Find Part 1 here.
Delia froze. “Bad news?”
Phara shrugged. “A little of both. Let’s let you clean up and eat then we’ll talk.”
Delia and Kara exchanged glances. To Delia, Phara sounded like the news was too bad to talk about. “As you wish.” She and Kara grabbed their saddlebags and went inside and took turns at the bath, then, dressed and ready, went to the kitchen.
Phara was standing at the fireplace, stirring a pot. Aduella was at the table, a mug of tea steaming in front of him.
“The horses are taken care of.” Aduella sipped his tea.
“I’ve made stew.” Phara tapped the spoon on the side of the hanging pot and put it on the spoon rest. “It’ll be ready soon if you’d like to set the table.”
Delia went for the silverware while Kaya got the bowls. Phara cut slices out of a loaf of bread as Aduella got a crock of butter from the cool box. Table set, the two young elves and Aduella sat down. Phara scooped stew into a tureen and brought it to the table. “There. Let’s get you all fed. That was a hard ride if you only took a day and a half.”
Delia’s stomach growled in answer. Despite her fear of Phara’s news, she laughed with everyone else. It didn’t take long to eat, or to clean up, either. They met in the library and settled in, goblets of wine in each hand. Delia sat on the edge of her chair, expecting the worse.
“We had all but two pigeons return. Most of the answers were that they didn’t know where Iyuno was. Some offered rumors.” She looked at all of them. “One, from Lord Rado, said he’d helped King Ucheni with warriors and supplies two weeks ago.”
Delia looked around at the surprised faces. She knew so little about the elven kingdom. “Who’s Lord Rado?”
Aduello had fallen back into his chair. “Lord Rado holds a castle on the far western border.” He shook his head. “Why was the king so far west?”
“No word of the queen?” Delia twisted the goblet around and around in her hands.
“None so far. The two missing pigeons were to Sochiro Yarami, who lives to the far south, and Lady Aila Dedalia.” Phara looked at Delia with concern. “She lives east, near the desert. It’s possible the pigeons never made it to either place. Or they made it and were sent back but didn’t make it here. Or,” Phara paused, “they’re still there and haven’t been sent with a message, for whatever reasons.”
Delia sipped her wine. It was a dark red, the full-bodied smoky, fruity flavor filling her mouth. “Perhaps Mother is at one of those places, hiding. That’s why no one has news.”
“It’s possible,” Aduello said. “How can we find out where they all are?”
Kaya spoke up. “Let me try scrying.”
“Don’t you need a special bowl or something,” Delia asked.
Kaya shook her head. “It helps to have a bowl that’s been used for scrying before, but it can be done in anything that can hold water, or a still pool.” She licked her lips. “I cannot guarantee anything. Scrying isn’t my strong suit. I have to be able to do it to pass my Master’s exam, but it’s not my strongest skill.”
That brought the memory of Sisruo to Delia’s mind. He was supposed to take the Master’s exam soon. Was he still alive to do so? “You won’t get hurt, will you?”
“No.” Kaya shook her head. “But I may not see anything.”
Phara looked relieved. “What do you need?”
Kaya thought a moment. “A large, wide silver bowl would be best. Failing that, a wooden bowl.”
Phara looked disappointed. “I don’t have a silver bowl of any sort.” She thought a moment. “I have a large wooden bowl I use for salad. Will that work?”
Kaya nodded. “I can make that work, I think.” She blew out a deep breath. “I’ll have to prepare the bowl and myself. I’ll try at dusk. The beginning and ending of a day are when the ether is thinnest.” She stood up. “Let’s get the bowl, mother.”
The two walked back to the kitchen. Delia sat back in the chair, Aduello doing the same. All she could think about was where her parents were. Where was Mage Kaepli and Sisruo? She sipped her wine and wondered how Kaya would fare. She hoped Kaya was telling the truth about not getting hurt scrying. In her limited experience, magic had a habit of blowing back on the user if they were doing things wrong.
It was getting dark when Kaya came back with her mother. Her hair was unbound and combed through. She wore a robe with no belts or bindings. “You all may come and watch, but don’t talk or move. I need to concentrate.”
They all left and went out and down from the tree. She went to a small glade and put the bowl on the ground. She took the bucket of water from her father and poured it into the bowl. Kaya knelt beside the bowl and took a breath before beginning to chant.
Delia made herself comfortable and waited beside Phara and Aduello. The chanting was low, slow, soothing, actually. The evening birdsong decreased with the light. A soft breeze wafted by, rustling the leaves. The quiet chanting with the dying light and sound was making her sleepy.
She woke, standing, with Kaya’s hand on her shoulder. “Delia?”
Delia blinked. “What happened? Did I miss your scrying?”
Kaya chuckled. “You didn’t miss much. I didn’t see anything. But you!”
Delia looked at Aduello and Phara, standing on each side of her. “What?”
Phara reached out a comforting hand. “You spoke. You gave us both your mother’s and your father’s locations.”
Delia found that hard to believe. “How?”
Kaya nodded. “I’ve read that it can happen. You were tired. My chanting and the evenfall relaxed you. You are part of prophecy. So, prophecy is helping, apparently.”
A little panic-stricken, Delia shook her head. “I don’t remember.”
“That’s fine. We do. You told us your mother is with Lady Dedalia and the king with Sochiro Yarami.”
“Did I say where Iyuno is?”
“No.” Aduello shook his head. “But we can assume he’s near your father. Iyuno has to kill him before he can be king.”
Delia swallowed. Full night had fallen. She felt light-headed and confused. “What do we do?”
“Your mother is safe. I think, Princess, we need to go help the king.” Aduello waited.
“I feel sick, Kaya.” Delia put a hand over her stomach.
“I had that reaction after my first scrying. It’s normal.” She turned to her mother. “We should go in. Let Delia sit down with a goblet of wine to restore her.”
So, they all went in. They put Delia in front of the fire with some wine and Phara went to get her a snack. After she ate the fruit and cheese, she felt better. “Thank you. I was a little disoriented.”
“That’s fine.” Phara gave her a smile. “It’s hard to remember that you’re new to all of this. You’re taking it rather well.”
Delia sighed. “Yes. I feel like I’m always running to catch up.”
Aduello nodded. “Have you give thought to your decision?”
“I have.” Delia drank the last of her wine. “We go to the king.”
Thank You! Come back next week for Part 41.
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