On July 14, 2021, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving a deer, a new job, and a song.
The Tale of the Navel: An Unstately Raven involving Danyel and Tayel’s adventures (or misadventures) was the result. Only it was so huge, I broke it down into segments. This is the final part…
Gryluxx picked up a long black cape, swirled it over his shoulders like a stage villain. It had a silver clasp in the shape of a coin. A coin with a curiously alluring figure upon it, humanoid, yet with claws, horns, and a tail.
The gesture was so melodramatic it made Danyel want to laugh. He swallowed the giggle. It came out as a cough.
There had to be more to this man. Something the humming voice saw in him, something Danyel might learn if he listened.
Listening wasn’t going to be pleasant if this was just the introduction to whatever job the twins would be doing.
“We’re considering.” Danyel covered his elbows with his hands, hugging himself. “Believe me.”
“Everyone here in Omphalos is more than simply a settler, searching for a new home.” Gryluxx fingered the talisman around his neck. “We’ve been chosen by Seraphix as were you.”
Again the same shiver ran down his spin. He felt the cold force of Tayel’s glare, warning him not to ask questions. Warning him not to ask whom Seraphix was.
Danyel closed his eyes, felt the chill of a hand grabbing him through a Door. Heavy, sticky darkness pulling him down into the shadows. The hungry pressure of monsters coming from all corners and the release when he opened his arms to all of them.
“How were you chosen?” he asked instead.
“We heard Their Voice.” Gryluxx bowed his head in reverence, but his fingers spasmed. As if he was grabbing for something. “They spoke through our Lord, who offered each of us a token. Not everyone can handle a godling in Their full glory. They saw something they could understand, a symbol of their desire.”
Danyel caught the tailor’s sharp dark eye. “Did you?”
“I am not just anybody.” The tailor swelled his chest. “I can see our godling’s true form. I can see how he grows in strength, feeding off our faith. Just as we grow stronger, feeding off of him.”
“What does this have to do with why you want us?” Danyel asked, trying not to shudder. Seraphix sounded a lot like a shadow. Only he was feeding in the real world, not the Shadow Forest.
“It seems a pity we have to intercede through Their Voice to get to Seraphix Themselves.” Gryluxx balled one of his beringed hands into a fist. “Especially when our lord already seems to have such a tight grip on this growing village. Having other divine intermediaries could free more than one of us.”
“And you are such an intermediary?” Much as Danyel wished to get Leiwell free of his lord, Gryluxx didn’t seem like an improvement.
“As are the two of you.” Gryluxx opened his hand to gesture to the twins. “I’m very interested in getting to know the Hand and the Eye a little better. As you should be interested in getting to know other allies than the Voice of Seraphix a little better.”
“You keep calling Once Upon a Time the Voice of Seraphix.” Danyel frowned. “Does your lord speak for your godling?”
“Once Upon a Time? Is that how our lord made himself known to you?” Gryluxx shot Danyel a curious look. “Yes, Lord Dyvian speaks for Seraphix.” He pointed at Tayel. “As you see for Them.” He turned his finger upon Danyel. “And you, you act for Them.”
“How do you know all this?” Danyel wasn’t sure if he trusted this information entirely. He certainly didn’t trust Gryluxx. “Did Once Upon a Time…Lord Dyvian…tell you himself?”
“I try not to wait around for people to drop whatever crumbs of information they feel generous enough to share.” Gryluxx smiled in scorn. “I look. I listen. I hear. I’ve tricks of gathering information which I only share with those who’ve sworn a blood oath to me.”
“Thus you peek in windows, listen in doors.” Tayel sounded just as scornful as Gryluxx. “Like a raven, perched on the threshold, flying away before you’re spotted spying.”
For one moment Gryluxx stared at Tayel in perfect fury. The next moment he began to chuckle.
“I can see what Seraphix chose you as Their Eye.” He gave Tayel a grudging once over of respect. “You have your tricks, too.”
“We both do.” Danyel decided not to mention his was picking up rocks, even if they were special rocks requiring return to a particular person. Somehow he didn’t think that would impress this man. “Are you looking to share information?”
“Share?” Gryluxx let out a scornful laugh. “Only a fool gives away what I’ve learned. A trade, though, we might be able to trade information.” He leered at Danyel. “Among other things.”
“Haste makes for foolish choices, binding fools in bargains they never wanted.” Tayel took Danyel’s arm, pulling him back. “We’ll consider your offer.”
“After all,” Danyel said over his shoulder, “we promised. To consider whatever you said.”
With those words, he turned his back on the tailor.
“You’ll be back.” The words crept in his ear, down his back. “You will, at least, little Hand, even if the Eye is wary enough to look away. You’ve been too sheltered and now you’re too curious. You want to learn more about me, more about my wife. You want to learn more about Omphalos. You know you can learn from me. I’ll be waiting for you.”
Tayel tugged him toward the door. Danyel followed, yet those words continued to echo in his head.
You’ll be back.
Yes, he was. Creepy and untrustworthy as he was, Gryluxx was right. Danyel was curious. He had a feeling he could, indeed, learn things if he returned.
Hopefully Tayel would forgive him if he did.
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