Reshuffled (part 8)

Raphael explored the Governor’s House thoroughly starting with the kitchen. The main room could host a hundred people. Stairs on the left and the right were leading up to rooms on a mezzanine. An archway below it was leading to an inner courtyard. A tall, wooden door on the right of the main room led to the dining room, another one on the left led to a library. Two guards were posted by the stairs. Raphael stepped into the dining room to his right. Ten people could sit at that long, rectangular, wooden table. Only one person was sitting there at the moment; Michael. He was sipping on a cup of fuming liquid staring in his brother’s green eyes.

– Do you like it?

– The house? Of course. It’s beautiful. This People is very talented. You did always love builders.

Michael seemed to relax in his seat and he smiled.

– Let me give you the tour. Let’s walk over here. We will be leaving the dining room where the Governor receives officials and friends. We now enter the kitchen. Meet Sati. She feeds us all here with delicious meals from all kinds of rare ingredients.

The woman behind the marble counters had dark red skin, dark long hair and a wide smile. She wore coloured beads around her neck and in her hair.

– Where do you get these rare ingredients? Raphael asked

– From the Forest, my Lord. May I ask the Governor, what it is he prefers to eat?

– You know potato roots? Raphael said walking up to her. She nodded her head yes. I will have some of those in the morning with eggs.

They tenderly smiled at each other.

– Alright. Said Michael. Let’s continue this way to the courtyard. The trees were all here when they built this house. Left, you go back to the main room through the arches, in front here to the office, the library and the study hall. On the right the stairs lead to the second floor where all the rooms are. I am heading upstairs to pack. We can meet back here when the sun rises again.

– Oh, alright. I might go through all the books in the Library tonight.

– …Perhaps I will join you later for tea.

– You are going somewhere?

– In the morning, we are heading South. There were stars that fell over there on the full moon before your arrival. Eve and I wanted to lead an expedition to find out more. Maybe we can do that now since you are in charge.

– How long has it been since you’ve contacted Light House? Raphael plainly asked

– The Light House, eh…? I can show you the Light House when I return.

Michael turned his back to his brother taking the path upstairs. He climbed the wooden stairs, with his traditional serious attitude. But Raphael could see clearly now that this Michael was not the one he knew. His brother seemed to have forgotten part of Himself. Then, Amethyst would possibly be in the same predicament.

Raphael stared at the garden under the early rising moon. The red bricks and the dark wood surrounded a lush square of land where two lilac trees prospered by a boulder. Pink butterflies were flying in the bare branches. Images started flowing through his mind. He saw a volcanic world where only the toughest of creatures could live. He saw Michael, the grand angel land and touch a perfect squared black stone in a ceremony.

Raphael heard a door close upstairs abruptly returning him to reality.

Let’s find out more about this builder race and their origins.

Raphael walked through the door leading to the office. The mansion was lit by torches, and candles. The office seemed like a wonderful place to sit and write. The wooden cabinets aligned on the walls, the wooden desk and padded chair were in this room. The library on the other side of the door, led back to the main room to the left or forward to the study hall. A warm fire was burning in the hearth. Comfortable chairs and benches were distributed in the room, libraries covered all walls and Raphael knew he was home. He thought he would start with the oldest books he could find. Who gathered them? Who wrote them? Anything on stars falling from the sky? Or maybe on an ancient race long forgotten by most? He wandered around noticing the guards in the main room chatting among themselves. It seemed the end of the day for all of them. Raphael scanned rapidly the rows of books mostly bounded with the same thick green leather. The bright yellow pages were obviously made from the golden wheat he landed on. These people are very talented, Raphael thought. He took out books torned or heavily used and put them on the low oval table in the middle of the library. He noticed eight stands, waist high holding an object under glass in the corners of the room. The first he looked at contained a carved knife. It was made of some sort of bone. The edges of the blade seemed to have been sliced cleanly off. Raphael turned suddenly to the two guards loudly laughing by the stairs. Leaving the books on the table behind him, Raphael joined them. The two guards banged their feet at attention when he moved before them. Four more guards entered the Mansion escorting Eve the next moment. She walked in with a smile on her face and without a care in the world. She took her boots off and started running up the staircase on the right. Midway, she turned to the left and saw Raphael standing there.

– Oh! Governor. I did not see you there.

– You seem to be in a hurry.

– Yes. I am leaving on an expedition in the morning. I have so much packing to do. She smiled and ran up the stairs. It is good to be relieved from command! She yelled from upstairs. I shall greatly enjoy it.

She opened the door to the farthest room to the right and closed it behind her. Raphael could hear her giggle in there. He stayed standing among the six guards who all looked at each other and collectively decided to head into the dinner hall. Raphael followed them to the long wooden table in the dining room.

– I will have some shrimps, Sati. Said one of them to the cook in the kitchen to his left. They all sat at the table taking their blue coats off and adjusting them on the chair’s back rest.

Raphael noticed the yellow ribbon on the man’s shoulder indicating he was ranked. Sati came out of the kitchen with two clay jugs and seven cups balanced in her hands. Raphael joined them at the table, took the cup offered to him by Sati and sat among the yound men.

-May neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, angels protect you, and Heaven accept you. Said the ranked guard.

They all drank up their portion of wine in unison.

-I take it you are the new Governor, Sir Green Star Man? He added after finishing his cup?

-I am. And who might you be?

-I am Daniel. High Guard. I am leader of the Governor’s Security Detail. These are my brothers. Simon, Thomas, Sand, Philip and Mori.

– Hmmm. My security detail, I take it?

-Indeed Sir. The Mansion has its own guard units. We are off duty when the Governor is Home. As you are now, Sir. We are at your disposal anytime you have to move around the Realms in your mysterious Stars affairs.

Raphael remained silent a moment but these young men did not. They talked together of their recent days of work. Their being awaken in the night by the star falling and riding with Lady Eve to the Heart of the Forest that night while the Captain was fetching the remnants. And by that, they meant him. Raphael interrupted their conversation with a question to the seemingly youngest among them:

-Simon, why did you join this brotherhood?

-Sir, my father, my grandfather, his father and his grandfather all served under the Captain’s Orders. Not everyone among my people were excited about building a city. Our people has been building cities for generations upon generations even before coming here. Some of us wanted to explore this new world. The Captain also had no interest in politics or trade. He started taking the strongest of us on exploration trips through the Forest, the prairies, by the ocean and up the Grey Mountain.  By his side, we have the most incredible experiences we could only dream of. We meet mysterious creatures in the shadows, encounter spirits in the desert. We were made prisoners by wild tribes of Warriors Women. The Captain and his Guards discover new places and new peoples of the Realms. Back in Union, hundreds of us are training to be picked to serve under him. Everyone is welcome to try and everyone has a chance. Today, we are honored he chose us to guard his most precious jewel. Even if it means we have to listen to politicians talk all day!

Thomas spoke next.

– Sir, you are like him are you not?

– I am. Incredible experiences also happen in my presence. Of a different sort, perhaps. Perhaps they would seem less exciting to you. The new Governor took a pause and asked. You said, Simon that you people is not originally from this world. I wish to learn more about your people and its origin.

-Sir, our People traveled the Great Sea as commanded by the Lord Creator into the Unknown to be led through a Treacherous Storm. Our Patriarch, Noah guided us safely to these shores. His three sons each lead their own clans and built the Red Town. I am of the Clan of Sem, the Eldest Son. Most of us live in the Forest but I left when I was young with my older sister to come here.

Sati approached and served them grilled shrimps and baked potatos with cream.

-Sir, Daniel said, enjoy your meal and let your guidance be as beneficial as was the Patriarch’s. To the new Governor!

-To the new Governor! They all cheered.

Raphael took a deep breathe. The smells were enticing and her looked forward to testing the foods for the first time since he landed from his fall.

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