(c) Nin Harris 2007
“So, you’re from Mykologosia, hmm?” Rhees asks.
His stance is belligerent as he takes in my form, slouched outside the ornate front door of the House of Exiles. This Mishgalen loves the people of the city-state not, I suspect.
“Born and bred there, sir.”
“If that be the case, what are you doing here? Don’t you people want independence from Domus Exsulis?”
“Not quite, if by that you mean the Caretaker and the Guardian before him have ever ruled us. But they never have. The Guardian was never like that,” I protest.
The Mishgalen laughs, obviously amused by what he perceives to be my naivete.
“So sure, are you?”
“Very. If she ruled here, the Wild Hunt,” and here I stop, bravado running out; tears choke my voice.
Rhees considers me, “What have they done?”
“Taken them all. My parents, siblings, all of them. Razed our home to the ground.”
He opens the door wider.
“Here now, why’d they do a thing like that? They normally hunt their prey in the woods. Individually.”
“They’ve become bolder. Venturing into the city-state. Some say it’s Jezemiah Irlinus’s doing.”
Rhees raises an eyebrow, saying,
“They’ve been blaming old Jezemiah for anything and everything that goes wrong in the city-state for decades now. Old news. Give the old scarecrow a break.”
I shrug, because I know that Jezemiah’s bad news, no matter how you choose to paint it.
“So? Have you come to report this to the Caretaker? Come in, then.”
I step inside, shivering a little as I pass his immense, purple-hued form. They never had Ogres back home in Ferahia, and my family has not been in Yrejveree for longer than a generation.They used to call it StormLight when I was younger, but now the name has vanished from all the signs, thanks to the Caretaker and his Latin studies. Many resent this, but I remain intrigued. Books and textual obscurities are part of my inherited skills. My father used to be a Librarian in Ferahia, before the sea reclaimed great chunks of the City by the Sea.
The Half-Drowned City is what the Ferahian pirates call it now. And who knows what brought the sea? Perhaps I know, or suspect a little. I have even met her, when I was a child. They’d blame it all on her the way we blame it all on Jezemiah. I have visited with the Sirens of Alta Exsilii often, hoping they would give me hints of what occurred in my homeland. I do not think they like me enough. Perhaps it is because I am not a boy, but a scrawny woman instead.
And so I find myself here, in the House of Exiles. I am here out of a desperate hope that he remembers me, for I have need for a home.