The Last Sorceress and the Amulet

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Spies!

Emma followed Eirwen down the narrow tunnel that was lit by dozens of torches on the wall. The three horses made loud clip-clop noises with their hooves as they all walked down the tunnel.

It was a seemingly endless and winding tunnel. Emma felt as if they had been walking down the path for hours, when finally, Eirwen stopped outside a large wooden door.

Eirwen knocked rhythmically on the door.

The door was opened a fraction of an inch and a pair of eyes dark blue eyes peered through the gap curiously.

‘Eirwen?’ whispered a voice hesitantly in case his eyes were deceiving him.

‘Hello Powyn,’ chuckled Eirwen, ‘it’s me.’

‘Eirwen!’ he exclaimed throwing the door wide open.

A young wizard who didn’t look any more than eighteen and had jet black hair came running out into the tunnel and gave Eirwen a huge hug. He was fairly tall, but he was still half a foot shorter than Eirwen as Eirwen was half-elven.

‘Ye Gods I’ve missed you,’ he said kissing Eirwen lightly on the lips.

‘I’ve missed you too Powyn,’ laughed Eirwen.

Emma was staring at Eirwen and Powyn as they embraced each other, Emma’s mouth hanging wide open like a goldfish.

Elthered was laughing heartily at Emma’s expression.

‘Eirwen dear,’ chuckled Elthered, ‘I think you’ve got some introductions to make.’

‘Oh of course,’ laughed Eirwen putting her arm around Powyn.

‘Emma, this is my betrothed, Powyn. We have been friends since we were small.’

‘If all is right in the world,’ beamed Powyn, ‘someday, we shall rule Aeolgoyryn together side by side and restore the kingdom to the happy place it was once.’

‘I would marry you now without your crown if you would let me,’ said Powyn holding Eirwen’s hands, ‘but you’ve always put the kingdom’s happiness ahead of your own.’

‘That blessed day might be sooner than you think Powyn,’ said Eirwen drawing her gaze away from his eyes.

‘This is Emma,’ she said indicating her.

‘Hello Emma,’ said Powyn beaming and shaking Emma’s hand, ‘it’s a pleasure to meet you.’

‘What’s this got to do with Gryffyn though?’ Powyn asked Elthered.

‘Emma is the one we have been waiting for,’ said Elthered, ‘the girl from.’

‘Hunith’s prophecy!’ breathed Powyn his eyes lighting up.

‘The saviour?’ he asked looking at Eirwen.

Eirwen nodded her head enthusiastically.

‘I just can’t believe it,’ stammered Powyn, ‘wait until the others hear!’

They went through the wooden door, and Powyn was talking at a mile a minute.

‘So you what’s your powers then?’ asked Powyn.

‘Um I don’t know,’ muttered Emma, ‘fire and water come out of my fingertips. I’ve been practising.’

‘Two elemental powers?’ asked Powyn.

‘But that’s amazing, most people only have one!’

‘What powers do the others have?’ asked Emma.

‘A bit of everything really,’ said Powyn, ‘Hunith can tell the future, she’s the eldest. Hunith’s a hundred and fifty!’

‘That is so cool,’ beamed Emma.

‘What can you do?’

‘Nothing much,’ shrugged Powyn, ‘I can control the wind.’

‘It’s still really useful Powyn,’ assured Eirwen.

‘You have to say that Eirwen,’ chuckled Powyn, ‘you love me!’

They had reached the end of the second passage, and a dozen horses were grazing on straw. They left Andromeda, Acorn and Galahad with the other horses, and Powyn went through another wooden door, this one slightly larger than the last.

Powyn opened the door and told the others to wait for him outside for a moment.

It was a large room like a chamber, but it was clearly carved into the mountain. It was made out of stone, and torches were burning in braziers on the walls.

It looked like they had been living here a long time, there were twelve mattresses spread out throughout the room, and there was a large cauldron bubbling over a huge campfire which seemed to be the centre of the room.

Including Powyn, there was eight wizards and four sorceresses. Most of them either looked very young, late teens at most, or ancient and at least a hundred years old. She supposed that these were the magic wielders who were either too young or too old to take part in the failed attempt to defeat Gryffyn a year ago.

Three of them had flaming red hair, and they looked they couldn’t be any more than fifteen or so. They looked related, the two boys were identical. Most of the Wizards and Sorceresses were wearing robes or dresses with cloaks. But these three, two boys and a girl were wearing outfits similar to Eirwen’s long-sleeved white shirts and trousers. But their trousers unlike Eirwen’s were made of what looked like bright purple leather.

The two boys were chatting excitedly to each other leaning against the wall, they looked like they might be twins. The girl was younger and had hair just as red as the two boys but waist length. The girl didn’t look much older than Emma, ten or eleven at most and was humming to herself as she braided her long hair.

One of the wizards was middle-aged. He had jet black hair and was quite tall, but his most distinguishable feature was the burns covering his body. Burns, from the dragon fire. He was gazing into the fire sullenly watching the flames.

‘We’ve got company!’ said Powyn calling out to the others.

‘Of course, we’ve got company you dolt,’ smirked one of the young wizards with bright red hair.

‘Otherwise, why would you have gone to answer the door!’

‘We presume it’s not the Black Knights,’ said his brother with equally red hair, ‘because if it was you wouldn’t be grinning like a madman, and also you’d be dead.’

‘It’s me you idiots,’ laughed Eirwen coming into the room.

‘Eirwen!’ exclaimed the two boys getting up to hug their friend.

‘Ashan, Oshan,’ said Elthered nodding towards the two redhead wizards in turn, ‘glad to know you two haven’t changed!’

‘As if we would,’ said Ashan and Oshan simultaneously.

‘Good to see you too Elthered,’ laughed Ashan as they both hugged Elthered as well.

‘Hello Awyss,’ said Eirwen smiling at the younger girl with the red hair.

‘Hello Eirwen,’ sang Awyss dreamily not looking away from plaiting her hair.

‘Why have you let a stranger into our shelter Powyn?’ asked the surly wizard with the burns looking away from the fire and looking directly at Emma who had been standing in the shadows.

Oshan and Ashan spotted Emma who they hadn’t seen before and ran to go and protect their younger sister.

‘What are you talking about?’ asked Powyn smiling evasively.

‘Don’t try and deceive me Powyn,’ said the wizard standing up and showing his full height.

‘Now who is the girl? And why have you brought her here.’

‘She’s friends with Eirwen,’ stammered Powyn cowering under the older and taller wizards gaze, ‘she’s not going to hurt anyone. She’s just a child.’

‘Children can be used as spies you idiot,’ snapped the wizard, ‘she could work for Gryffyn or the Black Knights!’

‘Are you so blinded by love that you can’t see what’s in front of you!’

‘I’m sorry Father,’ muttered Powyn, ‘I didn’t think…’

‘That is clear,’ he said abruptly.

Emma looked between Powyn and the older wizard. So, this was Powyn’s father! She supposed that if the older man’s face hadn’t been disfigured with burn marks, she might have been able to tell earlier.

‘Owyn,’ sighed Elthered, ‘be reasonable. Emma is not a spy.’

‘Why should I believe you?’ asked Owyn glaring at Elthered.

‘Maybe she’s deceived the two of you as well. She looks capable.’

‘Owyn,’ said Elthered, ‘she’s just a child! She’s innocent!’

‘Which makes her the perfect spy!’ yelled Owyn.

‘Or maybe,’ said Owyn in an ominous tone, ‘you two have made a deal with Gryffyn. This girl helps you turn us all into the Black Knights, and then he lets you two escape Aeolgoyryn forever.’

‘How dare you!’ screamed Eirwen pulling out a sword and pointing it at Owyn’s chest.

Owyn glared at her and got ready to cast a spell at Emma.

Emma’s fingers began to shoot sparks of magic out of fear. Sparks of fire and tiny drops of water came out of her fingers.

‘Eirwen! Father! No!’ said Powyn trying to stand between Owyn and Eirwen.

Owyn and Eirwen were now glaring at each other walking in a circle, both poised to attack.

All the wizards and sorceresses in the room were watching Owyn and Eirwen circling each other in equal parts fear and amazement. Oshan and Ashan were holding Awyss protectively.

‘This doesn’t concern you Powyn,’ seethed Owyn, ‘I’ll deal with you later.’

‘Owyn please calm down!’ said one of the wizards getting up, ‘be reasonable!’

‘Reasonable!’ yelled Owyn. ‘Erik they’ve sent this child to finish us all off!’

‘Owyn,’ said Erik calmy, ‘she’s a sorceress.’

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