Tothelea: Chapter 5

Trevor lay awake the remaining few hours till morning.  His sense of danger
was too alert.  He knew it was unlikely that Weilin--or anyone else--would try
to do anything to Harmony during the night, but it didn't matter.  He couldn't
shake the feeling, and he couldn't find sleep again.  Well, gives me time to
think, anyway, he mused. 

There was so much to do, Trevor felt overwhelmed.  The funeral yesterday had
felt like such a huge thing, Trevor had thought it would be the hardest thing
on the road back to a normal life.  But if he and Harmony were going to go to
Merlon, or maybe even farther, well, he could hardly keep track of everything
to be done. 

He would sell the boat house, that was for sure.  Trevor, while he respected
his father's work and understood the craft of it, had no great love for ships
or carpentry himself.  Wood, well, it just wore out.  It rotted, or dried and
cracked, or got burned, or split.  It gave you splinters.  Iron wasn't like
that.  Iron was solid.  Reliable. 

Yes, he would sell the boat house.  Carlu would buy it.  Was probably already
thinking about running the whole place himself.  Trevor imagined him working
already to collect enough money to buy the place.  How much will he pay for
it, I wonder? 

Perhaps they should stay in White Sands for a while.  Trevor needed at least
to help Yun through the spring.  Things in the smithy would slow down after
that, and then they could leave.  Surely Weilin wouldn't stay in White Sands,
after his boat was fixed.  It would be safe enough.  Yes, they would stay a
while.  Take enough time to plan the trip, pack their clothes, seal up the
house before they left.  Arrange for passage on a trader's wagon.  So much to

As dawn broke, Trevor got out of bed, dressed, and went to the boat house.  He
wanted to get there early, before Carlu.  Carlu was so much older than him, so
much more mature, that Trevor felt it was important to be there first.  He had
to place himself in his father's office, try to fill up the space like his
father had, before offering to sell it to Carlu.  If the older man got there
first, Trevor sensed that Carlu would have the upper hand, and Trevor wouldn't
get a good price. 

As the previous day, the boat house was deserted when Trevor arrived.  Trevor
let himself in, and made his way to his father's office.  Trevor removed his
father's keys from his pocket, but was surprised to find it was unlocked.  Of
course, he thought a moment later, Papa hadn't had the chance to lock it.
It's been unlocked this whole time.  He entered, and sat at his father's desk.
He went through the papers that were there.  A lot of notes and drawings that
he really didn't understand.  Some things that looked like ledgers, tallying
the work people had paid him for, lumber he had bought, money paid to his

Carlu arrived, with a few of the workers.  He seemed taken aback to find
Trevor there.  Trevor motioned for him to enter. 

"Please, sit down."  Carlu sat.  There was an awkward moment, while both men
remembered the events at the funeral, and that Carlu had sided with Weilin. 

"Trevor, I--" Carlu began, a sheepish tone in his voice.  Here, between just
the two of them, he seemed embarassed over having left the funeral.  Trevor
cut him off. 

"I'm going to sell the boat house," he blurted out, cutting Carlu off
mid-sentence.  Carlu's head flinched back slightly, and his eyes widened for
just a moment.  Hm, not what he expected me to say, Trevor thought. 

"You were my father's foreman.  I know you blame Harmony for his death, but
even so, I think he would want you to carry on.  So I'm offering to sell it to
you, first.  You deserve that much." 

Carlu said nothing for a moment, while Trevor held his gaze.  "You know, I
always thought I'd work for your father forever.  He was younger than me, you
know, and I always thought I'd work for him until I was too old for it.  I
never thought about him... leaving.  I never imagined this being my business
to run.  But I cannot deny, I thought about it yesterday." 

"So you are interested, then?" 

"Aye, I am." 

"Then there is only the matter of price to be settled."  Trevor made every
effort to sound stern and resolved, to give the impression that he was upset
about Carlu's disloyalty to Harmony, and that it was going to cost him.
Carlu made an offer.  Trevor doubled it, and the haggling began. 

Neither man, however, could help but soften as they talked.  Trevor could
sense Carlu raising his offer more than was perhaps necessary, out of respect
for Dannel's memory.  Trevor began to feel guilty; regardless of how upset he
might be with Carlu, that didn't make it right to extract extra money from him
in some attempt to get even.  At least he was honest enough to leave, thought
Trevor, if he truly blames Harmony.  He could have stayed and kept quiet, but
he didn't. 

In the end, Trevor accepted three hundred and twenty gold pieces for the boat
house, although Carlu would probably have gone to three hundred and fifty, at
least.  It was still more money than Trevor had ever seen in his life.  Carlu
left to collect the money while Trevor stayed to wait. 

He watched the men begin repairs to the side of Weilin's boat, and remembered
Yun's advice.  He searched for a blank scrap of parchment and a quill, and
went out onto the dock to take down the name of Weilin's ship, carefully
copying the strange Tithoran letters.  He was just folding the parchment and
putting it into his pocket when Weilin arrived. 

Weilin saw Trevor, and immediately began to walk towards him.  No doubt, he
wants me to promise to fix his damn boat for free, Trevor thought.  Weilin
approached and started to speak, but Trevor held up a hand and pointed towards
the office.  "We talk in there," he said.  He had, after all, promised to talk
to the man today. 

Trevor led the way into the office, and sat down.  He motioned for Weilin to
sit.  Trevor hit him with his question before the man was even fully into the

"I know you killed my father.  Now, before we talk about your stupid boat,
you're going to tell me why you want my sister dead." 

The question caught Weilin off guard, but the brief, almost suppressed, flash
of anger in his eyes told Trevor that he was right.  Weilin opened his mouth,
then closed it.  His eyes narrowed. 

"You will fix my ship.  I pay you for the mast, you fix the hull also." 

"No.  I know no one will believe me, but I know you did it.  I don't think you
meant to kill my father, but I do know you meant to kill Harmony.  You will
tell me why.  And then we will find out if I will fix your boat, or if I will
burn to the water line where it sits." 

Weilin laughed.  Not loud enough for anyone outside the office to hear, but
loud enough to convey his contempt for Trevor.  "You make big talk, but you
are just stupid, stupid boy.  Your sister, you don't know her.  You have no
idea about her.  You have no idea what she has done.  She will get what she

Curse him!  Trevor could feel his anger rising up again.  How does he always
know exactly how to pull my strings?  But Trevor wasn't going to give in to it
today.  Instead, all he said was "Get out.  We're done here.  You damaged your
boat in trying to kill my sister.  I don't see why I should fix it at all, as
there is no way you can possibly pay what you deserve to." 

Weilin got out of the chair, inhaled deeply, and closed his eyes as he slowly
exhaled. Then he met Trevor's eyes and smiled a wicked smile that unnerved
Trevor to his core.  "My ship is my home.  It is funny you threaten to burn it
down.  Goodbye, stupid boy."  Weilin left the office, and walked to where he
could catch hold of a rope ladder hanging from the side of his boat.  Trevor
watched him through the small office window as he boarded the vessel and
disappeared into its hold.  Trevor sat, having no idea who had gotten the
better of the exchange. 

Carlu returned less than an hour later.  He handed Trevor a small pouch
containing several small gemstones and a handful of assorted coins.  He
insisted that Trevor count it, and when both men were satisfied, they shook
hands.  Trevor handed him the key to the office and tucked the pouch safely
inside his belt. 

"It's yours now, Carlu.  Good luck with that varma Weilin." 

He left before Carlu could question him about the foreigner.  Trevor walked
away, glad to be done with it.  The sun had risen high since Trevor arrived,
and he decided to go home to check on Harmony.  He walked away from the boat
house, without a single glance back. 

On the walk back, Trevor's mind was lost in thought, pondering what Weilin had
said, and going over the things he still had to do.  He was surprised at how
busy he felt.  Had his father felt this way?  So busy, so continually
burdened, by being the one who was in charge?  Probably.  Trevor had never had
any idea.  If he had, he would have thanked his father for shielding him from
that.  His mind turned to memories of his father, things they had done
together.  The ways his father had tried to interest him in boats and sailing
and carpentry.  How he knew it had hurt his father when he went to work for
Yun, but how his father had taken that hurt on himself and never tried to make
Trevor feel disloyal for not wanting to work at the boat house. 

It was not until he was nearing the crest of the hill that hid his house from
the town that Trevor smelled the smoke.  His reverie broken, Trevor
momentarily wondered what was burning before looking up to see the column of
smoke.  He broke into a run, reaching the hilltop moments later. 

People--townsfolk--surrounded his home, which was ablaze.  Harmony!  He had
left her inside, still sleeping!  He prayed to the Aravolir for her protection
as he flew down the hill.  He couldn't understand it.  The people were just
standing there, watching the fire.  No one was at the pump!  He yelled for
them to start fighting the fire as he ran for the house. 

They turned to watch him approach, but no one heeded his command.  He made his
way to the back, heading for the pump.  The woodshed was on fire, too.  There
were people in his way, blocking the space between the burning buildings.
"Move," he screamed, as he ran.  Some moved lest they be bowled over, but one
man, a neighbor whose farm was not too far up the road, intercepted Trevor.
He was a big man, and stepped into Trevor's path at the right moment to force
Trevor to stop. 

"Move, damn you!" 

The man seized Trevor's arms, saying "No, Trevor.  I'm sorry, but she needs to
pay for what she's done."  Then Trevor understood.  These people, they had set
the fire!  It was Weilin.  Somehow, he had put them up to it.  Trevor
struggled with the man, trying to get free, to get to the pump.  The roof
wasn't on fire yet, he could still get some water, get through the back door,
and get Harmony out. 

But the man held firm.  They tussled, Trevor kicked him, desperate to get
free.  Other people joined in, helping the farmer.  They grabbed at his hands
and feet until he could do nothing.  The flames grew, and the heat drove them
away from the house.  The dragged Trevor away too, ignoring his screams to let
him go, holding him powerless. 

"Harmony," he screamed.  He twisted violently, managed to pull one hand free.
He lashed out and felt his fist connect with someone.  The mob's anger
doubled, and they dropped him to the ground, surrounding him.  Kicks and
punches rained down on him.  He continued to scream for Harmony, but it was
all he could do to to curl up and defend himself as best he could.  In
snatches of vision, he saw the flames engulf the house.  Tears blurred his
eyes, and he heard the cracking groan of the roof giving way, and the loud
crash as it fell in. 

The sound turned the mob's attention away from him.  The blows slowed and
stopped. Immobilized by pain, coughing and choking on tears and anguish,
Trevor lay there as the townsfolk turned to watch the fire.  After a time, the
farmer knelt down and said "I'm sorry, Trevor.  But I can't have a murderer
living, unpunished, so close to my family." 

The mob dispersed, leaving Trevor alone on the ground to watch the final
collapse of his home.  Gone, he thought.  Everything gone.  It wasn't fair!
They had no right!  Harmony--  But he couldn't bring himself to complete the
thought.  Trevor sat up, watching with hollow eyes as the sun crept across the
sky and the flames died slowly away.