Chapter IV: Meeting of the Draíochta [10]Mature

The Draíochta dormitory was yet again a dwelling he had never seen the likes of before, which left him standing wide-eyed and silent. It was a tower, made from curving white stone, extending up with a spiralling bronze staircase drilled through the middle of the ceilings like an aureate spine. On the ground floor, cushions and arm chairs as well as chests full of board games and books were arranged, but Tayna started to climb the staircase without delay. Four floors high, she led Will to the top, which was far more exquisite than the lower levels. Below, furniture and beds were standard and arranged with exact, symmetrical furniture. There, however, everything was individual, and he soon realised it was reserved exclusively for the Elementals.

What drew his attention were not the ten canopy beds and the trinkets adorning the drawers and dressers. Rather, it was the entirely glass roof, tinged bluish and ending in a sharp point, from which hung a large brass chandelier glistening with crystal decorations. A railed gallery encircled the room, used as a relaxing spot judging by the pillows and blankets visibly strewn around it, accessed by a brass ladder fixed into the wall.

          ‘Over here,’ said Tayna, leading him to one of two beds that were not dressed with bright or beaded covers. Will’s suitcase rested on one, dusting the taut, white covers with mud.

Noticing just one empty bed, Will asked ‘where do Carmen and Karn’el sleep?’

Tayna’s eyes shone with momentary sadness. ‘Downstairs,’ she said shortly. He felt her gaze on him again, he had no doubt she was wondering why he was dressed so poorly or why he was barefoot. ‘Would – would you like to take a bath? I can show you where if you want…you don’t look very comfortable.’

He was uncomfortable, more so by her mention of it. ‘I guess so, if that’s okay,’ he replied.

She murmured something about there being towels and lotions already there, and just before they headed back downstairs, she turned to him and said quickly, ‘I didn’t know what they were up to.’ She sounded fearful, as if she needed to exculpate herself to him. ‘Your brother and sister, I mean. I didn’t know – none of us did -,’

          ‘I know,’ he said, smiling as best he could.

          ‘Oh, I see…well that’s good.’ Leading him back downstairs, he could see the surprise on her face, and had heard it clearly in her voice. He wondered if she’d expected him to be furious, hateful of them all, and then wondered if that made it alright for him to be. He didn’t feel anything though, and knowing that made his stomach ache in a way he’d never experienced before.

The End

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