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The Gifts of Darkness
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Val stopped by a stand that had a yellow and white cloth awning. Underneath it, a man with a thick brown mustache and a coppola was selling vegetables. Val stepped in the shade beneath the awning. "Good morning, Ivan", he said to the seller.

"Oh, good morning, Master Valerion!", Ivan replied, leaning forward a little from his station behind the crates. "What a lovely day to come to town! Not a cloud in the sky. It's spring again!".

"So it seems", Val said, nodding and smiling. He opened a paper bag and filled it with leeks. "It looks like it's been good for your business, as well", Val said, noting the already half-depleted produce displays.

"Oh, yes, yes. These days are the best: not too hot, not too cold... I bring a full cart, and I go home with an empty cart. The second part makes my horse happy, too", he laughed to himself.

Val nodded and chuckled - and Adrien could tell from the stiffness in his smile that, although this game of social politeness had just started, it was already wearing him out. Val passed his now-full paper bag to Ivan to weigh, then picked up another. During this exchange, Ivan's eyes suddenly locked onto Adrien's.

"And you are?...".

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Posted on December 5th 2022.

The Gifts of Darkness - Chapter 18 - Page 8

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