121: Kolb’s Offer

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Image: House On The Hill by ChrisRawlins

Edmund had just picked up his dishes to take to the kitchen, when the door opened again, revealing Kolb in a long red coat lined with gold and silver thread. His eyes pierced Edmund’s all the way across the room, from under the black hair that hung low on his face. The glittering of his manic grin shimmered in the light as he strode in, his arms waving back and forth in front of him as he moved.

“My fine Master Edmund!” He crowed, striking a regal pose and then bowing so low his head vanished behind the table. “A pleasure of pinnacle proportions to present my personage in your presence! How delectable was your dinner this day?”

“It was fine,” Edmund said, returning Kolb’s smile. Kolb straightened and clapped his hands.

“Excellent to hear! I am always excited to hear everything was eaten with enjoyment. Sadly,” he grew solemn as he drew closer, bending lower and bringing his face next to Edmund’s. “I must discuss something of utmost secrecy with you… Do you mind?”

Edmund shook his head as Kolb twisted his body around so he was behind Edmund, speaking quietly as he gently pushed down on Edmund’s forearms, guiding the plates back to the table.

“I have heard tell of a tremendous talisman that is sitting secretly in the silent sands of the Sahara. It is said this silver sacrament has a spell that summons good fortune to any who wears it. It is a good two week journey from the closest village to the supposed site where the ancient temple that held this treasure lies. I plan to make the journey before next year… would you care to join me?”

“To Africa?” Edmund asked. The idea was somewhat appealing–he had read all about the different countries, and even seen a few maps and globes in the different rooms around Moulde Hall. Perhaps it would be good to see the things he had only read about?

“That’s right,” Kolb whispered, his grin returning. “I see the adventurous humor is already rising in your gut! Come, join my journey and depart this dreary domain for the dream-filled desert! Of course…” he paused, and the grin faded slightly. “Matron would not appreciate your traveling as a Moulde. It’s just not done, you see. No, perhaps it would be best if you not come after all… we wouldn’t want to upset the family.”

Edmund didn’t even bother to reply; he could tell Kolb was gearing up for a final blow. Instead, he simply waited while Kolb shrugged and began to walk away only to suddenly spin about, his face a mask of inspiration.

“Of course!” he said. “You could abdicate! Leave the family! Only for a while, of course, you could always return if you wished, but I could adopt you for the trip! Edmund Popomus, adventurer extraordinary! Think about it, my fine lad! Join me on this little adventure of mine! I have just the papers upstairs in my room whenever you are ready to travel out of the ordinary, and into the unknown!”

With a flourish, Kolb spun about again, and leapt out of the room. Edmund stared after him, his chest tight. Did everyone think he was stupid?

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