Find Part 1 here.
Delia saw Master Kaepli and Master Juner leave together with Kaya. Aduello followed after greeting the king as an old friend. Neoni and Mystesto took Captain Cateri with them. Finally, she and the king were alone.
“How are you, father?”
He took her into another hug. “Better now that you are here. How did you escape?”
“A long story, father. Better left for a quiet winter’s night in front of the fire. But, one thing came of it, I found the key to Iyuno’s and his nephew’s, power. Fire.”
Ucheni looked at her. Puzzlement clear on his face. “Fire?”
“Yes.” She looked at the lamp hanging over the map table. “Look with your magical sight.”
She stared at the small flame, willing it to share its power with her. A tiny thread left the flame and came to Delia’s hand. As soon as it touched her, the soreness and weariness of the last two days left her. She stopped the call there, so she wouldn’t extinguish the lamp. “You see?”
The king looked at her, open mouthed. “How did you learn that?”
“I saw Iyuno do it in the dungeon.”
Her father started to speak.
“For another time, Father. Really. But as I realized when I was first returned to you, most elves don’t use their magical sight very often. I still do because it’s still new to me. So, one day, he was in the dungeon, gloating, and I saw what he was doing. They made a mistake. Usually they left with the torches but one night they forgot. I took advantage and got both Kaya and myself out. Then when we got to the palace, it was protected, everyone gone. I was so worried.”
“I am sorry, daughter. We needed to protect everyone. It seemed best, especially since Master Kaepli knew how to set the protection spell.”
“I thought so. Anyway, Kaya and I went to her home. We arrive half-starved and bedraggled but Aduello and his wife Phara have been wonderful. He was injured in a skirmish we had in Verda.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” He sighed. “Go, rest. Someone will take you to a tent.” He smiled. “I’m glad you are here.”
“As am I. Rest well, Father.”
When she left the tent, a guard walked her to a tent set aside for her. Her saddlebags and bedroll were there. The bedroll already spread out on a cot. She drank some water from a pitcher and mug left on a small table for her and some bread and cheese. That at least stopped the hunger pangs enough that she could relax.
The brief burst of energy she received from the lamp fire had gone. She was just tired. She lay down, thinking about the next day but was asleep before she could form a whole thought.
The next morning, she awoke late. She left the tent and went in search of Master Kaepli. His tent was full. Sisruo stood up when she entered, a grin spread across his face. “Princess Delia!”
Everyone turned to see her. Kaya was beaming from next to Master Kaepli. “I told you.”
The whole group gathered around her for hugs and handshakes until Master Kaepli cleared his throat. The group settled down. Beside Kaepli was Master Juner. “Kaya was telling us about your escape. Power from fire?”
“Yes, Master. I can demonstrate if you have a torch.”
Kaepli nodded to Couran who dashed out of the open tent door. “We’ve been telling Master Juner about the protection spell. Kaya tells us that you broke the one at the palace.”
“I did. With the help of what I’m going to show you. But tell me about this duel? What will happen?”
Master Kaepli sat down. “It’s hard to know. Iyuno has the more powerful magic. Your father, has his own strengths, of course. They can duel with magic, with weapons, or both. It’s their choice.”
That did not sound good to Delia. She knew what Iyuno could do. The fear must have shown on her face.
“Do not fear, child. While your father is keeping Iyuno busy, we’ll be dealing with his army.”
Her eyebrows drew together. “Doesn’t that break protocol?”
“A little,” the mage shrugged. “But Iyuno’s conceit is so huge, he decided to accept the challenge.”
“Nethene and Ceinno are very powerful. Not elves to be trifled with.” Delia had a flashback to the dungeon and shivered. She shoved the memory away.
“We know. Kaya has told us.” He looked at her with sympathy. “We have you.”
She didn’t know what to say to that. Everyone was putting entirely too much faith in her new powers as far as she was concerned. That was when Couran came back with a torch. He stood in the middle of the tent.
“Go ahead,” Kaepli said.
Delia took a breath and held out her hand. It was harder to see in the daylight but everyone in the tent gasped when a small tendril of fire power reached her fingertips. Like it did last night, she felt better, stronger, immediately. She drained the torch of power in preparation for mid-day. “That’s it. I took all the power it had.”
“And what does it do to you?” Master Kaepli asked.
She told them.
Kaepli looked at Kaya. “Have you tried this?”
She nodded. Both my father and I after we saw what she could do. “Neither of us could do it.”
Couran lit the torch. Each apprentice and Kaepli and Juner tried. They couldn’t do it. “You say you broke the protection spell by using the power of a bonfire?” Kaepli asked.
“I did.” Delia nodded. “The bigger the fire, the more power I can draw.”
“And Iyuno, Nethene, and Ceinno can all do this?”
Kaya and Delia nodded.
Kaepli stroked his beard. “How far can you draw the power?”
“I don’t know. I’ve only drawn from fires close to me.”
Juner and Kaepli traded glances. “All of you go. Eat. You’ll need your strength. Delia. If you would stay just a moment.”
The rest left. Sisruo exchanging glances with her until he was out of sight.
“Have you eaten?” Kaepli asked.
“No. I slept late. The ride was very hard.”
“We’ll let you go in a moment.” He again looked a Juner. “We think you need to know more of the prophecy.”
Delia’s heart raced. More? How much more could there be? It already put all of the weight of the kingdom on her shoulders.
Thank You! Come back next week for Part 47.
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