Two moons over, p.20
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       Two Moons Over, p.20

           Levi Shipley
 
what he’d just gone through. That was good. If he hadn’t been so sure, Cecil would’ve thought what he saw was a metaphor. But he knew better. What he just saw was a memory, of that he was certain. This made him wonder just what kind of past he had. One that involved ancient armors and the new king on killing sprees. It was, if nothing else, interesting.

  Five

  The remaining part of the museum was the courtyard, which displayed the various vehicles used in battle. Many were scaled down as some were larger than the museum itself in actuality. The engineering strides impressed Cecil though nothing in the yard brought forth a memory. Having seen all he cared to see, he left to find a place to stay.

  Daytime was in its dying hours when Partheus came to the first town he suspected. Redora had once been a place that held some of his relatives, though they and all their friends had long since passed. Whatever the case, he suspected Cecil might have come here and maybe even stayed, Partheus hoped. He knew it was more than possible that he might have just come through here and passed on farther. Cecil may still be wandering and impossible to find. But Partheus prayed that the young werewolf would be nearby, as coming up with an alternate plan this late could and would cost many people their lives.

  Six

  Stores were still open at this hour. It wasn’t all that late, but it seemed later this time of the year when the sun would set so early. He walked into a little diner named Steaks For Goodness Sakes. There were a few small groups of people eating inside. He tried not to look too intently at anyone in particular, in case someone would be able to see through his guise. The place had red booths and matching bar stools at the counter. It was a typical diner to see back on Earth, of course Partheus had never been there. The counter was stained with rings from coffee, of which a waitress was now wiping up.

  She was an ogre with a slate grey complexion. Her arms were strong and tired looking, and she wore a face that seemed to be a thousand years older than the working arms she employed. Her black hair was tied back and in a net so that it would not be in her way or in the food. She looked up at Partheus for moment and then continued to wipe the counter with a dish rag. She continued to wipe away as she asked him, “Can I help you, hon?”

  Partheus suspected that he might be older than her, but supposed she was more worn, and he nodded. Though she didn’t see the nod (or at least he didn’t think she did) she raised her head and slung the rag over her shoulder. Now he could see her grey eyes and the tiredness in them. Partheus almost wanted to offer to clean for her, but he knew he hadn’t the time. So he got right to his point. “Yeah,” he started and made a smile hoping to ease the waitress’s tension, “I’m an old friend of a kid named Cecil. He’s a novian (he knew Cecil was not) about my height, but maybe a bit shorter. So he’s pretty tall for one. Wheat brown hair, nothing vibrant. I imagine if you’d seen him you’d remember. He’s quite diff—”

  “Cecil?” She broke in as if knowing his business was urgent, though it was clearly just her wanting to get her work done, since he didn’t appear to be buying food, “Yeah, that kid is huge for a novian. Sort of like those Wolf Order people or Dahzir’s new vessel. Well, there are probably more of them out there but I don’t get out often. Whadya need to know about him?”

  He was amazed to be so successful in finding out where Cecil was, so it took him a moment to reply. “Where he’s at. I need to talk to him and it’s really important.”

  “Well,” She said, “you’ll be able to find him over at Cornelius’s General Store. He’s a clerk there, but really he’s the assistant manager under Cornelius.”

  “Thanks,” he said almost ready to run out the door, “but where is this store exactly?”

  “Half a trot up this road on the left.” She pointed toward the center of town though a wall blocked the view of it. “Right next to an apartment building. Might be where he lives too for all I know.”

  “Thanks again.” And with that Partheus was out the door and walking again. The air was cool but pleasant until it gained momentum. The wind hitting his face numbed it and made him want to go back to the diner for coffee, but he had no means to purchase it even if he did go back. Night would come soon and he’d need to build a fire to keep warm. A room at a motel was too risky and again unobtainable. He thought back to his escape and regretted that he hadn’t asked for a coat to compliment his disguise.

  Walking would keep him warm enough for now, and he could talk to Cecil in the comfort of a building. Perhaps they could converse in a backroom where revealing his identity wouldn’t cause alarm. Still Partheus could not get over how successful he’d been. It had only taken him the better part of a day to get here in Redora, and by some luck this was just where he needed to go. This was something he could get used to and fast.

  Seven

  Then again, he wasn’t sure if it would be so easy to ask Cecil for help. He’d made no attempt to contact his former allies, and based on how much freedom he had to spare that wasn’t a good sign. Maybe he was stockpiling preparations for when The Order came to find him, but Partheus knew better. This would take some negotiating, some pleading, and a soft heart on Cecil’s side. So, he supposed, this might not be quite as easy as it seemed.

  He came upon the store. It was bigger than a general store should be in his mind, but it wasn’t a colossal department store either. Partheus imagined that this was probably the only real store in town and therefore it had to be at least a bit on the larger side. He walked in through one of two sets of double doors. Despite how much light was coming from the inside, the place was almost empty.

  There was a dwarfish man at the counter standing on a stool to come up to the counter. His hair both on the front and top of his skull was orange and coarse. He regarded Partheus with a small bit of interest but said nothing. As Partheus walked up to him, the dwarf popped his back with a stretch and released a sigh.

  “Hey there!” Said the dwarf, “Can I interest you in some Strahm beef jerky?” As he said this, he reached almost where the bags of jerky rested on a shelf next to the counter, failing he looked at the elf, and shrugged.

  “Hmm,” If there was anything Partheus liked more than good jerky, he didn’t know of it. But he had to resist, had no choice but to, “no thanks.” He paused a moment to rearticulate his original question, “Would Cecil be here now, by chance?”

  “My assistant?” The dwarf asked and shook his head, “Nope. ‘fraid he left to Mirwa just this morning on break. And good for him! That boy works much too hard.”

  There it was, the challenge, the catch. Partheus laughed on the inside because he just knew it couldn’t be so easy. “How long will he be off?”

  “He said a week.” The dwarf turned his head a degree off right and furrowed his brow, “What business do you have with him? If it’s about the store, I AM the owner himself if you mean business. Otherwise I’m not sure what you want from him. Keeps to himself mostly.”

  Partheus couldn’t wait for a week but was happy to get information. He looked down at the dwarf, who was still shorter than he even on the stool, and nodded, “No store business. He’s just an old friend of mine that I need to catch up with.” He turned away from the counter and walked toward the other pair of double doors. Before leaving he called back a thanks.

  Before Partheus was fully outside, the dwarf yelled, “You could’ve at least bought something!”

  Now that Partheus thought harder on the matter, getting to Mirwa was not going to be easy in even the smallest regard. He couldn’t take a train and risk being captured, and he didn’t have time to trek over the mountains. And Mirwa was big enough to hide Cecil (who keeps to himself) for a very long time. He’d need to get there and soon.

  He spent a few hours after that acquiring travel information, mostly from scattered papers and signs. It seemed he had one way to get to Mirwa in less than a week, and he didn’t like it. He tried over and over again to find another way and
brooded over it as he sat by his fire outside of town that night. Finally he accepted it, had to. The only way was to follow the rails through the mountain, and he’d need to do it by foot.

  Eight

  Cecil spent most of that night thinking of his past. He tried to start where he remembered in Ectoplas, but something was wrong even in those memories. He could see himself getting up from lying on the ground, but his hands were different. When he pushed himself up, there were claws where his nails should be and dark hair, no fur, on his arms. Nothing was clear between that and meeting Dahzir in the desert.

  He decided to find a high place to sit and watch and think. He would wait for the city to wake while he tried to remember. And when it did, perhaps he’d find some new sets of clothes. All this time he had. Cecil knew he must use it somehow, and sitting and trying to remember what might be better left forgotten seemed like a waste of time. But he knew somewhere inside of himself that he wouldn’t be whole until he remembered. He knew that his true self lied in those days that were shrouded by fog.

  There was an overlook that gazed upon the city from an outreaching platform on the side of a hill to the north. Cecil sat here after hiking up the hill to notice he’d missed the steps. At
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