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Willow L. Jorden

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Heofen 4
By Willow L. Jorden
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

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A little more, sorry about skipping so much but this chapter is giving me a little bit of a problem in rewrite.

The raging waters dashed against the craggy cliffs upon which a foreboding gray castle towered over the sleepy village of Solandia. In this dark castle of Tiera pan Luminous and down a musty corridor, there was a wooden door fitted with cast iron locks. Behind this bolted door there emitted a putrid stench that was as evil as the man that stood over a large, black crystal globe in the very center of the room. Six small figures showed clearly in its murky surface, the light that shone from two of these figures nearly blinded the flat, opaque gray eyes of the man who watched intently. Breaking away from the mesmerizing sight before him, he turned to face a slightly nervous young man who stood patiently behind him.
“She is headed toward the small fishing village of Morgenne; from there she will probably climb to the top of Mount Belenaus and Draconus Temple.” He snapped, urgency ringing in his oily voice. “It is up to you, Keeran Anteanus, to make sure that she never reaches the temple and that her journey stops.”
“Yes, Tynan, your wish is my command.” Keeran bowed slightly.
“Let none deter you on this journey, this mission I have given you. Remember the oath you have sworn to me and keep to the code I have given you.”
“I will remember all you have said this day and stray not from the Assassins code.”
“Good, now go fulfill your oath and stop her.”
Turning Keeran left the vile smelling room and made his way to the castle stables where his horse was kept. Each person he passed by fearfully gave way in each and every cold passageway he traversed. Finally reaching his temporary destination, the haughty young man found his coal black stallion saddled and ready to head out. Vaulting into the saddle, Keeran and his steed sprinted out of the stables, down a dark, winding cobblestone path, past the guard towers ringing Luminous Castle, and dashed through the dirty town of Solandia.
Swiftly leaving all he knew behind him, Keeran rode out into the brilliantly green countryside that was the island of Magikos. His destination, North to a wind swept palace, situated in the lonely foothills of the Siolfor Mountains, the holdings of Lord Anteanus the Eldre. After several exhausting days he reached the weary, old, slate gray building that he once called home. Rapidly dismounting, Keeran headed into the unwelcoming halls and corridors of his former home. Coming to a gossamer covered door guarded by two burly guardsmen, he was divested of his weapons before he knocked twice, and impatiently waited until it was slowly opened to reveal a very feminine setting. The cold hard walls were covered in soft pastel draperies, as though hiding that which gave the room its shape; except for one. That one was the resting place of the portraits of the many members of Family Anteanus. The older paintings were smaller and slightly faded from their years of hanging than the ones of the younger generation; they were glorious in their frames and shouted a type of rebellion to the demure countenance of their ancestors. Each picture had its own place on the gauze draped wall, they neither jostled the others for ranking nor did they stand aloofly from the rest until they came to the children of Lord Anteanus. In the long line of consecutive children there was Keeran’s picture followed by a blank space, the right size and shape for another frame. He had always wondered about this point on the family wall, but the courage to ask either his mother or father regarding the empty place had never manifested itself to him.
In the very middle of the room there sat a stately lady, her sable black hair was streaked with silver and the beauty of her face was marred with lines that told of a full and happy life marked by a tragedy beyond compare yet long past. Her warm brown eyes continued to burn with the same vitality that had captivated her husband many years ago, when he had defied his parents and all they had stood for and courted an Aelven maiden. It was to this formable woman that Keeran now came, his mother and the possible answer to all of his questions, for he was ready to face his unknown past so that it might bear upon his unseen future. As he walked further into the carpeted room, his emerald green eyes fell upon the picture covered wall, his feet stilling until they came to a complete and sudden halted. Keeran gazed upon his portrait, and then hesitantly called the face he had seen days earlier to the surface of his mind. Shocked by what he saw he turned to his curious yet serene mother who sat on her gilt throne, her blue and cream skirt pooled about her tiny feet that were encased in sky blue and gold slippers.
“Why do you look at me so, my son? What more must this insignificant holding do for the mighty in Solandia?”
“Dear Mother, the “mighty” require to some answers to very perplexing questions. One of which is about this space on the wall that has often had me wondering. What does it mean and why is it there? Who is missing from this family, tell me, I must know.”
Sadly Lady Adeline hung her head; the black waves of her hair obscured her tear filled eyes. Silently she sat there, alone for a moment with her thoughts, remembering that long ago night when she had born not one but two infants to her lord; however the thought that one would come asking for the other she had never imagined.
“Tell me, Mother. Tell me the truth of this black emptiness that lies heavily upon this wall and our lives.”
Looking up at her son, she gently wiped away the salty tears that streaked her pale face. “The truth is often harsh my child, many are unable to bear it. All that I wish to say of the matter is that the empty space on the wall before us represents a child I bore and lost many years in the past.”
Glaring into his mother’s tear stained face; he knew that she had only told a portion of the truth as she knew it. Snarling in anger, he spun around ready to storm out of the room when something stopped him. Turning slowly he made his way to the now sobbing woman; kneeling in front of her he laid a large rough hand over one of her small delicately formed ones.
“I must ask these questions though I know it may hurt you. The Master I have been sent to serve demands I track a person down and the things I learn from you may help save their lives. Was the child you lost a girl and was she my twin?”
Startled by his questions Adeline jerked her gaze to her son’s anxious face, her topaz eyes asking their own questions that were instantly quelled by the emphatic shaking of Keeran’s head. Drawing herself out of her chair, she solemnly walked over to the empty spot that resided between two of her boys, one of which knelt behind her. Standing there she gently sighed before returning to her questing son.
“You ask for so much. Will the answers you receive ease your mind, or will they trouble you more? Would you be able to live with the knowledge I sadly impart to you”
“Mother, please. If I thought I would be unable to handle the information that you may give me, then I would never have come here.”
“Very well, remember though that you asked for the information I did not offer it to you. You had a younger sister, and yes she was born on the very night you were. However, that Spring Cyning Alanos’ edict came into being, and because of your father’s loyalty to the House of Dauthuz, I was forced to send my hunestar out with the child. He was to go to the foothills of Siolfor Mountain and leave her there to die. I do not know if she lived or has indeed departed this world, but I have often wondered. I wish I could see her now.”
Crossing to a window seat Adeline lowered herself onto the pale rose cushion that nestled in the seat. With her face to the breathtaking view of the mountains she wept anew, though it seemed to a passerby that a heavy burden had been lifted from her thin shoulders. She heard the door slam shut behind her son’s retreating figure, bowing her head she prayed that whatever was destined happen happened.
Keeran Anteanus stormed down the empty corridor, anger making his green eyes darken. He had wanted her to lie, had wished that his thoughts were not true . Did Tynan know of the kinship that Keeran shared with the winged woman or had he put the remarkable resemblance down to a quirk of fate. If the former, than why had that vile man given him this particular assignment, and why was she so dangerous to Tynan? She was only a female and should not be taken seriously, though; he paused in his thinking, and then conceded, she had something about her that made him want to follow her to the ends of the world. By now Keeran’s thoughts had begun to swirl in no certain direction and his confusion became greater with each passing minute. Turning into a large room off the corridor he slowed for a heartbeat, then stopped as he was suddenly confronted by men in light armor, each dodging the other in series of patterns. The arms master caught sight of Keeran’s scowling face as the boy stood in the doorway, and quickly stopped the others with a quiet command. Bowing to his young master he led the panting men out of the room until only Keeran remained.
Quickly striding to a rack of practice swords, Keeran grabbed one and headed towards a practice dummy. Swiftly he lunged at the hapless straw man, and then began to rain blow after blow onto its head. The thoughts buzzing in his head slowly gave way to order and even more questions to be answered crowded in. Why was this sister born, and why was she so special? His speedy blows slowed until they became a steady beat. Thud, thud, thud, why? Thud, thud, thud, whom? Thud, thud, thud, what? Thud, thud, thud, thud, silence. Why had he not thought of it before? Wiping the sweat from his forehead he paced over to a wall covered with large, floor length mirrors. Lunge, slash, parry, lunge, dodge, and slash, movement. The idea that had come to him only a few moments before had been swiftly lost for a while, yet once again the thought struck him hard enough to stop his very movements. Throwing the practice sword into a pile of broken ones, Keeran ran out of the sale and through a low archway that led into a neatly groomed garden that bordered a flowering meadow in which thousands of years before the first of many wars was fought.
Collapsing onto the lush green grass he stared up at the vibrant blue sky that seemed to mock his foul mood. Words that he had heard long ago, secret, hidden words taught to him by a long dead governess now rang in his tortured mind. Was it possible, he wondered, dare he imagine that the prophecy he had thought to be only a fairy tale, was in fact true and that it was now being played out before his very eyes. Tynan had taught him well in the reading of signs and there had been an impressive power stirring in this land of Magikos, a power that reeked of foreknowledge and godliness. Startled by his revelation Keeran sat up, green eyes flashing in the golden light of the sun. Caught in his thoughts he almost missed catching a faraway glimpse of something in the green field, curious he stood all other thoughts dashed from his mind. Striding forward, careless feet crushing pastel colors into the hard brown of the dirt below he headed toward the object of his gaze.
Finally reaching his goal, Keeran nearly fell to his knees in astonishment. In the middle of the softly scented meadow was a most amazing tree. Its blood red trunk reached with its branches to the heavens above; while the silver flowers that covered the wavering limbs caught the dying light of the swiftly disappearing sun and threw it into emerald eyes. Gently plucking a bloom from its resting place, he was surprised to watch it twist and turn into an astounding shape, a crescent moon out of which rose a flame. Time seemed to still and the blossom appeared to move gently in the whispering breeze that came from no where. Feeling caught in the tide of circumstances that had begun centuries before his birth, Keeran could only watch as above him the mighty tree began to shake and shiver. Surprised by the movement before him, Keeran nervously stumbled back trying not to crush the fragile flower he held in his hand. Halting a few feet away he watched spellbound as the blood red tree with its silver flowers bent low before him in an awkward bow. From the waving branches came a thin and wavering voice that turned into a liquid sound, almost as though the rivers of Magikos had converged to that one spot.
“Hail the Princeling. All hail the Cyning of Magikos.”


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