After the display brought on by the sunset, Jeremy would have happily gone to bed without a meal. Yet, as much as he felt the simple task of eating would be anti-climatic after such a fantastic show, a meal was served nevertheless. Jeremy was a novice to the cuisine of The Valleys, and the restaurants of Shelter was known far and wide for their excellent offerings. As such he defaulted to Ama and Walter’s suggestions.
First, their server brought out a bowl of salad, filled with fresh vegetables and topped with a tangy dressing. As Jeremy consumed his third helping Ama pointed out, “These vegetables are all grown here. This climate gives them a full-year growing season.” Jeremy found this idea fascinating.
Following the salad the table was served a light broth which tasted a tad more salty than Jeremy would have liked. The broth, however, was quickly followed by cold water as the party’s bowls were taken away. Jeremy watched as Walter and Ama smiled and drained their glasses. When Jeremy failed to follow suit Walter offered some encouragement, “The broth and water will cleanse your palette, lad, best drink up before the main course arrives.”
Jeremy took Walter’s advice and drained his glass just as the next course arrived. Jeremy was served a plate of breaded meat, covered in a wonderful-smelling red sauce. The water glasses were replaced with long stem glasses, into which were poured a fragment white wine. “Sadly, Shelter doesn’t grow any grapes,” explained Ama. “But this wine does pair nicely with our meals.”
As Jeremy savored his meal, he could imagine why the restaurants of Shelter were held in such high regard. The varied flavors on his plate melted brilliantly into a chorus of taste. The red sauce alone could have satisfied his mouth but the meat, Jeremy assumed it was some sort of bird, helped to give the flavors time to work through his tongue. The wine Ama had picked only served to bring the meal to a rousing crescendo. He couldn’t help but grin.
As he silently contemplated his meal, Jeremy became aware of of music filling Prism’s terraces. He gazed out over the town and saw evertorches brought the streets and shops to light. Even from the height of his terrace, the sounds of laughter and conversation rose from the street to Jeremy’s ears. Slowly, tears began to fall from his eyes.
“Lad? Are you all right?”
Jeremy wiped his face. “Yes. I.. I’m fine. I don’t know what came over me.”
“What is it Jeremy?”
“Well, it’s just all this,” Jeremy spread his arms wide and motioned to the realm around him. “It’s beautiful and it’s magical and it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.”
Ama smiled sadly, “And yet?”
“And it feels like something is going to happen that might make all this stop, and I’m going to be at the center of it. I don’t want to be, but I am.”
“And how does this make you feel, Jeremy?”
“Scared, Ama. I feel scared.”
“That’s all right, lad, no doubt anyone would be frightened to have gone through what you’ve been through. Yah’ve lost your memory, ya don’t know where you are, and,” Walter leaned in an whispered, “the shadows seem a bit keen on you. No one would blame you for bein’ scared.”
“No Walter.” Jeremy shook his head. “You don’t understand. I’m not scared for me, I have a feeling I’ll be fine no matter what happens. I’m scared of what my presence might mean for all of you.” He placed his fork on the table and looked up at his two friends, only to find them silently staring back at them with fear in their eyes.