If you've missed the first seven, you can find them here.
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When at last she spoke, Aria felt as though she could reach out and touch her. “My daughter, yours is a great and important destiny. Much more than you can possibly imagine.” Her voice was clear, soft and soothing, though Aria found her words confusing. “Your ancestry has provided you with certain gifts.”
Keeping her thoughts about the strange nature of the conversation to herself, Aria asked, “In the name of Terratessa, what do you mean, Mother?”
Serranna smiled brighter. “From the grace of Terratessa, you hear the thoughts of the crennas and they yours. This, my precious daughter, is your most powerful and useful gift. Trust them as your eyes and ears. Let them guide and protect you, just as they have always.”
She swung so that her feet reached over the land, and she slid off of the swing making a soft thump as her feet hit the ground. “Your dreams will soon allow you to peer into the future, giving you the power to change what will be,” she walked over and sat on the white boulders by the water. “Your acute senses keep you alert. There are more gifts yet to be discovered.”
“But, how am I to find them without you guidance? Without Father’s?”
“Our guidance will always be within you. You must only remember to look for it there when you seek it.”
Aria could feel her heart pounding with dread. The sense of something terrible to come was crushing her chest.
“My child, though you are strong, you must beware, for these gifts are both a blessing and a curse.” Serranna tucked a strand of hair behind her daughter’s ear. “Guard their secrets well, and use them to protect you from what is to come. Knowledge of your gifts in the wrong hands could be deadly for you and your sister.”
”But, what is this important destiny of which you speak? I don’t understand what any of this means!”
“Do not try, nah lyka; it will only cloud your vision. Or, have you already forgotten what you have been taught?”
“No, of course not, Mother. Just as you and Father taught me, I must clear my mind, and let the answers come to me.”
“Yes, let them come to you.” She cradled Aria’s face in her hands, and whispered, “The time is near my dearest. But do not fear.” She kissed Aria’s forehead, smiling once more before she began to evaporate.
“What do you mean, ‘the time is near’?” Aria cried out. “Time for what?” Her mother was almost gone. “Wait! You’re going to guide me through what?” Aria demanded.
“Whatever lies ahead,” Serranna replied. It seemed her smile lingered for a moment longer than the rest, then, she completely evaptorated.
The close walls and narrow bed positioned two feet away reminded Aria of what was the dream, and what was reality.
“Oh, there, you’re finally up.” Aria rolled over to find Taura and Ziliena standing right over her bed with their hands on their hips, scowling. “See, I told you she wouldn’t even notice I was missing. I was beginning to think I should just go off to the Market without you.”
Aria pulled her pillow over her face, muffling her voice. “How is it another Market Faire already?"
"We've been here a week. Time moves forward."
Aria groaned again. "Maybe I should stay in, I was scouting for the hunt last night, you know.”
“Ha! I heard what time you came in.”
“Yeah, well the orbs all set and if I ran into a wolf, or something bigger? I didn't want to disqualify myself having to kill one last night.”
Ziliena giggled. Taura rolled her eyes, “Uh-huh."
Aria sat up abruptly. "Have you two made any sense from the journals yet?"
"Not too much,." Ziliena said "I'm missing something - it feel like we're close. But, not there yet."
Aria sighed. "Last night, Aerodar said Hunter found another journal, one of Mother's. He's supposed to bring it with him today."
"Hopefully it will help us make sense of this one." Taura mused. "So, are you coming with us or not?”
“Maybe I’ll find you a little later.” Aria turned over. “Going back to sleep now.”
As soon as she heard the door shut behind them, Aria reached under her bed and sat up with a journal. I mustn’t forget anything. She knew her dreams were no more than conjurings of her mind. She also knew they were manifestations of memories, of lessons taught by her parents, who now, even in death, still guide her. Ahane, why do they speak in riddles though?
Taura waited until they were downstairs before saying, "We can't tell her any more until after the Hunt is over. I don't want her distracted."
"I won't tell her," Ziliena agreed. "But, we both know she could pick it out of our minds. We need to keep her focused."
"If she brings it up, we have to change the subject. If she has any idea what our parents were really doing-"
"Say no more, Taura. I know. I mean, you have me, but, she is your family."
"All that I have left."
When she finished, Aria tucked the journal back under the bed, and then sat back up. She knew she wouldn't be able to get back to sleep with the noise from the Market, so she didn't try. She didn't want to go to the Faire either. Maybe I should go scout the terrain for the Hunt in the light of day. She dressed, took her bow, and locked the room as she left.
Slipping quietly down the back stairs of the boarding house, she let herself out the back door and onto the narrow path running behind it. It appeared everyone was off to the Faire already, as there was not a soul to be seen.
She spotted Aerodar perched on the roof. Dar, you did tell Hunter to be here today, right?
He left at dawn. I flew out a little while ago and spotted him not far away. He should be here soon. The bird glided down and perched on her shoulder.
Good. Would you go find him, and stay with him the rest of the way? Bring him to Romburr and Illitz.
Let me know when you get back.
The falcon took flight, climbing high in the air and disappeared in the direction of home.
Taura and Zilena wandered the faire, sampling some sweets from Chaalise's tent. "This is so..."
"Divine?" Ziliena offered. "I know. Chaalise is a wonder with candies and sweet meats. Stay away from her cakes though."
"Waaaaaaay toooooooo much, of everything. I'll leave it at that."
The girls giggled as the stepped into the baker's tent, not noticing who else was already inside. "There you are, Taura." Ithitane flashed another of his far too bright grins. "I wondered what became of you and your sister. You never checked in at my uncle's boarding house."
Ziliena responded, "Oh, sorry, Ith. I'd already arranged and paid their lodgings for them. I think they're satisfied with where they are for now."
"Yes," Taura confirmed. "So much so my sister is sleeping in. She doesn't do that very often."
"I see," there was a hint of disappointment in his voice. "Well, can I buy you a glass of fara? Or, a mug of foark if you prefer?"
"Oh, no, Ith. Sorry." Ziliena looped her arm through Taura's. "She's mine today."
Taura looked back at him over her shoulder as they walked away. "Maybe tomorrow."
Once they were far enough away, Ziliena said, "Taura, please don't encourage him."
"I'm sorry, I-"
"Don't be sorry. I know, it's your nature to be kind. That's why I love you!" She sighed. "It's just, well, I feel like I have to protect you from...."
"From what, Zil? From the big scary boy?"
"From people who aren't as kind as they pretend to be." They were near the musicians, playing an upbeat tune. "Oh, I like this song. Will you dance with me?"
"Sure," Taura smiled. "Let's go."