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Obviously, there had been quite a lot of apologising after Richard’s outburst. Great epiphanies are all well and good, but the thing about epiphanies is that they are often only significant to the person having the epiphany. There’s a reason Archemeaies’ naked rush through the streets of Athens is still remembered over two thousand years later.
NOTE: We are going to be doing some serious editing to early chapters, so if you’ve been waiting for the end before reading, I suggest you wait just a little longer until those edits have gone through.
Richard sat down and stared in fascination while Elizabeth continued her story. It was one of the old ones from the Originomtriom — coincidentally, the very same story Richard had cited while arguing with Lucio on the mountain — the story of how their gods, Chadwick, Ophelia, and Prudence had met.
Obviously, this was the children’s version — lighter on visceral descriptions of blood, sex, death, and implied bestiality, and richer on wholesome life lessons — but that didn’t mean that all of the darker elements had been scrubbed out.
To call what greeted Richard around that corner shocking to him would be like saying that the gods of the mages liked a bit of a joke. He stood there with his mouth hanging open. When he’d left the dig-site the previous day, it had been messy, yes, what with all the pottery pieces they’d left scattered around, but Silver had told him not to worry!
This looked very much worthy of worry.
Richard let out the breath he’d been holding. “You frightened the hell out of me, stupid bird!”
The seagull cocked its head at him, and changed.
Richard winced. “Is it too much to ask that something around here not be a whisperer?”
The goat turned its head and started watching Richard, all the while still chewing the grass in its mouth.
Carefully, making sure not to be seen through any of the half-shuttered windows of the house, he made his way over to it. Now, what was it he’d once read about goats? Sheep need to be driven, but goats need to be led. Richard carefully untied the string holding the goat to the post and tugged it gently to get it moving in the direction he needed it to go. In this case, towards the gate leading back out, which could only be opened from the inside.
A minute later, he was standing in front of Jake, holding the goat on the string.
“Good job,” Jake said, quietly. “Keep it away from me while I get this thing done.”