Chapter the Fourth or Why Dravan and Sarah Did Not Attend the Unveiling
Dravan sat pouring over an ancient text. According to this, the Aeaeae artes were not as divine as his fellow Aeaeae users wished themselves to be. The Academy had taught him that the Divine had made the church and declared the church’s will to be His will. He had been taught as the church moved from forgiveness for crimes to payment for crimes so did the Divine. The concept of this paradigm had always seemed antipodes to him. This philosophy was why Aeaeae, which came from the Divine, was so structured. An Aeaeaist did the right combination of things to put in a payment for his casting.
Dravan had always thought it was strange. How could the Divine have changed His nature? The Divine had been in existence since before forever was a conceivable notion. Why would the Divine put his nature in the hands of willful, acerebral, barmecide, and fickle creatures?
This text though, this book, it could be the key to everything! His great nephew, rest his soul, had sent it to him from India. According to this text… his thought was shattered by the sounds of someone giving a firm knock on his door. If it had broken his concentration, they had been knocking for quite a while and were not likely to go away. He sighed, straightened up and hopped down from his chair. He couldn’t do his work with some fool banging away.
The barge swayed under his feet with the familiar rocking of the Thames. Dravan had been living on this barge for close to seventy years. Given that he wasn’t yet one hundred – it would be sometime this year he believed – he was still quite young for a gnome.
“Sarah?” Dravan called. He didn’t expect her to answer, if she had been here she would have answered the door on the first knock. It didn’t hurt to check though.
He padded quietly to the hatch. It opened outward smoothly. Sometimes fools who had never been on a boat before would stand on it… He finished climbing up the ladder, stepped out and closed the hatch before looking at the child who had bothered him. “What do you want?” His scowl stretched into his voice.
The boy hopped back, his eyes going wide. “My lord… uh… message for you, sir.” He held out the card.
Dravan snatched it from the boy and read the invitation. He flipped it over, read the warning without changing his expression, and flicked it into the Thames. They watched as the card was covered by the murky water. The boy took a step back, hesitation rigid through his body.
“Dravan dear!” Sarah, a former prostitute, walked up the boardwalk with a shop boy carrying her groceries. “Don’t terrorize the poor boy.” She handed the lad a shilling, sensing his ereption before it came.
“Thank ya, your ladyship.” He ducked his head and ran.
Dravan looked up at Sarah. She was the first crepuscular lady he had taken on as a student and she had always been the quickest and most able learner. She was a human of the British Empire; long legged, blond, with soft pale blue eyes. He looked away grumbling to himself, “I had to answer the door.”
Sarah sighed, taking the bags from the shop boy and handing him a shilling as well. “I told you I was going shopping.”
Dravan frowned, “You did no such thing.”
Sarah took the produce into the improvised kitchen, “I told you before I left,” she raised her hand interrupting him, “I even made sure we made eye contact and that you acknowledged both that I was leaving and where I was going.” Dravan’s grimace deepened, “I also left a note by your desk and put out a plate of food with another note.”
Dravan took an apple from the food she was putting away, “I remember no such discourse and saw no such notes.”
Sarah shrugged equanimity flowing out of her like she had done a casting, “I’m not surprised. You were deeply engrossed in your research.” She kissed his lips gently, “I do like that about you.”
He smiled. His frustration and anger at being interrupted melted away. “That reminds me! Come look at what I’ve found.”
Sarah had finished putting away the cold goods, Dravan had placed castings on the cabinets to prevent insects, mold and spoiling. If he wanted to show her something, she had plenty of time. She followed him to his small library and study. She saw the half eaten sandwiches on the tray she had brought him and made a mental note to clear it away.
Sarah frowned at the musty tome. The faint scent of curry clung to the book and surrounding area. “Is that the book your great nephew, rest his soul, sent you?”
“Yes.” Came the breathless reply.
Dravan turned back the page and pointed to some markings, “Read this.”
Sarah’s eyes widened, “No wonder Edward, rest his soul, was murdered.”
Dravan nodded, “This changes everything.”
 diametrically opposite
 without a brain
 one who holds out illusory offers, or who promises but does not deliver, proffering a bounty only to withhold it until the profferer’s terms are met
 snatching away
 active at twilight, of the evening
 calmness, unconcern