Find part 1 here.
Yarami smiled. “A good question, Princess.” He took a breath. “You want to join him? You seem to have the skills to be of use.”
Delia nodded. “We all do. Kaya is a great healer. Aduello, an old friend of the King. We can help.”
“I believe you can. I can have someone guide you to them.”
“Do you know where Iyuno and his forces are?” Aduello shifted in his chair, cradling his arm in its sling.
The mage stroked his beard. “In a canyon, playing cat and mouse with his uncle.” He shook his head. “It’s bad business. Outposts and homesteads are being destroyed. The skirmishes spill over into the dwarves’ territory and they’re none too pleased about it.”
Lord Yarmai studied Delia. “You know about the prophesy?”
“I’ve been told. But I don’t feel like a very powerful elf.”
Yarami’s eyebrow went up again. “Perhaps. But the speed with which you learn, and the number of unique powers, you’ve learned may prove otherwise.” He pushed a lock of his loose hair behind an ear. “I’ll send you.” He looked at Aduello. “You’re injured. Would you prefer to stay here?”
“My daughter is a good healer. She can tend to the wound.”
Yarami nodded. “Very well. I’ll send a small force with you.” He looked at Captain Catari. “You’ve been itching to go. Set up Lieutenant Gormaldi to be the leader of the guard. Take up to ten of your best.”
“I’d like to go as well, Lord Yarami.”
Yarami turned to stare at Master Juner. “And you? I didn’t know you had any desire to go to battle.”
“You misunderstand me, My Lord. I want to talk to Master Kaepli.” He looked at the two young elves. “He apparently has an amazing ability to create spells.”
“Ah.” Yarami smiled. “A professional curiosity.” He nodded. “Very well. I know your assistants are quite capable.”
“Thank you, My Lord.” He gave a gentle bow from the waist.
“Go with my blessings. All of you. Tell the king I’d send more elves if I had them.” He looked at Delia. “But I suspect he has all the help he needs.”
Delia and her companions rose, as did Master Juner. Captain Catari led them out of the room and down to the main entrance. “Do you have everything you need?” he asked.
“We don’t know.” Aduello adjusted the sling a little. “We abandoned everything at the inn when we realized there was trouble. Everything, including the horses, may still be there or not.”
“Gallett,” he called.
A young elf stepped forward. He’d been one of the elves in the Lord’s office. “Sir.”
“Go with them. Find out if their belongings are still intact. Bring them back if not.”
“If everything is in place, Aduello, meet me at the west gate at sunrise.”
“Thank you, Captain.”
The three turned to leave, the young guard followed. Aduello and Kaya walked side by side. Delia followed beside Gallett. She smiled to see he was distressed by that. “Where are you from, Gallett?”
He looked at her wide-eyed. “Um, nearby, Princess.” He ducked his head and touched his forehead.
“No formalities with me, Gallett. Is there a title I should use with your name? Soldier, Guard?”
“No, Princess. I’m new. I don’t have a rank yet. They just yell, Gallett!”
She smiled. “That’s what my master used to do. ‘Delia,” he’d bellow when he wanted me.”
He looked at her sideways. “I thought that just a story, Princess.”
She sighed. “No. No story. Sixty years, close enough, I was a slave on a caravan. Back and forth, up and down through the desert selling slaves and assorted goods for my Master.”
“That’s not right, Princess.”
“No. But my parents, the king and queen, were trying to hide me. But now I’m back,” she said in a more cheerful voice. “What about your parents?”
He sighed. “We had a homestead, to the south. I’m here because Iyuno’s elves destroyed it.” His voice was hard, but a tear formed and raced down his cheek. He dashed it away quickly.
“I am so sorry, Gallett. Is that why you became a guard?”
“Yes, Princess. I had no one left. So even though I’m too young, Lord Yarami let me join.”
“That was kind of him.”
“Yes. Yes it was.”
By then they were back at the inn. Everything seemed peaceful. They checked the horses first. They were in their stalls, dozing. Delia was relieved. She liked the little mare she’d been riding and had been anxious that something may have happened to her.
They went to their rooms. Nothing had been disturbed. Aduello sighed. “That’s a relief.” He looked at Gallett. “Tell your Captain that we are fine. We’ll meet him at the west gate at dawn.”
Gallett nodded, gave Delia a shy smile, and left. Aduello sat on Kaya’s bed. “Let’s spend the rest of the afternoon preparing. Kaya, could you take a look at my shoulder? It really hurts. Delia, could you arrange with the inn-keeper for trail food for the three of us. Five days-worth if possible. Then with the livery elf for provisions for the horses.
He reached into a pocket and drew out a pouch. “Take this to pay.” He held out several gold coins.
“I have some money. And I brought jewelry to sell. I can take care of it.”
“Nonsense. The king will repay me. Trust me. Keep your things. We may have need of them later.” He urged her to take the coins.
Delia didn’t want to. She felt like a burden. After shoving his hand at her again, she relented and took the coins. “Very well. I’ll get everything arranged.” She put the coins in her pocket and left.
The inn-keeper was agreeable to provide the food. They discussed what would be best, then Delia went to the livery elf. The same there. She paid the elf and told him when they wanted to go. He agreed to have the horses ready.
There were a few coins left. She went to the market, closing down, and bought six apples. Three for the horses and three for them. Delia had a feeling the horses, and the elves, would need a treat before the battle began.
Thank You! Come back next week for Part 45.
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