Chapter Four: Identification

Jonrah slept fitfully that night. He had always been the curious type; eager to explain the unexplained, but not necessarily good at it.

His curiosity kept him awake throughout the night, and the symbol on the leather was always at the front of his mind, ensuring that he got no rest until he understood its meaning.

Drifiting in and out of dreams plagued by mysterious shadows and flags bearing the unexplained emblem, Jonrah could stand his curiosity no more.

Silently getting out of bed, he looked to Karlin to see she remained peacefully asleep, and then checked in on Jodar, knowing in advance that he would be deep in sleep, dreaming of heroic deeds, defeating demons and the like. Today had worn him out, and yet he didn't understand the burning question that plagued his father: 'What did this mean?'

As he asked himself this again and again, it became clear to him that there was only one person in Litana that would know the answer.

Orlan was recognised as a bit of an eccentric man, but he was accepted nonetheless. He knew stories that few others still passed around, and researched things that were mere myth to many people.

His home was in the very centre of Litana, and although most would be reluctant to visit a friend in the middle of the night, Jonrah knew that Orlan rarely slept; always reading and researching.

If anybody could decypher this odd code, Orlan could.

Throwing on the simplest of clothes - a dark brown coat and trousers - Jonrah entered the night, seeking an answer to his seemingly unanswerable questions.

The warm night welcomed Jonrah into its arms, and now more than ever, he felt as if he could fall asleep and sleep through the night. A cool breeze accompanied the heat, but it was not enough to be cold, just refreshing.

Using back-alleys and side-streets, Jonrah was able to make good time to Orlan's home; a mere half an hour to the centre of the city from the very outskirts was a fair achievement.

Instantly identifying Orlan's residence, Jonrah rapped lightly on the door, eager to alert Orlan but reluctant to wake the neighbours. Few made it to bed before midnight here in the centre of Litana, but it was now two o'clock in the morning, and most people would either already be asleep, or would be drifting off.

After a short pause, his knocks were answered by a shrill voice: 'Who is this?!' Orlan asked inquisitively.

'It's Jonrah. Orlan, it's Jonrah. I was just curious as to whether or not you could help me with something?'

'What kind of thing do you require my services for, young man?'

This made Jonrah frown - Orlan was five years younger than Jonrah, but he did seem to have a thing for calling everybody young man or lady.

'I have... I have a symbol that I need you to identify.'

There was a pause, then the door opened a crack. Jonrah was able to make out the messy blonde hair and unshaven face of his old friend, because despite the distance that appeared on the surface, Jonrah and Orlan went way back.

Jonrah held up the small piece of leather to the door, so that Orlan could just about see it by the light coming from his house.

'Ah!' he cried. 'I would most certainly like to identify this for you!' He opened the door a little more, only enough to let a person squeeze through. 'Do come in!'

Jonrah did so, holding in his chest as he slid in through the door, shutting it behind him.

Looking around, he saw that Orlan had already travelled to the bookcase, withdrawn a book and taken a seat. He gestured for Jonrah to join him, and wanting to be polite, he did so.

'So, what do you think-'

Orlan shushed Jonrah mid-sentence, and although he had not been about to talk nor doing anything, he suddenly opened his book and flicked through the pages, scanning each page in turn in the hope of finding the symbol.

He scanned pages both with illustrations and without, as if the symbol was a genuine letter of the alphabet that one may find in a written text. Both knew that it was not, but Jonrah didn't want to discourage Orlan, and so he let him continue.

They sat in silence for a moment, Orlan reading and Jonrah watching intently. After a few seconds, however, he let his gaze wander and re-familiarised himself with his surroundings. The mountainous bookshelves that had eliminated the second floor; the dusty statues; the unkempt carpets. Orlan never made time for his own wellbeing, only for his love affair with knowledge.

Jonrah's thoughts were interrupted when Orlan looked to him, held up the book and asked 'Is this it?'

Even though he had the symbol in front of him, and Jonrah had shown it to him only moments ago, Orlan still asked whether he was correct, obviously in an attempt to gain some kind of congratulatory praise.

Instead, Jonrah just stared at it, nodded, and lost himself in the thick black lettering, which remained unidentified, but nevertheless familiar.

The End

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