Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chapter Seventy-Four



"Well?  Tell me!  Is this family lore or have you found something in the ancient texts?"

Nat tried to hide a tired smile while he said, "Slow down Roo."

For the first time the Sheriff asked a direct question.  "Roo?"

This time Nat did chuckle though he sounded no less tired.  "Leeda was born early and small.  Her mother took a while to heal up and our Grandmother had her hands full just trying to keep us all fed and clean until Aunt Belle could get back on her feet.  And even as a newborn Leeda was curious and would cry if left in her cradle in the corner unless she was sleeping ... and she hardly ever slept, or so it seemed.  She wanted to be up and see what was going on.  That left the care of Leeda to us boys a great deal of the time so that the adults could get their work done.  Grandfather fashioned a pouch for Leeda to fit in and we simply took turns hauling her around.  Grandmother would tell us ancient children's stories of a bear and his friends and one of them was a young animal called a kangaroo that rode around in its mother's pouch as such animals do.  And that's why we started calling her Roo."

I was so tired I nearly cried as I could still hear my brothers teasing me with the name, not because I still needed carrying about but because I was always burying myself into their packs looking for the interesting things they would bring me back from their forest hikes.

The Sheriff must have noticed and said with great concern, "You are over tired.  I will have a room made up and you and Nat ..."

"No," I said despite the gratitude I felt that he'd at least built the thought.  "This needs to be finished.  Or if not finished at least brought to a plateau that sets us up for the rest of what is coming."

With concern Nat asked, "Do you have a feeling?"

I nodded.  "I don't have enough facts to make a picture yet but there is something just out of reach.  I know it is there but I can't seem to grasp it.  It is barely substantial but still I know it is there; it is like a whiff of smoke while taking a turn in the fire tower.  It is there but so faint that I can't figure the direction to follow it to its origin."

The Chancellor asked in confusion, "What's this?  What does she mean?"

I looked at Nat to let him explain but instead was surprised when one of the Church elders spoke.  "She is a Harper."

The Chancellor said, "I ... I'm not sure what that means."

Benevolently the old man said, "It means that just like with the first Harper some members of the family have an intellect that surpasses what is considered average or normal by most.  Sometimes those that exhibit such intellect can make jumps in logic."

"Precognition?" the Chancellor said in horror looking at me like I was a witch.

"No, of course not.  The Church would never allow the exploitation of such skills.  No, the jump in logic only appears magical to those who don't realize that what is actually taking place is that their minds are collating facts at such a rate and creating hypothesis and theories in such number that it allows them to see ... lines of possibilities.  But being a stubborn Harper they will not guess and say what they think if they cannot base it in fact.  They are very much hardheaded that way."

I looked at the old man.  "You seem to know ... well ... my family's habits quite well.  Has Nat spoken with you?"

The old man chuckled.  "No Child it is just that in my own youth I knew several of your family members including your great great grandfather.  He was out measuring the ground because he was worried at the unusual activity around the sinkhole and had written to my father who was an engineer.  Everyone else was convinced that the Harpers were exaggerating their concern in demanding that all of the buildings and enclosures in such a large area be dismantled and moved.  His theory proved to be true within a few feet."

I shook my head.  "Too bad he didn't take his own advice and stay out of the area.  When you have such a theory and believe it then you should act on it and not act like it will touch everyone else but yourself."  I shook my head to release it from the quagmire of getting stuck in the past and asked Nat, "Truly, how do you know the Darkfriars and Priests of the Damned to be connected? Family lore?"

"No, I shared all with you that I knew.  Had I known what I know now I would have probably taken you directly to the convent on the grounds of the Regional University.  You would have been happy there as soon as you had seen the size and breadth of the library."

I laid my head on Nat's shoulder.  "No.  No, sometimes events must play out whether we understand their purpose or not."

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