Grain de Sable

Part of the Tower of Tanee series.

Jenna meets Everwalk, an Arpentor.

The woman who’d just rung the Tower’s bell looked like she was in her twenties, but Jenna had learned the hard way appearance wasn’t to be trusted when it came to arpentors. Her emerald gaze sent shivers down the apprentice’s spine.

“Is Tanee home?”

Jenna quietly nodded, surprised that she hadn’t used the ‘Lady’ prefix.

“I’m here to see her,” she simply declared.

Jenna wasn’t sure how she was supposed to react to this. The woman frowned slightly.

“Aren’t you going to let me in?”

“Well… I’m not sure I’m supposed to,” the young girl answered.

Gentle sigh. “Fine, just go tell her I’m waiting for her, then.”

“I can do that but… what’s your name?”

“Oh, right… I’m Everwalk.”

Jenna nodded and closed the door before going to her master’s massage room, wondering why this name sounded so familiar.

“Everwalk’s here?”

Lady Tanee signaled for her masseuse to stop, and stood up to get dressed, making Jenna blush furiously. She’d quickly learned her master didn’t share any of her modesty standards.

“Have her wait for me with you in the first floor’s saloon,” she ordered her faithful student. “I’ll join you in a few minutes.”

Everwalk had decided to sit down on Jenna’s comfortable armchair; the young girl ended up quietly settling on a wooden chair, establishing she didn’t want to risk upsetting an arpentor who was able to make Lady Tanee hurry.

“I reckon you’re Tanee’s current apprentice?”

Silent nod. Everwalk looked pensive for a while; a tiny smile appeared on her up-to-now-expressionless lips.

“Did she introduce you to body swapping already?”

Jenna suddenly blushed, and blurted a few embarrassed words out in answer.

“Sorry for the wait,” Lady Tanee’s voice apologetically said from the saloon’s entrance. “I wasn’t expecting you.”

Everwalk shrugged. “No problem, Tanee. I was getting acquainted with your trainee.”

The Tower’s master approached and sat down in the sofa, clothed in a deep purple gown which was decorated with wonderful golden embroideries. Jenna hadn’t seen this one before, which probably meant a lot about Everwalk’s status.

“Who was that?”

Lady Tanee grinned, and motioned for Jenna to follow her, carrying the documents Everwalk had left.

“You’ll see,” she mysteriously told her.

Jenna sighed. Her master loved to keep her guessing.

Upon reaching the nineteenth floor’s library, Lady Tanee finally started talking.

“One day,” she narrated while walking between bookshelves, “a human arpentor by the name of Rebecca stumbled upon a world called the Verse of the Storms. In this world, lifeforms of all kinds took the form of sand clouds, and so did she; not being used to not having a solid form, Rebecca at first didn’t know how to move around and remained motionless.”

She entered a long alley.

“At some point, another sand cloud who introduced herself as Tornade approached her and offered to help her learn how to live in this world in exchange for some of her sand. Being stuck, Rebecca accepted, and let Tornade steal a few dozen grains of sand from her.

Tornade was true to her word, and soon, Rebecca was as good at being a sand cloud as she had been at being a human. However, Rebecca wasn’t interested in staying in the Verse of the Storms. She left as soon as she figured out how to use her magic.

Upon reaching the Verse of the Academy, where she was able to turn back into a human, Rebecca noticed she couldn’t eat anymore – any food she tried to swallow came back up in mere seconds. At first, she was scared she’d starve to death, but she later discovered she didn’t need to eat either.

She asked Zerua, the master of arpentors, about it. Zerua explained her that every single grain of sand Rebecca had let Tornade take away from her corresponded to one thing she’d lost as a human, and that hunger visibly was among these things.

Years later, Rebecca realized something else. Her body hadn’t aged a single day since her visiting the Verse of the Storms. Tornade had stolen her ability to age too.”

Lady Tanee entered an archive room, filled with documents that looked a lot like those she was carrying.

“At this point, Rebecca ceased being an ordinary arpentor and became known as Everwalk, the immortal reporter. She’s been constantly traveling through worlds ever since then.”

“You don’t mean… That was the author of these reports you keep on having me read?!”

Lady Tanee smiled, and nodded.

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Posted on: 2012-05-02

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