Chapter 20

Magical Entanglement

Tiny bits of blue magic danced like sparks over a flame. They swirled around each other and floated up, then dropped into a box sitting on the table, sitting by the east window, and disappeared into the lid. Samard had never seen anything like it before. The magic seemed to be performing for him. Entranced, he quickly approached the box.

A note leaning against the box read: I have been impolite to you. Please receive this as a token of my apology. Abiya

Lifting the lid, Samard looked inside and pulled out an orange jewel so large his hand could not close over it. He’d forgotten about it. Wasn’t it the dwarf and gnome who brought a topaz as a wedding present? Abiya had whisked it away before he could get a good look at it. A blue topaz was rare, but an orange topaz was priceless. Why was she giving it to him? Was she making amends?

He turned the stone over and over so he could inspect every perfect side. He’d heard of places where they chipped the stone away to form what they thought was a more beautiful jewel, but this stone was still in its natural state, just as it was when it was pulled from the ground.

It called to him to look more deeply. He saw bright sunlight, ginger and amber ribbons of light dancing inside the stone, they seemed to leap out and dance around him and like gentle fingers caressed his mind and eased the tension of the day. The castle and its cares seemed to float away; they no longer existed.

A knock at the door startled Samard. “What?” he asked irritably.

“Evening meal,” a female’s voice said.

“No, it can’t …” It was only early afternoon, hours before the last meal of the day. But when he looked out the window, the eastern sky was already darkening. How was that possible? He’d only just entered his chambers. What had happened to the day?

He placed the topaz back in the box and closed the lid over it.

“Come,” he said.

Haajiyo step in and softly closed the door, as if the noise might disturb the entire castle. She was a tall thin girl. So thin, Samard often wondered if she ever ate.

“When do you want evening meal, sire?” Haajiyo bowed her head as she spoke. She’d been in his service since the day he’d moved into his father’s wing of the castle. She never looked directly at him, but kept her eyes downcast. He didn’t even know what color her eyes were.

“Why do you ask?” No one ever asked him when he wanted to eat. He sat at the table and the food arrived.

“Queen Abiya wishes to join you, sire. She wants to know when you will be ready, so she will know when to sit and not keep you waiting.”

“She will join me?” She’d sent him a gift. Now she wanted to eat with him? Had she heard his apology through the door? Perhaps there was hope for their marriage yet.

“Yes, sire, unless you would rather not.” Haajiyo spoke as if he might be dissatisfied with her words.

“Why would I not?”

You are king and can do as you please.” Even though her head was still bowed, she spoke with a new confidence. The words seemed to blanket him and melt into him like oil seeping into hot bread. He might have asked her about it, but the words so affected him, he forgot she’d just spoken.

I am king. I can do as I please. The idea seemed new and fresh. But why? He knew he was king, even though daily concerns dictated his time and thought. He was king and yet her words “he could do as he pleased” shook him as if he’d never realized until now he could do as he pleased.

“Tell Queen Abiya I will eat be ready in an hour. Send my man to me.” It had been days since he’d bathed. He must smell like a horse. If his queen would sit with him, he would present himself as her king.

“Yes, my lord.” Haajiyo bowed, tuned and scurried out of the room like a frightened mouse.

Was she was afraid of him? He’d never touched her, not to bring her to his bed or to beat her. No, it had nothing to do with him. That girl was afraid of her own thoughts.

* * *

Haajiyo had done as she’d been told. She delivered the jewel to King Samard. She’d called him to dinner, just as Tamerad had commanded.

The chambermaid didn’t fully understand Tamerad’s intentions on giving the jewel to King Samard. She’d had seen how it affected the young queen. She didn’t want that to happen to her king. But she knew the witch had her reasons.

It was Haajiyo’s duty to obey.

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Published in: on August 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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