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April 13 – Lilith’s Letter

Lisa Fargazer looked up from her sweeping as the front door opened.  She saw Beryl enter, and behind him, she was surprised to see the half-cat, half-rabbit who had briefly occupied one of the cells of the asylum.

“Hello, Lisa,” Beryl greeted her.

“Ah, another person–lots of people today.  Well, fish,” said the cabbit.

Beryl gestured at her.  “This is Zaros.  Zaros, this is Lisa.”

“Oh!” Lisa said with surprise.  She remembered how Beryl had warned her about this person.  And now–

“Pleasure to meet you, Lisa.  Good name,” Zaros said.

Lisa looked at Beryl, wondering if she could get him alone for a just a bit.  There was a worry gnawing at her that she wanted to discuss with him.

Zaros, meantime, was looking around the front entrance and hallway.  “I do love the wood in here… could use more leveling.”

Beryl looked back at Zaros, and she stared back at him defensively.  “What?  Is it Lani again?  She’s not dead.  Definitely not dead.”  She paused.  “Probably.  About ninety-two percent not dead.”

“What do you think was going on over there across the way?” Beryl asked, gesturing toward the north.  “Sounded like a commotion.”

“A commotion?  More like an adventure!” she replied enthusiastically.  “I’ll be back shortly, and she’s definitely probably not dead.  Oh!  And don’t get eaten by the chronovores in the–well, never mind.  Should be fine.”  With that, she trotted out the door, Beryl calling after her, “Have fun with your adventure.”

He closed the door, and turned to see Lisa staring in utter confusion.  “Should I have understood any of that?”

Beryl shook his head.  “No.”

“Good.”  Lisa smiled.

“I don’t understand half of what she says.  But that goes for many of the others upstairs as well.”

Lisa nodded, already dismissing the matter of Zaros from her mind–at least for now.  She peeked into the office; seeing that it was empty, she gestured for Beryl to follow her in there.

“Sorry I’ve been away the past couple of days,” he said as he walked in.  “Business in Mondrago.”

Lisa stood by the desk, fidgeting a little.  “Strifeclaw, I’m… worried.”

“About what?”  Concern showed clearly in Beryl’s eyes.

“Canergak.  And me.”  At his encouraging nod, she continued, “He knew the spirits were in Swiftwater just by looking. And Lilith said he knew about her, too, by looking.  Do you think he can see something in me, too? That he can see that I’m different?  Maybe *that’s* why he wants me to stay?”

Beryl frowned.  “I can’t say–I hadn’t considered that before.”  He lowered his head, apparently in thought, and went to stand by the fireplace.

Lisa smiled a little sourly.  “It isn’t something I can just ask him about.”

“I doubt he would tell you the truth anyway,” he assured her, remembering his own previous attempts to gain information from the dwarf.  Then he looked up, struck by a sudden thought.  “Lilith.  How is she–was she released on Thursday?  I was called by Maddox to Mondrago that night.”

“It was yesterday, actually.”

Beryl sighed with relief.  “I was worried that Canergak might pull something before she left.”

“No, it seemed to go smoothly.”  Lisa put her hands in the pockets of her apron, and heard a crackling in one of them.  She fished out a piece of paper.  “Oh, yes–Tepic left this for you.”

Beryl reached for it, and winced a little as some of his fur drifted down to the carpet.  “Sorry.  It’s been falling out steadily with the start of spring, and once in Mondrago…”

Lisa chuckled.  “I hope no one here is allergic to cat fur.”

“Not that I know of,” Beryl replied absently, as he opened the letter and scanned it.  “It’s from Lilith.  She says she wants to see us both, about Canergak!  She wants us to meet her at the Brewery.”

“I don’t like that.”  She frowned.  “At least he’s away from town again.  I’ll just ask Dr. Solsen if I can leave for a little while.”  She ran upstairs and, permission duly gained, rejoined Arnold at the asylum entrance.

As they hurried across town, Beryl told her he’d heard some sort of commotion coming from somewhere behind the Sneaky Vole, but he hadn’t investigated it yet.  As they approached Port Babbage, they could both smell the odor of the dead fish, which still hadn’t been completely cleared away, though Lisa saw several cats trying to fish some out of the water for their meals.  She didn’t call any sort of greeting, though, as several dock workers were nearby.

As she and Beryl neared the Brewery, they saw Lilith standing outside, leaning on her crutch.  Her ears perked up, and she smiled at them, greeting them warmly.  Beryl, though, looked at her and winced, very glad he had sent Zaros away.

“I am glad to be out,” Lilith continued.  “I sent for you two for a reason–something Canergak said to me before I was released.  I think it explains why he told you to keep me safe, Beryl.”

((To be continued…))

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