The Last Sorceress and the Amulet

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A Night Around the Fire

The next day was a Sunday, and they all went to the park for a picnic.

It was very sunny, so it was perfect weather for a picnic and lots of other family’s had clearly had the same idea.

The was courting couple basking in the sunshine entwined with each other on picnic rugs or park benches. There were lots of families with small children.

Sam had brought a cricket set, and had set it up on the grass and was trying to teach Emma how to hit the ball properly.

Meghan had muttered something about how girls don’t play cricket before straightening her sunglasses and getting some much-needed rest by the empty picnic basket.

Before long, they were joined by a large family who had several children, the oldest of which was a sixteen-year-old girl and looked like she would rather be doing anything but playing cricket in the park.

The father of the family seemed ecstatic and was trying to show one of his sons how to throw a goonie.

‘You’re doing it all wrong,’ Sam chuckled, ‘you’ve got the run-up wrong!’

Sam ran up and hit the ball right on the wicket.

‘How’s that?’ smirked Sam.

The father had given her a round of applause shaking his head slightly.

‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ asked the Mother as Sam helped one of the boys with their bowling.

‘I don’t think so,’ said Sam in her best attempt to be casual.

‘You write those History books!’ she exclaimed, ‘my Dad loves them.’

Sam inclined her head shyly, and the woman let the point drop.

That evening when they got back from the park, they were watching the television. It was Don’t Tell The Bride, which was Meghan’s guilty pleasure show as she liked to laugh at how stupid the grooms were when trying to plan the weddings.

Emma was snuggled up between Meghan and Sam when she felt her necklace calling for her. The amulet was glowing warmly against her chest.

Emma flinched slightly where she was sitting.

‘Um Mum I’ve got to go upstairs,’ said Emma springing up from the sofa.

‘There something wrong Cariad?’ asked Meghan pausing the show.

‘No Mummy I’m fine,’ said Emma hugging her.

‘I’ll call you down in a few hours,’ said Sam winking knowingly.

‘I love you, Mum,’ she whispered hugging Sam.

‘I know,’ she whispered, ‘be safe.’

‘What’s with all the whispering? You two got some kind of secret or something?’ asked Meghan smirking at them.

‘Rule number one of a healthy family,’ said Sam raising a finger, ‘don’t lie to each other.’

‘Then what the Hell are you two whispering about?’

‘I was just telling Mum how silly this show is,’ laughed Emma.

‘Which is why we watch it,’ said Meghan, ‘I like laughing about how stupid everyone is, especially the men.’

‘Is that why there are no men in this family?’ asked Emma, ‘because they’re so stupid?’

Sam smirked and gave Emma a high five not taking her gaze away from the programme.

‘Not all of them Cariad!’ chuckled Meghan, ‘just some of the ones on here are.’

‘I’ll see you guys later,’ said Emma before going up to her room.

She got changed into the red velvet dress one last time and brushed her hair out. Then she got out her book and opened it.

She felt herself being pulled away from her bedroom yet again. They were all still sat around the campfire talking.

‘Right,’ said Owyn, ‘now we’ve got the introductions over with. We need to get to business.’

‘I think we all know that Eirwen and Elthered wouldn’t have come all this way to introduce us to Emma.’

‘We all know what this means,’ agreed Hunith, ‘we have been waiting a long time for this.’

‘It’s time to take back the kingdom,’ said Erik nodding, ‘for the saviour has come.’

‘I’ve never saved anything,’ muttered Emma, ‘it’s so much pressure, I can’t be the saviour.’

Owyn put his arm around her.

‘Emma dear sweet child,’ said Owyn, ‘you are not going to have to do this alone.’

‘I’m not even all that powerful,’ said Emma as she tried not to cry, ‘I can hardly control my powers, you’ve all been training for years.’

‘You don’t have to defeat Gryffyn on your own,’ said Elthered, ‘your job is to unite us all against him.’

‘Then why do you need me?’ asked Emma.

‘You are a sign,’ explained Hunith, ‘with you, we are assured to succeed.’

‘And what if we don’t succeed?’ trembled Evae.

‘Then we go down in one last blaze of glory!’ exclaimed Tim punching his fist in the air.

‘For death or glory!’ yelled Powyn.

‘For Aeolgoyryn!’ yelled Eirwen to the sounds of great cheers.

After this, they all broke off into groups. Elthered was polishing his sword, Erik and Stefan were sharpening their arrows, Eirwen and Powyn were snuggled up next to each other by the fire gazing into each other’s eyes. Tim was making Ashan and Oshan laugh by telling them a story from his youth.

Awyss and Evae were carefully braiding Hazel’s long hair into intricate little plaits. They had already braided Awyss and Evae’s hair and Emma sat down next to them.

‘Why are you all doing your hair in such tiny plaits?’

‘It’s a tradition,’ explained Hunith, ‘the women braid each other’s hair for luck and bravery.’

‘Also when you undo the braids in the morning it looks so cool,’ said Awyss as she finished the last of Hazel’s braids.

‘Why aren’t you doing Hunith’s hair as well then?’ asked Emma.

Hunith had already fallen asleep resting her head on Stefan’s shoulder.

‘She’s not going to be fighting,’ said Hazel.

‘It’s a stupid tradition,’ muttered Eirwen.

‘Don’t scoff Eirwen,’ smirked Evae, ‘you’re next!’

‘Moons and stars no!’ protested Eirwen looking completely aghast.

‘Come on Eirwen,’ said Powyn, ‘if we win this thing you’re going to be Queen someday. If your subjects have the patience to sit and have their hair braided for an ancient custom shouldn’t you?’

‘Fine,’ said Eirwen glaring at Powyn, ‘but if you make fun of my ridiculous hair tomorrow, I’ll slay you!’

After Eirwen had her hair braided, it was Emma’s turn. It was actually quite therapeutic having Awyss and Evae braid her hair.

Emma’s hair only fell a few inches beneath her shoulders. Her mousy brown hair was usually dead straight and fly away. But when her friends did her hair, it wasn’t that she felt beautiful, more surrounded by friends and love.

After they finished braiding all the girl’s hair the fire was dying out. Everyone was getting out their mattresses. Eirwen and Powyn were snuggled next to each other, and Owyn had put his mattress near their so he could keep an eye on them. Elthered, Tim, Erik and Stefan were talking over old times in one corner of the cave.

Emma wasn’t quite sure where to go though, she usually bunked in with Eirwen, but Eirwen seemed to be quite busy with Powyn.

Ashan, Oshan and Awyss seemed to have pushed their three mattresses together, and even though it was getting quite late Ashan and Oshan were still full of energy.

‘And then Tim sent a stream of fireballs at them,’ Ashan told Awyss, ‘and then.’

‘Boom!’ they yelled together.

‘Tim saved Aeolgoyryn from the northern invaders,’ finished Oshan.

‘Will you two idiots shut up and budge up,’ said Awyss throwing a pillow at her twin brothers.

‘’We need to make space for Emma.’

Ashan and Oshan gave her identical grins and budged up.

‘Thanks, Awyss,’ laughed Emma as Awyss threw her a pillow.

Emma noticed how close Ashan, Oshan and Awyss were. They joked with each other, and Ashan and Oshan were so protective of Awyss. They had been through so much together, but the loss of their parents seemed to make the siblings closer.

Emma fell asleep next to Awyss watching the last of the embers die in the fire, and thought that this was what it must be like to have brothers and sisters.

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