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Chapter Ten

"Garvin, his secret discovered,

yet he himself unaware of it’s consequences,

hastened himself back to The Filthy Mallard,

his heart as light as a feather,

yet his stomach feeling full of lead …"

—The Pasegean Scrolls

"Hey, everyone! I’m back!"

Llyne froze. Mrs. Opanir bit her lip anxiously and hurried out of the room, nodding to Garvin as he entered. He raised his eyebrows and walked over to where Llyne stood. "Are you okay?" he asked as she stared at the wall.

She let out a choking laugh. "Oh, Garvin, I’m just fine. Great, wonderful, fantastic!" Her voice was dripping with sarcasm. Garvin jumped as he realised this, since Llyne was not the sarcastic one in her group of friends … it was more Samandia and occasionally Tierna.

"Llyne, what’s wrong?" His voice sounded concerned. Llyne didn’t care.

"Nothing, nothing." She stared straight into his eyes, and a single tear slid down her face. "Nothing but the fact that you’ve been lying to me for over a year!"

"What? I don’t know what you’re talking about, Llyne!" As her eyes pierced into his, he looked away, at a vase of flowers on the table next to him.

"You want to know what I’m talking about, Garvin?" Her voice shook with anger. "I’m talking about you letting me believe that you were a farmboy, when you’re really the Prince of Chail!"

Garvin sank into the nearby chair, his legs too weak to support him. "W-who told you that?" He stuttered as he spoke, and his hands shook as he folded them in his lap.

Llyne rolled her eyes. "It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters anymore. Not to you, obviously, since you’re getting betrothed to your cousin tomorrow!" Llyne screamed, and her eyes filled with more tears.

He shook his head. "No, I’m not going to marry her. That’s why I came back tonight."

"Why? So you could rub it in my face that I’m not good enough for you?" Her voice was accusing and bitter, and sliced through Garvin’s soul, burning him on the way.

"No, Llyne. I came here tonight because I wanted to ask you to marry me."

He didn’t dare to look up again into her accusing green eyes, her beautiful face—the face of the woman he loved and knew he would always love. Garvin, after waiting for a verbal reaction and receiving none, raised his eyes slowly to gaze into hers.

Her mouth was slightly open, as if in shock, but her eyes were smiling and he knew that the tears running down her face were happy ones. Then, as she saw him looking at her, she turned away, and said in a haughty voice: "And what makes you think I would ever marry you?"

Garvin stood, and walked to her, placing his hands on her shoulders, pulling her towards him. "Because I love you, and I know you love me. Will you be Llyne … Tuqsan?"

She nodded her head and turned back towards him, and her hands trembled as he took them into his, and she closed her eyes as he leaned in to kiss her softly. They stayed like this for a few minutes before Garvin spoke again. "Llyne, we need to go tonight. Come back with me to the castle, and tell Samandia that you won’t be going back to Fernan with them." She nodded, too happy to realise the consequences which might befall her telling Samandia. "Do you want me to help you with your mother?"

Llyne shook her head. "No, she’ll be overjoyed more than anything. Especially with the fact that she’s going to meet the Chailan royal family!" Garvin laughed, and Llyne giggled happily as they kissed again and promised to meet outside at midnight. Garvin ran out the door again, with a wave to Llyne, and she stood happily in the living room, making little noises of delight for several minutes before climbing the stairs and rapping on Samandia’s door.

For some strange reason tonight holds a feeling of dread for me. I have felt it ever since we arrived in Zarenn, as if the future is something to be afraid of. It makes me wonder what Sidhe will ask of me, since she has not asked for a favour of me yet … and I wonder what the other’s were. Some are obvious, like Llyne inviting us to Chail with her, yet I do not see a purpose to that as yet. Maybe Sidhe has a feeling of dread about the trip as well, and merely wanted to keep an eye on Llyne so that she would not be hurt at all. But, then, why was Kessah left behind?! Oh, there are so many questions without an answer! Really, though, I—

Samandia’s writing was interrupted by a rapping at her bedroom door. Sighing, she climbed off her bed and walked to the door and opened it, surprised to see Llyne standing there, looking rather scared.

"Llyne! What is it? You look so pale!" Samandia ushered Llyne into her room and closed the door behind her, a concerned look upon her face. Strange that I’ve come to care about the well-being of such a ditz, isn’t it? Still, normally she doesn’t knock on her own door, she just barges in!

They walked to the middle of the room, Llyne wringing her hands all the way. Then, finally, she began to speak.

"Oh, Sam, I don’t know where to begin! Everything’s happened so fast, I don’t know what to do! And, now that I’ve started to think about what Sidhe’s going to say …" she trailed off as she began to contemplate it herself some more.

Samandia patted her shoulder and walked her over to the bed, pushing her diary onto the floor as she went. Llyne sat down and tried to smile but only managed to burst into tears. Samandia was startled, and tried to calm her down. "Llyne, it’s okay," she said as she placed her arm awkwardly around Llyne, "tell me what’s wrong."

Llyne wiped away her tears and turned to Samandia. "Well, you see, it all started with Garvin asking me to come back to Chail with him—" soon Llyne had talked for nearly half-an-hour, and Samandia was getting rather bored with her, "—and, then, Mrs. Opanir told me who he really was! He’s the Prince of Chail, Sam!"

Samandia’s half-awake state turned to one of shock. "What? He’s the WHAT?!"

Llyne nodded. "The Prince of Chail. And that’s what I said! Then, he came home and I yelled at him for a while and he asked me something."

"What? What did he ask you?" Samandia had suddenly become very interested in this conversation.

Llyne seemed to be nearly bursting with the news. "He asked me to marry him! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!"

Samandia’s mouth dropped open. "Oh, my! Llyne!" Then she realised something. "What about the coven? What about the rest of us?"

"That’s what I came to talk to you about, Sam." Llyne’s expression had changed to a sheepish one. "I, uh, sorta want to leave the coven."

"What?! You can’t do this to us!"

Then, another voice filled the room. "You’re right, Samandia … she can’t."

Llyne sighed. It was Sidhe.

"Or, rather," the voice continued, "I won’t let her do it." She materialised in front of them, an annoyed look on her face. Llyne opened her mouth to speak but Sidhe beat her to it. "No, now I get to speak. I get to tell you why you can’t do this, because if you do the consequences may be more than any of you can handle. Okay?" The two girls nodded and Sidhe smiled cruelly.

"So, little Llyne wants to marry big Garvin, eh?" Sidhe’s expression turned to one of disgust. "What about the fact that you’re a witch, huh? Think your Prince would want you if he knew about that? Didn’t think so."

Llyne was indignant. "Garvin would love me, no matter what. He told me so, and I believe him."

The look on Sidhe’s face was one of hatred. "Oh, he told you so? Well, then, it must be true, Llyne, mustn’t it?" Sidhe leaned down and stared straight into Llyne’s eyes, which were full of fear. "You want to marry him? Then I order you not to—you still owe me my favour." Sidhe hoped that Llyne’s memory of the day she had asked to go to Chail with them would have long drifted from her mind.

"What?! You can’t do that! I already gave you a favour, letting three of the coven come with me to Chail … I remember the day you begged me in my room." A triumphant look crossed Llyne’s face, and she sat on the bed, waiting for Sidhe’s response.

Sidhe moved to the other side of the room, then turned back, her face curled in a sneer. "Do as you like. I don’t care anymore. But, remember … as Samandia well knows, I always have the last word—and the last blow!" She pointed towards Llyne:

"I curse you, Llyne Penwhite.

I curse your family.

You shall die, murdered by a trusted friend.

Garvin shall die, killed by that same cousin.

Your son will vanish,

Your daughter turn to evil.

He shall never know you.

When he ‘scapes his captors,

to Chail he will flee.

He must kill

A woman.

He must kill

A girl.

He must kill

His sister.

This is his prophecy … The Syrianan Prophecy."

A horrified look crossed Llyne’s face, and she jumped from the bed and fled from the room, sobbing wildly. Samandia stared after, aghast, as Sidhe began to laugh. She moved towards the window and saw Llyne race outside and meet Garvin, and as he comforted her in the darkened street below, Sidhe laughed even harder.

Samandia leaned over the side of her bed and retrieved her diary, thankful that she had brought it with her on her journey and the stubby pencil she always carried with her. She quickly scribed a few lines on the paper before Sidhe turned back around. "What are you doing, girl?!" she asked then stormed out of the room into the hallway. Samandia followed her, and Sidhe ordered her to awaken the others, except Mrs. Penwhite.

Samandia walked along the hallway, knocking on Camryn’s door and the other room which was occupied by Tierna and Catalina. There was no answer from the first door, and she wondered if Camryn could be at the stables down the road, since he’d spent a lot of time there during his stay in Chail. Tierna opened the door, her fiery-red hair afrizz and looking rather sleepy. Soon seeing that something was up she raced back and dragged out a drowsy Catalina who didn’t seem to realise she was awake yet.

Sidhe ordered them to form a circle with their hands and she stood in the middle of her witches, and called out into the hallway:

"If you wish to be a princess,

To live in paradise,

You simply have to realise

That not all faery-tales finish nice.

Sure, many evil hags end up in pots of stew,

Or see themselves for who they are and not who others be,

But a princess you are not, dear Llyne—a common child instead,

And of royal blood is only me!"

Sidhe paused, and an evil grin crossed her face as she decided upon what she was going to do. She pointed one hand towards Mrs. Penwhite’s door and the other in the direction of Fernan before continuing:

"So remember, Llyne, when you discard the life you had before,

That without a family, being a princess isn’t that much more!"

Bright flames burst from each of her fingers, one of them shooting out the nearby window towards Menilan and the other seemed to glide straight through Mrs. Penwhite’s door. Screams could be heard from within the room as it caught on fire and Sidhe vanished, leaving the others only enough time to race outside of the inn all dressed in their nightclothes.

As they collapsed outside, Mrs. Opanir and her husband also came bursting out, along with several other occupants of the inn. As ‘The Filthy Mallard’ burnt to the ground, no one else seemed to notice that Mrs. Penwhite was missing.

But Samandia, Tierna and Catalina noticed as they stood in the firelight and people rushed about them trying to extinguish the flames. And, on a balcony in the Castle Porzian, a young, blonde princess-to-be stood with her fiancÚ, knowing in her heart that she had no one but Garvin left in all of Arsinuae.

In Fernan, many had gathered outside the Penwhite house, watching as it burnt to the ground. They also knew that no one could have survived it: it had engulfed the house so quickly that there was nothing anyone could do to stop it, they could only stand and stare in wonder. There had been attempts to smother the fire, but it had caused it to only burn stronger than before. "It must be a magical fire," the mayor had muttered under his breath, and Kessah Darvosten, who stood nearby, thought that she might know who was the cause of the deaths of Tomas and Killian Penwhite, even if she didn’t know of the reasoning behind it.


Copyright 2000 M. Lees

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