The Caretaker, part 12: Myths, Legends and Reality
Kira entered through the heavy wooden door. The office of Maluk would have been spacious if it had not been littered with scrolls, books and other writing paraphenelia. Pugpug poked her nose out of one of the wooden crates that were piled up high in one corner of the room.
“Do come in. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by little Pugpug here.” Maluk invited her cordially.
“Intimidated?” Kira smiled.
“And don’t let yourself be fooled by her innocent looks. Pollans can be extremely viscious when displeased.”
“But surely, she’s your pet?”
Maluk eyed her thoughtfully from behind his desk. “Pollans are nobody’s pets. When they decide they have enough of you, then you’ll be lucky if they just leave. But enough about her.” He waved a hand dismissively and Pugpug disappeared into the crate. “Since I have some time on my hand, I have volunteered to help you with your study.” He gestured to a chair.
Kira walked into the room and took a hesitant glance at the pile of books that occupied the chair. “I am grateful for your offer, My L…Master Maluk.” She picked up the pile and searched for an empty space on the floor to place them.
Maluk chuckled. “One has to find some pleasant occupation between travels.” Brushing some papers aside, he cleared a visual path between him and the chair. Then he waited until she was seated.
“What is it exactly that you are looking for?”
Kira took a deep breath. She generally approved directness, but needed some time to arrange her words. Maluk regarded her silently.
“As you know, our neighbouring country, Thalasan, is plunged in civil war.” Maluk nodded.
“Recent reports however, speak of a prince who is fighting against its ruling King. And he is uniting the people where he goes.”
Maluk smiled. “Surely that is a good thing. If a ruler cannot hold his country together, than it is right to depose him, yes?”
Kira frowned; such political views would not sit well in her country. It would open the way for any rebel to challenge a rightful ruler.
“The problem lies in the manner in which he is fighting,” she continued stiffly.
Maluk grinned at her tone. “His manner?”
Kira felt she was telling him nothing that he did not already knew but was determined to have her explain it, nonetheless.
“It is rumoured that he uses the power of the elements.”
Maluk got up from his chair and turned towards the window overlooking the courtyard.
“Old powers like that are rare these days. You have proof, or only rumours?”
Kira felt her impatience rise. “The Lord Caretaker already pledged his support for my investigation. Does it matter if we have proof?”
“Ah! So you do not.” Maluk turned towards her. “Now you are coming into my realm. Are you sure that what you are looking for is nothing but myths and stories?”
“And are most myths and stories not based on some truth?” she retorted.
“You confuse myths with legends.” Maluk seemed to warm to the fight. But then his eyes were drawn once more to the courtyard, where people were running.
“What in the world?” He muttered.
Kira was about to reply but then noted his distraction. She rose from her chair and joined him near the window.
In one corner of the courtyard, people had gathered. Others ran towards the entrance of the Libary and soon enough shouts were heard in the hallway. Someone wrapped at the door but did not wait for the call to enter.
“Master Maluk! They killed him! Master Maluk!”
Maluk abruptly turned to face the man who had entered. “What!?”
“They killed him, Master Maluk! They killed the Caretaker!”
-> Goto par 13: Taking Control