Kedan sat with Max and Ansel in the parlor of Keene Manor. They were surrounded by crates and crates of books. They had opened every closet and cabinet in Keene Manor. They had found so many books and scrolls, Kedan wondered if the collection might have rivaled at least half of the great library in Aurumist.
Kedan had read more in the past three weeks than he had in his whole life. He thought he probably knew almost everything about protectors of the kingdom that there was to know. Everything except the one thing they needed to know. The subject was fascinating. He wondered what it was like to have such purpose in your life.
Kedan had gone through his life without much purpose. He was chosen for a position, but he never really took time to learn much about it. He sat bored in meetings. He ate with important people, but ignored most of what they said. He didn’t think much of the kingdom at all until he spent those months at the river house with Teryn. For a brief time, when he threw himself into being the king of Regventus, he felt some purpose. Helping his folk and his kingdom made him feel like he was doing something right.
Now he craved some sort of purpose for his life. When he came to Abscon, he first immersed himself into helping Ansel and Talon save Max and Griffa. After that was completed, Griffa gave him purpose in helping him learn to defend himself against magic. Now he was trying everything he could to help Ansel. Kedan never wanted to become like he was before. He always wanted to be working and fighting for something worthwhile.
Kedan put his book down for a moment and looked at Ansel and Max. Ansel looked tired and frustrated. The longer they looked, the more agitated Ansel became. He had told Kedan part of it was being so far from his queen, but Kedan thought Ansel was probably getting worried he would never find what he needed to be with Griffa.
Max on the other hand seem to gain more energy the more he read and studied. Kedan wasn’t sure when Max ate or slept. Max seem to devour books. He took notes. He would sit and think for hours. Sometimes Kedan would walk in and Max would be sitting with his eyes closed, taking deep breaths. Max told Kedan he was hoping a vision would come to him, yet no revelations were to be had.
Kedan had left Abscon a few times since he had arrived. Max had taken him to the East Village to check for messages, and he had received one from his mother. Golnar had told his mother that Griffa had been killed. She worried for Kedan’s safety. She also told Kedan that Teryn had been ill. She said that she was not severely ill, but Camelia was worried about her.
Kedan talked to Ansel and Max before he wrote his mother back. Ansel thought it was to their advantage that the powers in Aurumist thought Griffa dead. It would mean that hopefully Griffa would be safe for a while. It meant maybe they would become more complacent in Aurumist. Kedan wanted to tell his mother the truth. He wanted to assure her he was safe. In the end, Kedan decided to trust her with the news. He wrote her back, telling her the queen was safe and recovered. He also asked her to keep him informed on Teryn.
It had been a week since he had written his mother. He wanted to go check for new messages, but he did not want to take Max and Ansel away from their work. Kedan watched as Ansel put his book down and rubbed his eyes. He took a deep breath and looked at Max.
“Max, have you found anything?” asked Ansel
“No,” said Max not looking up. “Not yet, we still have many crates to go through.”
Ansel got up and walked to the fireplace. He paced a bit back and forth as Max looked up from his book, watching him.
“I know this is hard, Ansel, but you shouldn’t give up yet. We still have so many books and scrolls to look through. Even if we don’t find anything here, we have barely even started in the library of The Valley. This could take some time.”
“I just feel like we don’t have time,” said Ansel anxiously. “How long will she wait before she stops believing this is a possibility?”
Max looked at Ansel thoughtfully. “If it were up to her, I think she might wait forever, but I’m not sure the kingdom will let her wait. There will come a time when she will be called to do something to save Regventus. I don’t know why, but I feel if you want to be with her, we must figure this out before she sits on the throne. I feel like your bond will be too tight to break once she claims the city.”
Ansel stop pacing. He closed his eyes and shook his head. “She’s also been all alone with Talon for almost three weeks.”
“She has,” said Max carefully. “Do you not trust her, Ansel? Do you not trust in her love for you?”
Ansel’s shoulders sagged. “I do, but if it is as you say, then what if the kingdom won’t let her wait for me. What if she thinks she has to move on? I am not stupid. I know she has feelings for Talon. How could she not? She has been weak and injured, and she is probably sad and lonely. How long could she wait for me even without all these pressures?”
Max smiled sadly at Ansel. “I don’t know what to say, except we better keep working.”
Ansel nodded and walked back to his seat. They kept reading until there was a knock at the front door. A few moments later, Marcus Quick walked into the parlor. He looked around with wide eyes at all the crates and books that filled the room.
“Ansel, Max, Kedan” said Marcus as he walked in.
Ansel met Marcus at the fireplace. “Good afternoon, Marcus, as you can see, we are very busy, so go on and tell us why you have come today.”
“I wanted to let you know that the last of Abscon has been repaired. Everything has been set to right.”
“Everything except the lives that were lost,” said Ansel. “But I am glad the village is back in order.”
“Yes,” said Marcus nodding.
“Is there anything else you wanted, Marcus?” asked Ansel with irritation.
“I wanted to let you know that I am betrothed,” said Marcus proudly.
Ansel looked at Marcus with indifference. “Congratulations, who have you found to marry you?”
“Desmona Delis,” said Marcus. “I have been fond of her for some time. I have convinced her to marry me.”
Kedan saw Ansel give a small smug smile. “Have you?”
“I know you and she have quite a history. I hope you don’t regret her too badly. I hope you can be happy for us.”
Ansel chuckled slightly. “I hope you are both very happy with one another. I can assure you I harbor no regrets.”
“Oh,” said Marcus. “Well, good. I guess I should be going unless there is something, I can do for any of you.”
Kedan looked at Marcus. “Actually, do you have any plans today? I need to go to the East Village. It won’t take long, but I was hoping maybe you could travel with me there.”
“Of course, Kedan. I would be happy to. Would you like to go right now?”
“Yes, if Max and Ansel do not mind,” said Kedan looking at both of them.
“Go on, Kedan. See if you have any news from your mother that we might need to know,” answered Ansel as he walked back over to his chair.
Kedan stood up and smiled. “I will try to come back soon to continue to help.” Ansel nodded while looking at the book in his lap.
Kedan put on a cloak and grabbed his sword. He walked out with Marcus.
“What on earth is going on in there with all those books?” asked Marcus as they walked.
“We are looking for some particular information to help Griffa with something,” answered Kedan.
“I hope she is recovering well in the Valley,” said Marcus. “I am surprised Ansel is not with her. I can’t believe he wouldn’t want to be by her side as she recovers.”
“Griffa is doing very well. She sent Ansel to Abscon to do this for her. She needs this information very badly.”
“I hope you find it quickly then,” said Marcus looking at Kedan. “She is staying with Talon Wendell, I believe.”
“Yes,” said Kedan as they walked out of Abscon. “He is a trusted friend of Griffa’s and Ansel’s. He has seen to her recovery.”
Marcus laughed. “I’m sure he has. I wonder at Ansel letting her stay with Talon. Perhaps, things aren’t as secure as I thought they were.”
Kedan began to become irritated. “I will not discuss our queen’s personal business. She is safe and secure and that is all that matters. Ansel is doing as she bids. That is all I will say about it.”
“I didn’t mean to upset you,” said Marcus. “I just hope Griffa will be happy with whatever might happen.”
They walked the rest of the way in silence. When they got the gates of Abscon, Marcus put his hand on Kedan’s shoulder, and they traveled outside of the East Village. Kedan quickly walked to the message house to find he did have a letter. He walked out into the village and read it immediately. As he read what his mother had to say, he started to feel sick, and it became hard to breath. Teryn was very ill. His mother was afraid she was dying. No one could help her in the city.
Kedan walked away from Marcus and towards the village exit. He really didn’t know where he was going. Teryn was dying? How could that be? Kedan had been upset with Teryn so long, but he knew he still loved her in some way. Deep down he hoped to at least see her again. He didn’t know if he could ever really love her as before, but he didn’t want her dead. He wanted her safe with his child.
Marcus caught up with Kedan on edge of the East Village.
“Kedan, are you alright?” asked Marcus with concern.
“No, I’ve had some bad news.”
“We should get you back to Abscon,” said Marcus.
“No,” said Kedan. “I don’t want to go back to Abscon.” Kedan was thinking of what he could do for Teryn. He could think of only one person who might be able to help him. One person in his new world who had met Teryn. “I want to go to the Valley. Would you take me there?”
“The Valley?” asked Marcus. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” said Kedan. “I will be no help to Max and Ansel right now. I need to go to the Valley and see the queen and Talon.”
“If you are sure I will take you there and leave you to find Wendell House.”
“Good,” said Kedan. “Let’s go now.”
Marcus nodded and put his hand on Kedan’s shoulder. They traveled to the entrance to the Valley, and Kedan walked to the Wendell House quickly. He knocked and was let in by one of Talon’s workers. He walked in the parlor to find Griffa alone sitting on the sofa. She jumped up as Kedan entered.
“Kedan,” said Griffa happily. Her smile vanished as Kedan walked into the room. “What is the matter? Is everything alright in Abscon?”
“Yes,” said Kedan. “You are well aren’t you, Griffa? Are you recovered?”
“I am much better, thank you, but what is wrong Kedan. You look as though you’ve seen a ghost. Are you ill?”
Kedan shook his head. “I had a letter from my mother.”
“Is she alright?”
“Yes,” answered Kedan. “But Teryn is ill. She is very ill, and they can’t cure her. My mother is afraid she is going to die.”
Griffa looked stricken. “Oh, Kedan, I am so sorry.” She walked over and took his hands. “Has everything been tried for her?”
“Everything they can do in the city. My mother thinks she needs a magical healer, but there is not one to be had. Do you know of anyone who might go to her?”
Griffa gripped Kedan’s hands. “I don’t know. I’m not sure. I can’t imagine who would amongst us would walk into Aurumist right now.”
Kedan nodded. “I know. It’s just hard. I’m not sure how I feel about her, but I don’t want her to die.”
“Of course not,” said Griffa. “You share a child with her. I know you are angry at her and you have every right to be, but I know you still love her.”
“I do, Griffa. I don’t know why, but I do.”
“Did your mother say anything about your son? Is he well?”
“She didn’t say. I hope he is well. I am sure if he wasn’t, she would say, but who will he have if Teryn dies? What if Golnar finds out my mother has been working against him? What if he kills her, and he raises my child? You know what Golnar will teach him.”
Griffa let go of Kedan’s hand and walked around the room. “I do, Kedan. We cannot let that happen.”
“What can we do?” asked Kedan.
Griffa stopped walking and looked at Kedan. “I am going to go prepare. I will be down quickly. We must leave before Talon comes back from his council meeting. You can get us into the palace, can’t you?”
“What are you talking about, Griffa?” asked Kedan.
“I am taking you to Aurumist now. We will go and help Teryn. We will leave with her, your child, and your mother if she will come. I will not let Golnar corrupt your son.”
“Griffa, you can’t go to palace,” said Kedan emphatically. “It is too dangerous. They will kill you as soon as they find you.”
Griffa gave a small laugh. “They will have a hard time of it in my true home. Besides, we will be careful. We will sneak in and sneak out. We will be back tonight.”
“Golan thinks you are dead. Philo told him you were killed,” said Kedan.
“Good,” said Griffa smiling. “Then I will be a nice surprise for them.”
“Griffa, I can’t let you do this,” said Kedan. He couldn’t let her go into the palace. No matter what she said, she would not be safe. He couldn’t let anything to her.
“Kedan, I am going to Aurumist no matter what you do. I will see Teryn and I will come back with her and your child no matter if you come or not. Will you really let me go alone?”
Kedan sighed and looked at Griffa. How could he stop her? Did he want to stop her? “No, my queen, I will not let you go alone.”
“I will go change. I will be back downstairs in ten minutes. We will leave directly.”
Kedan nodded as Griffa walked quickly from the room. He knew this wasn’t a good idea, but what could he do? How could he stop her? Kedan went to the entry hall and waited for Griffa. He would have to do everything he could to bring Griffa back safe. Kedan shivered slightly as he knew no matter what happened, he would have to face the wrath of both Ansel and Talon.