Tapestry

The next room was indeed a dorm-room.  Four wooden platforms lay on the floor against the wall, each with a dusty straw palliasse surmounting them.  The dust was thick on the floor, less so on the mattresses.  Remnants of foot-lockers stood at the end of each platform, all broken and splintered.  Two windows, both high up in the walls, let light into the room and illuminated a large tapestry hanging against the wall on Mirko's left.  It took up the full length of the wall and immediately caught his attention.  He forced himself to look away and pay attention to Lianna.

She prowled into the room, checking to the left and the right, and nodded her head sharply, satisfied.

"I said we'd have a dorm-room.  Right, where's the door?"

Venne and Mirko looked around.  "No door," said Venne.  "Fireplace, windows, door we came in by.  That's it."

"Right, we check the room, make sure it's safe, then draw it out.  This floor's too small, I can see that already."

"There were only three rooms downstairs," said Venne quickly.  He was already scanning the room, looking for the most likely place to find forgotten things.

"And the first of them was the size of these two combined.  I know you know that watchmaker, don't take me for a wet-behind-the-ears druid, fresh from his burrow."

Mirko started, stung by Lianna's insult, but held his tongue.  The tapestry to his left continued to niggle at him and he had to force himself to keep looking away.

They searched the room quickly and efficiently.  Venne uncovered a handful of silver coins underneath a wooden platform and Lianna prodded each palliasse in turn, watching them disintegrate into a puff of dust and dry straw fragments.  The fireplace proved empty and cold; the windows too high to see out of.  Finally Mirko had a chance to look at the tapestry.

It showed a forest grove underneath a crescent moon, the trees detailed enough to almost seem to be moving.  There was a reflection at the centre of the grove that might have been a pool, and there were shadows in the trees that seemed at odds with the branches and leaves.  Mirko quickly picked out a number of small elements, broken branches on the ground, leaves in the bushes, that were druidic symbols, some familiar, some irritatingly strange.  He started trying to piece them together; the one for religion was easy, but the ones that said which god or goddess was worshipped there were unknown to him.

"Does a druid always act like a moon-calf when he sees a tree?" asked Venne, his voice mocking and snide.

"Sit yourself down druid, and draw up the floor-plan," said Lianna.  "You can look at the pretty pictures later.  Shame that's too big for you too carry out!"  She laughed, a harsh, repellant sound in the dusty silence of the tower.

The End

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