Chapter the Eleventh
A good part of the townspeople were as shocked as Linnatiel upon the arrival of Derryn Drakelight. It was only when the elf had smothered him with a sufficient amount of kisses did Ada and Percival usher the two back into the house. The man himself truly was a mess; he was every bit willing to accept the bath that Ada had prepared. Percival tended to the shoulder wound that Derryn received, all the while muttering something inaudible. The whirlwind of generosity overwhelmed Derryn, and before half an hour had passed, he was sleeping silently in another room.
"It's impossible to believe that there was a handsome lad under all that dirt and grime," Ada said to Linnatiel in disbelief, closing the door to his room. "Like I said, he didn't seem like the type to give up easily. But isn't this a surprise?" Ada's rosy smile appeared on her face as she placed her hands on her hips. "You finally have your Derryn back."
Linnatiel clasped her hands together and smiled back; it was all she could do from bursting into the room and hugging Derryn to death. "He's been through a lot," she replied. "He said he had been living a nightmare for a moon. I wonder what that meant?"
"The name Drakelight alone is enough to give me a little suspicion," Ada said. "It seems that the boy is good at stirring up trouble, whether he means to or not. And where trouble goes, so does pain. But that's enough talk for one night, my dear; it's late. Go to sleep, and everything will be better in the morning."
Derryn heaved a sigh as he stood in the small hallway of the house. I've told her all of it, then, he thought to himself, relieved. And she doesn't hate me. Despite the burden that weighed on his mind, the swordsman never felt happier in his life. She loves me, he sighed again, she loves me! Derryn made his way downstairs to the smithy to wait for Linnatiel. Percival was examining Derryn's sword. The large man heard him enter the smithy, and turned to him with an approving nod.
"This is a fine piece of work," Percival said, still eyeing the blade. "All the way from the Templar state. But I must say, you need to take better care of this, my boy. I can sharpen the edge back to what it was before, and repolish the blade itself, but all my work will be for naught if you don't clean it every now and then. It would be a shame to let something like this go to waste." Derryn nodded.
"I promise to take better care of it, Master Percival," he said. "How much will it cost?"
The blacksmith laughed heartily. "Free of charge, my boy!" He exclaimed. Derryn gaped.
"But...to repair my sword would cost too much time and effort on your part. Are you sure, Master Percival?" Percival shook his head once, affirming that he did not want money.
"Just your miraculous arrival in itself has sparked a wonderful change in Linnatiel," he explained. "While I'm young enough to be a granduncle, I want my grandniece to be happy. You have the air of a knight about you, Derryn. I can count on this sword to protect Linnatiel well."
"I will do my best," the swordsman replied. Percival nodded again, satisfied with those few words. As the blacksmith turned to go to work, he mused, "You'd be the splitting image of a Templar, if a bit shorter than most."
"Did someone say Templar?" A voice intruded on their conversation. Derryn turned around and found himself staring down at a Dwarf. The Dwarf, who looked rugged and gruff, stared back up at Derryn. "Apologies, master blacksmith. It seems that the head of my axe has loosened from its haft. Would you be able to repair it?"
Percival knelt and took the Dwarf's weapon, a relatively small hand axe with an unusually shiny edge. It was small compared to the enormous battle axes that Dwarves were renowned to wield, axes that were often as tall as the wielders themselves. "This should not prove to be too much of a problem. I can have it for you by mid-afternoon."
"Thank you, master blacksmith," the dwarf gruffly thanked, then turned to look up at Derryn. "You look familiar, boy. What's your name?" Derryn was taken aback by the Dwarf's rudeness.
"My name is Derryn Drakelight," he said simply.
"Did you say Drakelight, my boy?" The Dwarf's tone changed. "I must say, it is a small world, after all. Young Derryn, I knew your father, Adakran, a long time ago. He helped me out of a nasty place. Well, not so much nasty as utterly boring."
"I am glad to hear that," Derryn said. "What is your name?"
"Vidadayomarithinomarius," the Dwarf replied.
The Dwarf laughed with amusement. "Get's 'em every time," he chuckled. "You can just call me Vid. Back when I knew 'im, yer father was quite the scrappy kid. Always gettin' into trouble. And somehow, always findin' his way back out again. From what I hear around here, it sounds a bit like you. All you Drakelights seem to look for trouble."
"Maybe we're just adventure-prone," Derryn chuckled. Vid frowned at that comment.
"In my experience," he said, "adventures are nothing but trouble, which leads back to you. The last time I went off on an "adventure", I ended up in a nasty little prison smack in the middle of Blessed territory. Well, not nasty; just boring. I s'pose bein' bored is nasty in itself...there's something else that comes with you Drakelights..." At that moment, Linnatiel stepped into the smithy, clad in a light grey dress. She slipped her arm into Derryn's with a smile and looked at Vid. The Dwarf snapped his fingers. "Ah, that was it. Pretty girls."
The sound of boots scuffing on the marble floor echoed in the dimly lit hallway as a lady swept through, flanked by two Elves. Her quick pace was marked with urgency, so much so that even her escorts had to match her stride. After traversing the long passageway, the lady came upon a granite door, lit on either side by flickering torches. Without a word, she heaved the door open, and stepped inside.
The chamber within was large, the lady thought; perhaps as large as one of the suites back home. It was circular in shape, and the walls seemed to glow with an azure hue. The lady's features were illuminated by the sourceless light. She had long, blonde hair that was tied back in a waist-length ponytail. Her eyes, normally a light green by nature, glimmered turqoise in the light. Her face was soft, but held a firmness at the cheeks and jaw that seemed to purvey a sense of strength. The lady was of medium height, although slightly slimmer than most. She wore a deep blue silk dress, with a snow-white cloak worn around her shoulders. What was most surprising about the woman was the curved Elven blade that was sheathed at her waist.
A long bed was set in the center of the glowing room. Magemistress Velena Hathaway, Keeper of the Northern Sanctuary, lay there, unmoving. Her chest rose and fell in slow gasps. The dark form of Rathos Drakelight stood solemnly at the bedside, nodding at the visitors' presence. The woman, at seeing Velena, rushed to the bed, kneeling at her side.
"Velena! I came as quickly as I heard," She cried, taking Velena's hand in both of her own. "How do you feel, little sister?" The spellweaver opened her eyes slowly, and a smile grew on her face.
"Katricia," she said quietly, with fatigue. "It has been so long since I saw you. I was afraid you would have forgotten me, in your magical Elven palace." The Lady Katricia shook her head vehemently, squeezing Velena's hand.
"How can I forget my little 'Lena?" She protested. "I will always be there for you, little sister. What happened?" Velena tried to speak, but her voice came out in painfully scratching rasps. Rathos gently laid a gloved hand on her forehead, motioning her to rest, and she closed her eyes again.
"She is still in the process of recovery," the Waymaster explained gravely. "A week ago, an explosion of immeasurable magical proportions rocked the Greenfield Stretch. Every magic user on Ryth has felt some resonance of the explosion. Velena anticipated the cataclysm, and tried her best to save the six that departed from the Sanctuary." Katricia looked up at Rathos, stricken with terror.
"Linnatiel," she gasped. "Tell me, please! Is she all right?" To her immense relief, Rathos slowly nodded.
"Velena was able to cast a displacement weave, shifting the six away just before the explosion impacted," he said. "The crossing of temporal planes is never an easy task; Velena took a great risk trying to cast a spell from the Sanctuary into Ryth. The amount of power required was too great, and she lost control. Those six, including Linnatiel, have been shifted to different places on Ryth. We know they're alive, but we have little effective way of finding them."
"We must search for them, especially Linnatiel!" Katricia exclaimed, standing up. "Fate knows what could befall her in a place she has never been to before!"
"I will see to it personally, Lady Katricia," Rathos said, touching the sword at his waist. "You must return to your people; they will need you in this dark time. I swear on my sword I will return the Princess-Heir to Vellucyn safely." Katricia bowed slightly to the Waymaster, touching her own sword.
"I have faith in you, Waymaster Rathos. Please see that Linnatiel makes it home unharmed." Katricia then knelt again at Velena's bedside. "I must go now, little sister. Rest well; it has been long overdue. You are very brave, and sometimes you scare me." The Magemistress smiled slightly.
"Visit soon...Katricia," she whispered. The Lady nodded with a smile of her own, kissed her sister on the forehead, then rose and turned away. Without another word, she swept out of the room as grandly as she came, with her Elven escorts flanking.
"And so departs...the Queen...of Vellucyn," Velena rasped. "She did not...speak so eloquently...when I last saw her." Rathos placed his hand on her forehead again.
"There is time for musing when you have fully rested," he said gently. "Rest, 'Lena. Your part is done. It is now up to us to gather the pieces, and put the puzzle together."
-Monday, March 25, 2002