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Having found a safe place in a tower fortress, the four and their companions set out to find what they need to defeat Dom Senet and He Who Walks With Evil. They divide into three groups. The first group seeks the focus stones that enhance their affinities. The second group looks for the remaining artifacts, the swords, the staffs, the flutes and the scrying bowls. The third group sets out to find those with their affinities to round the groups to four of earth, four water, four air and four fire. Their strength will be needed in the final battle.
The question rang in Sydli’s thoughts and brought a gush of fear. Sydli. She answered before she decided whether the voice belonged to a friend or enemy. To muffle her mind, she quickly slammed the barrier her mother had taught her to erect.
She sank on a chair and covered her face with her hands. Though she had given her name to a stranger, she had kept her location secret. Cautiously, she opened the bond to her twin. Emli. Be careful at dinner tonight. We don’t want Lodar to know which of us can hear his thoughts.
Emli grinned. He is fun to confuse but I don’t like or trust him. He makes me feel itchy.
You’re right to feel that way. I have listened to him when he sits at Father’s side. Mandir constantly speaks of Wesren and how wealthy that princedom has become. He hints the reason is because no female or halfling can be the ruler. He also argues that as Father’s oldest child, though his mother was never a spouse, he should be named as heir.
Emli frowned. Father was pleased when Lodar returned. What will we do if he is named heir?
Sydli grasped her twin’s hands. We will pray spouses are found for us in other princedoms.
If Father does that, we will be separated.
Sydli caught a hint of eagerness in her twin’s thoughts. Did Emli want to have a life apart? The possibility troubled Sydli. Before their mother’s death, she had asked Sydli to protect her twin. The promise had been sworn. We could have twin spouses.
Emli laughed. How many high-ranking sets of twins are there? I know of no others. She rose. “Let me be the friendly one tonight. Do you think Lodar knows which of us is the true heir?”
She nodded. “There are songs you can learn. My mother taught me several. Then the doma showed me how to play them and added more songs.” Seeing his eager expression made her realize how much he wanted to learn. “One song today. Then we’ll go to the stillroom.” She played and then sang the notes of the sleeping song.
Kirlon repeated the notes until he was pitch perfect. “What now?”
“As promised, the stillroom. Tomorrow we’ll learn a version of the hiding song that can be used while riding.”
When they reached the bright sun-lit room, Ash collected a dozen sealed bottles and carried them to the table. “One thing we do is make scented lotions, oils and soaps. You’ll learn to recognize aromas and how to blend them.”
Kirlon sat on a bench. “Are there other uses for these scents?”