So we've introduced Mr. Kisday, and Kri continues to be difficult. This was probably one of the hardest parts to write because of Kri's uncooperative mood.
Back in their room there was yet another pile of food waiting for them. A few more days of this and Kri was certain she would be back in shape to 'shift as necessary to get herself out of here. In the meantime she would simply have to tolerate this Kisday and whatever mild humiliation she was put through. She was more suspicious than impressed by his knowledge of Shinkir.
Meanwhile Shinkir's curiosity was peaked. How did he, a non-Shabenay, know Maylehin? How did he know of Ker? She didn't trust him, but she wanted to find out what he knew.
After their meal Kri collapsed on the bed and slept until they were summoned for dinner.
Once again the Tynomai woman guided them through the large building with the Kierr guards stalking behind. They were shown into a large open hall that stretched deep into the building. The ceiling reached upward and stretched into a high arch with skylights pitted in the roof, eliminating the need for lamps or candles.
Kisday sat at the head of a long, rectangular table. Three additional chairs were pressed against it, two to Kisday's left and one to his right. Kri and Shinkir were seated at the pair of chairs to his left and their Tynomai guide took the one to his right. Silent and ever-present the Kierr guards stood as statues behind the Shabenay.
"I hope you have found your accommodations pleasing. I must apologize for Iren and his fellow Hunters, I do not approve of all his methods, but they are effective. Onven was the best of his time and Iren learned much of his Master's secrets, some are, of course, the Shabenay's secrets as well.
"Certainly we can speak further as we eat." He nodded in the Shabenay's direction; Kri glanced behind to catch a door swinging as an unseen servant retreated to fulfill the request.
"What do you really want from us?" Kri asked.
Once again Kri was thrown off balance. "To learn? What could you possibly want to learn from a Shabenay? We can't teach you to change shape, we know no spells, what could you learn from a Shabenay?"
Kisday's ears drooped a moment before he lifted his head. "As a Shabenay you should know of your people's past, your history at least, if not your language."
Kri scoffed, "All I know of the Shabenay's history is the horror stories told on Mehm. Not all Shabenay are born as such, if you didn't know."
A puzzled expression crossed Kisday's features. It was obviously not the answer he had expected from Kri. He moved to speak, stopped, and rubbed his jaw. "Of course not, there have been rumors of first-generation Shabenay for almost fifty years, long before your time."
A plate suddenly appeared before Kri, interrupting her thoughts. Shinkir took the moment, "How did you learn Maylehin?"
"I am still learning."
"Where did you learn of Ker?"
Kisday chuckled. "You should know that for a time the history of the Shabenay was the history of Kashian as a whole."
Shinkir fingered her food. "I figured such history was lost to the rest of Kashian."
"You assume a lot considering you've hardly stepped outside of the Sha, save for your journey here. Just because the Shabenay were nearly destroyed doesn't mean that their history was forgotten. Certainly, much of it was lost, but some still remains."
Oblivious to the utensils that flanked her plate, Shinkir picked at the varied fruits and vegetables. "What could I tell you that you don't already know?"
"Many things, I'm certain."
"Why are you so interested in the Shabenay?" Kri interrupted. "Most I know would sooner kill us than speak, let alone feed and clothe us."
"I've always been fascinated by your kind, your history, religion, language, and culture. I heard stories when I was young, though I'm sure many were more positive than anything you, Kri, heard on Mehm."
Kri sulked over her plate, watching the two Tynomai warily. Kisday had to be insane, no normal being would wish to be with a Shabenay, let alone invite two into his home. Not just invite, but paid handsomely to force them into his presence.
"If that is what you want to learn, then I'm useless to you."
"You're rather quick to judge yourself," Kisday replied.
"To make it clearer, I've never met another Shabenay, until Shinkir and I were thrown together. I have nothing you want."
"I will be the judge of that, and even if it is as you say, I mentioned in my study I was just as interested in preserving your race as I am in reclaiming your lost culture."
Kri cast Kisday a look of complete disgust and returned to her meal, set on ignoring him the rest of their time with him. Shinkir was more quizzical and peppered the Tynomai with questions, most of which were artfully dodged and left even more questions than they answered.
The dinner lasted for well over half a Kut before they were dismissed again and lead back to their room. There was a clean change of clothing for both of them folded neatly on the table. Shinkir felt dazzled and confused. Kri perched herself on her bed's edge, sorting through some of the more disturbing things she noticed throughout the day.
"What's the matter, Kri, you're awfully quiet."
Kri grunted in reply, shrugging her shoulders before leaning back to stare at the ceiling.
"That wasn't much of an answer."
"Doesn't it bother you?"
"This whole thing. Symihr, Iren, this Kisday, at least with Symihr it was expected, it hurt, but I understood why. Kisday, though, he doesn't make sense. He knows something, but he's not willing to tell it." Kri rolled to her stomach and faced Shinkir, who was now sitting on the edge of her bed. "This whole thing doesn't bother you?"
"I don't really know what to think, Kri, he knows about us, the Shabenay, he speaks Maylehin. I don't trust him, but I need to find out what he knows.
"Quanae and the other Shamien were only able to tell me so much about my own people. They may have taken me in, but they don't purposefully meddle in the affairs of the other species. It doesn't bother me that he's interested in us, though I would prefer not to be caged."
"I don't care what he knows, as soon as I'm able, I am out of here."
As always, comment and criticisms are always welcome.
I'll be posting parts Eight and Nine soon and hopefully will have the last part completed soon, mwah ha ha! Then comes the heavy editing phase and figuring out how I want to do the layout when I start the illustrations for the story.