CANOPY AERIE:Part One - Kronos Moves In
"Tsk, tsk, tsk.... Now Jair," Kronos crooned as he stalked across the bridge. "That isn't a very polite greeting. If you aren't careful, I might think you aren't pleased to see me?"
Jair stood her ground defiantly. Kronos may have an intimidating reputation, but even he could be flipped over the bridge she surprised him. A small giggle escaped her as she imagined the look on his face as he fell backwards. Jair would never really push him, and she felt certain Kronos would never permanently harm her - just mess with her for the fun of it.
"Kronos," Jair smiled, "Whether or not I am pleased to see you isn't the issue."
Kronos stepped closer, wanting to be able to see her eyes in the fading light.
"Ah, but it is the issue. If my presence somehow ... disturbs you. Well," Kronos paused to let the suggestive tone of his voice penetrate Jair's senses. "that may make things... hard."
Kronos watched Jair's reaction closely. Just as he expected, her eyes switched from the sparkling blue and gold hue to a deeper blue. The golden ring of fire around her pupil contracted to a thin line, as Jair considered the meaning behind his words. Jair shrugged, choosing to ignore the innuendo for the moment.
"Kronos, not only have you NOT been brought through the Portal," Jair explained calmly, in the tone of a mother talking to a slow child. "But, this is MY home, and I am fairly certain that I haven't invited you just yet."
Jair tilted her head as if she were thinking before continuing in a flippant tone, "Nope... Since I haven't even been inside the house, I'm pretty sure I haven't invited you. "
"How little you understand the workings of this new island." Kronos answered, adopting the same patronizing tone Jair had used moments ago. "Val Island was created for all those that share my face. I did not have to come through the portal, I just exist here."
"As for a lacking invitation, I will overlook your poor manners. Come, I will show you around our home." Kronos said graciously, even as he braced himself for the inevitable explosion. Sure enough, Jair's eyes flashed to steel gray.
"MY poor manners?!! Overlook MY poor manners?!!!" Jair sputtered. "Wait a minute - Stop the presses! What did you say? Did you say 'our' home???"
Jair took a step closer to Kronos, emphasizing each thought, until she was close enough to start jabbing Kronos in his leather covered chest.
"What delusional world are you living in that you could possibly even conceive of this being "our" home???? My charges do NOT live with me!!! How dare you just assume such a thing! Take your ill tempered, foul..."
Kronos placed his hands firmly on Jair's shoulders. He was not a tall man, but he was still considerably taller than Jair.
"Dinner is nearly finished. If you are through screeching, we can eat and then I might be persuaded to show you the rest of our home."
"Food?" Jair asked wistfully as her stomach rumbled loudly at the thought. "You know how to cook? And it's edible?" Jair finished skeptically. "It's still MY house though." Jair grumbled under her breath as she followed Kronos the rest of the way across the bridge.
The wooden bridge ended about twenty feet from the cave in a complete shroud of foliage. It was impossible to glimpse the interior of the tree. The only evidence of a house inside was the bridge leading inside and a thin line of smoke coming out of the top of the tree. Jair grinned at the thought of Smokey the Bear complaining about forest fires, while she seemed to have a fire "in" her tree.
Kronos paused before the veil of vines and casually touched the handrail. As if by magic, the vines split down the center and moved to either side just like a curtain.
"Hey! Show me how you did that!" Jair demanded impatiently.
"All in good time, my dear." Kronos soothed as he gently ushered Jair through the curtain. "All in good time."
As Jair entered her home for the first time, she discovered she stood on the end of a roughly rectangular landing. The red wood floor was only rough sanded, then covered with a dark blue rug. The platform was roughly six feet deep and eight feet long, with the same wooden criss-cross railing that ran the length of the bridge edging the platform. At the other end, a short flight of stairs ran up to another flight.
"Uh huh... a rug and a railing.... " Jair paused to look around, searching for more. There wasn't anything else on the landing. "This isn't it - is it? I mean, the stairs are nice, but... "
"Those are my boots by the stairs." Kronos tossed over his shoulder innocently as he climbed the stairs to the next level. He stood aside and held the gate for Jair, arching his eyebrow at her. "You are welcome to stay down there, but I'm not a butler - the food is up here."
The stairs thudded with Jair's stomping as she swept past Kronos scowling fiercely at him. She started to turn at the top to berate him for his irritating behavior, when she caught a glimpse of the living room landing.
This level curved in a semi circle around the tree's trunk. It was narrow and long, but it was splendid. The mahogany floor had been polished to a high sheen, and plush cream colored rugs speckled the room. In the center of the room, a tremendous stone open-sided fireplace split the landing. Couches and chairs were assembled on this side of the fireplace, and Jair could see a table and chairs on the other side. The outside edge was again lined with the ornate railing.
It was dark out now, so any view that may have existed was invisible in the night's blackness. In the leaves and branches, thousands of luminescent insects winked and glowed in a twinkling display of sparking lights. The low strains of jazz mixed with the crackling sounds of the fire and the rustling of the tree's leaves. The landing was softly lit with a golden glow. Jair couldn't see the lamps and she finally asked Kronos where the light came from.
"I have yet to locate the source myself. If you look at your shadow, the light comes from above. Look up, and there is no discernable direction from it - just a glow above. There are switches at the top and bottom of all the stairs, and on the fireplace that control the levels." Kronos explained quickly before asking pointedly, "Aren't you hungry?" as he hurried through and up the next flight of steps.
"Yes, I am but..." Jair stopped to run her hand across the back of the sofa. The sofa and chairs were plump cream cushioned creations with a deep mahogany frame. Dark green pillows and green marble tables accented the furniture. The material of the cushions was soft and velvety to the touch, almost like thick suede - unlike anything Jair had ever seen.
"It's genuine Abargimenthe fern plant from Dretisin-9."
Jair glanced up, recognizing the voice immediately.
"Q!" she warned.
"They process it by boiling it then combing it into sheets. Do you like it? I picked it especially for you." The dark haired man in the Federation uniform asked.
"What are you doing here?"
"You know, that Kambar fellow is right, your manners are seriously lacking this evening. What kind of question is that for the architect of your Home Sweet Home?"
"Q, his name is Kronos, and it's a perfectly valid question. Aren't you supposed to be gallivanting around the universe with Vash?"
"She felt the need to explore a Federation Galaxy Class ship - been there, done that." Q announced sounding bored with the conversation.
"Vash is with Captain Picard, and you aren't welcome." Jair translated dryly. "So you came to bother me."
"I came to check on my engineering abilities - you know this tree house is really an impressive design with architectural concepts from all over the universe."
"You came to gloat?" Jair smiled.
"Only you humans would be so crass," Q scolded, "But if you insist on complimenting the revolutionary design, feel free."
"It is beautiful Q." Jair said giving him a hug. "Thank you, I couldn't have made it better myself."
"Well, of course not!" Q sniffed.
Both Jair and Q turned as Kronos came back downstairs with a growl.
"Oh look, it's the Barbarian, Karnost." Q commented dryly - and loudly.
~ End of Canopy Aerie ~
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