The Nolavia Curse Part Thirty-two

 

As Christmas approaches I’d like to thank everyone who has followed my blog and particularly The Nolavia Curse. I will be taking a break until New Year and then will start Part two of The Nolavia Chronicles, Nolavia’s Shadow. May you all have a blessed Christmas and that Joy and Love flows abundantly into your lives.

 

With twenty minutes to spare I walked out of my front door. Anaira was draped over the back of the white unicorn. The sun shone brightly as though it were just another day not the defining moment that my heart said it was. Anaira slid off the unicorn’s back and it moved away. She glided snake-like towards me, unsmiling. The Dragons and Snilboglins were still squatting on top of the roofs and charred bodies of snoobabs and humans littered the ground. I waited for her to come to me without moving.

 

Davalast and the others were to await my signal but I could feel the shield pulsing around me. She stopped about two feet from me. A light breeze blew her hair over her face and she brushed it away.

 

“You’ve tied your hair back. I liked it loose.” She said. I said nothing keeping my eyes on her face. “I thought you were dead.” Her voice was flat.

 

“It will take more than that to kill me, Anaira.” I said.

 

“Yes.” She bit her bottom lip distractedly. Something was different. The bravado was gone and she looked fragile. “Well I suppose we should continue, you’ve kept me waiting long enough. Are you alone again?”

 

“No, not this time.” I said and raised my hand. Doors opened immediately and people filed quietly out of their houses. Anaira backed away and flicked her hand. Dragons and Snilboglins stood to attention. Vulcanas pawed the ground and snorted. Snoobabs chattered in shrill agitation. Two circles formed while Anaira stared. She seemed undecided and it gave us valuable time to settle. Yroyve slipped his hand into mine and I bent to kiss his forehead. Anaira gave a strangled cry and flicked her hand. Everything moved at once and the cacophony was deafening.

 

“Close your eyes if you need to but remain firm in your resolve to Love, only Love!” I yelled above the noise. The shield surrounded us all and it pulsed in the rhythm of our breath. Yroyve started to chant and we all fell in with him. “Love, Love, Love” we muttered and the chanting grew louder until it drowned out the flapping of wings and the thudding footfalls.

 

The winds twirled and twisted at our cloaks. I held onto Yroyve on the one side and Davalast on the other. Black clouds converged in the sky dousing the sun until we were enveloped by darkness more profound than any night. The wind whistled and whipped about us but we kept chanting. It felt like we were the wind itself buffeting and adding to the energy of the shield. Time expanded limitlessly and I could have continued forever. I was no longer an individual, the collective breath moved through me filling me with indescribable joy. We were one.

 

Then the wind died abruptly. Still swathed in blackness we could see nothing but we continued to chant and breath in unison. Gradually the darkness lifted and the sun poured down its buttery light. We kept our shield up but our chanting slowed and stopped.

 

Anaira was alone except for the Unicorn who stood untethered by her side. The other creatures had fled. She lay on the ground her shoulders heaving. I walked out of the circle and through the shield and knelt on the ground next to her. I stroked her hair. It was no longer white but golden as though the sun had touched her with its light. She was weeping the tears of a child, great gulping sobs. I gathered her into my arms and she clung to me burying her damp face into my neck.

 

 

End of Part One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Nolavia Curse Part Thirty-One

 

On the periphery of my mind I felt something dragging me along the ground. Hushed voices and manic laughter was the soundtrack of an obscure dream or was it a nightmare? Like fog lifting vision seeped back and Davalast’s concerned face came into view.

“She’s back! Esereht can you hear me?”

“Yes. What happened? How did I…?” I said sitting up. My body ached as though I’d been beaten with a cricket bat.

“We managed to throw a magical net over you and drag you to safety.” Davalast said pulling me up against his chest. “I was so worried. Why didn’t you call? You promised to call out.”

“I tried but I couldn’t. It just wouldn’t…the snoobabs…?” I was so exhausted it hurt to talk.

“We blew them up. The bastards were ripping you apart. We …”

“No! No!” I screamed. “You were not to harm anything! Why didn’t you listen?” It was all lost. We were lost. Everything I had wanted was splintered by violence and death.

“Esereht you were dying. They were all over you. What were we supposed to do?” Davalast said his throat thick with tears.

“Where is Anaira?” I stood holding Davalast’s arm to steady my wobbly legs. Loracas, Maya and Tolenal stepped towards me. They were pale and subdued.

“She says we have two hours or she will destroy Nolavia.” Said Maya. “We tried to fight her and her beasts Esereht. She rebounded all our efforts and we lost many people.” Her voice shook and tears slid murky streaks down her cheeks.

I sat at the kitchen table my body trembling. I had to regroup somehow. There had to be a way to pull this back. “Where is everyone?”

“The survivors scattered back into their homes.” Said Loracas.

“We revert back to my plan but this time supporters in the outer circle and doubters in the inner. Do you understand?” They nodded. “How many people do we have left?” I said wearily.

“About two hundred and fifty I think, twenty-five witches and wizards and about one hundred men. The rest women and children.” Said Davalast as the others nodded in agreement. I sighed in dismay.

“We need to communicate with them and get some idea of their support. Maya you’ve always been good with telepathy, would you do it? I need to garner my strength. How much time do we have left?”

“One hour and twenty minutes.” Tolenal said with a grunt.

“Well put it to good use. I will meet downstairs in half an hour.” I said dragging myself up the stairs. I needed to gauge the condition of the coating. “Don’t forget to see that everyone is properly coated. It saved my life.” I called down and flopped face first onto the bed. I sobbed for a few minutes into my pillow, wiped my eyes and rolled off the bed. Enough weeping over the past, I had a job to do. I removed my clothes in front of the standing mirror in the corner of the bedroom. Blue-black bruises covered my body but the coating had held firm. All the blood was internal. I stepped into the shower turning it on full blast so that the pelting water could purify me from the despair I felt.

Davalast stood at the bathroom door. I felt his presence and looked up.

“I’m sorry.” He said miserably. I beckoned him to join me and he flung his clothes on the floor and stepped into the shower.

“Hold me.” I said and my voice was a child’s. He wrapped me in his arms and we rocked each other until the water was cold. Davalast wrapped me in a towel and we sat on the bed. “It held. The coating, it held.” I smiled at him.

“Yes.” He did not smile back. “It didn’t protect the others though. Why do you think that is?” He said.

“I don’t know.” I said feeling wretched again.

“We must get back. There is so much to do.” He said and he sounded so dejected I pulled him to me and cradled his head against my breasts. He started to cry and I held him tightly, tears sliding down my cheeks too.

 

To be continued…

The Nolavia Curse Part Thirty

 

 

Anaira turned to face me as I walked towards her. Her eyes glowed like heated metal in the moonlight. She shrugged off her cape and it slipped onto the grass. Her white hair and skin were luminescent against the black of her dress. Her lips were strawberry red and parted and she looked breathtakingly beautiful. I had never noticed before how striking she was.

 

“Well, well Esereht is this a party of one? Is everyone hiding in the shadows? How dreadfully disappointing for you. You always fancied yourself a leader, didn’t you?” Anaira smiled.

 

“It is just me.” I said.

 

“Oh dear and I was so looking forward to a grand finale. And you noticed I brought all my friends? They will not be satisfied with such a paltry offering. Whether they like it or not Esereht, everyone in Nolavia is invited to the party.” She said.

 

“Anaira it is me and only me with whom you have a fight. Let it be.” My voice was steady and I felt no fear whatsoever. If this was to be my last hour I was ready. My shield was in place and Davalast; my dear Davalast was holding it firmly. I could feel the sensation of his energy around me.

 

“Esereht you are mistaken.” She spat. “I want the whole of Nolavia to quake with what I have in store for them. Not one man, woman or child will remain standing when I have completed my mission.” She stalked towards me until I could smell her breath. The scent of lemon zest and juniper was so distinctive memories licked at the edges of my mind and I shivered involuntarily.

 

“Oh dear, have I scared you?” She smiled again.

 

“Not at all. You first have to get past me Anaira.” She laughed a cold and mirthless chuckle.

 

“Oh Esereht you do make me laugh. I have three hundred Snilboglins, fifty dragons, eighty snoobabs and two hundred Vulcanas aimed at you at this very moment. I could crush you with a wave of my hand. Where is the sport in that?” She said.

 

“It has never been about sport for you Anaira. It is always about winning. I want nothing from you but it seems you want everything from me. I will not fight you. So you have to do what you will.” Her eyes darkened to gunmetal grey and she twisted my hair in her fingers. She drew my head to her and kissed me on the lips. I was so taken aback I froze. She took my bottom lip between her teeth and bit hard. I pulled away with a cry and put my hand up to my mouth. It was sticky with blood. Davalast must have kissed the coating away.

 

“You are so sweet Esereht but you see we are doomed you and I. In another world or another time, who knows we could have had something special. But you chose not to.” Regret flickered in her eyes for a millisecond and they became steely once more. “Your sacrifice will do no good, my dear. They will all die. I will personally see to it.” She stepped back and flicked her wrist.

 

The earth beneath my feet trembled as Vulcanas galloped towards me. I braced myself but when they hit all thought left me as I was flung up into the air. I hovered for what felt like minutes before plunging to the ground. I lay winded and gasping hearing their thudding feet once more. Three times they flung me into the air and three times I landed with a thud. The ground stilled as they snorted their foul breath on my face. My own breathing was rasping and my chest screamed. Flicking my hand weakly my lungs cleared and air rushed in unimpeded. I stumbled upright and shook myself like a dog.

 

Anaira gaped at me slack jawed. Fear flickered in her eyes and I felt overwhelming sadness that she was so tormented with hurt and anger.

 

“I Am Love Anaira. You cannot hurt me and I have no wish to hurt you.” I said. She shrieked and ran at me stopping inches from my face. Her beautiful features were twisted with rage. I did not avert my eyes from hers. She broke our gaze and stepped back flicking her wrist again.

 

The whoosh of dragon wings cut the air and panic made my legs heavy. ‘I Am Love, I Am Love’ I chanted under my breath. Massive talons seized my shoulders and I was lifted high into the sky. ‘I Am Love, I Am Love!” I shouted louder as the talons opened and I plummeted. I flicked my wrist and soared with less effort than usual. Flying has always been complicated for me but now I flew strongly weaving away from the dragon’s talons. I landed unharmed onto my feet on the grass.

 

A second later I was gasping for breath again as snoobabs hung on every inch of me snapping their sharp teeth into my flesh. Although they had not broken through the coating yet the pain was unbearable. My clothes ripped as I swung around and around faster and faster but I could not dislodge these fearsome creatures. My eyes rolled back in my head and my vision blurred. I tried to call out to Davalast but darkness was blotting out all sense of me.

 

To be continued…

Drop me a Line 42! The Nolavia Curse Part Twenty-Nine

 

The underground hall fell eerily quiet. I raised my head from Davalast’s chest and gazed around at the people of Nolavia. Most looked discomfited and unhappy. A few like Loracas and Babarab stood tight lipped and belligerent with crossed arms. Tolenal’s face sagged and he staggered to his chair clutching his chest. At the same time chairs started to shake and clods of soil fell from the earth covering. I rushed over to Tolenal.

“Are you alright?”

“I have pains in my chest. Nothing to worry about, it’s probably indigestion. What’s happening?” Said Tolenal grimacing. The soil continued to fall. Something was happening above and we needed to get out of here.

“Don’t panic! Go back to your homes and stay there. The magical coating over your houses will withstand these tremors. We need to find out what’s happening. Go quickly but be aware and considerate of others.” I said. People ran in all directions screaming in panic. “Stop running!” I yelled and flicked my hand to force their legs to a walk. Yelps of surprise and frustration soon died as they all filed into the tunnels and made their way back.

Davalast and I helped Tolenal to his feet. Clumps of soil pelted down on our heads. As we entered the tunnel part of the hall caved in. Davalast and I closed it immediately not wanting our passageways to be compromised but they was useless to us now. We would have to fill in all the channels otherwise they could endanger us further. All our work of the last few days had come to naught and we were more divided than ever.

We entered our living room past midnight. Tolenal was feeling better and we felt it was safe to leave him. From his bedroom window we had seen the vulcanas storming in by the hundreds. Vulcanas only know how to run full tilt at something. Possibly the stupidest animals still alive they have formidable strength and numerous sharp horns. There is no getting up again once they’ve run over you. I was bored with Anaira’s strategy and frankly disappointed by her lack of imagination. When the snoobabs arrived the battle would begin. They were by far the most cunning of Anaira’s beasts. Perhaps it was urban legend but people swore that snoobabs could open doors and had been seen peering in fridges for something good to eat.

I was drained and exhausted but sleep was elusive. It was around three that I heard a strange noise. I crept out of bed and edged to the window careful to keep out of sight. Anaira was here. It was her cloak flapping in the wind that I had heard because the white unicorn tethered to the jungle gym next door was quiet. His pearlescent horn shimmered in the moonlight. I was surprised at his involvement. Unicorns are very discerning and will seldom assist in causes they don’t support. How had Anaira convinced this creature to join her? Then I saw the magical manacles around his hooves and the resistance in his demeanour. The dark shapes surrounding Anaira were most certainly snoobabs.

I shook Davalast awake.

“It’s time.” I said.

“Anaira’s here?” He was instantly awake. I nodded.

“Snoobabs in tow. Also a reluctant Unicorn.” I said. Davalast raised his eyebrows and shifted to the window.

“What now?” He said turning to me.

“I need to recoat myself. I’m not sure if it’s still effective.” I said shrugging off my nightdress. It cascaded to the floor. My hair hung freely down my back and Davalast came up behind me.

“I love the way your hair shimmers. Don’t put it up. It might distract Anaira.” Davalast put his fingers into my hair muttering the coating spell. I shivered as his hands slowly moved down my body.” When we both were thoroughly recoated I turned back to him.

“I’m going out there.” I said.

“Then I am too.” He said his eyes gleaming in the dark.

“Not yet. Promise me that you will give me some time. Help me with my shield but don’t show yourself yet. Promise me?” I seized his hands in mine.

“I don’t like this Esereht but I promise. If I think you are in danger I’m coming out.”

“No I will call out to you if I think I’m in danger. Promise me you will wait for my call? Promise!” I insisted. He nodded hugging me hard. I pulled away reluctantly and walked to the door.

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drop me a line 41! The Nolavia Curse Part Twenty-Eight

 

I found this episode hard to write because it is the default for many governments and politicians and I wish so much it wasn’t. As Christmas approaches I ask everyone to hear the call of the I Am Presence in yourselves and create a New World. It has to start with ourselves or it will never happen.

 

Tolenal stood self-consciously and cleared his throat. “Well you’ve put me a bit on the spot Esereht, I thought you had a workable plan. Very well, I propose that we conjure weapons, powerful weapons and…”

“I have a basement full of stuff that may be useful.” Babarab called from the back. “I’ve made a prototype of a robot that fires a round of thirty six bullets per minute. I’ve only got one though and it will take ages to make more.” He said his voice regretful. “But I’ve got semi automatic rifles and some explosives that could do some serious damage…”

I gaped at him in horror. Davalast grabbed my hand and I squeezed his. I could not look at him. My head was spinning and I felt queasy. Loracas jumped up again.

“There is loads of stuff on the Webnet. Once we understand it we can produce hundreds of weapons magically. Floretina, you’ve done some experiments on bacteria and viruses that produce some devastating effects, haven’t you? We could use those against Anaira and her brutes.” He said his voice rising in excitement.

“Yes I have but I don’t think we should…” Floretina said. She was an unassuming witch who tended to keep away from people. She preferred tinkering in her laboratory creating potions for healing the sick. What was she doing creating biological weapons? Had the world gone mad? She looked flushed and uncomfortable.

“It’s perfect! We will have Anaira running for the hills or better yet dead on the ground. The only way to destroy this witch is to end her. Once and for always.” Loracas was flushed and Maya gawked at him as though she didn’t know him. I needed to get away from here. This was worse than I ever imagined. Tarem and his wife Etelette stood up. Yroyve buried his head in her neck and whimpered.

“No! Enough! Can you hear yourselves? Next you will be proposing that we create a bomb that will blow us all to smithereens. Have you all lost your minds?” Said Tarem.

“You would blow our children up? There are other mothers here. You think to teach our children this…this…destruction? Well I say no. I don’t want to live like this. I don’t want my children to live like this.” Said Etelette bursting into tears.

“Love, love, love.” Chanted Yroyve and he raised his tousled blonde head from her chest. I stood and felt my way to the front. Tears obscured my sight and my heart felt as though it would surely break. I did not know my people anymore.

“I cannot let you do this. It would be better to face Anaira and her creatures alone than to destroy everything I believe in. Stay here in this bunker. Hide from yourselves. Believe if you will that Anaira is your enemy. It is clear to me by destroying Anaira we will only unleash the monster that lurks within us all. I would rather die than live like this.” I groped to the side and Davalast pulled me into his arms. I buried my head in his chest.

“Are you all quite mad?” Said Davalast holding me tightly. “Do you not hear what Esereht is saying? Kill Anaira and another will take her place. Like the games for children hit one gopher on the head and two appear, hit two then four appear and so on. This violence has to stop. Do you want to tear Nolavia in two? Because I for one will not allow Esereht to face Anaira alone.”

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drop me a line 40! The Nolavia Curse Part Twenty-Seven

 

I knew I could not convince these people that our way to salvation remained a peaceful one. They would need to grapple their own demons. I sat down and urged Davalast to do the same. The noise escalated as the non-magical descended into fear and despair and wizards and witches into anger. Loracas shook his finger in my direction.

 

“Esereht, something happened to you in the garden and it’s taken your power from you. You are not the witch you were and I fear you wish to lead us to ruin.” He said. Maya studied the floor torn by her loyalties and her lithe body slumped uncharacteristically. There was nothing to say so I remained silent.

 

“Quiet everyone!” Tarem said standing up, his lean frame stiff but nonetheless forceful. “I trust Esereht. She has always led us with integrity. If she says this is the way, I believe her.” He sat down abruptly and crossed his long legs. Tarem was widely respected but there was still dissention in the crowd. Assennav strolled up to the front. I watched her carefully. She was a strange girl and I was not sure which direction she would support. She cleared her throat ostentatiously. She was quite the performer but her beauty was undeniable and the room fell silent for whatever reason.

 

“I have had a lot of time with Esereht and although she can be a mighty pain in the ass she cares about Nolavia. She would never do anything to jeopardise our country I know that. I trust her and there is nobody else I could say that about.” She flicked her hair over her shoulder and sauntered back to her chair. There was something regal about her and I was moved by her trust because it had taken time to win it.

 

Elenora stood up. She was Tarem’s second child and normally a timid little thing. I was intrigued.

 

“I don’t want anything to happen to my family, or anyone else. Will you keep us safe?” Her voice shook but her gaze was unwavering. Unexpected tears filled my eyes and my throat was tight. I walked over to her taking her hands in mine.

 

“Elenora I cannot guarantee that we will all be safe. I will do everything in my power to prevent any hurt but I can’t make those promises, I’m sorry.” She nodded and sat down her lip trembling. Yroyve, who was sitting on his mother’s lap, clapped his hands. Everybody turned to look at him. Although only four years old there was something special about this child and we all felt it.

 

“Love, love, love!” He chanted in a sweet, clear voice. The crowd murmured.

 

“I have a question.” Said Babarab from his chair at the back of the hall. As wide as he was tall Babarab was a sullen and often vicious bully. I had seen him push children a quarter of his size onto the ground. He had no magical ability but great strength and an ingenious mind when it came to anything mechanical. I tensed.

 

“Ask your question, Babarab.” I said.

 

“How do you plan to use ‘Love’ to defeat Anaira and the monsters surrounding us? They will not be using this ‘Love’ against us.” He flicked his sausage fingers every time he said Love in a dismissive and offensive manner. I tried, only marginally successfully, to push the irritation I felt away.

 

“If everyone is ready to hear the answer I will attempt to explain.” I said. The room fell silent. “We will magically coat every man, woman and child to protect them from harm. This coating saved me from countless strikes from Anaira in the recent past. We will stand in two circles facing outwards. Wizards and witches and adults make up the outer circle and children the inner. The magical will create a shield, to which we all, magical and non-magical, will keep adding our pure essence. This shield needs to be filled with unqualified love and radiance. The hardest part for us all will be to keep fear and hatred out of these circles. Those emotions will only weaken our shield. When Anaira or her creatures attack with magic or force we need to keep resolutely sending waves of unconditional love towards them. We may…”

 

“This is ridiculous!” Loracas yelled. I have a wand and magic and I could render those Snilboglins or whatever the hell she decides to set on us into a snivelling ball of pain. I hate Anaira and I have no problem declaring that for all to hear.” A number of cheers erupted around the hall. “This new age crap of love and radiance just doesn’t cut it for me.” He said and plonked himself heavily into his chair.

 

“Esereht, I also find this plan hard to fathom. We need to hit Anaira and hit her hard. She will laugh at our circle of Love. I’m sorry my dear but I fear you have lost your grip on reality.” Said Tolenal firmly.

I felt defensiveness rise up like gall but breathed through it. It was a perfectly acceptable assumption that I too would have made a few months ago.

 

“Very well Tolenal let us hear your plan.” I said sitting down.

 

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

Drop me a line 39! The Nolavia Curse Part Twenty-Six

How does one convince a world that is so set on keeping the status quo to find a new way of living and making decisions? I think it will remain up to each person to find their truth and have the courage to share it with others. At this moment Esereht has to face that challenge.

 

I ran to the window and peered into the sky. It was black with dragons heralding in the sunrise with piercing screeches. They landed in a billow of dust and stood like sinister guards.

“Anaira has us blockaded.” I said. Davalast came up behind me and I leant against him. “I think I know what she’s doing. She is going to intimidate us with all her vicious magical beasts. Next it will be the snoobabs and vulcanas and when we are sufficiently resigned to our fate she thinks she will sweep in and take over.” I said.

“And what do you think?” Davalast said. I turned and looked at him.

“We need to assemble everyone before Anaira gets here. What if we conjured tunnels underground that joined each building together? Do you think that’s possible?” I said feeling a frisson of excitement.

“Why not? We can join the magical first so they can help with the others. Also it may be prudent to talk to them first. You know how fragile their egos are. We really don’t want to upset anyone.” Said Davalast. I knew what I was going to propose was going to be controversial irrespective of diplomacy.

We started the tunnel from the sitting room and within minutes we arrived in Tolenal’s kitchen. He yelped with shock spilling his coffee on his tweed dressing gown. His beard twitched with annoyance.

“Where did you come from?” He said reaching for a cloth.

“We made an underground tunnel from our house to yours. We think we should make passageways to each house so that we can communicate without the creatures seeing us. We thought it best to start with you.” Davalast said. Tolenal nodded importantly. I said nothing. Davalast was infinitely more tactful than I would have been. Tolenal could be a pompous ass sometimes.

“Good idea. I will get dressed and we can begin. I think we should start with Loracas and go on from there…” He said walking out of the kitchen. I poured coffee for Davalast and myself from the pot on the table. I was contemplating a second cup when Tolenal strode in wand in hand and his hat jauntily tipped to one side. “Let’s go.” He said. Davalast winked at me from behind Tolenal’s back and I grinned as we fell in line behind the older wizard.

As more witches and wizards joined our excavations the whole procedure took less than five hours. When we popped up unexpectedly into kitchens or living rooms we were handed sustenance by astonished but relieved Nolavians. We were well fed and watered by the time we created a cavernous underground hall and chairs of all kinds appeared in neat rows.

“Well, over to you Esereht.” Said Tolenal heaving his body into a comfortable armchair with a self-satisfied sigh.

“We now have an underground passageway that leads to this hall so we can meet in secret at any time.” I said and took a deep breath. I was unsure how to begin. “ When we retuned from Sednasi I promised I would tell you what transpired when I had to continue part of the journey alone. There was so much that I still had to make sense of it was difficult for me to speak of it at the time.

My friends, for eon’s humans have resolved conflicts through violent means. We have killed and maimed to gain territories, land and riches. We have placed boundaries around us that keep others away and we give up lives to protect those boundaries.

We fear the other humans across our borders. And they fear us. All this does is separate us from each other. We are the same. We want the same things, love, peace and joy but we give those things up to keep war, conflict, hatred and fear. Why? We have our own bloody history of death and loss on Nolavia. When Anaira left we took a long time to rebuild our Island. We have had peace and prosperity for fifty years and Anaira and the Mainland has largely left us alone. But we are being threatened once more. Anaira has hundreds of magical and vicious creatures at her disposal. We do not.” I fell silent as a rumble of heated voices filled the hall.

It was becoming hot and stuffy in this underground cavern and a rivulet of sweat trickled between my breasts. I leant over whispering to Davalast and he flicked his wand and small fissures appeared in the earth covering and soon the air was cool and sweet. I felt nervous and unprepared suddenly. If I made a mistake and the community rejected what I proposed I feared all would be lost. Now more than ever I needed sensitivity and tact. Not something I had in great quantities usually.

“Friends.” I said quietly. The rumble slowly faded and everyone faced forward again staring expectantly at me. “In the garden I was told that we needed to find another way. We do not need hordes of brutal creatures, we do not need swords or guns or even magic.” The rumble began again. I resisted the temptation to raise my voice and paused until everyone was quiet. “The only weapon we need is in each of us.” The hall was so quiet now I could hear the intake of breath as they waited. “The weapon that we have that Anaira has no defences against, is Love.”

The eruption of disbelief and mistrust made me fall silent. Tolenal scrambled with difficulty to his feet. Loracas choked and Maya looked stunned. Assennav leant against the earth wall and smirked. Davalast came and stood next to me. I took his hand. We were both trembling. It hadn’t gone as well as we’d hoped.

 

To be continued…