It was time for Telyn's history lesson, but she wasn't interested in studying today. She plopped her chin into her hands and sighed gustily, fluttering the leaves of The Book of Three.
Dewin raised his bushy eyebrows. "Is something the problem, Princess?" he asked mildly.
The little princess raised troubled blue eyes to her tutor. "Dewin, I just can't read any more of this today!" she declared.
"And why not?" He smiled slightly. "Are your brothers planning some mischief you want to join?"
Telyn shook her head, sending her unbound hair cascading down her back in a red-gold stream. "No, it's just … Dewin, it isn't fair! Why did all the magic have to leave Prydain with the Sons of Don?"
"It is how it was ordained to be," the old man, both court bard and royal tutor, answered promptly. "Prydain is now a man's land (or perhaps, more precisely, I should say human), and it is for humans to decide their own destiny, without any magic."
Telyn brushed his solemn explanation away with one dramatic sweep of her hand. "I've heard all that before," she reminded him. "I still don't think it's fair! Mother and Father got to see such exciting things—enchanted rings, Fair Folk, Dyrnwyn before its flame was quenched—why did we have to lose all magic? Surely just a little—here or there—wouldn't have hurt anyone? I'd give anything to see something magical." Here she sighed again.
Dewin's keen eyes twinkled. "As it happens, Princess," his hushed tones and serious face a contrast to his merry eyes, had the princess chosen to notice, "I am in possession of one of the last magical items left in all Prydain."
Telyn's delicate face brightened immeasurably. "Really? May I see it?"
"More—I will let you borrow it."
Telyn clasped her hands together in ecstatic delight. "Oh Dewin, you are good."
Dewin turned from her and rummaged in his chest for a moment. Telyn watched in amazement as scrolls, vellums, slippers, fur-lined robes, and half-eaten stale loaves of bread flew every which way. Finally, Dewin came up for air, his face flushed from stooping.
"Here," he said, laying the small item down on the table before her.
Telyn bit her lip in disappointment. "Spectacles?" she said, gazing at the round lenses and silver rims. They did not look very prepossessing.
Dewin looked aghast. "Just spectacles, you say? Great Belin, Princess! These bear the most powerful magic left in Prydain! Never dismiss something simply because it looks uninteresting." He leaned over and tapped her nose. "It is what is inside that counts, not outside."
Telyn looked at the battered spectacles with more respect. "What do they do?"
Dewin glanced around mysteriously before answering. "They show you things. Magical things. Things you can't see with just your eyes."
Telyn's own eyes rounded into deep pools of blue. "Ooh," she breathed. "May I try them now?"
Dewin nodded, his long beard brushing his belt. "Let me help you."
The princess held her hair away from her face as Dewin hooked the spectacles over her ears and settled them on her nose. He bit his lip to keep from smiling at the comical figure she now cut, for the spectacles were far too big for her pointed face, and they enlarged her eyes until she resembled a wise old owl.
"I don't see anything different," Telyn pronounced in disappointment.
"Just wait," Dewin told her. "Keep looking, and soon you will see." He helped her to her feet and ushered her toward the door. "And now, Princess, run along outside. History can wait until tomorrow."
He watched her dash off, tripping, as usual, over her long gown, her head turning back and forth as she sought for the magic of the spectacles.
"Bless her heart," the bard said fondly.
Author's Note: I have always hesitated about attempting an "after the Chronicles" story, but this plot bunny hit me, and I decided to go with it. This will likely be about two or three chapters, nothing major, but I'm already vaguely thinking about other stories along these lines--we'll have to see how this one goes!