Chapter 8: Zorri Panatell
I wake up to the sounds of whispering near me. I unwillingly open my eyes slowing letting all the light into my sight. I can’t hear rain anymore. It must have calmed down at some point. I can smell the freshness in the air, Rigtal is back to normal.
I inhale a significant amount of air into my lungs filling them with the sweet smell of the city. All other Calerian cities aren’t like Rigtal they say. Apparently, Rigtal is the only place with such fresh smelling air. All the other cities are covered in pollution from the factories. Rigtal, on the other hand, prides itself on its environmental beauty and wonder.
I turn my head to my left where I heard the whispering come from. I don’t see anything through the open door.
“Do you have any idea who she is?”
“No, why do you think I’d know?”
“Cause you’re older than me. I thought Aron told you. He was talking to you about something after he got changed.”
I must’ve been asleep for a while then if Aron has already gotten changed. It sounds like two children, one’s a boy, and the other is a girl.
“He was telling me how worried he was that he couldn’t find us. I just said we were here the whole time.”
That must’ve been why he was looking around worried.
“Oh. Well, I didn’t know that.”
I laugh at them bickering amongst themselves. I notice I laughed a little louder than I meant to because I hear the two jump in reaction. I’m guessing the little things didn’t realise I was awake.
“You can come in you know. I won’t be mad” I call out to them.
I see two heads poke themselves around the right side of the doorway. Indeed I was correct, a boy and a girl.
I reach my hand out and signal to them to come in with my hand. They move around each other and walk inside the room side by side slowly as if not to frighten a small animal.
Well, I wasn’t entirely correct I guess, they appear much older than children. The boy looks to be in his early teens, while the girl seems a little older. The two look like spitting images of Aron. They must be younger siblings, and he did mention a younger sister. They both have very similar facial features like lapis lazuli blue eyes, and brunette hair, the boy’s hair is roughly the same as Aron’s, while the young girl’s hair appears to be braided down her back delicately.
“Hello, who are you two?”
“My name’s Carson, and I’m super strong and sup-”
“And I’m Nearie”
I chuckle to myself witnessing how blatant the girl is by cutting off her brother.
“Well hello, Carson and Nearie. How old are you two?”
“I’m 13 and Carson is 12. But at times you might think 7.”
“Shut up you.”
I guess these two bickers a lot because it’s a bit ridiculous for them to do so with Aron since he would be so much older.
I notice Aron’s head pop around the doorway.
“And what do you little troublemakers think you’re doing? I specifically told you not to interrupt her sleep.”
“Sorry, we didn’t mean to,” Carson says with an even more sulky face.
“No it’s fine, I was already awake.”
Aron looks down at me as if to say “I know you’re lying, but to divert attention from the previous circumstances”.
“Alright then. You two head back downstairs and have your dinner. I’ve made you guys something.”
“Ooo dinner yay,” the two say in unison and quickly hurry downstairs to eat.
Aron shuts the door behind him as he walks into the room.
“Sorry about them.”
“They were fine, truly.”
Aron starts explaining everything that’s happened in the past few hours while I’ve been asleep. He paces up and down the room filling me in.
“The city has returned to normal, and it’s almost as if nothing had happened some say. The traders coming for the weekend have already arrived in town too, getting everything set up for tomorrow, business as usual.”
“What about the Square? Wouldn’t it be a complete mess?”
“The mess at Quay Square has already been cleaned up, and several people who were injured are now getting medical attention...”
Aron paused when telling me that people injured were receiving medical attention. I wonder what’s making him so weird about that particular part of the “report”.
“Umm, you can stay as long as you want until you must be back at Panatell Manor.”
“I won’t be able to stay for long really. But thank you for the offer” I say hiding my sadness of the fact.
Aron nods in response.
“So Aron de Eramont, let me ask you something. What’s with this whole “helper of the poor” persona you’re trying to have?”
He chuckles and says “let’s just say I’m no fan of the Monarch. My mother brought me up to believe that we should treat the cleaner like the King and the King like the cleaner. I detest the Kartom system, why should I enjoy the benefits of the hard labour done by Pryias. It’s ridiculous that this empire is still functioning as it is. It’s going to fall to pieces eventually.”
Aron stops to cool down from the angry outburst he just made.
“I’m sorry, I get carried away.”
I stare off out the window at the bright afternoon sky.
I breathe in and say “some other Pryias, and I have these...meetings every Sausday during the afternoon when there’s a break between roles. I can tell you have much anger and rage building in you. If you want to come and release some tension about the Monarch, then you’re welcome to come.”
I see Aron speedily look at me in the eyes as if I’ve just given him what he’s been searching for all his life.
“Why would you invite a noble to a secret meeting that discusses Kurreos?”
Kurreos means topics of matter that refer to anti-Monarch aka rebel talk. To be found out discussing Kurreos regardless of class will put you in prison for life. The Monarch doesn’t like the idea of rebellions festering and growing over time under their noses. So what my friends and I do every Sausday is very dangerous.
“It’s merely an offer, and you can decline. As to why, well I feel I can trust you. Besides, it’s not like I now have the power to accuse you of speaking Kurreos yourself,” I say with a smile.
Even in this screwed up world, Pryias have some form of legal power with incriminating nobles. If a noble is discussing Kurreos, even a Pryia notifying the authorities it is taken up in an investigation. It’s the one area where a Pryia’s word could be trusted.
Aron sits at the edge of the bed near me and leans into my face so that there’s not much distance between us. I could breathe lightly, and he would feel it.
“Well, maybe I told you so that our lives will be forever entwined,” Aron says in a low voice.
My breathing becomes heavy, so much for trying to breathe lightly. What’s happening to me, I’m typically more cautious around strangers, particularly noble strangers.
Aron leans back and says with a smile “well ok then, where is this meeting taking place?”
My breathing returns to normal “it’s in the old hunting lodge the Panatells used to use for having a short break in between their hunting sessions in the Helgen Forest. They stopped using it when they got bored of the area and built a new one in another hunting ground.”
“So I’m guessing you’ve never been found out?”
“I wouldn’t be sitting in your bed if we were.”
Aron’s face makes a concerned look which tells me he’s not shocked that it’s true but still shocked to hear me say it.
“Alright then, I’ll go. What’s the worst that could happen? I’ll make sure my tracks are covered so you won’t have to worry about someone following me.”
“Good idea! Also how about you meet me at the Helgen Forest entrance so I can show you a way that’s well hidden from any passers-by?”
“Yeah okay then. What time did you say?”
“Meet me at around 1600.”
Aron nods in affirmation along with an attractive smile.
The purpose of the meetings is so Pryias could come together and discuss what’s been frustrating them in the week without having the nobles watching over us.
I hear a knock at a door, but the doors open and no one is standing there. That’s when I hear the two kids run to the front door downstairs and open it.
“Father you’re home? Are you okay? We were worried about whatever had happened to you.”
“I’m fine you two, just some small bruises acquired in the chaos. Where’s your older brother?”
“He’s in his room, and there’s -”
I hear Nearie get cut off when she realised that her father was already storming up the stairs. His stomping feet haunt my ears, I must get out of here. Fortunately, Aron has already switched to action. He quickly jumped up and closed the door.
“You need to get out now. I’ll meet you at the Helgen forest entrance on Sausday at 1600” Aron whispers into my ears as he helps me out of his bed.
I whisper back “ok then I’ll see you then”.
I reach for the window ready to jump out when I realise something.
“What about your pyjamas?” I whisper as I turn back to Aron.
“Keep them,” he ushers me with his hands to jump out the window.
I look out of the window and see the lunch table below. I have to land on that and take for it.
I get myself into position and cringe at how much the windowsill cuts into my feet.
I look back to Aron who’s staring at me with a worried face. I wave before I look back down and jump.
I land on the table and roll forward to keep the momentum. I fall down the back side of the table, land on my feet and run.
The back of Aron’s house is just a backyard that leads to a small rainforest. I run through the trees, making giant strides through nature. I can smell the sweetness of the air even stronger in here as if this place is the origin of the sugary sweet smell. I don’t even pay attention to my surroundings and instead stare down the thin dirt pathway that is my guide.
I reach the end of the forest and recognise my location. I’m about a 15-minute walk from House Panatell.
There’s a small pathway from this side of the forest that leads to the cobblestone crossroads that goes either towards Quay Square or away from the Square and towards more of the farms and fields that hold most of the powerful and wealthy House’s income sources.
I look back into the forest. I hope I see Kiritoss Aron soon.