... here. That somewhat curious and rather obese ogre at the
entrance for example was unusual, but he decided, trying to control his breath, not to
think about that one too much.
What did bother him at that instant, however, was how the floor seem to turn slimy
somehow, though he didn't see any apparent reason for it. It looked the same
mesmerizing red-blue-and that other color he couldn't quite name tiles that accompanied
him since he entered the chamber. Of course, he wasn't particularly good with colors
anyway, but somehow he felt that wasn't the main issue at the point. The lights were
somehow... friendly? Certainly compared to that welcoming committee that awaited him
at the entrance. Teaching the acolytes how to smile did not seem to be a high priority,
he mused, though they did seem quite courteous and polite. At least those who didn't
pout quite so blatantly at him. Adrian didn't have to use their services, of course, but they
were the most readily available under the circumstances and that stood for something.
There was also the small debt they owed, of course, but he was also courteous enough
not to mention it. At least not out front anyway; he did allude to it in the most general of
terms. They didn't seem to comprehend all his hints and allusions, only the least bit
inconveniant ones. Even then, though, he'd --
"Lord Adrian?” a voice said.
"If you're quite ready, sir. We are assembled".
"Thank you".
They stood next to a long rectangle table, the embodiment of a committee on earth,
though they would, and had, denied such accusation rather fiercely. "Please, be sitted",
said the Chair. There were only two of his brothers there, he saw, as he was sitting
himself, mumbling the Blessing. The others were a woman, her hair tied neatly behind her,
making her association a bit more difficult to discern, and an elderly man in acolyte robes.
"Lord Adrian", said one of the Brothers, "May I introduce Lady Clara Shift, head of the local
order, Adam Arkand, head of ceremonies, acolyte Joseph Kley and myself, Peter Yone of
the memorial fund".
"I am honored", said Adrian. "May the Muses bless us".
"Indeed", responded Lady Clara. "I trust the accommodations were... satisfactory?"
"Quite so, thank you... again. You were most kind". Adrian thought he heard a stifled yawn
out of the acolyte, but he let it pass. "You know why I came here", he said quietly after a
few too many seconds of loud silence.
"We do", said Lady Clara, obviously not too happily.
"And?” Adrian inquired.
"This would not be easy. Do you realize the importance of such a relic, especially here and
now, just a few days before the anniversary?"
"I do".
"And still you ask it of us as if it was a trinket", said Adam, rather angrily.
"I'm afraid I must insist nevertheless. The Plectrum will be returned unharmed, I assure
you." Their looks suggested quite a bit of mistrust. "And the Yellow Cloud itself, of course".
That didn't seem to improve their attitude. "I will leave you to your deliberations then".
No response.
"Err... Could you direct me to the exit please?"

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