The Rain’s Truth, 2.1.4

He approached cautiously, looking first left and then right out into the main, utterly empty Barrow-mound. When he reached the door, he knocked politely and then stepped to the side, knife at the ready. It was whispered that merely being this close to the Forest would turn a man feral, and Roob felt it was better to be safe, since so far today it had kept him alive.

When the door opened it revealed an older gentleman, probably in his late-thirties. His eyes were wide, naturally bulbous, his face gaunt and thin, marked with a beard, full and almost down to the man’s chest. Since Roob didn’t hear or see the sounds of a pen he assumed the man did not eat much; since he had a beard, Roob assumed the man didn’t ever leave, or had not left in a very long time, since the Rain would spread faster along a beard. His skin had paled, and his eyes were beginning to develop the signs of filming over; too much time spent in the dark. Perhaps most shocking to Roob however, was the fact that this man was wearing the formal robes of a Rain-keeper (never mind they were soiled and dusty). It did not take very much time at all for the man to become aware of Roob, and he waited, looking his own person over and attempting to loosen some of the accumulated dust.

Roob recovered. “Exalted one, forgive my staring. May the Rain spare you.”

“There is nothing to forgive, I’m certain I look frightful.” the Rain-keeper paused, as though honestly debating returning the stock greeting. Roob blushed in embarrassment on the Rain-Keeper’s behalf as the other spoke: “Go always in faith that you will be spared. Please, come inside young one.”

Roob did so, still blushing.

“You are far from home, wherever that is…” the Rain-keeper paused expectantly.

“Panther Flame Barrow of the line of Smith, exalted one.”

“Please, enough formalities, they chafe under all that I now know,” as though to emphasize the point, the man redistributed the weight of the robe on his shoulders. While doing so, Roob was able to look around the interior Barrow and saw rows upon rows of metal shelves, lined with thin slices of metal arranged perpendicularly to the shelves. These books continued, the pages getting thinner and thinner until at the other end of the dome, wrapped in leather and forbidden paper, marking their age by their material, were true books. Roob looked down; even to look upon one was heresy. Only the most elevated of Rain-Keepers knew what was in them.

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