An Idea Part II

As he woke up the next morning, his room was icy and cold. Boestos had held a comeback overnight and the snow lay thick on the ground, even though Eltos had already shown its face. Azadus’ nose was cold and it was hard to fully wake up, like rising from sticky, viscous honey, as if a weight held him below the boarders of conciousness. He took a deep breath, opened his eyes and saw his breath as he exhaled. Again. In his own room. Every day in Boestos and it wouldn’t stop until Eltos was already over. Why couldn’t it just be warm the whole year? He turned his head and realized that sunrise still wasn’t over, that he had woken up early, before the first stroke of the bell. His body sat up, even though his mind wanted to stay in bed. He sighed. The small bowl with water on his table had an icy covering on it. Again.

A quick check of the pan under his bed, the one with the coals to keep him warm at night, told him that it was already cold. Usually he used the rest of the heat to warm up the water, but this night the ember was already out, so he put it back under his bed. He dipped his hands into the water and huffed two times, bracing him for the upcoming shock. While the water hit his face and the blood rushed into his cheeks to warm it back up again, he puffed and blew and the water splashed around everywhere. After repeating the procedure two more times, he took a piece of cloth to dry his face.

He sighed. Couldn’t he just be motivated to get up for once? Longingly he saw to his blanket. There was still some time until morning prayer, but if he fell asleep again, it would just get worse. Maybe some day he would be able to sleep as long as he wanted.

Fully clothed he shut the door to his cell. He longed for some warmth and went down the hallway to the cauldron room. It was frowned upon using magic for everyday purposes, like lighting fire or warming up your water for washing, but during Pahilo Bhoka it was strictly forbidden, with dire consequenses. So, since hundreds of years during this time, the monks used a large and heavy cauldron, filled with wood and coal, whatever was cheaper that year, to keep one room warm in the monastery, for the inhabitants to warm up and have a cup of tea. It was also a good way to have a chat outside of the daily duty or a surreptitiously chat during one of the sermons. Except for the week of silence, before the fest of Mortus. No one ever talked there.

The fire guard jumped up as he entered the room. It was one of the novices, Azadus had not managed to remember the name of. “D.. Dina be with you!” stuttered the young man. The rings around the eyes were telling on him. Most likely he was about to fall asleep. “And with you.” Azadus mumbled and went to the teapot to take one of the fresh mugs. The fire was dangerously low, but the tea was still steaming.

“Tell me, son, how low do you think the fire should burn?” he said while pouring a cup.
“Not so low, I think.” The novice stood up and added a few pieces of wood.
“No, no no, not like this, look here. How is air supposed to get to this piece? And over here?” Azadus took the long iron hook from the holder and started to poke around in the fire.
“Look, if you stack it too tightly, it will start to smoke instead of really burning, and we don’t want that inside of the room, do we?”
“No, master, of course not.” The boy looked inside the cauldron with interest.
“See? Like this.” Azadus had shuffled the wood into a complicated pattern.
“But if you continuously put more wood inside, you don’t have to stack it up that much.” The boy lowered his gaze.
“How long have you been here? Err… what was your name again?” “Ibon, Master, Ibon Nashuni.”
“Good, Ibon. Next time, rather put in a small amount more often, than seldom more, do you understand?” Ibon looked puzzled. Azadus smiled.
“Maybe some quiet contemplation will help you understand. After all, it is Pahilo Bhoka, a time to go inside yourself and think.” Ibon nodded and folded his hands. Both of them stared into the ember until it arose to a fire again.
The warmth flooded his chilled bones and eased the tension inside his muscles and he kept staring at the flames, sipping his tea.