Magic, murder, intrigue, missing relatives, secret caves, fantastical creatures, royalty, nobility, romance...
Who ever said our lives were dull?
To follow our story, use the sidebar links and start at the beginning of it all...

Keish- December 14, 2003

December 14, 2003
Dear Arri,
I'm sure you're very anxious to get this letter. I've started it four times now, but I just can't seem to put everything on paper the way I want to. That's why I didn't send Hermes back to you last night. Sometimes I think he must get very annoyed with me.
Jace and I reached the cave yesterday, but you probably know that. We've been discussing what happened and can't decide how everything affected you, so I'm just going to write out the whole experience.
On the 12th we found a trail that I instantly knew led up to the cave-- we could just barely see the opening. The sun was setting and the cave seemed to face east, so we decided to camp where we were and go up in the morning when the light would be better.
As we entered the cave the next morning, with the light streaming in at our backs, my satchel suddenly became heavy, as if something had been dropped into it. At first I thought I'd imagined it-- that it was just the weight of magic in the cave-- but as I adjusted the strap I realized it was the book. It had become fairly large.
I wanted to look around the cave before taking it out. There didn't seem to be much in it, just a sort of round natural platform in the middle. The walls were smooth and empty. Somehow I felt almost disappointed. I guess I expected to find things like you did in your dream.
When I went over to the platform, however, I was surprised to see a mirror on it. You remember the mirror in the stories? Somehow it ended up in the cave.
It was like the cave was some sort of center of power for our family. I don't know how I knew that, but that's how the cave felt. It felt like one of our ancestors had made this cave a place of magic.
Looking into the mirror, I saw myself reading from the book, just like the vision I had. Immediately, I knew what I had to do. I moved back from the platform a few steps and told Jace to stay behind me.
I took out the book. Everything about it had changed, but I knew I couldn't take the time to study it then. I enchanted it to float so I wouldn't have to hold it. Instinctively, my fingers found the right page and I began to read.
There was a flash of light from the mirror, brighter and whiter than the morning light on my face. You and Liop had clearly been putting away the dishes from breakfast-- I could see the kitchen of the cottage in the flash as you appeared. You seemed to actually be there in the cave with me, but I don't know how it appeared to you. Did it seem real or was it like a dream?
I continued reading as you and Liop looked around. Did you know not to move or could you not? I knew you were right where you needed to stay, and in my mind I tried to tell you that, but I had to keep reading.
The light flashed again and I saw a group of men eating. Imato appeared across from you. It's interesting how we were positioned from youngest to oldest-- Liop across from me and you and Imato on a line perpendicular to us.
In another flash of light I saw a meadow and a woman appeared, looking frightened, between Imato and I. Her relationship to our mothers was unmistakable.
Another flash showed Uncle Winthrop's study and he appeared on the other side of Imato. He seemed to understand what was going on and didn't looked very pleased.
The next flash was the largest and the brightest-- and brought the most astonishing result. It was blinding, but when it faded our mothers had both appeared (mine between you and I and yours between you and Liop) and so had Grandfather Bastion-- standing behind Liop.
I didn't really have time to feel shocked because I was still reading and another light appeared. This time it was steady instead of just a flash. It was like a window-- opening on a room in the castle in Adya! A man stood at a table, chanting. His back was to me, but I could see what was on the table-- a miniature of Imato, a small painting of Uncle W., a reflection (that must be what it was) of you and a beautiful horse and another of Liop, and finally, a miniature of a baby that I recognized; it was a painting of you that had been my mother's.
I was still reading, but it seemed like I knew the words of the spell without looking down. It was like a chant coming from within me-- within all of us.
The man turned suddenly and I gasped inwardly (I don't think I could have stopped chanting at that point even if I wanted to). I don't know if you recognized him, probably not, but I thought I heard Imato gasp. It was Sir Gessair-- one of King Menion's closest councilors! A man that I've dined with, debated with, even danced with… and the man who killed my mother. The Master.
He looked around and began a different chant, but Grandfather had begun chanting with me, and our mothers, and Nysa. Imato closed his eyes for a moment, as though searching himself for the words, then joined in. Next I heard your voice join and then Liop's clear voice blended with the rest.
Gessair was starting to look concerned, his eyes darting quickly back and forth. His chant changed pitch as he sought to fight our magic.
Finally, reluctantly at first, Uncle Winthrop's voice rang out. Gessair looked scared now as the spell we were weaving gained strength. He jerked back and forth as if trying to strike out or maybe escape.
As our voices rose, the miniature of Imato caught fire and was consumed almost instantly. Next the painting of Uncle W. disappeared in a flash. As the chant rolled through the cave, the reflection of Liop was suddenly gone, too.
Gessair was in a complete panic. He began a new chant, louder and stronger. We raised our voices in response and the chant rumbled like thunder in the cave. Gessair turned back to his table, desperately trying to grab the pictures of you. As his hand touched the reflection a blinding flash lit the cave and the reflection and miniature were gone.
The Master howled in pain and began sinking to the floor. Waves of magic flooded the cave. Our voices sank slowly until the chant was just a whisper. The image of Gessair, now huddled on the floor, vanished and the light sank to a glow.
The chant died on my lips and the cave was quiet. Grandfather put his hands on Liop's shoulders as Imato crossed the cave to stand by you. You were hugging your mother.
Uncle Winthrop was looking very uncomfortable. Grandfather pushed Liop toward you and went to Uncle W. He put his hands on Uncle's shoulders and smiled. Then, with a small flash of light, Uncle W. was gone.
My mother touched my cheek and I turned to her, tears overflowing.
"You should not have had to bear so much of this burden, my child," she whispered as she hugged me. She felt real, but I knew that nothing had changed-- she was not still in our world.
"I wasn't alone," I replied, looking back at Jace.
She smiled. "I know."
She stepped away from me and closed the book, placing it in my arms tenderly. She looked toward the mirror and then at you.
"Jesse's children have grown up." She turned back to me, tears in her eyes. "And so have you, my Keisha Nerys." She touched the book. "Now it is time to restore things to their proper place."
I nodded. "I will, Mother." Her few words had told me exactly what I must do.
I saw your mother step back after hugging each of you again. Then there were three flashes and you, Imato, and Liop were gone. Your mother moved to Nysa, who'd been watching everything wistfully.
"Thank you," your mother said hugging her, "thank you, Nysa."
As soon as she'd said it, your mother and Nysa disappeared. Nysa's expression seemed to change to one of sudden understanding, though. I wonder if seeing your mother and hearing her name spoken changed Nysa somehow. Perhaps some of her memory was restored.
Mother hugged me again as Grandfather came toward us. He stood in front of me and looked deep into my eyes.
"The prophecy is fulfilled," he said, his deep voice making me shiver slightly. "Child, be free."
He passed a hand over my eyes and I stumbled. Jace caught me and both Mother and Grandfather disappeared.
The glow faded and the cave grew dark.
"Are you alright?" Jace asked in concern.
I sighed slowly-- like when you first wake up. I nodded and felt around in my satchel for a candle. I lit it with a snap of my fingers and smiled. "I feel so free."
Jace furrowed his brow in confusion.
I laughed, feeling better than I have in months. "The convergence was in me. The child that was to have these abilities was never born, so the powers converged in me. Don't you see? When my grandfather said to be free he released me from that extra power."
Jace sat next to me. "So," he began thoughtfully, "that's why you couldn't control it."
I nodded. "But now I just have my own power and it doesn't control me."
We decided to camp in the opening of the cave since it was starting to snow.
Jace went out to gather some wood but returned after only a moment with Hermes. It seems he had tracked me to the cave but was confused once he got there. Jace found him right outside flying back and forth.
I read your letter with Jace brought some wood. Poor Imato. What about Gretel and training with Sir Aoweir? I think what you did was wonderful. It was the perfect thing to make him feel better. I don't think Sir Aoweir will let Imato just give up on his training, though.
I hope Brynn is back with you. It seems the Narls didn’t underestimate your importance after all-- they had two pictures of you. Maybe now Brynn will be able to help you. Destroying the pictures seemed to undo whatever Gessair had been doing and magic was definitely released. I wonder if it will affect Imato's magic also.
Speaking of Gessair, I have to return to Adya and confront him. King Menion deserves to know what's been going on and Gessair should be tried for his crimes. I think his magic was largely broken, but I'll admit that confronting him frightens me a little.
It's midday and the snow has stopped. We should be able to travel tomorrow. Would you please send to Jace's father and ask him to arrange horses for us in Dovery? We should reach there in about five days. (Jace says a day or two is plenty of time for his father to make arrangements since the king keeps horses there for messengers and keeps very fast passenger pigeons to use to make those kinds of arrangements.) Then we figure we can reach Odsreq in another three or four days on horseback. That means we should arrive there Christmas Eve! Is that okay? Would Uncle W. mind? I don't think we can make it to Adya for Christmas. Maybe you could write to my father and we could all spend Christmas together at the cottage.
Jace will be able to spend Christmas with his family as well. He insists, though, on coming back with me to Adya to confront Gessair.
I've had time to study the book more carefully. I knew it was the Brio Chronicle. I'm bringing it to you. That's what my mother meant about restoring things. The Chronicle rightfully belongs to the Brio with the gift of healing. It's filled with spells and recipes and notes. Some of the pages are in your mother's lovely handwriting.
Oddly, I can no longer find the spell I read in the cave. I don't know if it has disappeared since it's purpose was fulfilled or if it's the kind of thing you can only find when you have to. I suppose it's for the best. It's a powerful spell and not something that should be used lightly.
I'm also taking the mirror. It's meant to be used by the Brio with the gift of divination. The lioness kept it safe for my mother and now it comes to me. Until the Narls were broken it was too dangerous for us to have these things, but now they should be returned to their proper place and use.
I wonder if there's an object to go with Liop's gift. I guess if there is it's still with Uncle Winthrop.
I should end so I can send Hermes back to you.
Everything feels so different and wonderful, Arri. I no longer feel lost and trapped inside myself. I may not have as much power, but I would rather have less and have it be my own. I've been playing this morning, though, and I can still do pretty much everything I'm used to doing magically. It's just more controlled now.
I hope things are different for you too. I'm sure what happened didn't solve everything-- you're father isn't a Brio, so it probably didn't affect him-- but I hope it solved something for you.
May your burdens be lifted (or at least lighter)
Love always,

Go to NEXT Letter

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave us a little note-- Hermes or Clotho will be sure to deliver it!