continue. “Where was I? … Oh, yes … well, I’d finished everything that I wished to do, and was sitting quietly here reading, when the oddest thing happened. It must have been around dusk, by the shape of the fire now. Pass me those logs, if you would please?” Hiral banked the fire, but Nomis realised he was merely playing for time to finish his internal debate.
“Sir, if it’s something you’d rather not talk about, I can leave you in peace and retire, if you wish,” Nomis suggested hopefully.
“I can see you’re curious, so I’ll tell you, but before I do, I want your oath that you’ll not tell a soul of this matter. Do I have it?”
Nomis immediately nodded, his previously unaroused curiosity having been suddenly awakened.
Hiral continued: “As I was saying, it was when the light was fading that I heard a strange voice in my mind. It was a kindly voice, and it seemed to belong to someone very old, yet very wise.”
Nomis thought his master must have caught a chill and was just ‘hearing things’, but his spine began to tingle and he caught his breath when Hiral continued: “The talk, if you could call it that, was about you, Nomis! The Voice said that he would be coming soon to take over your education and it was out of courtesy that I was being ‘informed’ today.”
Nomis gasped, as Hiral continued: “The Voice did not expect to be contradicted, and said with or without my agreement, you would be removed from the Tower, to study under a physician I’ve never heard of before, … Pelydryn.”
Nomis gasped even more loudly!
“I thought you may be a bit shocked,” Hiral commented, misunderstanding Nomis’ reaction, “but the Voice said that you’re too special a person, to be left even with such an eminent herb master as myself! I must confess that the way he said it, I took to be a compliment.” Hiral smiled briefly in a self-congratulationary way, unaware of Nomis’ complete shock. “He instructed that none were to know of your change in circumstance and that until he arrived to begin your tuition, nothing was to be said to anyone. He said your safety would depend upon it!”
“It appears then, Nomis, that I may lose you soon, if I’ve not seriously addled my brains with my ‘morning dip’. I have been sitting