Chapter 17

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Following the ceremony, the witches broke up into their cliques, some staying in the Grove, others congregating in the Great Hall in the Towers. There were fruits and mead to consume and talk centered on Arhyvhynne and the future of the sisterhood before it progressed (or deteriorated) to philosophical discussions and the theories behind the workings of complex spells. Arhyvhynne had already been accosted by several of her sisters regarding various mundane matters. Being new to the game, Arhyvhynne was unskilled in the art of diplomacy and listened to each one in detail. In short time she was overwhelmed and confused. It was early in the morning before she could disengage herself from matters politic and continue to her next destination and the last of her required duties.

Some of the sacred knowledge that the High Witch received at the Ritual of Impartation was the location of FireQueen's cavern, the accompanying route to it and the means of entrance. Thus it was that Arhyvhynne stood just inside the dragon's dwelling, totally in awe and unquestionably frightened.

The red and gold lizard blew smoke through her nostrils. "Of all the High Witches I have encountered these past five hundred years and more, I respected your mother the most. She was the only one I would have considered an equal. My deepest sympathies, High Witch Arhyvhynne."

"Thank you," the white robe responded in a small voice.

"You have a great many unenviable tasks before you, High Witch."

Arhyvhynne could not tell if the dragon used her title sarcastically. She was sullen as she responded, "So I have been told."

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