Paint the Sky with Stars

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Chapter 6

Meanwhile in Alastrina

It was far past bedtime hours but when Elspeth went on her patrol she discovered Finnegan in the gardens on the balcony looking out at the world of Jupiter that surrounded him. “Young Master Finnegan” she said in surprise. He jumped up and looked at her in alarm “Oh! Miss. Elspeth! I am sorry! I know I shouldn’t be out! It is past bedtime hours!” Finnegan hurriedly said gathering his things but Elspeth just smiled and stopped him “Relax Finnegan, you are not in trouble” she said. “I’m not?!” he asked in surprise. “No you’re not… sit down please” Elspeth said. She could see that this was the last thing that he was expecting. Normally, children were not allowed to be out after hours but this was different, he was no ordinary child, for he was HER child. “Oh…okay” he said obeying watching her in confusion. “Do you miss Calimag?” she asked as she sat down next to him. A part of her wondered if he would even reply but much to her joy he seemed to accept this surprising turn of events. He shrugged at her “Sometimes… it was simpler there. I had always dreamed of getting out of there but now, I’d rather be back there instead… but then again maybe not. Orianna wasn’t the nicest fairy” he said smiling at the memory. “Orianna?” Elspeth asked. “She was a rather unpleasant fairy but I was in her keeping for some time, I was her apprentice” Finnegan explained. “She raised you?” Elspeth asked “Well kinda, I am orphan. Never have known anything about my parents… apparently I was found on the Rivers Zae. My parents must’ve floated me towards Maridoae for safety” Finnegan said looking away from her. Elspeth could tell that being an orphan hadn’t been easy on Finnegan but at least he had survived up to this point. She had made the right decision. “How did you end up in Calimag?” Elspeth asked in interest. “I am not sure honestly” Finnegan replied his brow furrowing and then he added “All Orianna every said was that a guy named Barty dropped me off. She kept me in her care for many years. I stayed in her service until Uriah showed up and then I got to stay with Sybella Browning” Finnegan replied to her. “Uriah came to you?” Elspeth asked in surprise. “He came on the Festival of Bradae. The people, creatures and beasts welcome summer with celebration and he was there to speak to Leland, our mayor. And he gave me a purpose” Finnegan said importantly “And what purpose is that?” Elspeth asked. “Well… I’m not supposed to tell anyone… but you won’t tell anyone will you?” he asked her. Like she would? This was her son of course she wouldn’t! “I wouldn’t dream of it” Elspeth replied honestly. “When I am at the School of Progress, I am supposed to excel in my training and then meet the Chosen one. My objective is to protect this child at any costs and aide her as much as I can” Finnegan whispered his voice hushed in conspiracy. Elspeth stared at him. Her son? He had been chosen to protect THE Chosen One? The one meant to save the entire world? Wasn’t it dangerous? Would he survive? Why on earth would anyone pick Finnegan? “Uriah gave you this task?” breathed Elspeth. “Well he gave me the message…. Can you believe that? An orphan to be an important part of the fate of our world?” Finnegan said excitedly. Elspeth could not, she was so proud of him; her baby boy would be helping the Chosen One! “You… you are going to aid the Chosen One?” she whispered. “Exciting right? I hope after all is done that I’m made a knight” he said hopefully. Elspeth chuckled “A knight?” “Couldn’t you see me as a knight?” he asked her puffing himself up to look more broad shouldered. Elspeth laughed for what seemed like the first time in ages… she couldn’t remember the last time she had laughed. It had been …. The last time she had laughed had been with Finnegan’s father, the soldier and Yes! Now she remembered his name, Cormoran. “Of course I can” she finally answered Finnegan assuredly. “Or maybe I will be a Lord… or given a medal of honor” Finnegan mused. “You sound like you’ve got it all figured out” Elspeth said to him. “I think I ought to get some recognition don’t you? I am going to be helping the Chosen one” he said importantly. “Aren’t you afraid?” she asked him. “What would I be afraid of? I have learned to be fearless here in these halls; I have all that I think I will need. I will be with the most powerful person on this planet what do I have to be afraid of? I have learned from you to be fearless” Finnegan said pointedly. Elspeth couldn’t argue against his points because in a way he was right, in fact he would probably be safest with this Chosen one. Now she wondered what Finnegan knew about the Chosen one so she gathered her courage to ask. “What about the Chosen one?” she asked wondering if he would tell her more. Finnegan complied with this as well. “She will be younger than me but she will be expecting me” “She?!” Elspeth exclaimed in surprise. “According to Uriah, yes” Finnegan said. “Ah, a woman to save the world I am decently impressed” she admitted to him. “Ms. Elspeth… do you think I am cut out for this? I am just an orphan” Finnegan asked her suddenly quiet. Elspeth looked at him. He was young, but she could tell that he was the right person for whatever lay ahead. How could she comfort him without giving too much away? “Young Finnegan, you would not have been chosen if you weren’t cut out for it. I don’t think your potential is just associated with your status. You have enormous talent… you are not defined by your class. In fact, no one is defined by these things. The only things that define us all are the strength of your mind and the courage of your heart” Elspeth said softly and Finnegan stared at her star struck by her words. He was strangely comforted by what she had said. “Thank you for telling me that Elspeth… I will not forget that” and then he yawned and stretched “I better get inside… Uriah is going to find us and then we’d both be in trouble” he said a bit mischievously mirroring the smile that Cormoran had mastered. Elspeth smiled and nodded to him “I have kept you later than I thought I would. Goodnight young Knight-to-be” she said to him which earned her a full smile and then he left. What a joy it was to bond with her son! He didn’t know how emotional the conversation had made her. He had talked to her, he had trusted her and finally at last she had a real discussion with her son…. Her little baby boy was going to be the one to help the Chosen one… how did that even happen? She was happy for him but she was also terrified. What did it mean? Did Radigan know? Did Radigan pick Finnegan? And if Radigan did was she using Finnegan for this mission as punishment? Did Radigan know that Finnegan was Meridoc’s grandson? And if Radigan knew then how? “Peace Elspeth, I don’t know what you are thinking about but I can tell you are worried about Finnegan… I indeed did not pick Finnegan. I have been told that he was chosen to be a companion and guard to the Chosen one but not for punishment but because he as the most courage to carry out what has to be done” came the voice of Radigan who had appeared before her. “Oh my Lady!” exclaimed Elspeth as she jumped up to greet the Queen of the Elves. “You do not bow to me Lady Elspeth… You have sacrificed a lot for the side of the light, you have suffered much I can tell… but I assure you that Finnegan was chosen wisely. He is the best candidate because he has the best mind… he is very courageous and … between me and you, he gives me hope” Radigan admitted and then she added “Not that I had any say in the choice, Uriah was insistent upon Finnegan’s selection as if he knew something about the boy, more than what I know but I don’t want you to thank me for choosing your favorite student. He has a long and difficult road ahead, I cannot see how it ends for him” Radigan said. Elspeth nodded in understanding “I kinda figured because he will be with the Chosen one… it will be up to her won’t it? How this all ends?” “It is” Radigan replied simply. “Any news?” Elspeth asked deciding to move on. Why linger on questions she could not answer? “Calimag has been spared, and the news of that spreads like wildfire. Those who have recognized the magic of the stars are thankfully keeping quiet. We are still trying to parlay to the giants and ogres but it is very slow work. Many fear the blackness that begins to spread… but they are unknowingly spreading Mortevite by this fear. Mortevite spreads on all things bad. Despite all of this I remain hopeful. Thanks to you and Uriah, the children who are going into the School of Progress are no longer going in defenseless. You can’t imagine how many lives you are both sparing and saving. Children gifted in Rael are now passing judgment… this is very good. It is my hope that the children continue to resist the evil of Mortevite. It is my hope that these children become part of the rebellion that I have formed and started. I have to ask the following question Elspeth… do you know the lineage of Finnegan of Calimag?” Radigan asked. “I know indeed but I can’t tell you how… it is far too dangerous” Elspeth replied. “I understand. I admire your will greatly… you have managed to block your memories and thoughts from me which I admit takes extraordinary talent. Just know that once young Finnegan leaves these halls you will no longer be able to protect him as diligently as you have in the past. You will be unable to interfere” Radigan said almost as if warning Elspeth. “I have never interfered with his life at any point and I don’t think I shall start. He will have the freedom to make his own way and make his life. Maybe one day you will learn why this boy affects me so, but now is not the time” Elspeth said determinedly. Radigan gave her a soft smile and sighed “I must go now…. I have much to do and little time to do it in. Do not be afraid Elspeth, though darkness is over the world, hope remains… goodbye” Radigan said and with a gust of wind she disappeared. Elspeth was left alone and she felt quite good about herself. Uriah had kept his word, no one else knew what they did and she intended to keep it that way. She was rather emotional about all that had happened to her tonight, she felt touched at her conversation with Finnegan, she was sad but proud that he would be the one to help the Chosen one and though she was afraid for him, she knew she could not be more proud of her son. Meanwhile, Finnegan had made it to the chambers right on time but he too felt good about his conversation with Elspeth. He had been taken aback that Elspeth didn’t scold him but it had felt good to talk to someone. Since arriving in Alastrina, the others had withdrawn himself. Lysander, Geyorg, Aderes and Gawen were still good people, and he still considered them friends; they all had their own things to worry about. Lysander was focusing on concealing his magic; he also thought that all other creatures were stupid for trying to stop Meridoc claiming that Jupiter was finished and that it was only a matter of time. Geyorg on the other hand did not like to speak about the darkness that spread, he still thought that Meridoc was a fairy tale, and so he concerned himself with all that was good and eating himself full. Gawen who had been forced from Trinidad seemed to be concerned with reuniting with his family even though he hadn’t heard anything about them. He didn’t like to speak about the future for his future seemed to be one big question mark. Aderes had also been separated from his family but he seemed to be the only one determined to see Meridoc defeated other than Finnegan. He was almost as good in his training as Finnegan was but he also was looking forward to the girls’ attention he would soon be getting. Finnegan knew that they each had their reasons for being near impossible to talk to but that’s why he spent most of his time alone. Tonight however, he felt very comforted by Elspeth’s presence and her words. She believed in him and had spoken very fondly to him, it made him think about how it could have been had he had parents. He was now convinced however that that his parents had only floated him on the rivers for his protection and well-being. It had worked hadn’t it? He was alive and he had made it this far and it was his destiny to meet, help and be victorious with the Chosen one… wasn’t that enough? Finnegan made a vow to himself that he would stop complaining, so many had it so much worse than he had. He was lucky! So what if he didn’t know his parents? He had been raised in the rich safety of Calimag he was indeed a very lucky lad. He would make Uriah proud and he would ensure that Queen Radigan would be pleased as well. He would help the Chosen one succeed and when he did that, everyone in Jupiter would know his name! He fell asleep quickly after that finally confidant enough with himself- he would do all he was entitled to do. All he had to do now was wait.

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