Dronocum sat at a table set for two piled high with avis and chamois, fruit, pudding, and sweet wine, he hoped at least one of the items would tempt her palette.  Since receiving the letter that they were traveling to Vesper he had been on alert quietly shifting from his planning to his childish fear of what it meant to come face to face with part of..her. He looked up from his lap as the door was opened to allow a page in then the girl.  Dronocum had time to take in her the red-brown curls set off by a jewel green ridding frock as she crossed the open space between the door and the table, and then she looked up modestly.

Strength and anger surged in her eyes as they meet with his.  She took his measure swiftly; he was tall and strong of structure, had dark nearly back hair, and eyes that left her no questions.  His eyes glowed in a pale reflection of her own.

“Come, I fear we are long over due for a talk, but first,” and here he raised his head causing the servant to stand at attention, “Tell Lady Haddie that we will expect her presence in two hours of time, and ready the girl’s bags to be placed within the palace walls.”

“Yes, of course sir,” the page declared loudly and was gone in a flash.

“Now sit with me,” he gestured grandly, “and we shall not fast while we talk.  You can call me father.”

“I have only known of you for three days and then only as Dronocum, but can you not call me by name for I know it was given to you?”

“Do not be angry Majalis, but here you have no name other than your mother’s and that I can not speak.”

“Am I then to believe that you loved her?”

His voice dropped low as if he strained to speak, “More than you can know.”

“But I killed her you know; she lived but hours after having me.  Don’t you hate me for taking her away?” Maja had hopped that this reminder would release her from the closing walls around her for while she had to admit they were beautiful every time a door was closed behind her she felt it jar her very bones.  Escape seemed to be slipping through her fingers.

“No, not at all.  Even if I could blame you, which I cannot, I could not hate you, because she loved you enough to make that trade.  I would not mare that love.  Let me call you daughter, let me give you my name.”

She held herself aloft from the promise of love as she answered, “Who am I to order the King?”

“Did they tell you nothing where you were kept?  You daughter are my first born and heir by birth.  What would you wish?”  He sat looking at her with his arms wide and a small smile on his lips, but his eyes remained weary.

At this Maja locked eyes with Drnocum and spoke with a heart felt intensity, “Do you believe it my choice to leave, in exile, all I hold dear to come here to tell you my wishes.  No, Father, I am very much here at your will and await your decision.”

“You are my first born was I never to know you, what would you have of me?”

“The only right I ask for is that of the Great Seeress, I was told that those of noble blood can seek her out as teacher, there is much I have yet to learn.”

“So, child of the ground you have the spirit, but daughter do you hold the power?”

With his words the block she had placed between her and her dreams fell away and she saw herself clearly for the first time.  “I was not sent here because of my noble blood nor was I stolen in childhood for only that reason.”

“You were taken, I did not know.  How is it that you are here before me?”

Before she could even attempt to answer that question the heavy door that had remand shut during their conversation swung open with a resounding thud.  Standing in the doorway was a woman with a livid shock of white hair who seemed to crackle with energy.  “Dronocum how dare you!”  She practically exploded into the room, causing Maja to slip from her seat.  She rose with neck bowed.

A wind of power blew Maja’s hair from its lose knot in long strands, her hands touched to her forehead.  Then she grew.  Her spirit filled the room as she drew away her hands.  Maja threw back her head revealing black eyes, a white chiseled face, it was no longer Majalis, and in her hands, at the level of her bosom, blazed a ball of fire.  The ball was a white center licked all over with red tongues of flame.

“Hear me!” The very floor trembled.  “Quibble no more, it is mine to decide.  She is more than this time has seen.  She will be queen but not of a castle; she will rule much more than land.  I set the future before you do not fail.” She then caught Dronocum in the darkness of her eyes.  “Beware the loss from which you shall gain; death does not wait for the appointed time.  My eternal flame burns bright; go, not from me but to me, my Fierya.

The flame pulsed outward then smothered itself and the girl, Fierya, fell.  The woman reached out to her shyly, pulling the girl towards her, pushing the hair out of the girl’s face.  As Fierya’s face was exposed Haddie shrieked and fell backwards holding her hands before her.  Dronocum jumped forward to catch the hysteric woman, but instead fell with her open mouthed.

The door which had not been shut was now filled with concerned faces.  A dark haired girl pushed her way through concern radiating out of her, “Father…Haddie Mother,” it was at that moment that she noticed the girl on the ground, “what has happened, who is this?”

Dronocum tried to untangle himself from Haddie who was still staring at her hands in disbelief, “Stay away I, I don’t know…”

But already she had dropped down beside the girl with a pitcher of water, from the table.  She pulled the worst of the burned pieces of cloth from the girl’s body and washed her face with the hem of her own skirt.  As the grime and soot were wiped away the once golden skin now shone milk white, and her once brown hair was blood red under the scorch marks.  She held the girl’s head and poured water past her cracked lips.  The burned girl sputtered and started to sit up.

Fierya opened her eyes to strange surroundings then she started to remember.  Se felt a hand on her back and turned as far as she could.  A shock of black hair and green eyes meet her with concern then curiosity.  However she paid the dark hair girl no mind as unbidden thoughts were crashing upon her, burned, I burned her, I burned myself alive, as her body shuttered.  She felt everything clasping inside her, no this could not be, she must be dead, and with that thought she fell to the ground as if the very thought had struck her down.

Again the dark haired girl held her in her arms as well as her father with her eyes.  He looked away.  Haddie went forward holding her hands palms up, they were seared red.  He took off his jacket and wrapped it around the girl before gently picking her up.  “Since you can tend her, I place her in your care Auria.”  As soon as she was laid down in a bed within Auria’s suite Donocum excused himself assuring his daughter, Auria, that she would be able to do more than any one could hope for.

He left the castle at once there was much to do.

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