Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mere Aqcuaintances- Chapter Thirty-Two

As much as she hated telephones, Becca certainly spent most of her morning on it. She spent a good forty minutes talking with the director of the group home where Vale had spent his late teen years, but the woman didn’t have much to say about Vale’s mental faculties. As a matter of fact, the woman was the former director; she had retired six years ago. And the only reason Becca spent so much time talking with her was because she seemed to be one of those aging ladies who was all alone and just loved having someone to chat with. When Becca asked if Sawnsador meant anything to her, she had to repeat the word four or five times before she just dropped it.

Her next call went out to Vale’s former employers at the newspaper. While some of the coworkers of his that she talked to were interested in hearing how Vale was doing, they had no real insight on Vale’s personal life, either. “He was a very private person,” seemed to be the most common description of the former reporter. Sawnsador meant nothing to them, either, nor did any of the other patients’ names.

She hung up the phone and put her forehead on her hands. She’d talked to a handful of his colleagues, and they’d all said the same thing about Vale– almost verbatim. The only one who had deviated from the mantra about Vale’s personality was a girl who had worked in the mailroom and had claimed to see him everyday. “He always seemed to be the jealous type,” the girl had said. “And even though he never was a group person, he seemed to hate being excluded.”

None of the other journalists could give her the names of any friends Vale might have had outside of work. One man went so far as to say he would be surprised if Vale had friends at all. Becca gave that up as a dead end.

The man who slipped quietly into the rented room Draegon was sharing with Kemeny was dressed well underneath a wide cloak that did little to keep his identity a secret. He had to be Zanthys Advissen, the nobleman they wanted to speak with, even though he didn’t waste time with introductions.

“Tell me where that tale you told came from,” he said, more of an order than a request. Draegon didn’t think this young man had ever been disobeyed. “I’ve never heard that one before, but it seemed… familiar. Where was it from?”

Kemeny had agreed to take the lead in this, since Draegon was still feeling a little off from performing the night before. She had told him what had happened, but he didn’t remember anything from what she said happened. He had completely blacked out, felt like he was falling, like he was somewhere else, or even… someone else. It had been distant, though, strange and familiar all at once. It was disconcerting. He was still shuddering now and then just thinking about it.

Kemeny gave Zanthys the whole story, starting from the four of them joining up in the Search and then Roark finding Sonsedhor. She gave him lots of details, from where they found Sonsedhor to the looks on their faces to the colors of the flowers and the scent in the air. Draegon was both surprised and impressed– the girl could certainly tell a story.

When she started detailing just what Sonsedhor had done to Roark– the curse– Zanthys went pale. He said nothing, however, and Kemeny didn’t comment. She just went on and finished the story.

Zanthys swallowed, letting the silence linger, and looked ready to leave. Draegon wasn’t about to let that happen. Something was up here. This lordling was holding something from them. “Now tell us about this Jaidyn,” Draegon said, suppressing another shiver. “You say he’s proven himself to you that he’s Chyne reborn. Tell us how that is, when we’ve seen another man holding Sonsedhor.”

The proud young man eyed the door, looked back at them, eyed the door again, and swallowed. Kemeny, her attention now on him rather than on telling her story, realized what he was considering and pulled a chair between Zanthys and the door, plopping herself down into it. “Yes. We’re very interested in hearing about Jaidyn.”

He went even paler at the sight of his escape route being blocked, and now Draegon and Kemeny had him flanked. He glanced warily from one to the other. Draegon swore he could see the sweat starting to form on the his forehead.

“It was a fake, alright? I had a sword made to look like Sonsedhor! It was just a hoax! Who could believe that the sniveling Jaidyn Huntley was actually Cheyne reborn? I overheard him telling Hoeth Karzark at the onset of the Search, and I thought it would be funny to play a joke on him. It was just a joke! I planted the sword for him to find, but… he never did… where you said this Roark found it…… that’s where I left it. I followed Jaidyn to Dracmere. I knew he couldn’t be the real rebirth… it was a joke…”

All this he spilled out, practically spinning in place to say a few words to Draegon, a few words to Kemeny. The little contortionist glared at him. “Well, Zanthys, my lord, that prank of yours has caused much more trouble than it was worth, and no laughs.”

“Kemeny,” Draegon said, “but if not for that plant, Roark might not have ever found Sonsedhor…”

“Maybe not, but who’s to say it’s really the time for him? I mean… what danger is the world really in that we need Cheyne back? Not to mention the sword is cursed! Maybe this has all gone wrong!”

“The Mother’s plans don’t go wrong, Kemeny.”

“Well, the plans of men do. And I’m not going to let this little prudish lordling get out of righting his wrongs.” She seized Zanthys’s arm. “I’m not sure how, but we’re sorting this out, and you’re coming with us.”

Draegon raised an eyebrow. “Um, Kemeny? Where exactly are we going?”

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