“When did you get back?” asked Aaron. The two were seated at the small wooden table in Aaron’s kitchen. The sun was starting to rise, but the small light from the window was still less than that made by the various candles around the room. Two cups of freshly made cups of coffee were on the table.
“I got back from Caliban late last night. Your father mentioned that you had been around, so I figured I would stop by here after I finished up a few errands," said Steven. "He also mentioned the fireworks that happened last week.” Steven reached down for the coffee. He took a slow sip and continued, “So, the errands took a bit longer than I expected, and that’s why I’m here so early. I haven’t made it to bed yet. Well, more correctly, haven’t made it to sleep yet,” Steven said with a chuckle.
“Must have been important business to keep you from sleeping,” Aaron said with a grin. “As for the fireworks, it seems like that’s fine. She stopped yesterday, and things seem to have calmed down. I know that things are the way they are, but---“.
“Listen, Aaron. There’s no sense dwelling on it. You made a decision and you have to live with it. Besides, I hear you are going to head south. That is a big step,” said Steven.
“Yeah. Actually, Dad mentioned that he had something for me to do in Caliban. You know what he was talking about? I got so involved in the numbers yesterday, I forgot to ask him about that,” Aaron said.
“Well, I was there doing some protection work for a caravan delivery. The High road is still relatively safe, but the value of the shipment really required some extra guards. Pretty boring stuff and I can’t see your Dad asking you do that sort of thing. I do know that something odd is going on at the royal garden. At least, there are rumors about odd things,” Steven said. “The preparations for the prince’s arrival were starting when I got there, but the rumor was that something had been found in the garden. I tried to find out what it was exactly, but the common folks in town didn’t know or didn’t care.” Steven continued to sip his coffee.
“Well, I guess I’ll find out when I talk with Dad tomorrow. I am supposed to leave for Caliban then,” Aaron said.
“You need to watch yourself,” Steven said.
“More than normal? You think this trouble might affect us? There are always rumors about the royals, but it has rarely effected us,” said Aaron.
“I am not sure, but it did seem like there was something going on. The weave enforcers we had along all mentioned that something strange was happening. Nothing real specific and nothing that threatened delivery. But they did seem to be on edge a bit more than normal.” Steven paused and took in more coffee. After a moment of silence, he pointed at Aaron’s cup and said, “Are you even going to touch yours?”
“What?” said Aaron. “Sorry, just thinking about something. A djinni of mine said something to me a few weeks ago. I was worried about getting everything done for school, so I didn’t really pay attention. He was getting a book for me from the library in Caliban, and he said that travel was rougher than normal. I didn’t really think much of it, but djinn do travel the weaves and oddness in the weave could make the trips harder.” Aaron continued to stare at his coffee cup without moving.
“Well, Sophie was one of the enforcers. You should stop by the club and see what she says. She mentioned that she was going to stay there for a few days.”
“Sophie? I haven’t seen her in a long time. I thought Dad had sent her into the Eastlands or something,” Aaron said.
“Yeah, she met up with us in Caliban and came back with us.” Steven looked at Aaron over his cup. “You know, she did ask how you were doing.”
“Steven, Eva and I split a week ago. I am definitely not ready to start up with someone else, especially Sophie.”
“What? The scars scare you?” Steven said with a laugh.
“It’s not the scars. Have you actually seen her at the club? When she’s working as an enforcer? A few months ago, I saw her throw four men out because they whistled at her. And I mean she literally threw them out. They were a good four feet off the ground.” Aaron reached for his coffee and took a sip. “She’s a great girl. Heck, we’ve known each other forever,” said Aaron. “That doesn’t change the fact that I think you’d have to be crazy to get on her bad side, and I have a knack for pissing off women.” Aaron took another sip of coffee. “I will ask her about Caliban, though.”
Aaron leaned back in his chair, looking out the window and then around the kitchen. “I guess I need to figure out what to do with this place. I could sell it, I suppose. It’s just hard to leave. I’ve been here since I started school, and it really feels like home.”
“Ha. The heir to the Dragonwood fortune is worried about some house in Elsford. You know your father has a house in all the capitals just because he doesn’t really like to sleep in inns? You really are too much Aaron,” said Steven.
Columns by Marc