Chapter 4

More Dedicated Conversations

Dedicate Rosethorn of the Temple Community of Winding Circle, in Emelan, stood in the doorway to the sitting room. At closing in on fifty, her auburn hair was streaked with strands of white, that shone golden blonde in the firelight. She had broad shoulders, long legs, and a square, stubborn jaw. When they were younger, Briar and Rosethorn were similar in height, but now he stood a head taller than she.

"Rosethorn, you are standing in the way."

Came a gruff voice from behind her. Daja's face lit up as Dedicate Frostpine entered the salon. He was a large sturdy black man, with a beard that stuck out every which way. Daja ran to give him a hug, while Sandry stood and smiled welcomingly at their visitors. Tris frowned in confusion.

"I thought you weren't supposed to be here for another day and a half."

Dedicate Lark, her skin almost the same golden shade as Briar's, and her black hair cropped close to her ears, came into the room, with the renowned mage Niklaren Goldeye at her heels. Niko wore everyday traveling clothes, breeches and a shirt, but his wealth showed in the fine workmanship of the cloth, and in the beautifully made boots that adorned his feet.

Sandry gave Lark, Niko, and Frostpine hugs, then paused when she got to Rosethorn. Rosethorn grinned when she saw the predicament on Sandrilene's face. Rosethorn had never been one to appreciate shows of affection, but she had never been closer to four children. Sandry smiled back, and gave Rosethorn a quick hug, then invited everyone to have a seat. While she rang for more tea, they all settled in front of the fire, and the newcomers were introduced to Bronze.

As they played by the fire, Pirisi spoke to Bronze in Tradertalk. Since her mother, father, and aunts spoke fluently, Piri had made it a point to as well. She disliked it when people spoke around her in a language she could not understand. However, Bronze didn't seem very inclined to say much. It was quite a difference from Piri's sister, Lunalee. Starr chattered incessantly, and Gods' forbid you try and get a word in edgewise. Ukeli, though only three, would speak clearly and well, but only about things he truly seemed to like. Horses, for instance. Piri could see the spirit of a young stallion in him, ready to ride on a whim. Sometimes she saw him glowing faintly, most commonly when he was in the stables or near horses of any kind. Star never seemed to glow, but enjoyed stargazing too much to merely be another ordainary girl.

Turning the page in the book she was showing to Bronze, she thought she saw a flicker of something in Bronze's eyes. Thinking about it, Piri tried a trick she had heard about in the market one time. She turned Bronze to face her, then looked deep into her eyes.

Niko saw a light turn on out of the corner of his eye, and turned to study the two girls reading by the firelight. Piri glowed a steady green, and Bronze with a light color that shifted to and fro, as if playing hide-and-seek. Niko blinked, Piri was stretching her magic across the distance between the girls, and seemed to be searching for something inside of the younger girl.

A small yelp of pain, and the magical bond was snapped. Piri had a strong power, and Bronze had something she was hiding. Maybe Niko would look into procuring a tutor for Briar and Sandry's eldest daughter. In the mean time, Lunalee showed promise as an astronomer and Ukeli had a future with horses. It would be up to Piri how much training she would like to go through. She already had an incredible amount of control, otherwise she would have blinded him with her little experiment. He would definitely make it a point to discuss their daughters' welfare with Sandry and Briar.