Behind his dark eyelids, Varen’ka heard whispered voices and the rustle of papers nearby. He could feel a soft light brush his eyes and nothing more. Without moving or making any sign that would give him away, Varen’ka let his other senses drift to gather information of his surroundings. He pinpointed the voices coming from the same room, but far to the left of where he lay. From the tone and fluctuation of the voice, he noted that one was a male, possibly in his midlife, and a young woman. The man was very calm, speaking with direction and comfort whereas the girl sounded overly eager and anxious.
Varen’ka let his sensation move to what lay beneath him. Underneath his fingertips was a smooth, almost velvet blanket laid over a well-used down mattress. His head was laid against a pillow filled with tiny grain beads that conformed to his shape. It was comfortable, though Varen’ka had no need for such comforts. He could feel that his leg had been tended to and bandaged as well as his sodden boots and clothing removed to be replaced by warm, fleece clothes. Whomever had found him must have wondered at his appearance and hopefully, for Varen’ka’s sake, he or she did not recognize his background.
He turned his focus back to the conversation. The voices had a distinct accent that he immediately placed to the Estrav region; furthermore, he was easily able to identify the dialect, supposing that it was from Ressavia or therein. After a couple of moments, the speakers halted their conversation and someone moved back a chair shuffling to the other side of the room. From what he could tell of the sound, the person was gather dishes, possibly cups as he could smell a sweetness in the air that did not emanate from either human. The person returned and settled the cups on the table.
“Senior Tevkin, what will they do with him?” The female’s voice mumbled, a touch of trepidation.
There was a sip and the male’s voice responded, “Relax, Elliera. This is not your fault and no punishment will come of it. As for the man, I do not know for sure what they will decide. The council will have to convene and it might even take several days before a decision is made. I would hope that they would offer him a room and board, some hospitality as they once did for any visitor. Now, I cannot predict what they would do. Primier Maushim has…changed in some way that I have yet to determine. His actions do not reflect what he once did in his youth and I do not know what has influenced his recent direction.”
A heavy pause filled the air, then the woman spoke again, “Is he really from the Aa’Nessam province? Why is he so far east? He does not look like a messenger or scout. In fact, he does not even wear the noble colors of that region.”
Varen’ka listened further as there were papers shifted and moved. Someone thrummed their fingers on the table as the shuffling continued and there was a deep sigh, “I think he is indeed from Aa’Nessam and you presume correctly that he does not wear the colors, but there is a peculiar ring on his right hand. I am trying to match the symbol in the records, though I cannot seem to locate it. Perhaps it is hidden deeper in the library, in the old records.”
He heard footsteps fall closer to him while the man kept speaking, “The symbol on the ring does not resemble any language that I can identify, even of the Aa’Nessam province. The symbol is implanted on a creature in the center of the ring with a miniscule jewel I suspect to be crystalline of some variation. The creature is a species of rare panther often found close to the deserts of Un-agub and such a creature has not been seen for centuries.”
As the man continued to browse through pages, Varen’ka suddenly felt warm breath upon his skin. The woman must have leaned in over him to peer at his ring. He kept remarkably still, more still than any human might accomplish. He had listened to the knowledge divulged by the older man wondering where he was from and how he had been privy to such information. Few could know, even guess at where the symbol he held on his hand originated let alone identify the slight features that marked the creature as merely kin to panthers. The scholar, for that is what Varen’ka gesticulated he was, had a great understanding of the different species of panther, but the creature was not of the panther species. It only shared the same genus and the creature was far more powerful than a normal panther, like the presence he sensed in the room.
He had failed to notice it before, his senses still weak from his fall down the river, but another creature occupied the room, its energy vibrant. Varen’ka willed his mind to focus upon it as the woman walked back and sat down. It pulsated and filled the room with an intense warmth that overshadowed his cool skin. A suspicion crept into his mind as considered what creatures held such energy. There were few left in this world that could command such a presence, that fact the scholar had confirmed, though the variations of positive and negative energies were vast. This creature was certainly positive in what it projected.
No longer able to stand not knowing what shared the room with him, Varen’ka risked a slid of his eyelid. The room was barely lit to his left by an insignificant candle where the two humans sat looking over pages. Far in the corner, something was curled on the floor, ears perked and long tail wrapped around its side. He focused his sight, tracing the fur’s shimmer though there was little light and its contrasting dark body. Surprise washed over him, and also relief as Varen’ka realized what he was seeing. A lucien accompanied their group. He sighed inaudibly and closed his eyes again.