Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thursday's Third Scene _ Discovering the Jewel's Secret Third Scene #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLove LTD #Fantasy #Sorcery #Jewels

Brader’s cry sent Disa into action. She jumped away from the fire and prepared to join the fight. That was when she saw the man Brader had thought he knew. She retreated toward the trees. The man followed and tried to grab her. She slashed him with the knife. He staggered and fell taking the knife with him.

She bent to retrieve the weapon. Someone grabbed her and covered her mouth with a hand. She twisted away and nearly escaped but a second man joined the first. His knife arced toward her.

“Don’t,” her captor said. “When we deliver her, the wizard will give us a pouch of gold coins.”

“No.” Disa kicked her legs and used her elbows to pound the man who held her. The other man clipped her jaw and she fell.

They bound her hands behind her back and dragged her deeper into the forest. One of her captors mounted a horse. The other threw her across the saddle in front of the rider. The men rode in single file. The deep mat of leaves muted the sound of the hooves. The jarring gait of the steed made her ill.
The moons rose and the light made the shadows more threatening. Finally they reached a clearing. Disa saw a log cabin on the far side. Her captor dismounted and pulled her to the ground. He pushed her toward the crude structure. The other man remained mounted.

“Get the gold and we’ll be away from here. We must be all that’s left.”

“Her friend will search for her,” her captor said. “Wizard said Chosens have a knack of finding the one they’re bonded to. We got fooled. Who would have guessed the merchant would hire so many armsmen? Selir fell down there.”

Disa tried to calm the fear bubbling to the surface. She had to escape. If she could reach her gem she might have a chance.

Her captor opened the door and pushed her inside. “Here she is. Where’s the gold?”

Disa froze. In front of the fireplace a man dressed in the black robes of a wizard waited. Acid rose in her throat. She sucked in a deep breath.

A smile showing too many teeth appeared on the wizard’s face. “Yellow Holder, how good of you to return to the isle.” He held out a black globe like the one Andalor had carried and she had destroyed. 
“My brothers across the sea gave me warning and so I waited and laid my plans.”

Disa pressed her lips together. She wouldn’t let the wizard know how terrified she felt. She prayed the Jewel would protect her from this evil man.

“My gold,” her captor demanded.

The wizard laughed. “Gold. You’ll see payment after I’ve finished with her. Are you sure she’s the right one?”

“I found her with the son of the dead Holder.”

The wizard stepped closer. Disa stared at the ground. Corin had warned them about hidden wizards. Why hadn’t she and Brader considered that someone would follow them?

The wizard lifted her chin. “I know you and the other Holders destroyed the Citadel and many of my brothers are dead. Not all. Never all for we are as numerous as the grains of sand along the shore. You would never suspect those who have hidden among you.” He ran a finger along her cheek.

“I’ve done what you ordered. Where is my gold?”

“First I need your help. On a chain about her neck is a Jewel. Bring it into the open.” The wizard stepped back.

Disa’s captor grasped the chain and pulled the gem from beneath her tunic. “My gold or the gem is mine.”
An evil laugh made Disa shudder. “Be off,” the wizard ordered. “I have no gold, silver or copper.”

“Then I’ll take this.” The captor grasped the Yellow. He screamed. His hand turned scarlet, then black. The discoloration spread. His body shook and he fell to the floor. The odor of burned flesh made Disa gag. She drew several shuddering breaths and caught the chain with her teeth. Slowly she pulled the Jewel to her mouth. If she died, so be it.

The wizard chanted. Was he casting a spell? Would the words effect the Jewel or cause her to aide him? If her hands had been free, she could have turned the Yellow against him. She lurched toward the wizard and stumbled over the corpse. As she fell the gem touched the wizard’s throat.

His chanting slid into a roar of pain. His throat blackened. Disa evaded his flailing arms. She stumbled toward the door. She heard shrill whinnies of horses and pushed the door open. The remaining captor rode away with both horses. She was left alone with two dead men.

Disa looked around the room for some way to free herself. There were knives on the table but she couldn’t lift them. Near the fireplace she saw an axe stuck into a log. She moved closer. A small part of the blade was exposed. She sank to her knees and rubbed the bonds against the sharp edge. When the blade nicked her wrist, she bit her lip to hold back a cry. Twice more she held in her pain. She continued to work the rope against the blade. The sooner her hands were free the sooner she could determine the seriousness of the wounds.

With a suddenness that sent her forward onto her chest, her wrists were free. One gash was deep and bled freely. She staggered across the room and found a pitcher of water. She rinsed the wounds and tore some of her tunic to pad and bind the wounds. Though she could have used the Yellow Jewel to sear the slashes she didn’t. The two deaths the gem had caused made her afraid to try. What if the gem had been corrupted?

Though the second of her captors had fled she couldn’t be sure others hadn’t escaped the battle. She 
crept to the door and sought a safe hiding place. The crashing noises of brush and the shouts of the approaching riders sent her into the forest. She hid in a cluster of bushes and saplings. Two riders entered the clearing. They led a string of horses. At the cabin, one dismounted and entered. He dashed outside. “Dead. The wizard and Belar.”

“Do you see her?”

“Not here.” He mounted and they rode away.

Disa sank to the ground. Her wrists throbbed. Her body ached. She had no idea of how to find the road. She didn’t want to return to the cabin and wandering in the dark forest would only confuse her more.

Think. Use the inner path. Call Brader.

Was the connection between Chosen and Holder strong enough to draw him to her? Something she had read in the dying wizard’s thoughts swept into her awareness. To make a Black Jewel or a White, all seven had to be present. She was to have been the first to be corrupted. Then he would have sought the other Holders. Was this true or had he only hoped he knew the way? If so, how were the Jewels corrupted?

Noises pulled her from those thoughts. More escapees from the attack on the caravan? She huddled in her hiding place and stared into the clearing. A rider with two hill ponies on leading ropes left the forest. Disa’s heart raced, not from fear but joy. “Brader.” She left her hiding place and ran to him.

He jumped down and caught her in a fierce embrace. “Are thee unharmed?”

She nodded. “Two are dead. One was a wizard.” She pointed to the cabin. “Others came and fled. Must we return to the caravan?”

Brader released her. “There’s no need. By late tomorrow we’ll reach the crossroads where we would have left them. We can sleep for the rest of the night. Less than a tenday will see us to High Sanctuary.”

Disa rummaged in the panniers for herbs and dressings. “Help me clean these wounds.”

“Who harmed thee?”

“An axe caused the wounds. They bound my arms behind my back. Was the only way to free myself.”

Once the dressings were changed she and Brader made a cold camp in the forest beyond the clearing. She ate a bar of dried fruit and nuts and curled in her blankets. As she fell asleep she thought about the things she’d read in the dying wizard’s mind. What had he meant by a mold was needed? Was this part of the secret the seven Holders had to discover?

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