Again, laughter all around, but this laughter mocked him. Quinn sat, without asking permission, and stared straight ahead. He could hear them baiting him — cat calls from the other acolytes which Elymas permitted– but Quinn was only vaguely aware. Again and again, he turned the Earth Skyll’s denial over in his mind.
I’ve never met Euli of Larnes
Euli of Larnes.
But Quinn had never mentioned Larnes, only the name of the Seer. Elymas knew Euli, but refused to admit it.
What did that mean?
Over the next weeks, Quinn had little time to ponder the question. The acolytes were kept busy learning castle protocol, adjusting to the personalities of the Sacred Servants over them, and doing chores.
Quinn had been assigned the stable, where he’d cleaned stalls, shoveling much under Argus, the head groom. The other boys rotated in their positions. They served as messengers, attendants, cup bearers, kitchen boys, but Quinn remained in the stables. He noticed the slight but refused to comment, nor was he missed by the others. The distance created that first day had never closed.
Of course, Elymas did nothing to repair the breach. The Earth Skyll didn’t bother to hide his dislike and the others followed suit. Quinn’s days flew by in a pattern of exhaustion and isolation. He fell into bed each night bone weary, only to be awakened at dawn. He broke his fast at the farthest end of the trestle table, apart from the others, still shivering from a cold water wash. Then, he’d race to the stables to work. The horses were grateful for the early attention and as the grooms had no regard for Elymas and even less for his red robed lizard, Quinn developed a camaraderie of sorts.
But even that had ended the day that Elymas came to the stables, followed by the other acolytes, swinging his rulla pouch.
Quinn had stopped shoveling and stared.
Little did he know, Elymas had sought him out.
The Earth Skyll pointed a finger and shouted, “Do not come near me smelling like offal! Wash yourself.”
Quinn had run for the well, dipping a rag in the wooden bucket, giving special care to his neck and hands.