The ongoing collection Volume XXIX
By J. R. Wagner TheNeverChronicles.com
Volume 29 The Twenty-third day of October The year remains unknown
I helped Akil out of the cistern and into a seat at the large table. I watched as the old man leaned forward, took several deep breaths and then sat up straight as an arrow. He looked at me as if he didn’t recognize me and said something I couldn’t quite hear while moving his left hand in a circular pattern. A warm breeze circled around him. I could feel the balmy gusts blowing against my legs as it began swirling at his boots where it rippled the hem of his cloak, then made its way up until his hair began to dance (what hair was left was unusually long for this typically tidily kempt man) until the breeze stopped. He smiled wryly and I noticed the soot covering his body was gone. What the bloody hell happened? He asked. I smiled thinking that was the precise question I had intended upon asking. I saw you in the cabin just before I left, I said. Akil’s eyebrows rose with curiosity. It was a flash, really, I went on to say. I stooped to pick up your locket and it happened. I saw this very room. I saw a waterfall and I saw your face. You were in pain. I looked up at Akil, he was staring into the distance as if absorbing what I had told him. Was there anything else? He asked, looking deep into my eyes. Yes, I said, suddenly remembering. A castle perched in the sea. It was massive, dark and yet…magnificent. A loud clang caused me to jump as it echoed through the expanse of the hall. Akil did not flinch nor did he break his gaze. I looked to see what had fallen. Between our feet was an odd metal disc. It was no larger than the expanse of my hand. Scalloped steel extended from top to bottom in a line no wider than my two fingers. I looked up at Akil who hadn’t broken his stare and met his eyes. He was muttering something under his breath. Akil, I whispered –he didn’t respond. Akil! I shouted. He blinked and was back with me. What is it? I asked. Nothing, he replied, shaking whatever thought troubled him out of his head. What is it? I repeated. Nothing, my young friend. Nothing. I could tell by the far away sound of his voice that he was not being forthcoming but I let it go. So, you’ve met my Pteragons, then? He asked. Pteragons? I asked. Akil whistled an unusual tune and within seconds, Bronchio and Swat were at my side. They have an affinity for you, he said. Both birds stood at either leg rubbing their heads against J. R. Wagner
my hips until I scratched behind their crown feathers. And I them, I said, smiling. Most unusual, said Akil as he reached into a pocket and removed a long wooden pipe. So they made the return trip carrying my watch. Most impressive. I can only assume then that you managed to open the doorway. Aye, I said. And you took it upon yourself to come looking for me. I flushed slightly before responding. I told him my original intention had not been to seek him out but I was certainly glad that I had found him. No matter, he said. Where is the watch. I left it behind, I replied. The color immediately drained from his face. He leaned against the back of the chair in an obvious attempt to steady himself. I couldn’t lift it, I said. It was as if it were welded right to the floor. Akil quickly stood. I must go back, he said, moving toward the wall in which the only visible exit was nestled six feet from the ground. As he reached up for the ledge of the doorsill, I shouted, I saw her. He slowly lowered his arm and turned. Who? He asked. My wife, I said. Where? Akil asked. Here, I said, gesturing to the chair at the end of the table. Akil walked forward and slowly ran his fingers over the back of the chair while muttering something incomprehensible. He then hung his head as if in defeat. What is it, Akil? I asked. We must move on. The watch will have to wait. I shall not leave your side until we’ve reached our final destination. He bent quickly and picked up the curious metal disk and stashed inside his cloak as we moved toward the opposite end of the hall.
J. R. Wagner