Satisfied that the current crisis had passed, Tindolen left the great hall and headed back to his shop. Likewise, Iriel, James, Molin, Brashani, and Daniel resumed their duties guarding the Aglari. Evan, on the other hand, lingered to watch Daniel. Almost as soon as he had been instructed to block the Elf-gem’s voice, Daniel’s composure seemed to be restored, from what Evan could tell. The lad went back to the corner of the room, sat down, and closed his eyes once more.
Is that the effect of blocking the gem’s voice? Evan assumed it was, but he would have preferred to know for certain.
The sound of footsteps behind him intruded on Evan’s thoughts and he spun around. Several of the local townsfolk had entered the great hall. Evan relaxed and realized he had been staring intensely at Daniel; he blushed a little at the notion.
Evan looked about the room. Where’s Tindolen? Looks like he left. He stepped out of the great hall, walked over to the Inn’s main entrance, and pushed the double doors open. To his surprise, the priest found Tindolen waiting for him by the hitching post.
“Such unpleasantness,” said Tindolen, as he motioned back toward the Grey Horse. “This is no way for us to renew our friendship, is it?”
Evan shook his head. “No, it’s not.” He paused. “I’m sorry about my outburst earlier too.”
“Think nothing of it, my boy. It is hard to understand the workings of a prophecy. I doubt Amelidel fully understands it himself.”
“But I am amazed,” said Evan.
“Oh? How so?” the elf asked and tilted his head to one side.
“Because if Daniel can talk to your gem, then I suppose he’s the one who will locate the other Elf-gems. I wouldn’t have guessed he’d be the one. And it happened just as you said it would. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Tindolen smiled. “Well, not everything is predestined: don’t make that mistake. As I said before, events are being guided toward the prophecy’s fulfillment, but individuals still control their own actions. Daniel still has free will; he may be the one to locate the Aglaril, or it may be he and others, or he may refuse to go on the adventure. It is too soon to know. The important thing is to let the events unfold naturally. Trying to force events to achieve a specific effect can have unforeseen consequences, many of them undesirable, and that only delays the fulfillment of the prophecy.”
“I understand.” Evan narrowed his eyes. “But answer me one more question.”
“If I can.”
“You said you had this gem for years.”
“And you told no one about it in all those years?”
“Well, not exactly,” said Tindolen with a smirk. “King Everron commanded all elves to report the whereabouts of any Aglari that might be found. I, as a loyal elf to my sovereign Lord, obeyed, of course.”
“I thought so. And Everron never asked for it?”
“Actually, he did, but I was reluctant to part with it. Once I finally decided to deliver my Aglari to him, I received a message from His Majesty telling me to put it on display.”
“So that was Everron’s idea?” asked Evan.
“In part. When Bigsbee insisted on celebrating St. Sebastian’s week, I decided I had the right venue to execute his command.”
“I see. Does Everron support the remaking of the Crown?”
Tindolen shrugged. “I don’t know. If I had to guess, I would say yes.”
“And what about the heir of the royal family?”
“What about the heir?”
“Well, what’s the point of locating the other Elf-gems and remaking the Crown if no heir lives to wear it?” asked Evan.
“No point,” replied Tindolen. “But that does not mean an heir lives — for precisely the reason I gave before. An heir might have survived the invasion and then died subsequently. It is impossible to know until all these events play themselves out.”
Evan felt a cold shiver flow down his spine. The fate of the kingdom now depended on a prophetic spell … and a fragile one at that. What happened next was anyone’s guess, and Evan felt himself powerless to help one way or another.
Powerless? Well, not exactly. As Tindolen suggested earlier, I can do what I came here to do: keep the gem safe and out of Jormundan’s hands until Daniel or someone else comes to claim it for the quest that will lead to the reuniting of the other Elf-gems. And then?
He did not know; he’d be expected back at court once the threat from Jormundan was past and the dark mage was captured.
On the other hand, given the importance of finding the other Elf-gems, perhaps I could convince His Grace that I should help find them. Hmmm. Would that force matters in a way that would disrupt the prophecy?
Evan sighed, unable to answer his own question for a second time. Better keep my attention on the present for now, at least until more of the prophecy plays itself out.