Shaper of Stone (The Shapers Book 1)

Shaper of Stone

Keith D. Keffer

Copyright 2012 by Keith D. Keffer

All Rights Reserved.

This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the
products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious
manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual
events is purely coincidental.

No part of this book may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means – electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise –
without the prior written consent of the author or publisher, except
where permitted by law.

Chapter 1 - Dawn

Man, I didn’t want to get out of
bed. What the heck did I do last night anyway? A guy should be able
to sleep in on the weekend. Crap, I really have to pee.

With that last thought I opened my
eyes, threw back the covers and immediately started to freak out. Not
like running in a circle and screaming freaking out, but the drop
your jaw, look around in awe and maybe a little fear, as you realized
you didn’t recognize anything.

Well recognized wasn’t the right
word. I knew I was sitting on a bed with a heavy wool blanket half
hanging on the floor. A white pitcher covered with purple flowers
rested on a side table within easy reach. On one wall hung a curtain
with black and orange diamond shapes, and it looked like a pair of
oil lamps flanked the arched door across from the foot of the bed.
They burned steadily with a low flame.

I recognized those things. It didn’t
feel like amnesia either. I knew my name was Devin Symms, but this
wasn’t my home, and these weren’t my things. I lived in a
one bedroom trailer. One of those silver tubes that old people love
to tow behind their cars. I’m pretty sure this room was bigger
than the entire thing.

I didn’t drink, do drugs or even
hang out at parties, so waking up someplace strange was a new concept
to me. The last thing I remembered was locking up the bookstore where
I worked after staying late to stock some new books.

Oh crap, maybe it was amnesia. The
short term localized type.

What if I got mugged, or kidnapped and
now I’m being held prisoners and... Wait a minute. I didn’t
feel like a prisoner. The place looked pretty nice actually, and
while my head hurt it felt more like I stayed up too late playing
video games and not like I got hit over the head with something.

The urge to pee reminded me that I had
a more immediate concern than how I got here. I wondered where the
bathroom was? Crap! I wondered where my pants were! I was naked!

A woman! That was it. I must have met
someone and ended up... Nah. I was sure I would remember something
like that. At least I hoped I would. And besides, it didn’t
look like anyone else slept here.

Getting out of bed, I winced as my feet
touched the cold stone floor, and I began the quest to find my
clothes. It wasn’t like there were a lot of places for them to
hide. Besides the small table next to the bed, there was a wooden
trunk at its foot and a high wardrobe against the wall behind me. A
desk with a high backed chair sat next to the wall as well.

Careful not to stub my toe on anything,
I decided to check out the wardrobe. Well, at least I think that was
what you would call it. It was taller than me and twice as wide. It
sort of reminded me of a locker from high school except that it was
made of dark red wood and had two doors with polished brass handles.

Of course, it was empty. Maybe the
trunk. Nope, it was empty too. And, now I was hoping back and forth
on my toes doing the pee-pee dance. Screw it. I pulled the blanket
from the bed, wrapped it around me, and immediately smacked my big
toe against the trunk at the foot of the bed.

“Son of a...!” Continuing
to mutter under my breath I sat on the chest and took a look at the
blood pouring from my ripped toenail. “Isn’t that just
freakin’ great!”

Trying to ignore the throbbing in my
toe, I limped over to the door leaving a bloody trail where my right
foot touched the floor. Pulling open the door I saw a brightly lit
hallway, and this room was at one end. A guy at the other end stood
there with his back to me.

I stepped into the hallway and shouted,
“Hey buddy! Where’s the bathroom?”

I figured I’d take care of
important business first. I could work out the rest of this when I
didn’t feel like I had an exploding bladder.

The stranger turned and said something
I didn’t understand, and this time I did freak out. I screamed
and ran back to the room, slamming the door behind me. My bloody toe
hit the corner of the door, and I screamed again.

Crap! Crap! Crap! I needed to hide.
Where... The wardrobe? No. That was one of the first places he would
look. That ruled out under the bed and in the trunk too. Great! I was
trapped here with no where to run and no place to hide.

I saw the pitcher on the night table. I
grabbed it and dumped the water onto the floor. Okay two maybe three
pounds. Not much, but it felt better than nothing.

I clutched the improvised weapon in my
hand while moving back to the doorway. With my back to the wall, I
shifted the pitcher to get a better grip. I didn’t play
baseball, but I intended to swing like an all star at the first thing
that came through that door.

Because whatever it was at the end of
the hall. That guy didn’t look human.

-o-

I fought to control my breathing as I
waited for what seems like an eternity. What the heck was that? There
was dark green skin and I swear it had a snout. Not like a pig. It
was more like a gator.

Did I just see a lizard guy? No way! It
had to be a costume. Great. I was probably at some costume party and
I just ran naked down the hall screaming like a girl.

I tried to laugh it off, but it was
forced, and instead of relaxing, I tightened my grip on the pitcher.
This didn’t feel like a party, and I didn’t really
believe that guy was in a costume.

Where was he? How long does it take a
lizard guy to come down a hall? I was half tempted to open the door
and take a peek, but I couldn’t shake the impression that he
was just on the other side waiting to pounce.

A few more minutes passed.

I couldn’t stand waiting any
longer. I shifted the pitcher to my left hand as I reached for the
door, but before I touched the handle, it opened from outside.

Of course, I did what any normal person
does when they are surprised by something they didn’t expect.
Shrieked, jumped, quivered and generally just looked really goofy.

Oh yeah. I also, dropped the blanket. I
almost dropped the pitcher as well, but I caught it before it slipped
out of my grasp.

Luckily the person coming through the
door wasn’t a giant lizard guy. It wasn’t even a guy. A
blonde haired woman with amazing sapphire blue eyes stood in the open
doorway. The flowing red dress that she wore looked like it came
right out of a fairy tale.

She giggled when she saw me standing
there.

Giggled?

Apparently a naked, skinny guy wielding
a flowery pitcher as a weapon just wasn’t as menacing as I
might have hoped.

Oh crap! I was naked.

And, I still had to pee.

-o-

I dove for the blanket to cover myself,
and this time I did drop the pitcher which shattered as it struck the
ground. Well, we all need priorities, and not being naked was mine,
and since she seemed to be alone I didn’t think I would need a
weapon. Not that the pitcher was much of one in the fist place.

I was wrapping the blanket around my
waist when she said something in a language I didn’t
understand. “Va terasling brey. Dovas taling tes fren te va.”

I interrupted before she said too much,
“Huh. Sorry, I don’t speak... ah... that...”

She smiled and pointed to her dress and
said, “Fren” then to me and said, “Va.”
Pointing back and forth between herself and me, she repeated “Fren
te va. Fren te va.”

Well, this was going to be tough. I was
not exactly a smooth talker with girls when we could speak the same
language, but I thought I got the idea here.

“Hi Fren. I’m Devin.”
Well, that’s a start right?

There was a knock on the door right
before a boy of twelve or thirteen entered the room carrying a
basket. He bowed his head to the young woman and then to me before
placing the basket on the bed. We followed him and watched while he
emptied the contents one at a time onto the bed.

Clothes! Not mine, but pants, a shirt,
boots and some weird looking thing that looked like a wooden rolling
pin with a hand sticking out from each end.

The woman stepped around the boy and
picked up the rolling pin thingy. She shook hands with one end and
then waved the other end at me.

“Merling ava.” she said,
then she turned it back to herself and mimicked shaking hands with
the other end.

Pointing the empty hand back at me, she
urged me on. “Merling ava. Merl...it. Take it.”

I reached out and shook the hand before
she finished repeating herself. Weird, but it seemed to be what she
wanted. As soon as I touched it she started to make sense.

I instinctively jerked my hand back and
came real close to dropping my blanket. Again. Wow! That was kind of
cool. A little shocking too. Well, at least at first. There was a
tingle like touching a live wire just for a second before her words
started to make sense.

I reached out and clasped hands with
the rolling pin, this time prepared for it, but the shock didn’t
repeat itself.

“Excellent! You understand.”
The woman smiled as she spoke. “Lord Vatrale felt that language
would be a barrier and hoped that the translator would prove helpful.
You do understand, do you not?”

“Wait. You’re telling me
that this thingy is translating what we say to each other.”

While she answered, I let go of my end
of the hand just for a second, and I heard her say, “Yes, I
assure ... va ava wegren ... We must be both holding the hands for it
to work, and we must be willing to communicate.”

Considering I didn’t understand
what she said when I let go of the hand, I figured I’d take her
at her word and that this thing did translate somehow. I supposed a
lifetime spent reading comic books and playing video games wasn’t
a complete waste, since a rolling pin that translates when I shake
its hand actually didn’t sound too crazy.

I started to chuckle. I had no idea
where I was or what was going on. I probably should be scared out of
my mind, but I wasn’t. Maybe it was head trauma or a really
vivid dream. The dream would explain being naked in front of a
beautiful girl.

“You are amused?” she
asked.

“Well, you have to admit this is
pretty strange. Well, strange for me. Maybe it’s normal for
you. Where am I anyway? How did I get here? What happened to my
clothes?” Oh man, I started to ramble. I took a deep breath and
decided to start over.

“I’m sorry, Fren. Let’s
start over. I’m Devin. And you’re Fren right?”

“Devin. It is my pleasure to
greet you on behalf of Lord Vatrale. I am his niece Abella.”
Then with a smile she added, “I am not Fren. That is fren, and
you may want to put them on. You seem to be having problems keeping
your blanket in place.”

She pointed to the clothing as she
spoke. Fren must be the word for clothes. She wasn’t
introducing herself when she first came in the room, she was telling
me she had clothes for me to wear.

How was I going to get dressed while
holding the translator with one hand and the blanket with the other
without embarrassing myself even more? Fortunately she provided an
answer for me.

“Tavi and I will wait in the hall
until you are ready.”

I
didn’t know if Abella understood my thank you since she let go
of the translator. She placed a hand on the boy and lead him from the
room. I had forgotten about the boy. While we were talking he had
quietly picked up all of the pieces of the shattered pitcher and put
them on the night table in a tidy pile.

Before she closed the door, she pointed
to the clothing on the bed and made a hurrying motion with her hand.
Even without the translator, I think I understood that. Get dressed
and be quick about it.

I still had one really important
question I absolutely needed to have answered before she could go.
Grabbing the translator I rushed to the door and extended it to her.
As soon as she grasped it, I asked, “Ah... Can you show me
where the bathroom is before you leave.”

“Bathroom?”

“Ah... You know... A place to
go... To relieve yourself.” That’s me the master of
communication.

“Ah! There is a chamberpot under
the bed. Leave it by the door when you are finished and Tavi will
empty it for you.” She pointed back to where I had been
sleeping, then let go of the translator hand and finished closing the
door.

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