By Alicia Steen
Arlan Laine walks quietly through the dungeon. Delia’s cell is empty, just as Dnovan said it would be. “Delia,” Arlan calls quietly.
“Here, Arlan.” Delia lands softly in front of him. “So? How does Dnovan wish to play this?”
“He wants you to blow this dungeon to the netherworld,” Arlan replies.
Delia grins. “Can do.”
Dwain and Devin climb through Morcant’s window. “Well, that was fun. Remind me never to do it again,” Dwain comments.
“You know this room has a door,” Morcant says.
“Really? I thought only smart people used those,” Dwain answers. Devin elbows him.
“We had need to come here unseen by the guards,” Devin explains. “House arrest and all. We bear a message from Dnovan. He bid us give you this.”
Dwain hands Morcant the sword Delia found in Jeshrun. Morcant accepts the blade. As he examines it, his eyes grow wide. “This is a magical blade, yet the silver gryphn of Camlon is prominent upon its hilt.”
“Our sister Delia discovered it in Jeshrun,” Dwain tells him.
“Camlon was not always a country who fought against mages,” Devin speaks. “Camlon fought with them. King Uthyr twisted our laws for his own ends, and his son King Certan has chosen to follow in his path.”
“This is what Dnovan would know: as a member of the royal family, what is your choice?” Dwain asks.
Morcant stares at the aged sword. “Sir Dnovan is moving, then.”
“He is,” Devin confirms.
“I spoke with Certan myself, and he would not listen. I could never wish to raise my hand against my uncle, but he is wrong. The claim of the mages is just. I know just how much the untainted mages still do for Camlon, as this last battle should have proven. It is time they were allowed their rightful place in Camlon.” Morcant straightens. “I will stand with Dnovan.”
A female voice speaks from the window. “It is heartening to know we are still accepted here.” The words are punctuated by a loud explosion, followed by the crumbling of stone. Morcant hurries to the window. There, where the former dungeon stood, is nothing but a pile of rubble. Floating not far from the window is Delia, accompanied by Arlan.
“You and Dnovan do not mess around, do you?” Morcant says.
Delia smiles. “There is a reason the Laine family has a reputation, even now. Part of that is we do not fear making ourselves heard when the time is right.”
Dwain speaks up. “Dnovan said to meet at Gail’s place.”
“Okay see you there.” Delia and Arlan fly off.
“Wait!” Dwain calls, but Delia is out of earshot. “We have to climb back down the hard way, don’t we.”
“We have to climb back down,” Devin confirms.
Dwain and Devin sigh loudly.
“I will meet you at the servant Gail’s house. I have some preparations of my own to make,” Morcant tells the brothers as they begin to climb down.”
Dwain nods. “No hurry. After this, it’s Certan’s move anyway.”
“What was that!” Certan shouts.
“The dungeon where Delia was held has been destroyed!” a knight tells him.
“This is Dnovan’s declaration of war,” Khad tells him. “There can be no doubt now. His hand is against you.”
“Then he has already sealed his fate,” King Certan replies.
“Many of the people may side with Sir Dnovan, but most of the knights will remain loyal to you. If you act quickly, you will have them outnumbered before they can gather strength,” Sir Khad advises.
A different voice disagrees. “They will not need numbers.” All look to the door as Sir Elhren steps into the room. “Prince Alexandr Parkr will side with them. Numbers mean nothing to the dragon riders of Gathyra. You saw his prowess with the sword in the tournament. If you meet him in battle he will not withhold his magic as he did then.”
“Indeed, it takes a special warrior to take on a dragon,” Sir Khad agrees.
King Certan considers Sir Khad carefully. “What are you getting at?”
Sir Khad continues, “My king, you know I am from a kingdom that knows neither shadow nor magic. Our warriors are trained to combat both with deadly force. However, to enlist their strength you must first speak with the Lady, and she has not granted me knowledge of her whereabouts.”
King Certan nods. “Have Mernan ready my horse; I ride within the hour. Certainna will know where the Lady Ashrah is.”
Sir Khad leaves, but Sir Elhren remains. “King Certan, are you determined to follow this path?”
“Sir Morcant has committed treason. I must uphold the laws of Camlon.” Seeing Sir Elhren’s grim expression, King Certan adds, “What is it, Elhren?”
“Sire, I served you because I believed you to be a just king, but justice and wisdom have left your house. If you side with Khad and his kind, I will not stand with you.”
King Certan nods slowly. “That is your right.”
“I also bear a message from Morcant. ‘If you pursue this path, you will destroy not only yourself but Camlon as well. Therefore, for both your sake and Camlon’s, I will stand with Dnovan.’”