Friday, February 26, 2010

Chapter 14: Celeret

   She was graceful and pale, like moonlight. He'd never seen anyone with skin so light. Her hair hung down to her waist and was the color of a corn husk, yellow and absolutely straight. She was very tall and lithe in a long white gown that swept the ground.
   "Welcome Fulkar. I was expecting you, but a boy and a dirt dog? These are a surprise." She spoke slowly, her words as lovely as she was.
   "Thank you for the welcome Celeret. I am sorry for bringing guests unannounced, but this boy, Ardan, is gifted. He needs your guidance." Ardan gasped. This woman was the aged, wise magician that wuld teach him so much. He realized that his mouth was hanging open and quickly closed it.
   "Ma'am. Celeret, I... I'm Ardan. My parents are from Balti, but my father was murdered because he wouldn't teach the dark magic. My mother ran, so I was born in the desert village of Soumae. I am asking for guidance, for a teacher." He was surprised at himself. His voice didn't shake, and he somehow knew just what to say.
   "I see," answered Celeret. "And you little dirt dog, why are you here?"
   "I go where Ardan goes. I belonged to his mother before he was born. She would never forgive me if I let something happen to him."
   "What is your name?"
   "Rheto, ma'am."
   "You are very brave little dog. You are all welcome here; I will show you where you can stay." Then she turned and led them deep within the mountain. They followed a wide tunnel that was lit by lanterns sitting in carved out shelves along the walls. The air was cool inside the tunnel, and Ardan found himself shivering slightly.
   "I apologize for the tightness Fulkar, but as you can imagine these caves weren't built with Drakons in mind," Celeret said from the front of their line. Fulkar had his wings tucked in as tightly as was possible and was crawling on his belly. Still his spikes scraped the ceiling.
  "It's not your fault, my size can sometimes be a hinderance." They reached an archway, and the tunnel opened up into a great room. There were fires burning in large fireplaces at either end, and the walls were lined with books and art. A large table was set t one end of the room, lit by candles and at the other, rugs and large, comfortable-looking chairs were placed around the fireplace to make a very appealing and cozy sitting area. There were two tunnels leading out of the opposite wall and yet another tunnel ran parallel to the one they had just exited. The room spanned four-hundred yards at last, and Ardan reeled slightly at it's unmatched size. They entered the great room and Fulkar shook his entire body, flexing his muscles and releasing his wings from their tight hold.
   "Ardan, Rheto, If you will follow me I will show you to your rooms. Fulkar, you know where you are going?" Fulkar nodded and entered the tunnel across from them. "Drakons find sleeping indoors, a bit, confining," she said as she led them toward the tunnel parallel to the one Fulkar took. "That tunnel leads to a courtyard that was formed in the mountains centuries ago. It is only accessible by that tunnel and the sky." The followed them down their own tunnel, passing a door to the right and the left. As they made their way down the second tunnel, Ardan had the distinct feeling that they were walking  uphill. The feeling passed in just over a minute and soon the tunnel was lined with doors interspersed between the torches. At the third door on the left, Celeret stopped.


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