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The Seeress and the Stone 13
Angelia woke with a start. She was perspiring slightly and her chest felt heavy. She took a few deep breaths and crawled out of bed. She walked over to the window and opened it, letting the cool air wash over her damp face. It was still dark, but the moonlight cast eerie shadows on the garden below.
She thought about what had happened in the past two weeks. News of the additional banishments had spread through the city like wildfire. In just one week the people she cared about the most would be gone. Her father had forbidden her to see any of her friends, especially those on the banished list. She felt like a prisoner being slowly tortured to death.
She sat at the window for several minutes before she heard a quiet voice calling. It hadn’t been a dream; someone really was calling her name. She scanned the shadows until she found the figure. It was French.
He stepped out of the shadows. “Angel,” he whispered, waving at her.
“I’ll be right down,” she whispered back.
She hurriedly put on her robe and slippers and tiptoed down the hall. Her parent’s room, at the other end of the hall, was quiet and dark. She stepped softly down the marble stairs and ran through the library to the atrium doors.
The courtyard was bathed in moonlight. Angelia moved through the shadows to the trees where she had seen French hiding. He pulled her into the shadows and wrapped his arms tightly around her. She tucked her head into his shoulder for a few moments and then pulled away.
“What are you doing here? We’ll get trouble if we get caught.”
“I had to see you.” He smiled wickedly. “Besides what are they going to do, banish me?”
Her eyes shifted to the ground. She couldn’t respond. His humor hit her hard. She choked on a breath.
French held her closer. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”
“How is Grandfather? I miss him so much.”
“He is fine. He misses you too.”
“What is happening with everyone? Did Jexson get my note? I tried so hard to warn you, but I couldn’t get away. What is going to happen?” Her eyes shimmered with unshed tears as the questions tumbled out.
French put a finger on her lips. “Celendar had another vision.”
“When? What was it?”
“He dreamt the night before the other banishments were given. He said he was leading the people away. He doesn’t know where, but he’s going. I tried to let you know, but they wouldn’t let me see you.” He motioned bitterly to her house.
“I know. My father was very angry. I wanted to talk to you for days, but he is watching me like a hawk. What is Grandfather going to do?”
He replied carefully, “A few people have been chosen to stay in the caves to help when trouble comes. They will travel through the hidden valley after we all leave and follow a trail Celendar is planning to leave.”
Her heart soared. “Are you staying?” she asked with trepidation.
French turned away from her. “Celendar has asked me to go with him. He says he needs my skills to help lead the people.”
Angelia could hear the emotion in his voice. She could tell he was angry with her grandfather’s decision. Her spirits dropped like a rock in a pond, but she was determined not to cry. At that moment she felt so completely alone.
He turned back and put his arm around her waist. He brushed her cheek with his fingertips.
“You look so pale, like a ghost,” he murmured, kissing her forehead.
“Who is staying then?” she asked not trusting herself to look in his eyes.
“Jord and his father and a few others. They have been searching the caves and know the area the best. Celendar thought they would be the best ones to stay. At least Sparrow’s family was not on the list. But they are being watched.” She could hear frustration in his voice.
Angelia could see the struggle on his face. She reached up and touched his cheek.
“I will be all right then. Don’t worry. I have Sparrow and Geoff and Jord and—” her voice caught.
French held her tightly, like he would lose her if he let go. She didn’t want him to let go. She sobbed quietly into his shoulder and he leaned his head on top of hers. Emotions surged through her body and finally she pulled away, not strong enough to deal with the pain she felt. She felt like there was nothing left of her shattered heart.
“I have to go back,” she choked wishing she could just run away with him. “They . . . they can’t find me gone.”
She held his hand for a moment longer, wishing she had brought her crystal so she could see the images of his future. Then, with tears streaming down her face, she turned and ran across the courtyard. Her heart twisted in her chest as she slipped through the atrium doors. She turned back just as his silvery hair disappeared among the trees.