by Zentara Shadowsoul
I shook my head, taken aback by the High Priestess’s attitude. “Not tonight, that’s for certain. There are decisions to be made and I need time to make them. Too many questions. It’s too dangerous to blindly blunder in!” Yasmina scowled as I hurriedly continued “For one thing, there’s Ghost – I refuse to leave without him, but can horses use the Pathways? How many can go through at one time? And can we be one hundred percent certain that the symbol you believe to be of the Targ Citadel isn’t of somewhere else?”
Yasmina glowered at me. “It is. I am sure.” She was far too set in her ideas that I was this so-called Seeker of her Prophecy for her to entertain any doubts. I was to open the Pathways because it was written down that I would do so. I disagreed. But for a moment I found my thoughts became fuddled. She was right. I was the Seeker and my destiny was to use the key.
“Can Anshey du Khull reveal more?” I asked, my senses reeling that I was even considering doing what the priestess wanted.
The two priestesses exchanged glances, Dazidra answering slowly “We never ask her anything. She tells us what we should know. It has always been that way.”
“Then perhaps you should spend time with her,” I replied testily. “Surely that, at least, you can do?”
Bristling, Yasmina answered curtly “We are her priestesses, Seeker, not you!!! The Way is known. You will use the key! It is our decision, not yours!!!”
Anger welled up in me then. No one ordered me around like that. I rose, my temper broiling, my mind clearing. “Well, I’m going to my chamber. I’m tired. If you won’t help, then so be it. I’m the Seeker and I’ll decide where to go now. And when. Not you!” I snatched up the key, clutching it tightly. “This is mine, and I will use it when it suits me, not when it suits you.” And with that I flounced out of the room, annoyed and upset by the sanctimonious wiles of these two old women.
I stormed down the corridor and out into the stable yard, calming down only a little when I reached Ghost. “Sorry Ghost,” I murmured. “I’ve been neglecting you, with all this silly seeker business. Not sure what’s got into me the last few days.”
He stood placidly but his concern for me was obvious as I stroked his back and neck. Nuzzling me gently was his way of settling my emotions: despite our closeness he had no words to comfort me. But his warmth gradually seeped into me as I poured out my anger, relating to him what was causing my upset. He neighed sympathetically as if understanding and I cried briefly, grateful for his presence. Ghost was a true friend and I told him so. Whuffing happily he nodded his head and I smiled.
By the time I left him and went to bed I had vented the worst of my temper. Having stored the key safe in my box I lay down on the bed, my hand going to the pendant of Ekchua that Isolda had given me. It seemed warmer than it usually was. Surprised but too tired to concern myself I slipped into an uneasy sleep.
Shortly after midnight I woke from a nightmare of being trapped in a small dark room with masonry falling on my head. I sat up clutching the blankets tightly around my body. It took a while for the shivers to leave me, tears streaming down my face. Only a dream I kept muttering, only a bad dream. That won’t happen. Can’t happen. My thoughts swirled. As the fears of the nightmare receded, real fears of the Pathways took their place. Was I really going to try out the key? With no other knowledge? Could Ferantu help? I wasn’t sure. He had withheld much from me and despite his obvious love of me I couldn’t be certain that he’d know of these Pathways.
So, who else could I turn to? I thought of Grunthrin. Would he know more? He was, after all, a Targ. Could he help me? Did he know if the Pathway still existed in his homeland? I wished he was here to guide me. Perhaps that’s where I should go next – back to the Guild Hall, to talk to him. The Pathways, after all, could wait. Unless the priestesses could come up with some concrete answers I decided that there was no way I was going to risk my life, and Ghost’s life, on some foolhardy adventure.
And with that thought firmly established, I snuggled back down beneath the covers and soon drifted back to sleep.