An Empty Stomach

Edmund waited for several minutes, but the tension on the string did not lessen. His heart began to beat faster as his hopes became clearly unfounded. Tayatra had said her piece, and would say no more.

Slowly, tears stinging his eyes, Edmund lowered Tayatra’s head back down to the desk, a small clunk echoing through the library.

His friend was gone.

Edmund’s heartbeat thudding in his chest. He wanted to hug the still statue, though he wasn’t entirely sure why.

As the sobering drought of failure settled over Edmund, he realized he would have to leave to dress for dinner soon. He didn’t feel like eating ever again. His stomach was empty and hollow, but it felt right somehow, and Edmund wanted to protect that emptiness.

The rest of his mind in turmoil, he begrudgingly shoved Plinkerton’s journal into his pocket, and began to climb the stairs to head for his room.

Perhaps he was simply distracted, he rationalized to himself as his heavy feet pushed themselves upwards. Once he had eaten he would be more focused and alert. He would be able to do something then, he promised to himself.

He wouldn’t just leave his friend like that, would he? Of course not. No knight would ever do such a thing.

By the time the door to the elevator clanged shut, and the cylindrical room shuddered into motion, Edmund’s melancholy had turned to resolve. He wasn’t going to give up; he was going to succeed somehow.

But try as he might, he couldn’t think of how. Whenever he tried to think of a solution, the image of Tayatra, lying with her head on the desk, invaded his mind and set his humours churning.

When Edmund’s hand reached his door’s handle, a flash of inspiration finally burst through his cloud of despair.

The poem.

Edmund ran into his room and grabbed at the pen and paper on his desk. The Cavalcadium of Fortune was Plinkerton’s treasure trove, wasn’t it? It had to be. And if there was anything that would hold some key or clue to fixing Tayatra, it would be hidden there.

He wrote down the poem as quickly as he could before it vanished from his memory. Every once in a while he had to pause and think about the words he had heard, but he eventually managed to write down the poem to his satisfaction. He read and re-read the poem several times, but it didn’t make much sense to him at first. It was obviously allegorical, but beyond that…

At least he had it, Edmund thought, and if there was any clue to repairing his friend, it had to lie in these strange words, and he was no newcomer to translating poetry.

He thought hard, ruminating over the poem, tossing the words about in his mind, turning them over and over, looking at them in different lights and searching for words unsaid.


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