MIRACLES AND HIDDEN MESSAGES
I woke up earlier than expected, the rebel clinic must have some kind of potions or magic that can take away someone’s exhaustion and fatigue much faster than normal.
I ran out of my bedroom—the clinic was already full if I remember correctly— and tried to find uncle Sneg. I found him inside a very small library. I told him about the dream and that my grandfather wasn’t only Thomas, it was his brother Edwyrd too—which was the grandfather Fredrick that I have known. My ancestry is more complicated than I expected it to be.
He stroked his beard, “That is complicated. But that also explains why you look more like Edwyrd than Thomas, I thought it was just because of what your human friends call genetics.”
“But if I look more like Edwyrd, why did people like you and Archdruid Triandal assume that Thomas is my biological grandfather?”
“Based on what you just told me, Archdruid Triandal must have known about the ritual. It makes sense since he is also well-versed in arts of dark magic like you grandfather Edwyrd. I, on the other hand, sensed a similarity between your soul and Thomas’s, but it never occurred to me that Edwyrd is your biological grandfather.” The old troll scratched his head, “We believed that Edwyrd was the one who died and Thomas ‘fled' the elven world, not the other way around.”
“They do look a bit alike. Maybe Archdruid Triandal switched their places. The question is, for what purpose did he do that for?”
“Influence,” he stood up from his chair. His body looks frail but looks can be deceiving, I witnessed a bit of his power and it was enough to send shivers up my spine, “Edwyrd was never the people’s favorite, it was Thomas, the more sociable of the two. But that didn’t become a problem to both of them, they still admire each other. Edwyrd admired Thomas’s charisma and Thomas admired his brother’s skill with the bow and affinity with magic, Edwyrd appeared to understand and learn magic better than his brother.”
He sighed, “But power does not make you the people’s favorite. Thomas has more influence over the people and that influence became stronger as he became the betrothed of Glinda the fair, the most powerful sorceress in Faernwood and the daughter of Vesstan of the noble house of Elydionus, the descendants of the bird-folks that they were talking about in your dreams.”
“Wait, does that make me the heir of that noble house of Ely—Elydinos or something?”
“Of course not you silly buffoon. The house of Elydionus has a current head named Gilandril, which is Glinda’s nephew and the son of Glinda’s older brother Gilandor, the heir of that noble house back then.”
“Those names sound a bit weird.”
“They do,” uncle Sneg agreed, “in fact all elves have stinky names.”
I left uncle Sneg back to what he was doing before I interrupted him.
I met Ronald along with the others. As usual, Ronald has his flask in his hand in case he wants to drink. I wonder if clurichauns were created that way or they were once leprechauns that were cursed by some evil witch to become alcoholic.
I noticed another familiar face in the group. Gurstil is already awake and is holding his cool magical shield with futuristic technology. I noticed that it is a bit different than it used to be.
“Noticed the shield aye lad?” He raised his shield so I could take a better look at it, “I made some improvements on it. I wouldn’t want to be nearly killed by a goblin again, that is extremely embarrassing.” He laughed and Darcy smiled.
“I’m sorry about your father.” I felt a pang of guilt as I remember what happened to Rupnert.
His expression turned sad for a moment but smiled again and pat me on the shoulders, “Don’t worry about. He chose that path. We all have to make our choices don’t we? We just have to make sure that we won’t make the same mistake as he did.”
“He’s right,” Darcy put her hand on my shoulder, “we need to keep moving forward for the future of the elven realm.”
“Yes, we should make that Triandal pay for all his crimes.” Gwydion joined in the conversation.
I also noticed Rosemary looking at me, I never saw her look at me before.
“I guess I should thank you for saving me.” She said while trying to act a bit disinterested.
“Anytime, we’re a team after all.” I told her.
“Now that you are finished with your happy reunion,” Ronald took a sip from his drink, “maybe we can get to business now.”
“Oh Ronald, don’t try to pretend that you don’t care. We know that you also missed us, you are just trying to hide that soft spot inside you by acting as an alcoholic bad boy.” Gurstil teased him.
“I’m not trying to act as an alcoholic bad boy. I’m a clurichaun and that’s what we do, drink alcohol.” Ronald replied with a bit of irritation.
Darcy saw Ronald’s irritation and made it worse, “But clurichauns aren’t bad boys, they are supposed to be mischievous and childlike.”
“Why don’t you be like Aeronwen? Serious about things that needs to be taken seriously.” Ronald told her.
“Oh come on, she’s not that serious.” Darcy argued, “She is also having fun sometimes and she doesn’t try to hide it unlike you.”
“Talking about Aeronwen, where is she?” I cut their argument before it escalates further.
“Maybe she is still with her family?” Gwydion suggested, “I mean we are going to war, she might as well cherish the time she has with them because you never know what might happen.”
“I just slept for a day and you became a philosopher now Gwydion?” Gurstil mocked him, “I never thought that people can change that much in a day.”
“I’ll see you later.” I headed for the room where Aeronwen’s family is staying.
I opened the door to Aeronwen’s headquarters.
It is it freezing cold here. I saw Aeronwen putting more wood in the small fireplace. Her mother, Arawyn is tending to Meriel. She put a damp cloth on the pale girl’s forehead. The curse inside her appears to be getting stronger every day that goes by, instead of getting weaker. Tears are rolling down Arawyn’s cheeks.
Aeronwen saw me and got up, “Oh hey, I never thought that you would get up early. The exhaustion from casting many spells should prevent you from waking up for at least a day.”
“The doctors must have put some magical ointments or something in me.” I glanced over to Meriel then back at Aeronwen, “The curse, I have more questions.”
“Well, I don’t really know anything more than I have already told you.” She looked at Meriel lying on her bed, having a difficulty to breath, “Shouldn’t you focus at the upcoming battle first? You’re stressing yourself too much you should conserve your energy. You have passed out from magic exhaustion just hours ago.”
“You can just help me find the cure after the war has ended.”
“No,” I shook my head, “I don’t think that all of us can still come home after the war. We might end up dying there so I think it is better if we fix this now than never.”
“Come on, isn’t that too much of negative thinking?” She chuckles, “Sorry but being a drama king is just not your type.”
I remained serious and she sighed, “But how are you supposed to cure her? I mean, how can you find a cure in just a small amount of time?”
“I already did,” I smiled a bit, “I learned the spell that can cure any disease or curse.”
“You mean the one that you used on the poisoned soldiers?”
“Yes, it destroys all impurities inside the body. But it do come with some—problem.” I almost thought that everything is going to turn out fine until I remembered the side effect of the spell. Sure I mastered it but this case is different, this is a more complicated curse that must have been used by an experienced witch and not just some stupid goblin shaman.
“What problem?” I can see that Aeronwen became nervous too when she heard me talking about a problem.
I explained to both of them about the effects of the simplified version of the Catharsis spell and what might happen in case I fail. They appear to have lost all hope left in them and I felt guilty for taking that hope away.
“So you’re telling us that she might die?” Arawyn asked with a voice that sounds like she might burst into tears anytime.
“Is that really the only way?” Aeronwen tried to keep her composure.
“I searched the whole book and that’s the only thing I found, but I could try reading it again to find any alternatives.”
An idea came into my mind, “No, we don’t need to cast the spell on her and I doubt the spell would really heal her. She isn’t the one who was cursed, the curse was only passed unto her.”
“What do you mean?” Aeronwen asked me.
“We need to purify the one who was cursed with dark magic—Eradywyn Trishorn himself.”
“But his body was burned with his castle a long time ago. How are we supposed to find his body with the amount of time we have? And even if we do have time I doubt that we can find it.”
“I have read about something. It says that in order for a curse to keep affecting the descendants of the one that was cursed, some witches also curses an object of sentimental value to the victim.” I explained to them, “You must be keeping something that was once a very valuable object to Eradywyn.”
Aeronwen looked at her necklace, “This necklace has been passed down our family for generations, and we are the only ones left of this house since all the others either died of the curse or tried to find a cure for their family but never came back. It symbolizes the house of Trishorn—or at least the remnants of its past glory. This must be that curse thing you were talking about.”
She handed me her necklace. I looked at it for a moment and used my magical sensing ability. It has some sort of magic in it but no traces of any curse on it.
I shook my head and gave it back to her, “No, it’s not it. It doesn’t contain dark magic, much less a curse.”
“But this is all I can think of.”
“There is another family heirloom,” Arawyn pulled a small wooden chest underneath her bed.
She opened the chest and revealed something that looks to valuable to be put in an old wooden chest. A shining horn of a ram made of silver. I felt filthy black magic emanating from it. It must be the thing that was cursed by the witch. It looks beautifully crafted yet it also gives me a feeling of—decay. It feels like my soul is getting weaker just by looking at it.
“This horn was the greatest weapon used by the house of Trishorn and one of the reasons why that noble house rose to power.” She put the horn in my hands, “Ironically, based on what you just told us, it is also what caused our once noble house’s downfall.”
“This is it.” I concentrated started to purify the cursed horn.
It gave me the usual feeling I get when I cast the purifying spell. A bit of resistance between my spell and the dark magic. It appears to be working until the curse inside the horn stopped resisting my magic which made me really confused. My magic was flowing out of my body freely into the horn, and then I realized that I couldn’t stop it. It’s sucking the magic out of me!
The tables have turned, I am now the one who’s is resisting the process. The cursed horn keeps absorbing all of my magic. My body starts to tremble, continuously sweating and becoming weaker every minute. Pain surged inside my body and I screamed in pain, dropping the horn.
“What’s happening?” Aeronwen yelled to my ears but I couldn’t hear her, I couldn’t even hear myself screaming.
My vision became blurry and my surroundings looked like they became jellified or something. Meet me in the cave of the shivering specter before the dawn of the winter solstice, the trials of the ascension shall decide the fate of the Dawnborn. A soft female voice whispered to my ear.
Aeronwen shook me until I my consciousness came back. My body feels drained out of energy but I can see very clearly now. I tried to move my head to look around. Arawyn is standing beside Meriel with an expression of joy in her face. Her expression confused me then I realized the reason of her happiness. The paleness of Meriel’s is nowhere to be seen now. She looks stronger and much alive, like a child who just woke up from a good night’s sleep.
I turned and saw the smile on Aeronwen’s face. She rushed beside her sister to hug her. The once depressing family is now full of joy. The sight of seeing them happy made me forget what happened just moments ago, including the extremely sharp pain that I have felt while casting the spell.
Talking about what happened, what just happened? Whose voice did I just hear? I tried to shake the thought out of my head for now. I failed an attempt to stand up and fell back on the ground. Aeronwen heard the sound of me falling and helped me up.
“I’m sorry I forgot that you just passed out minutes ago,” a tear rolled down her cheek, “it’s just that I never thought this would happen.”
She hugged me tightly, “Thank you so much. I don’t think I could ever repay you, you already done so much for me.”
I pat her on the back, “I promised that I will help you, I just kept my word.”
Meriel tried to stand up while Arawyn supported her. She was shaking at first but now she can walk without any difficulties. It seemed like she didn’t have a curse just minutes ago. She walked towards me and smiled, “Thank you.”
“Sure thing.” I smiled back.
Then there was a knock on the door. Gwydion poked his face inside, “Sorry to interrupt but uncle Sneg is calling for all of us now.”