"Forgive me, sir…but you know of my father…"

The boy's light voice penetrated the ancient man's mind, shattering his thoughts into a thousand pieces as he stared on in disbelief.

The boy was small and sturdily built, not muscular or large boned, but plainly firm shouldered. His height was not much, inching barely over five feet and three inches, but he was young still and in the midst of growing, or rather, that is what the old man hoped. The child's eyes were like his father's deep viridian orbs embedded into soft white silk and they peered on at him from beneath a long curtain of black velvet hair. The boy's attire was plain and modest, a pair of black jeans swung about his hips with a white shirt thrown over his chest. The jeans were slightly torn and frayed at the bottoms, smudges of dirt covering small patches here and there. The shirt was discoloured, awkwardly dyed light brown by the weather and the journey. His face and hands too, sported reminders of the travel, small scratches and dirty marks scattered about his light skin.

For a time the man gazed on at the boy, not believing his very own eyes, but seeing it nevertheless. He stooped; his long pointed nose coming within barely inches of the boy's and placed a long frail palm onto the youngster's shoulder. "It…It cannot be…" he whispered, his old voice husky trembling slightly as his eyes bore across the child's familiar features.

The boy frowned, his soft brow furrowing a little and opened his mouth to speak, but the old man's fingers traced across his crimson lips to silence him. "Come inside…we must not speak here." With a twist he fled into the dark depths of the cabin behind him, the boy hesitantly following.

The cabin was warm and welcoming. A soft fire burnt beneath the hearth, casting a red glow about the shadowed room, the orange and scarlet flames dancing over the dark logs. A large red armchair was placed firmly beside the fireplace whilst a dull red rug lay at its feet. A large black dog was curled on in front of the flames, its chest heaving slowly, and muzzle between its huge front paws. Towards the back of the room was a long wooden table decorated with an assorted series of strange looking objects and tattered books, and behind that was another door.

"Come sit down." Said the man as he gestured towards the chair and waited for the boy to obey. Slowly he did so and the man retreated to the back of the room, fumbling with the objects piled on his desk and then returned with an open book in his wrinkled palms.

For a long time the man stood before the young boy, gazing down at him from behind large glassy spectacles and then at a length he finally said, "How are your brothers?"

Martagnor seemed hesitant for a moment, clearly surprised that this old fellow knew of his brothers, "They…they are both well…" he answered quietly.

The old man smiled and knelt down on the rug beside the heaving dog, "Where are they, child?" he asked.

"They are many miles from here, sir. They do not know that I have come."