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   Chapter 42 Keeper of the Crossroads

Keeper of the Crossroads By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 10685

Updated: 2018-03-13 11:12

Chapter 42

Nebulous plans began to circle in Jamie's head as he stifled his yawns and headed towards his bed room. His head felt full to bursting and he wondered how his poor brain would manage to deal with another night of Albe's released lessons.

"Perhaps the basement nightmares would counter that, " he muttered as he began to undress. Alexander had been vague about his nightmares. Over all he hadn't seemed to be the type of person who put much stock in dreams.

"At least at the beginning, " Jamie said with a grin. As Alexander came into his role as Keeper he had begun to pay attention to his dreams as one of the tools in a Keeper's kit. Unfortunately, he had only visited the basement when he was very new to his position and the nightmares rated only a brief mention. He had actually attributed them to the new cook's fondness for spicy curries.

"At least I can't blame whatever I dream on the details of someone else's dreams." Jamie slipped between the sheets and snuggled into his pillows. The sheets were cool and raised goose bumps on his exposed flesh where it touched. Gradually his body heat warmed the sheets and he drifted off into sleep.

The fog was the first thing he noticed about his dreams. It fell thickly around him shrouding the world in a gray haze. He could tell he was outside by the scent of the forest. Jamie looked at his feet and realized he was standing on a dirt path. Looking around he could see darker shapes in the fog. From the size and regular shape he guessed them to be trees. Nothing moved or appeared to be moving. There were no sounds and Jamie found himself listening to his own breath and hearing his own heart beat.

'I suppose I should move, ' he thought. The thought of walking blindly into the fog was daunting and Jamie felt his mouth go dry. 'I seem to be on some sort of path, if I move slowly I might be able to get somewhere." He wasn't sure why he felt impelled to move. Nothing was chasing him or calling to him. It felt instead as though the world were waiting. Holding its breath to see what he would do. It was almost as if by moving he would be setting something in motion.

'Kind of like a live action choose your own adventure story, " he thought with a half smile. Dimly he wondered if he would get a different adventure if he turned around on the path and walked the opposite direction.

'Probably, ' he decided. "But there is more than likely a reason I'm facing this way. Might as well see what it is." Jamie looked at his feet and took one hesitant step forward. The mist began to thin as though some invisible giant had taken a deep breath and let it out slowly. The trees became more distinctly outlined and the fog began to shred on their branches like torn cotton batting.

The path was dark, hard-packed earth and was easy to follow. Jamie looked up from his feet to see where he was heading as he hesitantly moved forward. The fog seemed intent on blocking that from him as it remained clear only about three paces in front of him. Jamie frowned as a thought hit him. He glanced over his shoulder. Already the fog was spilling back over the path behind him.

"Apparently once

the stones. "I must say this does seem a bit overdone though. A bit more... permanent than your previous dwelling."

There was no response to his comment and Terrell's smile finally slipped, letting his irritation peek out. The silence stretched and finally Terrell turned to the Keeper. The man continued to wait as the silence deepened into awkwardness.

"Well, I suppose I should let you get back to it then, " Terrell said finally breaking the silence. "Good day to you Keeper."

"Good day, " came the reply. Terrell left, followed closely by his three hooded flunkies. The Keeper watched them go. When they were out of sight he turned away from the path they had taken.

"Robin, " he called. A man dressed nearly identical to Del and standing about the same height stepped into view.

"Yes Keeper?" Robin said walking up.

"We've just had a visit from the Brotherhood of Shadows. Could you see if the High Talbot would be willing to look over the foundations before we go over them, just to be safe."

"Of course Keeper, but surely even the brotherhood..." Robin's words stumbled to a halt as the Keeper favored him with a sardonic look.

"The brotherhood believes that all humans are chattel and takes it amiss that a human is allowed to mediate their disputes. I am not accusing them of anything, but I prefer caution."

"Of course Keeper, I'll see if he is available." The scene faded. Jamie leaned forward to see what the next scene would hold. To his disappointment the light contracted into a small point and disappeared beneath the water. Jamie blinked, opened his eyes and found himself laying in bed, with the edge of dawn pressing against his window and the smell of freshly baked bread rising from the kitchen.

"Not sure that counts as a nightmare, " Jamie muttered, sitting up in bed and rubbing sleep from his eyes. Somehow he didn't feel rested. "At least I have some talking points for the Gederan and Fedran representatives as well as the High Talbot." Wondering if the Brotherhood of Shadows had anything to do with Lune Merdos, Jamie showered, dressed and headed down to breakfast.

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