Chapter 11 Pt.2

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Soryn woke suddenly in the night when he heard the frightening storm beating against his tower window. Thunder crashed and the wind roared. It sounded like the hurricanes he had read about in the books from Ancient Earth. He knew better; it was one of Niflheim’s ferocious blizzards. Though he tried, going back to sleep proved futile.

Can’t sleep? Ulla asked quietly.

“No,” Soryn admitted.

Want to come for a visit?

“If it’s all the same to you, Ulla, I’m pretty tired. Even though I can’t sleep, I think I’ll stay in bed.”

Wish I could sleep in a bed…I suppose it would be rather odd trying to sleep in a bed as a pig.

“I suppose it would,” Soryn agreed, yawning.

Nighty night.

“Goodnight.”

Eventually, near dawn, Soryn did go to sleep again. Too soon after that, Jori came for him and took him down for his breakfast and morning lessons. The manservant informed Soryn that he would not be able to travel anywhere outside the castle that day because the snowstorm had dumped over seven feet of additional snow during the night. Soryn was disappointed that he would not be able to see Arna or to work on her room, but he thought it would be a good opportunity to explore the castle. He followed Jori into the great hall and ate with Father Kimbli like he always did. Then, they had tutoring. The boy was learning about the New Kristiansand government and how it operated. After his lessons, Soryn had lunch in his room and made his plans to explore the castle once he was done.

He wanted to explore the rooms branching off of the passage that led to the great hall. Also, he wanted to learn more about the portraits hanging between the doors to those rooms. Perhaps he would loiter about the upper floor where the guards’ barracks were. The most intriguing rooms to him, however, were those of his brothers. His parents’ rooms should probably have been the most interesting, but he remembered them well. Olan and Fenris’ rooms were another matter. When he was younger, Soryn had rarely spent time with his twin brothers. They were six years older than him, so they were always off studying or consumed in personal matters.

Soryn pushed his lunch tray away and went down the passage to the main body of the castle. The first room he explored was filled with dusty old furniture in random positions throughout the room—a storage place, he guessed. The next room had chests lining every inch of the walls. In the center of the room, there was just enough of an aisle to walk around and access all of the chests. Soryn opened several of them and discovered bed linens, quilts, blankets, napkins, table cloths, towels, and other fabrics. He figured that it made sense to store excess items in forgotten corners of the castle; forgotten places like his tower.

The next few rooms were just as uninteresting. They were filled with old silver or brass fixtures and textiles that had gone out of fashion. Soryn grew increasingly drawn to his brothers’ rooms. His older siblings were identical twins, who had looked exactly like their mother. They had her silvery-white hair, red-brown eyes, and the pale skin of the northern people that dwelt in the polar mountains. A shiver passed over him as he recalled their faces. Both brothers had seemed odd to him...almost otherworldly. Soryn could not remember Fenris smiling a single time. Olan was always off in the woods studying nature or pursuing some new hobby. Soryn’s parents had treated the three of them with love and respect, but he remembered that Fenris spent most of his time getting into trouble. Their mother often watched Fenris with wary, concerned eyes.

Soryn frowned. Walking more quickly, he headed towards his family’s quarters. As he went on his way, he passed the portraits. It made sense to him that the rooms beside them might be filled with something worthwhile or extraordinary, but those rooms were strangely devoid of contents. Feeling discouraged, he went down to the main corridor of the castle and passed the great hall. When he saw no one there, he visited the office that he and Father Kimbli used for lessons. The old man sat at the small desk, reading over a document with his spectacles balanced precariously on the end of his long nose.

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