The trip to the harbor town of Termina was a relatively short one. Though it lay on the northwest of the island, opposite Arni, they had reached it by nightfall. The officer had kept up a brisk pace throughout the day, despite the wound which certainly pained him. He did not want to spend the night in the wilderness with a prisoner to watch, and shunned the roads out of an unfounded fear of ambush. But Serge had no intention of escaping. What good would it do him, anyway? He was going along freely, in the hopes that his compliance might be of some benefit to him when the time came to defend himself.
The sun was just setting below the horizon as they crossed under the arched marble gate that lay at the entrance to the harbor town. Long black shadows stretched far from the buildings, masking the abandoned streets in darkness. Serge had heard that before the coming of Porre Termina had been lively well into the summer nights. But the curfews imposed by the empire kept everyone indoors after nightfall in these days. So it was that Serge and the officer walked down the streets alone, and only the darkness marked their passing. Serge glanced about; he had never seen Termina by night, only once or twice by day, and he didn’t like it much now that he saw it.
The dead darkness, devoid of the life, weighed in on him. The lightless buildings stared ominously. And he was beginning to think the worse of his decision. But what else could he have possibly done? Damn that fool Crono for starting this. He hoped he was feeling as miserable as Serge felt, wherever he was.
“Hey there Move along ” The officer pushed him briskly. He had stopped walking without noticing it, and the officer was eager to reach their journey’s end.
“Sorry,” Serge murmured, annoyed by the man’s rudeness. Serge could have made things a lot harder for him. He felt the officer should treat him a little better.
Their destination lay at the end of a long street, seemingly even darker than the rest. Blackened windows stared out at him from dark buildings to either side. The guardhouse was a large construction, but built inconspicuously in the same style as the surrounding ones out of white limestone.
As they approached the door the officer faced Serge and looked sternly at him, pointing his musket at Serge’s chest.
“You’ve been awfully good up till now. Don’t go trying anything at the end.”
Serge hated being treated like a child, but bore it calmly, knowing that there was no purpose in resisting, especially now.
The soldier knocked harshly on the wooden door with a sound that resonated throughout the still night air. From inside a voice replied, annoyed by the sudden interruption.
“Whoever it is, go away The guardhouse is closed for the night.”
“You should treat your commanding officer with more respect,” the officer said roughly in return, much frustrated by the rudeness shown by his subordinates, “It’s Captain Gaheris, returning from the south of the island. Now let me in Lieutenant ”
The voice at the other end did not respond. But seconds later a click told Serge that a lock was being undone, and the door swung open.
“Alright boy, in you go.” The officer pushed him roughly inside.
The interior was dimly lit and musty smelling. A few candles threw odd shadows on the walls and, by their glowing light, Serge saw he was now in a small room strewn with boxes. In one corner sat a small table ringed with some chairs. There sat several more soldiers stoically playing cards, though one seat was vacant. Its former occupant stood at the door, letting them in.
“Sorry sir. Thought it was one of those damned kids again, causing trouble.”
He paused, seeing Serge.
“Who’s this? Don’t tell me this is that dangerous outlaw from Guardia?”
The officer laughed.
“This kid? What do you think? Of course he’s no prince. But he’s a collaborator with him.”
The lieutenant squinted at Serge, examining him more closely.
“If you say so, sir,” In a tone that betrayed a mild disbelief, “He looks just like a villiage kid to me.”
The lieutenant looked back the captain again.
“But you have a visitor, sir. He came in this morning asking for you.”
“I’ll see him later. I’ve got my report to take to the governor.”
The lieutenant shook his head.
“Actually, that’s what he’s here about. He wouldn’t tell me his name, but by his dress…Sir, he’s from the secret service. The Black Wind.”
The captain frowned darkly, his face growing ashen.
“The Black Wind?” he gasped, “What in the world are they doing here?”
The lieutenant opened his mouth to respond, but was interrupted.
A door to another room opened with a slight creak, and in the doorway stood the figure of a man.
“To see how the emperor’s loyal troops are faring, Captain. I’ll take this boy off your hands for you. He is no longer your concern.”
It said it with a voice that seemed to come from someone quite young, yet confident.
The man did not move from the shadows of the next room, and his face remained veiled in darkness. This did not cause the officer any amount of comfort, and it was surely against regulations to hand over a prisoner so informally; but he hardly wanted to argue the matter with an officer of the fabled Black Wind, whose very name was spoken with a sinister edge.
“Oh, very well,” he sighed, displeased, but even more frightened. The Black Wind had the power of the Emperor, and had the reputation of ordering demotions or even executions with a word. And none could gainsay them; their words were law. So being they were the most powerful men in the Empire save those that were part of the Imperial High Council.
Serge walked pensively towards the figure that still stood motionless, and still partly hidden in the doorway. But he paused, uncertain if he should so willingly surrender himself into the clutches of such a ruthless group.
“Come on in, you mustn’t be frightened,” the man replied to Serge’s uncertainty, with a voice that showed far more friendliness than the officer had shown him. Serge had trouble believing the voice belonged to someone from the dreaded Black Wind.
Nevertheless, he heart quickened its pace as the man led him into the next room and closed the door softly.
This room was even smaller than the other had been. It was indeed no more than four stone walls and a roof, with a single table at the center upon which flickered a single candle that dimly illuminated the room. At this table sat only two chairs.
“Sit down,” the man commanded.
Serge obeyed without question, and threw himself onto the small wooden chair.
The man before him did not sit, but remained standing, examining Serge carefully.
Serge likewise looked at the man, trying to decide what sort of person he had surrendered himself to.
He had now stepped into the candlelight and Serge could see that he was indeed young, no more than a few years older than Serge himself. Contrary to what Serge had expected from an officer of the secret service, the man had a pleasant face and, while he didn’t smile, he was not openly aggressive either; he was merely stern. Unlike most Porre soldiers, he wore no hat on his head, and his short golden hair sat combed neatly to one side. As with the other soldiers his uniform was blue, but in contrast over this he wore a black coat with silver trimming, the mark of the Black Wind. At his hip sat both a small musket and an elaborate sabre.
He placed both hands on the table and stared down at Serge.
“So, what have you to say for yourself? The Captain out there seems to think you are a collaborator with the enemies of Porre.”
Serge was slow to answer. He was unsure as what to say. The man frowned sensing his discomfort.
“Perhaps we have begun wrong.”
He stood up again and began pacing around the room, still watching Serge intently.
“My name is Norris. I am the Captain of the Porre secret service; the Black Wind, as you surely know. I have come here to El Nido from the mainland on an errand of great importance to the security of our Empire. And it is just this: a dangerous traitor recently arrived here from the mainland. But, from the way it sounds, you may have already had the unfortunate experience of meeting him. However, perhaps we should begin in somewhat different of a way. What is your name?”
“Serge,” Serge replied, seeing only now how dangerous the situation was. He did not want to tangle with the Black Wind.
“Very well, Serge. Will you tell me what you know of this?”
Serge thought for a moment. Now he no longer had any misgivings about betraying Crono, not after what he’d done to Serge. Crono would deserve whatever he got.
“Yes” Serge said, nodding emphatically.
“Good.” Norris replied, finally smiling a little for the first time “Now, unlike those fools out there” he pointed to the door, “I can see that you are no traitor, at least not willingly.”
Norris paused, letting Serge think for a second.
“So please,” he continued, “answer my questions as a loyal citizen of Porre.”
Norris pulled up the other chair and sat down across from Serge.
“First off, I want to know precisely what happened.”
Serge related, in brief, of his first encounter with Crono. When he had finished, Norris frowned.
“He told you he came to you for help? Do you know why?”
Serge shook his head “He never had the chance to tell me”
Norris sighed, disappointed.
“Strange…then, he met you again, this morning?”
“Yes. We talked for a short while. He called himself the prince of Guardia, or something like that.”
Serge paused, wondering what Norris would say to that.
But Norris simply nodded.
“Yes, good and well. Continue.”
This was obviously not news to him, Serge realized in surprise. And he began to feel somewhat frightened again, wondering what it was that he had flung himself into, that led him into dealings with the Black Wind.
Serge slowly recounted the events that led to his arrest, all the while feeling his heart skipping nervously in his chest.
Norris sat silent in thought for a time. Finally he spoke again.
“So, Serge, you lied to the captain. Why was that?”
Serge sighed. This was the very thing, the very question, he knew must come and had dreaded from the time he had left the village.
“I,” he began, but found words leave him. He gathered his thoughts, and resolved to say what he felt, and deal with what would come of it after.
“I don’t know. Crono didn’t seem like an evil person for one thing. And it seemed the right thing to do.”
He clenched his fist nervously as heart pounded with apprehension. His words had been too blunt. He ought to have been more tactful. No one would find any merit in such an excuse.
But his fears were groundless. Norris, it seemed, did not fault him greatly for what he had done, but rather rebuked kindly.
“You are not the first to do wrong by following your feelings. You must learn to be wary of them in the future. They can deceive you if you do not keep your wits about you.”
That he had learned all too well, Serge thought bitterly. He found himself shaking in relief now that what he deemed to be the worst was past.
“Moreover,” Norris continued, “I doubt that even telling the Captain the truth would have made a great difference. Except, perhaps, to get yourself killed. This brigand Crono is not a man to be dealt with lightly. He has slain many honest soldiers of Porre, and is renowned the empire wide for his mercilessness. But something in this bothers me, and it is this: Why is it that the Prince of Guardia would leave his own country and come to the west searching for you in particular? You have no idea why this might be?”
“None,” Serge said emphatically, shaking his head.
But then he remembered something he had tried to forget.
What had Crono mentioned to him, on their first meeting in his room? About his dreams…some type of key to his past? It still held no meaning to Serge. And what was it he had called him? A chrono trigger?
“Very well then. If that is all, by the authority of Porre I absolve you of any fault or crime. You are free to go.”
But now Serge had ceased listening. His mind had wandered back to the evening before, and was running through the event that he had had a mind to forget forever.
Serge looked up, Norris’ voice calling him out of his thoughts.
“Oh, its probably nothing. Some strange talk about something or other.”
“But this man Crono is a strange man. He is a magician, and a cunning one at that. What did he tell you?”
“Well, he mentioned something about a forgotten past. And once or twice he mentioned something about a chrono trigger. I honestly have no idea what it means. I don’t even know if it means anything at all.”
Norris shook his head thoughtfully.
“Chrono trigger, was it? That phrase does sound in some way familiar, but vaguely,” he said, beginning to mutter to himself, “I will consult the historical records in Guardia when I return.”
He looked up at Serge again.
“Well, I do not know what he may mean about the past having been forgotten. But this other phrase strikes me as somewhat, though distantly, familiar. I believe I saw it once in the histories of Guardia, but I cannot be sure until I return and conduct a search.”
Serge wondered somewhat at this chance that that word that he had puzzled over could have some true meaning.
“Oh,” Serge said, remembering a something else as he shifted his thoughts. “He mentioned a chrono cross too, but I really have no clue what it means.”
Norris looked up sharply and, for an instant, it seemed that recognition crossed his face. But for only a second, and it faded leaving him frowning.
“What did you say?”
“Chrono cross,” Serge repeated, hoping perhaps for some answers.
Norris closed his eyes, as if striving to remember something barely out of reach. But he shook his head as it eluded him.
“That seemed to strike nearer to my memory, but I cannot remember it now,” he shook his head wearily, “No, it must be nothing. Deja vu, in all certainty. Well Serge, perhaps you have been of some help after all. I will try to decipher what these riddles mean, but your part is done. You can go now. But I must ask you to contact me here immediately if you ever see this Crono again.”
Serge nodded and stood. Norris remained seated, and Serge heard him mutter under his breath.
“Curse that captain. If only he hadn’t gone alone. And these damned riddles. If this is merely Crono attempting to torment me with fruitless chases again, I swear I will have his head by winter.”
Serge stepped to leave, then turned to Norris one last time.
“Thanks…” he said cautiously edging in his words lest he disturb the man’s half voiced frustrations.
Norris looked up at him and smiled.
“I serve the people of Porre, and that includes you. You were innocent, a victim of circumstance. I did my duty, and you did yours. No thanks is needed.”
Serge shook his head.
“No, I’m really glad you understand and didn’t throw me in prison or anything like I’d expected.”
Norris was laughing somewhat at this, and was about to respond once again, but Serge never heard what he was about to say.
From the other room a mighty crash was heard, followed by the unmistakable sound of splintering wood. Norris leaped up in a heartbeat, throwing his chair to the ground with a dull clatter. He heard the soldiers scream in terror from the next room. All of a sudden a darkness gripped Serge, and it seemed as if all light began to fade from before his sight…
“Stay back ” Norris whispered to Serge, and Serge’s eyes snapped open. He couldn’t remember having shut them.
Norris reached for the door and threw it cautiously open.
From the darkness of the next room one of the soldier stumbled, falling into Norris’ arms. His face was pale and a wild fear was in his eyes. He collapsed to the ground. And now Norris as well began to pale, for in the next room stood such a thing as Serge had never seen before, not even in his darkest dreams. Dark and terrible it stood, and the darkness flowed from it. Norris, somehow, had managed to retain his courage and tried at fighting. He levelled his weapon and fired. But even as he pulled the trigger a flash of darkness struck him, and the shot went wild. Norris flew to the far side of the room and lay still. And now Serge was alone before this demon. But from some inner part of his heart he did not know existed a wild courage crept forth. Beside him lay Norris, dead or unconscious, and at his side his sabre. Serge leaped for it, and his hand closed on the cold leather even as the dark being entered the small room with slow footsteps that sounded as though the feet were shod in metal. As it came for Serge he leaped upward, drawing out the steel blade and swinging for the monstrous thing. But, for all his valour, it did not avail him. The being carried a weapon of his own, a scythe of monstrous size, and the metal blade of Norris’ sword broke asunder as it struck it, the shattered metal tinkling to the ground. Serge’s arms ached with the jarring force of the failed stroke. His heart beat madly, and he was sure his end was upon him.
Yet the figure paused. The darkness yielded somewhat, and Serge could now see it clearly. It was a man, or was, once. He was massive, and towered over Serge. His long dark cape billowed in some mysterious and darkly cold wind. Likewise his hair, soft purple in hue, waved out behind him like reeds underwater. In his gloved hands he held his weapon in an iron grip that Serge was certain could have crushed his neck without effort. But it was the face that frightened him most of all for, though it was not that of a monster, neither was it wholly human. The features were sharp and pointed, exaggerated even more so by the dark shadows that still danced about the room. His pointed ears stuck back long from his head where his hair was pulled tightly back. And the eyes Serge could not meet for they burned red with a demon fire. Yet, though darkness was graven on the features, his countenance was not one of rage, nor anger. And he smiled, his sharp teeth glimmering white in the dim light that remained.
“You’re Serge, aren’t you?” the man asked.
The voice chilled Serge’s soul. In it’s harsh tones echoed both cruelty and hate, though neither directed towards Serge. They seemed to be, as with his un-human features, merely a part of him.
“Yes…” Serge said, fear making him reply. Again the man smiled.
“All right then. Let’s go. We are expected.”
Serge had had enough. Neither his heart nor his mind could fathom what had transpired in the past day. And now, standing before a man that seemed for all accounts akin to the grim reaper of myth, they despaired. His eyes swam, and Serge fell heavily to the ground drifting into unconsciousness.
When Serge finally awoke, he saw he was no longer in the building he had been in. He could not see well, for his eyes were still clouded, yet he knew he was outside somewhere, as a chill wind swept through his clothes. He shivered in the cold, kneeling on the icy ground. Unable to see well yet in the darkness around him he groped about. At his feet was long grass, but no more could he discover. Soon however his vision cleared. It was indeed still dark out, and the moon shone like a leaf of silver in the starry sky. Its gleaming rays of soft light illuminated Serge’s surroundings with an eerie vagueness, sending monstrous shadows everywhere.
He could see he was in the midst of a clearing, round which the palm trees sat swaying in a soft nighttime breeze. He squinted, attempting to see the area clearer. In the far distance the shadowed form of a fortress sat silhouetted in the moonlight. Fort Dragonia? It was the only castle in the El Nido islands, an old ruin seldom visited. It was fabled to have been built by dragons, but that was just myth…
Yes, that’s were he was. Strange as it was, for the Fort was many miles east from Termina. But there was no mistaking it, even though it was no more than a shadow in the darkness.
Serge looked about him. He did not know how he had arrived at this place, however. There was no sign of any living creature anywhere.
He rose, his limbs aching with pain. The past day had been far more trying than he had been used to.
“Well…” he said to himself, “…what do you do now, Serge?”
Serge started, his heart nearly missing a beat as a voice spoke to him from behind. He turned, a sudden rising wind whipping past his face. And it was as he had feared. Indeed, he had not lost the demon that had stormed the guardhouse. He stood once more before Serge, though now without shadow. Yet his face seemed all the more frightening in the pale light of the moon. His teeth glistened as he opened his mouth to speak.
“Apologies for that, but you fainted on me. I suppose you aren’t as brave as I had been led to believe…”
Serge felt slightly angered by this, especially due to the fact that it was probably true, seeing as he had fainted.
“…I carried you out of Termina a ways so those damned soldiers couldn’t find us. Not that they worry me, of course, but I have orders not to kill any of them if I can help it.”
He said this with frustration, and Serge shivered with the realization that he was lamenting not being able to kill. He was immensely glad that this man’s kill lust was not directed towards him.
The man folded his arms across his chest, his eyes resting on Serge intently.
“But I would guess that you want to know who I am,” the man said sharply.
“Yeah, that, and a lot more. Like: why in the world you’re doing this to me? I mean, why me? Can’t you just leave me be in peace?”
The man frowned sharply.
“You seem to have a slight grievance. You should be thankful that I helped you out back there, child ”
Serge nearly choked.
“I was fine They let me go,” he looked uneasily about, thinking perhaps that he was the prisoner of this man, “unlike now. And what do you care about me for, anyways?”
He was beginning to suspect this man was somehow connected to Crono. And, though he resented that, the words of Norris returned to him. The question of why he should be so sought after.
“I care, because I owe you a debt. That is all.”
Serge was starting to be less frightened by the man now. If nothing else, he did not seem to be acting maliciously towards him. And if he thought that he owed Serge a debt, that was all for the better. His only desire now was to return home to Leena.
“Well, whatever I did, you can forget it,” he said, turning his back to the man. “I’m going home now.”
But before Serge could go far he felt an iron grip close tight on his arm.
“Go home? To what will you return to? Nights without sleep whilst your dreams haunt you without mercy? Don’t you want your questions answered?”
Serge wrestled out on the grip and turned, backing away.
“I did once, but now, well, I frankly don’t care,” he said vehemently.
The man’s eyes glinted darkly, and Serge could tell he had angered him. His mouth moved as if to reply, but he spoke no words. The man stared at Serge, and fear entered Serge’s heart once again seeing a darkness gathering in his face. Perhaps he had been too forceful…
“You will care ” the man growled. And he reached forth a hand, and from it dark light lanced forth. Before Serge could comprehend what was happening it struck him in the legs. The pain burned in his knees and he fell forward onto the grass ground, his hands clutching at his injured legs. He glanced up only to see another ray strike out towards him. He gritted his teeth in agony as the magic struck his face. It felt to his mind as if he had been both scorched with fire and frozen with ice alike. But it only lasted for a short moment, and he found his lips tasting the dirt, the harsh field grass scratching his face. He struggled to stand, his legs burning with a strange cold that seemed to drain their very energy. But he could get no further than his knees; he was once again struck, this time in his chest. Tears welled up in his eyes as he lay on his back and struggled against the pain. Yet despite it he managed to painfully rise. He could see wispy clouds of smoke rising from his body, hazy in the silver light of the moon.
The man stood before him, a figure a fear once again…but now also a symbol of hate to Serge. A fury kindled in his heart. And then the man laughed, mocking him.
“Ah, look at the worm crawl. How pathetic. I had heard that you were courageous. It seems that I had heard wrong.”
Now the smouldering wrath welled up in Serge’s heart, and grew to a fury. In some unknown recesses of his mind, a locked door shattered. And something that had remained hidden from beyond the bounds of time was released. In his anger he thought not about what he did, for it came to him as a flash of remembrance of something long forgotten. He stretched his hand toward his foe, his fingers outstretched. And then a sphere of pure white light welled up in Serge’s outstretched hand, flickering softly as if it were a new born star. Yet, for some strange reason that eluded him it was neither frightening nor shocking. It simply was as it should be, as if nothing might be more natural. The light grew swiftly for a heartbeat, the wavering becoming steady then, faster than thought, it flashed forth and struck the dark man with a flash that illuminated the field like lightning. Serge heard the man cry out hoarsely in sudden pain, and saw him fall backwards heavily, clutching a hand to his chest where now burned a great dark spot. And now Serge acted on a sudden instinct that overwhelmed him. Though he could not fathom why, he knew what he was doing, as plainly as he knew how to walk. He jumped for his prostrate foe who now, as Serge had been attempting moments earlier, was struggling to stand. But as he got to his knees Serge swept his foot forward in a vicious kick to his face that sent the man’s massive body crashing back to the ground. And Serge was upon him in a heartbeat. Serge had no weapon of his own but in one sharp glace he saw that his opponent carried a small sickle at his hip. The man reached for it in alarm as he saw Serge’s eyes alight on it, but Serge was the faster. Before the man could reach it, Serge had drawn its curved blade from its sheath and gripped it tightly in his hand. He pressed the gleaming blade to the man’s neck, Serge’s eyes daring him to move.
But the man did not move; indeed, he did not put up a struggle of any sort. He lay unmoving for a moment.
Then, to Serge’s amazement, he smiled.
“Well done, Serge ” he said with a small laugh.
He coughed as he spoke, still suffering from the vicious blow Serge had delivered him. And blood trickled from a gash in his mouth where he had been struck.
“And now, let me stand,” he said wearily, “I won’t hurt you or try to stop you any more.”
Serge frowned, but his heart seemed to instinctively trusted the words, though his mind proclaimed them false. Divided, he chose on the side of caution.
“Yeah, right, and then you hit me in the back…” he muttered angrily.
The man scowled and attempted to shake his head, but thought the better of it with the sickle blade still pressing sharply against his throat.
“Enough of this, Serge ” the man yelled. The voice echoed menacingly in the still night.
But from somewhere Serge had found a hidden courage, and even that seeming hell spawned voice did not daunt him. He shook his head.
“I just want to go home, and have you people leave me alone…” Serge said between his teeth, angered at the man’s sudden outburst.
The man sighed.
“If you will not see reason, so be it.”
In one swift movement of his arm, almost faster than Serge could comprehend, the man grabbed fast the arm in which Serge held the sickle. Serge twisted but could not shake the iron grip of that hand. The man stood again, pulling Serge up with him. Serge attempted to strike at the man with his free hand, but the man swiftly caught it before it hit. The man sighed.
“You young fool, what are you trying to accomplish? I’m not your enemy. I was trying to help you.”
Serge struggled in the grip, gritting his teeth in effort and anger. But the grip was firm, and Serge realized with a shiver that the man had been but toying with him earlier, letting him have his way for a while. He glanced fearfully at him, his anger rising.
“By killing me? Yeah, thanks a lot there ”
With almost superhuman strength the man flung Serge to the ground.
Serge rose in a flash, the sickle still gleaming in his hand. But rather than fight, or make at some defence, the man backed off a pace. Serge paused, seeing now that this man truly did not want to fight. The man shook his head with a frustrated sigh and wiped the blood from his mouth.
“Do you not see? You are no mere fisher boy from some small village.”
“What else would I be?” Serge replied angrily. He was tired of mysterious people telling him that he was something he knew was not.
The man laughed.
“And I suppose it is every village fisherman that can use magic, then? A fine aid in the day’s work, perhaps to quell an unruly catch?”
Serge paused for a moment, bewilderment coming into his mind. He had half forgotten about what he had seen himself do. Something he had no explanation for. He frowned at the man, reading his eyes.
“You wanted me to do that, then?”
The man nodded ever so slightly and bowed slightly with a smile on his lips.
“But of course. To prove to you that you’re something more than what you think, so that you might believe me. I did nothing there but spur you on. That light, that magic, was your doing. It is a skill you once possessed, but long ago forgot…”
Could this man be speaking the truth? Once again someone was telling him that he had forgotten something. But now the answers were near. He simply needed to ask the questions. Perhaps he had been wrong in condemning his feelings.
He had to give it a chance. It was no longer the strange words of some phantom and dreams that haunted him. He had seen himself do a thing that he could not by his own reason explain. He nodded to the man, and dropped the sickle from his grip, hoping that he was not making a grave mistake in doing so. A keen excitement welled up in his heart, now unbound from its fetters. Perhaps it knew more than he did.
“All right,” Serge said, “All right, I’ll give you a chance to tell me. But I just want to know before you say anything else… was it that Crono guy that sent you?”
The man nodded.
“In a sense. Rather, we were both sent on the same errand, if you will. That is a better way of saying it.”
“Okay, I thought so,” Serge said with a knowing nod, “Now, well, you can probably guess what I’m going to ask. What is up with me? I’ve got strangers in my window, and I can do things that I didn’t know I could, and…”
But the man cut him off raising a hand.
“She wanted to tell you this herself, but I think it may be better if I tell you some here. You have a right to know a little at least before you meet.”
The man took a breath. The stars gleamed overhead, and in the quiet of the night the man’s voice spoke clear.
“All right Serge. I will tell you why I owe you…”