226 The Fool“s Path*
Olly was happy. Happier than he had ever been. Happy enough that he would want for nothing else than to spend the rest of his life learning the written language of the Mist and communicating with it. He had always listened to it of course, it was an integral part of his life, but it wasn't until he'd seen the runes for the first time that he'd understood that he could talk back, if only he had the means to do so.
He only knew a few runes. Not enough to complete a sentence and certainly not have a conversation. But regardless, he was excited every time the Mist understood and responded to what he asked of it.
He was even more excited that he had someone to share it with. Sure, Kit didn't hear the Mist as Olly did, but at the very least Kit understood it. And, the longer they were in each other's presence, the more Kit understood him. Olly had never had anyone understand him. To have someone that did, a friend, a brother, it made Olly very happy.
So when Olly had heard from Kit that there was a threat to his happiness. A threat that seemed to worry Kit quite substantially, Olly was truly lost on what to do. The Mist had not mentioned this threat. It was as if the Mist did not consider the Inktress a danger to them. For the first time, Olly had been confused as to whether to trust the Mist as he always had, or to trust his best friend.
He'd defaulted to the Mist at first. It had never let him down before. But as Olly tossed and turned that night, he began to realise that unlike before he had met Kit and the others, Olly now considered himself to have taken a side.
The Mist did not take sides. The Mist simply was. The Mist not telling Olly of the Inkress was simply because it legitimately did not care. Perhaps if the Inktress made it past the Pavilion, then it would see fit to mention it. The problem was that such a thing was not an option for Olly and Kit nor the other miners and workers.
So Olly did the only thing he could.
With his limited knowledge of runes, he could only hope that his drawing this time could convey what he wanted beyond the obvious.
For the 236,731st time, Olly drew the protection rune. Not on a piece of evanine as he had been doing for some time, but with charcoal and a piece of paper as he had done before. Only this time, as he pushed the meaning of the rune into it, he thought specifically about what he wished to protect. Who he wished to protect. Then he put it on the ground in front of him and waited.
If it had been before, when he did not understand, Olly would have repeated the action. He would have drawn the rune in the same way until the charcoal ran out or his fingers bled, whichever happened last. In fact, he probably would have kept going, drawing with his own blood as it dripped from his knuckles. Would that help? From what Olly knew of Rassa he seemed to be pretty keen on blood.
In the silence of the little sitting room between his and Kit's bedrooms, Olly waited. His eyes wide and expectant. He would be happy for any reply. Anything that could give him some clue or reassurance. After several hours in the darkness, Olly finally heard the whispers as the Mist drew its images in front of him. As the images appeared one after another, Olly began to understand why the Mist had not spoken before. There was so much connected to this. So much to consider.
In the first image, two individuals, a lavender-eyed man and a green-eyed woman, sat in a dark cell beneath the earth embracing one another. There was sadness in their eyes, but also strength, determination. In the next panel was Iah as she sat in her office, pouring over the many factors of her thriving business, but clearly stressed. In the next was two women, one of whom was Falla, the other a Magician of Air. They seemed to be conversing like old friends, but Olly and the Mist could both see the look in their eyes. They were not as close as they once had been, but were both determined not to lose each other as they forged their own paths in the world.
In the next panel was Lync, the Knight Captain that guarded the Star Pavilion. He watched over a giant crystal table as a light flitted around the edges. Beside that panel was the Inktress as she ducked and weaved around the Fortress walls, trying to find her way in. In the next was a man who commanded his empire from his office, eyes arrogant and greedy. In the second to last panel was Olly himself beside Kit as they worked in the warehouse on the charm orders. Finally, the last panel was split into two. In one half there was darkness, pierced by two glowing red eyes that were full of hunger. In the other panel was a deteriorating corpse beneath the moon, a golden fox sat looking on, its eight tails swishing back and forth behind it.
So this was all that the Mist saw. This was all the fates that were attached to the Moonshadow. Or at least those immediately close to it. Olly could sense a choice there. A choice the Mist was giving him. Would he watch, as he always had, or would he choose a side? The Mist almost sounded expectant, as if Olly was always supposed to pick a side.
Olly turned to look through the panels, focusing on the one with him and Kit.
"I will protect this," Olly said, "I have found a place where I am happy, and I will not let anyone disrupt that".
The Mist seemed to hum in approval, though not for his decision, only that Olly was capable of deciding. That he had made a choice for himself. All but three of the images disappeared. Himself and Olly, Lync at the Fortress, and the Inktress.
Olly nodded, then he stood and entered Kit's room, shaking the boy awake.
"What?" asked Kit, his voice croaking as he came out of his deep slumber.
"We need to go to the Star Pavilion," said Olly.
Kit blinked his eyes, focusing on Olly as he frowned, "Did the Mist say something?"
Olly shook his head, "I did. We need to go to the Star Pavilion. We need to go so that we can protect what is important".
Kit sat up rubbing his eyes as he looked at Olly. He seemed ready to protest, but as he saw the look in Olly's eyes, Kit could only nod, "Okay".