Chapter 19

Fabian crawled on the muddy road, soaking wet with the storm water. He hated himself for surfacing and walking on human land against the advice of his council. He clutched the toddler Faye in his arms, covering her with his cloak as much as he could to keep her out of the cold. She looked at him with her big striking blue eyes. Most toddlers would cry in the same situation. She didn’t.

Exhausted, he sat leaning against a rock, the rain splashing on his face. The water was too far away. He was sure he would never make it back home. In Nepolymbus, traveling through the water was like eating and breathing. But here, the rain water only accelerated his pain and made the wound on his side bleed more.

“Father, you’re hurt. I’ll go and seek help.”

He smiled weakly at his daughter. She had spoken even before she’d eaten, walked, and swam. Her first word had been father, and her second word was fight when she demanded he take her to where he trained the Nepolymbus soldiers.

One day he would make her queen of Nepolymbus. But he didn’t want her to devote her whole life to the reign. He wanted to bring out the human side of her, the warm-hearted qualities from her human mother, so he had taken her to land to be blessed by his human white witch mentor.

All he had found was her ruined cottage and lots of blood. Then he’d been attacked by unknown creatures. He wouldn’t regret dying here, but it pained him to think about what would happen to Faye if he died on human land.

From the the midst of the storm, someone walked toward him from the bush. A large cloak to keep the rain off covered most of the person’s body, but he could tell by the posture that it was a woman. She approached and crouched at eye level with Faye. The light was just enough for him to see her piercing green eyes, eyes that didn’t belong to an ordinary human.

“I am a shaman,” she said to Faye.

“Then please heal my father.”

“Come here, Faye,” he called, reaching out for her, but she stood still in the rain, eyeing the woman.

“I can see you are a strong child. I can see no weakness in you. And I can see your future of being a great leader of a place far, far away.”

“Come back here, Faye.” Fabian had figured out he’d been immobilized. The last thing he did was shout, “Don’t listen to her, Faye!” and then even his ability to speak vanished.

“Don’t worry, Father. I won’t let her harm you or myself.”

The woman chuckled. “Oh, look at what have we here, both a mind reader and a leader at this age. Fascinating.”

“Please heal my father. He’s injured. He needs to take me home.”

“What will you give me for healing your father?”

“What would you like?”

The shaman laughed. “What a little negotiator you are. Your father will die here if I don’t heal him. So for me to save his life, what you give must be quite significant.”

“I’m only a child. I don’t have any money. But I can vow a debt to you if money is what you want.”

The shaman laughed harder, opening her mouth wide and almost choking on the falling rain. “You have made my day, child. I like you so much I’ll do this for free.”

“Thank you.”

“I have no intention of harming either you or your father. But I do have a prophecy for you. You will grow up to be the queen of a faraway place. You will be a strong and judicious queen and have no weakness except one. You will fall in love with a Silver Blood soldier. And that will be your fatal weakness.”

“I shall remember that. Will you heal my father now?”

“Not so fast, child. You’re smart, but you don’t know the power of this prophecy. Here is what I want to heal your father. When your weakness becomes the truth, and you are at a loss, you must come to me for help before it kills you. This is not a debt. It’s more like a favor. As I said, I like you. Do I have your word?”

“Yes, I promise. I might be very young now, but I know how to keep my promises.”

The shaman nodded. “All right then. I am the shaman of the Black Mountain, in the Middle Land. I hope to see you again one day.”


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