Meanwhile, Uriah reached the place where Leland ran Calimag and let himself in. Leland was surrounded by the other members of his race and he looked very surprised to see Uriah walking towards him “Well Uriah the Green! I heard you were dead” Leland said frowning at Uriah’s presence. Uriah smiled and replied “I am happy to prove to you that I am obviously very much alive. Leland, I wish to ask your permission to speak to your people tonight as you celebrate the Festival of Bradae” “Speak? What about?” Leland asked “I suppose you will grant me permission to speak and find out for yourself” Uriah replied. “You don’t trust me” Leland said, but it wasn’t a question, it was if Leland could tell that Uriah didn’t trust him. Uriah didn’t but now was not the time for petty politics nor did Uriah have the time to explain why he didn’t trust Leland of Calimag so he tapped his staff a bit impatiently on the ground below his feet “This is not a matter of trust Leland, I don’t have the time to get into it now…. I also want to let you know that I have removed Finnegan from Orianna’s care” he told Leland. Leland reacted in the way that Uriah quite expected from Leland: confusion. “Finnegan? Who is Finnegan?” Leland asked. “You call yourself a mayor and you don’t even know who lives within your kingdom? Finnegan is one the orphans who live here, the one Barty found?” Uriah said trying to remind Leland. “Ah yes, the child who was discovered in a basket…. I do remember him now… why have you removed him?” Leland asked him narrowing his eyes at Uriah. Like Uriah would tell Leland about his master plan. Uriah almost chuckled. No one knew of his master plan and he certainly wasn’t going to tell Leland! “I cannot discuss that matter, I am on direct orders from Radigan herself, it is of the most importance that he remain out of Orianna’s care” Uriah said dismissively. It wasn’t quite the truth. Radigan didn’t know Uriah was here but he would deal with that later. He used her name so he could convince Leland of importance. It worked. Leland looked aghast at Uriah “Radigan?” he breathed in surprise She is alive? I didn’t know that” Leland said interested. “Would you speak tonight even if I did not permit you to speak?” he asked turning to Uriah. “I would like to hope that I’d have the courage” Uriah replied meeting Leland’s eyes with a determined glare. “I will give you permission then only because it must be incredibly important for you to have come all this way” Leland finally consented. “It is indeed very important Leland and I thank you for allowing me to speak…. Also I must ask you where your troops are and why Calimag remains unprotected?” “There is nothing to protect Calimag from” Leland replied chuckling at the sound of the idea. “For someone who witnessed the rise of Meridoc that is an awfully bold statement to make” Uriah replied and seeing the rest of Leland’s council react to this news he chuckled a bit “Ah so you haven’t told anyone?” he asked not sounding surprised. “That was long ago, Meridoc is no longer a threat” Leland said almost growling the words in Uriah’s direction but Uriah looked at him in anger. “Meridoc is stronger than ever before! He has minions with him that go to the thousands! He is acting towards a battle! He is going to come after Calimag eventually! How could you not know that? Now I have already recruited Kieran and Joaquin into the rebellion; they have both rallied their forces. Leland, Meridoc took Du Wendariez, he almost took Naebira, and he burned and destroyed both Trinidad and Elbategrof, if he lays eyes on Calimag I need to know if you plan on doing anything about it!” Uriah cried out in desperation. Leland waved his hands dismissively “Kieran and Joaquin are both fools, if Meridoc does indeed come I know that there is no army I can resurrect strong enough to defeat him, he would take the city either way. I do not forget that there are fairy children being killed right now in the School of Progress just for possessing Rael in their bones and in their blood, I will not sacrifice those we have left” Leland said adamantly. “Perhaps you will change your mind tonight, it is my hope that you will” Uriah finally said after a brief pause. When all the people, creatures and beasts were gathered, Leland called for Uriah to take the podium. Nearby, Sybella and Finnegan waited with baited breath to hear what he had come to say. “Fellow citizens of Raiya, for years you have lived here and prospered by the grace of your leader and despite that however, you all have suffered greatly due to the hand of Meridoc. He has taken many of your children away and it is my sad honor to tell you that if you are gifted in Rael, there is a very strong likelihood that your children will not return. Meridoc is trying to weed out the existence of Rael; he poses a real threat to our world. He has taken Du Wendariez, he has burned Trinidad and Elbategrof to the ground, and he had taken the lives of Alastor, Zebulon, Cyprian, Girosala, and I am certain many others, however I have come to give you all hope. I was sent here from Maridoae. I bring you all good news. Meridoc will be defeated…. I have come to tell you all that the Chosen one lives. The one who was made to defeat Meridoc, the only one who can restore Jupiter to its former glory is alive at this very moment and lives in the safety of Maridoae’s walls” Uriah announced to all gathered. Several of the gathered crowd gasped and whispered about this news. Uriah continued “With this Chosen one alive, Queen Radigan and I have agreed that we can no longer let the children of this world go into the School of Progress with no defense which is why I am proud to tell you about the Halls of Alastrina. The Halls of Alastrina will train children gifted in Rael to disguise their magic and manipulate it into what will look like Mortevite. This will not be an easy task but I firmly believe that our children will be able to do it. This Chosen one will be the end of our misery and I ask you and your leader if you will stand with the Chosen one when it comes to the battle. And the battle will surely come. Will you stand with her or will you not?” Uriah asked the crowds. A centaur came forward “Uriah the Green, you may tell this Chosen one that she or he have the centaurs full support, we stand!” he cried out which was followed by the fauns and the unicorns and every beast. The crowd silenced as they looked at Leland in anticipation. “I do not want to risk the lives of my-“but Leland was interrupted by Uriah who said “IF you didn’t want the risk then perhaps you should not have helped with her creation” he said. This ignited several shocked whispers and murmurings throughout the crowds. Finnegan could no longer contain himself “YOU helped?!? You helped to create the Chosen one and you have been telling everyone here that Meridoc doesn’t exist?” he asked in shock and disbelief. The stories had been true! Every good and terrible one had been true the entire time! “The Chosen one was carried by a human…. I have heard that the human is dead and so I know that the Chosen one is probably dead as well” Leland said in his defense. “The human is dead but the Chosen one is alive” Uriah told him. “Who is caring for the child?” challenged Leland. “An old friend of yours, Radigan, Queen of the Elves in Maridoae” Uriah replied smiling victoriously as several whispers broke out amongst the creatures and beasts that had gathered for the Festival of Bradae. Leland had told them all that Queen Radigan was long killed. The news gave many people hope as well as unpleasant mistrust in their leader who lied to them for years now. “Queen Radigan? She is still alive?” Finnegan asked in shock. “Of course she is alive…. There will be a time when the Chosen one is going to face Meridoc, this Chosen one, this girl will be in need of backup, what says you Leland? Will you help her or not?” Uriah asked. Leland knew that now he was stuck, he knew that to join Uriah and this Chosen one was madness but to not join him would be looked upon as betrayal. “Very well, I will assist this child in what ways I can” Leland said at last. “Finally you’re being sensible again Leland, thank you for your help in this matter, I suggest you all go back to enjoying your festival, thank you all for your patience and your time” Uriah said and then he came towards Sybella and Finnegan smiling merrily. “Sybella my dear it has been my delightful pleasure to accompany you here to Calimag, you’re quite right, it is positively charming. And now young Finnegan, do you remember what I have told you about excelling in the School of Progress?” he asked the child. Finnegan nodded his head up at the wizard. Uriah knelt before him and looked at him “Would you like to know why I have asked this?” “Yes… please” Finnegan said quietly with wide expecting eyes. Uriah smiled kindly at him “It would seem to be a very good thing for you to do so, for one school day while you are at the School of Progress that you shall meet the Chosen one in a way you will not expect. I need you to swear to me that you will assist and protect her in any way you can” Uriah told him. He could see that Finnegan was hesitant about what was asked of him, Uriah couldn’t blame the child, it was an enormous task. “Me? But… why me?” Finnegan asked in shock. “Finnegan of Calimag you will learn one day to never question a wizard. I am sure Queen Radigan has her reason to select you and if you ever meet her, you can ask her yourself” Uriah said again not telling the truth. If the child was to complete his task, he needed encouragement! “Queen Radigan picked me?!? Why would she pick an orphan? My life is worth nothing!” Finnegan told Uriah. Uriah reached for the boy and looked him in the eye “Finnegan!! Do not ever think that way ever again, of course your life is worth something. Your life is worth everything… no one’s life is worth nothing. You have been chosen to protect and aide the Chosen one and you shall … shall you?” Uriah asked his anger fading from his eyes. Would the child do what was expected? “Of course I will!” Finnegan immediately said wanting to help more than ever. Uriah smiled brilliantly at the child, so the child had chosen his path. “Promise me Finnegan” Uriah said seriously his blue and hazelnut brown eyes peering at him. “I promise” Finnegan said eagerly. “You swear on your life?” Uriah asked knowing that he was asking a great deal of the young lad. Finnegan hesitated here but then nodded at him “I swear on my life” he said quietly. “Finnegan of Calimag, I will not pretend that what you’ve chosen is just an easy task, the road will be filled with danger, heartbreak and loss…you better enjoy Calimag Finnegan, once you leave this place, you won’t come back for a very long time and if and when you do return, you will scarcely recognize it. I also cannot guarantee that you will end your story happily it all depends on her, the Chosen one. She is extremely clever and stubborn. You will know once you meet her. She will be told about you in time, but if she gives you a hard time, tell her that I have sent you. I must leave now; I go to Du Wendariez and then back to Queen Radigan. Good luck, Finnegan of Calimag… you will need it” Uriah said and then without another word, he left the company of Sybella and Finnegan. Sybella opened her home to Finnegan and as he lay down that night he realized that he had many questions. Who was this child? What was her name? How old was she now? Why did Queen Radigan pick him of all people to protect her? Why not a warrior? Why not a soldier’s son? Why did Leland lie about his involvement? Why did Leland make it seem like a joke? What would happen to her, this Chosen one? What about him? Was he really ready to risk his life for a complete stranger? Did he have what it took to be a protector? Was he ready to die? What if he wasn’t good at being a soldier? What if he was no good at fighting? What if the Chosen one didn’t like him? What if she rejected his help? What if …he realized that he wouldn’t sleep with all these questions racing around his head. He had to trust Uriah, the wizard and the Queen of the Elves… they had to know what they were doing right? They had to know so he had to trust them didn’t he? Of course. But poor young Finnegan didn’t get much sleep that night for his questions did not have answers so he spent most of that night awake. Now Methuselah you may be wondering what happened to Meridoc’s wife and child, well as we said before his wife was killed but his child, Elspeth, in order to keep her child safe, decided to help Uriah the Green in his building of a new fortress. This new fortress would serve first and foremost as a training ground for children who would learn to disguise their Rael as Mortevite. They would also learn the real history of Jupiter; they would be safe from the School of Progress until the age of 11. Many children would come at the age of 6, in groups and Elspeth offered her assistance. Elspeth kept her son a secret up to this point and intended to keep it that way, and yet part of her kept her eyes out on the children that flocked to this fortress in hopes that she would see her son one day. These halls were named Alastrina in the honor of Alastor who once lost his life trying to protect the people from Meridoc’s evilness. Elspeth and Uriah ran these halls helping to start rebellion against Meridoc’s, and Elspeth waited for her son, she knew that even that she hadn’t seen him in years that she would recognize him at a glance. Elspeth was excited to see him again so she waited and helped the children for many years, waiting patiently for when her son would arrive.