The Inner Circle: The Knowing
later Seeol heard several coins
dancing across the countertop.
    ‘ Here are the keys,’
the innkeeper said, passing something that jangled over the
counter. ‘I’ll send the boy for your horses.’
    ‘ Thank you,’
Far-a-mael intoned. ‘This way.’ His voice was redirected toward
Seteal. ‘Here’s your key.’ Far-a-mael passed a jangling object to
El-i-miir after they’d completed a short journey up a flight of
stairs. ‘I’ll see you both later,’ he muttered before firmly
closing his door.
    ‘ Quickly,’ Seteal
urged as El-i-miir struggled with the key. ‘He won’t stop
talking.’
    The door swung open and the world
turned upside down as Seeol was poured out of the bag along with a
sea of soft material. He beat his wings, making several laps around
the room before alighting on the back of a chair.
    ‘ This is a big room,’
he observed.
    ‘ It really isn’t,’
Seteal chuckled. ‘You’re just a very little bird. You could’ve
gotten us in trouble today. You need to learn to be
quiet.’
    ‘ I likes talking.’
Seeol bobbed his head excitedly. ‘I like friends!’
    ‘ Shh.’ El-i-miir
pressed a finger against her lips.
    ‘ That’s scary.’ Seeol
pulled his head tightly into his feathers. ‘Don’t biting
me.’
    ‘ I’m not going to
bite you.’ El-i-miir rolled her eyes, a facial gesture Seeol found
quite impossible to replicate. ‘You must be quiet. Far-a-mael won’t
let you stay with us if he finds out about you.’
    ‘ Okay.’ Seeol gazed
at the floor. ‘I’m sh-sorry.’
    ‘ Thank you, Seeol.’
El-i-miir’s tone softened.
    ‘ Seeol,’ he murmured.
The humans were the first animals to have given him a name. Most
didn’t understand the concept of having a name and even Seeol
couldn’t see much sense in having one, but all the same he
appreciated the demonstration of friendship. He suspected it was
the human way of welcoming him into the pack.
    A glance through a square hole in one
of the walls revealed that it was dusk. Seeol clicked his beak,
excited by the prospect of finding a nice big cricket to munch on
for supper. He flew across the room, but screeched in pain when he
hit an invisible barrier and fell to the floor.
     
    *
     
    ‘ Maker!’ Seteal cried
when Seeol bounced off the glass and hit the floorboards. She
scooped him up and was relieved to find him shocked but otherwise
unharmed.
    ‘ What happened?’ the
bird asked.
    ‘ It’s a window.’
El-i-miir strode across the room and tapped on the translucent
material.
    ‘ Right,’ Seeol shook
his head, feeling somewhat embarrassed. ‘Can open it?’
    ‘ Oh, I don’t know.’
El-i-miir frowned.
    ‘ Could we try and
see?’
    ‘ I meant . . . I
don’t know if we should,’ El-i-miir explained.
    ‘ Why?’
    ‘ Oh, go on,’ Seteal
urged. ‘He’s been fine every other night.’
    ‘ That’s true,’
El-i-miir nodded, ‘but until now we’ve been in the middle of
nowhere. What if it happens here in the city?’
    ‘ I is hungry,’ Seeol
pleaded. ‘I’ll be good.’
    ‘ We can’t very well
let him starve,’ Seteal said with finality. She snatched at the
handle and pushed the window open. ‘Just be careful to take note of
where you’re going so that you’ll be able to find your way
back.’
    ‘ I
will. ’ Seeol tilted his head, golden eyes
glowing with appreciation before he opened his wings and
disappeared into the night.
    ‘ Do you know where
Far-a-mael is?’ Seteal asked as El-i-miir sat down on the bed, an
expression of preoccupation on her face. ‘El-i-miir?’
    ‘ What?’ She turned
abruptly, but avoided eye-contact. ‘I think he’s gone for supper.’
She waved her hand dismissively.
    ‘ Are you all right?’
Seteal asked, unnerved by the contortion of El-i-miir’s
features.
    ‘ No I--’ She cut off,
doubled over, and gasped loudly. ‘Oh, Maker.’ She raised her eyes,
chin quivering. ‘Seeol!’ El-i-miir raced across the room and leaned
out the window.
    Seteal rushed over in

Similar Books

Marooned!

Brad Strickland, THOMAS E. FULLER

Bouncer

Tyan Wyss

Orphan Girl

Lila Beckham

City in the Clouds

Tony Abbott

The Windy Season

Sam Carmody

Kiss Me If You Dare

Nicole Young