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   Chapter 24 Keeper of the Crossroads

Keeper of the Crossroads By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 10734

Updated: 2018-03-13 11:01


Chapter 24

The figure was covered head to toe in a black hooded cape. The hood was pulled low over the face and Jamie could only catch the glitter of eyes in the shadows, no facial features. The figure was taller than Jamie but shorter than the High Talbot. As they walked towards the figure Jamie realized the person had found the deepest shadows of the porch to wait. He wondered if that was significant. Jamie passed the cloak he had picked up in the woods off to Del.

"Do you know what sort of refreshments to offer, " he asked in a low tone he hoped wouldn't carry.

"Yes Keeper, " Del replied in the same hushed tone.

"Good, " Jamie replied. In a louder tone he called to the figure on the porch. "Good morning, sorry for making you wait."

"The wait has not been long, " came the reply. The voice reminded Jamie of long dark hallways where dust collected in the corners and beetles scuttled under the floor boards. He gave an involuntary shudder.

"Good, " Jamie replied. They reached the porch. "Won't you come in?" Jamie asked. He opened the door and Del moved directly to the kitchen. Jamie indicated the figure he was now pretty sure qualified as male, should go into the parlor. The visitor settled himself in the guest chair. The guest chair was still in shadows as the parlor's windows opened to the west. The entire room was dim and Jamie reached for the light switch.

"I would prefer you did not do that, " the voice came again. Jamie paused.

"Oh?"

"I am a creature of the dark and prefer the shadows, " he was told. Jamie let his hand fall from the switch.

"I see, " he said. Jamie stepped away from the switch and moved to his seat. "Del will be bringing refreshments shortly."

"Does it bother you?"

"The refreshments?" Jamie asked, slightly confused. There was a low chuckle from under the hood.

"Meeting with one of the dark. One who might be… evil?"

"Dark is a natural condition, " Jamie replied. "Many in nature are designed to live in the dark and suffer ill effects from the light. Evil is an intent. An action decided upon by an individual not a natural state." Jamie blinked.

The words had a familiar feel to them, like a lesson he had memorized. He couldn't remember where it had come from though and that bothered him, even if he did agree with the sentiment. "Although I do like to actually see the faces of the people I talk to. That sort of bothers me, along with not knowing your name." There was another dark chuckle from under the hood.

"You are well trained by Albe that much is certain." The man's hands lifted to the edge of his hood. Jamie looked at them hoping he looked politely interested rather than like he was staring. The man's hands were pale, like skin that had never seen the sun. Jamie thought that was perfectly understandable.

The man's fingernails however were black. Jamie's eyes were drawn to them. The black was not the black of nail polish but the purpley black that you would sometimes see if you happened to accidentally slam a hammer into your finger rather than hitting the nail you held. As Jamie had made many frames over the years his hands were well familiar with the color. What stru

is one was shorter than he was, the top of her head reaching only to the middle of his chest. She was as full of light and warmth as his first visitor had been full of the dark cold. Her stern expression however warned that her disposition might not be as bright as her countenance.

"You are the new Keeper?" She asked, sounding very much like he imagined a country school marm would have sounded at the turn of the century. Jamie tucked the coin into his pocket.

"I am, " he replied. "Won't you please come in?" She entered and like his first visitor, she quickly got to the point. The point being that she owed Albe a favor and found herself instead having to pay it to Jamie instead. She seemed rather put out by the fact. She huffed back out a short while later leaving Jamie with a small vial that glowed vaguely gold and was sealed with purple wax. He had no more clue what to do with it than he did the rainbow sheened coin.

Guests arrived in a steady stream. Some were polite and wanted to wax poetic about Albe. Others seemed to view their visit as the conclusion of a business arrangement. Each left him with an object or device he had no clue how to use or what to use it for. Lunch had come and gone and Jamie wondered if he was going to be able to eat before his four o'clock tea with the famed Fae architect. He escorted his latest visitor out, tucking the small packet of powder she had given him into his pocket as he moved. The next visitor was already on the porch and Jamie gave up his last thoughts of grabbing a late lunch.

Goodbyes were given to his departing guest and he turned to his arriving one. This one wore a gray cloak with the hood pulled over his head. Thunder sounded overhead and fat drops of rain began to splatter onto the already damp grass. Jamie invited him inside. As he moved he pulled his hood down and smiled at Jamie. Jamie froze in place as he caught sight of the half circular scar on the man's cheek. Jamie took in the rest of the details and found himself staring at the man from his dreams the night before. The man smiled.

"Ah, young Jamie, I see you do remember me."

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