Prophecy's Power

By Emma Moesswilde | Dec 14, 2010

Previous chapters of "The Prophecy" have been printed in the Herald Gazette.

 

Chapter 5 (Part A)

“Yes, Conor! Excellent!” Leam clapped his hands, smiling broadly. From my seat at the back of the room I could see a smile form on Conor’s face as well as he looked down at his harp. He had a nice smile — shy, as though perhaps he shouldn’t be smiling at all.

The several other boys in the class shot Conor looks of envy and confusion. If this was how people responded every time he played, it was no wonder Conor hid in the stables.

Leam waved us out a minute later, and I followed the boys down a stairwell, richly hung with tapestries and lined with bookshelves, as were the wide corridors that wound through the grand building. The Order as a whole was much more comfortable than the Temple; there were cushions, armchairs, and fireplaces nearly everywhere. It seemed overcrowded to me, but it was so lovely to sink into a sofa each time I wished to sit down, or to not scurry between jobs, but stroll, admiring the magnificent artwork that hung on the walls.

We entered the history room then, the last class before dinner. I took a seat at the back, nodding to Maks, who smiled at me from his position at the front of the room.

“Now then,” said Maks, when everyone had shuffled in and seated himself. “Can anyone tell me, what is the purpose of the monarch?”

A chubby blond boy raised his hand. “Sir, the monarch oversees the nobles, making sure that they do not do anything wrong, and that no subject breaks the laws which the king has set in place.”

Maks nodded. “Excellent. And how does the monarch pass these laws?”

I let my mind drift. The tall stained-glass windows filtered in green light from the sunny outside, casting patterns on the polished wood floor. I could hear the murmurs of other classes, the scratch of quills on paper. It was unseasonably warm for early spring, and my woolen tunic was beginning to stick to my back.

"....In past times, the monarch has been assisted by a seer, who is gifted with prophecy. This way, the monarch has help deciding whether or not his plans will benefit the kingdom. There has not been a seer since King Briam’s father, Leonard, as no person with the gift has been found. Hopefully, the country will recover somewhat from its current state when a seer is once more assisting the monarch.”

Maks finished his speech as the bells in the dormitory rang, the signal for the end of classes. The boys stampeded out of the room, their whoops echoing in the corridor as they headed off to dinner.

I followed, more slowly. I remembered Conor’s expression when he picked up his harp, one of such rapture that the delight on Leam’s face seemed shallow in comparison. Leam had tried to teach me the fundamentals of the lute, explaining plucking and fingering. I heard his words, understood what he told me, but I couldn’t play as he had instructed me to.

I crossed the darkening courtyard to dinner, the beat of the song Leam had tried to teach me sounding in my head along with Conor’s face, smiling over his music.

*****

It was raining the next day as I splashed my way to breakfast. I sat with Antho and Murrow in the steamy chamber, enjoying my bowl of oatmeal. Suddenly there was a loud crash from the door. Two students entered the chamber, a drenched man in silver and blue livery following them. He made a beeline for the table where Antho sat, wringing his tunic and his hands.

When the man had bowed to us, he burst out, “King Briam has died. Queen Kasha was crowned a week ago. Long may she reign!”

There was a clatter next to me. Murrow had pushed back his chair, his face white. He rushed out of the chamber, Antho close behind him. Unsure what to do, I followed. As I shut the door behind me, I heard the messenger begin to speak again, his voice loud and excited.

Five minutes later, I knocked on Antho’s door, for Murrow’s room was empty. Murrow was pacing, pulling things off the shelves and dashing them to the ground. “You know what this means! The nerve of her....”

As I watched, a heavy book crashed to the floor, followed by a small metal statue of a wolf.

“Yes, Murrow,” Antho replied calmly. A bottle of amber liquid tried to follow the wolf statue, then abruptly changed course and came to rest in Antho’s waiting hands. He poured a generous measure into the cup of tea he had been making and passed it to Murrow. “Hello, Lia. Good of you to drop in. Have a seat. You too, Murrow.”

I did as I was told. Antho was not a man to argue with. A stack of paper fell to the carpet. “Murrow. Stop.” Murrow sat down with a resigned air, but his face still fumed. Antho had stopped those things from falling! There was no time to dwell on this exciting fact, however, for at that moment the door opened.

“Conor,” Murrow and Antho said together. I merely gaped.

Finally Antho said, “Well, come in. You may as well be here.”

Conor reluctantly sat on the edge of a tall stool next to the couch.

“The king is dead,” Antho began simply, sitting down and taking up his darning. “Murrow and I believe that the new queen may have murdered him.”

I saw Conor’s eyebrows rise. I was slightly skeptical myself. If this was the same woman who had murdered her own sister — my parents — though, then I supposed anything was possible.

“If this is the case,” Murrow continued, “then it is as we had feared. Who knows what she will do next? Lia, you know what she has done, what she is capable of. Conor, you must believe me when I say, nothing good will come of Kasha’s rule. She has already killed for power, in the first week of her reign.

“I must go to the capital,” he said, turning to Antho. “Maybe I can find some way to stop her. There is nothing else to do.”

Antho nodded sadly. “I wish that our country were not in such turmoil, that you could stay here longer with us.”

“I’m coming with you,” I said suddenly. Murrow was my only family. I would not let him leave without me.

Murrow glanced at Antho, who inclined his head. “She could be of use to you. Who knows what may happen?”

Abruptly there was a rush of noise, and Antho’s rooms were wiped from my vision. I saw two horses, one gray, one brown. They trotted down a path, green and wet. My sight expanded then, and I could see a third horse, black, tall and solid. A young man was perched on the horse’s back, a small case on his knee. He turned to face me, black eyes flashing as he drew a huge, silver something and held it aloft, pointing toward the castle on the hill.

I opened my eyes. Only a moment seemed to have passed, but all three conspirators looked at me with concern. I pointed my shaking fingers at the dark- haired boy next to me. “Conor,” I said. “Conor needs to come with us.”

 

Emma Moesswilde lives in Belfast.

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