Chapter 5

Chapter 5

A Chapter by Johnzo
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Cassidy finally gets to present the Cytech guild's offer to Trede. Later that night Trede has a strange visitor, and a stranger proposition.

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Traz ran his furry fingers across his long whiskers as he peered down the street.  No one had walked by in several minutes.  Without anyone to talk too he was definitely getting bored.  He wondered if he should go check on Trede at this point, but silently decided to wait it out just a bit longer.  Cassidy was quietly sitting by the door of the Marshal’s office.  The sun had nearly set and as dusk set in the town it had a different feel to it.  The rough-hewn wooden buildings carved dark shadows into the remaining sunlight, giving an almost mysterious look to what had simply been mundane not too long before.  Cassidy began rubbing her eyes and yawned deeply.   After being forced to sit still for a while, she had realized how tired she really was.  

A few more moments pass. 

“That’s it!” said Traz.  “Time is time enough.  I’m going to pop in, see what’s going on.” 

Half asleep, Cassidy was barely able to react.  She just looked over wondering if she should object. 

Traz stood in front of the door, straightened his cloak while nodding his head.  He reached to the handle and slowly pulled the door open and peaked around inside.  He saw Trede walking back towards the door, but the Marshal was calling after him.

“Are you sure you don’t have anything else to say?” asked the Marshal standing behind a desk near the back of the room.  His voice was stern.  

Trede paused for a moment.  Without turning he said somberly, “I’ve told you already.  I really don’t have anything else to say.”

“If it turns out you’re involved in anything that’s going on here, we’re going to be seeing each again other real soon.”  The Marshal had such a noble reputation; Traz wondered what Trede had done to raise such ire and concern. 

Rather than hiding Traz let the door hang open and waited for Trede to walk out. 

“Let’s go,” he said as he came out the door closing it behind him. 

“The Marshal seems a bit concerned does he?” asked Traz. 

“Per usual,” said Trede.  “Let’s get out of here.”

Cassidy stood up and dusted her self off.  “Where are we off to?” she said smiling.  She could tell Trede wasn’t in the best of moods, but she wasn’t about to let him go at this point. 

“You hungry Traz?” said Trede.

“Indeed!  I thought you’d never ask,” he replied with renewed interest in the moment.  “I believe I’ve seen a suitable establishment or two nearby, let’s be off to the cuisine!”

Cassidy fumbled for something in her pocket.  She pulled out a slip of paper; she still had the voucher she received from the innkeeper.  Reading the name of the restaurant she said, “Great, I’ve been wanting to try the Charris pub.  How about we go there?” Cassidy had no idea really if this place was even worth checking out, but she was hungry too and was willing to risk it.   

“Yeah, I like it over it there.”  Trede was really quite starving, he hadn’t eaten all day and with the sun setting he was really beginning to feel it.  Despite being shaken up from getting interrogated by the Marshal, he wanted to move on with the day and forget about it.  “Let’s head over.  It’s just around the corner”

“Excellent!” said Traz.

The three started down the street to the Charris pub. 

They reached the pub.  Trede had been to this place many times in the past, but for Cassidy and Traz it was a first.  The sun was all but completely set, but the inside of the pub was well lit.  Not all the buildings in Smisom had electric lighting, but public places like this for the most part did.  Most buildings like this would usually keep private power generator in the basement.  Many times these machines would also be privately maintained and prone to breaking down, much like the water boiler Cassidy had fixed at the inn.  The Charris’ inn power generator was working fine on that evening though and was a bright inviting site as the lack of sunlight was starting to bring a chill into the air. 

The group went inside and found a table in the back.  There were nearly two-dozen people in the pub that night, mostly cargo workers, merkant office staff and the like.

“Yes, absolutely a fine establishment,” Traz noted as they sat down.  “It’s been a while since I’ve had human cuisine as well, I’m surely in for a treat.”  His eyes bounced back and forth across the room taking in the surroundings.  The round wooden tables in the center of the room were neatly arranged.  There were a number of square tables lining the back and right wall from the main entrance.  The left wall was where the bar sat lined with several stool seats. 

“So what do you recommend?” asked Cassidy.

“They have some good udon bowls.  I like the cured meats too.” Trede spoke plainly as his eyes glances over a menu board posted on the wall just over their table.

“Ah, very good.  I’d be most pleased to sink my teeth into some udon and meat.  I shall have both!” said Traz happily. 

The group ordered their meal and continued chatting about inconsequential matters.  Cassidy held back any imposing questions relating to her Cytech mission and Trede’s staff, though she appreciated Trede’s candor talking about the places he frequented around town, and some of the inns and outs about being a courier from a more remote area. 

Although Trede had only met these 2 earlier this same day, the tiring events of the past 12 hours and being at a familiar place like Charris made him feel comfortable to talk about himself more than he normally would. 

The food arrived and Cassidy saw an opening.  Since Trede seemed more open to conversation at the moment, she gently introduced the subject of her object. 

“So Trede, I’ve noticed you that staff you’ve been carrying around.  It seems very interesting, where did it come from?”

“Oh that,” Trede paused.  “I made it a few years ago.”  He raised his chopsticks and took another bite of his favorite udon bowl.  “It’s gotten me out of jams on more than one occasion.” 

“It’s really quite something, you must be quite the inventor to have built something so advanced.  How many cytrons of energy can it produce?”  Cassidy said, hoping she wasn’t pressing in too much. 

Trede paused a moment as he was eating and a curious look grew over his face.  “How would know about my gunstaff, I haven’t used it since we’ve met?”

“Ah well…,” she said nervously.  “You see I’m from the Cytech inventors guild, we’re always keeping tabs on interesting inventions that show up around here and there.  Do you know much about the Cytechs?”

“Not so much.  I deal with the merkants all the time and sometimes the hunter’s guild, but the cytechs tend to stick to their own,” Trede said nonchalantly. 

Traz was too busy eagerly stuffing his face to enter into the conversation, but his left ear tilted to one side as if he was listening in. 

“Well, it’s usually because we’re quite busy doing research,” Cassidy responded somewhat defensively.

“So what are you doing way out here?” Trede asked. 

“I was sent by the guild leaders to find you actually.  Your invention has caught the attention of some of the master inventors.” 

“Well it’s not for sale or anything like that,” Trede had stopped eating and Cassidy could tell he was wondering where this path of conversation was going. 

“It’s not the staff they want exactly, it’s you.  I’ve have been authorized to bring you back to the main headquarters of the Cytech guild for induction into the guild!  They want you to come back to Sedenza with me so you can show everyone how your gunstaff works.  I’m sure you’ll learn a lot from them, and probably even be able to improve its design.  This is really quite an honor for you!”  Cassidy took a great amount of pride in being part of the Cytechs, and her excitement in fulfilling her assigned mission was very noticeable. 

Trede didn’t react right away.  He just sort of stared off for a moment.  “Look I don’t think that’s a good idea.”  He paused.  “I’m not really an inventor type.”

“What do you mean?  Your gunstaff is really quite advanced; the reports we have say it can create vast amounts of energy, which is amazing for it’s small size.   Just think of all the applications your technology could have!”

“Reports?  What do you mean, have people been watching me?”

“Well we’ve done some investigation here and there, but I-“

“What sort of information do you have on me?”  Trede sounded nervous. 

Cassidy reached into a pocket on her bandolier and pulled out her recruitment sheet.  “Just some general info, location, career, invention details.”

“Let me see,” said Trede.

“Ah… Sure.”

Trede grabbed the sheet from Cassidy’s hands and began reading. 

Traz looked up from his nearly empty dishes and let out a hardy belch.  “Seems you have some admirers, how nice!”

“What else do you know about me?”  Trede asked. 

“That’s it really, that was all the info I was given.  Why?”

“It’s just...  Well, it’s seems strange to be observed from afar.”  Trede handed back the piece of paper.  This was not what was going through Trede’s mind really, but he wasn’t about to let on that there were certain secrets that he preferred stay hidden.

“Well it’s pretty normal procedure.  So what do you think?  Will you come?”

“To Sedenza?  I…  I don’t know.  I don’t think I really want anyone messing around with my staff.” 

“This is a huge honor though, you would be working directly with one of the master inventors!”  Cassidy couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t jump at this chance. 

“I’m not really a inventor type.  Being cooped up all the time.  I don’t think so.  I like traveling, I’ve never been one to stick in one place for too long.”

“Trede I don’t think you realize what a big deal this is, most people have to fight there way into the guild.  You’ve been requested, it’s almost unheard of!  You really can’t turn that down?”  Cassidy’s brazen nature was starting to show through as she slowly lost her cool. 

Trede stood up.  “At least for now I can.  Look I just got back to town from a long trip; I’ve got some personal matters to attend to.  I’m not leaving town for a while at least.”  Trede paused and rubbed his eyes.  The dark circles under his eyes began to show his fatigue.  “Thanks for the offer but, I’ll pass.” 

Cassidy almost panicked, but she had one last idea.  “Don’t say no just yet!  We can talk again tomorrow, let me tell you about the guild house in Sedenza, some of amazing things you could see and do while you’re there.  Just hear me out, you might find it a bit interesting.”

“Well…” Trede hesitated. 

“Besides, you owe me one for claiming your crate off the northline, right?” 

“I guess so,” Trede said begrudgingly.  “I’ll be on the main market place road tomorrow around midday.  You can find me there.”

“Come on Traz, we’ll go to my place.” 

“Well at least me to pay for the meal in reward for such excellent company.  This has truly been a pleasure.”

Cassidy asked, “I didn’t think Selahns carried human money?”

“I’ve been saving up,” Traz winked with a smile.  He pulled out a sizable and bulging purse and plucked out several coins of varying sizes.  He placed the coins on the table and hid the purse back inside his cloak.  “There.  Shall we off?  Good evening Miss Cassidy, until tomorrow.” 

Trede and Traz exited the pub and took a right outside after stepping out the door.   “So he lives on the north side of town, good to know.”  Cassidy wasn’t terribly pleased with the outcome of her recruitment pitch, but she still had a chance and that was a job well done enough to go back to the inn and get a good night’s sleep. 

Cassidy left the Charris pub and headed back to the inn.  The moon was out and beaming brightly as she reflected on the day.  I’ve got one more chance.  This time I won’t give up. 

 

 

Trede and Traz walked through the dark town streets heading back to his home on the north edge of town.  He ran into his old friend Mior on the way there.  Mior was an older man who lived a few houses down from Trede.  Mior had taken it upon himself several years ago to keep an eye after Trede seeing as though Trede didn’t have any family of his own.  He would bring him food from time to time and look after Trede’s house while he was out of town.   Trede had lived alone for as long as he could remember.  He never knew his parents and just grew up fending for himself.  Mior was the closet thing Trede had to family, though he never really pried into Trede’s business.  Trede wasn’t even sure what Mior did for a living, but it didn’t bother him.  It wasn’t that they weren’t close, but they had strong unspoken respect for one another.  And that was enough for Trede. 

“I left your porch light lit and started a small fire for you.  Nice to see you home,” said Mior. 

“Thanks Mior.  Glad to be home.”

Mior waved and nodded his head and continued walking on back to his home. 

“Amiable sort,” said Traz. 

“Yeah.  Yeah, he’s a good guy,” said Trede.  They came up to Trede’s house and there was a burning oil lamp hanging from the door just as Mior said.  “Well here we are.”  Trede opened the door, which wasn’t locked.  He didn’t really keep anything of value anyway, so there wasn’t really any point.  The two went inside and Trede hung the lamp up over the small woodstove in the corner of the main room.  Trede’s house was quite small, one story with a main living space and separate bedroom and washroom.  It was a bit dusty in parts since no one had been home in weeks, but it was uncluttered and looked well kept. 

Trede and Traz sat up for while talking.  Trede talked a little more about growing up in Smisom, Mior, his run-ins with the Marshal and some of the places he traveled as a courier.  Traz found even the most mundane details enthralling, but he could tell Trede was getting a little tired talking about himself.  Traz shared a brief story about a recent humorous failed fishing attempt.  Trede, tired as he was even chuckled a bit. 

The night was drawing on. 

“Well, you’ve seen my home this morning, and here I am at yours this evening.  This has been a long day indeed.”  Traz stretched and let out a huge yawn.  “I always get tired when I’m near a bed.  Would you mind if I dozed right off?”

“No that’s fine.  There’re two beds in the back room anyway.  Came with the place when I moved in.”

“Ah very good.  Well my friend, until the morning.”  Traz dismissed himself and went into the bedroom. 

It wasn’t long before Trede heard some faint snoring.  Trede wanted to go to sleep himself, but he had a couple merkant logs to fill out.  He knew he had to hand them in the next day to make sure he was in line to receive new carrier shipments.  His mind wandered.  He was worried about sleeping.  Last nights nightmare was so fierce he was afraid to sleep, but he could barely keep his eyes open, he had to give in. 

As he walked towards the bedroom, he saw a figure move past his window in the side alley.  He heard some rustling too, so he decided to check it out.  We went outside, and went around to the side of the house.  He looked in the alley, but saw nothing but the black of night.  As he turned to go back inside and he heard a voice. 

“There’s a bright moon tonight.”

Trede jumped and turned.  There was a figure cloaked in black and red barely visible in the shadows at the end of the alley.  Trede had foolishly left his gunstaff inside, his heart started racing with fear.  “Who are you?”  Trede stood at the ready.

“It wouldn’t matter if I told you or not.  But I came here for a reason.”  The stranger’s voice resonated in a clear baritone. 

Trede held still and stared down the dark alley.  He wanted to run, but he was frozen solid and his legs just wouldn’t move.  He managed to speak, “What do you want then?”

“I need you to do something, and I think you may find it beneficial.”

“You’re going to need to be more specific than that,” said Trede still on edge wondering if he was going to be attacked. 

“I have a very valuable parcel I need transported.  I’ve heard you take riskier assignments than most.  This one will be well suited for you.  You will need to leave tomorrow.” 

“Hold up, I didn’t sign up for anything yet.  Where’s it even going?”

“Sedenza.  I have a map of the city marking the delivery point.”

“Sedenza’s a 5 day ride!  I just got back from a long trip.  I think I’ll pass.”  Trede’s nerves were a little more at ease now, but the thought of another exhausting long trip was the last thing he wanted to think about.   

“This is more than just a plain courier run Trede.  There are a lot of answers to be found in Sedenza, for those willing to look.”

“I don’t have time to get philosophical-“ Trede was cut off.

“When was the last time Trede?”  The man’s voice grew more stern and forceful.  “A few days or was it just last night?  Was it anyone you know this time, anyone you care about?  How long will you let this danger threaten those around you?  How long will you hide from it?”

Trede’s mind erupted in thought, “He knows?  How could he know?  I’ve never told anyone!  Trede spoke, “What do you know about me?”

“I know that you’re different Trede, different than anyone in this town or in this entire world.  And I know that you want to know why.  Go to Sedenza Trede, to find what has eluded you up until now.”

Trede felt sick to his stomach.  He had tried so hard for years to cover the dark secrets he carried.  He was too ashamed and afraid to face them, and now it appeared his secret was no longer hidden.  “Tell me,” Trede said in a tired and forlorn voice.  “Tell me why.  Why does this happen to me?”

“Answers can be found inside oneself.  It takes experience and a little guidance to draw them out.”

“If I already have the answers in me, why do I need to leave Smisom?”

“The experience you need cannot be found here Trede, otherwise you would have found it already.”  The man paused, “I will speak no more of this matter.  The offer is made.  I will find you tomorrow, be ready to leave on the midday carrier.  If you choose not, you will never see me again.” 

“How can I trust you?  I don’t even know you or even your name,” said Trede.

The man took a step forward into the moonlight revealing his cloaked features showing over the top of a red scarf and black garments.  His eyes shined blue in the faint light.  “I can tell you this.  Early in the coming morning there will be an incident here in town.  After that you may have a stronger motivation to leave Smisom.  In that you can trust.”  The man turned to leave but stopped before rounding the corner of the back alley.  “And Trede.  My name is Maej.  Until tomorrow.”  With that he completely disappeared out of the alley into the dark of night. 

Trede stood still for a moment trying to take in just what happened.  Somebody knows…  Somebody knows.”  The thought would not stay out of is mind and brought a great sense of worry.  But could there really be an answer to this curse?  Is there really a reason why?”  There was another elusive thought he almost didn’t dare to realize, “Is there really way to stop it?  These terrible dreams…” He didn’t want to ponder it too deeply, for such a hope if turned false would be too much to bear.  Trede went back inside wondering if he should take the task to go to Sedenza.  Maybe after a night’s sleep I can think with a clearer head.”  Trede entered the bedroom.  Traz was still there lightly snoring.  His right ear twitched a bit but Trede could tell he was fast asleep.  Trede lay down in bed.  He put his hands over his eyes, “no dreams, no dreams, not tonight.  Within a few minutes he was asleep. 



© 2010 Johnzo


Author's Note

Johnzo
I've decided to only do a once over proof/quick edit for now. I want to maintain some momentum to get to the end before doing any serious editing. If some of these recent chapters seem rougher than the first two, they probably are. I feel like things are really starting to get going in this chapter though, any comments about pacing/tempo etc?

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There are a few typos in the last two chapters, but it's a great story! i'm envious on how you can describe the actions and settings.

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on December 1, 2009
Last Updated on January 28, 2010


Author

Johnzo
Johnzo

Bridgton, ME



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For more info on my little world, visit: www.echowake.com -Latest post: 2nd Draft Preview My favorite stories are usually ones that have a bigger world behind them, a story behind the story that.. more..

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Nightmare Nightmare

A Chapter by Johnzo