_On the road I noticed a few things. The man and woman, Cian and Muirgheal, mostly kept to themselves during the day. In the evening they might come out of their cart to speak to the servants or just walk around. Muirgheal in particular appeared to like sitting on a rock and making drawings of the landscape.
I never dared to walk close enough to see her draw.
Cian asked me to translate a few scrolls of varying complexity and origin. From a story about the gods to a scroll with mathematical formula's on it to calculate the value of a sack of grain. Of course I did my best to translate them from and to Latin as neat as I could. One of the things that surprised me is that he never appeared to check them. When I was done he glanced at it and nodded to me as a notification of a job done.
But did I do it well?
We arrived at our destination, at a building that looked like something in between a temple and a house, in the late afternoon. As usual, the Master and Mistress did not come out of their cart until after sunset and we were left to ourselves until then. I had to admit that after the first three days, it was really nice being on the road like this. The challenge in translating was more fun than teaching (and slightly more rewarding).
It was so strange, my thoughts felt as if they had been shaken and stirred out of their blanket of habits. Even now I was thinking all kinds of unusual thoughts, thoughts that almost seemed to betray my previous master. But Cian wasn't my 'new Master' it was supposed to be temporary.
But why did it feel different? Why did it feel as if I was opening a new chapter in my life?
The sun travelled the sky and set beyond the horizon. A little time after, the Master and Mistress came out of the cart and told all of the servants to stay put while they went inside.
We had already eaten, as per the usual planning, which meant that most of us just relaxed for a little while or tended to some of our duties. The stable boys took care of the horses, brushing and washing them after the long walk. The cooks asked the temple servants for food or where to get it. To me, who had nothing to do but watch, it was like seeing the world as a new.
To my shame I realize I had grown into a rut at the family. I was getting old without a wife at my side, teaching children things they would forget before they grew up. There was still so very little interest in reading and writing, even though it obviously was the future.
Of course I knew I was the only servant that could write. The cooks could read a little but even that was limited to ingredients. It didn't make me feel special though, I knew I couldn't cook like they do, or tend to horses like the stable boys. We all had our place in the world, and we filled it to the best of our efforts.
The Master, Cian, came outside and called for me. I followed him inside and looked around with surprise. This wasn't like any temple I'd ever seen. It was pretty, but not overdone. There was near to no incense and the walls and alcoves held little religious images or statues. However, some servants could be seen writing on a rough desk, copying or translating scrolls.
Cian brought me to a room where Muirgheal and two other men were sitting. They looked even paler than the Master and Mistress but their expression were kind so I didn't fear them. They asked me to translate some Latin to Greek, but asked me to sit down at the same table! Quite nervous I sat down and started translating.
It was a strange text, telling of blood, described as life, lost because of hunters. It spoke of hidden research that studied the masters but without a reason why. And finally, it spoke of betrayal, where a kin betrayed his kind by visiting the studiers.
It was all very confusing.
When I was done the four of them read it in turn, each of them nodding as they agreed with the translation. To my surprise (and causing a slight blush), Muirgheal nodded while looking straight in my eyes. A sort of pride emanating from her expression.
I don't think anyone else noticed.
Cian, the last one to read it smiled a little and nodded. "Thank you, you may leave."
While I left though, I heard one of the others say something very unusual. "Intelligent, if a little wasted through time. Are you sure you wish to go through with this?"
I wanted to walk away from this, but something made me stop and listen. Cian spoke. "Yes, I have no doubt he will adapt."
Were they talking about me? The other man spoke, his voice was a little higher and more song-like. "We grant your request."
Cian answered politely, but not subserviently. "Thank you."
I continued on my way, trying to figure out in my mind what had been decided and if it was me that was the subject of the decision. At the carts I placed my things back in my trunk and went for a short walk, not too far in case I would be needed again. But a tree nearby served as a nice seat as I gazed out over the countryside. Even in the early evening, though not as beautiful as the day, it was quite attractive and relaxing.
I fell asleep.