June 30, 2022

The Enigma of what happened to Gerald.

By aarondkey

He wanted to stay. He could see that Paris wanted to stay and so Lizzie had to agree with them. It gave him time to work out what the situation was with Gerard and him and perhaps time to solve the mystery of why Paris was not her normal self.

So there was nothing to do but to relax and as Stolid suggested, pretend he was on holiday. They made their way back through the archway.

“We need to find Gerard,” Stolid said. “He’ll be wondering what happened to us.”

In the hour or so we’ve been missing, Timonthy was confused! But Stolid was serious in his search for Gerard.

They started off in the place Gerard had called his home. It looked like it had been recently occupied.

Blankets lay on the bed, and the ‘normal’ clothes that Gerard had worn on the last day of their journey were slung across a chair.

He’d decided to revert back to his comfortable clothes, Timonthy considered. He must have hated those ones with a passion, not to be able to bear them a moment longer.

After this they had a tour of the public buildings of Peter’s castle. There was a dining hall with a mixture of long tables with benches at one end and separate smaller tables with chairs.

Against one wall was another long table set out with bowls of food, loaves of bread, filled jugs.

“They’re getting ready for tea,” Stolid said, as he moved quickly through the room looking in all the corners of the room. He nodded briefly to the people who were there but hurried through.

Outside there was a sheltered courtyard with a stone bowl in which running water was collected from a lion’s head. There was a man lounging on the stone seat opposite this feature, lying on blankets.

His eyes were shut when they first saw him but he quickly leapt up and tried to look fully awake, Timonthy saw with a sinking feeling in his heart that this was Koa, Stolid’s new friend.

He was unlikely to be able to avoid talking now but Yan saved him from any initial embarrassment by rushing forward to hug the man, “Koa, you should have come with us.”

Koa stood up and smiled at them all. “I’m sorry Yan. I had work to do, you know and I have seen the place before.”

“Do you know where Gerard is?” Stolid asked him.

“No, I’m not sure. He’s been keeping busy. In the fields or the garden I’d say.”

How long had that tour taken? Timonthy was confused. It had felt like forty minutes, perhaps an hour and Gerard had had time to go back to his room, change, get bored and find some work to do. This man had had time to do some work, find blankets and let the sun work on him long enough to make his eyes drop.

He shook his head. Even now, he thought, I am here. I have found Stolid. Therefore the suspicions and fear should stop. He was supposed to be pretending he was on holiday.

Stolid continued walking, followed by Yan. He seemed particularly keen to find Gerard but turned back to say,

“I’m going quickly to see if I can find him on the fields. Do you want to wait for us here? You’ve had a tiring day so far.”

Timonthy said quickly, “We’ll wait here.” He expected Koa to follow Stolid but instead he sat down beside them looking like a man willing to talk.

“Elena said you were the doctor, didn’t she?” Paris smiled. “I hope the fact that you were busy didn’t mean that someone was ill.”

“Oh no, everyone is fit and healthy at the moment. I like to make some of my own medicines, you see. You can’t wait until you need them desperately,” Koa answered cheerfully. “So how is life treating you, Paris?”

Paris looked a little unsure how to answer. It sounded like a question from one friend to another, someone who knew everything about their friend’s life, except perhaps the activities of the last few months. She settled for polite nothings.

“Good, thank-you. How did you end up working here Koa?” she asked in return.

“That’s actually quite complicated to answer,” Koa replied with a faraway look in his eye as if he looked back and considered his journey in great detail.

“I think it would be fair to say that Elena convinced me to come here. She persuaded a group of us to come: most of my best friends came so I could hardly refuse and we’ve been here ever since.”

The river is high.