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Another Curious Object



Set forth by Shiral  following The Stone of Kings

11 January 2001


Cool post yesterday, Kendall. And well, you gave me an idea. This may seem painfully obvious to everyone, but tell me if you can figure out who this is and where, and what this person finds so fascinating....<G>

For the moment, Father and his God father were talking to one another, and neither one was paying particular attention to him. He knew better than to interrupt his father and god father when they were talking about serious matters. Eager for a chance to look around the study properly, he eased away from his father’s side to explore the big, round room. The were way up in one of the castle towers, and his legs hurt a little, both from the long climb up at least three long spiral staircases and with trying to keep up with the long legs of the two grown men. It didn’t matter now, though. This was one of his favorite rooms in the whole castle although he wasn’t allowed up here very often. It was purest good luck that his godfather had extended his hand and smiled to him as he and Father were headed up to the study. Father wasn’t about to tell him ‘no, you must stay behind’ when he was holding his godfather’s hand.

Of particular interest was the round, polished wooden table that stood directly beneath the round green skylight set in the ceiling high above. The pale green-tinted sunlight changed his play tunic to a slightly deeper green. And even more fascinating was the thing that rested in the claws of a golden gryphon stand at the very center of the small table. Just in case Father should look around, he kept his hands clasped behind his back as he went to take a closer look at the stone ball on the table. After catching him building little towers with father’s little black and white cubes one day, Mummy had told him very seriously that he must not play with or even touch magical objects unless she or Father specifically gave him permission and were standing right there with him. This was a pity, as magical things were even more interesting than most of his toys. It wasn’t possible for him to disobey Mummy, but he had never been forbidden to just LOOK. So he walked over to the table as if the ball itself were calling him.

He was not quite tall enough to see over the table top on his flat feet, so he eased up on tiptoe to glance at the gryphon and what it held. He had to steady himself on tiptoe by gripping the edge of the table with his fingers. Surely THAT would be all right as it was only a table, and not a magical thing at all. This gave him a slightly better vantage point, but made his toes ache before long. It took some minutes for him to climb up and sit on one of the two armchairs drawn up beside the table since he had to do it as quietly as he could so Father wouldn’t turn around and ask what he thought he was doing.

It was worth the climb once he was up here, though. Even though the tabletop came almost up to his neck, he could see the ball perfectly now. It was perfectly round, and it gleamed in the greenish sunlight like a knob of polished honey made solid. Quite without meaning to, he stretched out his right and touched one fingertip to the ball. It was as smooth as the silk of Mummy’s gowns, but hard, and it felt cool rather than cold to his touch.

Frightened at his own daring, he quickly pulled his hand away, looking guiltily over at Father. But Father still had his back turned, talking to his godfather, and evidently hadn’t felt anything when he touched the ball.

He looked at his fingertip next - it looked exactly the same as it always did. He was disappointed. After Mummy’s warning about the dangers of playing with magical things, he’d expected something more interesting to happen. Maybe he had to touch the ball for a longer time, or put his whole hand on it. He hesitated, then stretched out his hand again. He pressed his fingertip to the ball again, and then his palm, then his whole hand, when there was still no sign of anything happening and Father still didn’t turn around.

Then, to his amazement and fright, something DID happen. The globe misted over as if he’d breathed on it, and when the mist cleared, bright yellow light began to stream from the ball which had become pleasantly warm beneath his palm. He squealed with fright and covered his face with both hands. The next moment, he felt Father’s hands, warm and reassuring on his shoulders, and Father was speaking to him, not sounding at all angry. If anything he sounded pleased.

“Did you make the crystal glow all by yourself?"



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