New Faces and a New Life
Kitara shifted her weight nervously from one foot to the other then back again. She was standing with Dinnen before the inner door of the Guild Hall, waiting their turn to be seen by the High Magician’s Council.
They had arrived in Cavral just over an hour ago, and had come there straight away. However, Kitara was more unsettled than she should have been.
Once inside the walls of Cavral, Dinnen had become more anxious and hurried. He kept glancing at Kitara then turning away quickly if she saw him. Although he tried to hide it, Kitara could see he had something on his mind, and it was making her uneasy. She decided to ask him about it, but he just dismissed it, and only said that he had some urgent business to attend to as quickly as possible.
They had rushed through the streets and gone straight to the Guild Hall. The guards at the front doors had let Dinnen in without question. He was announced to the council, and they were now standing outside, waiting to be seen.
“Lord Dinnen Rourke,” a messenger appeared from a side door. “The council will see you now.” The messenger opened the door, and Dinnen moved to walk inside. Kitara went to follow him, but he gestured for her to wait.
“Stay,” he said kindly, “I have some private business to discuss before I introduce you, I won’t be long.” Kitara nodded apprehensively. She accepted that the council might be a little shocked if Dinnen appeared with an unknown girl, but being left outside alone just increased her nerves.
After what seemed like an age, Dinnen came out of the Guild Hall. He smiled reassuringly,
“Come Kitara, they are all very interested to meet you.” Kitara had no doubt who the ‘they’ were, the High Magicians, supposedly the most powerful people in all of Myrraea, however she was puzzled by Dinnen’s comment. ‘Interested’….why would they be interested to meet her, an orphan, a stray? Kitara stood slowly and took a deep breath. She then let Dinnen lead her into the Guild Hall’s main chamber.
Inside was more amazing than she had ever imagined. The roof seemed to arc up into the clouds, rising high above the ground. The intricate carving that covered the whole of the inside of the hall was so complicated and complex that was almost confusing. The whole place inside seemed to be made of a beautiful sandy coloured wood, which had no markings whatsoever. The ceiling, walls, and floor were all made of this material, and even the large semicircular table at the end of the room looked as if it had been carved at the same time along with the rest of room, and not added on later.
Kitara and Dinnen walked across this artwork of a room, toward the table.
“This is her?” came a light but wise sounding voice. Kitara’s attention immediately snapped to the speaker and their companions. Around the table sat the seven High Magicians of Myrraea all clad in robes of a shimmering grey. They had an air of grace and wisdom about them, and they held Kitara in awe. There were men and women, older and younger, though none were above 60 or lower than 30 in years. Each one wore a chain around their foreheads, which bore the emblem of the magicians, a splayed palm engraved with the magician’s knot.
“This is she,” Dinnen agreed, pushing Kitara a little into the light. “Bow to them,” he whispered in her ear as she stepped forward. Kitara bowed to each of them in turn as Dinnen introduced them.
“Lord Yosune, Lord Querin, Lady Savva, Lord Morrist, Lady Beru, Lady Shirna, and Lord Osra, this is Kitara.” All inclined their head slightly in return.
“Dinnen has told us much about you,” said the first speaker, who Kitara now knew to be Lord Querin. Kitara inhaled deeply and then answered.
“Me? I am afraid he must have made some things up then, for there isn’t much to tell.” Lady Savva laughed lightly. She was the youngest looking of all the High Magicians although it was impossible to tell. She has green eyes and red hair and very fair skin. Her laugh was like music to Kitara’s ears.
“Nay, indeed there is much to tell, much that in care, I think, Dinnen kept from you.” Kitara turned to look raised eye-browed at Dinnen. He shrugged sheepishly, and murmured,
“It was the best thing to do.”
“It was wise yes,” agreed Lord Yosune, “Considering the state the girl was in at the time.”
“Now Kitara,” Lady Savva continued, “Let us introduce you more properly to Dinnen. He is Lord Rourke, most trusted magician in all of Myrraea, and who deals with the High Magician’s most personal matters. As you well know, to do his job he has to be a strong magician, but he is in fact, bar us and one other, one of the strongest around.” She paused here for Kitara to take it in. Kitara turned once again to Dinnen, who was looking rather embarrassed at being addressed so highly. She couldn’t quite believe that the man who rescued her, who fed her and put up with her all the way back to Cavral, was one of the most powerful magicians in Myrraea.
“What has this got to do with me though?” Kitara asked after a moment.
“Well,” Lord Osra answered, “Lord Rourke told us that he first tried to communicate with you via telepathy, but you managed to block him out, if briefly. Not a lot of fully trained magicians could do that at all, considering his strength and skill, and you, as an untrained magician, should have been completely at his mercy. He came to the conclusion, as we have done, that you are extraordinarily powerful, more powerful than Dinnen, more powerful than us, perhaps even equal to Lord Ranel.” Kitara looked puzzled.
“Yes,” replied Dinnen, “Lord Ranel was found in similar circumstances to your own actually, he is also extremely powerful and….”
“I think you’ll find that my circumstances were considerably worse,” a sullen voice cut across Dinnen. All eyes turned to a shadowed corner of the room, where a man, hooded and cloaked in dark grey, stepped out from behind an intricately carved pillar.
He was tall, about 6ft 3 and he held himself straight and proud. His hood was low over his eyes, so the top half of his face was cast in shadow, but there was no mistaking his extremely bright piercing blue eyes, which almost shone.
“Lord Ranel,” Dinnen gasped, bowing hastily. Kitara quickly followed suit, guessing that it was protocol. A teasing smile curved the edge of the stranger’s lips.
“Still bowing to me are you Dinnen? I thought you would have got bored of all that wasted effort, being so polite to an ungrateful youth like me!” he turned to the stunned High Magicians. “If you are wondering what I'm doing here I often come to listen to your council meetings.” All of the High Magicians looked shocked. Lord Ranel carried on, “I followed Dinnen and the girl here, I could tell she was going to be interesting.” He walked over to Kitara and stood gazing at her, as if sizing her up.
“So, you’re as powerful as me? Maybe even more? ........... Prove it.” This was a challenge, and suddenly Kitara felt intimidated. She hadn’t been taught how to use magic. How to conjure it or control it, all she knew was that she had it, and she even doubted that these people were telling her the truth about that. After all, how could she be that powerful?
“I want you to…..” Lord Ranel looked about the room, and smiled, “move that messenger over here with you mind,” he announced. Kitara looked to where he was pointing. A man stood in the corner, half-asleep.
“Lord Ranel,” Lady Beru began, “That is hardly fair. She’s not even been trained yet…..” but Lord Ranel put his hand up to silence her.
“I want her to do it,” he hissed, obviously intrigued by tormenting Kitara. She was trembling. Suddenly all eyes were upon her. She felt very uncomfortable. Dinnen began to speak, but Lord Ranel silenced him too, he was clearly trying to push her into making a fool of herself. Kitara looked nervously at the messenger who was half asleep, and utterly oblivious leaning against a wall. Kitara focused on him, she studied every aspect of the man, from the folds in his clothing to the slight tonal changes in his hair colour. Once she had taken note of every last tiny detail, she closed her eyes, and pictured him in her mind. He was as clear as crystal, still leaning against the wall, eyes half closed, breathing slow and deliberated, long brown hair held in a loose ponytail, sword sheathed at his waist. She imagined a giant hand wrapping its fingers around his body as if he were a goblet or tankard. She imagined the hand grasping hold of him, tight enough to pick him up. All at once he let out a cry of surprise at the sudden pressure he felt around him, and Kitara’s concentration faltered. She lost her grip on him, and Lord Ranel laughed aloud.
“Well done Kitara, but I think you’ll need a lot more work……..obviously their expectations of you were too high.” He continued to laugh, he was finding her failure hilarious. Kitara looked around to see if the others also shared his opinion. They all looked surprised, as if they had doubted she could do anything at all. Suddenly Kitara felt annoyed. They had told her all this stuff about how strong she was, how talented, yet they were shocked to see her do anything? And Lord Ranel was mocking her? Kitara then knew that she’d have to prove them all wrong.
She once again concentrated on the messenger. He was looking around annoyedly, still trying to work out what was going on. She pictured him in her mind again, pictured the hand grasping him, picking him up. He cried out, but this time it didn’t put her off. The room went silent; all attention was on Kitara, and the messenger she was now holding about knee height above the ground.
Slowly but surely, Kitara imagined that the hand was attached to a rope, which was dragging him into the centre of the room.
“Put me down! This isn’t fair, leave me be!” the messenger cried, trying to struggle free, to no avail. After a short while Kitara had pulled him to the centre of the room. She lowered him to the ground slowly, but as soon as his feet touched the floor, his knees gave way, and he feinted. Dinnen rushed forward to see if he was ok. The High Magicians all looked stunned but impressed. Kitara turned to Lord Ranel, her eyes narrowed and a smug look on her face, as if to say ‘So……their expectations were too high were they?’ For a brief moment Lord Ranel’s eyes were wide with surprise, but then he nodded contentedly.
“Well done,” he said, “I see their trust was well placed.” His eyes flashed and he smiled suggestively, “I’ll be seeing a lot more of you, I think” he grinned, before turning and walking out.
Kitara let out a long sigh.
“That was quite a show,” Lord Morrist said, the first to speak, “I presume Bevan is just in shock?” he asked Dinnen, referring to the messenger. Dinnen nodded,
“Kitara pretty much gave him the fright of his life I think” he replied. Again it was Lady Savva who laughed.
“Well, she’s certainly proved herself, haven’t you Kitara? I guess there's no doubt about it now, to be able to do that ……..untrained…amazing!”
“Truly,” Lord Osra agreed, “There's a lot of talent there for sure. I also think there’s no chance that we can let her go untrained either. Kitara will have to join our ranks as a magician of Cavral.” Kitara’s face lit up,
“Really?” Lady Savva nodded,
“A power like yours isn’t something we’d let pass us by.” Kitara grinned happily; this was the only good thing to happen she’d had recently.
“That would be fantastic!” she exclaimed.
“There’s only one problem,” Lady Shirna spoke for the first time. Dinnen looked at her questioningly,
“What is it?” he asked.
“There is only one person who has the power to teach her to her full potential.”
“Lord Ranel,” Kitara said. The High magicians and Dinnen all looked at her to gauge her reaction. “I don’t mind,” Kitara told them, “it’ll be interesting.”
“Good, that’s settled then,” Lord Querin said, “You will become Lord Ranel’s apprentice.”
“And I think it best if you are to stay with Dinnen and his wife Tallissa until we find you a place of you own,” Lady Savva suggested. A general murmur of approvement went around the High Magician’s table. Dinnen nodded,
“We have a spare room she can stay in,” he agreed.
“It’s settled then,” said Lord Morrist, “We’ll talk more tomorrow Dinnen, but now it is late and I'm sure you are tired after your long journey. Go home, see your wife and sons, relax.” Dinnen bowed and turned to leave.
“Hang on,” Kitara told him, “I get my own house?” He smiled tiredly.
“Come on,” he sighed, and began walking. Kitara bowed hurriedly and followed him out.
“I get my own house? At sixteen? How am I supposed to look after myself?” Kitara asked again.
“You get a maid or man servant,” Dinnen replied, “but it's the law for every magician to be entitled to a house of their own, unless one decides to move in with another, in which case they get a bigger house for the two of them, and any possible family they might have.” Kitara looked impressed.
“What else is law around here then?” she asked. And so for the slow weary trudge back to Dinnen’s house, he told her much of the laws and rules in Cavral. He explained how the education system worked, and how magicians graduated, so to speak . Kitara was genuinely interested by this and listened attentively. ‘I think I'm going to like it here, she thought to herself.’
The next morning Kitara awoke with a full stomach and a sore head. She remembered with pleasure, the events of last night. First finding out she had the potential to be one of the strongest magicians in all of Myrraea, and then going back to Dinnen’s house to be welcomed by a feast and a very accommodating family who, however surprised they might have been that she was staying with them, took her in with open arms all the same. She remembered the sumptuous feast which had been lain out for dinner, and she remembered the wine, lots and lots of it. She smiled and got up. She washed briefly, dressed, and made her way downstairs. The house was quiet. She saw no sigh of Dinnen, or his sons, Dorn and Coren, but she found Tallissa sitting at the large oak dining table, reading a large brown, leather bound book. Along the spine, in gold ink, and written in a flowing, delicate font, were the words ‘Simple medical cures.’
“What's that for?” Kitara asked. Tallissa looked up and smiled.
“Morning, I didn’t know you were up. Good nights sleep?” Kitara nodded. “Good, good,” Tallissa continued, “I'm finding a headache cure for Dorn, after the amount he drank last night….” She laughed, as did Kitara. She had a brief flashback of him staggering around singing ‘The magician with the bright pink robes,’ before falling over and knocking himself out. Kitara smiled again, before she met any, she’d always assumed that magicians were very prim and proper, and down to earth. Not at all like Dinnen and his family, who were loud, fun and loving, and who could drink a good deal of wine.
“If you find that cure,” Kitara grinned, “let me know will you? I may need a little.” Tallissa chuckled. “Where are the others?” Kitara asked her.
“Dinnen is already up at the Guild Hall with the High Magicians, talking about you I expect. Dorn is awake but moaning about wanting to go back to sleep, and Coren is asleep still, so it's just you and me at the moment I'm afraid.” Kitara nodded,
“I was thinking of taking you shopping today if that’s alright?” Tallissa asked, “We can't have you going round in the same clothes every single day now can we?” Kitara gasped,
“You’d do that for me? It's just, I don’t have any money, I couldn’t pay you back…..” she trailed off, but Tallissa smiled.
“Of course, what are friends for?” Kitara grinned,
“That’d be great.” A low moan came from upstairs, followed by the thud of feet hitting the floor.
“I guess Coren’s up then.” Tallissa announced, “Let me find this headache cure for the boys, then we’ll go out ok?”
“Ok,” Kitara replied, “Sounds good.”
(A/N) Please review! Id relli appreciate it as I need all the help I can get!