Nomis felt uncomfortable and coloured but stammered: “Well, not really, sir. The bits I have left out are, well … more of a personal nature. …” He quickly began fumbling in his pack, to cover his nervousness, hunting for the box of flatty-cakes from the Patty-chef for his master. Hiral began to chuckle, something he had never ever done before, as far as Nomis remembered!
“She was that beautiful, eh!” he remarked, not seriously expecting an answer and continuing: “I once knew a pretty young maid! And it stirred all manner of very intense yet peculiar physical feelings within me too! … Quite pleasant really. …” He abruptly wiped the soft smile from his face, looking piercingly at Nomis.
“This is a present from the Hunters’ Tower I brought back for you, sir.” Hiral suddenly smiled as he received the box, opening it with expectation, the aroma wafting into the chamber. “They were extremely good flatty-cakes, sir!”
Nomis was thankful that Hiral had supplied the excuse for the obvious omissions. However, Hiral was in fact completely wrong about how he really had felt about Drimana. It was not simply that physical kind of feeling that he had experienced in the end, but something far more disturbingly intimate, a warm connection of the mind. When he had first seen her, he had felt the usual kind of attraction, as all lads of his age must feel when presented with a pretty maid. Nevertheless, once their eyes locked, it hadn’t been like that any more. The only way Nomis could describe it to himself was that it was extremely disturbing to his ‘Inner Harmony’, as the old Gwireb monk of the tower used to say in theology lessons.
“I thought they might cheer you up, sir. … Have you had a good day, sir, despite its eventful start?” Nomis asked, to change the direction of his thoughts and to draw back from further interrogation and scrutiny.
“Mmm … These are good. These are very good! Thank you, Nomis. Very thoughtful of you,” Hiral said, through a mouthful of flatty-cake. “As a matter of fact, yes … I have had a good day. I finished the cataloguing I’d been meaning to do for months, and also the patients’ analysis, which has been on my mind for weeks, but…” Hiral broke off in mid-sentence, as if he were debating whether or not to