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Chapter 14

The wind whispered through the trees in the forest as she sat in the sun waiting. She knew that the time for her exile would soon be over but before that could happen she had to hope that her descendent could complete the circle and remove the threat.
She missed her love and her child but her brother had done the only thing he knew how to protect her from the man who wanted the power she possessed. She wondered if he ever realised that she didn’t even know how to use it, that as powerful as she apparently was she had never been able to use it.
The only magic she could do was what her brother had gifted her with, her mirror to be able to follow her family so she could see the gifts they had. To see the children that had come from the love she and her husband had shared was wonderful but knowing that there was always this cloud hanging over their head saddened her.
She hoped that it would end soon. That she could leave her prison and return to her family.

“Wow, this place stinks,” Logan choked out as they walked through the large doors.
“Stables usually imply livestock of some kind,” Jeannie reminded him, “Which usually implies not very nice smells.”
Logan rolled his eyes at her but didn’t say anything as they started clearing a space in the centre of the room. Arianna pulled out a piece of chalk from her backpack and started drawing the symbols on the ground for her location spell.
“I thought that your magic didn’t need anything like this,” Logan said as he watched her, “I thought this was red magic.”
“Normally yes,” Arianna replied, “But because of what the stones are I need a way to focus the energies as I’m trying to find them.”
“Okay, that makes sense,” Logan replied.
“Really?” Jeannie asked from behind him.
Logan turned and shook his head making her laugh. They watched Arianna finish the layout for the spell and motioned them to stand in the centre.
“Once I release the spell it will send you to the stones,” Arianna told them, “Be careful and get them. Once you have them you need to get back to the circle you arrived in which will bring back here.”
Logan and Jeannie nodded, they stepped into the circle Arianna had drawn looking a little nervous.
“You better hold hands and hold on tight,” Arianna told them, “Just in case.”
“Now I’m worrying,” Logan winced.
“I could always wrap my arms around your waist,” Jeannie smiled at him.
“Take my hand,” he told her.
Jeannie shared an amused smile with Arianna and took Logan’s hand gently fanning herself cheekily.
“Okay,” Arianna said, “here goes.”
Closing her eyes she started the incantation and the light surrounded them, when Arianna released the spell light filled the room. When it faded she was alone in the room.
“Be safe,” she murmured before she pulled the book out of her bag and taking a deep breath she opened it to the page Joseph had told her to.

Arianna opened her eyes looking around at the trees in surprise, this was beautiful.
Arianna spun in astonishment that she hadn’t realised she wasn’t alone. She stared at the woman before her easily seeing the resemblance to her mother in the face.
“You would be my great-grandmother,” Arianna noted, “With a few more greats on the beginning.”
“Yes,” she laughed, “I’m Ilea. You are so beautiful, Arianna. Just so beautiful.”
Arianna couldn’t stop her smile at the warmth and affection coming from the woman, to her surprise Arianna stepped forward and hugged the other woman. Ilea gently kissed her cheek before stepping back.
“Come,” Ilea said, “We need to talk.”
Arianna nodded, “Oh yes, we definitely need to talk about a lot.”
They walked towards Ilea’s small home in the middle of the clearing. Arianna couldn’t quite work out what was so off about this place as she took the seat she was offered. Ilea disappeared into her home leaving Arianna sitting contemplating this strange world around her. As she sat and listened she suddenly realised that there was no bird song, no animal noises in fact there was barely even a breeze to rustle the leaves on the trees.
“It’s too quiet,” Ilea said as she set a tray on the table in front of Arianna, “I know. I’ve spent a long time here and it is one thing that I constantly want to change about it. But there is a reason for that also.”
“Apparently in this family there are reasons for almost everything,” Arianna noted with slight sarcasm, “In fact I was told someone would finally explain why I was lied to all these years about my magical ability.”
“No one lied to you about your magical abilities,” Ilea told her, “You just let them hold you back.”
“What does that mean?”
“Arianna,” Ilea shook her head, “When you were told you weren’t able to do something you believed them. But you always knew you could so why did you let them stop you?”
Arianna swallowed nervously, her eyes dropping to her lap in shame.
“I always felt they knew better,” she confessed, “Ilea, my mother died when I was fourteen and I used to wonder what was so important that she had to leave me. Somehow it turned into the fact that I wasn’t as important as the rest of her life.”
Ilea reached out and gently brushed her grand-daughter’s cheek, “The day your mother died was the day she was making sure you were safe. Do you know anything about your father?”
Ilea looked a little shocked at the short sharp answer to that question. As with everything to do with her family Ilea knew the full story and was surprised that Arianna actually didn’t.
“My mother promised she would explain when I was older and then she didn’t,” Arianna explained, “Though I doubt her intention.”
“Your father,” Ilea said, “Was a wonderful man who loved your mother without reservation but he was unable to stay with her.”
“Why?” Arianna demanded, tearing up despite trying not to, “Was it because of me?”
“No,” Ilea assured her, “Your father was so happy when he learned of your mother’s pregnancy.”
“Then why?”
“Because your father isn’t completely human,” Ilea told her.
Arianna stared at her for a few moments before she shook her head, “What do you mean?”
Ilea chuckled slightly, “Grey was originally a dragon.”
“I’m sorry?”
“Grey was a golden dragon,” Ilea explained, “Have you ever learned about them?”
“Golden dragons are a myth,” Arianna said, “Even Tor, who is a dragon, told me this.”
Ilea shook her head, “Golden dragons are so rare that the dragons themselves keep their existence a secret, their ability to switch between the two forms is a magic that some may try to exploit. Including the man who is after you now for the power of our family.”
“So now I have two sets of powers that a man I have known and trusted for years is after?” Arianna demanded, “Why has he never come after me for it when I was in his care? He was one of my teachers.”
“Because you weren’t ready,” Ilea explained, “Think about it, Arianna. Until the moment that you can access the powers granted to you by our family then you were of no real use to him.”
“Why send me after the stones?”
“So you could get the power in a setting he believed he could control,” Ilea smiled slightly, “He just didn’t count on your independence. He had no way to know you would take the decision to talk to Tor or come here without telling him.”
Arianna sat in silence for several minutes simply sipping the tea that Ilea had made for her as she thought over everything she had just been told. As she thought about she realised it could actually be true. Finally she looked back up at Ilea.
“Is my father alive?” she asked.
Ilea nodded, “As far as I know, yes he is. Your mother sacrificed her life for both of you and he is safe.”
“Then I’m half-dragon?”
Ilea chuckled that this was just occurring to the young woman before her, “Technically yes, he was in human form when he and your mother were together.”
“That’s good to know,” Arianna suddenly chuckled, “The women of this family do sort of go for the most unusual men.”
“Ah yes,” Ilea smiled at her granddaughter, “Your friend Logan. I must admit I like him. Very good looking and I’m guessing a good kisser from the way you smile every time he does it.”
“He’s just a friend,” Arianna protested.
Ilea chuckled at the embarrassed flush of Arianna’s cheeks. She knew that Arianna couldn’t stay here for too long but it was nice to have the company for now. Ilea wanted to finish this nasty business so she could be reunited with her family finally.

Ilea brought out her mirror and set in place of the tray, she motioned Arianna to look into the reflective surface before she gently touched the mirror and with a soft movement of her finger activated the communication to her brother.
As his face appeared before them Arianna stared at the kind face that was looking back at them. He smiled at the two women who were looking back at them.
“Ilea,” Merlin greeted her fondly, “And Arianna. It’s wonderful to finally meet you face to face. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to talk to you directly before now.”
“Really?” Arianna replied, “I thought you might be avoiding me considering I’m on some insane quest you seem to have started.”
Merlin chuckled, “She has your knack for speaking her mind, doesn’t she?”
“I think you should look in the mirror before you start making smart remarks,” Ilea retorted.
Arianna watched a little bemused, as an only child she didn’t have a sibling to argue and tease so was a bit surprised to see them do this. They seemed to be trying to put her at ease also, Arianna decided as she pressed her lips together in thought.
“Tell me something,” Arianna said interrupting them before they started calling each other names, “Why did you send me Jeannie? That’s the part that doesn’t make sense.”
“Jeannie’s sister is dangerous but if you had to worry about her as well as everything else I was worried it would spread you too thin,” Merlin told her, “So, I brought in someone I trusted to help you.”
“I guess that makes sense.”
“And she has been helpful, hasn’t she?” Merlin asked.
“I suppose you can say that,” Arianna conceded, “Besides I couldn’t have left Logan alone to find the stones.”
Merlin nodded, “Your friend is the unknown factor in this. Logan is a non-magic entity who has been brought in by you which has thrown them because they can’t find him.”
Arianna frowned, “What do you mean they can’t find him? Holston did.”
“No, they traced the residue of magic left in him from the healing of the blue stone,” Merlin explained, “That’s disappeared and he is now invisible to them.”
Arianna bit her lower lip for a second before nodding, “That’s actually a relief.”
“Merlin,” Ilea cut in, “Arianna will have to leave soon. We need to tell her what happens next.”
Merlin nodded, “Alright, Arianna. You need to listen to what we’re about to tell you because once you leave here you won’t be able to contact us until this is done.”

Logan ran, following Jeannie through the corridors wondering where they were going as she took twists and turns seemingly at random. He hoped Arianna was alright as she seemed worried about her next meeting.
“Come on,” Jeannie called back to him, “We need to find these fast.”
“I’m right behind you,” he called back, “Why the rush?”
Jeannie grimaced, “I’ve just got a bad feeling about this place.”
Logan nodded, he’d learned very quickly over the past few days that if either Arianna or Jeannie got a bad feeling then it was probably a good idea to listen to them. If anyone had told him a week ago he’d be running through mazes looking for magic stones he’d have laughed in their faces. Mostly because he was in a wheelchair at the time and magic was right up there in the list of things he didn’t believe in.
“Where to now?” he asked.
“We only have a few more feet to go then we’re there,” she explained, “Then you make a wish.”
“I’ve a feeling that we won’t get back to where we need to be with the stones,” Jeannie explained as they continued to walk fast along the corridor, “If you wish us back there I can move us and the stones without a problem.”
Logan nodded again. He still wasn’t too sure about making wishes to help Jeannie perform magic but Arianna did seem to trust her now so he had to.

Jeannie let out a long breath as she stared at the two stones sitting on the small table before them. As she reached the stones she felt a strange hum in the air.
“Logan,” she said, “Stay where you are.”
“What’s wrong?”
“The room is filled with magic,” she explained, “I don’t think I can take the stones.”
“So what do we do?” he demanded, “The whole point of coming here is to get them.”
Jeannie shook her head as she thought; she suddenly began to wish that Arianna was here as she seemed to have an instinct on what to do with this. Jeannie had spent far too much time taking orders and helping with what others wanted so giving orders was not something she was used to.
“Okay,” Logan spoke up, “There is magic in the room, what exactly does that mean for us?”
“It means I can’t take the stones,” Jeannie explained.
“What about me?”
“What about you?”
“Could I take them?” Logan clarifies.
Jeannie frowned in confusion before she nodded, “I think so.”
Logan took a deep breath and stepped forward into the room. Jeannie clenched her fists knowing that if anything happened to him Arianna would kill her but she knew there was no other way that she could get the stones.
She just hoped she didn’t get him killed.

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