The Callindra Chronicles Book 2: The Rise of Evil – Chapter 41

“There’s no need for that girl.”  She said quietly, “You must let it go before it destroys you both.  Listen to how he screams in protest.”

It was only then that Callindra heard the protesting cries of her blade.  “I can’t, I don’t know how.”  She began to panic now, uncertain of how to stop.

“I know that’s not true.”  The woman said soothingly, “Remember your training.  Remember the Korumn.”

Power raged through her, threatening to tear her asunder and Callindra collapsed into a sitting position.  Brightfang cut into her thigh when she was careless with his edge but she didn’t notice.  The memories of the first time her master had taught her anything about magic came back to her.  She could almost hear his voice.

“The first Korumn is of the Breath.”  He whispered into her ear and she calmed her mind, shutting out the chaos and struggle in order to focus on the storm of power that threatened to rip her, her sword, her family and everyone else into tiny shreds.

She regained the briefest amount of control and stood, beginning the Korumn of Release.  Every foot must be placed perfectly, each position of her hands essential and yet she executed them with the precision of long practice.  As Callindra neared the middle of her Korumn, the shopkeeper regained his feet and his voice.

“What madness is this?  Did you all see what she did?  What she threatened me with?”  The man shrieked.  “I will have justice when The Order arrives, just see if I don’t!”

Callindra tried to tune out the man’s strident cries were cut short by a blow to the side of the head from a short cudgel the woman tucked back into her belt and from there it was all Callindra could do to keep her focus.  She finally finished the Korumn and felt the power whisper out of her, harmlessly rejoining the flow of the Weave; the force that created and sustained life.

“Well done.”  The woman said, “My name is Elyn.  You’d be Callindra if I’m not mistaken?”  Her voice had a tone of something guarded and closed as she introduced herself.

“I am Callindra.”  She responded in a shaking voice, sheer exhaustion lowering her guard entirely.  It was all she could do to stay on her feet and keep Brightfang in her hands.

“Come to my shop.”  Elyn said, “I can put you and your friends up for the night and get you set up better for an exploration up north than this blithering idiot ever could.”  She nudged the unconscious shopkeeper with the toe of her leather boot.

“That’s a good enough recommendation for me.”  Callindra said, turning almost drunkenly to her brothers.  “How about you?”

Tryst caught her before she hit the floor.

Callindra awoke in an unfamiliar room with a terrible headache and yet felt a totally at peace for the first time in ages.  She wasn’t sure where it had come from, but the happiness she felt was too good for her to bother questioning it.  The bed was soft and she was dressed only in her smallclothes.  Well, not ‘her’ smallclothes because they were clean and she didn’t have a clean set left, but a set that fit quite well.  The comforting weight of Brightfang’s leash tugged at her right wrist as she stretched and smiled.

The moment she began to stir, lights turned on in the room.  They illuminated a small chamber with a bed, side table and her clothes, clean and folded on a chair.  After a few minutes of awkward maneuvering, Callindra managed to wriggle into her clothes without slicing any of them to shreds with Brightfang’s razor edge and cautiously opened the door.

A small hallway showed five other doors and a stairway leading down what appeared to be a half flight of stairs, but ended up actually covering at least an entire floor.  She could feel the Weave thrumming throughout the entire structure.  Almost as though the building wasn’t enchanted but as though it was entirely created of magic.

For some reason she couldn’t quite put her finger on she felt at ease here.  She somehow knew everything was going to be all right while she was in this place.  Callindra began to whistle a merry tune as she walked into the room, pushing the door wide to see her family sitting around the table with a group of strangers.  The brown-haired woman who had confronted her the day before was absent, but there were four others.

A man as wide as he was tall with thick red hair and a moustache that hung in two long braids long enough to be tucked into his leather belt.  A blonde-haired man with piercing blue eyes wearing copper spectacles with lenses that made his eyes seem huge.  A tall slender woman with auburn hair and soft brown eyes.  A slender silver haired man with eyes cloudy with age.  They all stopped and looked at her as she strode into the room.

“Sister, you’re awake!”  Tryst said, rising and walking toward her.  “Are you feeling all right?”

“I’m fine Tryst.”  She said, “Never better.  Would you mind introducing me?  I seem to have slept through the exchange of pleasantries.”

The blonde man stood with a slight bow, “I am Jamison, the innkeeper of The Trickster’s Pipe.”

“M’name’s Horus.”  The stout man said, taking a loud slurp from his tankard, “Blacksmith.”

“I am Ginny, I mind the store.”  The red-haired woman said with a smile.

“Driffen.”  The old man says, not looking up from the book he is reading.

“My name is Callindra Sol’Estin.”  She said, “What is this place?  Where is the woman who… helped me yesterday?  I owe her my profound and sincere thanks.”

“Ellyn is out taking care of the things that must be taken care of for our departure.”  Jamison said, “She will return shortly.  In the meantime won’t you join us for brunch?”  He gestured toward the table and Callindra felt her stomach rumble in anticipation at the array of fresh fruits and vegetables arrayed there.

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