Chapter 16

Her body relaxed into the feather mattress, muscles gradually un-cramping under the warm blankets. Her knight had saved her and life had never felt so good. She didn’t need to open her eyes to know that he rested in a wicker chair in one corner of the airy room. She could feel him. And she had it on good authority that without her, he would die. How that worked she could not fathom, because she had been under the impression that she endangered his life more than anyone. But who was she to argue with a God? She was sure he had been a God. The traitorous side of her brain brought up the dream theory again. She squashed that and ground it to a pulp. Smiling dreamily, she stretched and let sleep creep over her.

Azti slumped in his chair. Sleep was something that his body didn’t need anymore, but it didn’t stop him from yearning for its release. He had not rested in three days, but now that all his charges were safe within the walls of the mountain city, he could relax. Mona was still weak, but otherwise fine. Liasna and Briyden were exhausted and slept soundly just down the corridor.

Small birds twittered on the window ledge reminding him that a new day was just beginning, while he was only just recovering from the last. He let his body rest, whilst keeping a small part of his mind aware of what went on around him. Painstakingly he checked himself for any injuries. There was a slight twinge in the muscles of his back, a result of the long ride holding onto Mona. He rested his mind on it, intending to repair it. Soon the pain had gone, the tension released, leaving his mind free to be watchful and alert.

Hours passed before Azti needed to waken his body. A knock on the door heralded the arrival of Liasna to check on her daughter, and he quickly stood, aware that he perhaps should not have been there in the first place. But he couldn’t keep away from Mona now. The closeness of her body for those twelve hours had heightened all Azti’s feelings for her, and he knew for certain that this was his first proper test as a Knight of Isil-Ra. Zonta had warned him that it would be tough, but that was a gross understatement. Liasna gave him a hint of disapproval in her glance, and he thought it best to leave the pair alone for a while. He left the room and took up guard outside the door.

“Mona?” Liasna spoke quietly.

She knew her daughter was weak. A body recovering from the stress of coping without its soul for such an extensive period was going to take a little time to heal. Mona slept on soundly and Liasna walked to the open windows, stepping out onto the ornate stone balcony that allowed a view of the snowy mountain peaks, and the city of Tor far below. The sun shone very brightly, bouncing its rays off the white slopes and crystal towers of this beautiful palace. She breathed deeply, taking the pure air around her aching body. The ride had been hard but necessary. Shading her eyes against the light, she gazed up into the blue sky above and was rewarded, a golden eagle circled above the city. A good omen she thought, smiling.

It was very good to be home. If only all her family were here, together, this trip would be wonderful. Where was Karayana? She looked to the eagle but he offered no answers. Pushing down the constant nagging fear for her eldest she consider her day ahead. This morning she would greet her father. A small twinge of sadness swept through her at the thought of the throne of the Queen, which would stand vacant next to his.

“I wish you were here to help me Mother,” she whispered.


Liasna turned as the blanketed figure stirred.

“Good morning Mona,” she said brightly, “Do you feel any stronger this morning?”

“Where’s Azti?” Mona asked instantly, ignoring her Mother, very much aware that his presence had left the room.

“Not far away. How are you?”

“Don’t send him away Mother. We are linked in some way. Without me he will die.”

Liasna frowned at her.

“Have you been dreaming?”

“No.” Mona was very firm on that point.

Liasna sat on the edge of the bed.

“It isn’t exactly proper for Azti to be alone with you in your bedroom. We have only just got here, lets try and avoid any scandal.”

“He is my betrothed,” Mona said raising her voice.

“Was your betrothed,” her mother corrected.

“That only changed because you thought he was dead,” Mona insisted.

“As your betrothed he is as good as.”

“Mother. I have it on good authority that he needs me to go on living.”

“What are you talking about?” Liasna was looking at her daughter carefully now, wondering if she had been affected by her ordeal more than had been thought. Mona sighed heavily.

“Never mind. I’m not sure of why or how yet but I’m going to find out. There is a good library here isn’t there?”

“Yes,” Liasna replied quizzically, “One of the best.”

“I shall start there. But not today.” Mona yawned and squiggled about until she was comfortable.

“I am glad to hear it.”

Liasna had decided that Briyden should spend the morning with Azti, giving the knight something to take his mind off her daughter. It also left her free to greet her father in relative peace. She found herself gnawing her lip as she walked the long corridor to the audience hall, much as she had as a child. It made her smile to think that, as old as she was, here she would always be her fathers little girl.

The doors swung noiselessly open in front of her and she entered one of the most beautiful rooms in the palace. The doomed glass roof above had, set in its centre, a large diamond that crystallised the light into a rainbow of colours. The pillars down each side also housed small cuts of the gem, which bounced the light into every corner of the very large room. At the end of the long walkway a plain but ancient pair of wooden thrones loomed imperiously. Seated majestically on the left hand throne was a tall man with white hair and a lined countenance. His bright blue eyes watched her approach, his mouth holding the hint of a smile. At the last minute he signalled for the two guards standing behind him to leave, before standing and walking to greet his daughter.

“Liasna, you are still so beautiful and so young,” he hugged her hard, “And much like your mother. Come and sit next to me and tell me of your children.”

She swallowed hard as he gestured for her to take her mothers throne. It was rightfully hers now, but she knew she could never be the woman her mother had been, and she wasn’t sure she was worthy of her place. She sat gingerly on the cushioned edge of the seat placing a hand on the worn, smooth arm. And there she spent the morning, talking of her husband and children, and then gradually bringing the conversation round to recent events. Her father listened, saying nothing, just nodding occasionally as she filled him in on everything that had happened since Karayana’s return. It was midday before she had finished and Simhuil King of Torlund suddenly looked his age.

“I have two people that need to hear this Liasna. One is Mo-La, you remember him? He is now high priest at the temple of Isil-Ra, and the other is Pandon, our historian. I have a notion that they have been expecting something like this to happen for a long time. I will say no more now. We shall eat and then meet with them this afternoon.”

She nodded. “I will find Briyden. He is sure to be ravenous by now.”

“It will be good to meet him,” Simhuil smiled.

Azti looked relieved to see Liasna.

“Mother. Where have you been?” Briyden demanded stroppily. “I’m extremely bored. Azti hasn’t let me explore, or go outside. It’s all walls and halls, walls and halls.”

“Are you ready to meet your grandfather?” she asked, ignoring the whinges.

“Of course.” He marched off down the corridor and Liasna had to hurry to catch up. Obviously the thrill of having a knight as a friend only went so far.

“Can you see if Mona is up to joining us?” she called back to Azti. “And you are welcome at my fathers table also.”

Azti gave a small bow of his head, and made for Mona’s room a little too quickly.


“And so I came here to try and find some answers,” Liasna finished. She sat back in her chair and sipped a cup of strong mountain tea. Pandon was flicking through a huge book, with yellowed pages, frantically searching for something. Mo-La ran a hand over his shaved head and sighed heavily.

“Is this the event you had foreseen?” the King asked.

“I fear it is my lord. So far we have been without answers but now that events have been set in motion we at least have a few clues.”

“What event are you talking about?” Liasna asked hurriedly.

“We have a very old document in the library vaults that contains the writings of a priest from 2000 years ago, before our people ever came to this land. He was a prophet and so far every one of his prophecies has come to pass.” Mo-La looked to Pandon as if expecting him to take over, but the old historian was running his finger down a large page of scrawling handwriting.

“He predicted that our people would explore the world and gradually settle in new lands and spread the teachings of Mat-Su. He also predicted that the world would turn away from our words, that mankind would look at ways to make life easier, that they would become greedier for lands and power. He predicted the wars of the last age, and even the ransacking of Torlund. We are now coming to the culmination of all these events, the cataclysmic end, if you will, of a cycle.

As you know, we need the energy we call Qa to live healthily. Our way of life promotes Qa to such an extent that we have longer life spans than most people, and we are able to do seemingly magical things. You also know that it isn’t only mankind that needs Qa, but all life, from the smallest dust mote to the largest star in the heavens. Everything balances and harmonises if Qa is promoted and used in the proper way. Unfortunately our planet now has only small pockets of people, like ourselves, who generate and balance this life force energy. What is not widely known is that Qa actually protects our planet. It acts as an energy field that stabilizes life. We believe that without the help of Isil-Ra, life would never have begun here. He provided a safe haven for us to grow and evolve, with a means of keeping ourselves, and the world alive. We call the promotion of Qa in our bodies Mat-Su, breathing in the Gods, but it would better be called Mat -Te-Su, breath of the God.”

“So our whole world is endangered because man has turned away from the correct path?” Simhuil asked.


“So where does Deverous come into this? And Karayana?”

“This is where we begin to speculate. Deverous is the brother of Isil-Ra, and was jealous of his sibling’s creation. But he could find no other planet in this universe that had the unique composition of this one to create life for himself. He tried to wrestle our world from his brother, but it was not his breath that had created the life here and so he could not have sustained it even if he had the strength to win. He found a way of working with Isil- Ra’s Qa and taught it to a few disciples. These men were the fore fathers of our enemies who live in the mountains of Brem. They also practice using Qa but it works against our Qa and that of the world, as an opposite if you like. It is the breath of Deverous they work. They wield great power and they wish to make this world their own, where we would be mere slaves. Devorous is taking the planet from his brother from the inside. They have worked towards making men what they are today. And they have been clever,” he conceded wearily, “We were always too proud to force our will onto people, where as Deverous’s men made sure they had delegates in courts and throne rooms everywhere, whispering and hinting at ways to change, ways to gain power. Playing on weaknesses, and gradually changing attitudes to life. What they have always been too arrogant to see is that without plenty of correct Qa, life on our planet will fail, and they will fail with it. Their Qa will hasten the process.

Liasna tried to take in the magnitude of what she was hearing. A great sense of hopelessness blanketed her. How could they stop a God? How could they turn the minds of so many people, make them understand the importance of Mat-Su in their daily lives? She could not even persuade her own husband.

“What is Karayana’s importance in this?” she asked, dreading the answer.

Pandon spoke at last. He brushed back the grey strands of hair that fell across his face.

“Not just Karayana. The prophecy speaks of ways to remedy our current situation. Any of which may help, or perhaps we need to carry out all of them…” he traced back down the page in front of him, frowning. “It is unclear,” he said finally. “But the best of the options describes a ‘Princess of the mountain region’. It says…” he referred back to the book, “ The three daughters of the Princess will be needed together to form a trident of power that will replace the planet’s Qa for one year and a day. One daughter will be the positive, and very powerful, one must act as the negative and be her equal, and one must act as a neutral, a conduit for the power.” He looked up from the page smiling. There was an air of expectancy in the room as everyone waited for him to continue, but the old man snapped the book shut.

“You have lost me,” Simhuil said shaking his head.

“The prophecy points to this land as being the place that this trident of power will originate from,” he explained, “The time must be correct because the strange events your daughter has described are all mentioned. I think Liasna is the mother of the trident.” There was triumph in his voice, and Liasna nearly laughed out loud.

“I only have two daughters, one child is a son. How can it be me?” her voice rose slightly as she spoke. Who was this senile old man her father was trusting?

Pandon looked puzzled. He opened the book back up and flicked through the pages until he found the correct one.

“It states that ‘the daughter of the twelfth King of the high mountain kingdom, of the peoples of Isil-Ra, will bear three daughters.’ You are the daughter of the twelfth King.” He shut the book again and stared at Liasna.

“Perhaps you have the wrong Kingdom,” she said testily.

“Or perhaps we were defeated twenty one years ago,” Simhuil said quietly.

Liasna turned slowly to face her father, the weight of his words slowly registering.

“My daughter was wronged at the age of fifteen. She became pregnant but the babe died an hour after the birth. It was a girl.”

The silence in the room was deafening. Liasna fought off the shame and the hurt. She could hardly remember the birth of her first child, and it was a memory she was glad to forget. She had nearly lost her own life, and had never seen the child, being in no fit state. She remembered her mother telling her days later what had happened. She had felt nothing. She spent the next year in the high monastery recovering her health both mentally and physically. She had never expected that she would have to relive the horror of her fifteenth year and now it had happened twice within the space of seven days.

Pandon had grown pale.

“This is not in the histories,” he whispered.

“On my orders,” Simhuil said with authority.

“Then we are lost. Two daughters are not enough. We haven’t enough people to send them out to spread the words of Isil-Ra in this land. I am at a loss.” He flung his hands in the air and slumped back in his chair.

After a few moments Mo-La spoke.

“We must be missing something here. Liasna’s daughters are still important enough for our enemy to kidnap Karayana and attempt to take Mona. Which also tells us that they know something of this prophecy?”

“There is something I haven’t told you,” Liasna said a tremor in her voice. “Dorien paid me a visit,” she looked at her father.

“What?” he asked startled.

“Yes. He came to my room at home by magical means, or he at least left by magical means, he vanished before my eyes.”

“Who is Dorien?” Pandon asked angrily.

“The man who made my daughter pregnant. He is the son of my old friend, Galron. He is not written into our history as Galron disowned him.”

Pandon shook his head in disbelief.

“He has a relocating stone,” Mo-La said softly, half to himself, “Please continue,” he smiled at Liasna.

“He told me, he said it was by way of apology, that we were on different sides of a game and that Karayana was a very important player.”

“So Dorien is now our enemy?” Pandon asked in confusion.

“Or works for our enemy.” Mo-la said.

He has been my enemy for a long time, Liasna thought angrily.

“What happens after a year and a day?” Simhuil asked, “Will everything be put right, it seems a little vague.”

“It is vague,” Pandon confirmed for him, “But it seems that the year and a day gives us more time. There is nothing else that I have yet found to explain what might come after.”

“Where is this unfortunate baby buried?” Mo-La asked thoughtfully.

“She was not buried,” Simhuil answered, “We placed her body in a boat and sent it down the falls.”

Liasna gasped. She knew nothing of this.

“To avoid the history books I presume.” Pandon said resignedly. “It isn’t possible to have a grave with no history.”

“Who pronounced her dead?” Mo-La asked.

“The midwife. The birth had been long and arduous. The babe was very weak.”

Mo-La sighed deeply. “Is there any chance the child lived?”

“I- I don’t see how,” Simhuil stuttered.

Liasna felt like the most private and hurtful part of her life was being dissected in front of her eyes.

“Liasna.” Mo-La’s voice broke into her thoughts. She looked at him.

“I think you must visit Miglais. She may be able to read from you. We need some answers.”

“I am not sure that I want reading thank you,” she muttered childishly, and then seeing the surprised look on all three faces she realized how little they knew of her inner turmoil. How could they know?

“I will go. Of course,” she nodded, swallowing hard.

Miglais was an ancient seeress who lived on the Great Tor. Rumoured to be slightly senile, she could nevertheless, read a person, as other less gifted souls could read a palm. Liasna would have to stay with her a day and a night doing whatever tasks the old lady set for her before she could ask three questions. Apparently Miglais spoke to the spirits surrounding a person. It was believed that if you could ask enough questions then she could tell you of your life, your death and any previous incarnations too.

“I will devise the questions that will give us what we seek,” the high priest was saying, “But you will have to put them into your own words or she will not answer.”

Liasna nodded and pulled her wrap around her shoulders. The day was suddenly feeling cold.


Mona woke early the following day. At last she felt more like herself again. For the last couple of days she had experienced extreme weakness. She sat up cautiously but found no dizziness.

“Please do not rise any further from your covers.”

She jumped at Azti’s voice. Looking round she saw him hurrying towards the door.

“I have on a night gown,” she said trying to stifle a giggle. He looked so worried.

“I shouldn’t be here at all.” He had stopped with his hand on the door handle. The early morning sun made his blond curls shine and Mona’s heart swelled. “I only came in as you seemed restless in your sleep.”

“You were outside my door?” she asked.

He glanced down at his hands and then gave her an uncomfortable look.

“I think I may always be just outside your door, or at your side. It is becoming harder to separate myself from you.”

Mona couldn’t believe her ears.

“Oh Azti.” She jumped over to the other side of the bed and made ready to run and hug him, but Azti was quicker. With a “Please no,” he disappeared out of the room, shutting the door firmly behind him.

“Humph.” Mona stared at the wooden barrier, her hands on her hips.

But how could she be cross with him? He filled her with more joy than she had ever known. Happily she walked out onto the balcony and leaned over. The city far below was much bigger than she had imagined. It seemed to be built on a small Tor between two much larger ones, and the palace itself was the highest point. The air felt so fresh in her lungs that it hurt. She curled her toes as the cold rose up out of the stone. Shivering slightly she went back into the room and searched for clothes. She had to make an impression with her first appearance. What could she wear? As she was going through the few items she had been allowed to bring there was a light tap on the door.

“Come in,” she called brightly.

Maria came in smiling.

“You are feeling better My Lady?”

“I am. And rather hungry. In fact ravenous.”

Maria laughed.

“Shall I tell your mother that you will join her for breakfast?”

“Yes. But then come back please. I don’t know what to wear.”

“I have a surprise for you there. I won’t be long.”

Maria scuttled off leaving Mona to indulge her thoughts with surprises.

Liasna was trying to listen to Briyden as he told her about the beautiful pony that he had toured the city on the day before, but it seemed so trivial next to her own thoughts that she had trouble keeping up. She ate a wonderfully prepared breakfast of fish and fresh bread that might as well have been cardboard.

There was a sudden commotion at one end of the dining hall as her father entered with Mona on his arm. Her daughter was resplendent in a pale blue dress, with a hint here and there of diamond thread that made the light curve gently around her well-developed figure. She had to smile. Who did this girl take after? She would never have dared arrive for breakfast dressed that way. Poor Azti walked two paces behind his eyes firmly on the floor, her father obviously doting on his granddaughter already. Liasna sighed, shaking her head.

“You look very well Mona.”

“Thank you Mother. I feel wonderful.”

“That is the mountain air,” Simhuil said gesturing for Mona to sit next to him, “ It is full of life force energy. You will feel very healthy while you are here.”

Liasna offered a seat to Azti, along with an apologetic smile. He nodded his thanks and attempted to forget about Mona by engaging Briyden in conversation. But Mona was not going to make it easy for him.

“The city looks wonderful from my room Grandfather. I would very much like to explore after breakfast.”

“I will arrange an escort for you my dear.”

“Oh that’s okay. I will be safe with Azti. Did you know he is a Knight of Isil-Ra?”

Liasna glanced at the young man. But he was obviously getting used to Mona’s brashness. He managed to stumble only once in his conversation about war horses with Briyden, and he kept his gaze firmly on his food. At least I know he can never harm her, she thought. But she knew in the days ahead, things were going to get difficult for Azti. She considered taking him with her. It was a two-day journey to the peak that was Miglais’s home. Altogether he would get a week away from Mona. She decided to talk to him later.

“I would very much like to visit the library. I hear it is extensive,” Mona continued, “I have a bit of research I would like to conduct. Also I would love to see the planetarium.”

Mona prattled on, winning her grandfathers heart, until Liasna began to wish she had left her with her father. She made a mental note to write Morden a letter after breakfast. She had not contacted him as yet and she knew he would be worried. Then she had a meeting at the temple with Mo-La to discuss the questions she must ask of the old seeress. Tomorrow morning she would depart. She went to take another mouthful of food, and realised she had finished. Feeling slightly foolish, she took her leave.

“Azti, I must speak with you this afternoon. Will you come to my rooms at four?”

“Of course My Lady.”

She put a hand on his shoulder as she left and gave it a slight squeeze.

“Good luck,” she said quietly.

He gave her a rueful smile.


It really was a magnificent city, Liasna thought as she walked along a high stone road that led from the palace directly to the temple. The market place thronged with people dressed in bright clothing, teeming with gemstones. The fashion here was quite extravagant. Mona would love it.

The temple of Isil-Ra was carved into the mountainside and two enormous crystal pyramids, each topped by a golden sphere guarded its gateways. Liasna spotted a monk standing just inside this impressive entrance, and he greeted her with a smile and a deep bow.

“Princess Liasna, I am here to guide you to my master.”

“Cardin, is that you?”

The monk laughed gaily.

“It is.”

Liasna laughed too. Cardin was Galron’s youngest son, three years her junior. He had always been a quiet, intelligent child. Dorien was much more worldly. She took in the blue of his robes.

“You are obviously doing very well here. A prefect already.”

“I love my life in the temple,” he replied. He signalled for them to walk and she let him lead her through an open sided corridor that looked onto an extensive rockery garden that was in full spring bloom.

“How is my father?” He asked the inevitable question. Tearing her eyes from the alpine profusion, she thought quickly. She gave him as vague an answer as possible without lying.

“Last time I saw him he was well.”

“Please give him my love when next you see him.”

“Of course.” Liasna walked on in silence. She hadn’t given poor Galron’s fate much thought of late. Surely his eldest son wouldn’t do him any harm?

“We are here,” Cardin said opening an ornate wooden door.

The room she entered was tastefully furnished with dark wooden furniture, each piece carved from a single log. A large tapestry that resided on the furthest wall from the doorway framed Mo-La. She remembered it. As a child she had gazed at it for hours on end. It was a vast depiction of her people leaving their homeland and founding the city of Tor and was very ancient, rumoured to be nearly as old as the city itself.

“Welcome Liasna. Please have a seat. Would you like some tea?”

“Yes. Do you still favour the Malburian leaves here at the temple?”

Mo-La chuckled.

“Yes we do. Have you missed the taste?”

“Very much. There is so much I have missed,” Liasna replied wistfully. She took a cushioned seat and Cardin left to prepare the tea.

“Straight to business?” Mo-La asked as he sat opposite her, a low table between them.

She nodded in reply.

“I have given much thought to the questions, wanting to get as much information from each one as possible. But the first one has to be whether or not your first born still lives, and that I’m afraid will be a simple yes or no answer.”

Liasna laced her fingers.

“And then?”

“Then I have two sets of questions depending on the answer to the first.” Mo-La went quiet as Cardin came back into the room and deftly set out the tea things. He poured Liasna’s cup first and offered it to her for tasting. The Malburian leaves were particularly easy to bruise and too long a brew time could also alter the taste dramatically. Liasna took a careful sip. The taste was light but full of flavour, a slight hint of rose petals with a tang of lemon after.

“It is perfect. Thank you Cardin.”

The monk smiled warmly and poured for his master before leaving.

“I have written down the questions for you,” Mo-La continued. “You must read them carefully and find a way of making them your own. If they don’t come from your heart she will not answer. But you must be careful in your wording. For instance if you asked her if your eldest daughter still lived she may answer yes, and the answer pertain to Karayana. You must make sure to ask if your first-born is alive. She will answer your question exactly.”

“This will be harder than I thought,” Liasna murmured.

“I have been wondering who to assign as guide,” Mo-La said lightly. “Would you be comfortable with Cardin?”

“I would, but…”

“I know. His father.”

“Yes.” Liasna sipped the tea silently for a minute. “I must tell him?”

“I think he deserves to know.”

Liasna sighed and put down the half empty cup.

“Alright. Can you spare him to walk in the crystal gardens with me? I would so like to visit them. Once he knows he can decide whether he would like to be my guide.”

Mo-La nodded sagely.

“That is wise. But I think you will find your worries are unfounded.”

She gave a half smile.

“I also will ask Azti to accompany me, I think he needs the break from my daughters affections.”

Mo-La laughed. “You are wise dear Liasna.”

He rang a small hand bell and Cardin reappeared.

“Would you walk with me around the crystal garden, it has been an age since I was there last?”

Cardin grinned and bowed. “It would be a great honour Princess Liasna.”

“I will see you again in a week Mo-La. Hopefully with some answers.”

The high priest took her hand and kissed it. “We will find out what we can here, and the high monastery will help also.”

Liasna followed Cardin back out into the clear mountain light and they walked in an easy silence to the crystal gardens. The sound of tinkling water and crystal harmonising came from behind a large wall, and rounding a corner she stopped and drunk in the display. She had been here many times in her past, but the memory did not do justice to it.

Water flowed out of the tops of crystal pillars of many different shapes, and was caught in bowls, or cascaded down and over outcrops of the gemstone. Small pieces of the rock hung together and chimed softly in the breeze created by the waterfalls and fountains, or hung within the water it self, making for a louder melody. The water eventually flowed into a gigantic hollowed out crystal to form a pool. Everywhere little rainbows hung over or within the water and the whole effect was spectacular. They sat at the side of the pool for a long time before Liasna found the courage to speak.

“Cardin, I have something to ask you and something to tell you. One is easy, one hard.”

“Princess Liasna, what ever they are, you should not fear me.”

She had forgotten how sentient he was. That was the main skill that had brought him to the temple.

“If what you have to tell me concerns my father I would like to hear that first. You said he was fine, but I sensed your unease.”

Liasna cringed and berated her own stupidity. The poor man must have spent the last hour wondering what had befallen his father.

“Your brother has him.”

Shock registered first on his face, followed by anger and then he managed to pull his emotions back under control.

“He has turned up again then. I am sorry Liasna. I cannot imagine the pain that must have brought you.”

“It was a shock. It actually sickened me to the bone to see him again, but I think he has felt remorse.”

She hoped that would help Cardin. It had done nothing to help her.

“He unfortunately seems to be on the side of our enemy.”


“I’m sorry. I had better fill you in on what’s been going on.”

The next two hours passed slowly as she again relived the last two weeks. Unfortunately she was not good at hiding her emotions and she knew that Cardin had no choice but to live it too.

When she had finished at last he turned to her and bowed his head.

“Liasna I offer myself as your servant. Let one of my fathers’ sons be working on the side of Isil-Ra. It will create a balance.”

She put a hand on his shoulder.

“You are a friend, not a servant Cardin. And so I will take your friendship and ask you if you will accompany me on my journey.”

“I would be honoured.”

She smiled her thanks, hoping Azti would agree as readily.


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