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The Seeress and the Stone 46
It took the travelers another five days to descend from the lookout point to the small encampment at the edge of the forest. Once there, they set up tents and placed Geoff inside the largest one. Le’Mone declared she would stay there until Geoff could be safely moved. Jord would not leave his father’s side and Celendar decided to return to the main camp at the waterfall. French refused to leave Angelia’s side, so he convinced Celendar to stay for a few days.
When Celendar was ready, he, Angelia, French and a few others, took one of the boats and began the trek up the river. The journey to the waterfall took just over a week and Angelia drank in the beauty of the land all around them.
When they reached the falls they beached the boats and camped for a day, then continued to the northeast along the escarpment searching for a way up. Two days later it was Angelia who spotted the game trail that zigzagged up the cliff. She nimbly followed the path all the way to the top. A short time later the remainder of the company joined her.
French laughed ruefully. “If I hadn’t been so impatient we would have found this trail and I wouldn’t be healing from a broken arm.”
Angelia looked at him quizzically and he explained what had happened when they first traveled down the river.
“French, you should have waited for grandfather and Le’Mone,” Angelia chided. “That must have been what I saw when I touched your arm all those months ago. I saw you fall.” Her eyes narrowed. “You promised you would watch your step,” she accused.
“I wanted to get to you as soon as I could. I was so angry with Celendar for making me leave with the main company. I wanted to stay in the caves with Geoff and Jord.”
“It would have been dangerous for both of us. You probably would have been discovered,” Angelia replied ruefully. “I suppose everything worked out the way it was supposed to.”
French nodded in agreement.
It took them another two days to reach the lake. A few groups of tents stood on the northeast side of the lake, but the main group camped across the lake. They borrowed a boat and crossed. When they arrived shouts of joy filled the camp. Celendar and French were swept away to meet with the group leaders.
A tall girl in a light brown dress and curly red hair almost knocked Angelia off her feet.
“Angelia!” The girl shouted.
“Sparrow?” Angelia asked when she got her breath back. She stepped back and took in her friend. “You grew.”
“Almost four inches,” Sparrow beamed.
Angelia laughed. Then she saw Kya’s tall, slender, dark-haired figure approach. “Kya,” She exclaimed.
She ran to her friend and embraced her tightly. She then took both her friends hands and pulled them toward the edge of the lake.
“I have missed you both so much. There is so much to tell.”
Both girls nodded in agreement. Then Kya asked, “Angelia, have you seen my father and Jord. Some others who came a few days ago said there was an accident.” Her eyes clouded with worry.
“Jord is fine. Your father got caught in the caves when part of the tunnel collapsed. His legs are broken. They took him to the bay and Le’Mone is treating him. He will be fine, Kya.” The tall girl nodded and then broke down sobbing. Angelia and Sparrow enveloped her and held her while she cried.
“I was so worried,” she said finally. “Mother is ill with worry. We thought we would never see them again, but I never lost hope. And then the news came and it was like losing them all over again.” She stepped back, “Thank you. I should go and tell mother. She will want to go to Father as soon as she can.” Angelia nodded and watched her friend slip away.
“Oh Angel, there is so much to tell. Everyone here has been telling me about their journey. But I want to know about you. What happened to you? Why did you leave the caves? Tell me everything.”
The girls walked from the shore of the lake to the edge of the woods and then toward the towering cliffs that surrounded the valley. Angelia described the events that had taken place in the caves.
When they finished they walked back to the main camp arm in arm. French joined them as soon as they entered the camp. The sun had set and the sky darkened. A large fire snapped and popped near the edge of the woods. Celendar stood with his back to the woods and gathered the large group of followers who had stayed at the waterfall. Angelia joined him at the front and sat on the ground.
Celendar explained what had happened to the banished since they left so many months ago. When he finished Angelia shared her tale. Then Celendar finished with Meria’s words. “We are a chosen people. We will protect Ellinsha just as the Ennalkai of old were commissioned to protect her. We will build a city here by this lake and it will serve as the new home for the Stone of the East. We will call it Ant`agio Feleis, ‘where the river falls’. Our city will be beautiful, filled with peace and love. I ask that you all help to build it as well as other cities in this valley. We are finally home.” A cheer rose from the crowd.
After the meeting many people came up to Angelia to ask questions. It was very late when she was able to go to sleep. Her tent was set up next to Celendar’s. She slept restlessly despite her long journey and finally, in the early hours before dawn, she rolled out of bed and dressed.
She opened her pack and carefully removed the heart shaped crystal still wrapped in the tunic. She walked in the dim morning light until she reached the edge of the lake, then she followed the shoreline towards the roaring waterfall. She sat on a rock and looked down at the churning water far below, then she slowly unwrapped the stone. She stared at the pulsing stone in her lap and then slid a finger down the smooth edge.
A vision opened to her mind and she turned towards the cliffs. She saw the city that would someday grace the walls of the cliffs and spread to the edge of the lake, majestically overlooking the roaring waterfalls.
She saw children laughing and playing in the meadow just beyond the city streets. One little girl stopped and turned to where Angelia sat and smiled. Her hair was the same auburn color as Angelia’s and her eyes a startling emerald green color, but she looked like a younger version of French. Angelia gasped and the vision shimmered and disappeared.
She shook her head and stared out into the empty meadow. “My daughter,” she murmured.
She touched the stone again and she felt a slight pulsing. Visions filled her mind sliding through faster than she could ever comprehend. She thought about her new life in this valley and her friends. Lastly she settled on Geoff.
“I wish I could help him,” she whispered to the air.
The stone pulsed again and another vision opened in front of her. This time she saw the camp near the beach. She saw Jord helping Geoff down to the water’s edge. He had fashioned a crutch from some branches and was showing Geoff how to use the crutch. Geoff took the crutch, hobbled a few steps and the fell over laughing. The stone pulsed again and the vision faded.
Angelia sighed. She knew she was seeing Geoff’s future. It would be a long hard journey for him, but he would heal.
“Thank you, Ellinsha,” she thought.
“You are the Keeper now. There is much for you to learn.”
“I gladly accept my role as Keeper.”
As Angelia stroked the side of the stone another vision filled her mind. She saw a majestic city beneath a gigantic mountain. As her mind moved toward the city the vision faded. She knew it was an image from her own future.
Angelia smiled. The sun crested the mountains to the east. The snow-capped peaks glimmered in the first light. She wrapped the stone in the tunic and then went to find her grandfather and share her morning visions.