Dark tidings.

There was a knock at the door.

Eadred Foxton looked up from where he sat with mortar and pestle, grinding a noxious solution. His sullen eyes, the color of otter fur, seemed ready to wish the direst of fates upon the person behind the intrusion, and he shook his head, squeezing his eyes shut and rubbing his temples for a moment.

Eadred opened his eyes after a brief pause and looked over at the elaborate timepiece he had affixed to the wall. The hour was late. Another knock.

"Eadred, brother. Open the door." came a voice.

Eadred seemed a little placated, knowing the author of the voice behind the door. He rose stiffly and fastened the whipcord belt around his costly robes.

"Be right there, Jory." he said coolly.

After Eadred was satisfied that he looked presentable, he crossed the room, his studded sandals clacking on the cold slate from which the stone floor was fashioned, and moved to open the door.

As he opened the door, he could see the form of his baby brother in silhouette. He had come alone, and in secret… at least Eadred hoped so. Much relied on the secrecy of his mission. Eadred quickly ushered his younger brother inside, and closed the door softly. The latch clicked into place, and Eadred turned to regard his brother, Jory Foxton.

"Little brother, it is good to see thee." Eadred opened his arms wide, and Jory moved in to embrace his eldest brother.

"And it is good to see thee, big brother," returned Jory.

Eadred ventured a rare smile and studied his brother at arms length, with his hands on Jory’s shoulders, relieved that Jory had made it to him safely.

"Thou didst bring the phylactery…?" He enquired of Jory gravely.

Jory nodded, and produced a small bundle from the leather pouch at his belt. It was wrapped in velvet cloth, the color of midnight blue. Eadred’s smile widened.

"Good. I knew I could count on thee, dear brother. The master will be pleased. He chafes to enter this world, but will not risk crossing over until the phylactery is hidden securely. I shall personally see to it that it is. Trouble yourself no longer with this burden." A pause, and then, "Wert thou seen?" Eadred asked urgently.

Jory shook his head emphatically. "Not a soul, brother. I took great care to avoid detection."

Eadred almost sagged with relief. "Good. Go downstairs and take your ease. The innkeeper will provide thee with meat and mead, and a clean bed to rest in, shouldst thou have need of it." Eadred gripped his brothers arm. "You did well, Jory."

Jory smiled and inclined his head courteously. Without another word, Jory took his leave. As the latch clicked into place once more, Eadred returned to his potion mixing, satisfied that the phylactery was safe and in his possession.

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