Alchemist's Gift

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Candle under the Sun

Roland awoke to an empty bed. He saw Rosanera at her desk, writing.

She heard him stir. “I am glad you are awake. You must arise and dress. Make haste.”

Roland yawned. “It is so early.” He looked out at the inky sky.

“Very soon you will be leaving. The sergeant at arms will take you back to Sofia and her little farmhouse. All must be ready in two days’ time, understand?”

Roland sat up in bed, and Rosanera turned toward him. The shadow from the faint candle glow distorted her features and made her eyes appear hollow. “Make haste, my love; our people are starving. The orphans are so much in need.”

There was a knock on the door.

“Come.”

“Duchess Rosanera, it is I, Sergeant Lutz.” The sergeant stood in the doorway at attention and averted his eyes.

“Return Master Hughes to the Hermes farmhouse. The cart is loaded, yes?”

“Yes, Duchess Rosanera, as you instructed.”

Roland was dressed. “Come, my love. There is a cart waiting on you. Follow Sergeant Lutz; he will return you to your work so you can keep your promise. Now come here.” Rosanera gave Roland a lingering and passionate kiss. “Remember in two days’ time.”

“I will do my best.” Roland was glad to leave.

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