Tales of Gandamyr
It was a typical summer night in June. The rains were falling particularly heavy, the patter of the water against the ocean and the smell of the rising mist of vapor made my normally labored sleep almost peaceful.
“You’ve been following us.”
I was rudely woken in the night, startled and scared. I hadn’t been asleep long, i could see the smoke wafting from the candle that was burning only a moment ago. As i looked around the room I suffered a second fright. There was a woman, perched in the window sill like a hawk, her face and eyes obscure to me, though her gaze was intent. I open my mouth to say … something. but I wasn’t able to form the words.
“You been following us! Speak on your actions”
“I know not of what you speak”, I stammered out awkwardly.
She leaped down from the windowsill over 8 feet and landed upon the stonework floor of with of my hovel with poise and grace. She was tall, with long fiery red hair, and muscled calves. She stood in the stance of a hunting cat.
“I may be uneducated compared to you booky types, but i know a tactical observation when i see it. The disguises, the movement patterns, the notes … “
She pulled a pile of handwritten notes from her coat, and tossed them onto the wet stone. They scattered into the air. Hundreds of pages, meticulously written and dated, by myself. My heart sank. Again I had no words. My obsession with The Hand was embarrassing, and now it appears, incriminating as well.
“Who … are you?” I mustered the courage to ask, in as strong a voice as my weak lungs and weaker will would allow.
“I am Gabriellia. My friends call me Gab.” She paused for a moment, as if she was considering something. “But you are not my friend, so do not call me that.”
“And what do you want?”
“What do I want? Are you daft in addition to being a spy? These notes! Their dangerous. Good spies don’t write anything down.” She moved both her hands with an exaggerated sweeping gesture.
“I’m not a spy. I’m …. a fan.” I looked down at my feet.
“A Fan? We are the bloody fucking hand, not the kingsguard!”
“Because you matter.”
“I’m flattered darling, but maybe we should get dinner first” She said sarcastically.
“No i mean …. i’m a fan because the hand matters. You were like me, discarded, abandoned, the leftover scraps of a stolen destiny, sent to this place to die or be forgotten or both. And the Hand using so little, has been able to secure so much. Wealth and prosperity yes … but even more valuable … respect. How many lords who scoff at the begger folk must pay homage so that their goods make it to port? How many ladies tell their children stories of Lysander’s Ass, because you have been monsters in the night? How many men living in destitution and squalor now beg to join your ranks? I am a fan because you matter, when the world said you didn’t, and you proved them wrong.”
Her stance relaxed. She still gave me a stink eye, but seemed less suspicious, more probing. She crouched down so that her head was eye level with mine. I could see her face now. She was beautiful. I have never met her before, which is strange, I had followed and catalogued the actions of every member of the Hand in the city that i knew. I was very good at it.
“It appears you are made of sterner stuff than you appear. What are you called?”
“I … have no name. Cripple is what I am called most often.”
“And that name will not do. It will not due at all. I shall call you …. Valor. Does that name suit you, Valor”
She stood up, looking down upon me and smiling.“Would you like to meet him?”
I leaned forward a bit and coughed,“Him?”
“Yes. Calypso. Your powers of observation are thorough to say the least. You can hide, you can be unnoticed, and you can keep quiet. You can read. write and do numbers. If your interest in us is genuine, you may prove loyal as well as can be expected in den of thieves. He has need of men with your particular talents. I intend to petition your membership in the Hand, as my …. apprentice.” She said the last word slowly and deliberately, as if she was getting used to the idea. I could hardly believe what I was hearing. They did not care what I looked like, or my parents. They wanted me for my eyes and my mind.
I could not pack my things quickly enough.