Friday, April 16, 2010

Mere Acquaintances- Chapter Seventeen

The playhouse had been in the asylum courtyard since before anyone could remember. Then again, the asylum had originally been a children’s hospital, so it wasn’t surprising there would be a playhouse on the grounds. No one went in there anymore, but no one dared tear it down-- it was too much a monument to the patients that had been there decades ago.

But someone had gone into it now. Vale. And try as anyone might to convince him too, he wouldn’t come out.

The little village of Dracmere sat nestled on the border of Melistrat and Gaern. It was one of those tiny twenty-family villages where everyone knew everyone else. But unlike most villages of its size, Dracmere boasted a full seven inns. It sat right on the road, and any trader who wasn’t smuggling took the road, so the village was always bustling. At any given time, roughly half the people in the village were strangers, merchants and travelers, bards and-- especially now-- Seekers.

Jaidyn had wanted to try and avoid rubbing elbows with any other wearers of the silver braid, but he must not have been the only one wanting privacy. Each innkeeper told him there was at least one Seeker staying the night already. No inn had more than two, so at least there were only a handful of them in the village. Sneering at the thought of being so close to the pretenders, Jaidyn paid for a room in The Border Stag. Hoeth paid his money for a room, too. There was only one other Seeker there, a greasy-looking man sitting in the common room drinking deeply from a mug of ale.

Ordering a meal to be sent up to his room, Jaidyn headed up the stairs, away from the greasy man and other prying eyes. Hoeth was hot on his heels and even followed him into his own room, tossing his saddlebags on the floor by the door and flopping onto Jaidyn’s bed.

“You still haven’t told me where we’re going,” the younger man said. “Where Sonsedhor is.”

“I’ve told you a dozen times since we left Morena: it’s not something I want to talk about. Especially not here, where there are ears everywhere. Someone might hear.”

Hoeth leaned up on his elbows. “I don’t think you’ve said that many words to me at once since we left. You’ve been so quiet, Jaidyn. Distant. We’re friends, right?”

We’re friends, right? He remembered someone else saying that to him, a long time ago.

“We’re friends, right?” Prett Moura sounded like he desperately needed reassurance. “Lexan?” Too bad his station was far below Lexan’s own; friends like that were beneath him. “We are, right?”

“Of course we are,” he remembered saying, contempt dripping form his voice. Prett was completely oblivious.

Jaidyn shook his head, dismissing the memory. He hated memories from Lexan. It was his memories from Cheyne he preferred, even though they were rare. He had to work to make them come.

“Sure we’re friends, Hoeth. Sure we are,” he said passively. “But I really need some rest now. We’ll talk when we leave in a few days, okay?”

Before Hoeth could argue, he ushered him out the door and sank into bed, still grappling with Lexan’s memory.

“I’m Cheyne reborn. Cheyne!” he whispered fiercely to himself. The part of his mind that insisted on dredging up Lexan’s memories laughed at him.

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