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The Seeress and the Stone 11
Angelia sat on her bed and watched the servants bring her things into her room. When the last servant left the tears began flowing down her cheeks. She buried her head in a pillow and sobbed.
Someone knocked at her door, but she refused to respond. She heard the door open.
“Angelia?” It was her mother.
“What?” She mumbled into the pillow. She didn’t want to talk to anyone especially her parents.
“Don’t take that tone with me. Sit up when I am speaking to you,” Christiana said sternly.
“Yes, ma’am,” Angelia replied hollowly. She sat up and wiped her eyes.
Christiana was eying the satchels the servants had brought up like they were a poisonous snake. She looked back to where Angelia sat and their eyes met. Her mother gasped and stepped back. She stared at Angelia for several moments. When she finally regained her composure her voice was unsteady and she wouldn’t look at Angelia.
“Your father would like me to take you out and buy new clothes.” Christiana spoke like her thoughts were miles away. “You will attend the school in the city tomorrow.”
“Yes, mother,” Angelia replied petulantly, jutting out her chin. When her mother didn’t react to her defiant tone Angelia watched her with wonder. Christiana stared at her hands and the floor, uneasy and uncertain. She was acting so strange that Angelia didn’t know how to react. Their eyes met again and her mother became totally flustered.
“Um…there is also a little soiree tonight that we have been asked to attend. Your father...” her voice trailed off momentarily, “would like you to join us.”
“Mother, are you all right?” Angelia asked. She had never seen her mother act this way before. Her behavior had always been cold and calculating.
“Yes, excuse me.” Her mother rushed from the room leaving Angelia bemused.
After a few minutes Angelia got up to unpack her things. She placed the woodcarvings French had given her on the windowsill and stared out her window at the busy street below. She wished her window looked out on the park like the nursery had.
She looked around the suite that had been hers for the last eight years. It was decorated in the grandiose, overbearing fashion that her mother had dictated. The bed coverings and window coverings were of the finest silk and thick woven rugs covered the marble floor. The rooms spanned the northern side of the house. It was comfortable, but it had always felt more like a prison than a bedroom.
An hour later a soft tap sounded on her door. It opened slightly and a young maid poked her head inside, “Your father wishes to speak with you, miss.”
“Thank you, Tiri,” Angelia replied.
She came inside. Tiri was Kya’s cousin. She came over to the window and sat down near Angelia and whispered, “Miss, I have a message from Kya.”
Angelia looked up. “Yes?”
“She wants to meet with you and talk about the Council Ball,” Tiri sighed, “I wish I were old enough to go.”
“Thank you, Tiri. Tell Kya I will send her a note as soon as I can.” Angelia stood up and straitened her dress. “I’d better go down now. Father will be upset if I don’t go immediately.”
The mansion, which Angelia could never call home, was built from large marble blocks. Marble lined the hallways and doorways and graced most of the gaudy decorations, giving the home a cold, stony feel. Angelia walked down the large, spiral stairs into the foyer. The parlor door was set off to one side. Angelia approached the door, took a deep breath and knocked.
“Come,” the stiff voice in the room spoke.
Angelia turned the gold, guilt handle and walked inside. The parlor walls danced in the light of several small, elaborate candelabras. Angelia’s mother sat in a stiff chair, waiting distractedly and her father stood near the window watching the carriages go by.
“Angelia, you must always come as soon as you are called,” her father stated briskly.
“I apologize, Father,” Angelia answered just as stiffly, half choking on the words.
“We are going out tonight. Judge Velor is giving a soiree for Judge Undreth and he has invited all of the Council members. You are coming too.”
He looked disdainfully at Angelia’s simple dress and said, “I have set an appointment at Collierds to get you some new clothes. You are a lady now and you must dress and act like one. Now please go change into something decent.”
Angelia knew that she couldn’t argue and so she turned to go up to her room to change, but her father stopped her.
“Angelia,” he said coldly, “I will not have you talking to anyone about your grandfather. Do you understand me?”
“If you speak so much as one word of him, you will never see him again.” His face was like stone.
“Yes, Father,” Angelia said, blinking her eyes to keep back the tears.
“You may leave.”
“Yes, Father,” she said in a monotone voice and then turned and left the room.
“Are you going to let her see him before—?” Her mother asked quietly.
Angelia paused as she was shutting the door.
“No, of course not. He is an outcast and our family doesn’t associate with outcasts,” her father replied cruelly.
Angelia fled to her room.
Angelia watched the lights twinkle cheerfully from the windows of the large mansion they approached. She didn’t want to be there, but she had no choice. She sighed.
“Oh for heaven’s sake, Angelia, stop sighing,” her father said sharply. “And put a smile on your face. You will look happy for these people.”
“Yes, Father.” She felt hollow as if every emotion had been drained from her body.
Her mother reached over and patted her hand. It was a gesture completely uncharacteristic of her mother and she looked up in surprise, but her mother was staring out the window. The carriage stopped at the large front doors and a footman helped them out. Angelia followed her parents up the steps to the front door, her new blue skirt swishing as she moved. She missed her trousers and tunic. They paused in the entryway until a servant announced them and then Angelia was swept into a room full of people. Music played while everyone talked and laughed. Angelia looked for any familiar face, but saw none. She walked towards a chair in the corner and was about to sit down when a blur of red hair rushed up to her and embraced her.
“Angel, I’m so glad you came!” Sparrow smiled and pulled Angelia over to a couch. “I was hoping you would come so we can talk about what happened today.”
Angel shook her head, “Sparrow, I can’t.”
“My father said if I spoke about Grandfather to anyone, I would never see him again.” Tears welled up in her eyes, but she blinked them away. “But he will never let me anyway.”
Sparrow looked confused for a moment and then her eyes widened, “Oh, Angel, don’t you know?”
“Your grandfather—he was—was banished,” Sparrow spoke quietly her eyes darting around the room then back to Angelia’s face.
“Banished?” Angelia whispered. “What do you mean?”
“He is being forced to leave the valley.”
“Leave? Forever?” She was in complete shock. “Banished?”
Sparrow nodded. “He has to be ready to leave in three weeks.”
“Three weeks!” Angelia exclaimed. A few people near her looked over at the girls and then continued talking. Angelia’s felt the blood leave her face. The tears welled up again and one slipped down her cheek.
Sparrow reached out and brushed it away. “Don’t cry, Angel. It will be all right.” She put her arm around her friend.
“I don’t understand. What happened?”
“Well after your father dragged you home we all followed Celendar back to his house. He was so angry. Throwing things around the house and talking about the idiots that run the government. Anyway, Le’Mone finally got him to sit down and explain what happened. The council accused him of spreading malicious rumors that could disrupt the peace of the city. Because of his previous warning they said they were now forced to take action.
“They said if he felt the city was too dangerous a place to live then he can leave. He is to leave the valley and never return. If he does he will be imprisoned on Three Isles.”
Angelia shook her head. “This can’t be happening.” She could feel hysterics starting.
“I’m sorry, Angel.”
Angelia took a deep breath. “Where is he going to go?”
“Probably into the mountains. At least that is what he was saying.”
“But winter is coming. He’ll freeze.” She closed her eyes trying to stop the tears from coming.
“He might go up into the caves. As long as he isn’t seen he will be fine.”
“Oh Sparrow, this is all my fault,” she cried.
Angelia leaned her head against Sparrow’s shoulder crying quietly. A few minutes later Micael Undreth approached the two girls and cleared his throat.
“You’re Angelia Galashad, right?”
Angelia wiped her eyes with a handkerchief. “Yes, I am. Can I help you?”
“I have a note for you. It’s from my son, Jexson.” He handed her a small piece of paper.
“Thank you,” she replied taking the note.
Micael remained next to them and Angelia looked up at him expectantly.
“I was hoping I could introduce you to my other son.” He motioned to a red-haired boy near the door. “We just recently returned to Viecity from Oceana and I would like him to get to know some of the kids he will see at school.”
The boy came over and smiled at Angelia and Sparrow. He was very handsome with sharp grey eyes and strong features. His bold red hair made Sparrow’s crimson locks look dusky. Angelia instantly compared his pale complexion to French’s olive skin and silvery hair. She looked over at Sparrow and noticed the blush beneath her pale skin.
“Hi, I’m Scotch Undreth. Pleasure to meet you both.” He took each of their hands in turn and kissed them lightly.
Angelia and Sparrow curtsied slightly and introduced themselves. Angelia watched her friend as they talked for a few minutes until the music began playing again.
Scotch bowed and said, “It looks like they’re going to start dancing in there. May I have the pleasure of a dance with each of you?” He smiled.
Angelia jumped in, “Sparrow, you go ahead,” and then whispered, “I want to read the note.”
Sparrow nodded and eagerly took Scotch’s arm. Angelia sat down on a chair and read:
Please try to not worry. I am working with your grandfather. There are several people here to help you. If you need anything ask my father. You can trust him, he is on our side. Just contact him if you need to talk to me and be careful.
Angelia reread the note and then tossed it into the fireplace and watched it burn. Then she went looking for Micael. She found him in the ballroom talking with Council Chief Waithe.
Angelia caught his eye and motioned to a chair nearby. He nodded slightly and continued talking. A few minutes later he walked over to her chair.
“May I have this dance, miss?” He offered her his hand.
She curtsied and took his hand. “Yes, thank you.”
They began dancing. Angelia saw Sparrow dancing with Scotch and watched them for a few moments before speaking.
“Judge Undreth, I appreciate your willingness to help me.”
“Not a problem, my dear. Do you have any messages for my son?”
“Just tell him I’m okay.”
“All right.” He paused, “Angelia, Jexson told me that you have had visions just like your grandfather. Is this true?”
She looked away and said softly, “Yes.”
“I won’t betray your secret.” He smiled warmly at her. “My wife and I believed Celendar the first time, and I believe him now. The fact that you have seen what he saw is a confirmation of the truth. The High Council is foolishly prideful in thinking this city is safe.”
His eyes had a far off look. Angelia didn’t know what to say.
Micael cleared his throat again. “Jexson has asked that you inform him if you have any other visions. You can tell me and I will let him know.”
“Thank you, Judge Undreth.” She felt a little better.
As the song finished, Scotch came over with Sparrow. “How about a trade, Father?” he asked.
“Sounds good to me.”
They switched and Scotch whisked Angelia onto the floor.
“I don’t remember ever seeing you before. How long have you lived in the city?” he asked gallantly.
Angelia looked a little surprised, “I’ve lived here all my life. I don’t ever remember seeing you either.” She laughed.
“I have been in Oceana with my father for the past five years.” His face sobered a bit, “My father took a job there right after my mother died.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Angelia’s thoughts raced to her grandfather.
Scotch smiled, “It’s all right. Sorry to sound so sad.” He shrugged, “Are you going to school here this fall?”
Angelia’s face darkened. “Yes,” she replied bitterly. Then noticing his confused expression she explained, “I was attending my grandfather’s school, but my father doesn’t want me to go there anymore. So I will be in the city school this year.”
“I’m sorry you can’t be with your grandfather. It must have been nice being taught by him.”
“It was,” she replied sadly.
“Well at least we can be new in school together,” he suggested with another smile.
Angelia returned his smile. “Yes, I think Sparrow will be coming too.”
“Yes, she mentioned that.” The music ended. “Well thank you for the dance. I suppose I will see you in school.” He bowed and led her off the floor and then left her alone.
Sparrow pounced on Angelia as soon as Scotch had left. “Isn’t he just dreamy? What a fantastic dancer. We get to go to school with him too.”
Angelia grinned, “Yes, he’s very nice.” She saw her mother motioning to her. “I have to go Sparrow, mother’s waving at me. I will see you in school next week.”
“Are you going to be okay?” Sparrow questioned.
“I promise we’ll talk soon.” She gave Sparrow a quick hug and ran over to her parents.
“I see you met Judge Undreth and his son,” her mother said kindly.
“Yes, he seems very nice,” Angelia replied hesitantly. She still couldn’t understand the change in her mother’s behavior.
“Who was that you were talking to just now?” Her father asked sternly.
Angelia looked at her friend. “Sparrow Soaraint, Robin Soaraint’s daughter. We will be in school together.”
“Oh and who was the young man. I won’t have you fraternizing with those children from the village.”
“His name is Scotch Undreth, Geralde,” her mother replied quickly. “He is Judge Undreth’s youngest son.”
“Oh. Well that’s all right then.”
“He is new in school this year,” Angelia said to her mother. “Judge Undreth wanted him to know some of the kids that will be attending.”
“Well, I’m glad to see you will be associating with good people at school. This will be an excellent change for you,” her father replied airily.
Angelia glanced back into the ballroom. “I’m glad I still have friends,” she muttered under her breath.