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These chapters are going to be long (about ten pages of 12 pt. type in Word,) so the parts I’m posting are only about two pages long… Enjoy!

Bound to the Flame

Chapter I

Part II

                “You wish to speak about our son, do you not?” Melilana asked, softly, as she stared out the open window, elegant hands clasped lightly behind her back. Halbryn sighed.

“You know me too well, my love,” he said. Melilana smiled.

“And you know me,” she murmured.

“And yet, you never fail to impress me by your perceptiveness,” Halbryn said. He sighed.

“You’re weary,” Melilana commented. Lifting a long knitted blanket from the bed of their chamber, she wrapped it around her husband’s shoulders.

“I wonder if we may have been wrong—about Rowan,” Halbryn said, sitting down on the bed. Melilana sat down next to him.

“How so?” she asked.

“I saw something today—something that made me wonder, if it might not be a sign. I think we may have made the wrong decision in our eagerness to keep Rowan safe.”

“You know why we did it, Halbryn,” she chided.

“I know—and yet, there’s something else going on—something…” Halbryn paused. “We thought all the signs were right. And then, when Rowan was injured, we wondered if we had been wrong…” He turned suddenly to face his wife. “You know what we thought Rowan was—who he was. And then, we thought we were mistaken, after the accident. The signs just seemed more right for him… than in over a hundred years. And now, Rowan is teaching Adyn to be what he might have been himself… but Adyn isn’t Rowan, and never will be.”

“He came the closest,” Melilana sighed.

“After Rowan,” Halbryn finished. “But it doesn’t feel quite as right. Not so pure, or as radiant. Melilana, what I saw today… it’s not going to be easy to dismiss, you know.”

“I know,” Melilana murmured. “But what did you see?”

“Rowan… well… he said he hears the Guardian Angel’s voice, sometimes. Not in as many words, but it was there. I could see it. What he exactly said was that he feels as if the Guardian is a part of him; I think he has heard his—her—voice, and doesn’t quite trust himself that that is, in fact, what it is. And then… when he was in the Hall of Images, he was looking at the painting again, and he seemed to lose his balance for a moment. He almost fell against the picture—” Melilana gasped, her eyes wide.

“Is his leg getting worse again?” she asked fearfully.

“No, not quite like that. It was almost like a sudden attack of vertigo; as if his world had suddenly shifted around him. A little like the disorientation a seer experiences, coming out of a vision. I think he actually felt better than normal, today. But anyway, he caught himself—quickly—with one hand, directly over the painting of the Guardian itself. The mytar dust was showing on the painting—he had forced it into the visible realm himself, and with such ease—and his hand left a bright streak when he took it away, like a star peeping out through clouds; it was like a ray of hope.”

“You said he forced mytar into the visible realm? Was it very thick, Halbryn?”

“I’m afraid so,” Halbryn admitted softly.

“The kingdom is in danger then. Or—” The Queen rose, majestically. “It will be soon.” She shook her head, sadly. “Too soon.”

“Unless…” Halbryn began. He sighed. “Mytar dust, Melilana. You know how hard it is to force evidence of the darkness into the visual plane.” He took a deep breath. “Adyn comes close to all the correct signs, yes,” Halbryn continued, “but, with Rowan, they were all perfect.”

“If only we could allow him to fight for us, to lead our people,” Melilana murmured. “But now… with his leg… we would be doing him a terrible wrong by letting him go with his brothers. We would be failing in our duty as parents and guardians. Rowan must not go to war.” She sighed and looked down, rubbing her arm. “Not even if he wants to. We have no choice, Halbryn.” Silently, Halbryn held her, rocking her gently as she cried, mutely, for all that had been lost that one terrible day, two years before.

Author’s Note: Here’s hoping you’ve been enjoying the story! I’ve been having fun writing it! And don’t worry, all that is unclear will be clarified in time… ;-P

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!