I was quite surprised when, upon my arrival, I saw that Mr. Camdey’s house was, in fact, a mansion of daunting proportions, and I was thoroughly shocked when Mr. Camdey himself came down the gravel path and threw his arms around me with a cry. “Blessings upon you in the name of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, my brother.”
Now I must share a secret with your, which is quite embarrassing for me. Although my saintly mother had brought me up a good Christian, I never really took to the religion. I am no Christian – I am an atheist. Atheism, by definition, is anti-religion. Atheists are ‘without a doubt’ sure that no celestial, un-created being exists.
Still, however, I knew that while I considered myself one thing, Mr. Camdey must consider me an entirely different thing. “Greetings, sir.” I replied awkwardly. “You must be Mr. Camdey.” It was clear that the little man was, indeed, Jason Camdey.
Mr. Camdey bobbed up and down, grinning like a delighted child. “Indeed!” he exclaimed. Then, again, “Yes, indeed!”
I stood there, feeling quite self-conscious that I had arrived to the meeting in a rusty old car, while Mr. Camdey’s colossal house seemed to loom over me with disapproval. I had never been particularly wealthy and had to earn my way through life with only the merits of my cleverness and my eagerness to study. Because of this, I tended to regard most of the higher class with disdain. As far as I was aware, the wealthy members of society had only to relax and enjoy a comfortable life with money taken from the pockets of those beneath them.
Now, gazing in bewilderment upon the little figure of Mr. Camdey, I realized that he was either an exception to my opinion, or my theory had been proved drastically wrong. I examined the excited man before me with great interest.
He was an elderly fellow, his receding, graying hair sticking out in wild tufts above the ears. His eyes were an emerald green and twinkled with merriment. His bow-legged frame made him hobble when he walked, but he didn’t seem to mind this. Although his mansion seemed clean and the grounds well-cared for, Mr. Camdey was dressed in a wrinkled white dress shirt with a crooked dull blue tie and crumpled beige slacks. His shoes needed polishing, his clothes ironing, but his mere boisterous presence made up for his lack in ceremony. He held a smooth, carved wooden cane in one hand, now and then jabbing it into the ground as if to wake the earth from a deep slumber. He was so care-free that I envied him.
Mr. Camdey led me inside his mansion, which happened to be quite clean and airy. Asking me to ask no questions, he sat me down at a large, polished desk and placed in my hand a calligraphy pen. “Whatever I say, please write down.” Then, in his strong, rich voice, he instructed me to write in a large book-sized notebook. The cover was leather, the pages yellowed with age. “The title, Mr. Tamwit. The title is Sword of Flame.” And so the long nights began, with Mr. Camdey reciting endlessly, and me faithfully and tirelessly putting his words on the old parchment. I cannot tell you how long I wrote; how much my hand ached at the end of each day; how my ears gradually accustomed to the melodious voice of the old man; and how my hands hardened and glided over those crackly pages with each sentence. I did not know why I stayed and did as he asked, or why I persisted in the story without knowing why I had been chosen to copy it down. But I knew one thing. Mr. Camdey’s tales were wonderful, so wonderful my very heartbeat seemed to synchronize with the old man’s rhythm.