Secret Tales:

The secret tales are a collection of short stories from the world of Equillian. Some are relevant to the Archives of the Night-Watcher series and some are not. They started as a way for me to share pieces of my book that got discarded along the way, and have since developed into an avenue for me to create side stories from the same world. Please note that they are not properly edited and polished, but hopefully a fun read all the same.

~Your guide to Equillian, K.L. Harris

(All tales are subject to copyright)


The Secret Tales of Equillian

1-4. Rufus        5. Sky View      6. Patrick

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Secret tales of Equillian 1-4/ K.L. Harris

Rufus

1

Rufus sat in his family’s sitting room admiring his mother’s collection of Enchanted Objects. His father was busy in his office, as per usual, running the family business. They owned ninety five percent of the brothels in that region, making them the wealthiest family in Southview. They were even wealthier than the duke and duchess. Henry’s father didn’t care that it wasn’t good for their reputation,

“Why would you need reputation, when you have coin?” he would say, “I’m doing nothing but providing supply where there is demand, It’s simply good business. Anyone who can’t see that, can rot in their cells of small mindedness and snobbery!”.

But Henry’s mother minded, it didn’t matter how much gold they had, she still wasn’t included in any of the upper social circles with the other Lords and Ladies. Nor was she accepted in the social circles of the lower class, simply because she was wealthy. She had no need to work, and the house was fully staffed with servants to look after the household duties. This meant that generally on most days, she was depressed. The one thing that she enjoyed which made her light up besides Rufus, was her Enchanted Objects. She was fascinated by them, she marveled at their beautiful craftsmanship and the fantastic things that they could do. Because of this, she had a LARGE collection. Rufus, shared her fascination and appreciation for them, and dreamed about one day becoming an apprentice at the Alchemists House of Discovery.
He carefully ran his fingers over an ornate wooden box that was delicately carved with flowers, painted in pink and green. He opened it and a gentle music played as the inside of the box became reflective like a looking glass. To Rufus the box was empty, but he knew that if his mother opened it, it would be filled with her most treasured jewelry that had been passed down through her family for generations. The box was made to protect its contents from anyone but the owner. On the writing desk, there was a stack of self-combusting parchment that disintegrated into a pile of ash after the intended receiver had read it, and a quill that wrote in invisible ink that could only be seen by the person that the letter was addressed to. In the glass cabinet, there was a pair of golden silk dance slippers that moved the wearer’s feet in time with any music, making it impossible to miss a beat. On the table, was a silver Goblet that was spill proof. Any contents that it held stayed contained in the vessel except for when someone drank out of it. Rufus’s old sippy cup had the same Enchantment, he used to spend hours turning it upside down and throwing it across the room trying to outsmart it, but never could. There was a great Grandfather clock that never had to be wound, a set of kitchen knives that never lost their sharpness, and silverware that never tarnished, the list went on and on.

Rufus’s favorite, was a very special piece that his mother had given to him on his seventh birthday. It was a glass orb that inside had colorful replicas of every planet, sun, moon, and star in their solar system. They all moved in perfect unison with the cosmos. He could sit and watch it all day. The best part, was that it sat on a copper stand that had a place to hold Everfire beneath it. When lit, the light would pass through the orb and project an image of the moving solar system right onto the ceiling.

Rufus’s mother suddenly appeared in the doorway,

“Rufus darling, the optician is here for your father. He’s brought his son, play with him won’t you? I bet he would like to see your orb.” She said.

Rufus rolled his eyes, “Ok” he said begrudgingly.

His mother smiled her warm smile and a young boy that couldn’t be any older than five walked timidly into the room. He had black hair that stood on end and deep blue eyes. There was something funny about him, Rufus couldn’t put his finger on it, but he could tell that the boy was different.

“My name is Rufus” he greeted, holding out his hand to the boy just like his father had taught him. The boy took it with a much firmer grasp then he’d expected from someone four years younger than he was.

“I’m Casio” the boy said. “What’s wrong with your Dad’s eyes?” he asked, clearly regretting it the second it had come out of his mouth.

But Rufus didn’t mind, “I don’t know, looks at paper work all day in bad lighting I guess. They have been getting worse the last few years. But I suppose your dad should know what’s really going on with him, that’s his job, right?”.

Casio looked at his feet, “He’s not my dad, he’s my uncle.”.

“Oh, sorry. I just thought...cause my mother said...never mind. Do you want to see my orb?” Rufus asked, holding up his prized possession.

“Wow! Can I hold it?” Casio asked looking at the glass ball in fascination.

“Sure, just be careful” Rufus said, and handed it over.

Casio took the globe in both hands and sat down to gaze into it, “I’ve never seen our solar system in motion before, only in illustrations at school. How does it work?” he asked.

Rufus sat down next to him, “It’s an Enchanted Object, nobody but the Alchemists know how they work, that’s the beauty of it.”

“But surely, it can’t be a real replica?” Casio said.

“Why do you say that?”

Casio pointed to their blue planet floating in the globe, “There’s an island in the desert ocean, but everyone knows there’s nothing there but the floating dregs.” he said.

Rufus took the orb from Casio and inspected their planet closely as it spun, “Your right, I never noticed that before. Someone must have messed it up.”.

“It’s still incredible though” Casio said reassuringly.

But Rufus felt robbed, he’d always imagined that his small universe was a magical link to what was really in the cosmos above them. Now that there was a mistake, it felt like some cheap gimmick. “Here, you have it” He said giving the orb to Casio.

“Really?! I couldn’t, are you sure?” Casio said unbelieving.

“Sure, why not? I bet you couldn’t afford something like this anyway. My mom could buy me another one tomorrow” Rufus said.

Casio took the globe in disbelief, “You’re right, we could never afford this, not in a million years.”.

In that moment Casio’s uncle popped his head into the room, “You ready, kiddo?” he asked cheerfully.

“Be right there!” Casio said before turning to Rufus, “Thanks” he said, and smiled at him gratefully.

“Don’t mention it” Rufus replied and watched the boy go. He immediately regretted his decision to give his globe away, but it was too late. When I’m an Alchemist, I will make myself a real one, a better one, he promised himself.

 

2

When Rufus was twelve his world came crashing down. The headline of the Equillian times read, ‘RUPERT FINLEY DEAD, enchanted object suspected’, and that was the end. Enchanted objects were banned, and Rufus’s dream of one day becoming an Alchemist was dashed before he’d even been given a chance. To make matters worse, the objects that he and his mother treasured were going to be taken away from them. Even at twelve Rufus knew that their house would be one of the first to be inspected. It was no secret that they had a large collection.

When he brought the paper to his mother she simply sighed and said, “All good things come to an end”.

“But we can’t let them do this mother! Those are our things that we’ve paid for, they can’t just take them away from us!” Rufus protested.

His mother looked at him with a warm smile, “Rufus, they are only things. All things come and they go. What’s important is that we have each other. Besides, if there really is a chance that they could be dangerous then it’s best for them to be out of the house!”.

“They aren’t dangerous, I know they’re not! The paper is only making it up because the emperor wants our enchanted objects for himself. It’s not fair!” he yelled.

“I understand that you’re upset dear, I am too. But we can’t let it get the better of us...” she said.

But Rufus wasn’t willing to accept it like she was. Enchanted objects had been his everything. His vision blurred with hot tears and he pushed his way past her, casting open the door and plummeting outside. He ran up the hill along the cliffside and into the forest. He didn’t think about where he was going or what he was doing, he just ran. His insides were burning with anger and anguish all mixed together, and running was the only thing that felt right. Once he had ran himself to exhaustion and could not run anymore, he stopped and sat down on a large rock. The sun was dipping low on the horizon making its way towards its ocean bed. The forest was so still and tranquil that Rufus started to feel his worries melt away like ice on a hot summer’s day. Just because of this incident didn’t mean that he couldn’t be an Alchemist, he would make sure of it. And when he was an Alchemist he would make his mother the most beautiful Enchanted Objects that the world had ever seen, ones that would be so amazing that they would keep her happy forever. Rufus froze, he could hear voices coming towards him from the trees. He instinctively hid behind the rock that he was sitting on, laying low to the ground.

“Why do you still have that cursed thing? I told you to get rid of it!”

A short bald man said as he came into the clearing, followed by a young man who was mournfully looking down at an object in his hands.

“I have worked so long and hard on this, please don’t make me throw it away master Coada. I never intended to use it for anything, I swear it. I just wanted to see if it could be done, but now with this new development...maybe it can be useful for something good? All those beautiful Enchanted Objects that generations of our house have created with such skill and care taken away, and then what? Put in some dark store house or even worse, destroyed? It’s criminal to even think of. Those people have no idea what goes into making these objects. If we can use my stone to pull out the Enchantments, then at least the owners can keep the craftsmanship they are housed in. All hand crafted, some even date back over hundreds of years.” the young man said.

Master Coada sighed, “I know Patrick, I know better than anyone what Equillian risks to lose. But we can’t argue with the emperor unless we are willing to give up our secrets. And we can’t give up our secrets without risking grave danger on the world. It’s a tragedy, I really don’t know what the emperor is thinking. Enchanted objects have always brought such pride and joy to the people, not to mention making people’s lives better. They would never hurt anyone, we have always taken the utmost caution to unsure that. But that object that you hold Patrick, it can. And if it does, then we have no hope of ever being able to make enchanted objects again, you must get rid of it at once!”.

Patrick looked down at the stone in his hand, “Yes master Coada” he said dejectedly.

“Good! When I see you at dinner I want that thing resting at the bottom of the ocean...perhaps in time this will all blow over and you will have the chance to create master pieces far greater than this one. Until then, we must face the future with hope and look to the Stars to guide us.” The man said, and then he left the clearing.

Patrick took the stone in his hands and held it up to the light. The last rays of sun illuminated its white opalescent surface, reflecting the reds, greens and golds in its center. He pulled his arm back preparing to toss the stone off the cliffside into the ocean, and then he hesitated. He looked at the stone again as if deciding something. He looked around him to confirm that he was alone and then he knelt and dug a hole burying the stone inside of it. He marked it with a flat rock and then hurried after his master.

Rufus waited several moments before getting up. Once he was sure that it was safe, he hurried over to where the object was buried and uncovered it. He picked up the beautiful milky stone and held it in his hands. It was cool and smooth to the touch. Rufus wasn’t sure what it was, but he knew that it had to be something significant.

3

It was the night of Rufus’s nineteenth birthday. He told his mother that he was going out to celebrate with friends, but instead he headed to the north side of town in search of a gift for himself. He turned onto the wet cobblestone street of Seventh Avenue accompanied by his dark mahogany cane that never left his side. A shimmering white stone decorated its pommel. The night air was crisp, the light from the dancing flames in the everfire street lamps reflected off the wet stones making them look like they were on fire. Rufus ducked into a dark alley and then vanished through a door that was signed, The Midnight Players Playhouse.

Inside, the dimly lit place was flooded with patrons and loud music. Every seat and table in front of the small stage was occupied. Girls in scantily clad costumes were making rounds with trays of lavish cocktails. Rufus walked up to a table that was tucked in the corner. There was a man sitting at it nursing a bourbon, who was staring lustfully at one of the waitresses. Rufus threw a pouch on the table in front of him, heavy with coin,

“Is this seat taken?” he asked.

The man’s attention diverted to the contents on the table, and his eyes widened at the bulging purse, “Not at all, I was just leaving” he said hastily, and then left with his prize before Rufus could change his mind.

Rufus removed his bowler hat and sat down making himself comfortable. The reputation of this place had made its way around town. The Midnight Players had a new actor in their company, and it was said that they were flawless. This sparked Rufus’s curiosity. Nothing was flawless, at least not without help. He ordered a glass of non-alcoholic cider and watched as the lights dimmed and the crowd fell to silence.

The actor came onto the stage and Rufus was surprised to see that it wasn’t a he, but a she. The script turned out to be a half-baked one woman show, but the moment the actress hit the boards, the rooms attention was fully engaged. She wasn’t only incredibly attractive, she was captivating. She grabbed focus like a lantern to a moth and she spun poetry out of lifeless words. Every move she made, every line she spoke, was so honest, so charismatic and so believable. Her performance was flawless.

After the show was over, Rufus waited patiently for the crowd to clear. He wasn’t the only one who was waiting for a turn to pay tribute to the star, but eventually they all left and he had a chance to see the actress alone.

She was sitting in front of her mirror taking off her earrings when Rufus knocked gently on her open dressing room door.

“Oh! hi, I didn’t see you there” the woman said with a well-rehearsed smile, “Can I help you?”.

“I just want to congratulate you, it was a spectacular show! I’m sure you get this all the time, I just wanted to say that you were, well, simply perfect.” he said charmingly.

The actress feigned modesty, “Isn’t that the sweetest thing that I have ever heard”.

“Well, all except for one thing...” Rufus quickly amended.

“What was that?” she asked with curiosity, she sounded surprised that Rufus could find any fault to her performance.

He used his cane to push back her long golden locks, and revealed a small brooch attached to her blouse. The pure gold emblem depicted two dramatic masks, one wearing an overbearing frown and the other grinning.

“I couldn’t help but notice this pin that you wear, it didn’t fit the character, and yet you had it on with every costume. I found it very distracting” he said coolly.

Immediately the actress’s confident demeanor melted into fear,
“This old thing? You noticed huh? It was given to me by my father. Us actors are such a superstitious lot, I just can’t do a show without it” she laughed nervously.

“It’s a beautiful piece, I’m sure you can find a way to wear it more discreetly.” Rufus said comfortingly, and he tapped the brooch with the white stone on the tip of his cane. Then he smiled warmly and left.

The actress watched him go. She took off her pin lovingly and studied it with a frown, even though it looked like it always had, she could sense that there was something different about it, something changed.

4

As Rufus walked home he thought he would try out his new enchantment. He held his cane firmly in his hand and thought of his latest addition. Immediately passersby noticed him, admired him even. Rufus thought of an old man and his posture took form to match it, arching forward he bent over his cane. It was as if his body were aging in a matter of seconds. His appearance didn’t change, but his impersonation was so believable, so perfect, that the people around him saw him as a senior. A young couple addressed him as father when they greeted him in passing and one young gentleman even offered to help him up a step. Rufus almost laughed out loud he was so delighted. What a wonderful enchantment he mused.

He first discovered what his stone did when he brought it home the day he found it. He recalled the man Peter saying how it could save the relics that housed enchantments, so he tried it. He brought it to his mother’s collection and held it to each one. At first it didn’t appear to have done anything. But later when he was holding the stone in one hand and a lead pencil in the other, his mind veered to how much he missed his Every Color enchanted pencil. He began doodling absent mindedly and was taken back in surprise to see that his drawing wasn’t the grey of lead, but a brilliant vibrant blue. He thought of another color and the pencil changed to suit just like his Every Colored pencil had. He put down his stone and tried it again, but this time there was no color at all, just plain dull grey. Rufus couldn’t believe it, the Every Color enchantment was housed in the stone and could be used any time he liked.

He tried all of the Enchantments that he could remember being in his mother’s collection, and every one worked.
He couldn’t wait until the inspector came to their house and wouldn’t be able to find any enchanted objects. Maybe they would be able to keep their collection after all.

But when the inspector came, Rufus’s mother handed over all of the objects freely without giving the man a chance to test them. Rufus wanted to speak up in protest, but he knew that it would only get him in trouble and most likely result in his stone being taken away. So instead, he kept his new artifact a secret.

When he was sixteen he’d made his way to the Alchemists House of Discovery to seek out an apprenticeship. But the house turned him away, saying that with nothing to make but Everfire there was no need for apprentices. At first, he refused to be turned away, he waited three days outside their gates demanding that they take him in. But he was only ignored. While Rufus was sitting there he noticed how much the Alchemists House had become a pale shadow of its former glory. The grounds were unkept, the road needed repair, and very few people passed in and out of its gates. He decided that it was no longer the place for him. Besides, why did he need to become an alchemist when his stone could house all the Enchantments in the world? He only needed access to them and then there would be nothing that he wouldn’t be able to do.

From that day forward Rufus turned his attention to finding as many enchanted objects as he could, so that he could house their powers in his stone. At first, it was a sort of hobby that he took delight in. But after a time, he began to feel a need to find them, and soon it became a habit that he couldn’t shake. He combed the black market for everything that he could find. It was almost too easy, he didn’t even have to buy them. He would ask to inspect the pieces and then hand them back uninterested, saying that they didn’t work. The merchants would look at their objects with bewilderment as Rufus walked away. But he always got what he wanted, the abilities that the objects held inside.

When Rufus was twenty his father passed away from a heart attack. He was in one of his establishments entertaining several of his female employees when it happened. Rufus guessed that he’d gotten too old to take the excitement. His mother was devastated and retreated even farther into her shell of isolation and misery. This pulled Rufus away from his obsession and back to attempting to bring back his mother’s smile. He wanted so much to share his prized possession with her, only he knew that she wouldn’t approve. She forgot about enchanted objects far more easily than he ever could. He was given the responsibility of managing the family business. He didn’t want the responsibility, but luckily these days the business practically ran itself. And he couldn’t argue with the coin it brought him.

He tried to spend more time at home with his mother, taking her out to gardens and galleries, out to see orchestras and theatre. It would make her happy for a moment, and then the moment would fade, and she would retreat into herself again.

Then one day one of the sons of the rich families in the precinct came to see Rufus. He was turning sixteen and was planning his coming of age celebration. He wanted to know if Rufus could get him a discount at one of their high-end cat houses in town. Rufus thought this was odd considering that the boy’s family had a reputation for their wealth, but he agreed to help him. He thought that he might be able to win his mother some friends by making friends with the resounding families sons. It was easy for him to do considering that he owned most of the brothels in South View. But he soon found that encouraging young gentleman to frequent whorehouses didn’t win him favor with their parents.
However, it did give him intel into the wealthy families, and he was surprised to learn how many of them were far less wealthy than they claimed.
There was one family in particular that Rufus started taking a liking to. Their son’s name was Joshua Chester. A young arrogant nobleman of seventeen who always spoke his mind and who Rufus found particularly entertaining. Joshua’s mother had a gambling problem that had lost most of their family’s fortune, but her husband and children didn’t seem to hold that against her. They weren’t snobby like the rest of the resounding blue bloods and they often welcomed Rufus into their home for a meal.

The best thing about the Chesters, was that they had a daughter, Francesca. Francesca was a lovely girl who was almost of age to marry. Rufus knew that with the Chester’s coin failing, they wouldn’t be able to refuse a proposal from the wealthiest man in South View. By marrying into one of the old noble families, Rufus’s mother would finally have a respectable station and be welcomed into the aristocrat’s social circles.

When Rufus suggested to his mother that he was thinking about taking a wife, she was so happy that she danced around the house and started talking about decorations for the wedding. Rufus was sure that he’d finally found the solution to his mother’s depression. Seeing her so happy made him forget about his white stone and the power it held. He even began to fancy Francesca and grew eager at the prospect of marrying her.

On the day that Rufus had planned to propose, his joy had been struck from him. He walked into his mother’s room with her morning tea and found her body lying there, devoid of life. It turned out that she had been sick for some time and had been hiding it from him. The doctor said that there was nothing that he could have done. But Rufus thought differently, he believed that he could have healed or protected her with an enchantment if he’d only known, and now he would never have the chance.

If only he’d shared his gift with her, if only she had shared her illness with him. There were so many ways that things could have been different, if he could only turn the stars back. But that was one enchantment that he would never have. Something in Rufus died that day. His mother was the only good thing that he’d ever known. He was overwhelmingly angry and distraught all at once. He felt victim to a fate that had destined him to lose everything that he’d loved, and he wanted someone to blame for it. But there was no one left.

He made the necessary arrangements and had her cremated to release her soul to the Stars. It was a small funeral, even still, several of the noble families made the effort to come. It enraged Rufus that they were there when she died, but hadn’t been there for her when she was alive. Without his mother he no longer had a reason to pretend to like these people, or to try and fit in and be respectable. To the nine levels of darkness with them, let them rot in their failing mirage of privilege. Why should I bend myself to their rules, when I have the power to bend the world? After the ceremony was over Rufus walked the length of his empty house. He took his cane out of the long wooden box under his bed where he had stored it and held it up lovingly. Then he grabbed his coat and stepped out.

 


Secret tales of Equillian 5 / K.L. Harris

Sky View

Stephan Stalls
Lead Geologist at the Hall of Scientific Study

Attention: Patricia Morgan
Head of the Hall of Scientific Study

 

Patricia,

I have spent the last week on the windswept isles, and I am takin by their beauty. The surface of the seven major islands and the fourteen smaller fragments are covered with lush fields and pools of crystal clear rain water. The people that occupy them seem to take it for granted that their home is suspended thousands of feet in the sky.

I have spent much of my time here taking samples and studying the available manuscripts on their geology, and I must say that I am astounded by what I’ve found. Their unique makeup is like nothing that I’ve ever seen. The porous rock known as Cloud Stone that makes up their base acts like a magnetic sponge for elevator gas. There is an abundance of the gas trapped in the rocks pockets, which seems to be the only thing keeping the islands afloat.

What I find the most fascinating, is that Cloud Stone, at least to our knowledge, doesn’t exist anywhere else on Equillian, and elevator gas is produced solely by Kite Fish.

These facts led me to believe that the great rocks were once resting at the bottom of the ocean. I began looking for evidence to support this claim and just today I uncovered several fossils of sea life beneath the surface.

I believe that it is possible that the islands could have rested in the ocean for thousands of years before they trapped enough elevator gas to rise to their new home. But the question of their original origin remains.

The Order of the Stars believes that the islands were a gift from the Watchers. The fact that there are twenty-one islands which is a multiple of seven makes them even more auspicious to the Order. Even though most of nature follows patterns of seven, I do find it interesting that the islands correlate with this number. It could of course, just be coincidence, but I feel the need to mention it all the same.

Part of me wonders if there could be some truth behind the Orders explanation.

Because there is no sign of Cloud Stone anywhere else on our planet, we cannot rule out the possibility that the rock could have been an asteroid that hit our oceans and broke apart thousands of years ago, and then rose by elevator gas.

I would like to apply for an extension, so that I might look further into these findings. I believe that with a few more tests I can confirm or deny the cosmic origin of Cloud Stone. If the rock is truly from the stars, then there could be more that we can learn from it.

I eagerly await your reply,

Stephan


Secret tales of Equillian 6/K.L. Harris

Patrick 

Patrick sat in the great common room of the Alchemists House of Discovery with his head in his hands. There was a roaring ball of Everfire in the hearth before him that several of the younger apprentices sat around, lounging in the luxurious arm chairs that surrounded it.

Their training had been put on hold ever since the announcement of Rupert Finley’s death, leaving the young disciples to entertain themselves.

Patrick wasn’t willing to accept the fate that was presented to them, he knew in his gut that the incident with the optician had nothing to do with an enchanted object, it couldn’t have. Every object with ability was made for a particular purpose and couldn’t possibly act outside of that, it was impossible.

But it was also impossible to explain the reason for this to the public, first of all it was highly confidential and forbidden by the house, but secondly, Patrick didn’t think that anyone who wasn’t an Alchemist could possibly understand. You had to see how it was done with your own eyes, take part in the creation with your own hands, to even begin to grasp the meaning of their nature.

Enchanted objects weren’t like ordinary mechanical things, they didn’t have various components that had risk of failure. Enchanted objects were a single solid component of exactly what you made them to be and could not be separated from that. The only way that Finley’s death could have been from an Enchanted object, was if someone made that object with the purpose to end his life. Now there was a sinister thought, he mused.

But Patrick’s thoughts were interrupted by the conversation of the boy’s next to him.

“Did you hear the rumor going around?” Roger asked Bailey.

The two boys were sitting in the chairs to Patrick’s left. They were first years and they didn’t seem to be dampened by the ban in the same way that he was.

“What, the one about your Mum?” Bailey jested.

“No, you moron. The one about enchanted objects losing their enchantments” Roger said.

Peter had to keep himself from chuckling at that, it was the most ridiculous thing that he had heard all day, enchanted objects couldn’t lose their enchantments...he tensed, unless they were touched by his stone.

“You’re not stupid enough to believe that are you?” Bailey asked Roger.

Roger shrugged, “It’s what people are saying. Apparently, several objects have stopped working and they think that we are to blame. There have been complaints to the
house regarding it. They think that we are doing it because of the ban.”

“They think that we have the power to take their enchantments away? That’s absolute rubbish, even if we could why would we? They should be asking the Emperor, he’s the one that wants to rid the world of our creations” Bailey said.

“I don’t think the Emperor is to blame for this, I think that someone is setting us up. Someone wants the house to fall, I just don’t know why or for what purpose. But it’s clear, first Finley and now this. They’re making it look like our objects are failing, that we are failing.” Roger said.

“It’s a real shame, I was looking forward to being an Alchemist.” Bailey said.

“Yeah, Stars save us, what are we going to do now?” Roger asked.

Patrick got up as inconspicuously as he could and walked out of the room. He hoped that the boys hadn’t noticed the nervous tension that was emanating from him. He carefully made his way outside and made sure that no one was following him before he ran into the woods.

It didn’t take him long to find the clearing wear he had buried the stone. He found his hiding place almost immediately and knelt down on his knees to dig in the dirt with his hands, but he found nothing. He started to dig frantically, uncovering a larger and deeper area and sifting the dirt through his fingers, but the stone was gone.

Patrick collapsed onto the ground, he told himself that it was simply lost, it had to be, no one knew that it had even existed accept for him and master Coada. But the sinking feeling in his gut told him otherwise.

I should have thrown it into the ocean when I had the chance, as master Coada had asked me to do, he thought.

Now the very thing that his master had feared from the stone was happening, and it was all his fault. Patrick knew what he had to do. The only way to fix his folly, was to find the stone and destroy it.