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Andorill: Enter, a Huntsman


A bit later than I’d like. Numerous things have kept me busy the last couple of days with little time to sit at the computer. Anyway, here is the latest in the Andorill tales. For the previous entry, scroll down a bit. The other two authors have missed their entries this past week due to illness.

Salim ib Khassanh arose from his midday prayer, laying hands open, palm upward, upon his lap while murmuring the last few words of the Savior’s Grace. He then scooted off the edge of the prayer mat and carefully rolled the somberly colored and interwoven reeds which had cost him at least a month’s rent to have fashioned.

The laws against depiction of The Savior Himself did not extend to items from his life, thus the image of the reed chest which had carried the Savior to safety from the demon host as a child adorning the mat which Salim so meticulously wound upon itself. He then slid the bundle into a soft leather case and fastened its strap across his shoulder and chest before rising to his feet.

As he did so, a hadim entered the sanctuary, bowing low as he did. “Apologies, avi, but a visitor has arrived.”

Salim nodded his thanks to the servant and slipped into his sandals before exiting the room himself. He had just closed the door to the sanctuary behind him when the visitor burst through the far door, another hadim trailing him yet trying to block his path.

“I do not care how long he said to wait,” the visitor growled. “I am a ranking member of the State University, and I will–” He halted, eyes widening at sight of Salim, yet moreso by the heads of past kills mounted upon the walls.

“Dustef you might be,” Salim whispered, his voice carrying effortlessly in the stillness of the trophy chamber, “Ellalh, perhaps, but you do not trample my servants without so much a by-your-leave in my home.”

The visitor nodded, once, eyes flicking from one glassy-eyed stare to another, his face growing pale by the moment. “Time is of the urgency, avi. In my haste, I–”

Salim waved away his excuses for poor manners and with another wave of his hand dismissed his servants. Once they departed, he turned the fire of his gaze full upon his visitor. “What is so urgent that you risk adding your head to my wall?”

The visitor swallowed audibly and wiped sweaty hands upon his robes. “Ossun-il-Amar, lead professor of Ancient Studies at the University, avi. I wish you to hunt a leus, one of the upper level student/lecturers. He has tampered with things he should not and stolen items which the University would like recovered.”

Salim nodded. “And you come to me, why? Surely the University has its own security force which would undertake hunting down one of its own?”

Ossun sighed, his soft shoulders rising then slumping, perhaps the most exercise his stodgy little body ever received. “The trouble there, avi, is this particular leus has outsmarted our resources. Half a dozen hunters were sent to the healers earlier today. Another half dozen still dog his trail, but the chances of their finding him are little to none. This Leus Talus is a devil and must be caught.”

Salim turned away from the quill-pusher and clasped his hands at the small of his back. Likely the leus in question was not as dangerous as led to believe. Likely he had stolen something, but whatever it was really did not concern Salim. The hunt was all he craved in life. And this held the tantalizing possibility of a satisfying one.

“Very well,” he said. “You have my services. But know now they do not come without a price.”

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