Chapter 2

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"I may, Ghemella, but I choose not to. I will take my chances and bear the High One's wrath. But if I am too late because of your nonsense, it will be you who will be the object of her displeasure, not me."

Ghemella totally disregarded the threat. "Too late for what?"

Albera's cold stare was accompanied by a slight tilt of her head. The dryad made it evident that she did not wish to continue the game any further.

Ghemella matched her stare for a moment and then reluctantly conceded. "I will have Khyrhyelle informed of your arrival. You may wait in the hall."

"I will wait in the Council Chamber. Tell the High One to meet me there and that she should request the presence of her Council."

Ghemella, somewhat taken aback, paused momentarily, then uttered a Word and made a Sign. With that, the portcullis lurched up and Albera disappeared into the Entrance Hall, leaving Ghemella to wonder what the dryad might have encountered to necessitate the gathering of the Council.


The Council Chamber was a large, spacious, circular room with a fireplace opposite the entrance. The floor and walls were made of the same dark stone as the exterior of the Towers and were bare save for the various arcane symbols painted on them and the sconces which held light-giving torches. An oval table bearing the exact same symbols engraved into the rich walnut finish occupied the center of the Chamber. At one end of the table was a small version of a throne, the same color as the table. Figures of moons were carved into the back of the chair which rested upon a slight dais, the front of which was tiled in white and black marble and depicted the waxing and waning cycles of the moons. On the right of the table were three chairs of blanched walnut, on the left three with a finish that was so dark as to be almost ebony. They were all occupied by Council members. At the other end of the table was a bench that was polished to match the table and was capable of seating three people. It was here Albera sat and quickly related her story.

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