Sometimes, you have to make your own destiny.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Chapter 9 Epilogue

The town was abandoned. And there was no sign of Talis. Either he had run, or thrown in his lot with the others. Not that Wrigcyn could blame the boy. He had just wanted to be a Hero. He couldn’t be expected to betray his country. Still, it was an inconvenience.

Wrigcyn kicked a pebble, sending it skittering down the empty road. He’d tried casting a tracking spell, but someone was blocking him. So they had either found another magician, or had gotten the collar off the woman. He hoped it wasn’t the latter. If they could break his spell, they might be more of a threat than he had thought.


The future was changing. Had changed. It was time to try something else.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Chapter 9, Pt. 10

Jarlen and the two guards looked up when Silay entered the kitchen. Talis wasn’t there, but that didn’t surprise her. Edo’s absence, however, did.

“Where did Edo go?”

Jarlen stood up. “He left the house. I assumed to get something from his pack. If everything all right?”

“I’m not sure.” Silay shrugged. “I’m going to go talk with him. I’ll be back soon.”

“Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”

“I will.” Silay left.

The horses were tethered outside, but Edo wasn’t by them. She finally found him sitting on a short garden wall a few houses down. He glanced at her briefly, but didn’t say anything.

Silay debated her next move for a moment, then with a mental shrug, sat next to him on the wall. When Edo still didn’t speak, Silay broke the silence.

“You kind of stormed off.”

“You don’t know what she did.” Edo continued to stare straight ahead.

“Stole the Wardstone?”

Edo’s head whipped around to face Silay. “So you do know!”

Silay raised her left shoulder in a slight shrug. “I know she took the Wardstone. I don’t really know what happened after that.”

“No. I guess you would be too young to remember.”

Sily raised her eyebrows. She had never been able to raise just one like Jarlen. “I don’t think I’m that much younger that you. It’s more a matter of never having left Dagrosa before this.”

“I suppose.” Edo went back to staring off  into the distance.

“Tell me.”

“What?” He turned back to Silay.

“Tell me what happened. Help me understand. What did Riya do that makes people so angry at her?”

“Sojan and Griffin are the two biggest inland cities. We’ve always been trade rivals.”

“That shouldn’t matter. There’s been peace in Ohicink for the last 50 years.”

“It was almost broken 10 years ago.” Edo pause, and Silay waited for him to continue. If there was one thing she had learned during her year as a ghost, it was patience.

            “No one knew the Wardstone was missing. We all went about our daily lives. That night, a group of mercenaries attack. No one has ever been able to prove that they were being paid by Griffin’s merchants, but almost everyone in Sojan thinks that what happened. We’ve since dropped the case against Griffin to help keep the peace. But—”

“But?”

“Nut we’ve never really forgive them either. Or Riya. Most of the Wall Guards dies that night, and a lot of people were badly hurt. One band of the mercenaries made it through the walls and started setting fires to buildings. None of it would have happened if we’d had the Wardstone.”

“But she gave it back.”

“Which is why he wasn’t executed. She returned it the same day as the attack, but it still took us another day to clear out all the mercenaries. And even longer to recover.” He took a deep breath. “Not that you can ever really recover, living like through something like that.”

“I don’t believe Riya could have done something like that on purpose. She couldn’t have known about the attack!” Edo turned to look at her, and Silay fell silent,

“You really trust her, don’t you?”

“She’s saved my life. Twice.” Silay gave a small smile. “And stolen from me once. But yes, I trust her. She might make mistakes sometimes, but I don’t think she could ever deliberately hurt people like that.”

“Perhaps not.” Edo looked away again. “But that doesn’t mean I have to forgive her.”

“No one is asking you to forgive her. Just to help her.”

“I already tried to, remember?”

“But not with my blood.”

“That’s not how blood magic works.”

Silay jumped off the wall and stood facing Edo. “Try.”

He raised his eyebrows. Apparently, he hadn’t mastered the one eyebrow lift either. “Try what?”

“Magic. Try to cast a spell on me.”

Edo gestured towards Silay with his right hand, almost flippantly. Then he froze. His forehead furrowed, and he left his arm, fingers extended, pointed at her. Nothing continued to happen. Edo held the stance mumbling words under his breath. Still nothing.

Silay grasped her hands behind her back. “Should something be happening?”

As an answer, Edo waved his arm so it was pointing at a small rock in the road. It lifted off the ground for a moment, then settled back down. He moved his hand back towards Silay. Nothing.

“You have no idea how strange this is,” he commented. “I can feel the magic moving through me, but nothing is happening.”

“It’s how Riya feels all the time, now.”

Edo sighed, and got down from the wall. “You’re right. Your blood might work. I’ll see what I can do.”


“Thank you.”

***
End of Chapter 9
Check back Wednesday for the Chapter Epilogue
***
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Because this story really need a character with a tragic backstory resulting from the actions of another character. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Chapter 9, Pt. 9

This time Edo didn’t flinch when he touched the seal. As he held his right hand against the collar, gold figures appeared on the glove on his left hand. He watched the developing shapes intently, muttering to himself. Silay held her breath, afraid to make a noise and ruin the reveal spell.

“Damn!” Edo tore the gloves off his hands and threw them across the room.

Silay jumped, startled by the exclamation. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

“It’s a blood seal.” He looked at Riya, who nodded.

“I thought that might turn out to be the case. At least you tried. Thank you.”

Edo shrugged. “Don’t thank me. It wasn’t really my choice to come.”

Riya closed her eyes and leaned back against the headboard. “Somehow, that doesn’t surprise me.”

When she didn’t say anything further, Edo turned to leave the room. Silay grabbed his arm.

“That’s it? You’re giving up?”

He shrugged her hand off. “It’s sealed with Wrigcyn’s blood. I can’t break it.”

“What if you used my blood?”

“It wouldn’t work. I need his.”

The sheets rustled, and they turned to look at Riya. She was sitting upright, following the conversation. “It actually might work.”

“Which just shows how little you understand magic. The whole point of a blood seal is that it can’t be opened without the blood of person who made it.”

“There’s no need to be rude.” Riya glared at Edo. “Did anyone tell you why the Seer sent Silay on this quest?”

“I don’t see how that is relevant.”

“Which just shows how little you understand magic.” Riya folded her arms.

 “If you’re just going to insult me—”

“After you politely pointed out you didn’t actually want to come.”

Edo scowled. “As I was saying, I’m leaving.” He turned and stomped out the door, leaving Riya and an aghast Silay alone in the room.

“Riya?”

“Don’t.” She lowered herself back down against the headboard.

“Was that about the Wardstone?”

“Probably.”

Silay sighed. “He is here to help. You could have tried to be polite.”

“My head hurts too much for playing nice.”

“Do you really think he might have been able to use my blood?”

“Maybe." She sighed. "I don’t know. He’s right about mine not knowing much about magic.”

“Well, I’m going to go talk to him. I’d like to get that collar off of you before we go Sojan.”

Riya gave a faint smile. “I won’t say no to that. But if he can’t….”

“I know.” Silay returned the grin. “You’ll be fine.”


“Exactly.”

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Chapter 9, Pt. 8

The wall around Turvew wasn’t very high, but it still afforded a good view of the road from where Silay sat on it. She was perched near the edge of the wall, her knees drawn up to her chest with her arms wrapped around them. She had been there since sunrise. The Seer had contacted them the night before to let them know that rescuers from Sojan were on the way, and Silay was silently willing them to move faster. Riya was looking worse, and there was only so much food to be scavenged in the abandoned town.

Finally, she saw three riders approaching, each with a spare horse in tow. Even from a distance, Silay recognized the bright blue and gold of the Sojan Guard uniform on two of them. She scrambled down from the wall and pulled open the gate before heading down the road to meet them.

“Hello, again.”

Silay looked in confusion at the Guardswoman who had greeted her. “Do I know you?”

“Praesi. I was one of the guards who arrested you.”

“Ah.” Silay paused. “I don’t really know what else to say to that.”

“Not to worry.” Praesi smiled. “How about you lead us to where you’re staying?”

Silay nodded, and set off through the abandoned town. The horses’ hooves echoed eerily in the empty streets as they followed at a slow walk.

“So, this what Turvew looks like without people.” The rider in front broke the silence.

Silay glanced over her shoulder. “What happened here? We’ve been so busy, we forgot to ask.”

“Evacuation.” Praesi was the one to answer. “The seers saw some unspecified trouble, so the town moved into Sojan. We’re quite crowded now.”

“Unspecified?” Silay gave a short laugh. “They were probably seeing us. Or my friends, at any rate.”

“Or Wrigcyn.” It was the man who had spoken earlier. “I was given to understand he was tracking you.”

Silay nodded. “And you are?”

“Edo. Also, a magician. I’m going to see if I can get the collar off of your thief friend.”

Silay was about to respond to the ‘thief’ comment, but bit her tongue instead. These people, whatever their opinions, were here to help. She didn’t want to offend them.

Jarlen must have heard the horses, because he was standing outside the house to greet them. After introductions, Praesi and Edo went in, leaving the third man to stay with the horses. Jarlen led the Guardswoman to the kitchen where they had assembled their few remaining supplies, and Silay led the magician to Riya’s room.

Riya was awake and sitting up, which Silay took as a good sign, but her skin was so pale it was almost transparent. Still, she managed to nod a greeting to the newcomer.

He returned the nod. “I’m Edo. Shall we take a look at things?” He walked to the bed, and Riya leaned forward so he could see the magic seal on the back of the collar.

“It’s just a standard collar.” Her voice was weak. “But from what I could sense of him, Wrigcyn is strong. It might be hard to break his seal.”

“Mmhmm.” Edo held out his index finger, and it looked to Silay that a small blob of light rested on the tip of it. He moved his finger towards the seal, and when it got close, the light jumped forward to touch it. “Ouch!” Edo pulled his hand back and hissed in pain.

Riya raised her eyebrows. “I warned you.”

The other magician grimaced and shook his hand out. “You did. Let’s try something else.”

He unslung the bag that was across his shoulders and removed a pair of gloves from it. Holding the gloves in his left hand, he began to move the index finger of his right hand across the palm and fingers of the of the first glove. As he moved his finger, a trail of light traced his movements across the worn leather surface.

Silay watched in fascination, dying to ask what he was doing, but afraid to interrupt his concentration by asking.

“It’s a reveal spell.”

Silay’s eyes jumped from the glove to Edo’s face. He gave her a smile. “I saw you watching. Now, hopefully, when I touch the seal with this,” he held up the now glowing right-hand glove, “the details of the binding spell will show up on the left glove. Then I can figure out how to break it.”

“It’s like a riddle.” Riya’s voice was low, but clear. “Right now, Edo doesn’t even know the question. The gloves will give him that.”

“But what if he can’t figure out the answer?” Silay’s voice was filled with concern.


Edo shrugged as he pulled on the gloves. “Then I try something else."

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I really like Edo's and Praesi's names. They're both from Latin...can you figure out which words are at their roots? And if you're wondering why the third guardsman doesn't get a name, well, it's because I two new character names at a time seem to be my maximum quota

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chapter 9, Pt.7

Silay threw herself down into the kitchen chair, and Jarlen handed her a mug of tea.

“That,” he commented, “wasn’t exactly what I thought you meant when you said you would ‘handle it’.”

“Sorry.” Silay sighed. “I just didn’t want to deal with him anymore.”

Jarlen sat down across from her. “Are you all right?”

Silay looked up and was surprised to see how worried he looked. “I’m fine. Just a little tired.”

Jarlen chuckled. “'Fine'?” Now you sound like Riya.”

She shrugged. “Maybe she’s rubbing off on me.”

“That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I meant my question. Are you all right?”

“I don’t know.” Silay stared at her tea in silence for a moment. “I’m not sure what I expected when I started out, but it wasn’t this.”

“Nobody expected this.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

“Perhaps. There was always the chance of danger when you set out, but I don’t think the Seer would have sent you, unprepared as you are, if anyone had thought you would be attacked.”

“She didn’t know there was a person behind the plague.”

“And now she does. Now we all do. Because of you.”

“But I didn’t do anything!” Silay exclaimed.

“Exactly!” Jarlen gave a small smile. “That was always the plan, remember? Things have changed. The future has changed. And the only thing different from the seers’ original visions was you.”

“Except now there’s a war coming.”

“Everything has consequences. You know that.”

There was a long silence.

“Jarlen?”

“Yes?”

“Do you really think my blood could help stop the plague?”

Jarlen paused before answering. “I don’t know for certain, but I do believe there’s a very real possibility it could.”

Silay nodded her head slowly, making her decision. “Then when we get back to Sojan, I’ll let you try.”

“Thank you.”

*     *     *


Talis returned around lunchtime, much to Silay’s and Jarlen’s surprise. Even more surprising was the amount of food he brought with him, scavenged from the abandoned houses. Lunch was eaten in silence, and the rest of that day was spent organizing for the arrival of help from Sojan.
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Silay is struggling with the unseen consequences of her actions, but at the same time I think she is beginning to accept them. She's still not confident in her abilities, but she is growing more comfortable with them. She is starting to realize that life is bigger than this unquest she is on, and that there is a lot more work to be done if the story is going to have a happy ending.