The Light Wand and the Ice Blade Chapter 2
Jill cautiously strolled into Adlehyde. She looked around, recalling the various buildings. The inn was to her right and the item and weapon shops were to her left. The chapel was to the west of town and the plaza to the east. She walked forward and was nearly bumped by a rushing man. Sorry, the man called back as he continued to run to attend business.
Jill shook her head. The people were rushing so they might attend the festival meant for her. She continued to make her way to the castle, dodging rushing people as best she could. No one bothered to stop her or even to greet her. Have I changed that much?, she thought. Young men stole glances at her as she walked by. She kept her head down, not wanting to give away her identity yet. She had placed the Tear Drop back into her collar for that purpose.
She walked at a steady pace towards the castle, towards her home. The gates were opened wide, welcoming all visitors. She looked up at the fortified walls where blue banners embroidered with the golden horsehead of Zeldukes hung . She glanced up at the battlements where knights were posted at intervals to watch for impending danger. Why bother?, she asked herself. Nothing was able to conquer Adlehyde. The castle had stood more than a thousand years; it would stand for another thousand years.
She entered the castle, making her way to the throne room. She gazed around her surroundings, marveling at the scenery. Ten years did nothing to age the trees or the ground beneath her. She felt the cool wind on her face. She heard the water flowing around the castle. She smelled the aroma of cooked venison from the kitchen. The sights, sounds, and smells tell her on! e thing: she was truly home. She crossed the courtyard and entered the doorway before her, into the heart of the castle, the throne room.
Cecil, hidden behind a tree, watched Jill enter the throne room. A smile curved his lips. So, shes finally home, he murmured. He dusted himself and straightened his hair, pulling his ribbon tighter. He looked at his reflection on the water and nodded in approval. Just be yourself, he repeated Rudys advice. Well, its time for a family reunion. He checked himself one more time and followed Jill towards the throne room.
Jill entered the brightly lit chamber. Four torches burned in the middle of the chamber. Knights were positioned by three doors; two on each side of the room and the one in the northwest corner where the royal chambers are. Just as it was on the outside, nothing was different about the throne room. Ahead of her were the two thrones on which her parents sat. Her heart pounded with joy just by the sight of them. Her pace quickened and her smile widened as she approached them.
Im home! she declared out loud as she dropped her suitcase and ran up to Jack and Cecilia, giving each of them a hug. Jack and Cecilia, at first shaken by the sudden declaration, smiled as they realized who it was.
Welcome home! Jack exclaimed as he embraced his daughter.
Its good to be home, father, Jill smiled. She turned and hugged Cecilia. How are you, mother?
Im fine, Cecilia answered as she too embraced Jill. Let me take a look at you. Jill stood still under Cecilias scrutinizing gaze. You have matured over the past ten years. Just looking at you remind me of my youth.
Jill smiled at the comment. Thank you for the kind words, mother.
Cecil entered the throne room. Jack saw him and called out to him. Son! Come and greet your sister.
Jill turned around and saw Cecil walking slowly, head lowered, seeming to not want to look at her straight in the eye. Hi, Jill, he greeted dishearted!ly.
Hi, Jill, she mimicked, annoyance written on her face. Is that all you got to say? How about nice to see you again or welcome back! Ive missed you but Hi, Jill?! Ive expected more from you, Cecil. Deep in her heart, though, she was glad to see her brother.
Cecils head sank lower as he smiled inwardly. She doesnt suspect a thing, he laughed softly. So the Blabbermouth returns home. Pity. He lifted his head and smirked. He knew he had done his work when Jills face became red.
Jill hated that name. Ever since they were little, Cecil kept on calling her a blabbermouth because of her excessive conversations and occasional tattles. Her anger fumed. Why you---! she took a menacing step forward.
Cecil didnt have to think twice. In one fluid motion, he turned around and bolted out of the throne room with Jill hot on his heels. Come back here! she cried as she chased after him. Cecil exited the throne room through the southwest door that leads to the hallway connecting the throne room with the kitchen.
Jack grinned as he saw them run off. Theyve grown so much. It seemed like only yesterday when they were born. I had always wondered where the time went.
Cecilia nodded, understanding what Jack was feeling. We must stop dwelling in the past and look forward to the future. We did well in raising them. We should be proud of ourselves to raise such fine children.
She paused as she heard a trumpet blaring in the East Plaza indicating that the festival has begun. And thats why we celebrate. We must prepare ourselves for the festival. She held out her hand towards Jack and Jack took it. They both exited the throne room, hand in hand, through the northwest exit that leads to the royal chambers.
Come on, Jill! Cecil yelled at his back. You can run faster than that! He laughed as he ran across the battlements of the castle. He felt the wind blow against his face and he breathed in the crispy air. He never felt so alive in ten years. He glanced back and saw that Jill was having a hard time keeping up.
Ill get you, Cecil, Jill gasped as she ran. Her legs felt like weights as she took one step after another. She pulled herself along the battlements trying to keep up. Physical education wasnt part of the curriculum at the abbey and so found herself taking her first lesson today. She smiled despite of her anger and fatigue. It was like old times and she too began to laugh. They were like little children again. Their fun was short-lived, however, when a trumpet call pierced the air.
Cecil stopped and listened. Jill noticed the trumpet call as well. She slowly caught up to Cecil and collapsed to the ground on her hands and knees trying to catch her breath. What . . . was that trumpet . . . all about? she panted.
Cecil turned and gazed down at Jill. He walked over to her and offered her his hand. What did they teach you in that monastery? he asked jokingly. Certainly how to run?
Jill looked up and saw Cecil smirking, his hand outstretched to help her. She took it, smiling to herself, and suddenly flung herself at him, both of them toppling to the ground. I finally caught you! Jill laughed.
Cecil rubbed his head. Thats not fair! he pouted. You caught me off guard! He suddenly lowered his head. Im sorry, Jill, for those things I said. I did not mean to offend you, he apologized sheepishly.
Thats okay, Jill reassured him. I could use a good laugh. She laughed and Cecil joined in the laughter.
I see that you have reacquainted yourselves, a voice spoke to the side of them. They both turned to see who it was.
A blue-haired man emerged from the doorway to the royal chambers. Rudy! Jill exclaimed as she ran to hug her friend.
Rudy opened his arms as Jill went into his embrace. He couldnt believe that the little girl he used to watch over had grown into a young woman. Well, Jill, Rudy greeted as they parted, youve grown. How was your schooling?
Fine, Jill answered. Cecil got up and walked over. But Im glad to be home, Jill added.
Rudy nodded. Thats good to hear. Now on to important matters. You might have heard the trumpet.
Yes, Cecil answered. The festival has begun.
Thats correct, Rudy said. You must dress yourselves accordingly and meet your parents by the gate to the East Plaza. He moved out of the way as Jill and Cecil passed by. You have ten minutes! he shouted. He walked along the battlements, towards the gate to the East Plaza, to meet with Jack and Cecilia.
Rudy walked along the battlements in front of the castle. Guards greeted their captain as he passed by. He greeted them in turn and told them to keep up the good work. He learned that as captain he should encourage his troops and boost their morale. He smiled as he continued his way to the end of the battlements where a stairway was built that led down to the gates.
He walked down the stairs enjoying the scenery. In his opinion, this place was the most beautiful of all the castle. He reached the bottom of the stairway and was compelled to stop and look around. The scene was just breathtaking to R! udy. The pathway leading to the gates was actually a garden. It was the same greenness as the world of the Elws.
He heard small chirps above and to his right. He looked up and saw little hatchlings crying out to their mother. A huge white bird landed in the nest with a couple of worms wiggling in her beak. The hatchlings chirps grew louder as they saw the food. The mother fed her babies and after, watched over them as they slept. Rudy smiled remembering the twins when they were little.
He strolled down the cobblestone walkway that ran straight through the garden. The walkway curved around a huge white fountain before becoming straight again. Marble benches were positioned under trees or by the path. Rudy stopped in front of the fountain enjoying the sound of the water trickling down after being spouted up from the middle.
A small breeze gently swayed the trees, softly rustling their leaves. He closed his eyes and breathed in the aroma of the flowers that grew numerous around the garden. He basked in the peacefulness and quietness of the garden as much he could before venturing out into the rowdiness of the festival.
Small white butterflies flew around him. He opened his eyes and marveled at the creatures strange dance in the air. He smiled as they flew off. Rudy! someone called out to him. He turned and saw Cecil and Jill walking towards him.
Cecil walked casually down the path as Jill followed slowly behind, admiring the scenery as much as Rudy. Cecil stopped when he reached Rudy and said, I thought you went to meet mother and father.
Rudy shook his head. No. I was admiring the view of this garden as much as Jill is right now.
At the mention of her name, Jill stopped gazing at the flowers and looked at Rudy. I never knew how beautiful this place was even as a child, she said as she went back to gaze at the flowers. She bent down and picked one up. She closed her eyes as she sniffed it. This place is so magnificent and tranquil. Its a plac! e where you want to go to be alone and think.
Yes, Rudy agreed. He waved his hand, encompassing the garden. No noise can reach this place. Your mother was a powerful sorceress. She made this in memory of the Elws and the past. This is how our world was like before the war. A pity that only a few come and enjoy this treasure.
Speaking of noise, Cecil said, didnt you hear the trumpet about ten minutes ago? We are suppose to meet mother and father at the gates.
Rudy shook his head in shock. Of course! We must hurry! He began to run around the fountain and continue down the walkway to the gates. Cecil was close behind him followed by Jill who gently threw the flower into the fountain. It floated atop the calm surface signifying the tranquility of the garden memorial.
Bram, Seth, Valta, Razan, and Bow stood around a circular table in a room somewhere in Arushan. On the table, there was a map of Filgaia. Torches burned around the room throwing dark shadows across their grim faces. Today it begins, Bram announced. He glanced into each of their faces. It is time for us to strike. We have waited long enough. They grunted in assent.
He turned to Razan and Bow. You know what to do. Both nodded and left the war room. Bram turned to the others. We will plan our next move. We shall not fail in conquering this planet for if we do, we are no better than Mother herself. We must prove ourselves the stronger. We must not be weak against these humans or these Guardians we have heard so much about.
Fire gleamed in his eyes, a fire that V! alta and Seth had not seen in a long time. Bram was hungry for power. He had been denied that power in Hiades but now that Mother was gone, he had the power to conquer Filgaia and most likely will win. I will become absolute ruler of this planet! he whispered excitedly.
What took you so long? demanded Jack as Cecil and Rudy halted into a stop from their jog.
Jill came later panting and dragging her tired feet towards the group. I . . . hate . . . running! she gasped. She nearly collapsed at Rudys feet if it werent for his quick reflexes. She leaned against his shoulder, catching her breath.
Cecil grinned at her. What did, he dragged out the word, they teach you at that monastery? Ive never seen someone run so hard in my life. He chuckled as Jill glared at him, too tired to even make a retort.
Cecil, thats enough! reprimanded Cecilia.
Cecil stopped chuckling and lowered his head in shame. Forgive me, mother, he apologized.
You should be apologizing to your sister, not me, Cecilia said.
Cecil turned and bowed his head. Forgive me, sister, for offending you.
Again, Jill added softly. She straightened as she regained her strength. She smoothed her clothes and glared at Cecil whose head was still lowered. She then heard chuckling to the side of her. She was hurt to see her own father taking Cecils side.
Cecil has a point, he grinned. What did they teach you in that abbey?
More than you, Cecilia retorted as she took Jills side. Are you saying that they dont teach us anything?
No, no, Jack quickly replied as he vigorously shook his head. Its just that---
Just what? Cecilia glowered at him.
Rudy sighed. Here we go again, he groaned. Even at their married state, they still had some things to argue about. Can we just forget that any of this ever happened? he interrupted their argument. Jack and Cecilia stopped glaring at each other and stared at Rudy.
Rudy shook his head. Why do you end up fighting over small matters? Lets just put things aside for today. He smiled. We should be celebrating, not bickering.
Jack grinned and glanced down at Cecilia. He has a point. He wrapped his arm around her. Lets forget what just happened.
Cecilia wrapped her arms around his waist. Of course. Let us forget and let us go on with todays festivities.
Thats more like it, Rudy nodded. He made a formal bow and extended his arm toward the gates. After you, your majesties. The royal family walked to the gate awaiting the time to reveal themselves to their subjects.
Two trumpeters on each side of the huge gates lifted their instruments and blew. The sound reached all of the people in the plaza. Everyone stopped what they were doing and began to gather around the gates.
The two huge doors began to open. The people watched anxiously, awaiting the arrival of the royal family. Two knights emerged, holding halberds with the banner of Adlehyde hanging from them. They were followed by Jack and Cecilia, their arms linked.
Both smiled as the crowd began to cheer. Jack wore a blue long-sleeved shirt with the horsehead of Zeldukes in gold on his upper left. White baggy pants, the ends tucked in his brown boots he most frequented, completed his attire. His hair was held back by his usual ribbon. His most powerful sword, the Juggernaut, hung on his hip. He would have felt naked without the blade by his side.
Cecilia wore a long pale blue robe that stretched down to her ankles. Simple white shoes covered her small feet. Her wand was hidden in one of the many pockets of her robe for, like Jack, she would have felt naked without it.
They were followed by Jill and Cecil. Cecil wore the same thing Jack was wearing except that the colors were reversed and his boots were black instead of brown. His hair was held by a blue ribbon trimmed with gold. His own sword, forged by the royal blacksmith, was slung across his back. He had found out that he could move more easily and stealthily when the sword was strapped on his back instead of on his hip. Jack had disapproved saying that it was not Fenrils way but Cecil paid no heed.
Jill walked besides Cecil. She waved at the crowd, finding her return enjoyable. She wore the dress Cecilia had worn to her homecoming twenty years ago. Jill had found it in her room with a note saying that it was a gift and that she should wear it to the festival. She was greeted by many as she walked by and she smiled at them, acknowledging their salutations.
Rudy was the last one to emerge from the gates. He wore his knight captain uniform which included a grey long-sleeved blouse with the emblem of a shield with Zeldukes on his upper right, a symbol of his rank. A white silk sash trimmed in gold went over his left shoulder. He wore matching grey pants with small black boots. He had taken off his bandana letting his hair sway with the wind. He felt ridiculous in his uniform, wishing to be one of his troops guarding the castles walls right now. His sword, the Divine Blade, hung on his hip and his ARM, the Arch Smash, was holstered across his! back. People backed away as he approached, afraid of his ARM.
The procession proceeded into the middle of the plaza where a large fountain stood, larger than the one found in the garden. The plaza had changed over the past years. Instead of the small platforms in the middle of the plaza that held the golems, there was a fountain and a statue.
The statue depicted the three heroes: Cecilia, Jack, and Rudy. Rudy was in the middle holding and aiming his ARM. To the left was Jack holding a dagger in his right hand. To the right was Cecilia pointing a finger up, ready to cast a spell.
The two knights came to a stop in front of a small platform in front of the large fountain. They stood on each side of the steps that led to it. Jack and Cecilia walked up those steps. There were two chairs elegantly designed for the outdoors. They stood in front of them. Jill and Cecil followed them up the stairs and stood on either side of their parents; Jill by Cecilia and Cecil by Jack. Rudy was the last to climb up and he stood on the side.
Jack made a motion to speak. The crowd quieted down to a lull as they heard Jacks words. My people, he cried, today is a day to celebrate. My daughter, Jill, has returned home from her studies at Curan Abbey. Today is also my childrens seventeenth birthday. Let us celebrate this special occasion. The crowd cheered. On with the festival! Jack roared.
Music started to play and the crowd dispersed. Jack and Cecilia sat down, watching the festival before them. Cecil darted forward. Where are you going? Cecilia asked.
Cecil turned his head and looked at his mother, a mischievous grin on his face. You dont expect me to stand around and watch, he answered. Im going to have some fun, thats all. He turned and jumped off the platform, not bothering to use the stairs. He was soon lost in the crowd.
Jill took a step forward, intending to follow Cecil. Cecilia noticed her move. Youre going out there too, she stated rather than !asked.
Jill grinned. I cant let Cecil have all the fun, she said. Besides, he still owes me for all those things he said. She slowly walked to the stairs and climbed down. She looked around the plaza before deciding to explore the festival on her own.
You worry too much, Jack observed taking a hold of his wifes hand. What can happen to them with so many around?
Cecilia looked at him, doubt clearly seen in her eyes. Then the doubt was suddenly erased from her eyes replaced by traces of happiness. Youre right, Jack. I shouldnt be so sullen. Today is a wonderful day and we should enjoy it. She squeezed Jacks hand reassuring him that shes fine.
Jack was not convinced. The way Cecilia just squeezed his hand was more of fear than of reassurance. He looked into her eyes and saw the fear and doubt lingering there. What had made Cecilia so upset?
What indeed?, Jack wondered.
Two pairs of eyes watched the festival, hidden in the cover of the tall trees that surrounded the plaza. Bow crouched low below the branches of a tree, lifting his bow and fitting an arrow. He watched his targets several feet in front of him. He raised his bow and took aim. He was about to fire when a voice stopped him.
Not yet, Razan whispered from above. He sat on a branch, watching the festival as closely as Bow. When the sun reaches its peak, we will strike. Bow grumbled and lowered his weapon.
Patience, Razan said calmly. We will have our fun soon. He looked up at the sun, patiently waiting for noon.
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