The Earth, the Sky, and the Sea – Chapter 01

Chapter 01

It left much to be said if one could not see the floor to a room, let alone walk around in it, especially if the occupant of said room was absent and had been for a good six years.  But although most would surmise that the owner of the house or perhaps the maids were simply lazy, in this case a different sort of problem abound.

It wasn’t so much that the room was neglected so much as that the room was prohibited from being touched.

But the maids could hold quite some power when banded together.  They had been clamoring for entry to tidy the place – surely his father would like to return to his study where books were where dust was in every other room.  In other words, everywhere.  His arguments as to how in Occuria’s name maids would know what he’d want when no one else did fell on deaf ears.

And so, it was with much reluctance that Dylaneil Njor Bunansa stood in the door of the study of his sire, Ffamran Mid Bunansa, or as everyone seemed to know him, Balthier.

Gingerly, black soled heel stepped forward, crunching some papers in the process.  Dylaneil quickly drew his foot back with a grimace before bending down and picking up the offending sheets.  A quick glance told him they were blueprints – or, in layman’s standards, quick doodles – of airships and cycles.  With a sigh, he threw them into the box he carried under one arm and repeated the process with the next stack.

It wasn’t until after the entire carpeted floor was paper-free that Dylaneil stopped.  Dust was swirling in the air, having gathered from disuse, and they tickled his ears and nose.  He gave a quick sneeze before covering his nose with a silk sleeve.

Leaning against the desk, Dylaneil surveyed his work thus far.  The floor was mostly clear of all offending paper and books, but then the desk and tables were stacked mountain-high and the bookshelves were no neat organization either.  Enough was enough.  His back was starting to develop a dull ache and his ears, since he hadn’t bothered to wear a covering since he was going to be inside all day.

“Aejan!” Dylaneil called.  In walked a viera, one of the lower caste who had presumably just left the wood and needed a slow, steady wage before working up in the society.  Dylaneil had taken a vague sort of pity on her and taken her in, because lord knows she’d need all the help she could get in Archadian society, much to his mother’s dismay.  “Help me carry this up to the attic, will you, dear?” He moved to help lift the box, the giant conspicuous one sitting in the center of the room, but a book caught his sleeve and clattered onto the floor.  Dylaneil reached down and picked it up, a thin, hard cover, leather bound book.  With a shrug, he threw it into one of the box before lifting it.

“Here,” he said as his maid took the box.  He repressed the urge to support her after she took the luggage; it never ceased to amaze him how her sticklike arms could hide so much strength, although he should honestly be used to it by now.  His mother appeared the same way and he knew no stronger with a bow or halberd, and he himself didn’t look all that strong, yet he was long considered the most promising candidate for Judge Magister in a long time.

He followed her, helping her open doors along the way.  After she deposited the box, he had the door opened, smiling when she nodded with a small smile of her own as she exited, the only sign of fealty she would allow her high pride to display.  At first, she hadn’t shown a single curve in her lips when he had just met her and eventually hired her, like she was walking wood, but the moment he revealed his heritage in the removal of his hat that he habitually wore everywhere, she warmed up slightly, and as time went on, the rare treasure of her smile wasn’t quite so rare any more.

After she had left, he began to lose the door when his eyes caught on that book he had knocked over earlier.  He wasn’t sure why, but he felt compelled to at least see what it was about.  Unlike all the other books, this one was heavily worn, with dull edges drawn white and there was no title.  Almost as an afterthought, Dylaneil took the book under his arm before shutting the door and locking it.


Onto Chapter 2 >>

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