Civa lowered the parchment. Togullen wondered if he heard a sigh emanate from within the small hessian bag he wore as a mask.
‘Have I portrayed you properly?’ Togullen queried.
‘Alas no,’ the muffled voice answered. ‘I have never known a scribe of your equal, yet it seems devoid of …’ he shook his head. ‘It is not what I feel when I tumble across the rooftops; that is why I invited you here.’
Civa ran off, only slowing when he reached the beam which extended beyond the edge of the roof. The bagged mask, snapped in his direction.
‘I have paid a group of minstrels in the street to play their drum,’ he said, running fluidly along the beam and back onto the roof. ‘Now do as I have done.’
Togullen looked down. Three minstrels looked up at him expectantly. He slid one foot onto the beam, only wide enough to support it, and attempted to inch his other foot in behind. A hand rested on his shoulder, making him stiffen.
‘Fear not, I am with you,’ Civa said, ‘now go to the end.’
Togullen swallowed, shuffling to the furthest extremity an inch at a time, halting as a shrill pipe added a catchy ditty to the beat of the drum.
‘Now close your eyes as you listen to the music.’
In the darkness, he felt the warmth of Civa’s hand slide around to his chest.
‘Your heart beats too swiftly; take deep breaths. A pleasant tune, is it not?’
‘Good,’ Civa said, removing his hand. ‘Keep your eyes closed. Do you remember the balcony in front of you?’
‘Picture it clearly in your mind. Do you see it?’
He nodded again.
‘Then go to it.’
Something pounded him in the back. He yelped, his only goal now; the balcony rail. Pain arced from his hands through the entire length of his forearms when they slapped down, yet his grip held. His sandaled feet fought for a hold, allowing him to wrench himself upward, just as a hand gripped him under the arm.
‘You are brave one,’ the muffled voice beside him said, ‘most would not have come this far. Remember, momentum is the key.’
Civa’s forearms tensed and his feet stamped down on the rail either side of his hands. He ran along the narrow beam and bounded free. Touching down on a shingle sign and somersaulting over to the adjacent balcony, alighting as softly as a fallen leaf.
‘Now you,’ he said with hand extended.
Togullen hopped to the rail, balancing with his hand pressed against the wall. He wondered how Civa did the manoeuvre with so little effort. His hands rested between his ankles to mimic the hero and tried to recall patterns to his movements, if any. It came to him; there was a cadence to him, a rhythm, just like …the music. He took breaths, regulating them to the beat and lunged. The shingle seemed to sail into his hands; a sense of peace; no bliss, washing over him. Kicking forward, he let go and reached for the balcony. It began to recede from him. Civa’s iron hand snapped his wrist, pulling him up.
‘Well done,’ he beamed, embracing the older man.
Pulling away from him, he looked into his eyes.
‘Perhaps now you can write what I feel as I tumble across the rooftops…’
Togullen smiled fondly at the memory. His smile shifted, becoming an expression of triumph now that he knew what to write. His quill began to scratch on the parchment without reservation …
Civa the, hero of Caliet leaned by one hand from the weather vane, looking down over his playground; the rooftops of the city. The drizzle resulting from the blackened sky, forced others in the streets to huddle under their capes for shelter, but here in his private haven, the cold was of no consequence.
He ran down the steep slope, straightening his legs. The sudden stop resulted in a controlled slide for the edge, before leaping into space. His eyes closed for the briefest of moments, yet a myriad of thoughts passed through his mind at once. The wind whipped over his body; it was freedom incarnate.
His heart rose in tempo, beating in unison with the ditty which played in his mind. A smile curled his lips. How God loved him. Who else could know of the joy he experienced, when he was at play overhead?
‘Only one,’ he whispered.
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