Find Chapter 1 here.
Delia took a deep breath. She and Kaya could take out a large number of attackers quickly with the sleeping spell but what could Aduello do? Too late to ask. The black elves were attacking. She and Kaya raised their hands as one and one black elf after another with their horses slumped to the cobbled streets. When those facing her were down, she turned to help Aduello. He was hard at it, using some sort of lightning to fight. Arrows were whizzing past. Delia’s first job was to put them to sleep. Soon, Kaya was helping, but not before an arrow hit Aduello in the shoulder. He cried out in pain as Delia and Kaya put down the last one, at their very feet.
Kaya knelt beside her father, down on one knee his hand around the arrow. “Father. Let me see.”
That was when the castle guard arrived. The Captain was on a white charger, men before and after. “Halt!”
Delia raised her hands as the guards surrounded the three, stepping over the bodies of the black elves and horses. Kaya did the same. Aduello raised his uninjured arm.
The Captain surveyed the scene. “Explain yourselves!”
Aduello winced but replied. “I’m Aduello Herberi. I have an appointment with your lord. We were set upon by these elves and defended ourselves.”
The Captain raised an eyebrow. “You’re a formidable fighting force.”
“Not me so much as my daughter and,” he hesitated for just a moment, “her friend.”
The Captain reined in his prancing horse and sighed. “Collect all of the downed elves.” He looked at Kaya and Delia. Can you wake the horses at least?”
Kaya answered. “Yes, sir.” She looked at Delia. “But I recommend we not wake the elves until you are ready to ask them your questions. We can do that one at a time.”
The Captain’s eyebrow rose again. “Very well.” He motioned to one of the elven guards. “Go get a wagon.” The elf hurried off. “I’m going to have to secure your hands.”
“But father is injured.”
“We’ll deal with that.” He motioned to his guards.
Two guards came to each of them. Helping Kaya and her father to their feet. They tied Delia and Kaya’s hands behind them and Aduello’s to his side. They were escorted, led by the Captain, to the castle.
Delia thought this was an inauspicious way to meet the castle’s lord but there was nothing she could do about it. The guards were courteous enough but brooked no nonsense. Fair enough, she thought. They didn’t know she was on their side.
All three were taken first to the healer, an elf nearly the age of Master Kaepli. After Aduello’s wound was dealt with, they were taken to a clean, dry cell with three wooden chairs and a table. Water in a pitcher and 3 wooden mugs were on the table. The door was closed behind them and they could hear the lock turn.
Aduello sat down and Kaya poured him water. Delia studied the door. “There’s no protection spell.”
Kaya nodded. “I suspect the Captain believed us. But he’s just making sure we stay put until he talks to Yarami.” She poured a mug of water for herself and Delia, handing it to her. “The master did a good job on your shoulder, father. I should have no trouble with healing it as we go forward.” She sipped her water.
Delia sat down as well. She could sense two guards on the other side of the heavy oaken door. They would be summoned soon enough. “Well, that was a good start.” She drank about half her mug of water.
Aduello nodded. Of course, not the introduction I would have preferred.” He sighed and sipped again. “But, we’re not dead or captured, so that’s something. And, Yarami now has prisoners to interrogate. A good thing, I think.”
The two young elves nodded. They spent the rest of the time with their own thoughts.
Delia was considering whether they could have done anything else. What if they’d just stayed at the inn? No, that wouldn’t have been good. The black elves would have forced their way in. Perhaps hurt any guests and the inn-keeper and his family. That would have been a disaster. She played with the wooden mug, turning it around and around as she absently looked at the patterns in the grain.
“Aduello, you were using lightening to defend yourself. How do you…”
The key in the door lock sounded. Delia put her mug down and turned to look.
The door opened. It was the Captain of the Guard. “Come with me.”
The three rose, and followed the Captain. Four guards followed. They traveled up and up, three flights of stairs, and were ushered into a pleasant room. Books and scrolls lined shelf upon shelf on the side walls. In front of them was a large window, an elaborately-carved desk in front of it, a silver-haired elf sitting behind in a matching wooden, high-backed chair. The three walked to the front of the desk and waited as the elf finished his scroll and rolled it up.
He looked at them. “Aduello Herbei, daughter Kaya, and,” he studied Delia. “You must be Princess Delia. No one else has black hair.”
Delia was impressed. “Yes, Sire.”
“I’m not a sire. Lord would be the appropriate title.” He motioned to the three chairs in front of the desk. “Please sit.”
The three sat down on the plain wooden seats as Yarami folded his hands on the desk. The Captain of the Guard stood to the side. Delia turned to look. Two of the guards had stationed themselves on either side of the now closed door. She turned back to Yarami.
“Captain Catari told me what he found and your story. I find it disturbing that these dissidents are in Verda.” He sighed, a look of regret, then resignation crossed his face. “You suspect I know where the king is.”
Aduello nodded, wincing at the pain in his shoulder it set off. “Yes, Lord Yarami. Delia had a vision.”
Yarami’s eyebrow rose. “Weren’t you just released from human slavery?”
Delia nodded. “Yes, Lord. I was, just a few months ago. Apparently I’m a fast learner.”
A knock sounded at the door. One of the guards opened it. In came the healer.
“Master Juner, come in. We were just getting to our mysterious guest’s abilities.”
The old elf looked at Delia. “I didn’t ask in the dispensary, but you’re Delia, am I correct?”
“Yes, Master Juner.” Delia sighed. “Apparently not as inconspicuous as we’d hoped.”
One of the guards brought the mage a chair. He sat down. “No. I should think not. What did you do to the elves who attacked you?”
“A sleeping spell. Kaya and I both have learned it. Master Kaepli developed it, knowing we were going after Iyuno and his forces. It’s much better than killing them.”
The old elf nodded. “Indeed.” He looked at Yarami. “I can’t wake them.”
“We can. We can teach you the spell and how to wake them.” Kaya offered.
The lord and the mage studied Kaya, then Delia. “An interesting development.” Lord Yarami drummed his fingers on the desk. “I accept your offer.”
“Do you know where my father, the king, is?” Delia just blurt it out, then round-eyed, covered her mouth. That was too abrupt. She put her hands back in her lap, head down. She could feel a blush creep up her neck to her cheeks.
Thank You! Come back next week for Part 44.