Astra of Aquilaria looked back wistfully on her companions as she packed
her bed roll and supplies for the trek into the wild lands. Frederigo had
been with her though almost all of this, even tracking her down after they
were separated in Vincent's tower.
Andrea would even be missed by the warrior woman. Though helpless at first, the young noblewoman had proven a worthwhile traveling companion after all, and her knowledge of the lands ruled by her father, and the myths thereof, had proven useful.
She almost wished she could stay with them, but tonight would be the night, it was certain.
Lady Andrea Croix watched as Astra packed, feeling satisfied that her words were heeded for the first time, but gnawed at by a nagging feeling that more had to be done. She saw Lord Frederigo speaking to the warrior woman.
"We'll find you, you know. We'll find you and pursue Vincent's cure, Astra. As soon as the moon is in low sanction."
"I will be far away by then, Frederigo. I go now to the wild lands. If you find me afterward, then so be it, but I will not make it easy. I do not wish to hurt either of you."
With that, Astra left, and again, Andrea could not help but feel something was not right. She looked to Belboz, and noticed the odd looks he was giving Frederigo, and simply did not feel safe.
"Ye'll be staying the night, then, Lord D'Honaire?"
"Yes. That will give Astra enough of a head start that all will be safe..."
Staying the night? Andrea did not like this at all.
Dusk fell, and it was time to turn in. Belboz prepared cots in the hut for each of them, and Frederigo started to settle down into his. Andrea, instead, tried to think of ways she could protect herself. Then she remembered a nursemaid she had when she was quite young. The nobles in hushed voices called her a witch, but Andrea only knew her to practice white magick. Indeed, Old Fritha had taught her some of the rituals before she was forced to travel on. She had said Andrea had a gift, and that in times to come she would be required to use what she had learned. Would the old magicks still work? Did she remember enough? She searched her memory.
Her thoughts settled on one of the spells Fritha had taught her, a warding against evil. Stealthily, she managed to steal the sea salt and herbs from Belboz's table. Laying the circle in the old runes she had learned, she placed the items back in their places. She would sleep well tonight.
Belboz the Fell watched from the shadows as the two prepared for bed. Frederigo settled into sleep readily, or so it seemed, but the Lady was restless. Rightly so, he thought. She was in more danger than she knew, and not from him. What's this? She was using his ritual ingredients? Intriguing. He made no move to stop her, instead content to observe. A warding circle? Clever little wench, he thought to himself. Though her trust was misplaced, this would keep her safe. Something was odd about it, though. The symbols did not seem to be the usual ones traced into the ground with the ingredients. Quietly, he stepped closer to examine the circle.
His eyes widened in disbelief.
This type of warding circle he'd thought had died out with the destruction of its originating coven...
...the lost White Witches of the coven of the Seven Sisters mountains...
Lord Frederigo D'Honaire rose from his feigned sleep when he was sure that the old man and the girl were in slumber. With the warrior woman away, it would be easy enough to dispose of troublesome Lady Andrea. She died in the journey, of course, or at least that's what his all too sympathetic face would tell Astra.
Slowly, he crossed the floor to where the girl slept. Suddenly, his progress was blocked by what appeared to be a gout of white fire!
Frederigo recoiled in pain, barely stifling the urge to cry out. Thankfully, the girl slumbered yet.
A warding circle. Quite the stroke of luck.
But luck was all it was, and in time he would catch her defenseless, and dispose of the troublemaker.
Dawn came, and it was time to set out again.
8/23/1999 4:18:49 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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