“Ingram get up, will you!” screamed Clarice from across the house. The ancient mullioned window cast a checker board of brilliant morning sunlight onto the dark walnut floor. Ingram dressed up and walked into the kitchen as slothful as possible to see what Bennet and Clarice were up to. It was only Clarice.
“Waking up can be really harsh, especially if your dreams are better than reality. The saddest part of it is, though, that eventually even the memory of your dream will fade – if you are even lucky enough to remember it that is. Then you’re left with this lonely feeling of detachment” she looked at Ingram’s confused face and just smiled. “Okay! Quickly eat your breakfast, we need to go to Vesuvanite.” Her voice was so commanding Ingram did not even bother to ask why.
He ate his breakfast while Clarice got ready and they left as soon as she was finished. They reached the gates of Vesuvanite after a long walk.
Vesuvanite is nothing like Hauyne. It was home to the rich like merchants, traders, architects, etc. It was a beautiful place to live. The roads were lined by gemstone traders and moneylenders. While most people travelled by horses and rented wagons, the even richer community of Vesuvanite travelled by wagons of their own. Going further into the city, came the residential area. The houses were enormous blocks of beautiful buildings with high walls surrounding them, it was almost impossible to get a peek of the house as it was further inside from the walls. Ingram imagined the house to be surrounded by trees, flowers and also a huge wooden door with a brass door knocker. The even richer community stayed in Manors, commoners weren’t allowed into that area. After this long walk across the town they reached the docks. The docks here were richer. Ships were bigger and more luxurious. The goods transported were exotic stones, paintings, clothes and exotic plants. It was neater and more organised than that of Hauyne.
“Clarice! Where are we going? Do you have some work here? Is something wrong?” She took out a small piece of paper, read the name on it and said “Look for a short bald guy with a small boat, his name is Bogdan. Ask around” and she tried to split away from Ingram when he caught hold of her hand and said “let’s stay together”. She wasn’t quite pleased but did not argue with him. They asked a few people around but found nothing. They reached the end and found a small boat enough for just 4 people and a man was already inside. Ingram took the lead and peeked into the boat, a short bald man was resting inside.
“Hello. Mr.Bogdan, umm! Bennet sent us here. You are Mr.Bogdan aren’t you?” Clarice asked him showing him the piece of paper. Ingram was still holding Clarice’s hand, she did not mind it. She knew he was concerned and protective about her. Bogdan signalled them into the boat and he set off, they rowed away from Axinite. Clarice and Ingram knew something was shady about all this but they trusted Bennet’s judgement.
They sailed for a while, Axinite looked like a huge rock no buildings were visible anymore. Bogdan did not utter a word all this while which made Clarice and Ingram suspect him furthermore. But, they were willing to go to any length and take any amount of risk to reunite this family. They finally saw an island and a house on it, they tried to look for more houses but that was the only one. The whole island looked like one person’s, though the island was small it was pretty enormous for just one house. As they came closer the building became clearer, they got out of the boat and walked towards the house. There were no walls to this manor but there was a wall of guards around the house. The Manor grew out of the manicured lawn like an infant castle. Its nascent stone walls were a pale grey and were barren of the moss or ivy that clung to the walls of the older homes in the village. Its large oak door was double wide and was sheltered under a wide porch supported by stone pillars. The driveway was grandiose, sweeping into a wide circle in front of the dwelling with an ornate fountain in the center.
“Bennet said you had some missing family after the blaze, anything you wish to ask Mr.Drazhan will be through me, make it small and quick Mr.Drazhan is busy” Bogdan said in a rather rude tone.
“My family got lost after the blaze, I know most of them moved to Mirefield but then if Mr.Drazhan-” at this point Bogdan threw a stare at Ingram “any information about any other place they could be will be really helpful. Thank you.”
“Wait by the fountain” Bogdan snapped and disappeared into the Manor.
“Who is this guy Clarice?” Ingram asked.
“From what I know he’s one of the most dangerous men in Axinite territory, he was once a famous smuggler and wrecker but now he works with the king. He’s a criminal and I am sure about that.”
They looked around the fountain for a while. They heard the door open, Bogdan walked towards them in a rather irritated fashion. “Mr.Drazhan says that some children were captured by King Urgern and then were sold as slaves and prostitutes to Dybbukh (In Jewish mythology, a Dybbuk is a malicious possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person). My guards will take you back to Axinite now.” He abruptly finished.
Clarice was scared, this is the first time fear was visible on Clarice’s face. Her hand went cold and she was shocked “Where is Dybbukh!! Where is it??” she bellowed at Bogdan. Bogdan snapped his fingers and the guards dragged them. Ingram pushed the guards away from Clarice, “We can walk on our own!” he said in a firm voice.
The journey to Axinite was a long one. Clarice buried her head into her hands and was shivering with fear. Ingram rubbed her arms and tried extensively to stop the shivering. “Clarice they can be in Mirefield too” he said, but then he was scared too, he expected the worse to happen even though Mirefield was an option. But for now his priority was to help Clarice.
“NO! THEY WON’T! I KNOW” She screamed at him. She gave him a look, a look that was drenched with fear and sorrow. This was the same look she gave him yesterday when she couldn’t tell Ingram about her past.
“Clarice! Is this got something to do with what you said yesterday?” he whispered. She nodded and that nod began to burgeon a new fear into Ingram’s head.
The boat had docked.
For the next chapter: Chapter 10: A Swing Of Emotions.
For Chapter 1: Chapter 1 : Emancipation