Inside Mosac’s Almanac
'Inside Mosac's Almanac' is a series of books set in an alternative version of our Universe.
Much of Book One: 'Tendrils from Heaven', is to be posted on WDC for you to read and enjoy (or criticise) freely. All reviews of any part of this manuscript are very much appreciated and will be considered seriously when I next update and edit.
The full version of this 'Work in Progress' will be, or already has been, published on Amazon Kindle and can be found on the following links:
Inside Mosac's Almanac
Mosac is an *Arcanite Wizard who asserts influence from beyond the grave as the author of the 'Progues', a set of religious inprints (psychic books) that contain all knowledge. (*Arcanite - 'special order of')
Tendrils from Heaven
By Graham H Kershaw
Copyright (as it appears on Amazon)
2011 Graham H Kershaw
All rights reserved
No part of this novel may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, including those yet to be discovered, without permission in writing from the novel’s author and publisher unless parts of sentences need to be quoted in a review.
All characters in any of the publications in this series, namely: ‘Inside Mosac’s Almanac’, are fictitious. Should there be a resemblance to a real person it is not intentional, unless that person or figure was well known in history, literature or mythology before the start of the 20th century.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title and Authur
Lyrica, and Mosac’s Almanac
A Short Glossary - and Quell’s Timeline
SONGS OF TIME
INTO THE LIGHT
RUNNING WITH THE SQUILL
Lyrica and Chysk
Lyrica, and Mosac’s Almanac
Coson sidles up beside Pogal. “This is ridiculous. “Why should we cow tow to a lowly Poorac?”
The larger burracanel sniffs him with distain, and answers with menace. “Lyrica the Poorac runs this expedition. Do you have some sort of problem with that?”
Coson has crossed a line. “No, of course not, but why put him in charge of a prodigious exploration in these systems beyond empire?”
“You know why; you heard Lyrica’s speech at the exhibition on Sentin. Sentin is a long way from Turbor, Lyrica’s home, and yet he arrived by Progo Thunderbolt. When has a Poorac ever before had such an honour? These magnificent bubbles don’t often divert, not for anyone; the Poorac has an important mission, and you will respect that.”
“So, you think this new world really is Chysk, the ‘Cradle World’?”
“The evidence suggests so. Lyrica’s charts match the ancient Chysk Map. Things have been found on this world, Coson.” His last word has a tone of distaste to it.
Coson nearly argues, but changes his mind. “Yes, indeed, the dark piece of metal, fashioned into a blade is still sharp, despite its great age.”
“Don’t mess with me, Coson. You know what I mean; the rectangular slab. We all saw the face in it, and the symbols. Lyrica deciphered them; no one else could, Mosac’s Almanac’ that’s what it says. He read all the symbols, so he’s in command. Do you get that Coson? The face on the slab is human. We compared it to pictures in archive material. Humans are long extinct, but they bring our religion into focus. So leave Lyrica alone, or else!”
“What about Surruko?”
“Lyrica chose Surruko as an apprentice; you don’t have a say in the matter. Leave them both alone. I won’t warn you again.”
Coson lowers his head and backs off, dissatisfied. Why should I have to serve a Poorac? He thinks back to Lyrica’s speech on Sentin, and snorts. It built around ancient characters destined for the ‘Cradle World’, and began with a man called Belan.
A Short Glossary - and Quell’s Timeline
Asset- 100 credits
Beverum- A hot synthetic drink with a mild stimulant
Caref- An intelligent alien fish in the Grillot world
Contoid- A mysterious organisation
Credit- A unit of currency with the value of small a bag of sweets
Farrowirg- An invasive alien being (extinct in burracanel times)
Field barrier- A simple magnetic field powered by gales to resist themselves
Fover- A very large alien bird with intelligence and skill
Grillot- Olave’s servants and hunters
Groat- A lowly slave of Sargolus
Ikanwhistle- A Grillot signalling device for kilps
Inprint- An interactive book
Kilp- A vicious semi-intelligent alien
Onver- Storage to keep different types of food constantly fresh
Owscle- Not described in this book
Poco- Distilled beverum known for its toxic narcotic properties
Skrirsh- Small adaptable aliens with empathetic ability
Skyraft- A raft capable of flight
Squill- Olave’s victims and prey
Stasis- A living doorway of plants (plural: stases)
The fall of the Gods- Not of our time
Quell- Not of our time
White and Black Holes- Not datable
The first stars- 12 billion BC
The new Universe- 10 billion BC
The Earth is born- 4.5 billion BC
Moolbol- 1,200,000 BC
The earliest branch of mankind- 1,000,000 BC
The fall of mankind- PA11500?
The Burracanels- Over 100,000 years later
TENDRILS FROM HEAVEN
TENDRILS FROM HEAVEN (PA11166)
SONGS OF TIME
[A human lifestyle has a fee, for those who live alongside thee]
Derba’s version of: The size of Man, the size of Alice- Chy-Ru-Gu (PA10723)
SONGS OF TIME
Belan turns to shield his eyes from the howling wind, and comes face to face with a huge mirror screen on the cliff. His narrowed eyelids squint back at him, a glint of hazel in high-resolution set within a half shaved, chiselled face. He clenches his teeth in a smile. What a ‘sight to behold’, but he doesn’t complain; he values the screen’s job. Laser light measures water depth and the reflective mirror screen picks up alter images of this to help the pilots of boats.
Thirty-three years old and afraid of a damn dog! Pull yourself together man! His head jerks round to a mound of boulders; remnants from the last landslip, not that the landslips worry Belan - he knows this path, and the pattern of tremors upon it, like the back of his hand.
A sudden movement brings a sharp intake of breath; he expels it in a whistle of relief when a crow comes into view to pick at a bloodied lump of matted fodder. His relief doesn’t last. Jarred by a sudden squall, he struggles to maintain his footing on the cliff face path, but plants his feet to face this gust. Breaking waves, way below, batter everything they meet, apart from a stony beach dotted with boats. ‘The South Yard’, my workplace, but why did I ever allow myself to end up in there?
A familiar voice in his head sets his teeth on edge. Because of Mauree, as if you didn’t know. You should never have married her.
“I don’t want to know. I don’t want to think about it.” He strides forward with head bowed to keep his stony eyes on the beach, where he can see work colleagues as they cross the yard’s field barrier. On these stark rocks I feel hidden. Why would anyone bother to look up here?
He smiles at the circling sea birds. Yes, my beauties. You feed in the barrier, an inlet of calm, full of tiny fish and crustaceans. ‘Never you mind’ their silly boats.
Belan’s smile fades as a low howl sounds out; too close for comfort. Don’t look; ignore it. How many times have you turned to find a gust of wind echoing against the cliff to play tricks with the imagination? Despite his decision he can’t resist a turn of his head, ‘eyes on stalks’. He reaches for his absent sword as a huge canine comes into view; his elbow snags against a jutting rock. Why would I have a sword here? I don’t take swords to work. He grabs a stone instead, and hurls it at his drooling attacker, dead on target. The stone soars out toward the sea before it drops. Another low howl reveals the dog as a dust devil. It’s come to it when I start seeing things! At breakfast the canine shadow had prowled his lane; a black phantom on four legs. Even Mauree seemed nervy of it, and she has little fear of any dog. They kept their silence all the same, seldom speaking together these days. Wretched creature! He shakes his head and ploughs on. An imaginary dog! I’ll laugh at all this once I reach the calm air of the boat yard, and grab a hot cup of beverum.
You hate the boatyard Belan, and Mauree sent you there.
“She didn’t send me to ‘The South Yard'. I could have chosen 'Hurley' and taken advantage of its lucrative partnership with 'Sailess Sails’, my favourite firm as a boy.”
But you feared Hurley didn’t you? ‘Sailess Sails’ might have remembered the antics you got up to in their yards, as a youngster.
Belan strides out to purge this alien thought, but another gust catches him off guard blowing him sideways where he loses his footing on loose stones. He stumbles, but leans back to wedge his shoulder under an overhang. Stable now, he confronts the chill wind with a deep breath of salt scented air.
A large canine, just out of focus, disappears when he turns to it. He sees his present work project in the distance; a white, open cutter on those raised shingle banks that define the top of the beach. The boat stands between a huddle of untidy buildings; one of many boats down there. He gives a grimace and marches toward it, forcing his legs against the gale’s intensity. The voice in his head chatters again.
Pretend you hate this yard all you like, but you need it. You have no other release from Mauree.
His dogged descent enables him to blank out the intrusive voice; high winds in inconsistent squalls see to that. He calculates the arrival of each new gust; all of them fed by currents of air across the troubled waters, which ascend the cliff to batter him.
The whole channel churns in frothy wild circles with pinnacles of tall sharp pointed rocks standing out of the water, close to the cliff or out to sea, where they whip the high winds into violent eddies. This treacherous channel, called ‘The Strait of Lamprey’, funnels turbulence between two of the islands. The storm prone Crystal Sea feeds its rage - except on ‘crystal days’; rare days when high pressure dominates, and a sea of ‘glass’ inspires such a deceptive name for it.
He grabs a stunted tree to steady himself and survey the tempest. I can’t see it from here but farther around the coast, just out of sight, Hurley endures the same weather - with so much ease; a proper force field, not a mere field barrier. Hurley can afford it. Ever since the merger, boats built at Hurley dominate the ‘Sailess Sail’ boat fairs.
At double speed he battles the wind amid screeching seagulls. Get yourself inside the yard to safety, man.
* * * * * * * * * *
O’Fanor the elf, strains to see from the edge of his incarceration as he waits for a chance of freedom. He has no substantial form, but with a chance of release he keeps a careful eye on his old captor, and desperately avoids the beast.
His captor, an old man with ‘eagle eyes’ and a dark green smock, sits on a rock above a wind blown path, fixed in rigid concentration. Under his gaze a bamboo stake materialises to ‘shout’ its presence in silent colour- Pick me up! Pick me up! An edgy younger man descends toward a line of boats. Torn between the path behind him and seabirds in windblown flight he doesn’t see this beautiful lure, and as he passes by the stake and its colourful filaments fade and disappear.
O’Fanor holds his breath, as the man in the smock grunts with inaudible displeasure, and points a crooked finger toward a glass orb suspended above a fissure of intense black in front of him. The beast connected to the orb stirs, and its eye glints red. O’Fanor and the old man freeze. Moments pass before the beast averts its baneful eye. Not this time Moolbol. Not this time. The dangerous game to use your power in the orb succeeds . . . today. Nervous and excited, O’Fanor watches. My master needs me outside again, I can feel it. My release has come once more, at long last.
A more controlled glint of Moolbol’s light, inflected with dark, now gleams within this globe, and O’Fanor’s worldly body appears on the windblown cliff as a nasty long eared sprite. His trapped soul stretches and pulls - insides first, through a vortex to join it in the outside world.
The old man’s acrid whisper soon fills these new ears. “Ah, O’Fanor, good to see thee again; can thou see Belan?” He points toward the man on the path, the only man there. “I want thou to draw him to my knife.”
“Would you like him dead?”
“No. Just do as I ask. I will decide what to do next.”
Caught in the glare of daylight, O’Fanor shrinks back.
The old man reassures him. “Fear not the brightness, my friend. Thou will reside in Rodsorg’s shroud of shadow during the day, and at night thee has thine own powers, of invisibility. Rodsorg has become a little wayward of late, so it’s down to thou to control his canine shroud. His phantom teeth can bite, and even kill the fearful. Thou must stay him by day, an easy task for one such as thou. Soon, my staff should claim him for once and for all.” The elf stares with distaste at the shadow dog, but soon merges with it. A spectral dog how horrid, but at least it has a dark core and it must follow my commands. A ghost cannot defy an elf.
O’Fanor pursues the man to the bottom of the path where he enters a ‘weather’ or ‘field’, barrier. The elf cannot follow him; the barrier has a powerful magnetic core, and magnetism disrupts all things elfin.
I’ll have to let the dog go on alone. My master must realise this. Perhaps I can entice the man away from here. The knife will draw him to me after all. He retreats to the cliff, and creeps into the darkness of a small cave; more than happy to leave his unwelcome canine shroud to it for a while.
* * * * * * * * * *
Belan enters the barrier and waits for the air pressure to adjust. I can feel the dog’s presence. No, the dog doesn’t exist; I’m alone! The barrier passes by to reveal Creel, Belan’s work-mate; a short, stocky, inoffensive man - of little use at his job. Belan, himself no boat artist, all but carries Creel. Their boat has a sturdy hull of knitted fibres, hardened to a glossy finish, then painted white. In an attempt to save space wires replace the tiller by way of an awkward system of pulleys - now seized.
Belan surveys his list of jobs. I’ll start by replacing the keel band. That will allow the painters to scrape and paint the hull. I fitted one of the seats yesterday; didn’t have time to fix it.
He goes to the mess hut and pours a mug of beverum. Another Creel, known with affection as 'Hairline Creel', chats with their store man, Grong. Hairline Creel has a brand new bobbed quiff set in a rough, but effeminate, style.
“The razor cut makes the hair look more angled,” Belan hears him say. Grong nods, edging toward the door. Careful not to join this conversation, Belan forgoes the beverum and backs out to head for the box shed. Once there he picks up a tool bag full of yesterday’s tools and tips them into his box. After this ‘delicate’ operation he refills the bag ready for today’s workload. If it wasn’t for the legacy of faith would we bother with manual work at all? Machines had done this crap at one time, whilst people searched for immortality; then the Prophet Mosac revised Quell’s religion. Mosac encouraged the revival of these ancient crafts; he even made death fashionable . . . somehow.
He heads for the retail store to replenish his supplies, and to insult ‘Grong the Younger’, a junior assistant who shares overenthusiastic banter with Belan - almost anger filled with good humour. Housed in a shabby red brick building the store now stands alone, the last of a row of smart shops from a time before the boat yard; in its day a renowned fishing tackle centre, although you wouldn’t think so to look at it now.
Back at the boat Belan finds his workmate already in the vessel; busy - ruining one of the brand new pulleys. He smiles, and puts a plank of wood under the boat to lie on so he can work on the keel band.
For a short while he drills, seals and screws; then he stops. I can hear something sniffing. It sounds like the dog. Think man, think! The dog doesn’t exist. Now, ah yes, the keel band. Shit! I can’t find the screws. How the bloody hell can you lose a box of ‘poxy’ screws? He slides along the floor to get out for a better look, unable to turn in such a restricted space. On the way his hair brushes against the tube of sealant, so he jerks away causing the plank to slip; off balance he topples pushing the sealant tube in front of him to squash it with his face when the beach stops all progress. With a curse, he hits the offending screw with a hammer and hears Creel fumble with the ruined pulley in response. As Belan rolls out the pulley lands with a thump on a large pebble, just missing his sticky head. He looks around for the dog without success.
Getting up he finds the screws he’d lost, obscured by the plank which has turned and scattered them everywhere. He mutters about sealant as he trudges off to the toilet, the close call from his workmate’s botched job - turned missile far from his mind. Death by pulley doesn’t even occur to him.
The crunch of pebbles calms him by the time he reaches Hairline Creel, and his work-mate’s ‘big boat’. Hairline Creel combs his hair as he discusses work, which moves at a pace on the ‘big boat’. Belan stops beside their craft. ‘Creel with the haircut’ bobs down to align his new quiff in a mirrored window. Belan watches in amusement. “Busy?”
“Yes my good man; always busy here.”
Belan replaces the sarcasm with a hidden snigger. “What can I use to get this crap out of my hair?”
“See Grong,” he’ll know.
“Combat man, you mean?”
“You are a ‘silly-billy’. I mean Grong, the main store man.”
Belan finds it hard to resist a full smile. Yes, poor old Grong, subjected to a camp talk about hairstyles in the mess hut.
Hairline Creel leans over the boat and whispers. “Careful Duggan doesn’t catch you.”
“Catch me doing what?”
“Bringing pets into the yard.”
“Your dog, my good man.”
Belan’s amusement fades. The dog’s not real! Not real!
He takes a lock of his wife’s brown hair from his pocket and holds it to his cheek. How things had changed since she had cut this off to droop over his chin with that cute, quick smile; lost to him of late. I’ll never understand why you had an affair with an old creep like Ullit, Mauree.
They had such rows over Ullit. He may have gone now, but Belan still hears worrying rumours of others like him. I can’t reach her these days. Why does she avoid me? She even blames her affair on my cursed job. “If you didn’t spend so long in that place,” she once said; “we’d have more time together.” Belan had taken all this in, a bit like a donkey attracted to strawberries laced with poison.
I became an ace with the sword before we married, renowned for killing that piece of dirt called a pirate. Since then I’ve allowed us to drift apart.
The voice in his head chimes up again. No you haven’t! You’ve made sacrifices for Mauree. You’ve changed for her, but she never appreciates any of this!
“How did you get into my head in the first place, and why do you keep picking on my Mauree?”
She took a lover, not you, and I didn’t make her do it!
“If only I could speak with her. Perhaps we could open a vital breathing space.”
I doubt it. Why did she feel the need to seek out another at all? You blame yourself for something she did.
“Get out of my head! I’m no longer listening. Go away!” Belan takes a deep breath, and tries to picture the old shine in her eyes. Now I have this thing inside me! He sinks his head into his hands.
Ullit had caught Mauree at the wrong moment, and taken full advantage of her distress, before he robbed her and ran off. Belan recalls the moment he found out. Ullit called himself a swordsman; some chance of that. He’ll never return whilst I’m around. And as for the rumours of others, of my Mauree seeking out any man with a sword, I don’t believe it. Oh Quell, if you do exist, make it not true!
A glint hints of darkness and attracts his attention toward the path outside the barrier, a tempting flash of diabolical light. He moves toward it, and enters the high voltage magnets of the barrier’s powerhouse. A crackle to his left distracts him. Sparks fly from a magnetic terminal. It breaks his connection and the impure glow vanishes. I’m too close to the lightning points; they’ll kill me! Shaking his head he backs out and heads for the solace of a well-known red stone building.
Inside, Belan slaps the counter to startle Grong the Younger; part of Combat Control, an elite task force, or so he claims. Grong the younger has a brain like a used firecracker; time for mutual abuse mode.
As Belan walks in the young store man looks up obligingly. “What do you want, dipstick?”
“You don’t talk to important customers like that, sweetness.”
Grong snorts, picks up a mug of beverum, and gasps at the first swig as he sprays the whole mouthful over the counter.
“Watch it, you dirty bastard!”
“Urrg! My drink’s gone cold. With stretched lips Grong the Younger dashes to the door and tips the mug out, not far from a passing worker.
Belan pulls a face of exaggerated impatience as he waits for the young store man’s return.
Belan’s derision ignored, young Grong puts his mug into a bowl of unwholesome brown water and wipes the counter with a soiled rag. “Well, what have you forgotten this time?”
“Nothing at all. I’d like a small packet of enthusiasm, please.”
“What d’you mean? Got none? They don’t pay me to stand around whilst you prance around with a crap drink. You’d better get yourself in gear mate!”
Grong the Younger smirks, then turns his head and yells. “Grong! Grongolian! Gronng!”
An agitated reply comes from a littered desk in the room behind. “What’s up now?”
“Come here and sort this twat out!”
Grong comes out. He glances at Belan. “Oh, you again.”
“Can you give me something to get this out of my hair?”
Grong the Younger buts in. “What have we here; had your head in the seagull shit today have you? Not content with just watching the ‘shit hawks’ now, eh?”
“Try this,” says the other Grong, handing Belan a bottle.
“Thank you. Now, what about some enthusiasm? I’ll just have a pinch of it for now, please.”
“Sorry Belan. I can’t help you there.”
“Come on, cough up. You have it under the counter. I know your type. Or perhaps you’re busy back there on a new filing system - ‘v’ for verve; no, try ‘n’ for nerve, it’ll match the rest of the service in here.”
The store’s wily main man leans over the counter. “You haven’t tucked some enthusiasm in that overall pocket, have you? Popped it away to use at home or for some night out, instead of on these illustrious boats here?”
“Try putting the seagull shit in with it. You might start a compost bin. I doubt that anyone will notice the change in the smell,” Grong the younger suggests
“I’m not going to get my enthusiasm then?”
“Nope, ’fraid not, we don’t go in for enthusiasm in this store. Think yourself lucky I found something to remove the sealant.”
Belan smiles, but a cold shadow passes by outside. It sends a shiver down his spine. Grong the Younger gasps. “Wh . . . What’s that?”
“Some sort of creature,” his older compatriot answers, “but not one I’d like to meet.”
Belan trembles as the shadow of a large dog slips into the store behind him.
Grong the Younger grabs a pointed spade and leaps over the counter to drive it off.
Edging forward with spade extended in front of him the young man makes his way around the wall to the corner, where he faces the eyes and posture of an oversized, very angry, black hound. A low growl sounds out in warning. Grong stops, but with the spade as protection the hound has only one way to go; out again.
Duggan, the foreman steps into the store. He stares at Belan’s head, unaware of the drama in there. “What have you got in your hair?”
No one answers him, and he soon sizes the situation up; or part of it at least.
“Which one of you has brought a dog in here?”
“None of us, Duggan. Why would we bother to drive our own dog out with a spade?”
By now Grong the Younger has edged close enough to urge the dog backward. He probes in front of it insistently. In response the creature bars its teeth, but doesn’t give up as much as a centimetre. Grong raises his stature and lifts the spade higher. Still no good, in fact the dog moves right through this imposing implement. In a savage lunge it grabs the man’s arm. Grong drops the spade and staggers away with the dog clenched to his forearm. “Get it off! Get it off! Help me, please!”
Duggan wakes up to the situation. From his pocket he takes out a silver disc with the well-known etching of a grove of trees - the symbol of Quell. He tosses it into the corner occupied by this fearful spectre where it clatters to the floor, and now the dog does retreat. It turns away from Grong and hurries off.
Once it exits Belan slams the door behind it. I must get away from here at once. I brought that dog, and it has enough reality to injure Grong. Look at the gash on his arm! I can’t stay here frightening my friends any longer.
Belan checks outside to see if he can see it. “I’ve got to go; that thing was after me. It seems to have gone, for now.”
Grong takes a first aid box over to attend to his young assistant. “What do you mean, after you; why you in particular?”
“I don’t know, but I’ve had it on my tail all day. Believe me, I have to go.”
Duggan picks up his silver disc. “Head for Casley’s store then, Belan. He has many religious bits and pieces in there. If my disc can drive it away Casley’s store will too.”
Casley’s lay-by store. I don’t associate with 'Lay-by Casley'; too much of a believer for my taste. Still, at least I can clean my hair in front of his mirror.
Belan slips out and edges forward, imaging dogs around every corner, but he doesn’t make for the lay-by store for long. The same tinge of light turns his feet to the exit - until he catches sight of the dog ahead of him. It hasn’t seen me yet. He dodges behind a boat and heads for Casley again.
After a stagger across loose shale he stumbles into the lay-by store’s flimsy structure; little more than a large shed full of leftover clutter. Once inside he picks up some paper towels and wipes his face and hair in front of the mirror with the liquid from the bottle. It doesn’t take long to remove the sealant with this stuff.
Casley stands up to rub some crumbs of food from his lap and step from an alcove with a small table and chair. His white hair and the lines on his face show his age, but his elderly eyes have lost none of their vigour. “How can I help you, Belan?”
“Got any enthusiasm? I seem to have run out of it?” Having come here I’ll have to make some effort of normality.
“Of course I have. Here we have a box of enthusiastic shackles, and here some enthusiastic drop-nose pins. This store brims over with enthusiasm. Which selection would you like?” Belan backs away, in a poor attempt to disguise a grimace as a smile, unimpressed by this type of humour.
“Why would you need enthusiasm? At your age you have everything to live for. Read the Progues, my boy; read the Progues and you’ll never need for it again.”
“Oh yeah, right; old religious myths about huge vessels called ships travelling vast seas. I don’t think so, mister.”
Casley smiles; “you’ll find more to the Progues than ships, my boy, but The Progues do tell of a time, long ago, when huge fishing boats depleted even the endless wealth of mighty oceans.”
“Fairy stories, Casley. Credulous people followed Mosac. That’s how the Progues became the voice of Quell; at least they did to those who believe in such nonsense. Can you really imagine commercial fishing without the use of ‘Pelicans’, flying and diving for fish? Even as we speak they work the deep seas. I’ve seen people connect those sub aqua beaktraps to the bows of these marvellous craft. With their beaktraps attached Pelicans mimic a little known species of fish eating bird, but the sheer size of each Pelican and their resistance to all manner of storms take them one-step further than a bird. Who needs to believe the Progue Fables when we have such marvels in the real world?”
“Ah, the real world; you need the Progues more than you realise, Belan.” He stops, and stares at Belan’s face. “Yes, you do too. Your face has far too much grievance, my boy.”
“Never mind the bullshit. How about a few scoops of loose enthusiasm? You can weigh it out for me on Mosac’s hairy fairy scales, if you like.”
The old store man chuckles, but then his eyes narrow. Belan turns to see the huge canine shadow at the door.
Casley strides toward it. “What in Quell’s world? In the name of Mosac - go, vile creature!”
Belan stares in amazement as the shadow of this huge dog retreats, as ordered.
“That dog was sent here by someone with evil intent, Belan.”
Belan nods in agreement and grabs a wooden beam for support.
“Sit down a moment, my boy. Don’t worry; I’ve driven it away from the yard. You will not see it in here again, but you require Progue protection more than even I imagined. Head for Mosac’s Temple; your need will help you to find it.” Casley gives Belan one of his religious trinkets, a small bronze square on a fine chain. Give this to a priest in there. They will recognise it as mine. Whatever, or whoever, sent this beast did so for a reason, and I don’t feel good about it.”
“Th, thank you. I think I’ve seen that dog before, but I don’t know where.” He stumbles through the door, and no longer questions Casley, or his belief - not just now, at least.
Back at work he stares at his work-mate’s attempt to fit yesterday’s crafted seat the wrong way up. His illustrious work-mate saws it, and hammers it, even jumps on it to get it in. At last this twisted, battered fitment squeaks into place, but that leaves Creel to fill his enormous gaps with tube after tube of sealant; even with all this entertainment, Belan sits listless.
As he watches he catches a glimpse of the same glow outside the yard. Should I go to that glint on the cliff? Perhaps the answer lies there. Clambering from the boat he heads out of the yard and climbs the path again. As he draws closer a pointed rock on a bend cuts the persistent twinkle off. The dog appears there. Startled, he turns to retrace his steps, but as he moves the angles reveal the awful glint again, by the mouth of a small cave. His eyes fix upon it. I can see colour inside it - red, and movement; yes, deep inside, a rippling crimson, perhaps a flame, or something alive. No, the light has gone from it, only red feathers remain - caught in the wind they flutter from the end of a bamboo stick. I so want to hold them, but something feels wrong here and what about the dog? Oh Quell, I don’t know what to do.