Aton awoke with a start. Something was wrong. He sat upright and looked about at his surroundings.
I’m in my own bed, back home in Grendhill. Nothing wrong.
Aton had come home today—yesterday—whatever it was. He found himself awake in the middle of the night immediately following returning from Hevvlar.
I’m probably just too tired, Aton told himself. It had been an exceptionally long day, as he had left Hevvlar in the early evening and arrived in Grendhill at midmorning a moment later. He tried to lie back down and go back to sleep.
He couldn’t shake the feeling that something was still wrong.
Aton got out of bed, starting to feel annoyed and unnerved at the odd sensation. He yanked on his boots and stormed out of his chamber. He started to run.
Aton ran through the palace and out into the city, making his way towards Reedl’s home. Sages were supposed to know things. The royal Sageman in particular was expected to know things. Aton would find Reedl and get some explanation from him. Perhaps the Sageman felt it, too. As Aton neared the Sageman’s home as well as Thallenrose Square, it felt as if he were going towards the source of the strangeness.
Aton pounded on Reedl’s door, impatient for the older man to wake up. After what felt like ages, the door finally cracked open.
“Well, hello Aton,” Reedl blinked sleep from his eyes. “An odd time of night to be knocking on one’s door, don’t you think? You need your sleep as well as I need mine. You especially, after yesterday’s jump from Hevvlar.”
Aton hesitated. No, hesitating was not productive. He had to go on, to find out something—anything. “Reedl, does anything seem weird tonight? Does anything feel…different?”
Reedl paused and blinked. “You’re just dealing with the excitement and disappointment of the Departure that does not involve you the same way as it did your siblings. You will be fine,” he said sleepily. “I’m sure I don’t…” He trailed off as he realized Aton wasn’t standing there because he felt anxious about his relationship with his siblings. “Yes…something is different tonight. It’s not…” Reedl looked at Aton in confusion. “You’re a talented young man, Aton, but you are no Sageman. What do you suppose is different, and how did you feel it first?”
“I don’t know,” Aton said, “I just woke up. Something is wrong somehow.”
Reedl interrupted him. “Come in. It doesn’t feel right out here, and I have no idea what it is. It may not be safe outside. Perhaps there’s a storm coming. I have no idea what this peculiar sensation is and—“
“From the East,” Aton replied simply. “it’s coming from over there.” He pointed to his left. “I think it’s coming from the main square at the center of the city.
Reedl did a double-take. “You can tell where it is coming from? I—well, come in, won’t you!”
Aton shook his head urgently. “No, I have to go see what it is.” He ran off towards Thallenrose Square, Reedl shouting after him to come back.
Aton arrived in Thallenrose Square and saw nothing amiss. It was all calm and quiet. Shops were closed. Nobody was in sight. He started catching his breath, wondering what it was he thought he felt, what it was that woke him.
At that moment, a cry of alarm arose from the direction of the palace. Aton took off running again, this time back towards his point of origin.