Chapter 2 - The Old Fox

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"That was... unpleasant. I don't know how you kept your calm in there," Calin said once they were outside the tent, looking as though he'd seen a ghost. "I really hope she didn't send any of that nastiness my way."

So much for the brave warrior, Sayest thought. What he actually said was, "I don't think it was nastiness, Calin. If it's true, it's true, she didn't make it happen, whatever it might be. If it's not, she's a poor old woman looking to make her living either telling people what they want to hear or what they will find entertaining."

"You might be right," Calin said, conceding. "But between the dead guy in the woods, that weird brooch, and now Madame Hagatha's vision... I don't know, it sure seems like something odd's going on around here." Sayest agreed with him, but wouldn't verbalize it yet. Perhaps if he kept silent and acknowledged none of it, something resembling normalcy might return to his life.

But no, he realized that probably wasn't going to happen. He needed to find his uncles. They would figure out what to do. Uncle Trinn in particular had come from outside the village, many years ago, and knew things the other villagers didn't. Maybe he knew something about the brooch already but had not wanted to tell Sayest about his suspicions. That thought alone scared Sayest more than anything, because Uncle Trinn had always made it a priority to not shield Sayest from the truth of things. He thought lying was the worst thing a human being could do to another, even though he was always kind when he told the truth. Uncle Obo, on the other hand, never filtered his thoughts. He had always resided in Knight's Dame and claimed he wouldn't leave it even if it was burned to the ground by rampaging dragons.

But it was clear Sayest's uncles were no longer in the market. "Now I have absolutely no idea where they went..." Sayest said with a dejected sigh filled to the brim with tension.

"Maybe we should go to the pub," Calin suggested. "You said Trinn and Obo might have gone to see Tim."

Sayest nodded. If anyone in this village knew where his uncles had gone, it would be old Tim. Even if he didn't know, and they hadn't come in yet, they certainly would sooner or later. Sayest would bet just about anything on it.

They had just turned to leave when another man, who had just exited a building across the street, came over towards them. He was an older gentleman, hunched over at the back but with sweet, unassuming blue eyes.

"Ah, Mr. Yellin. Good day, sir," Calin said politely.

"Good morning, kids," he said, his smile brighter than a new day. "And what are you up to this morning?"

"Nothing much. Just looking around at the stalls," Sayest said before Calin could blabber about what had happened to anyone. Sayest had no doubt in his mind that everyone in the village, and he did mean everyone, who found out about the brooch would not only have an opinion of what he should do with it but would also tell everyone else. Some of them might even try and steal it, or at best think it was shiny and run off with it. He wanted to have a better idea of what he was dealing with before he started casually mentioning the morning's events to anyone, even if he'd known most of them his entire life.

"If you're not too busy I was wondering if you could help me."

Sayest tensed up. He hoped Mr. Yellin wasn't going to ask that.

"Patricia ran off this morning after we had a bit of a disagreement."

"She ran off?" Sayest asked. In spite of all the rants he'd heard about Patricia, he never would have thought she would just up and leave Mr. Yellin.

"Well, you know she IS a dog, but she's the reincarnation of my poor, deceased wife, so I just can't stand the thought of her wandering all alone out there," he said, his eyes tearing up. "The poor thing is just confused and doesn't know any better."

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