A page to carry Galwynn’s and Nimbus’s messages throughout the castle was stationed with the guards securing the storeroom. Galwynn had sent a request to the Sky King for an audience so he could report in private what he had learned from Peter, the shepherd. The page currently on duty was a bright-eyed, fair-haired, azure-hued lad who had just arrived like a dust devil to deliver a reply.

“The chamberlain says the King is away from castle, right now,” said the page. “But he will return by evening and can join you then.”

“Will that be all right?” Aaron asked Kevin. “I can have a rider take a message directly to King Cirrus if you want.”

Kevin rubbed his chin thoughtfully for a moment, then told the lieutenant, “No, Aaron, that won’t be necessary. Evening is soon enough. Besides, there’s much work to be done before the king arrives, and I’d best get to it.” 

With that decided, Kevin began scrutinizing the crates of debris around him while he planned what to do next. From time to time, he stopped to rummage through his two trunkfuls of selected books and scrolls, and his oaken box containing delicate instruments and tools. But judging by his pursed lips, he clearly was not satisfied with what he found. Meanwhile, Aaron and Peter silently looked on.

While Kevin was preoccupied, Aaron took the opportunity to ask a question about the tale Peter had told. “Peter, you said that when you worked as a waggoner, you frequently visited the four Seen Domains, but avoided the fifth, Unseen Domain. I wondered why. I’ve heard how difficult it is for even the most skilled ambassadors and powerful conjurors to gain passage to the Unseen Domain. Is that why you didn’t travel there?”

Peter spat an oath, then said, “Right you are, sir. The fifth domain is hard to reach. But frankly, none of my employers wanted to go there because it was just too not of this world. Skyfolk who knew what they were talking about—not wags or know-nothings, mind you—said the Unseen Folk were the embodiment of every emotion and concept. And that dealing with them, even if they meant you no harm, was like being trapped in a nightmare with your mind on fire and your passions run rampant.” Peter shuddered at the memory of the few brushes he had had with the fifth domain. “The Unseen Domain is not a nice place to visit, sir. And what moves the Unseen Folk to think what they think, and do what they do, was never something a mere waggoner could fathom.”

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