The Shadows Chapter 33

The Lonely Island

By Keith Adams

Schala saw a blur; gradually, her vision came into focus. She was in a room, lying on a black leather couch, in her purple robe and there was a handsome, brown haired man looking at her quizically.

"Feeling better?" asked the man.

"I must be blanking out. I thought you said Janus had come looking for me," Schala needed that clarity; who would look for her that had a name similair to Janus'.

"I did," stated Thiek plainly, handing her a cup of a steaming beverage. It had an odd, exotic smell. "Don't worry. It's a blend of various Zealian spices and some minerals I have found on this island. Perfectly harmless. I believe it may smooth the nerves, but since my nerves haven't had any good shocks for some time, since long before I made the drink, it's made it harder to test the theory."

Schala smiled; Thiek always managed to work his extrodinary ability to remain calm under any situation into a conversation. That she remembered. At least. But Janus, coming here? That was impossible. He had vanished, and would be in another time in any case.

"How could it be? He, he must be ....," said Schala, trying to come up with an explanation.

"He didn't elaborate. Much anyway. He said he was looking for you, asked if I had seen you, and then went on his way. I assumed he was a Zealian dignatary. Was certainly arrogant enough to be in the service of your mother. How is she, by the way?"

"She's dead. I think," Schala ran her hands through her hair. A year since the visitor appeared; anyone looking for her ought to have known about where to find her until the Ocean Palace disaster. So it had been a year, at least, since Janus had dissapeared "I don't remember much since Zeal fell --,"

"Zeal fell?" asked Thiek.

"I believe so."

"Odd. I didn't notice it."

That made Schala a bit uneasy; shouldn't he have noticed something? Did he ever leave this house? Twould be impolite to ask, however.

"What did he look like? How old?" Schala asked eagerly.

"He had long hair, and was dressed in a brownish jacket, and blue. Had blue hair, sharp, eagle-eyes. Reddish colored. I'd say he would be thrity? Thirty sounds about right. An extrodinarily depressed thirty. Maybe that made him seem older. Twenty six at the youngest. Who is he anyway?"

"Janus? Janus is my brother," Schala corrected herself; "Half-brother. No one's sure who his father was. I spent a great deal of time with him. He was very bright, talented, but apathetic to virtually everything. I don't think he liked most people," Schala shrugged "But there are worse things. He didn't go out of his way to help them or hurt them. Very individualistic."

"Sounds like the guy. Rude person who concentrates on himself. Such was the impression I got."

"He wasn't rude. He just didn't bother with etiquitte, or what people thought."

"Sounds like the definition of rude to me."

"I'll find him. How did he get here, I wonder? Ah, well. I'll find him. He's alive. That's enough."

Thiek glanced at her knowlingly, and began nodding. He smiled a wry grin, then snapped his fingers.

"I suppose you'll need to get off this island?"

"That would be part of it. I have no objection to remaining here for a while. But I suppose I ought to leave, eventually, see who survived the fall of Zeal."

"Well, that's your buisness. I've made an airship. Not that big, holds a few people. Doesn't go that fast either."

"Will you come as well?" asked Schala.

"I have lived in this portion of the world for fifteen years," then Thiek paused "Maybe I ought to stick my head out of my hole, look around. You ought to visit sometimes. Maybe bring that Janus fellow as well."

"Maybe," Schala looked at the ground and smiled "By the way, where are we as on the planet."

"The southern plain."

Schala chuckled merrily; perhaps her instincts weren't so bad after all.


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