Chapter Six -|| Eye Of The Beholder
Evening had set in and the air was warm, the sky clear, and Witty relaxed. He was stretched out on top of the Barren Tavern's roof, hands folded behind his head, looking as peaceful and unbothered as was possible to look. He couldn't remember exactly how long he had been there, but that probably had to do with the fact that he really didn't care.
His thoughts were of nothing in particular, just random things that popped in to his head and vanished as soon as they met up with one of the more morbid of their cousins. He just laid there and listened to what were mainly crickets chirping. Ever so often he'd hear a door shut or someone yell at someone else as they left the tavern, and occasionally there was a wolf that would call out in the distance. But, mainly, it was just the crickets.
"A clear night sky before a day's journey," He spoke to himself as his eyes gazed upward. "A good omen."
Witty smiled placidly, very happy to be there. Things were so peaceful out and he was intent on enjoying it while he could. Nights like these were the ones that he wished would last forever. They made him feel at peace with the world. The moon was only half of its fullself yet still managed to put down enough light for a man to see clearly. It was the perfect ammount for him. A full moon was to bright and no moon was something that put him in a foul mood, but half was wonderful and invigorating.
With a sigh he closed his eyes, he knew he had been there long enough, and had other things to do. How he hated to leave on such a beatiful evening though. But he did have other important matters to take care of, things which took priority to his lesure.
So his mind wandered carefully to his chosen destination and he let his body relax. His form slowly began to die away into the darkness, like a man being engulfed by a thick fog. He could feel it slowly seep over him. Through him. It was a cold feeling that engulfed him quickly, like falling into a pool of icy water. Shocking and numbing in the same instance, it was almost more then a normal person could stand.
Witty had grown used to such a feeling over the years. The cold was a natural part of his existance and it would have been strange to live without it. But even though he had done it more times than anyone could count, it still made him shiver once he was completely engulfed into the darkness. Though it was not the cold that caused this. The darkness itself had a way of making a man, no matter how transparent the soul, shudder as they felt themselves in its' clutches.
The cold feeling began to recede and Witty knew he was comeing back into existence. He could feel the warmth of the room that he had reappeared in but the cold seemed to linger in the core of his being. His eyes opened and easily adjusted to the light. He was sitting up now, in a chair, and across from him was a well-on-her-way-to-being-drunk Half-Elf.
"Witty! How are you this fine night?" Katrin greeted him enthusiastically, something she only did when she had had just the right amount of alcohol. It seemed he wasn't the only one having a good evening.
Some would wonder how she knew he was there. Considering that she was, indeed, blind in the dim light of the tavern and that Witty made absolutely no sound when he appeared. The simple fact was she could recognize the slight change in temperature that always occurred when he faded into existence. If he wasn't up to something dastardly, his presence made the temperature drop by several degrees. Usually a person had to be fairly close to him to experience the chill he gave off but in some situations it was more then obvious when he was within a good mile of a person.
"Katrin," Witty replied in a light, almost reprimanding, tone. "If you keep it up you will not be in any condition to travel tomorrow morning."
"I'm fine!" She waved her hand in a dismissive jester and took another swig from her mug. "I need to drink at least two more before I start to worry. And I intend to stop after the ne-" A sudden hiccup caught her mid-sentence. "Ahem.. After the next one." She nodded once as if to punctuate what she had just said, and took another drink.
"I have a better idea. Why don't you stop now," Witty said and took the mug after she sat it down on the table, moving it to his side where she wouldn't be able to easily find it. "And come with me outside. I had something to show you, remember?"
"Ah, come now! At least let me finish the one I started!" Her voice rang with a little agitation and slight frustration as she moved her hand over the table looking for the drink she knew Witty had moved. "Is that to much to ask?"
"You already know the answer to that." He grinned and began to disappear again. "Pay for your drinks and I shall meet you outside, behind the tavern."
"Bloody no fun is what you are." She huffed a bit, before reaching into her pockets and digging for some coins.
"The fresh air will do you good." Witty said as he disappeared, his green eyes lingering for a bit after everything else had vanished and then finally followed suit.
Katrin dropped a bunch of coins on the table, not bothering to count them. She ignored the sound as a couple coins rolled off the table and hit the stone floor as she stood up. She felt good and wasn't quite drunk. She had a bit of a buzz was all and it didn't hinder her much in finding her way out.
Behind the tavern Witty leaned against the building in a casual manner. The tavern's back was faced toward the outside of town, and all he could see was the wide plane that stretched into the distance. For those who loved the stars it was a magnificent view; their twinkling brilliance was scattered across the sky as far as the eye could see.
He stood with one hand closed, his palm wrapped around some small object. He hummed a tune that carried on the wind. The melody had a haunting sound to it, one that was likely to give even a brave man a chill. The world around him was quiet, as if in some sort of anticipation. Even the crickets had finally fell silent.
"I am here." Katrin spoke as she rounded the corner of the tavern and came into his view. "What is it you want to show me that couldn't wait for another drink or two?"
"Something that you would not have believed if I would have let you had another drink." Witty grinned and walked over to meet her. "I have here, in my hand, all the proof you shall ever need that Crystal Haven exists."
"Oh, do you?" Katrin smirked an air of disbelief in her voice. "Right then, what do you have? A native?"
"Better!" Witty grinned wider, and took her hand placing the small object in it and wrapping her fingers around it. "Just close your eyes, open your hand and expose the crystal to the moonlight. Then think of the one thing you want most at the moment.."
"What is this? Feels like a shard of rock.." Katrin replied sounding more then skeptical now. But, out of sheer curiosity, did what he told her too. She closed her eyes and opened up her hand.
In it was a small crystal, just an insignificant looking fragment. It was clear, almost invisible to the eye, until the light of the moon hit it. It reflected off all the edges and cuts and shimmered a beautiful, though subtle, blue. Katrin felt a cool, tingling feeling sweep over her, starting at her fingers and flowing through her. It wasn't an unpleasant sort of cold, like that Witty experienced when he vanished into darkness. It was a refreshing cool that woke a person up, like jumping into cool water on a hot day.
Witty stood back and continued to grin. He knew exactly what was going on, and he was almost to excited for words. "Now, just think about that one thing you want most, and open your eyes and see what happens.."
Only one thought came to Katrin's mind at that moment. Her eyes opened slowly, and the world around her was bathed in pale shades of blue. Her eyes had taken on the same hue of blue that the crystal had, and looked a good deal like Witty’s eyes. It took a moment for her mind to catch up to what she was seeing. It was hard for her to register that she was in fact, seeing, at all. She looked down at her hand, and could see the crystal sitting there. She could see the grass, and the trees, and sky. She looked up at the sky. She could see the stars!
"How...?" Were the only word she could get out. She was overwhelmed with the fact that she could actually see clearly again. Yes, everything was shaded blue, but what did that matter? She could see!
"'Tiz a small piece of Eden's Crystal you hold in your hand." Witty's voice came from the roof, though he was nowhere in sight. "When exposed to the light of the moon, it takes on healing properties. Unfortunately, since it is such a small fragment, and you are not trained to harness its full potential, it will only work for a short time and the power will fade."
Katrin turned and looked up in the direction of his voice. She had never really gotten a good look at Witty in all the years she had known him, so considering the curious way he acted she had often wondered how he looked. "Where are you?"
"I am afraid I can not be to close to you when the crystal is activated. The healing powers held within it would cause me a good deal of pain if I were to come to near you. It is safer if I stay within the shadows." His voice now came from the shadows of the building, though she could not see him. She excepted this answer and let him be, more interested in her ability to see then him.
"How long will it last?" She asked and took a few steps out across the plane, watching her feet as she walked.
She knelt down and ran her fingers through the grass, watching as the blades parted. It was amazing how many thousands of blades of grass she could see within the small area around her. She had heard people refer to planes as oceans of grass, but how untrue that was! The ocean did not have individual blades, one different from the other in the most subtle of ways.
"Only a few more minutes, if my estimations are correct." Witty replied. "Surely you believe me now?"
"Yes, I have to say I do." Katrin spoke and by her tone it was obvious her mind was having trouble listening to him and comprehending what was going on at the same time. She brought her free hand up in front of her, and looked at it carefully. She could see the glove she wore over it, and where she had unevenly cut the fingers off the glove. Taking the hand that held the crystal she pulled off the glove slowly.
Her hand looked more feminine without the glove, her fingers looked slender and delicate. But that is not what she wanted to look at. Turning it over she gazed at the mark on the back of her hand. What she saw was an ugly site to her, one that made memories of the worst sort flood back to her mind.
A black cross stretched from her knuckles down to her wrist. She slowly ran a finger around the edges of it as if stroking an old wound. Her mind shifted back to the past, and for a moment she forgot the world around her.
"No sense staring at relics of bitter days." Witty’s voice made her look up. She saw his outline in a shadow, but he stayed submerged in the darkness well out of her view.
"True." She replied and stood again. Her gaze drifted upward as her vision began to fade. She caught the stars one last time as it all blended into black again. The darkness seemed bleaker than ever after having seen the world almost normally again.
She let out a heavy sigh, and fingered the crystal that was still in her hand. It had stopped glowing, but it was no longer transparent. It was now tinted a light blue, and when it caught the light it shone like a rare gem.
"It can be used once a night, from what I was told." Witty now stepped forth into the moonlight, holding Katrin’s staff in one hand. His hair changed from blonde to white as he stepped out of the shadows and into the moonlight. "I suggest you use it only when it is necessary. It might come in handy some night." He tossed it to her once he was a few feet away.
"Yes, that would be the wise thing to do." She said her ears easily detecting the sound of the staff in the air, the wind catching it as it moved. She reached out with her free hand and caught it with ease.
Her mind was distant. She had been able to see for a moment, and it was very hard to have that taken away. But, it was more proof then she needed to believe that Crystal Haven was real. Eden’s Crystal was supposed to only be found there. Since Crystal Haven was said to be a myth, so was Eden’s Crystal. Here in her own hand, however, was a fragment of that very crystal. So there had to be some truth to the myth.
"Who did you get this from?" She asked breaking the silence that had fallen, not just between them, but all around them.
"A traveler. He said he had received it as a gift from a Child of Eden." Witty could tell by looking at her that her mind was on other things then the question she had asked. He had a knack for reading how people felt no matter how good they were at covering things up.
"A ‘Child of Eden’?" Katrin asked in a slightly amused tone. "That is what they call the natives?"
Witty chuckled a bit and was rather surprised she hadn’t known that it was, indeed, what they were called. "Yes, M’lady, that is what the natives are called. They are said to consider themselves children of the deity Eden. Hence they are known as the ‘Children of Eden’. Though, I have heard them be refereed to as ‘Eden’s Children’ too."
"Strange thing to call a race of people. It makes them sound a little to ‘holy’ for me." Katrin muttered something about ‘egos’ and turned her eyes upward again. She sighed inwardly as usual not being able to see anything but darkness.
"I think it is time for you to get some rest, Katrin." Witty said, his smile had lost some of its’ enthusiasm. He had known that the experience wasn’t going to be easy on her. "Get some rest, you need to leave at first light."
"Yes, I know." She said, and turned away from him, staff tapping the ground as she walked back toward the tavern. It seemed such an awful sound to her, that rhythmic tap.
"Just think of the future, Katrin!" Witty called to her, trying to make her feel at least a little better. "Soon you may have your site back permanently!"
"We shall see." Was the only reply he got as she disappeared around the corner.
Witty stood there silently for a moment. His smile was gone. He felt almost bad for her. How hard it must be for a person to lose their vision, for the second time no less! Though he had to remember, it was hardly his problem.
He shook his head and dismissed the thought. Once again grinning, he stepped back into the darkness. His form faded and his green glowing eyes lingered only a moment before vanishing into the darkness with the rest of him.
The area was silent for a moment after both had left. Soon, however, the crickets were once again at it. Chirping to the sky and anyone else whom would listen.