Mentally Talis ran over a list of what was to be done.  One of the children had been waiting at the keep when she arrived, but the others would not be here for at least a week, living on the opposite outskirts of Vesper.  They, however, should all be here by the beginning of the next moon phase giving her time to relax on the way back to the cutting rather than rushing the girls.  Also, it would give her time to get everything in order for Maja which ever way the rain fell.

Talis had two trunks before her bed, each spilling out different items which awaited their final packing.  She had told herself it was necessary, but she knew enough to admit that the second trunk was more for her sake than Maja’s.  It held all the homely things she would need if Drono put her aside, but it was the first trunk made from sturdy and ornate wood and leather that kept drawing her attention.

She felt the air change as her door was opened by a small woman who stood waiting on her door jam. “Have you time for an audience, a young man seeks your council,” the woman asked stifling a yawn.  Talis looked out the window and sighed, “A message at this hour can only bode ill, show him in.”  She was turned to gather refreshments from her sideboard when she heard him enter.

“I’m glad to know that after the years I still have your friendship.”

She inhaled sharply and nearly over turned the platter she held as she meet the man face to face. “Drono!  How is it that you are here?”

He took the platter from Talis and sat it down before turning to look her up and down, though never quite meeting her eyes.  “The years have done nothing to you, Talis, which I don’t fully approve of,” here he stopped to smile.  “Can you forgive me the harshness of our last parting of ways?”

“Perhaps you now have a better understanding of why I could not leave with you,” Talis replied regaining her composure.

“Yes, but not why you never accepted my offer or at least told me why you declined.”

“I always believed that you were just trying to replace her with me, I think so still.”

“That may have been true at the beginning when she would no longer speak to me, but when I sought you out for marriage it was you I wanted.”  When Drono finished his eyes glistened with memories.

Talis laid her fingers across his arm.  “This is not what brought you out tonight; you’re staling.  What is your decision?  Is Maja to become part of your world?”

“No.”  He had kept his eyes lowered, but Talis could sense tension rolling off of him in waves.

“Look at me Drono.  I have yet to see your eyes this night.  What has happened?”

“She is Fierya now.”

The name bothered him but why, it was of his choosing.  “Drono?”

“She, she changed.”


“Changed her, She changed her.”  He was almost pleading with her.

“Look to me!”

He lifted his eyes and whispered, “The Essence,” with awe in his voice.

Their eyes locked.  She saw it all through the tears that streamed down her face, the girl’s body rigid against the pain of fire searing through flesh.  Talis gasped aloud as Drono pulled her to him, “I, I should have warned you, her gift.”

“She’s…neither of us can lay a claim to her now.”

Talis pulled back and collected herself, “I know what you would do.”  The statement sounded vaguely threatening.  “I will be there early on the sixth day, and will leave the next morning as they leave.”  Dronocum looked at her with something akin to horror in his eyes, but she did not stop.  “I know more than just what you’ve seen.  Did Dehlia teach you nothing?”


“Tell your wife, or not, but I will tend the girls that day.”  Somewhat frantic Talis began to wonder the room placing items within a wooden trunk and muttering to herself, “none should know her face.”

He had been so focused on trying to unravel a meaning from her actions that he was caught unawares when she rounded on him, “Drono, do you hear me?  This naming will be private,” she cut him off with a glance.  “Do you want another scene; She named her anything could happen.”


“Then hold your public event after the official naming.”  Talis stopped suddenly feeling the dizzying waves that preceded a seeing.  Her voice went flat and cold, “You will lose, lose many things many times; what happens to the flame without air.”  Talis felt her eyes widen, what had come from her mouth.  When she spoke again her voice held real warmth laced with concern, “Dronocum, what must pass will be, but know I’ll be here for you always Drono.”

“My offer still stands,” he looked away unsure of how to continue.  “I must return there is much to put into motion.  Shall I tell Fierya she is to see you soon it may lighten her spirits?”

“No, do not let her know.  She must find herself within Fierya and with me near she would always be Maja.  I shall not forget Drono, the rains be merciful.”

As Drono walked back lost in thoughts of what needed to be done he silently prayed that more than the rains would be merciful.