This is the first half of Chapter 2; each post from here on in carries the same question. How well is this all holding together?
ClnMyla was first to the conversation, he did not want Meradat causing this possibly unusual person to go all skittish and run.
“Pardon me for appearing slow. But would you be after claiming the responsibility for this conflagration?”
This caused the person to rise from their slouch and frown, arms unfolding and straying down to their sides.
“Just said that didn’t I?” they leant forward, teeth slightly barred “I set fire to that nasty place. Just like I’ve done before!!”
Closer inspection revealed soot stains upon her face, hands and clothing and then a stronger than through the background conflagration cloying aroma of smoke. ClynMyla felt there may be something to her claim.
“So you’d be making a career of this then?”
“Yer!” she waved a hand at them “Like you holies, it’s my vo-err-voc—“
“Vocation,” intoned Meradat, she nodded in response “And by your accent am I correct to assume that you have journeyed northwards all the way from the Blaggatinian peninsula, burning down places along the way?”
“S’right. Right up from Elinid,” she spat, quite profusely, narrowly missing clerical shoes “Rot-it-to the Fifth-Hell,” a pause to scratch their scalp “I’ll go back there one day an’ burn the whole damn place down!”
Meradat was normally a man given to action, either physical or verbal on the basis that assault took the foe off of their guard, however this person presented a collection questions which he felt, just this time, might be better dealt by his colleague. ClnMyla was of course all for talking.
“Well, miss, I take it, it is miss,” the arrival nodded, sniffed and followed it up by a wiping of nose on sleeve, which he took as a perverse sort of confirmation of her gender. “Just what would be bringing you on such a task?”
The girl raised her head, a thin smile about her face.
“I can smell nasty business I can,” a quick shrug “Not the robbing and cheating sorts, but that dirty creepin’ whitchie stuff, the stormihiggle or something,”
“Stommigheid,” Meradat corrected and being only able to restrain himself for very short interludes, loomed in asking “And just how do you burn things?”
ClnMyla winced, one odd answer here and the girl could be on the wrong end of an official Stommigheidate accusation. She swung out a small sack, previously hanging from the back of her belt.
“I got all I needs in here. All the natural stuff that will burn anywhere and anyhow. I can set fire to a riverbank if I fancies!”
After a hasty glance to Meradat, ClnMyla put on his most disarming smile.
“This scenting of things?” and he let the question deliberately hang there, letting her have her say.
“I just do. It’s a gift and I makes the best use of it. Soon as I got the chance to get out of the sproggle hole Elinid and into the open where I could think and smell straight, it all became very clear, an’ since then,” she shrugged, then looked back to the fire, losing herself in the sight, one hand idly tugging at her shirt.
ClnMyla moved between her and the flames, his smile determinedly fixed in a kindly manner, time to calm her down and learn more about the wheres and the whys.
“Well this is go news to our stretched and tired hearts. Another to the fight. My new cook, she’s fine at her calling and a most devout lady, will be only too glad to prepare you a decent meal and a hot brew. Would you care to accept the invitation?”
At the mention of food there was a low gurgling noise from the girl’s midriff and a swift lick of her lips, although her expression was guarded.
“No funny-bunny business?” she asked, eye narrowing “No having me take off all my clothes to check for sinful marks? No creeping up to me at night with your trousers off and nightshirt up?”
ClnMyla was fair certain Meradat’s nasal inhalation and exhalation of outrage had caused two attendant drafts. These being a precursor to a combination of tirade and apology against the ways of lax, unworthy and thrice-wretched members of The Ecclesiastes and how he had dealt with those he had apprehended.
“Ah, now you’ve started him off,” explained ClnMyla “He’s be going on about his colourful notions on how to cleanse our wayward brothers-in-faith and what’s wrong with the ruling councils . So unless you want to suffer a severe ear-ache you’d best accept my good graces and assurances and have a decent meal inside of you, for certain of the Good Lord God you’re looking as if you need one,”
The girl considered her feet.
“Yer, I’ll chance it,”
“Grand! I’m Translator Pastoral ClnMyla, that fellow with the endless vocal chords is Custodian Meradat, and you’d be calling yourself?”
“Karlyn, Karlyn Nahtinee,”
Before ClnMyla could comment on that, the blazing roof fell in, Meradat announced that there was no more to do done here and Karlyn Nahtinee was shepherded away.
The translator pastoral recognised in his associate concern as opposed to the usual custodianal displeasure. Firstly, on returning Meradat had merely dismissed the three translators with a curt statement that they had work to do amongst their communities, so they were obliged to leave the light supper and scuttle out into the night. Secondly, he had been quite willing for Widow Darroe to see the girl into the kitchen and had not even bothered to ask ClnMyla if the arrangement between Widow Darroe and Servant Harrdel was a ‘correct one’. Instead he had ushered the translator pastoral into his own reading room, where he at least allowed ClnMyla to sit down before he started.
“Let us ignore your previous mistakes in this matter,” Meradat did not wait for any agreement “And look at the issues to hand. We have a man who in his vanity has peered into places far beyond his capacity to handle, thus panicked and fled. Then, appears a strange young woman claiming an ability to trace such practices. The initial evidence suggests her close proximity to fire,” ClnMyla had to agree with that! “This in itself raises issues which will need to addressed as will her other claim to burn places at her whim,” at this juncture he stopped appearing to have argued himself into a corner; thus he paced, hands firmly clasped behind his back. Not being one to dwell too long on a problem the custodian stopped at the window and starred out into the damp and dirty night.
“So if she is as she claims although the risks are great and the weaponry to be handled very carefully there is no doubt that The Lord God has delivered unto me the means to do battle,”
Problems and issues assailed ClnMyla. Still out of breath he only half-rose
“Now Meradat my long-time associate in perils! You’ll not be thinking of taking that possibly unhinged young girl on one of your steely and messy jaunts? Sweet Mercy of God! For all we know she might be a little runaway dreamer who latches onto any event and claims it for her own doings. I’ll wager she believes she can hold conversations with flowers and the more pleasant of insects,” ClnMyla felt inclined to add a warning to the next part “And how can you be certain she’s not been sent to discredit you? You’re not the most popular of fellows amongst your ranks, upsetting your superiors and equals with your assertions of corruption, nepotism and laziness. You’ve seen off five assassination attempts to my knowledge. So they try discrediting. What could be worse than a middle-aged experienced custodian being made a fool of by a waif of a girl. It’s happened before, mind you from what I be hearing those were for natural reasons,”
The face drew taught and flint sharp, winter grey eyes became hooded.
“I am aware of all their potential tricks,”
And ClnMyla knew that as far as Meradat was concerned was the end of this part of the argument. The man fought his war on more than one front.
“Let’s return to whatever that fool saw. Did his dabbling offer a path to those from The Fourth Realm who would destroy this world and replace it will a Hell? This is not the first recent indication I have encountered” he settled into very grave expression. “Ideal fodder for the Obsidian Council daring to move beyond its own debauched covens. If I judge this girl to be one quarter of what she claims to be and is the only army I will have I will make it so. Although the Stommigheid is a bane, it is capricious and could turn against any one in its unpredictable tydes and tempests, thus the girl could well have been swept here for a purpose. I must speak with her now. You may rest,”
Oh upon my faith he’s in one of his fanatical stages. Surely The Obsidian Council is just a place for folk to pretend their lusts and unpleasantness have a reason beyond gratification? Surely The Fourth Realm is contained and far beyond? There again Meradat can be fearfully accurate in his summations… the man has been walking very strange paths for many years, experiencing the most peculiar of information and experiences. I don’t know! I’ll have enough to do with the authorities and gangs being a nervy as frogs about a fire; and neither being responsible, while suspecting each other. I think this role is getting to be more than one man’s work; pastoral indeed! Mind you he has a point; it will do no harm to be resting my eyes for just a fifty or so….
Meradat watched the man drift into a doze. For all his imperfect inclinations to Compassion and Tolerance ClnMyla was as best as could be hoped for in a declining Ecclesiastes. He was not the man for this long expected attempt by The Fourth Realm to once more absorb the World Physical into its maw