Everybody in the courtroom murmured and whispered excitedly. Tovorash did not really understand what the fuss was about. Sure, an Enomatic had not been summoned by the Everking for over seven hundred years, but that was no cause for such an uproar. Even the king himself seemed a little annoyed at the fuss that everyone was making.
As if they had all come to some agreement beforehand, everybody fell silent as the large doors swung open. In, first, came the messenger. Tovorash recognized her instantly as Evelle. He did not know everybody by name, but female couriers were few and far between, and she had caught his eye a long time ago due to her unwavering dedication to her task and her straightforward loyalty.
Following the messenger, in simple robes, was the Enomatic. For some reason, he did not ring rightly with Tovorash’s impression of these recluses. Rather than bearing the haughty soberness that one would have expected, this Enomatic seemed to carry with him an air of mischief, and despite the simple garb, he strode with the bearing of a king.
Evelle moved forward quickly, as the cleric paused, waiting for her to announce him. Bowing deeply before the Everking, Evelle waited for his permission to speak.
When he nodded, she stood and proclaimed, “Your Everness and your Dawnesses, I present the Enomatic.”
She moved aside as the cloaked man stepped forward. He threw back his hood, and Tovorash caught a glint in the man’s eye that spoke of a sly intelligence. The Enomatic bowed deeply, but when he righted himself and looked the Everking directly in the eye, Tovorash could not decide if he was bold or stupid.
“What is your name, priest?” the Everking asked.
“Time, your Everness. Justin Time, and just in time, as I have heard.”
There was an awkward pause, before the Everking spoke again. “You know why you are here, I assume?”
“I am here because the Everking wished for an Enomatic, and as I was the only Enomatic available, I have come.”
“But you know of— the incident?”
“Yes, of course. The terrible apparition in the court that everyone hears rumors about, made even more notorious by the flamewarden’s inability to pronounce anything definitive about it.”
This comment sent murmurs through the crowd, and Tovorash could almost feel the tension on his weathered skin.
“Well, smart-mouthed Justin. Why don’t you see if you can tell us anything about the situation.”
“As you wish, your Everness,” the Enomatic said, bowing deeply. “I shall need to talk with anyone present during the incident, but most importantly I will need to talk with your bodyguard.”
Tovorash did not like that one bit. Things had been unsettled enough of late without him having to leave the king for an interview that could take hours, but when the Everking nodded and motioned Tovorash to follow the Enomatic, the bodyguard had no choice.
As the two men left the courtroom, Justin said, “Don’t worry, I will not take much of your time from your precious Everking.”
“He is your king too,” Tovorash said hotly, drawing some attention.
“The Enomatics serve no one,” Justin declared serenely.
The bodyguard grunted disdainfully. “Some Enomatic you are. I heard that you monks are supposed to be meek and submissive.”
“And I heard that you bodyguards are supposed to be discrete and self-controlled.”
This silenced Tovorash, but as they continued walking with Justin showing no signs of asking questions, the bodyguard found himself forced to speak again.
“You said you would not take up much of my time?”
Instead of answering the question, the Enomatic pointed at the sun. “The wanderer Shustyn once said, ‘Time is an illusion, a figment of our minds created to understand change, because we cannot conceive of change without time.’ His friend then pointed to the sun and replied, ‘You say that, but I see for myself that the sun moves.’ Who do you think was right?”
The knight-guardian was about to reply irritably, but the Enomatic held up his hand. “Please, humor me.”
Tovorash paused for a moment to think. He didn’t know why he did so. Maybe it was because the Everking’s recent philosophical reflections had grown on him. When he answered, though, he surprised even himself.
“I don’t think either of them were right. Time is not an illusion, but the sun’s motion was not proof that there is time. There are things that supersede time, however. Great works of writing for example; we call them timeless.”
Justin looked at the bodyguard expectantly. For a second, Tovorash was confused. Then it clicked.
“Timeless! The timeless! Wait. You’re saying that books are what that message was about?”
The Enomatic rolled his eyes. “No, of course not. But it is about something that is beyond time. Whatever ‘the timeless’ is, it is beyond our human parameters. And that is very concerning.”
Tovorash’s expression tightened. “And the messenger said that they were returning, which means they’ve been here before.”
“Excellent!” Justin said applaudingly. “We will make a detective out of you yet.”
The bodyguard just glared.