Chapter 23

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"Please, Mharkhel, please." She drew him to her. "Mharkhel, forget about your past, forget about the past few days. Forget everything but us."

The knight gently pushed her away. He still would not look at her. "You do not understand, Ellycyn. Though I share your feelings, it is not possible for us to be together. I cannot allow it to happen."

Ellycyn was in tears. "Why? What tortures you so? Tell me, Mharkhel. Can you not tell me what keeps us apart?"

"Ellycyn…" Tears were in the knight's eyes as he considered if he should confide in her. But before he could come to a decision, his mind was made up for him. Setryv arrived. Mharkhel's eyes went from his friend and lingered on Ellycyn. "I am sorry," he said, his voice a whisper. Then he abandoned his feelings and Ellycyn for the lonesome solace of the night.

"Damn you!" the Princess yelled at Mharkhel, his head bent as he trudged away. "Damn you!"

The sound of Ellycyn's pain would echo in Mharkhel's heart and mind long after the night ended. Fortunately for him, he was spared the sight of the Princess being consoled in Setryv's arms.


Raucous noise could be heard coming from the wing in the castle which housed Athar's ten wizards. In their social hall, empty tankards dotted the stone floor and half-eaten food was scattered across a large table. The candlelight was dim, the air heavy with the aroma of incense and the sounds of laughter and giggling. It was here that the wizards, together with the visiting witches, celebrated MidSummer night.

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