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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Chapter 12, Pt. 1

The group had rejoined the evening before, and decided that Edo and his group would enter Griffin first, during the day, and he would meet up with his contacts there. The others would follow in the evening. The last time Silay had approached Griffin, she and Riya had been turned away like thieves. This time, they, and Talis, would sneak in like thieves, hidden under their magic disguises.             
“Last call for the night!” The Griffin gate-guard called out to the empty road. Silay, Riya, and Talis, who were crouched behind a rock just barely in earshot of the guard, exchanged looks.
            “That’s our cue.” Riya wiped the dirt off her hands on her pants and stood up. Silay followed suit, and after a moment’s hesitation, Talis joined them.
            Silay stepped out, trying to appear confident. After all, in this guise, she was the responsible adult. Leading the way, she approached the gate. The guard stopped them.
            “It’s late to be on the road.”
            Silay dropped her voice, trying to make it sound older. “Which is why we wish to come in.” She gestured to Riya and Talis, hoping that to the guard they looked young. “My children are tired. We need a place to stay for the night.”
            “Where are you travelling to?”
            “Welis.” Jarlen’s hometown. It was the first name that had popped into her head, and Silay immediately regretted it. While they hoped Griffin was safe, they were trying not to leave any clues the Sojanites could use to locate them. The guard seemed to be waiting for more information, so Silay added “I have family there. An aunt.”
            The guard looked the group over, and seemed to decide they were harmless. He held up a small pendant. “You may enter, but first you have to touch this. It will show if you have any symptoms of the plague.”
            Silay hesitated. She wished she knew how it was spelled. Was it meant to react in different ways depending on whether or not one had the plague, or did it only react to plague symptoms? Because if it was the former, she was in trouble. Whatever spell was on the object wouldn’t react to her. But there didn’t seem to be a choice. She reached out and touched the pendant. Nothing happened. She looked up and the guard nodded. Relief flooded over her. She turned and waved Riya and Talis forward, the way she assumed a mother would. The two approached and each touched the pendant. The stone showed no change, and the guard put it away.
“Welcome to Griffin. There’s an inn just down the road a little ways on the left.”
Silay nodded her thanks, and led Riya and Talis down the road while the guard closed and locked the gate behind them. As they walked, Silay felt sense of shame and anger wash over her. She had been frightened at the gate. Frightened of the guard, and frightened of what she was when he’d asked her to touch the pendant. She was getting sick of that feeling. It was one thing to feel useless, but she hated that people kept making her scared. No one had the right to do that.
            When they reached the end of the first block, Riya grabbed Silay’s arm and tugged her into an alleyway between two buildings. Talis squeezed in behind them.
            “Where to?” Silay asked.
            Riya pulled out the bondstone Edo had given her, looking at the glowing line inside of it. “It’s pointing straight down this road.”
            Talis poked his head out of the alley then ducked back in. “Looks like a town hall is down there.”
            Riya stepped out into the street, looking at the stone. “That’s where it’s pointing,” she confirmed when she returned.
            Silay bit her lip. “So either they’re in trouble, or the Griffin Council is helping us.”
            Riya met her eyes. “I hate to say it, but…”
            “I know. It’s my call.” Silay sighed. “Know what? I’m sick of running and hiding. We take the risk. Between you, Edo, and his mom, we can probably overpower any magicians, and every except me is fairly good at fighting.”
            “I don’t know about that.” Talis shrugged. “You can hold your own.”
            Silay blinked, surprised at that unexpected compliment. Where had that come from? “Thanks, I guess.” She looked at her two companions. “So, we go?” The both nodded their agreement, and Silay shrugged off her cloak. If she was going to do this, she was going to it right. And she wasn’t going to afraid. Or, at least, she wasn’t going to show any fear. “Riya, drop the spells. We’re going as ourselves. We need help, and this is our best chance to get it.”
            Riya nodded again, and Silay smelled her magic at work. Then she stepped out of the alley and into the street, Riya and Talis a just behind her.
Silay marched through the door of the town hall. When the man at the desk in the entrance way stood to greet them, but Silay interrupted him.
            “I’m looking for my friend. Edo, Jarlen, and Amata. Are they here?”
            The man took a step back. “They’re upstairs.” He gestured to a staircase off to the left.
Silay nodded and headed for the stairs. Behind her, she heard Riya give the doorman a rushed thanks before her footsteps caught up with her.
“What has gotten into you?” She hissed.
“I’m tired of being pushed around.”
“That’s fine. But it doesn't give you the right to be pushy yourself.” She put a hand on her arm. “Silay, listen to me!”
Silay turned, her left foot on the top step. Riya was step below her, and Talis was behind Riya, leaving Silay as the tallest in the group. Riya looked up to meet her eyes. “I know this has been hard for you. And what has been asked of you isn’t fair. But life isn’t fair. So you have to deal with it. Be better than your circumstances.”
Silay stared at her for a moment, then dropped her eyes. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’m just so tired.”
Riya smiled. “You don’t have to apologize for that. We’re all tired. Now, lets go find Jarlen and the others.”
Silay nodded and led the way through the door at the top of the stairwell. There, in a large dome-ceilinged room, sat Edo, Jarlen, and Amata, along with a mixed group of other men and women.

“Silay!” Edo stood to greet them. He smiled as the group entered the room, but his cheerful expression quickly changed to one of concern. “Wait until you hear what has happened.”
So, dear readers, what do think has happened? 

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