The Seeress and the Stone 7
The next morning the sun rose bright and golden. Its rays settled on Angelia’s shoulders as she sat next to the campfire talking with Geoff. Her frustration mounted the longer they talked.
“Are you sure about this? No one has ever mentioned a valley up in these mountains,” Geoff said. “The Blue Pass cuts through the mountains to the north shore. We can follow the shore around to the west and come back into the mountains at the western tip. It’s a route we would be certain of. This valley you saw could have us hacking through the undergrowth for weeks.”
Angelia clenched her fists. “You asked me to tell you if I saw something else and I’m telling you,” she snapped, her usual easy temper pushed to its limits. “It will take too long to go through the pass. There is a trail that cuts through the mountains. It starts at the other end of the lake, and then it turns almost straight east.”
“I have never seen any trail like that.”
“Trust me. I know it’s there.” She closed her eyes following the mental map. “It is about two days hike along the trail and then it will drop down toward the city.”
“But we don’t want anyone in the city to see us.”
“They shouldn’t. The ridge along here hides the trail. It curves around this peak and after about a day’s hike up we’ll have to look for the entrance. I’m positive that’s the shortest way there.” She looked at him uncertainly. “Geoff, you’re acting like you don’t believe what is happening to me. I understand, I can hardly believe it’s happening to me either, so you’re either going to have to take a leap of faith and trust me or not. And if you won’t trust me, then I might as well go home now.”
Geoff stared into her eyes and then down at the ground. She could see the mental struggle. She was asking him to believe in something that they had only really read about in Celedand’s scrolls. Even though her grandfather had had a vision sixteen years ago, nothing had happened and now here she was saying that she not only had the same vision Celendar did, but that she continued to have other visions as well. It was a lot to ask of anyone.
Geoff sighed. “All right, Angelia, I’ll trust you. But if we don’t find the trail we head to the north shore and take my path, all right?”
“Sounds good to me,” she replied, grateful that he was as least willing to try.
Once they had mapped out their course they began making breakfast. The smells of fried ham and eggs drifting over the camp roused the remaining explorers. After breakfast they loaded up the horses and headed east.
They found the overgrown trail cut into the rocks, right where Angelia had said it would be and Geoff led the group into the thick trees. Several hours later the trees opened up into a narrow, grassy valley. The travelers could see a solitary peak at the eastern end of the valley. They set up camp near a clump of trees in the center of the valley. When the fire was burning and everyone started settling down for the night, Angelia wandered away from the group, wanting to be alone, but Sparrow joined her.
“Hey there,” Sparrow said shyly.
“Hello.” Angelia didn’t really want to talk.
“This is a pretty crazy journey isn’t it? I’m excited though.” Angelia felt her friend hesitate. She looked up. Sparrow never hesitated. She was a ball of energy and usually spoke her thoughts before thinking.
“Spit it out,” Angelia said, with a wave of her hand.
“What?” Angelia was frustrated now.
“What is it like? Being able to see things?”
She hadn’t expected that. Her grandfather, Geoff, and Le’Mone only wanted to know what she had seen. No one had asked her what she felt when she saw things. It was a relief.
“Sparrow, it’s weird. I touch the water at the lake or my crystal and my mind is filled with all of these blurry images. If I try to look at them I get a headache.”
“Was that what it was like when you had the first vision at the lake? It was scary when you started shouting.”
“No, that was different. It was like I was thrust into the future. I could actually see what was happening all around me. That is why it frightened me so much.”
“What about during the ceremony? What happened?”
Angelia unconsciously grabbed the crystal hanging around her neck and rubbed it between her fingers.
“If you don’t want to say that is fine, but I wish you would. That vision seems to have affected you more than the other ones,” Sparrow said softly.
She took Angelia’s hand and images came unbidden again. Angelia saw her friend staring into a dark cave entrance. Her face was white and she looked panicked.
Angelia came back to the present. “I’m sorry.”
“What happened?” Sparrow looked worried.
Angelia shook her head looking down at the crystal in her hand. “Every time someone touches me when I have this in my hand I get a glimpse of their future.”
“Oh.” Sparrow drew her hands into her lap. “I’m sorry.”
“Please don’t be like that, Sparrow. Everyone is acting so strange and I don’t like it. I’m different now and I think it frightens people.” Angelia felt the tears starting down her cheeks. She wiped them away angrily. “I don’t want people to be afraid to touch me, afraid of what I might see.”
“Oh, Angel. We aren’t frightened, we just don’t know how to act or what to say. You’ve been so withdrawn since the ceremony. ”
Angelia sighed. “I know. I don’t know how else to be. I hate this. I don’t want anyone to know that I see things from their future when they touch me, because I’m afraid they wouldn’t want to touch me.”
“Or they would want to touch you all the time,” Sparrow interjected.
“Yes. I’d become some future telling freak. I couldn’t stand that.” She stood and held her hands out palms up. “Come and have Angelia Galashad tell your future.”
Sparrow laughed and then her face turned serious. “Do you think people would believe you?”
“I don’t know. Most of the ones Grandfather and I have talked to didn’t.” She sat back down. “I even had to convince Geoff that I really did see this trail. That is part of the frustration. What is the good of me being able to see the future if no one pays attention.”
“Your grandfather pays attention and so did Aunt Le’,” Sparrow chided.
Angelia knew she was right. Her friends and family paid attention and they were concerned not just about what she saw, but how she felt.
“You’re right,” she sighed.
“Angel, what did you see at the lake, during the ceremony?”
Angelia hadn’t told anyone what the King had said to her, not even her grandfather.
“I saw the same man from my first vision, but this time we were alone. He…he spoke to me.”
“What did he say?”
“He said he was the King and that soon I would be his queen,” Angelia whispered.
“What?” Sparrow was dumbfounded.
“I don’t think it was the future. I think he was communicating with me,” Angelia said quickly. “I haven’t told anyone that. It frightens me. He frightens me.”
“Oh Angel.” Sparrow reached out to grab her hand and then stopped.
Angelia looked at her friend. Sparrow had acted just as Angelia expected, pulling back, afraid.
Angelia got to her feet. “I’m tired. Tell Geoff I wasn’t hungry.” She turned away, but Sparrow took her hand.
“I think we’re all tired, but you should eat something. We have a long hike ahead of us,” she said in her easy manner.
Angelia relaxed a little. Sparrow was trying and that was the important thing.
In the morning they followed the path through the valley and then it climbed up into the foothills of the solitary mountain. By mid-day it began twisting down toward the city. The trail led into a ravine which curved around the base of the tall peak. That night they set up camp and Geoff left to do some exploring on his own. When he returned he held a council around the fire.
“I rode up the trail a bit tonight. It curves around this peak for about two hundred yards and then it turns south and heads toward the city. If we go another day’s journey we will end up at the walls of the city. I think this is where we should start looking for the cave entrance,” he reported
Everyone nodded in agreement. Geoff looked expectantly at Angelia. With a sigh she closed her eyes and grasped the crystal. She thought about the entrance to the caves and her mind began to fill with images of the valley and the mountains where they camped. The quiet talk of her friends faded into the dark as she concentrated. She carefully examined the images of the peak where they were camping and the trees and rocks around them, just as Ellinsha had instructed.
“This peak is the guardian of the caves. The trail breaks toward the city, but if we go ten, maybe fifteen yards into the trees we will find another trail that continues around the mountain. The cave entrance lies somewhere in between these two trails, but it is up. I think we have to climb.”
The pictures in her head began to fade. She opened her eyes. She was on her hands and knees facing the fire. The crystal was clutched tightly in her hand. She rolled back onto her heels and looked at Geoff. Everyone else just stared.
Geoff shook his head. “Are you alright?”
“Yes, I am fine,” she said quickly. “It’s going to take me a while to get used to this.
Geoff continued, “Can you see anything else?”
“No the images are not clear anymore. I think we are just going to have to search the old fashioned way.”
Geoff nodded. “We begin at dawn.”