Monday, January 29, 2007

Ennis and Hieram

For the sake of the Lady! Last week was terribly brief, la? My sister came and woke me to tell me our father is much better, and I was very annoyed with her!!! Why she felt she needed to wake me I can’t say. She could equally have waited until morning, though I was grateful for the news.

My father is sitting up again, though his skin is still faintly green, as if he were having a hard time with his stomach. But he talks to us, and even jokes a little, and that is very heartening. I sit by his knee and count off the records to him so that he can keep track of what has been happening since he fell ill. We have three new stone heads, found in a field near Eeling, and a sword that belonged to the Red King, back in the lost days, which someone gave us when their father died. We are lucky that the people take the Museum so seriously; for many of them, the Museum has religious significance, and by giving things of value to our displays, they can win favor with the Gods. My father works not only with the things in the Museum but with the people, as an advisor. People treat him with respect, as he has his own kind of access to sacred ears.

Ennis came today to shoe the horses. It was a cold day - winter is touching the air these last few days - and he was bundled in a thick jacket, with the shoeing apron over his legs, and once again I did not recognize him at first. I went to watch the shoeing, as it has interested me since I was small, and after a time of measuring and trimming, Ennis straightened his back and shot me a sidewise smile which pierced me to the core. I was suddenly certain that he knew I knew his secret.

I went on watching, wondering what I would say to him. Should I apologize for following him that day? Or should I make light of it? I stood there, uncertain, until the Duke’s son Hieram, who I didn’t get to tell you about last week, strode into the courtyard and made a coarse joke about poor Ennis, bent over under the horse.

I was drawing my breath to protest - Hieram never fails to raise my hackles - when Ennis answered him quietly, perfectly placid. I was amazed by his indifference, until I grasped the joke in what he said, and snorted.

Hieram stopped suddenly - as if he had been shot - for he saw the joke only a beat after I, and turned around, all threat. But Ennis went on placidly working, looking like a dull groom about his work, while Hieram watched him narrowly. I suppose he was soothed by Ennis’ apparent humility, for after a moment he relaxed and went away inside.

“Gone to strengthen his Blood, la?” Ennis said to the horse’s hoof, and I snorted again, and was rewarded by that quick smile, which warmed me through. The smile told me we were conspirators, so when my mother called me to lunch, I went away with a light step, knowing he was seeing me all the way in.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Too fast

I do hate how the Hands take themselves away while I am still shaping a sentence. Last sevenday, I was still considering what to say about my father’s illness and my place as nurse - when I was whisked away, back to my own bed. I must find some way to make the Hands stay until I am done with what I must say.
Who are you, out there? For whom do I write these things? I wish I could see you, oh owner of these aging Hands. Who else reads these things I write? I wish that I could know.

And yet, if I did know, would I be able to speak so freely about what is so close, so private, to my heart?

Hieram, the Duke of Aneth’s stupid son, has

Monday, January 15, 2007

Unfairness and Discomfort

My father has taken ill. Although he is back in the King’s graces, I feel certain that there is someone else determined to do him harm. He became ill after eating a number of fruits that were sent here in a gift-basket for him; he cannot resist figs, and there were a number in the basket.

I had eaten some of the apples and one of the pears, and nothing came of it; but he was ill so suddenly after eating them that I suspect the sender knows he is fond of figs, and tried to poison him.

It is all so petty! Why would someone want to hurt him, except for silly political intrigues, or because he behaved in a way that was not perfectly correct? I am tired of the Lords of the House - they demand nothing short of slobbering flattery from those who are not of the Blood. Think of the sleep my father lost and how he was nearly ruined, simply by defending the King’s possessions from a greedy lord!

I have not seen Ennis all this week. My discovery of his secret has made me both grateful for his absence, so I may take time to know how I feel, and somewhat impatient for his return, for on examining my feelings, I find I wish very much to talk to him about his talent. I will find a way!

In the meantime, I must nurse my father, so

Monday, January 8, 2007

Ennis' Secret

I'm afraid I don't know what I said last time. I have nothing to look at to confirm what I wrote.

...Oh, yes - I was talking about Ennis' secret, la?

I followed him, and I didn't know what to do. He seemed so impossible to reach, so much possibility for embarrassment!

I was torturing myself with all the horrid possibilities when he turned into a small. old, unused lane. Curious, I followed. It seemed so strange that my childhood friend could be hiding something; I didn't believe it. Still, I drew back behind a tree when he came to an old wine-making barn, decrepit and filthy, and looked around. I feel sure he did not see me, and when I dared to look he was nowhere in sight.

I felt a shiver creep down my back, but I crept out and looked all around the place. It looked just as falling-down as before, but I saw a footprint on the doorsill, and I knew he'd gone inside. So I peeped in at the windows.

They were all so dirty I couldn't see through them - except one, which had a small corner clear. Carefully, I peered through.

At first, I couldn't see anything, but I saw something moving off to the left. I thought it must be Ennis, walking back and forth. Then things became clearer, and I saw that he had removed some kind of covering which was letting light in through the ceiling. Before him was a large old table, covered with something lumpy. I looked and looked, trying to see what it was - and then he pulled at it and I saw it was a cloth covering something else.

When he paced by, pulling the cloth back, I almost lost my breath. On the table were several machines, some of the most beautiful I had ever seen. Different metals had been used, and they gleamed black and silver, coppery and yellowy-gold. Wooden knobs stuck out like a backbone from one, and some lovely and transparent things, like billowfish spines, rose from another. I could see the inner workings, and more innards scattered over the table. He was creating these machines, in secret.

Why he hid them, I can't say. I have not seen him since. I watched for awhile, but looking at someone's back while they file and drill and screw things together is dull, and after a time I gave up.

I have spent four days now thinking about this. I felt odd about Ennis before, confused and unhappy, and to this now is added some other strange emotion. I can't understand what it is. It is like excitement, or glee, or fierce happiness, but I am scared to death to come face to face with him, for I fear it would show in my face. I fear he will see it there and know I have been spying on him. I am so proud of him! How can I tell him so without letting him see I followed him?

The King has forgiven my fa