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Chapter 12

Laurie sat eating the pizza she’d discovered hidden in the back of Davin’s freezer waiting as he contacted the council to see if they had any updates for them. She was personally getting bored with being stuck in the shop, especially if this was food she was going to be stuck eating until Arianna and Logan made it back.
“Well?” the man appeared in the mirror, Davin had explained this was Godwin the member of the council in charge of the mission to retrieve the stones, “Where is Arianna?”
“We consulted with Tor,” Davin explained, “He guided us to the Wizard’s Keep. Arianna has gone there.”
“The stones are in the Keep?” astonishment filled Godwin’s voice, “Why did you not go with her?”
“We decided that I should stay and guard both the rifts,” Davin explained.
Godwin frowned for a second before he nodded, “You must recall her.”
Davin glanced back to Laurie a puzzled expression covering his face, “May I ask why?”
“No,” Godwin told him sharply, “This is an order, Davin. Arianna cannot spend any more time in the keep than she has already. In fact you need to pray that she hasn’t been there too long already.”
Without another word Godwin disappeared, Davin frowned letting out a long sigh.
“I told you he didn’t have people skills,” Davin said as he moved to Laurie.
“Can you call them back?” Laurie asked.
Davin shrugged, “I’ll try but to be honest even if I manage it I’ll bet Arianna tells me no.”
“Against Godwin’s orders?”
“Considering everything she’s learned lately I’ve a feeling the entire council couldn’t get her to do anything right now,” Davin replied.
“So, do we even bother trying?”
Davin nodded, “I’ll try.” He turned back to the mirror he’d been using to talk to Godwin and placed another drop of the liquid in the centre of it. He grimaced and placed one more, “It might need more as the place I’m trying to reach is very magical.”
Laurie nodded but even she could tell that this wasn’t happening, “At least you tried.”
Davin sighed, “I guess so. Okay, let’s go and get back to work.”
Laurie shook her head, “Before that we need some proper food. I have no idea how long that pizza was in your freezer but I think it might have been older than me.”
Davin rolled his eyes at her, “Well it’s not like we can order in with Holston and his cronies sitting outside.”
“Well, you said we can move between here and the club because of the other rift,” she reminded him, “I’ll go there get them to deliver to the club and bring it here.”
Davin nodded, “I’ll get the menus.”

Arianna stared at the man sitting in front of her, “What does this mean?”
“It means that you have a family,” Joseph replied.
“And I’m related to Merlin?” disbelief filled her voice.
“That explains almost everything,” Jeannie’s voice came from behind Arianna only to be hushed by Logan.
“Merlin was your great-great etc uncle,” Joseph explained, “I’m guessing you still don’t believe me.”
“I want to,” Arianna whispered, “I would love to be related to Merlin in some way but my mother always told me that it was just us.”
She stood and dropped the book on the chair, “The Wizard’s Keep plays tricks and I’m not falling for it.”
Without another word she walked out, followed by Logan. Jeannie turned to the man sitting there sadly and shrugged.
“You didn’t exactly break it to her gently,” Jeannie told him, “She’s powerful but she’s not as confident as she should be in herself. She isn’t ready.”
“She has no choice,” Joseph replied, “She has to be or we could lose.”

“Hey,” Logan chased after her, “Ari, hold on.”
She stopped and he realised she was crying, without thought he moved forward and wrapped her in his arms.
“Sorry,” she sniffed, not moving from his arms, “I don’t usually get so emotional over anything.”
“Why not?”
“Peacekeepers don’t get emotional,” she replied with a slight smile, “I know it’s stupid. But my mother always said we had no other family and this guy appears with this story.”
“Did your Mom ever say what happened to your grandparents?” Logan asked.
Arianna shook her head, “No. It wasn’t something I ever asked about because there was never anyone else in our lives. It was me and Mum.”
“Then we move on,” Logan told her, “We keep looking for the stones and once we get out of here you never have to think about this again.”
Arianna looked up at him before she stretched up to kiss him softly, “Once we get out of here.”

Jeannie caught up with them, “So where to now?”
“What do you suggest?” Arianna asked, moving away from Logan.
“Well, what little I know of this place there is a stable to the west,” Jeannie told them, “Or the library.”
“Library?” Logan suggested.
“Why?” Arianna asked him confused.
Logan shrugged, “Well considering everything else about this a library is a place to either get answers or maybe find some clues where we can go.”
“It makes sense,” Jeannie added, “Plus we might find a list of places in the keep we can try.”
Arianna nodded, “Okay. Lead us to the Library.”
Jeannie started along the corridor before stopping and turning, “Sorry. You know how this place messes with your sense of direction. I’m sure it’s this way.”
Arianna slipped her arm through Logan’s as they started walking, “Remember and keep your eyes open for anything unusual.”
“Ari, that fits everything in the place for me,” he reminded her, “You being the top of that list.”
At her teasing smile he squeezed her hand, “Wonderful and interesting is probably the best way to describe you.”
“You should try and work out how I would describe you,” she smiled at him before slipping away from him and moving to catch up with Jeannie.
“So, how was your conversation with our friend in the tower?” she asked the genie.
Jeannie shrugged, “He’s not too happy you decided to walk out but I can understand. It’s a lot to take in.”
“If it’s true,” Arianna noted.
“I can’t tell you it is because I know you don’t believe me,” Jeannie noted, “There’s a reason you’re here, Arianna and it’s not just to do the Council’s dirty work. You’ve already learned how different you are, why is it such a surprise your family is different too.”
“But related to Merlin,” Arianna snorted, “It’s something every sorcerer wants to claim.”
“You forget I know him,” Jeannie said, “He’s brilliant but he’s not the hero your world makes him out to be. He didn’t split the realms to save magic and it’s creatures he did it to save the people he loved. For him it came at a price that he’s been paying for a long time now.”
“So, how many more of Merlin’s descendants are floating around?” Arianna asked sarcastically, “And why not ask one of them to help?”
“Because every child was an only child,” Jeannie shrugged, “Don’t ask me why.”
“I don’t understand why my mother didn’t tell me,” Arianna said, “She never lied to me.”
“Are you sure?”
Anger filled Arianna’s eyes, “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that to tell a child a secret like this is not good thing,” Jeannie replied, “She died when you were fourteen, right?”
“For something like this it’s more than likely you would have been told when you were sixteen,” Jeannie replied, “The so called age of maturity. She had no choice but to protect you from a secret that the council would probably do anything to stop you fulfilling your family obligations.”

The library made all three of them stand and stop, it was massive. Logan looked around in astonishment as he realised that it was actually bigger on the inside than the outside.
“I could spend days in here,” Arianna noted with awe.
“We don’t have the time,” Jeannie reminded them, “I suggest we find the librarian and ask for his help.”
“Will he help us?” Logan asked, “I thought you couldn’t trust anyone in here.”
“His only concern is the library,” Arianna answered, “Nothing else matters to him, including who’s looking for the knowledge.”
“Okay,” Logan nodded, “Good to know.”
Arianna smiled slightly and motioned to Jeannie to lead the way. As they walked behind her Arianna pulled Logan back slightly.
“Remember we don’t trust her completely,” she murmured to him.
“I remember,” he murmured back, “But try and keep the hostility to a minimum until we know if she’s not on our side.”
Arianna rolled her eyes, “I’m being perfectly polite considering.”
They stopped talking as they reached Jeannie who was standing waiting at a counter, once they joined her Jeannie tapped the bell that was sitting there. Logan jumped as a woman stepped forward from nowhere.
“What are you looking for?” the woman asked brusquely.
“We need a list of places within the Keep,” Arianna stated.
“Also any history you have on the Skylar line,” Jeannie jumped in receiving a glare from Arianna.
“List is over there,” the woman told them, “Skylar lineage is restricted knowledge.”
“What?” Arianna asked.
“Skylar lineage has been made restricted to all but those of the lineage,” the librarian told her, “Is there anything else you want?”
Arianna shook her head surprised when Logan stepped forward.
“Any locating spells that would work in the keep,” he said.
“Aisle two hundred and ten,” the librarian told them, “Stacks F to treble H.”
“Thanks,” Logan managed at the thought of trying to find that.
“I’ll go then,” the librarian said.
Arianna took a deep breath as she started away, “Wait.”
“What now?” the woman demanded.
“I need the information on the Skylar line,” Arianna demanded.
The librarian grimaced, “I said already...”
“I know but I have the authority to see it,” Arianna told her, “My name is Arianna Skylar.”
“Hmm, go sit down at the table and I’ll release them,” she told Arianna.

Arianna took her seat motioning Logan over, “Go with Jeannie and find a few spells. She’ll be able to tell you which ones will hopefully help.”
“Should I trust that?”
Arianna nodded, “She wants to find the stones too. If she’s going to betray us it will be once we have them.”
Logan squeezed her shoulder, “If you need me after this...”
“I know,” she whispered, “Go. Or they won’t let me see this.”
As Logan disappeared Arianna let out a long sigh as she felt the sudden emptiness of the cavernous room around her. Finally the librarian appeared again and placed a single piece of paper on the table in front of Arianna. She turned and left.
Arianna grimaced in confusion before she looked down at the piece of paper in front of her; she wasn’t even able to let out a cry as she was suddenly sucked down into the paper before her.

Melinda smiled as her daughter sat before her looking confused, “Hello, sweetheart.”
“I was hoping you would hug me,” Melinda smiled softly at her.
Arianna stood, “Why should I believe this?”
“You know my touch,” Melinda reminded her daughter, “It will give you the proof you need.”
Arianna stood watching as Melinda weaved a gentle spell cage in the air, the same as she would to entertain her daughter when she was young. Nervously Arianna reached out and infused her own magic with it watching in amazement as it entwined the way it only could with her mother.
“Oh by the Gods,” Arianna cried, she threw her arms around her mother hugging her tightly, “Mother, I missed you so much.”
Melinda held her daughter tightly back, enjoying the feeling of being reunited with the child she’d had to leave so many years ago before either of them was ready. Mother and daughter stood locked in the embrace for a long time neither wanting to let go but they both knew that their time would end soon and that they had other business they needed to deal with before that happened.
“Why did you lie to me?” Arianna asked as they parted, “Why did you tell me we had no other family?”
“Our family, Arianna,” Melinda whispered, “Our family is connected to another that want power. Your great, great, great grandmother was the younger sister of Merlin; she was in danger from the son of this same family who was going to try to steal her power. Merlin did the only thing he knew would save her.”
“He split the realms,” Arianna said.
“He hoped that she would be safe but what he had counted on was the fact that these people had friends in the magical world,” Melinda continued her explanation.
“They did something to him?”
Melinda nodded, “They set off a spell at the same time as he started to split the realms. Doing this meant Merlin was thrown away from our world. He is now trapped, only able to enter it at certain points.”
“So, Joseph up in the tower,” Arianna said, “He is my grandfather.”
Melinda nodded, “We never wanted to hurt you but when we took you to the stones for your presentation something happened that has never happened even in the history of our family. All three glowed.”
“I thought that happened to anyone who could do black magic?” she said.
“No,” Melinda shook her head, “For black magic users it’s only two stones that glow. The council went a little insane at this and we were ordered never to tell you because it had to be a mistake and they didn’t want something like this getting out.”
“So they kept me back,” Arianna grimaced.
“You are amazingly powerful,” Melinda told Arianna, “No matter how much they tried not to let you develop the power it has come along with knowledge.”
“So what do I do?” Arianna asked.
“You find the stones,” Melinda told her, “You work with Jeannie, who was sent to you by your great-uncle and with Logan, who I like a lot.”
“Mother,” Arianna cried shocked.
Melinda chuckled, “I never got to tease you about boys, this is my chance.”
“You’re really dead, aren’t you,” Arianna whispered.
Melinda nodded, “But our family are connected in a way that we are with you in this. You will be able to recognise family magic, just trust in yourself.”
Arianna winced as she felt she was about to be pulled back, “I love you.”
“I love you too, my beautiful daughter,” Melinda whispered, “And I believe in you.”

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