Iskander drew his sword and pulled Nancy behind him.
“Well bless your heart, the blind man’s gonna defend his lady love!” Millie chortled along with the raucous laughter of the goblins.
“Iskander, what are you doing? You can’t fight them.” Nancy whispered.
“Of course I can, I still know how to use a sword.”
“Yes, my love, but you can’t see the enemy coming.”
“But you can! You tell me where they are and I will take care of the rest.”
“That’s crazy, how would I do that?”
“In the gardens of my palace in Shayn’del is an ancient circular stone with twelve notches adorning the face and a tall reed in the middle. When the sun moves over this stone we are able to measure the hours of the day by how shadows fall on the reed. Do you have such a thing in your world?”
“We call them clocks.” Nancy nodded.
The notion was insane, but she didn’t have time to argue for the goblins advanced on them. Nancy was amazed at the king’s speed and agility as she called out times. The goblins were just as surprised and they backed away after the first five guards were felled.
“What you doing?” Millie screeched. “Seize them!”
“Oh, I think you’re done for the day!”
Several Shumkarja Warriors poured through the door and attacked the goblins while the Mirror Mage of the Rising Sun swept in behind them.
“Leticia!” Millie gasped.
Leticia’s eyes blazed. “Did you really think no one would find out what you were doing? Queen Valeska was your charge, how dare you betray her and her family?”
“Leti please, when did you become so elitist? We are Mirror Mages, we have no allegiance to any king or queen.”
“No, but we do have a duty to those placed in our trust. You broke that trust.” Leticia stepped closed enough to Millie to nearly touch noses. “And you put my daughter’s life in danger so now you have to deal with me!”
Millie giggled. “I reckon someone’s been spending too much time in New Jersey.”
The French tips of her manicured nails flashed and the mirrors around the room glowed in answer.
“Don’t do it, Millie.” Leticia warned.
Millie laughed. “You really believe you have any power here? We who follow the Goblin King and his enchantress have witnessed more power than you could ever dream! Now that we have the descendants of Quendaris, it’s only a matter of time before the Book of Sen is ours and then we will be unstoppable!”
“We’ll never surrender to you, you two-faced bitch!” Nancy spat.
Millie tutted. “Such language, your mother would not approve.”
The glowing of the mirrors intensified.
“Stand down, Millicent, I won’t tell you again!” Leticia growled.
“Are you still here?” Millie rolled her eyes. “Insignificant though you are I’ll have to do something about that.”
“Funny, I was about to say the same thing to you.”
The tips of Millie’s nails flashed and the mirrors answered with a lavender glow. Leticia and Millie locked gazes as they squared off, the glow suddenly blazing red. Millie laughed as the light shot from the mirrors and swirled around Leticia who simply smiled before being engulfed.
“Leticia!” Nancy screamed in terror.
As the Shumi decimated the goblin soldiers the light started to pulsate and swirl in the other direction. Millie could only gasp before being swarmed by the light. Then, just as suddenly, the light disappeared and the only remnant left of Millie was the dying echo of her shriek in the chamber. Leticia stood holding a great silver backed hand mirror, which she slipped back into the sleeve of her robe.
“Well,” Leticia sighed, smoothing out her robes, “that’s that then.”
“Tis a pity she is dead.” Iskander said. “The punishment for her crimes no doubt would have been eternal banishment to the Pit of Oblivion.”
“Oh, she isn’t dead. No way was she getting off that easily.” Leticia chuckled. “Millie will go before the Prism Panel for a tribunal where she will be ousted from the sisterhood, her powers stripped, and then she gets to spend eternity in the Pit!”
“Where are Isabel and Prince Alaric?” Nancy asked. “Are they still alive?”
“If the prince reaches the sorceress in time.” She replied somberly. “Right now we need to get back to the Silver Fleet.”
Isabel was thrown to the floor of Phaedra’s lush bedchamber.
“Leave us!” The sorceress commanded and closed the doors behind them.
Phaedra circled her prisoner like a panther eyeing her prey.
“Queen of an ancient warrior tribe, descended from a long line of powerful mages, you impress me, Isabel of Kendra.” She said finally.
Her voice was deep and cool even as it mocked her and Isabel felt as if she were drifting along in an icy river.
“Be still my heart.” Isabel quipped and was rewarded with a slap across the face hard enough to make her ears ring. The inside of her mouth tasted like copper.
“Have I given you leave to speak?” The sorceress bellowed. With a long manicured nail under her chin, Phaedra lifted Isabel to her feet and hissed, “I will ask the questions and you had best provide me with the answers I seek!”
Isabel spit blood in her face and was slapped back to the floor for her efforts.
“Tread lightly, girl, pluck may have gained you favor with my enemy but here it will only get you killed!” Phaedra purred, raising her captive’s chin to admire the bruise already forming on her cheek. “Slowly.”
Isabel’s amulet tumbled out of her armor and glinted in the light and the Shumi Queen noticed that the dragon’s wings had closed again.
“Ah, so you do have the amulet!” The sorceress cooed, her lips curling into a smile as she lifted the pendant from Isabel’s breast. “This little bauble has caused me a great deal of trouble.” She whispered as she stared at it. She shifted her icy gaze to her prisoner’s face. “You have caused me a great deal of trouble as well.”
A flash of light and flurry of feathers announced the arrival of the Lord of the Underworld.
“You are late!” The sorceress spat, not taking her eyes from Isabel.
Lord Rakad flicked his cape back with a flourish and out rolled a disheveled and bloodied Duke of Kendra. “Apologies, milady, I was dealing with a traitor.”
“Dad!” Isabel cried. “What have you done to him?”
Omar looked up startled. His face was ashen and resembled a wizened mask as if the man had aged several decades overnight.
“Welcome back, Duke of Kendra, you have been missed.” Phaedra purred, fixing her steely gaze on the man. “Traitor? What has he done?”
“He has been working as informer for the Prism network and fed all our coordinates and battle plans to the Alliance. As we speak they are beating back our forces!”
“So, conspiring with the old flame, are we?” The sorceress sneered, turning her attention back to the duke who had gotten to his feet. “That is very naughty. Whatever shall we do with you?”
“I think you’ve done enough!” Isabel barked.
The sorceress spun and threw a hand out sending Isabel careening into the wall. “One more word and I will rip out your tongue!” she hissed.