Nomis cursed himself for not having had the courage to open his eyes to see to whom the awful footfalls belonged. Nevertheless, he suspected that had he done so, he might not be here now! It was a chilling thought for Nomis, particularly suspecting that it may specifically be him that was drawing the dark side of the Gallael to them all! He felt afraid as well as very small and helpless.
“If you’d feel happier, I can quite easily stay with you for the rest of the night,” Clogfryn offered, sensing Nomis’ fear.
“No … I’ll be all right now. I’m sure that the tower guards will be on extra vigilance tonight.” He did not want to show how childishly frightened he really felt.
“If you’re quite sure then, I’ll leave you, for I have a full day tomorrow. I’ve three new apprentices starting, so I’ll not have time to worry about a certain herblore apprentice any more!” Clogfryn ruffled Nomis’ hair affectionately. “Make sure that you draw the bolt across your door when I leave.” After this brief farewell, Clogfryn left for his own chamber.
Nomis walked up to the end of the sloping passage to the small but stoutly made oak door and went into his chamber. He set the torch in the sconce on the wall and bolted his door from the inside, as he had been instructed. He did not usually bolt the door, but at least tonight, it felt safer and cosier. He counted himself lucky enough to be the only apprentice to Master Hiral, which entitled him to a room of his own.
Before he had become the sole acolyte that Master Hiral had taken on in the last fifty years, he was constantly being teased. Mainly, it was about being a bit different, from all the other Elfins in the Great Tower. This had now largely stopped.
His hair, which was still a silvery white blond, had caused the major part of the good-natured ribbing, because everyone else had hair of a mousy-brown colour. His eyes too, had attracted considerable attention, because they were a pale, clear, blue-grey colour, as opposed to everyone else’s being mid-brown.