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Lowenna part 27 (Chapter 32)
By
rbo

Lowenna part 27 (Chapter 32)

The group are finally heading home, but its a few moons away.

Chapter 32 THE RULES OF MAGIC

The sun had just set on the horizon. It was a cool pleasant, and both of Orkenza's moons were visible. Everyone was tired, as the party had ridden most of the sun and most of the younger children were already falling asleep, so Marchel shouted for the party to stop and rest. Everyone dismounted, and Marchel gathered all of the horses, checked them all. He gave them the last of the horse food and all the water the party could spare.

Grilk started a fire, then lay down on the ground and started to snore. Ryna and Rique sat down on a large rock, Rique just held her brother, trying to comfort him.

Lowenna called Eryn over to her, and Finn followed, as the other children all gathered round Grilk. They were so tired, that they fell asleep, even though Grilk was making enough noise to wake everyone back in Penbirth. Luna held his hand and cuddled it like it was a comfort blanket or her favourite toy.

Lowenna had wanted to talk Eryn. She liked the young woman and wanted to see if she was all right. She also wanted to ask her some questions about Zarkar and what he had really wanted in Penbirth, why had they taken prisoners and why had he killed Samuel? “Hi Eryn,” Lowenna said with a smile, “It’s been a bit of a crazy few moons hasn’t it?” Eryn looked really drained but did manage a small smile. “I’m sure your dad and sister will be missing you, as will your grandfather Finn, we will get you home soon.”

Finn nodded slowly. He was thinking about his mother who had died in the raid. Lowenna could see the pain on his face.

“I wanted to ask you both if you had any idea what Zarkar was really after in Penbirth and why he took prisoners? She asked.

“He was going on about the sacrifice of the innocent, to keep his magic strong,” Eryn replied as Finn nodded.

“Really?” Marchel said joining the conversation, “That means his magic isn’t bound to his life force. He is powering it through the souls of the dead. That’s roughly how Lowenna magic works," he stated like everyone knew this fact.

“Souls of the dead?” Lowenna asked, without thinking.

Marchel stared at Lowenna. She assumed he was trying to work out if she knew anything, which he thought was important. "With Lowenna magic, when the owner dies, the crystal absorbs part of the soul and the magical energy. The more owners die, the more powerful the magic especially if they were powerful sorcerers,” he explained.

Lowenna looked down at her crystal. “Is that what powers my magic, dead people, possibly my own dead mother, or father?” she thought before Marchel continued.

“With other types of magic, the users slowly use their own life energy, but as long as you don’t use too much, the energy does recharge, but there is always a price to pay when using magic. When the energy recharges, it is always connected to how the magic was used. If you use magic to kill deliberately or hurt people, then that feeling gets amplified, until you want to hurt and kill more people. One of the reasons magic is only to be used by Lawmen and trained sorcerers."

Lowenna looked over to Rique. She could tell she was listening.

"That’s why I need to show Rique other ways to use that ring," Marchel continued, "it’s bonded to her now, and no one else will be able to use it until the bond is broken by death or a disenchanting. Magic always has a cost. It sounds like this Zarkar was going to drain the soul of one of the prisoners, to fuel his magic. I assume he chose a child as, it is said, they have more magic in them.”

Lowenna removed the green ring from her bag, “Is that why I can’t use this, its owner is still alive?”

Marchel took the ring, looked at it, and slipped it on his finger, before removing it and passing it back to Lowenna, “the bond isn’t very strong, it could be broken.”

Lowenna turned and looked and Rique and Ryna, changing the subject, “Do you think they will be all right?” she asked Marchel.

He stared at the brother and sister for a moment, “They have both been affected by this trip, even before their father’s death. Both of them have grown and not necessarily for the better. Their lives will never be the same, but as long as Rique can master the ring, they should be fine. I’ll talk to them in the early sun.”

“There was a small chest,” Finn suddenly said, which confused Lowenna and Marchel for a moment, “Zarkar had a small chest, he said it’s what his master wanted, and I think that was what he was after in the raid on Penbirth.”

“So there was something he wanted, and the raid was just a distraction,” Lowenna said to Marchel, getting the conversation back on track, “Vlad told me it was a tactic Troy’s commander had used before.”

“Troy?” Marchel asked.

“A Magic-wielding Raider I killed in Penbirth,” Lowenna said, smiling and thinking. “That’s one thing I knew, and you didn’t. He could fire lightning from his fingers, but he didn’t seem to have a magic stone. He was sent to the inn to kill Vlad because he knew him and Zarkar. Vlad called Zarkar the General. I think.” Lowenna had guessed about Zarkar and the General, Vlad spoke of, being the same person, but it did seem to fit.

“You don’t need a stone or crystal, just a source and a conduit, crystals or gemstones are usually used, but not always.” Marchel drew his sword and showed it to Lowenna, “see no stone or crystal,” the sword started to glow. “It deflects other types of magic and damages magical weapons, a very good choice if you’re fighting a mage or sorcerer. Or a Lowenna.”

Lowenna smiled briefly at the comment. She was sure he was paying her a compliment. “So the sword is the conduit, like my crystal?” she asked, 

“Yes, but other items can be used…”

“Like a tattoo?” Lowenna interrupted with a question thinking of Malaki.

“Yes.” Marchel replied, slowly, “but crystals or weapons are the normal choices as they are hard to damage or destroy. Tattoos or symbols would turn the user themselves into the conduit and the source unless the magic were coming from somewhere else.”

Grilk suddenly Snored very loudly, interrupting the conversation. “I think Grilk has the right idea. If we ride hard in the new sun, could we make the river Tyne?” Lowenna asked Marchel, as Eryn tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn.

“Hopefully horses will be up for it, but we will need to get up at dawn to have any chance.”

Lowenna nodded, “Dawn it is, so we better get some sleep.” Marchel nodded back before turning and walking back to the horses. Eryn yawned again, “You two try and get some sleep, I’ll take first watch,” Lowenna said, which was followed by another loud snore from Grilk. “And I’ll wake him in a few hours, he can take the second watch, so the rest of us can sleep.”

Lowenna nodded and Finn and Eryn, who both smiled back before heading off to try and get some sleep. Lowenna noticed that they were holding hands. She smiled remembering the lawman from her vision, but then the smile faded as she remembered Rique and Vorn holding hands just a few suns ago.

Lowenna walked over and sat down beside Rique. Ryna was asleep, his head resting on her shoulder. Lowenna looked at Rique and smiled, trying to stir a happy moment in her friend, “I’m so sorry” she whispered to Rique, who looked back at Lowenna but didn’t say a word. “Your father was very brave and an amazing warrior and tracker. He was also the first person who was kind to me and helped me when I arrived in Penbirth. He was very proud of both of you and your brother.”

Rique wiped her eyes again, Lowenna noticed Rique’s ring was glowing, “he was the best wasn’t he?” She tried to smile as she said this, but she just couldn’t.

“Yea, he was,” Lowenna agreed but then looked at her ring again, “Marchel wants to chat with you about magic tomorrow. I think he’s worried that in your present state of mind the magical energy could affect you.

Rique had stopped trying to smile, “Is he afraid I’ll turn, give into the darkness, become a murderer,” the ring and her eyes flashed bright yellow as she said this. “My father taught me better than that, and I would never dishonour his memory.”

Lowenna gave Rique a small nod, “I know you wouldn’t, but please listen to Marchel tomorrow, he will help you and make your magic…”

“I will listen to him,” Rique stated interrupting Lowenna, “but I don’t need you, who knows nothing about magic or the world giving me advice.”

Lowenna was a little shocked by her outburst, “I'm Sorry. I was only trying to help.”

There was a short pause before Rique replied, “No, I’m sorry. I’m tired and upset, and my leg really hurts. I will talk to Marchel, and hopefully he can help me.” Rique placed her arm around her brother and gave him a hug. "And I really miss father,” she said, as tears started rolling down her cheeks again. Ryna also started crying too. He had only been pretending to be asleep.

Lowenna hadn’t realised how much pain Rique was in. She stroked her crystal and placed her hand on Rique's leg. “You should have said, I saw you limping but didn’t realise it was so bad,” Lowenna said feeling guilty. "Some friend I am, couldn’t even tell that my best friend was in so much pain,” 

Rique squinted as the magic healed her leg, and then Lowenna moved her hand to Rique’s face. Her eye still looked painful, but it didn’t seem to be hurting her that much. Lowenna poured magic into Rique, helping to restore her youthful beauty. “I wish this could take away some of the pain you feel on the inside as well as the outside.”

Rique grabbed Lowenna’s hand and squeezed it. “Thank you,” she replied with a flicker of a smile. Lowenna squeezed her hand back and looked into Rique’s beautiful blue eyes. There was now just a hint of gold flickering behind the blue.

The silence was broken, by Grilk belching noisily in his sleep, Lowenna smiled again before breaking contact with Rique. “I’m going to wake him up, now, then everyone else can get some sleep. You must try and rest too.”

Rique leaned back till her head was on the rock, hugged her brother and closed her eyes. It was unlikely she would get much sleep, but even a little was better than nothing. Lowenna was also tired, but there was very little chance of her getting much sleep with Grilk making that much noise, although no one else seem to have that problem. She sat down on a rock looking over at everyone in turn.

So much had happened on this trip, the ride had been long, and the losses had been a lot higher than Lowenna had thought possible. She closed her eyes, thinking about Kia and the first time she had met him.

Suddenly, a man stood in front of her. He was tall and covered in tattoos, his hands ablaze with black or dark blue fire, and he showed a look of real anger on his face. He slowly faded and was replaced by a lone lawman that was looking at Lowenna from the bottom of the hill, was it the same one from before? 

Lowenna’s heart rate started to increase as she ran down the hill towards him, but as soon as she got close, there was a sharp pain in her abdomen. She looked down to see a dagger had been stuck into her stomach. She grimaced in pain and fell to one knee, “Why?” She managed to ask, as more lawmen appeared. They all pointed at Lowenna without saying a word, lightning, fire and ice erupting from their gantlets, as Lowenna closed her eyes.

When she opened them, she was back in the camp. She had no idea how much time had passed, only that the moons had moved. She had had enough of dream-scape. She had either died or had seen a friend hurt or die almost every time. The dreams had failed to warn her about Krin, or the fact Kia was going to die. She wished just for once, she could sleep without visions entering her mind. Not that she was supposed to be sleeping.

Grilk, suddenly let out another noisy snore, this time waking himself up. He sat up quickly and grabbed his sword like he was about to be attacked, before looking down at his other hand and seeing Luna using it as a pillow holding his fingers tightly. “Bad dream?” Lowenna asked as she walked over to him.

“Me was attacked by a man with black fire, you were hurt, and me had to save you,” Grilk replied trying to be quiet, not wanting to wake the little girl.

“You’re so sweet,” Lowenna replied, but Grilk pulled a grimacing face.

“Sweet? Sweet! Orcs not sweet, orcs proud warriors who fight for honour and friends. We vanquish our enemy's, we not sweet.” he again looked down at Luna again, trying to get his hand free without waking her.

Lowenna tried to stifle a laugh, “I’m sorry Mr Grilk,” she said lowering her head much like Rique had done before they had set off.

“Stop that, me told you me no Mr, me just Grilk and me will fight and die for you Wenna.”

Lowenna was surprised by that statement, “I don’t want you to die, Grilk,” she said looking concerned.

“Ha," Grilk said as he hit his free hand against his chest. “Me old orc, lived a long time and am a proud warrior, if me die saving you, Rique, Ryna or children, it would be a good death. Me no afraid.”

“Well I still don’t want you to die,” Lowenna repeated, “we have lost so much already, no one else is going to die, I won’t let it happen.”

“You no have a choice, you strong Wenna, but when it your time you die. In your vision’s you see anyone die?”

“I saw Reath and Vorn in a vision, but didn’t know it was them till it was too late, and I didn’t see Kia. I was able to save you and Vlad but not him.”

Grilk nodded with a slight sombre look on his face, as he finally slipped his hand out of Luna’s grasp, “when it time, you die. Visions no save you, magic no save you, but me will save you if I can Wenna.” The statement didn’t make that much sense, but Grilk smiled, and Lowenna smiled back.

“You sleep, me keep watch.” Grilk said as he rummaged in his pouch and brought out the flask with the orc elixir of war. He took a big swig and then forced himself to swallow. The face he pulled after made Lowenna want to laugh again. “Me let you into a secret,” he whispered, “me no like the taste.”

“You can’t tell,” Lowenna said, covering her mouth to stop herself laughing. “Thank you Grilk,” she finally said as she sat down, and leant against a rock, Grilk grunted as he got up and moved off, and Lowenna closed her eyes, hoping for sleep without visions this time.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © 2015 by Robert Stevens All Rights Reserved

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