Trials: Part Seventeen

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Anastasia sat on her bed. She was ready, but wasn’t entirely sure what to do. Paul had said he was starting his training today, so he would be busy. She figured she may as well go walk around the monastery, as long as she took care not to get lost. She opened her door, stepped out, and saw Siobhan and Coombre waiting for her, leaning up against the wall.

“Get bored yet?” Siobhan laughed. “We were surprised it took you this long.”

Coombre rolled his eyes, and stifled a grin. “Have you thought of what you seek yet?”

Anastasia was caught off guard by this. She had put in some thought last night, but she honestly wasn’t really sure what she could say. Paul had a clear issue, his blindness. Unless they wanted to help her with her love life, she wasn’t really sure what to ask. “Not really, to be honest.”

“Ah, wrong answer.” Siobhan laughed and turned to Coombre. “I told you she wouldn’t have anything!”

“I know, I know.” He turned to Anastasia. “Alright, Adara thought that would be the case, so she thought of something for you to do. It has been too long since the monastery was given a thorough cleaning.”

Anastasia’s heart sank. She had seen how big this place was. Were they about to ask her to clean an entire town? “So you want me to-”

“Yes.” Siobhan jumped in, looking serious. “Jokes aside, you need to clean the entire monastery.” She maintained a straight face for a few seconds, but broke when she saw Anastasia’s mortified expression. “I’m kidding. Kinda. You do actually need to clean the whole thing, but just not by yourself.”

“Adara said she would be dedicating her entire attention to Paul, and other personal matters. She has left you in charge of a cleaning initiative while she’s busy. You will have most of the monastery at your disposal.” He pulled a folded piece of paper from his pocket. “Here is a map. What are your orders?”

Anastasia stared blankly down at the map. It was going to be insane. Cleaning every building would take weeks. She also couldn’t believe that Adara had left the entire monastery in the care of a complete stranger. She imagined that if something were to go badly Coombre or Siobhan would step in.

“How many monks are there?”

Coombre thought for a moment. “About fifty.”

“And how long do I have?”

“As long as it takes.” Siobhan nodded.

“Alright.” Anastasia looked down at the map again. She had never dealt with leading this many people before, so she had no idea how long this would take. If she was going to do it, though, she thought it would be easiest to do it one week at a time. “And is this going to be done with magic, or just normal cleaning supplies?”

“We have not developed any magic for cleaning. We simply try to maintain our surroundings as best as we can.” Coombre replied.

“And, sorry, but why am I in charge of this?”

Siobhan shrugged and looked to Coombre.

“Mysterious ways?” Coombre shrugged as well.

“Alright. Well, I guess we’d better get started. Let’s start with the quarters, since that’s where we already are.”

“I will summon the monks.” Coombre nodded, and went off down the hall.

After a few minutes, people began to congregate around Anastasia. While she was waiting, she worked with Siobhan to compile a list of cleaning tasks that needed to be done. This continued for a few minutes, until Coombre eventually returned with the last one.

“Alright, if this is everyone, I’ll go ahead and group you. Each group will be assigned a task, and if you need anything, return to this room.” She tapped on the door to her quarters. “I will be out helping as well, but someone should be here, or you can leave a note.”

She organized them into groups, and eventually had a group with enough people for each task. Once they were assigned, everyone went off to get to work. She assigned Siobhan and Coombre to help supervise, and asked that one of them be around headquarters if she couldn’t. Once everyone had gone off, she figured she should get a sense of the monastery, and work out where everything was. She did have a map now, which made that easier.

She made her way down the main path, and went to down all of the major paths, taking note of any shortcuts she found as she went. All in all, a thorough tour of the monastery took a couple of hours. She decided next to check out buildings that they hadn’t yet gone in, and thought she’d start with the building where Paul was training. She hoped she’d be able to say hi to him, and see how his training was going.

She made her way there, and entered into a completely silent hallway. Open doorways lined the walls. It was definitely a little bigger than she had expected. She looked into each room to see what was inside. Most of them consisted of shelves of books and oddities. Some looked neatly arranged, others had stacks of junk scattered around. This would definitely be a nightmare to get cleaned. She wondered if she should send over a group to start to inventory what was and wasn’t junk, since it would take a while.

She eventually came across a large mostly empty room, and saw Paul sitting in silence. He looked like he was concentrating on something, so she figured she’d leave him alone.

After doing a little more inventory of other rooms, she heard voices from down the hallway. She drew closer and recognized Adara’s voice. She was talking to some man, whose voice sounded familiar. She took a few more steps, then realized that it sounded just like Jean. She edged towards the door, and peaked in. It was definitely Jean. He and Adara were sitting at a table with books and papers scattered across it. She got as close to the doorway as she could without being visible and tried to listen in.

“Yes, I believe it should be here.” Adara said.

“If that’s the case, then I should make haste to retrieve it.” Jean replied.

“No, you should see your job through, and get Paul and Anastasia home.”

“Are you sure? Time is of the essence.”

“Yes, go have some fun in the city.”

“I know you still look the same, and for you it’s not been that long. However, I’m an old man now, so I think I might like to rest.”

“It’s been longer than you know…” She paused for a moment.” I suppose that’s right, though. I do appreciate your help.”

“I do regret that this will likely be the last time we meet.” Jean sounded sincerely sad.

“Perk up François, one never knows for certain what the future may hold. I have a feeling we’ll meet again.”

“I go by Jean now, don’t you know?” He laughed a little.

“Goodbye, Jean. I’ll let you know when to meet them.”

“Goodbye, Adara.” He paused for a moment. “I do wish I could’ve stayed with you.”

“It was how it had to be.”

She heard footsteps coming towards her, so she ducked into the next room. She wondered what that was all about.

She looked down at the map, and noticed a building labeled ‘Archives/Library’. She figured if she was going to figure out what the deal with this place was, and how Jean knew Adara, she had better start there.

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