Nicolas swallowed his tea and began choking. After a few coughs, his mouth became agape. “I was? Wait a second! Am I still in Saris?”
Darlene was losing it, fast. Noticing that she was crying, Donna quickly broke out a handkerchief and handed it to her. Darlene grabbed the handkerchief and wiped the tears from her eyes. “Thanks Donna….” She then turned to Nicolas and nodded. “Yes, you are still in Saris.
“Now listen. Here is what happened. It all started this morning, when I was woken up by Donna. Now I knew something strange was going on, because Donna normally wakes me up to give me tea, with a warm honey biscuit for breakfast. However, when she woke me this time, she sounded worried. She mentioned that there was….a dead corpse lying outside of the house.”
Donna gestured her hand toward Darlene and jumped in. “When I found you lying there, I was confused and terrified.” she choked. “This was a young man that was in just his undergarments and mostly covered in blood. I asked Darlene if we should bury him or find someone else to help bury him.”
Darlene regained her composure and continued. “When I saw you, I was overcome with this feeling that suddenly came to me. I strongly felt that your time came too early. Perhaps you were not supposed to die yet. As I thought about this, the feeling became stronger and continued to burden me. I now knew that you were not supposed to die. I couldn’t explain it, but I just knew.
“Then I heard a small voice. It was almost quiet, and it told me to bring the body inside. When I heard this voice, I knew that it was The Master talking to me. Knowing that, I obeyed and got you inside. Donna helped me. She thought that I was crazy, but after telling her about the voice I heard, she agreed to help.
“After bringing you upstairs to my room with Donna, I cleaned off the blood and put new clothes on you….I heard The Master again. He told me to place my hands on you. I did this and prayed, asking The Master to bring you back. Nothing happened. With Donna’s help, I put you in my bed….I ran to another room across the hall and cried. This room was the room that I always prayed in. I cried and began to pray. I prayed again and again that you would come back to life.
“Hours passed as I continued praying. Suddenly, I heard Donna from the other room. She told me that you were alive.” Darlene sat on the bed next to Nicolas and hugged him, bawling with joy. “And I’m so glad you’re alive.” she cried.
Nicolas was shocked. He sat there for a moment and thought about the story that Darlene told him. After a while, everything he heard started to make sense. He wrapped his arms around Darlene and hugged her tight. “Thank you, Darlene.”
Darlene shook her head and broke away from Nicolas’s grip. “No.” she refused. “Don’t thank me. Thank The Master for reviving you. I am powerless by myself. The only power I have is the power that The Master works through me.”
Nicolas got to his knees, closed his eyes, and prayed. “Thank you, Master!” After doing this, there was one thing that still puzzled him. He turned to Darlene. “How did I end up right outside your house?”
Darlene frowned. “I’m sorry, but I honestly don’t know how you ended up there. Oh, how I wish I could tell you! All I know is that you were not placed there by mistake. Someone put you there and we found you.”
“Okay.” Nicolas sighed. “I hope I find this nice person. I would like to thank them.”
Darlene handed the handkerchief back to Donna. “I hope so, too.”
Nicolas sipped the last of his tea, and set the cup on the chestnut oak table. That stuff was quite strong, and it brought back some fond memories. He understood the strength of wildflower tea, for he knew where wildflowers came from. These wildflowers grew deep in the green meadows of the Chronos continent. These meadows were at the base of the Shifting Mountains on the Hour Peninsula. Nicolas knew the area well, but only from the tales that his father used to tell him. One of his favorite tales was when his father explained to him what his favorite drink was. “It wasn’t the beer,” his father said. “It wasn’t the wine. It was the tea. Wildflower tea.” But that was only the beginning of the story, and Nicolas spent several moments thinking about the story from beginning to end.
Finally, Darlene said something that snapped Nicolas out of his reverie. “Nicolas! Are you going to answer me?”
Nicolas suddenly saw Darlene again. “I’m sorry. What did you say?”
Darlene scowled, and shot him a double take. “I was just wondering if you were going to say anything. Please tell me. Where were you? In your little world?”
Nicolas smiled and nodded. Then he looked at his empty cup. “It was the tea. Wildflower tea. It brought back memories of my father. He loved this tea. It was his favorite drink in all of Copia, and he made sure you knew it.”
This quickly changed Darlene’s countenance, and she smiled. “Oh….Your father? I am sorry that I shouted at you. Was he killed? You sound like you really miss him.”
Nicolas let out a deep sigh. “Let’s not talk about my father right now,” he snapped. “He is gone. No more! We’ll talk about it later!”
This greatly upset Donna. She stood up abruptly and defended Darlene. “All she asked was a simple question.” the maidservant frowned. You didn’t need to lash out at her like that.”
Darlene held out her hand, motioning Donna to sit back down. “It’s okay, Donna. It’s very painful for him, and I understand what he’s going through.”
Nicolas shook his head. “You wouldn’t. Let’s just move on, and talk about something else.”
“What would you like to talk about? If you have nothing, then I would suggest that we just learn more about each other. What is your last name?”
“Gillings,” Nicolas replied tersely. “Now that you mentioned it, there is something that I have been wondering about for awhile. In my head, I have been trying to guess your age.”
Darlene’s eyes lit up and she grinned. “Really? How old do you think I am?”
“Sixteen,” Nicolas guessed.
Darlene shook her head. “Close. I’m fifteen years and eleven months. You must be sixteen, then.”
Nicolas shook his head, smiling. “Close. I’m fifteen years and eight months.”
“Oh, you are? We’re only three months apart!”
The conversation between Nicolas and Darlene continued. They asked more questions and learned more about each other. Donna was content with just sitting beside them and listening to their whole conversation, which took quite a while.
For those of you who are wondering, the very next thing they talked about was their birthdays. Nicolas mentioned his birthday, which was on the 61st day of Spring during the second month. As you see, some Copians don’t use an official calendar. This varied depending on region. Being from Tulin, Nicolas didn’t use a calendar, but he, like most Tulinites, consistently kept track of each sunrise and sunset during the year. The only ones in Tulin to use a calendar were Tulin royalty and a few nobles. Darlene, living in Saris, used the calendar that was mandated for all the people of Saris to use. She mentioned her birthday to Nicolas, which was on the 1st of August. Despite the differences in the Saris calendar and the Tulinites method of dating, their birthdays were roughly 3 months apart.
Besides birthdays, Nicolas and Darlene talked about various other things. Every now and then, Donna got up from listening and offered them some wildflower tea. Nicolas told her that he was from Tulin, and they talked about their favorite foods, their favorite drinks, and several other topics.
In the middle of their conversation, there was a sudden knock on the door. Being so absorbed in their discussion, neither Nicolas nor Darlene heard the knock. Donna did, and rushed downstairs to see who it was.
©2011 K. L. Walker