Chapter 2

Oct. 21st, 2012 11:54 pm
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The loud knock on the door woke her up at midnight.
Cursing all the way down to the hall, Naghill was quickly wrapping herself into an old brown bathrobe, while holding a lamp with her left hand. 
-Who in the name of all the hollies is knocking at this hour? - she yelled, making her voice as shrieky and sharp as possible.
No, there wasn't just a lonely stranger. Naghill felt there were more than three of them on the other side of the wooden door of her inn.
-You don't answer me, I will keep your loser arse outside of there to chill a while!
-Milady Varae, we came as agreed, - a man replied in a soft low voice, the voice she knew for ages.
-You?...- Naghill removed the chain and opened the door to
see an elderly man with a funny goat beard, wearing yellow glasses and a hat with two long ears. From behind his shoulder she could scarcely see the faces of two girls
 and a rather chunky young man.
- Are you really thinking this is the best time to visit me?- she said sarcastically.
The man had raised his hand and his glasses slipped down his nose.
-My apologies, dear lady.
-Oh, shut it and get yourselves in. Dear lords, how many of you...? -she exclaimed, watching the group men and women coming in.
Apart from Gresig, there were three girls and an arrogant young man of about eighteen, two sleepy women in their late twenties and a man of uncertain age, large and hairy. 
-Are we going to have all these kids around for the Journey? - said Naghill, looking at the girls, who looked rather like home-sitting nerds, rather than daring brats. 
-Same question here! - added a gloomy woman with thick dark eyebrows and brown eyes, who had quickly found herself a spot near the fireplace and showed no intention of relocating.
-I don't mind being around pretty girls, - grinned the ginger bruiser, - I've heard there might be rivers so you could swim there wearing nothing but you smooth silky skin...
The older women made a snarky sniffing sound.
Gresig seemed to show no interest in educating the rude youngster, the girls merely ignored his presence. 
These girls were not talking much, giggling or examining people around them. 
-Excuse me,- said the round-faced boy loudly, his voice dingling like a crystal bell. - but aren't we supposed to get to sleep as soon as possible to be ready at sunrise?
Naghill gave him a contemptous look.
-The bedrooms are upstairs.
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Chapter 1

As Naghill would say, it was all Gresig's game. 
He was the one obsessed with an idea of exploring the human soul by means of breaking out of the ordinary ways of life. 
It was him sharing these ideas with his student, Llava Hyffes, a very young man with a good background, the heir of the wealthy family, whose great concern was seeking a key to his mind's troubles.
It wasn't him, though, who had lit a sparkle of will in Bjro Gresig's stale soul.
The grey-eyed girl with messy hair and an old heavy bag, full of books, pencils and paper scrolls, that once stopped in front of his library's wall staring at the weird letters, written with a white chalk on the red bricks.
"uguzigu wanted, reward 10000000"
She suggested it was a mysterious encryption, transforming the first senseless word into a phrase "u-gu zigu", which she said to mean "Lord Gu's Scissors".
She was pondering on that as she walked into the reading room, where Gresig had been waiting for her, listening to her thoughts carefully and smiling to himself.
He knew, it was the one he needed. The one with wild imagination, light insanity and passion strong enough to turn the world upside down, the one he longed for to begin The Journey he had been dreaming of for decades.
He took the pile of books she handed back to him and crossed out their titles from her library card. That card was old and shabby, as if it survived a fire, a flood and a hurricane. All the pages were wrinkled and covered with a crooked handrwriting, till the last page, where just a small space left, perhaps for one or two books only. 
He turned the card over and read her name again, written carefully but still clumsily, with a little sparrow sitting on the top of the letter N.
"Maniiv Viroka", it said. 
-Have you seen that graffiti on the eastern wall of the house? - asked Bjro Gresig.
The girl nodded, looking at him curiously, her fingers playing with a pencil.
-I think it could mean something else, than the passers-by can possibly see. Don't you think?
She shrugged her shoulders.
-It could be anything. But I guess it's someone's name. Someone rich looking for something important. Perhaps, his scissors.
Gresig dove under his desk and stood up holding a pair of oddly shaped scissors, with the blades looking like a bird's mouth and the handle shaped as wings.
The girl's eyes shone.
-That's the one! So, are you that Lord Gu?
He rised his hands.
-I'm afraid I'm not, my lady. But who knows, maybe he is going to pay as a visit to pick up his treasure?
-Sure! - she laughed, - let's leave it somewhere here, in a glass showcase, for everyone to see.
She glanced at her pocket watch, sighed and said she must run now. At the door she looked back at him and smiled sweetly, waving her hand, while she bumped into a tall bearded man in a brown coat who had just entered the library. The two had caught each other's glance, and Gresig couldn't help noticing that her face blushed bright red and her eyes widened as she whispered an apology and slipped outside.
Obviously, they had met before, not once, but never spoke a word.

-Glad to see you back, Lord Master.
-Greetings, Lord Gresig. Would you please not bring up my posh title, - said the man, his mouth corners raised in a faint smile, - Let me just be one of your readers, like that amusing young lady, who had just stepped on my shoe.
-Then, you'd love to be a tea-drinker, too?

And there they sat, under the spiral staircase, on the leather sofa that creeped out anyone who dares to take his load off with an unexpected squack, they were drinking hot red tea, talking of all kind of things, forbidden and dangerous things, that no good citizen must bring in mind.
-How soon is till the Departure, Gresig?
-Patience, dear Master, is the most valuable of the virtues. The fruits are nearly ripe. 
-Please know, that my wagon is ready, so is my heart. 
-So you say, yet you are hesitating.Take your time to look around you. We may never come back again, we shall leave all our past behind.
The man looked Gresig in the eyes firmly, then shook his head and sighed:
-You can't be wrong, teacher. I'm only a craftsman, yours is the craft of more delicate kind. I shall follow your advice and get my thoughts together.
-No worries, - said Bjro Gresig enigmatically, - bear no hope and have no regrets. You will know when to start your engine.


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