Crimson chorus from the.., p.12
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       Crimson Chorus, From the Nine Kingdoms (Chapter 2), p.12
 

          
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  ***

  Ephesto stopped after see a great lane tracked in the middle of the desert. It measured around twenty steps of wide and in long it extended losing to the western and to the eastern, as if something had slipped, plowing and leaving its footprint on the sand. He went down and the up the furrow, going through; and continued his way.

  It was the sixth golden-hour when he saw, to the distance, some crystalline stones as made by water that rose like lakes of same bright, reflecting the solunar light. As he was approaching, the crystalline reflect turned solid, separating from the sand. He deduced that was the indicated place by the captain, the Crystalline Reef.

  He zigzagged between the stones, admired them and guessing how they had designed. There were of shiny opaque and transparent that nuanced in white and gray.

  He found a spike thin and aesthetic that was called his attention. He held it with intention to break it but for most he tried he couldn’t. It was strong and unbreakable. His effort couldn’t against such resistance. He continued walking.

  He zigzagged three times more and finally could see the town hiding among crystalline pillars, and without walling. He went into the city and the first thing he saw was an avenue that drove to a great edification located in the center of the town. Its structure was unique in the entire place; its walls were formed by solid crystalline pillars that held a quadrangular roof. Strong-beings went in and out from that place in small groups while kept conversations somewhat philosophical.

  Strong-beings were tall with thin waist and long legs, wide shoulders and chunky arms; they dressed with thigh robes of similar color as the military’s capes.

  It was strange for Ephesto to see many beings that resembled to chief Dolomeo whom he still remembered and felt resentment. He though in any moment he would be attacked, because theirs appearances were intimidate, however, he didn’t feel assaulted, because they was emanating an artistic passivity. He wanted to corroborate it, daring to measure their will-minds; after doing so, he didn’t perceive any destructive will. He felt relieved.

  His first intention was to walk towards the great building but he deviated after notice that in the east part of the town, most of the houses exhibited cloth rolls as the sandean’s houses where traded it, and as the old sandean tailor of the militia; supposed that was the right place. He approached to the nearest house. Towards the east end, he could see walls similar as the Sandean Capital. He called at the house entry and waited for an answer. A strong-being welcomed him.

  “Greetings ... I am Ephesto.”

  “An outlander? Seeing your clothes I know that you came from Sandea and you are looking for trade with my fabrics. I will say you that we all said to the noble sandeans: our fabrics are not created for who beings like you wore it. So you can leave now.”

  The strong had said, not angry but kindly, almost asking for a favor.

  “I am not a noble ... but a military.”

  “Military?”

  He examined him with distrustful look.

  “Yes. This maybe helps you to corroborate it ...”

  Ephesto gave his registration to him. The strong checked meticulously.

  “It is truth what you saying. I can see general’s signature and ... Hilago’s ...”

  “Yes, he was who gave it to me. Do you know him?”

  “Yes ...” responded the strong dispirited. “Pitiful of him, he had to turn his back to his own nature to be what now is ... pitiful ...”

  “I do not understand, perhaps isn’t it right what he does?”

  “Perhaps is it right to deprive a being from his nature?”

  “Captain Heelago serves the kingdom being a military, isn’t that good?”

  “You must know well, because you had to abandon something to be a military.”

 

  “I ... think I understand ...” answered Ephesto, remembering his mentor, the woman who had barely known and hadn’t could see again, and Luca who was starting to like him; also it had prohibited to use his arts by judge Aquila petition.

  “It is not good, sandean. We, the strong-beings, were created by our deity, Teradree, in order to build the walls that now protect the Sandean Capital. That was our main purpose, and we accomplished it. That is why our deity gave us a second one, to be crystal artisans, not militaries.”

  “Now I understand very well. I must confess that I am not a sandean.”

  “It is not necessary. I can know that because of your appearance; you would be ... a weird one. Even if you know the sandean’s art then that makes you one. Why have you come?”

  “I am looking for cloth and crystal threads for make a military’s cape. It is to conclude my access to the sandean militia. The old tailor from the militia sent me.”

  “That old one ... well you have come to the right place. You are in the crystal crafter’s neighborhood. Jars, vases, bottles, cloths, threads, and many other crafts made with crystal, you could find it in this place. I am an artisan specialized in cloths, so you can count with all that you need for your cape.”

  Ephesto looked every cloth roll. There were different tonalities that varied in whites and blacks, similar to the crystalline stones that he had found in the reef.

  “It must be pale hue.”

  “I know that. You are not the first military who I attend, even not all of them I have helped ...”

 

  Ephesto had understood that the trip hadn’t been the task of the old tailor for lack of materials but was part of the third test. He tough that possibly everything had been planned by the captain and the old tailor. He got the cloth perfectly folded.

  “And where can I find the thread that I need?”

  “I will let you to find out; I do not want to rob you the opportunity to know well our town. And I must warn you that you must not walk towards Far East and enter to the Labyrinth either.”

  “The Labyrinth, are you talking about those walls?”

  “Yes, those; are not a safe place for outlanders. You could get lost.”

  “I understand. I will not approach that way. Thanks for everything ...”

  “Colono,” he said.

  “Thanks for everything, respected Colono.”

  He left saying goodbye. Three houses away, he found the house of the artisan who didn’t object to give him the thread who asked; the artisan wasn’t distrustful. With all the material in hand, he decided to return, not without stopping before at the main street and take a last look to the building called, the Labyrinth. He saw it wondering what was inside those great walls, maybe one day he would find out. He crossed again the desert, waiting to see again the big trench but wasn’t. The golden and copper-hours pass away, leaving the day to the silver-hours. In the fresh night of the desert, warm sand whirlwinds were formed in different places for then disappear leaving only particles; as so the sand was moved and sometimes imitated the sea waves. Everything was the work of the playful wind that blew from west to east. Bronze-hours arrived, of the next day.

  Ephesto arrived at the doors of the wall, and before that he approached enough they were opened. A military received him.

  “You are Red, isn’t?” asked the military surprised.

  Ephesto nodded affirming.

  “Our captain ordered to wait for your arrive. I am surprised that you have returned so soon, no one had made it before ... Did you bring the materials?”

  “I did.”

  “Well then, go with the tailor. When you finish, make sure to wear your cape. I will be waiting in the South Building,” said the military, and he left.

  Ephesto went towards the tailor’s house. Everything was as his first visit. He looked between the cloth rolls and there was the old tailor, at the back room, sitting on a carpet, resting.

  “Respected tailor,” said Ephesto calling him discreetly. “Respected tailor ...?”

  “Eh?! Yeah?! What’s up?!” The old tailor was waked up startling.

  “Greetings, respected tailor.”

  “Yeah, g
ood day ... Who are you?”

  “I am Ephe ... am Red; I have brought the materials.”

  “Give it to me,” he said, standing spirited.

  He gave it to the old tailor who headed toward the reception room, because there were more spacious; Ephesto followed him from behind but, when he wanted to take place in one of the corner of the same room, the old tailor scolded him saying that stayed behind. Next, the old tailor extended the cloth, placing it on the ground. He checked the thread perfectly rolled up in a crystalline stick, of which unrolled a portion, and checked it again.

  “Yeah, I see ... definitely ... This’s works of Colono artisan and Zaaralo artisan.”

  “Do you know them?”

  “Of course I know them,” said the old tailor while was extending the cloth over the ground. “I meet theirs mentors; they were whom taught me.”

  “Do you dominate the art of made threads and clothes?”

  “For sure.”

  “Would you teach me those arts?”

  The old tailor laughed ridiculously.

  “Don’t be silly, young,” said the old tailor conclusive. “Teach you ... Have you ever seen a sandean bending the wind as a guide-being does it? No! Or a terareean taming a beast? Neither! Right? Then, how do you suppose that a lodeleean could make finest crystal crafts?”

  “I ... I am not a lodeleean. And you ... are not a strong-being ...”

  The old tailor thought about, stopping his activity for a few second as if he had remembered something.

  “You’re right, young ... Red. Did you name so, right?” he sighed. “I’m sandean.” He folded in half the cloth, and then cut nine feet of thread. “I learnt it from the strong-beings because wasn’t like my art,” he was saying as if he were consoling himself, “I didn’t feel motivated, to be merchant? BLAH!” complains. “I never wanted to be it, and that’s why I never be it. I abandoned mi art and my caravan when still being young ...”
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