The sun may be directly in my eyes, but I can still see that we made it to Dair, Squilla. We rode a long time today. I feared we would never get away from Riocht City. I scheduled too much for the last adventure around the kingdom. My letters stacked nearly to the ceiling. I ought to remember by now to make more deliberate choices in who I help. As a result, I could limit that piling of letters and be more helpful perhaps.
Actually, I recall Mom trying to teach me a very similar lesson when she first took me along. She never planned more than four or five stops on her journeys. She still answered every letter. No one wrote without receiving a response, but she didn’t visit everyone. Meanwhile, I think I had twelve or thirteen slated for my last trip. I must remember to be more specific next time.
Yes, Squilla, your snorts are as pointed as ever. I realize I recall that lesson after every trip. Maybe if I keep saying it, I will learn the lesson? Anyway, let us enter the shrine and see what we can find.
The temperature drops with the sunset, Squilla. That should make you feel a little better. The ride today was hot, I know. We covered a lot of ground today. I doubted whether we would reach Ceird County by nightfall, but we did just barely. We still have a couple hours of daylight, so maybe we can still see for the most part.
I have not been away as long this time. I know I rushed leaving this time, Squilla. I left half that stack of mail in my study. However, I was at least more deliberate in my tasks this time. I’m glad you find this funny.
Still, I hope that my short departure has given Ferdia enough time to leave me another message. The other counties only confirm what he said in his last message. They all move their citizens in certain ways. They all have a certain feeling to them. This feeling just seems to invade every aspect of what the citizens do. I don’t know how I missed such a thing earlier. I should perhaps tell him that in my next message.
Course that might depend on what I find here tonight. He certainly has his ideas. He sounds very committed to them. I wonder if he can notice anything else after so many years of work. Though, I guess I learned something new, so there could be hope for him.
The trees are already blocking the sun. This knave is very shaded. The sun streaks through the trees like the first light of day through my curtains back home. Ah, I see the knave is already working its magic. I’m feeling comforted already. I’m glad I can still see too. Squilla, we may get this done after all.
Thank you, Squilla for quickening our pace a bit. I am aware that we still have a long ride ahead of us. We must reach Baile by tomorrow, and we will need most of the night to get there. We have to pass south of Ceird City for tonight’s ride, but we could stop by there on the return trip, if we find anything here.
Okay, I will tie you to this tree and wander around the Dair Tree to see what I can find. Ney if anyone comes down the trail. I would not want to disturb any one. Surely, if they are coming at this point, they do not want to be seen. Now, let me see what is here tonight.
This Tree is fantastic. I know it isn’t the oldest, but it seems bigger than the Riocht Tree. I wander if Ferdia’s mom had anything to do with that. If she could expand that knave, could she have helped the Tree grow too?
Though, I suppose Ferdia learned more from his dad about their work. If Mom stayed here, Dad would be the one who showed Ferdia the job. Strange how opposite our families were. Could be a blessing though. We both learned what we needed to learn in our own time.
I heard that, Squilla. Yes, even if we are still learning some of those lessons.
Anyway, Ferdia and I do seem to have very similar work. I mean he definitely has a more difficult job taking care of all these people. I can look at these rags and see how much they lean on him. He must fulfil his duties much like I do. I suppose this is his pile of letters. He must take these and build his own list of tasks. I wonder how he goes about it. Was he as deliberate as Mom, or does he take on all comers like I do?
Oh, now the sun shines only from the Western edge. The shadows are creeping across my path quickly. I wonder how long I will be able to see? Though, the colors of the rags still look vibrant. They are shining in the dark. Greens, whites, blues, and pinks all look like little stars in the trees. This is marvellous. I’m sure the rags look overwhelming in the daytime, but something about this comforts me at night.
Look, Squilla, there are some dark spots in all the clusters of rags. Even some of the pink clusters are missing. Do you recall any of the pink rags missing last time? I didn’t think so. Well, that’s an interesting change. Also, there seem to be fewer green rags missing. Did he focus on pink and blue this time? I wonder why he would do that.
Well, I might as well start at the base of the tree. Hopefully, if these other rags glow, his will too. I don’t see anything there though. In fact, I don’t see any weeds here at all. He must have cleared them. If he cleared them, why would he not leave the message in the same place?
Oh, maybe he wanted to separate my message from these others. That would be nice of him. I will circle the border trees of the grove and see if anything is there.
Squilla, help me out. I don’t see anything here. Do you see anything? Everything is just getting dark. I am tripping over roots now. I bet anything grey will just blend in at this point. I guess we will have to come back at during the day.
What was that, Squilla? Oh, what’s that in your mouth?
You found it. Thank you. Where was it?
Ah, it was above your head. Well, that was a convenient place to put it. I should have paid more attention. I will just sit here then and see what he has to say.
Now, how does this go? Sit, still my breathing, and fall into the rag. There is that quiet voice.
“Hello, Kayn. I am glad that you wanted to come back to Dair. Yes, Mother did some excellent work on the Shrine. I hope that I have taken reasonably good care of it. I can’t give it the attention that she did, but I do what I can.”
Oh please, Ferdia, this place looks better than half the shrines in the country. Carry on.
“I don’t know how you managed to notice a ‘specific distraction’ in Ceird. That place is busy. People come and go. They rush from place to place just forcing their way over the others. The market drives that city. The buying and selling seems to filter into everything that goes on. I’m not even sure that people can see their own distractions.
“But, after I listened to your message, a merchant stopped at my table. He played with this locket. It had a sketch that he drew as a child in it. What do you know: there is a ‘specific distraction’ I reckon. I guess that the distractions are the background noise. You know those parts of us that are always playing just beneath the surface. I’m still uncertain of this, but I must admit that recognizing that locket smoothed our conversation. In the end, he helped himself, and I didn’t have to say a word.
“The whole exchange reminded me of my father, so thank you for that. I will have to go now. I have a few new tasks to get to. I look forward to your next message in Ceird.”
So, the sun is completely down now. That’s going to make tonight’s ride an even longer one. I really need to be going. Squilla, I hope you got some rest. Oh, you were asleep. That’s good for you.
Ferdia sounded contemplative, Squilla. He sounded like he was trying new things and remembering his own lessons. I have plenty to think about, so I will at least be awake the whole ride. Let’s get started.