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The first step on a long path

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BigPuppyStuart

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Sequel Story to  " New Chances, old Memories"

  The Minister's first steps. 

       The high Erl Carfenoux of  Solimon, Minister of ecclesiastic affairs,  son of the Conquering saint Vaarouge the fearless was pacing and wringing his hands nervously.  The passed week had played on his nerves something dreadfully, His young daughter had been stricken with a strange curse that had caused all her luxurious light orange fur to fall away and her skin blister and bleed. He had used all his political pull and resources to obtain an artifact from the mages guild that might have helped her, the cost had been high. The Artifact had been stolen. This would have been the utter end of his hope but then two skit'ritch, ( a species he barely tolerated at the best of times) had burst in to the house with the Artifact and made their way to his daughter's room and done....something, something which made his nerves quake contemplate and now he was pacing the dining room in front of the large portrait of his great father trying to figure out what had happened.

    " Daddy you are going to make yourself positively ill with nerves, do have a brandy" His now hairless but seemingly cured daughter says from where she sits tended by the servents at the table and hungrily devours all the food she could to make up for her weeks of slow deathly consumption. She Didn't seem to be upset at all by what she had just been through and was eating as heartily as a hesken laborer after a long day working the field. Valparet such as himself and his daughter were the very height of society as dictated ne'mode, the caste system  Carfenoux believed in so strictly, but he had no will to tell his famished daughter to eat in a more refined fashion. She had almost died, and most likely would have if it weren't for those....ruffians. With this thought he Glanced over toward the door to the foyer. It was closed but behind it stood the young human servant his wife had retained. Her eyes would be rolled into the back of her head and she would be standing bolt upright at the feet of the larger of the 2 ruffians who had saved his daughter, or at the feet of his body at least. Whatever he had done had killed him and the servent in some sort of trance had borne him away, wrapped him elegantly in a fine linen and laid his corpse in the foyer facing the door, where she waited. He wanted to tell her to go away but everytime he looked at her he was shaken to the core. He had heard his Valiant father talk of magic, and working along side of mages and had always told his son to respect those that wielded magic for good and to stay out of their way when they did something.  Carfenoux was sure magic was at work and even without his father's words wanted to stay out of the servent's way. He also did not think he could ever set foot in the sickroom his daughter had been treated in again. While she was in there there had been a lingering unease. That feeling was gone now but the odd shadow or impression in the air of the larger skit'ritch, his arms open hung in the air, perceptible even if you had to look hard to see it. You knew it was there. It was like a stationary Ghost. And Ghosts were something that the Erl of Solimon never wanted to encounter. As he was glancing at the door to the foyer the door that led from the Kitchens opened and the high Erl  Carfenoux of  Solimon, son of the Conquering saint Vaarouge the fearless, nearly shrieked in surprised terror.

      It was the large Hesken cook who had stayed all night because he thought he might be needed. His arms were full of a serving dish of food, hearty dishes that in any other circumstances would have received him a stern talking to about fixing unrefined food. But it had all be whiped up last moment, and frankly he was in no state of mind to chastise someone who could so easily break him in half. His wife had hired him because he was an excellent cook but the man had always unnerved him with his sheer size and strength. In fact if he was honest with himself, and he was to unnerved to have the energy to lie to anyone even himself, all hesken made him nervous. In Ne'mode, the race caste they were considered to be perfect laborers with their massive strength and endless endurence, and all of this was true without a doudt. But he had also observed that they were very smart, the realm in which the Valperet were supposed to excel in, even the lowliest laborers could read seemed to quickly figure out if you were trying to mislead them. Such Observations made him question himself and he didn't like to do that.

    " The governess said the police and the Guild will be done questioning the boy soon, so made enough food for anyone that wants it" The large cook spoke, but in  Valperet and not English which was usually used in this household to issue orders in this household. The Erl had no idea he could understand it  let alone speak it. He had the uncomfortable realization that he had been able to understand all the private conversations he had wife his wife in the dinning room. The kitchen was close enough that any request for more food or wine could just be spoken aloud and would be heard and filled. That meant this massive chef had heard all the discussions of import he had with his wife and other family in the household.

   " yes thank you uhhh...." he realized he had no idea what the chef's name was. His wife hired him and did most of the speaking but she had been gone for 2 days looking to obtain rare medicines from her Brother who was a Doctor. He didn't know the human servant's name either. He knew no servant's name.

" It is " the name he gave was guttural and completely unintelligible to the Erl "... sir."

" I can't pronounce that, i will call you.... Bob" the Erl's completely hairless daughter puts in, she is wearing a sweet smile. The Large hesken returns the smile utterly please and charmed by the childlike honesty.

" I am now called Bob, sir."

" thank you Bob." the erl says. For some reason this mild exchange make something click in his mind. He just decided he was going to learn more about his household, and maybe his world. He Had a lot to learn. A strange sensation swept over him. He suddenly felt as if his valient father was smiling at him from the grave through the painting. He wanted to put this down to wishful fancy but he saw his daughter and the newly named Bob looking startled at the large painting on the wall behind him.

" Is...is the painting actually smiling?" The Erl asks.

" The Painting isn't smiling but Grandpa is" his daughter puts in. Looking above  Carfenoux shoulder. The high Erl  Carfenoux of  Solimon, son of the Conquering saint Vaarouge the fearless decided it might be wise if he went back to being nervous.

 

Chirvin's First Steps.

        The Wallet, watch and other personal effects that Chirvin's father had taken from the guild courier were laid out on the table in front of the inspector that was questioning him. Chirvin had put all them out there without being asked before he told the Valperet police inspector his story and that of the late Kirvcky. The Inspector had rougly cuffed him to a chair before demanding he speak. In the Corner of the room a robed figure clothed in the garb of a senior magister of the Mage's guild sat listening patiently. Chirvin wished he was telling his story to the wizard and not this obnoxious Valperet policemen. Chirving tried not to judge by race, some of the townsmen that had given him money or sweets when his father sent him out to beg for money and play off of sympathies were Valperet and they had often if not always been generous and sympathetic so he knew they weren't all bad as a species. But this inspector was living up to every negative stereotype of the Valperet that had ever been bandied about on the streets. He had an arrogant judgemental sneer and was looking down his snout stiffly at chirvin as he spoke. Before he was even half-way finished the inspector interrupted.

" Your story is ridiculous, you think i am foolish enough to believe this nonsense? You are nothing but an uneducated street vermin who..." The insptector's rant was intercepted by Chirvin's brother wrapping his knuckle firmly against the table.

Well Brother is still how he thought of it at least. Chirvin was an only child, when he thought back hard enough he knew that to be true, but at some point he had started to either imagine or hallucinate he had a younger brother who was quiet, intelligent and observant and noticed and knew things Chirvin didn't. He just seemed to be there, lending and drawing comfort from chirvin in times of stress or fear. But the Fact remains that if chirvin thought hard and recalled instances he was always physically alone with his father in the house. It is like he had 2 sets of memories that lined up but for one factor. In one Version his brother was there, making observations and helping Chirvin solve a problem, but then there were another set of memories, events happened the same but whenever Chirvin's brother did speak to someone other than chirvin, the words came from Chirvin's mouth, if he watched his brother pick up and play with a toy or some stones in one set of memories it was either chirvin's own hands or and this was confusing they acted as if they were being handled with no one there to handle them. This singular instance of his brother knocking on the table just drove home how confusing Chirvin's life was. To the Robed observer and the supersillious inspector there was only one Skit'ritch child in the room and he was handcuffed to a chair with his hands behind his back. To chirvin it was him cuffed to the chair and his brother wandering around the room seemingly unoticed by anyone. The First action he had actually taken was loudly knocking on the table and producing a sound when there could not have been one.

" What was That!" The inspector jumped at the sound and sight of the objects on the table vibrate mildly.

" As i have been telling you, there is some magic invloved that i do not understand, me telling you i have a brother who i can't name, was an instance of that magic that i don't understand and it was that brother whose existence i have been trying to explain who just struck the table. There is a wizard sitting in the corner of the room right now so don't pretend you are ignorent of the existence of magic. And before you ask yes, my change in dialect is a resault of this brother whose nature i have been trying to convey talking through me, he seems to do that." Chirvin expounded blithely. He had just said the words and if he concentrated he could tell they were coming from him, a part of his mind, but he also recognized that part of his mind as being his Brother. It seems as if his brother came from him in some way.

" What is this.." the Valperet inspector begin confused at the eruidition of the street rat cuffed to the chair.

" You be a right dumb shit ain't ya fucko?" Chirvin spoke in the common street and harbor dialect of the trade tongue that the world had picked up when the humans came so many centuries ago.

    This Drew a chuckle from The Robed figure in the corner who had been listening intently. The Look on his face the times chirven had glanced at him were ones of intent listening and dawning comprehension. At least he thought that is what it was. The Robed Figure was Lutrondae, The webbed handed seafaring race that had given skit'ritch sailors so many problems and were supposedly the species bitterest rivals for the sea trade. The Skit'ritch and Lutrondae were supposed to hate each other but both this individual and chirvin seemed completely uninterested in indulging in such hate. Chirvin thought to himself how he knew other people's dispositions so quickly and accurately and wondered if that was just street instinct or also some form of magic.

" I am going to need to see more evidence of some phantom simbling before i accept such a thing " The Inspector says with his sneer returning at the vulgar words.

" Oi will ye look at dat, the badge said sommit wise at last" Chirvin couldn't but put in mockingly. Strangely it seemed the lapse into street talk had comforted the inspector, put him back onto familiar ground. Chirvin also felt some satisfaction in mocking the policemen. He had spent his life as a pick pocket and the Police had always be an advisory if not always the enemy.

" Why don't i perform some tests since, magic is indeed my field. Then we can get back to the rest of the tale." The Robed lutrondae says.

" Proceed by all means" the inspector said.

The Lutrondae mage stood up and from a pocket produced a coin. " Now Why don't you...." Before he could finish the sentence. Chirvin saw his brother deftly snatch the coin from the mage's hand and begin flipping and catching it like me a bored street enforcer.

" well then..." The wizard say then gestures to the coin, that appears to him and the inspector to just be flipping then stopping and flipping again in mid air.

" well iffin ye get that part, then good, stranger things be yet to come, can I talk now" Chirvin says impatiently. He was no longer in quiet awe or confusion he just wanted to get it over and have dinner.

" yes, let us continue with your statement." The Inspector says. He is no longer sneering and is looking more evenly at chirvin. As chirvin tells the rest of the weird tale, the Inspector's face never becomes incredulous or condescending. He listens as Chirvin outlines it was Kirvcky who upon contact with the odd statue decided they needed to come here. It was Kirvcky who seemed to lead them into song that seemed to entrance everyone and that he led the way to the sick room and did the ritual that ended up curing the Dying child.

" I was just along for the ride really." Chirvin concludes.

" What of the men who confronted you at the gate and wanted to take the statue?" the Lutrondae asks after Chirvin's closing remarks.

" What about them? The inspector men have them. " Chirvin puts in unconcerned

" You don't seem to be afraid of them, you described the encounter as if you weren't afraid. Why?" The wizard asks.

" I suppose you are trying to get to the exact nature of my preternatural abilities as is your field of interest." Chirvin asks, the turns to look at the inspector  " Yes that be me brother talkin again, iffin yer wondering."  The Valperet inspector nodes as if only assenting understand of a statement made by an equal. He seemed to drop all attitude and was nothing but respectful.

" The theives, or the other theives i mean." the Lutrondae put in to redirect the conversation.

" Well.... i just weren't afraid, seemed like there was no room fer it, and i like Knew what to do and i just did it. The music the statue makes in yer head kinda just let me move through it. Iffin you about to ask i don't be knowin what the statue is, me father and kirvcky were the ones that been told ter get it, and i don't know by who, they just call him the boss." Chirvin pauses for a moment Then suddenly seems to realize something " Whoever this boss is i want ter kill him for some reason, he wants to do something bad and i want him to not too."

" Forgive me but i am going to try something." The Lutrondae said he then opened his hand and blew a plume of black powder into chirvin's face.  The inspector began to cry out in protest. Chirvin was momentarily alarmed as the powder hit him and entered his nostrils.

Chirven sneezed violently into his hands that he reflexively brought up to cover his nose. The Police inspector gasped as he witnessed the young skitritch's hands seem to smear into shadow as they pulled free from the cuffs, causing them to fall to the floor with a clatter.

" well isn't that.. OWW" the Lutrondae begins that cries out as Chirvin's brother punches the wizard's left arm petulantly.

" Man you little mental project hits like a Hesken." The wizard says rubbing the spot.

" Seemed the most appropriate and immediate way to express my displeasure." Chirvin speaks but with the Vernacular and erudition of his fictional little brother. " And before you chastise i can't talk when the body is sneezing."

The Lutrondae wizard smiles amused but also with a look of fascination. " You are by far the most powerful and instinctive user of magic i have seen, you are completely untrained but you can not only shadow slide but have a complete external manifestation of intent that is capable of its own instinctive action. That is 2 completely different affinities and you are using them at adept level." He is still rubbing the spot he was struck but grinning like an excited kid.

" You be thinkin it be the statue that advanced me talents so quick?" chirvin asks. wiping the black pepper from his muzzle.

" Not sure, that thing has been in guild custody for years but it has never made anyone more adept at anything as far as i know. Only person that paid it much attention was already really powerful to begin with and he would just draw the thing a lot and compare it to old texts. No one knows what it is."

" Let us conclude the police investigation before  we get excited about magic"

" I think you have gotten as much as you are going to get from this one, question the thieves you apprehended outside the gates for links to the criminal side."  The Lutrondae mage says.

" Whatever ye decide can i have me sommit te eat first, don't care if it be prison fare i just want something to eat." Chirvin complains in what struck the inspector as a manner any normal child would. The adversarial gruffness was gone, it was indeed very late and if what he had said about his circumstances was true he may not have seen food for a long time.

" Most true, let us adjourn for refreshment, we can talk about the whereabouts of this Boss and your father, after."

" Oi thats right, ye gonna bust me father." Chirvin paused as if thinking then his face hardened " Go ahead and bust the cowardly fuck face." The rough tone of the street was back in the young boys mouth, but it was not directed at the inspector. As the inspector secured the evidence for documentation and eventual return to the owner he had the uncomfortable thought that a kid must go through some rough times to sound so harsh toward his own father potentially going to prison. Suddenly the inspector lost any sense of disdain he had been holding on for this boy, he may have been a street rat but his life had not been easy or his fault. The Inspector jumped slightly when he felt someone gently pat his hand as if to give comfort. But he had been looking at his hand and no one was touching him but he indeed felt a small hand touch the back of his.

" wattcha doing, that for? He can't see ya, ya just gon give him a fright doing that" The young skitritch exclaimed. He seemed to be looking at something just to one side of the inspector. Where someone would be standing if they were patting the Valparet's hand comfortingly. The inspector still looked and even extended a hand looking for the source. He encountered nothing solid but he did almost feel something different about the air next to him. he withdrew his hand and with a stiffness that showed his nerves finished packing the things the child had laid out on the table.

The Lutrondae mage just looked amused. They all walked out of the room in which the interview had taken place with the now uncuffed child in the middle and the inspector bringing up the rear.
The inspector had to stop suddenly when Chirvin stopped and looked up at the ceiling sharply, his boddy tensed as if he was ready to spring off in any direction but he just look upward.

" What ever sickened the girl still be up there. In the room above us. t'wasn't in  her bedroom. " Chirvin whispers hoarsely. The inspector looked up at the ceiling and made note to ask what the room above was. They were on the second floor which contained the master bedroom, the child's room and some guest rooms. Most of the servents and the kitchens were on the ground floor, and the inspector knew there was a wine cellar. But he didn't know what was up one level. In fact if actually kind of hurt to think about the 3rd floor at all.

" Something is wrong!" the inspector said clutching his head. " I didn't even think about this house having a 3rd floor but when i try to my head hurts." The inspector felt like he was about to puke at even wondering why he haddn't noticed the 3rd floor. It felt as if the more questions he had about it the more it would hurt him until he stopped.  The Lutrondae mage stopped to look back at the 2. Then he looked up at the ceiling and grimaced.

" Someone put up a glamour for sure. it is subtle but... mean. Now that we noticed it is set to cause pain to dissuade thinking. that part wasn't very subtly done cause all it does is draw our attention to it. It is vindictive. " The lutrondae mage says.

" Nah look passed it, the sharp greasey feeling spot is what i mean." The young ratlike boy says. " Just think about walking down the hall and going to speak with the master of the house, only that." comes the educated voice of the phantasmal brother. As soon as the inspector chooses to think of this course of action the pain stops. He keeps this course of action in mind running it over and over in his head.  Both the Boy and the inspector walk firmly ahead positively pushing the mage into forward motion as he was looking up and examining the magic that he had just been made aware of.

( To be continue )

 

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