The Seeress and the Stone 33
Angelia sat in her room staring out the window and wondering what Jarr’oshed would do. Her mind was torn. How could she lead the King to Ellinsha? Not only would that endanger her friends in the caves, but it would put her task in jeopardy. Yet she didn’t want to be responsible for the deaths of anyone in the city. She started to cry and then stopped. She had to be strong. She must rely on Ellinsha. Was it not Ellinsha who told her to come into the city? Angelia reached up and clasped the crystal hanging around her neck.
The tears tumbled down her pale cheeks.
“I’m trapped in the city. Jarr’oshed says he will hurt the people if I don’t help him...” she sniffed “help him find you.” Her heart fell as this last thought left her mind. “You knew I would be caught.”
“Yes. Jarr’oshed needed to see you and know who you are. You must bring him into the mountains.”
Angelia stood, anger flooding her body.
“Why?” she shouted in her mind. “Why must I help him? He is evil. He only wants power.”
“Use your gift. See with your mind and follow your heart.”
Angelia listened, but Ellinsha’s voice was gone.
She had so many questions and no answers. She didn’t understand her gift and how it worked, but she would do her best to try.
“I must take Jarr’oshed into the caves,” she whispered with a sigh.
She slowly walked to the window and sat on the sill. The city was dark with a few small fires built by Jarr’oshed’s soldiers. Her eyes were drawn upward to the stars. With the city dark they sparkled even more brightly.
Concentrating on the stars Angelia clasped the crystal and let the images flood in. She focused on Jarr’oshed using the connection he had forged when he caught her. The blurry images started to take focus.
She was walking in the cool passages of the caves, but they were passages she did not recognize. She looked around her but only saw the dark walls. Ahead there was a soft blue light. Thinking it was Ellinsha’s cavern she walked quickly ahead. In the back of her mind she knew Jarr’oshed followed, still she continued ahead. When she reached the opening she realized it was not Ellinsha’s cave, but a larger cavern. She paused for a few minutes and then stepped inside.
Blinking she opened her eyes and found she was back in the room. She looked in the small mirror hanging on the wall. Her face was pale white. She stumbled over to the couch and sat down.
Her thoughts roamed all around. She knew this place was somewhere within the mountains, probably close to Ellinsha’s cave. What was in that room? She closed her eyes trying to return to the vision, but her mind remained dark.
“Why can’t I see what is inside that room?” she asked softly aloud.
As soon as she spoke she remembered feeling Jarr’oshed’s presence behind her.
“Because he can’t see what is there. At least not yet,” she answered her own question.
She laid down on the couch and closed her eyes. The unbidden visions made her tired, but forcing the gift exhausted her strength. She fell asleep quickly.
A short time later a young girl awakened her.
“Miss? Wake up miss,” the girl said softly.
Angelia sat up quickly. “What is it?” she asked cautiously.
“I was sent to wake you. His majesty wishes to speak with you.” The trembling girl curtsied and then hurried out of the room.
Angelia followed the waiting sentry out of the room and down the hall. She studied the tall soldier as they descended the stairs. He was young, perhaps French’s age, or a few years older. His features were not as cruel as the armor suggested. He neither spoke to nor looked at her.
He appeared so normal. She wondered what he had been told about Viecity and why they all seemed to hate her people so much.
They approached the comfortable office that had belonged to the Governor of Viecity and the young soldier knocked on the door. Angelia was shown inside and the soldier left along with the sentry who was waiting inside the room. She was alone with Jarr’oshed. She shuddered. He stood when she entered and offered her a seat. She chose an overstuffed chair as far from him as possible.
“Thank you for coming,” Jarr’oshed said graciously.
“Did I really have a choice?” Angelia answered curtly.
His mouth curved into a mocking frown. “I am sad that you do not feel welcome in my home.”
“This is not your home,” Angelia snapped. “What do you want?”
Jarr’oshed walked to a nearby window. The moonlight filtered in through the leaves of a nearby tree and the candles flickered in the cool breeze. Angelia watched him carefully, making an unsuccessful effort to analyze him. He was young for a king perhaps in his late twenties. His hair was dark, almost black and his hands were large, but not as large as French’s. Though his stature and body were young his face looked haggard and worn. His eyes drew the most attention. They were a dull, grayish green color. There was no depth in them until he looked at her and then she could see a deep, smoldering fire. What caused that fire, she did not know, but her curiosity got the better of her.
“Why do you keep me here?” she asked firmly. “What do you want from these people?”
Jarr’oshed turned slightly toward her as she spoke. His face was like stone. He returned his gaze to the sleeping city below.
“I want their power,” he answered coldly.
“What power?” Angelia cried. His response had astonished her. “We have no power here. We are simple people. We work and trade and live. There is no power.”
“You have Ellinsha!” he exclaimed angrily.
His eyes were on fire. Angelia could see the battle of emotions. There was more to this dark man than she could ever understand.
“I do not understand,” she said softly. “We do not have Ellinsha. No one in the city even believed she existed, except my grandfather.” Tears welled up in her eyes, but she brushed them away.
Jarr’oshed watched her. “Your grandfather, he is dead?” he asked carefully.
Lost in thought Angelia replied, “No, he left.”
“Why did he leave?” he pressed.
Angelia snapped back to the present, unwilling to betray the ones she loved the most. “We do not have Ellinsha. No one here possesses her or her powers. You have wasted your time coming here.”
“That is a lie,” he stated. He strode to where she sat and pulled her out of the chair. He dragged her to a large guilt framed mirror. “Your eyes burn green with her power, Seeress. You have her power.”
He dropped her arm and walked back to the window.
“Why do you want Ellinsha so much? You have the gift as well. You have seen me just as I have seen you.”
“Ellinsha’s powers are great, greater than any one person’s gift. Anyone who possesses her could rule the world.”
“Ellinsha is a Seer Stone. She does not grant the powers you suggest,” she replied astounded.
Jarr’oshed snorted. “She is more than a Seer Stone, Seeress. That is the least of what she can do.”
Angelia shook her head.
“We do not have Ellinsha. There is only one man who has ever seen Ellinsha and that was Celedand. The only powers she grants to men is that of sight.” She spoke with authority.
Jarr’oshed’s face became stone cold and unreadable. “Your words do not fool me Seeress. I know the truth. You have seen Ellinsha. Your eyes tell me that much. Where is She?” he asked grimly accenting each word.
“Why should I tell you?” Angelia retorted.
“Tell me now, Seeress!” He shouted as he jumped to his feet. His chair fell back with a thump.
“No!” Angelia shouted back.
Jarr’oshed looked as if he would strike her and she stumbled backward in fear.
He stopped and then snarled. “You will show me where the stone is, or I will kill every prisoner in this city,” he said coldly.
He looked her in the eyes. Angelia knew he told the truth. She felt defeated, but her decision had already been made. She lifted her chin defiantly.
“Fine. I will take you to Ellinsha. But seeing her won’t help your lust for power, it will only destroy you,” she prophesied.
Her gaze traveled to the view outside the window. The moonlight lit up the streets of the city but in the distance the Northern Mountains sat in darkness as if trying to hide the secret they held.
Jarr’oshed’s eyes narrowed at her words and he pulled her close. She met his dark gaze bravely, quelling the fear that rose inside her. The moments dragged by before he released her and summoned his guard to escort her back to her room.
As she approached the door she turned and spoke, “I will need time to prepare. At least a week.”
Before he could answer, she left the room.
French moaned and opened his eyes. “Ow.”
He tried sitting up but fell back in pain. Every inch of his body hurt. He was covered in scratches and bruises and his left arm hung at a precarious angle.
“It’s broken,” Jexson stated.
“I can see that,” French groaned. “What else?”
“You’ve a nasty cut on your cheek and a gash running the length of your upper arm. I wrapped that, but it’s still bleeding. I might have to stitch it.”
“Fantastic,” French replied sarcastically.
“Can you move?”
“I think so. It’s a good thing the last thirty feet angled. I would have hit the big rocks dead on.” He winced as he tried to stand.
“It’s not much of a slope. You hit the big rocks anyways,” Jexson commented.
“At least I slid into them instead on landing on them,” he said wryly.
Jexson put his arm around French’s back and helped him to his feet.
“Ahh,” French cried. “I think I broke some ribs as well.” They hobbled to a nearby tree.
“Let’s get you to some shade. Rory and Geran are figuring out how we can get you back up…”
“No.” French carefully sat down. “There is no way I will be able to make it back up with a broken arm.” He cringed as he sat down. “And broken ribs. We might as well keep going. You can set my arm and splint it.”
“French you are in no condition to continue,” Jexson argued. “You can barely walk and even if we had the boats down here you wouldn’t be able to paddle anything. Not to mention your aunt—”
“My aunt has plenty to worry about without knowing about this. By the time we see them it will be mostly healed.” French took in Jexson’s worried face. “I want to keep going.”
“You’re impossible. We will move so slowly the main group will catch up,” Jexson argued.
“Then you’ll get your way in the end.” French grinned.
Jexson rolled his eyes. “All right. You win. Let’s take care of that arm.”
Jexson searched the area for two solid sticks. When he found them he returned to the tree. French offered his handkerchief and Jexson tore it into strips. He set the arm, none too gently, and then wrapped it with the splint. French nearly lost consciousness from the pain.
“Is this your way of punishing me for being stubborn?” he asked through gritted teeth.
“That’s the price you pay for impatience. I’m not nearly as good as Le’Mone. Hopefully it won’t heal crooked,” Jexson said with a mischievous smile.
“Very reassuring,” French said wryly.
Next Jexson opened his water skin and cleaned the cut over French’s eye and the smaller ones on his back and shoulders. Lastly he removed the hasty bandage to look at the gash on French’s shoulder.
“How deep is it?” French asked trying to see the wound.
Jexson poured water and wiped away the blood and dirt.
“Not as deep as I thought, but bad enough.”
“I think I hit a tree root on my way down.” He examined the torn skin. “There are some red leaves in my pack. Soak them in hot water with the bandages and then wrap the cut. It shouldn’t need stitching,” French instructed.
“You’ll have a nice scar though.”
“Angel will never let me live this down,” French muttered.
Jexson followed his instructions. When he was finished they both lay in the grass and rested.
French turned to look at the slope behind them. “We should let Rory and Geran know I’m not coming back up. I want them to continue to explore the escarpment. I think it shrinks the further north you go. I wish I could know how far the main group will travel before they can climb down safely.”
“They will probably have to travel for some distance, but they also have more ropes and man power. They could climb down right here.”
“We should head back to the river and then continue following it towards the bay.”
“It will be very difficult with your arm. If we could find a way to lower one of the boats down it would be a lot easier.”
“I don’t know if we can with only three thirty foot ropes and three men.
“We could wait.” Jexson looked to his friend hopefully. He knew their progress would be slowed considerably if they were on foot.
French just shook his head. A faint smile crept across his face.
“I wish I could wait, Jexson. But there is something driving me to those mountains. Even if I have to crawl, I will get to those mountains.”
“I know, my friend, I know.” Jexson leaned back against the tree and French draped his bandaged arm over his eyes.
They rested for a while then Jexson beckoned the two young men to come down the rope. When they reached the tree where French rested Jexson explained his idea.
“If the three of us can lower one of the boats without damaging it, two of us could carry it back to the river.
“I think we could do it. It would save us hours of walking and you are in no condition to walk,” Rory said to French.
“How would we get it down?” French asked. “I don’t want to damage the boat bringing it down.”
“I’m sure we can think of a way,” Geran replied.
“I can’t help. It will just be the three of you,” French argued.
“We can do it!” Rory exclaimed positively.
French knew he was outnumbered. He warily agreed and sent Rory and Geran back up the cliff to retrieve a boat.