Although the omen would likely have very little chance to indulge them tonight.
The room, in contrast to the air outside, was blanketed in a thick layer of dust. It was a silent graveyard shroud over all its belongings, save a solitary set of bare footprints that revealed the worn wooden floor beneath. It was clearly intended to be a side storage room; it was too painfully bare, too thinly furnished to be a lavish guest room at the esteemed Tether. The walls were hard, unyielding stone without the vulnerability of a window, and the door was a thick affair decorated only with locks and bolts.
If its stark and imposing build didn’t betray its nature, its contents certainly did. The room was full to bursting. Unlike the bat’s dark quarters, two sconces on opposite walls burned dimly, casting a faintly flickering glow that warmed the space. It illuminated tightly-bound crates stacked ceiling-high around the walls, sea-salt still forming a white crust along the edges. Old wooden boxes, carved of solid wood that was now peeling and splintered, spilled their glittering viscera onto shelves and scattered tarnished coins across the floor. Here and there, the gleam broke through as though an idle hand had brushed the dust and cobwebs away. And in its center, a spiked dragon amongst his hoard, was the bat.
He was clean as always, the cobwebs of his long, white hair gathered back in a ribbon that suggested he had cajoled the help of someone with sight to assist in his bathing ritual. It was a rare concession to practicality that likely had to do with his rifling through the contents of an overturned box, all pretense of sight discarded as blind eyes vaguely pointed toward the wall with no regard to clever hands, their black nails cleansed of the thick crust of blood one almost expected to find beneath them. The line of his spine was straight, the heavy shadow of his wings held loosely at his back. He radiated a predatory poise that suggested the omen’s blood still thrummed hot through the dusty chambers of his old heart.
He had allowed the omen to his own devices for a time, stipulating only that he returned to the bat’s darkness for sleep and that he washed the blood from his wounds and the filth from his skin before they next met. Tariq himself had been away, occupied with other matters for a few days. The house slave that had been sent to fetch the boy stuttered her way through the summons and was perhaps a little too cordial in delivering her message. It was rarely necessary to offer a curtsy to a fellow slave after all, much less three in such quick succession.
Whatever the state of his message at the end, it had certainly been delivered. From the casual slant of one broad ear toward the door left slightly askew, he was expecting company soon.
The boy wouldn’t receive a preamble. The instant he was within range, the bat spoke up.
“I am told,” he said dryly. “That it is quite a sight.” He turned toward the door, the tip of one wing clipping a precariously stacked pile that tumbled to the floor, sending sparkling trinkets rolling. He flicked an ear in mild annoyance. “And if you pocket a solitary speck of dust, you will lose every finger that touched it. The door.” It was a command, his wings already creeping up to his shoulders in imitation of a gore-crow’s irritable bristling. Only when the heavy door had clicked close would they loosen in rattling folds. “Come here.”
Last edited by Tariq on Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:15 pm; edited 1 time in total