Talia, p. 45

*written with a quickness, as if I in anger*

It is all lies and deception! She came to me, bearing my own silk, having the nerve to say I was unworthy. As if she can judge one gift more valuable than another. And she knew, when she spoke to me before, that I was searching, before my loss. I had already received the letter directing me to the ‘other’, and they were no help at all. Now she would say she was ‘mistaken’?

And Angel? What have you done? Henry says it is his fault, and Khasim spoke of betrayal. Are you acting of your own, or are you just another’s pawn? Is that what she is looking for? Someone easily manipulated to do her bidding? Khasim tried that once, and it nearly cost me my life. But I’ve learned from it, more than I ever wanted. And if He tries anything, or any of them, they may find my blade faster than they remember.

Talia, p. 44

There are wolves everywhere. The Dragons employ them… a wolf-woman was in the market today. I don’t need dreams to tell me there is danger about. * ink smears * which is fortunate, as I still have not dreamed. Four nights now, or is it five? I am starting to loose track. I wake in a foul mood and it lingers most the day. The nothingness is hardly restful. It feels like I’ve never slept at all.

I met a new friend today. She speaks of strength. Strength that I’ve lacked for some time. Strength that was stolen from me.

Talia, p. 43

Something is wrong. My dreams have stopped, and not just the nightmares. Since the night of the betrayal my sleep has been nothing but dark stillness. It is as if I have been blinded. I slip into a void without memory and awaken with a sense of emptiness. Part of my life has been cut away from me and I cannot reach it. I feel hollow inside. And I�ve been advised to speak of this to no one. How am I to be complete if I can ask no others for help?

She wants me safe, taking no chances. And the sisters have yet to speak to me again.

Talia, p. 42

Some crazed lunatic attacked me in the market! Tried to take my head off with his axe. I didn’t even see it coming. If he hadn’t been such a lousy aim, I’d be about a foot shorter. The others say he ran into the shrine and took his own life. The Dragons have time to beat the spellcasters, but seems they can’t keep us safe from the real threats.

I’ve spoken to her… briefly. I was expecting a warmer reception. Almost immediately she rose to go, leaving me at the table by myself. Perhaps the sisters aren’t the answer I need. Where has Elsbeth been?

Talia, p. 41

It happened again today, as I was on my way to the shop. I was passing through the North East District near the Thond estate this morning. A Purple Dragon and a City Guard were standing over a beaten man. He was cowering, trying to rise to his feet. His halting words, spoken with effort, sent chills up my spine. “arg… was…t…told… to get…out…of …your….sight…..” The Purple Dragon spat at him, “That means walk. You DO NOT cast in public.” I hurried on; I did not want to come under their scrutiny. It is still not safe here. I was driven from the city once, in fear that I too would be branded dangerous. I do not wish to leave again. Arabel is my home.

Talia, p. 40

The dreams have come again, but more troubling than before.  The letter burns in my pocket. I must speak with her, perhaps these sisters will have the answers I seek.

Welcome Home (Talia, p. 39)

The door opens and a man in red robes motions her in.  “The orders are complete?”

“Yes,” she nods, handing over a large bundle of carefully folded clothing.

He takes the bundle, walking to the far end of the table carefully laying the contents out.  “Excellent, as always, your work impresses.”

“Was there anything else I could do for you?” She glances at a slight movement as a fair skinned woman in black enters the room behind her. She smiles to the familiar face, which smiles back.

“No. These are exactly what I asked for.”  The man in red looks up, his smile smooth, yet somewhat sinister.  “Though I think it is time your role here changed.” He makes a quick motion with one hand, barely speaking a word. Suddenly, tendrils of light and fire spring up from the floor. Before she can move, they ensnare both arms and legs. It does not burn, but she can feel the dangerous heat through her clothing. The man in red steps forward, “It is definitely time for a change.” He nods to the woman behind her, but she cannot turn to look. She hears the soft padding of a woman’s feet, and the sound of steel being drawn. She struggles against the tendrils, their heat pulsing in time to her heart. The man’s smile broadens  “Welcome home.” She feels a sharp crack as the hilt of a sword is brought down on her head, then darkness.

In a cold room of the inn, a slender figure sleeps alone. A cry and a whimper are the only sounds that can be heard. The rest of the night passes in silence.