Chapter 2

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"This wizard is capable of performing the Ritual of Renascence?" The question came from Eyrmysse, seated on the left, closest to the dryad. She was of ordinary height, but that was the only ordinary thing about her. Her hair was made up of large black curls which reached below her lowered cowl to the middle of her back and framed an olive complexion. Her eyes were light violet and compelling to say the least. Her black robe, which signified the Path she had chosen in the study of the magical arts, was purposely tight and revealed a good deal of cleavage, leaving little to the imagination. She was only nineteen but she had exhibited extraordinary talent, if not control, and was one of Khyrhyelle's daughters.

Before Albera could respond, the High Witch turned slightly and stared at Eyrmysse. Although completely shrouded within the grey robe and cowl, the effect her grey eyes had on her daughter was not lost. They blazed momentarily as she conveyed the thought to Eyrmysse: You should know better than to speak unless questioned in this Chamber! While the thought was directed to Eyrmysse, Khyrhyelle allowed it to be "heard" by anyone who could pick up the mental communication. In that room, that meant everybody except the dryad.

The High Witch did not wait neither for an excuse nor a response but redirected her attention to the Council without missing a beat—hardly a second had passed. "Do any of you have any questions for Albera?"

There was a moment of silence. The tension grew as Eyrmysse, with her head back, defiantly stared at her mother, but did not dare ask her question a second time. Khyrhyelle ignored her and inclined her head to Dhynelle, who was seated next to Eyrmysse in one of the dark wood chairs. Although Dhynelle was nearing forty, her milk white complexion was still smooth. The hazel eyes were clear and bright and could have been feline in nature. Her hair was as not as quite as dark as Eyrmysse's, though longer and straight. Only a few streaks of grey hinted at her age. "Yes," Dhynelle responded as she fiddled with her lowered cowl. She turned towards the dryad. "Albera, could you please describe the staff again?"

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