Outline: Trelli was an orphan placed as a housemaid in the respectable household of the Hendrechan family, notable in local commerce and society. She swiftly learnt she was fortunate, and by hard work rose to be valued. Her one problem being the younger son Wigran who due to his own forays in The Stommigheid inadvertently involves her upsetting her once stable life by giving her powers she now has to master.
Preamble: This extract involves the finale in a series of confrontations between Trelli and Wigran. She, having discovered his illegal efforts with The Stommigheid has warned him to stop before the authorities or worse come down upon the household. Because of their previously good relationship he has been trying to convince her otherwise.
Trelli was starting to yearn for easier times when her Ghitanixday afternoons were little interludes when she could just be herself and sometimes lazy. She now accepted this had been chipped away since Wigran had got her all tangled up with firstly his financial doings and now here she was in his room, sitting at this desk, looking at his nasty mirror, and him carrying on like it was all quite right and proper. And why had she been such a ninny and let him talk her into this? This wasn’t excitement jiggling her innards. No. This was being scared silly.
‘What am I supposed to do?’ she demanded.
‘Nothing Trelli,’ was his anxious reply ‘I just want you to see how wondrous The Ethereal can be,’ and his hands moved across the jewels bringing a light similar to a pale misty dawn.
‘Looks ghostly to me,’ she complained.
‘No, let me explain. You see, there came upon the world long years ago a new force which enabled folk to do things which had only been dreamed off,’
‘And The World might have got destroyed,’
‘Yes, there were mistakes, but it was due to inexperience. Look. You do want to know, don’t you?’
‘I don’t think I do,’
‘Oh, don’t be so soppy. Look at these jewels. These are selected for their empathy with the Ethereal. They draw its elements from the very air and channel them through these delicate wires into the….’
‘Funny looking box with a scary mirror. Something will loom out of it,’ she shuffled nervously, then flinched when Wigran tried to pat her knee, he had meant to reassure her, not one of his better qualities.
‘No,’ he tried his idea of a calm authoritative voice, it came out peevish. ‘Look, watch this,’ and despite her whimper of apprehension began to tap out a pattern upon the jewels ‘You see, each impact or combinations of impacts has a certain resonance which sends out a message to the central hub within the box, which in turn generates an empathy with the Ethereal. I’ll show you,’ he turned to look, hopefully at her, finding her wide-eyed attention upon the screen.
‘Why is there a small red and blue sea in the middle?’
Wigran peered at the shape she was pointing at.
‘Nothing to worry about,’ he assured her or hoped he had ‘This is one of the many sights you see,’
‘What does it mean then? Is it a sea in some odd land?’
‘It’s a,’ he paused then as loathed as he was had to admit ‘Well, I’m not too sure at the present,’ he leaned in fingers hovering over the jewels.
‘If you don’t know,’ Trelli chided swatting his hands away ‘Don’t fool with it. Wait for it to go away,’
‘I can’t do that,’ he snapped horrified at the idea ‘This is as an important exploration as one by any sea captain,’ while still hovering at the jewels, not sure of his choice but neither willing to let Trelli think he was indecisive.
‘More than a few of those never came back,’ she warned as she began to chew upon her knuckles and recite prayers begging The Good Lord God to forgive these his foolish and wayward children.
‘Do stop that,’ Wigran complained now embracing peevishness, lest she somehow convince him ‘It is not helpful,’
‘Not asking The Good Lord God for aid and guidance ?’
‘Oh Trelli. Oh Trelli. Oh Trelli,’ he lamented. She was confusing him.
‘Yes, I’m here. All three of me,’ fear being replaced by sarcasm.
‘This is how things are when the Ethereal or Stommigheid is being explored, there are sights and sounds to be encountered. This red and blue manifestation could well be the indication of an as yet unchartered pathway, enabling the question of distance to be considered no longer valid to the communications regarding or transference of goods. Look,’ goaded by her intransigence he pressed red and azure jewels’ See how it fluctuates in response to gems of similar hues, indicating a facet of empathy,’
Once more Trelli did not have any notion as to what he was talking about, and said so while watching that red and blue smudge. It did look like a sea, albeit a small one.
Wigran stung by her failure to at least listen with an open mind began to dither about with the lowest of the three drawers on the right side of his desk, doing his stupid tapping, this time on three dull looking brass screws, at which point the draw flew open, and he swiftly pulled out a volume old and battered through use, waving the thing in her face.
She managed to make out an odd title of ‘A Perplexing Tendency to Persist’
‘This is how I started Trelli. Four years ago, when father made a speculative purchase of some woebegone lord’s library and I found this amongst volumes on the husbandry of vegetables. This seemingly amusing and quirky tale is actually made of two layers. Firstly, part of an account of folk legendary within the realms of the Jordisk told in a comic style, but more important a coded guide on how you could build an oculator,’
Trelli wrinkled her threatened nose, she was sure there was an oily smell coming out of the pages and wished he would put the blasted thing back in the drawer. Then something struck her.
‘How did you know it was a code? I mean if you hadn’t seen it before. Aren’t codes complicated?’
His grin was something she reckoned those Gervalons went in for at their blasphemous ceremonies before they sacrificed small furry animals, not that she’d actually seen such a horrid act, but there were stories.
‘Because it all becomes clear when you read it with an open mind,’
This was the limit of her forbearance. A new and sudden determination gripped her for she could feel something whispering to her. Temptation. She would fight back. She leapt up, hands to her ears, and reciting a new string of prayers for protection from The Evils of The Lascivious and The Perils of the Retributions, then gathering all of her determination and with finger pointing stormed.
‘Dangerous. Blasphemous. I’ll give you just one day to destroy all of this. And burn it, or I’m going to tell your parents,’
Wigran shot up, still waving the book, Trelli with a new mix of fear and rage swatted it out his grasp, then with teeth clenched dashed towards the volume, snatching it up, making to tear it apart. Wigran howled in anguish meaning to grab the book, grabbed her, swinging her about and thus she lost her balance. In trying to regain it, her right hand hit some of the jewels.
Because she was blocking most of his line of sight Wigran did not initially see the small red and blue shape growing. This only became apparent when the entire lower half of the mirrored surface was filled with a brightness of red and blue, silhouetting Trelli. Seeing the shock on his face she twisted about, to see the red and blue rising up as she comprehended it, into a wave, a big tide coming in wave, crashing on rocks. She yelped, threw up her hands to her face and tumbled backwards, over one chair and into a heap on the floor.
In the aftermath, the colours subsided, the surface became a passive leaf green, broken by flickers of blonde yellow sunlight.
This and the book were of no real consequence for either Trelli or Wigran. They were both looking at her hands.
Which had begun to glow with hues shifting between the reds and blues previously witnessed on the oculator.
The brief interlude of shared wide-eyed open mouthed silence was broken by the cries of dismay from Trelli.