Chapter 8.

19 Feb

The day of the regular, scheduled visit to the Trunc farm arrived. Dr. Arbre went through the motions of examining his patient, but his mind was far away and distracted by the murderous demands upon him by the Alcyone. He felt no debt to the movement of haters and had to find some way to defeat their terrible goals.

What should he do about the threat to three of his closest friends? They were being watched by these fanatics, as he himself probably was.

At the end of his visit to the farm, he was alone with Clata in the kitchen, sharing a cup of anthemion tea with the spinster.

“I know how you instruct the boy from the Absum family,” he bluntly said to her. “It has come to me, do not ask how, that his mental powers are being developed and enhanced with your assistance.”

He stopped and stared at her, searching for her reaction to his words.

Surprisingly, there was no sign of fear or distress in her pale face.

“What can I say? We have discovered a great potential talent in him. At his early age, it has to be trained and encouraged, or else the gift could be lost.”

The doctor spoke in a whisper to her. “You, your father, and Raxis are in danger that no one has yet seen. Only I am in a position to warn you of it.”

“What do you mean?” she pleaded in desperation. “What danger? From where?”

Although he had not planned to reveal more, Arbre realized he had to answer her.

“A person has come to our district with the aim of reviving the old drive against telepathy. He has centered his hatred upon this farm and the three of you. I have been thinking how to thwart his malignant design, but have nothing yet.

“He visited and tried to recruit me. You see, my grandfather belonged to the old conspiracy against psychic activities. But my father turned against the group called the Alcyones. He taught me tolerance toward all aspects of the mind, even the unusual and fantastic.

“So, I was silent and gave no answer to the monster who demanded my cooperation. But I had to give you timely warning of what he is scheming to do.

“One of us must also warn Raxis to be careful at all times.”

“I can do that when I see him next,” volunteered Clata. “He is visiting us this very evening.”

“It would be a wonderful help if you did,” murmured the doctor. “I seldom see him any more.”

“He thinks highly of you,” remembered Clata. “His skills in hypnotism in no way interfere with his psychic development.”

“I must help find a way to deal with the man who has invaded our district with his evil,” mused Arbre. “His name is Bleme Onso. I am told he is staying at the crossroads tavern.”

“We will be careful and guard ourselves,” she promised him.

From the moment of his arrival that night, Raxis sensed the tangled thoughts in the mind of Clata. He decided to wait till she revealed her trouble by herself.

After a few mental exercises, she told him what Dr. Arbre had revealed to her.

“The doctor is a man of honesty and character. His conscience would not allow him to stay silent about this stranger with malevolent intent. The outsider is an Alcyone, sworn to uproot all psychic minds. The danger is that he will attack you, me, or father from an unknown direction.”

Unsettled by what he had been told, Raxis was mum for several seconds. He pondered over the horrible situation the three of them were in.

“All of us must be careful from now on,” he finally told her. “Not only at night, but all day long it will be necessary to be on guard. Do you think it wise for me to stand guard here tonight, until dawn? I can explain my absence to my parents in the morning when I return.”

The face of Clata seemed to glow. “No, Raxis. That will not be necessary. I think we will be safe here. Anyone approaching the house has to trample the tall grass and the sound will be audible. The Alcyone cannot come near without being heard.”

“But how can you defend yourself and your father?”

Clata looked at him calmly. “I am not at all defenseless. There is an old carabine that father once hunted with. I know how to fire it. There it hangs on the wall behind you.”

The young man thought a moment, then excused himself and departed.

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