by Zentara Shadowsoul
“You showed sense. As I thought you would. Anshey du Khull has been twisted, used and made mad by the priestesses – or it could be the other way around. Her fervour is like a drug, Her Being turned to ways that harm and infest and manipulate the Forest within her reach as no other can. You needed to see, to feel what She and Shay like Yasmina are capable of, to understand the threat. It is not from outside, as the so-called prophecy states, but from within. When you eventually find the ones you seek, you need to be able to recognise the risks. I am pleased and relieved that Anshiana-kuftir and An Feppia judged you correctly. They both saw your strengths. Find the Tower of Knowledge and learn to use your Powers fully.
You were never in danger, by the way – we were keeping watch. Trust your friends. Isolda is even more beautiful than I remembered her. As for the Targ, he seems to have your best interests at heart. I will return happier knowing that they are with you. Go with care, grand-daughter. F.”
After re-reading the note, I turned my attention to Ghost. He seemed content, rested after his hard ride and unperturbed by the fact that the note had been left entangled in his mane for me to find. That Ghost had not feared Ferantu, and had indeed trusted my grandfather and allowed him to hide the note as he had, comforted me.
One thing I had learned: Ghost would never let anyone he feared or distrusted anywhere near him. Back in An Reviniba I’d had to see to Ghost personally. Although he let Thorne within a reasonable distance I recalled how Ghost had been on edge whenever he approached too close. At the time I’d ignored the unease that Ghost had obviously felt. As I’d ignored other things that hadn’t felt right. The Power around that temple I now knew had been so strong that it had blinded me. I stroked Ghost, telling him that in future I’d take more notice of his judgement. A nudge of the head and a few whuffs were enough for me to know that he understood.
As for what Ferantu had written, how much should I believe? I felt some resentment that he’d let me walk into danger, toward a trap. How close had he been, I wondered? Had he followed me? I considered that option, decided it was certainly possible. I’d been too wrapped up in my own thoughts, my own ideas, to give much thought to anything else. When I’d sent out my senses, they had always been in a specific direction. And when I’d approached the temple I’d sensed no-one. Had they somehow concealed their presence? They must have done. And if they could, so could Ferantu.
Yet I’d had an itch, an inkling, that someone had followed me the last stretch of the journey. Was that deliberate on the part of Ferantu? Or had he let his own ward go, knowing that he no longer needed it? Of course! He’d had to protect his presence from Yasmina and Anshey du Khull too. With the help of Anshiana-kuftir, I was sure. Once we were all safe from the prying of the golden tree he was able to relax.
Relief flooded through me. I was certain now that Ferantu was an ally, not a threat. Hugging Ghost I smiled and relaxed, then headed back to the inn as aromas from the kitchen reminded me that breakfast beckoned.