Daine leaned on her balcony.
Tonight would be the night.
Mommy!! called her 5-year-old daughter, Nicola.
Yes, Ola? Daine answered sweetly using her
Could I go to Pirates Swoop with you? asked Ola.
What made you think you werent going? said Daine.
You and Daddy usually go alone somewhere like
Carthak-- explained Ola.
How many times has that happened? And the Carthak
trip was before you were born, excuse me-- said Daine
in a more complex way than she meant to.
George leaned against the wall, doing nothing in particular except drinking
2 glasses of wine so far and had drunk 2 beers in addition.
Want to have some beer with me? asked Numair, seemingly unaware that George
was already more than drunk in less than a quarter of the time of this dinner
Sure. said George and sat down where he ordered 2 beers from a servant.
On the other side of the room Alanna, Daine, Keladry, Thayet and Jessica of
Katrine Coast a new Lady Knight, who had brown hair, beautiful dark eyes and
was very short, sat talking.
George seems to be acting different than usual. remarked Jessica, amused.
I know hes had at least 5 drinks and this ball lasts 5 hours and started 2
minutes ago! said Alanna in an aggravated tone.
You think youre the poor ones? Thayet sighed.
Jon was kissing Lady Jemima of Love Strait, a young noblewoman, on the lips.
Thayet pursed hers.
Dont worry, said Alanna, Im still counting how many beauties Jon flirted with
when he was supposed to be in love with me!
He wasnt married with you, though! said Thayet angrily and stormed off to
tell Jon how offended she was.
I m glad Neal is a perfect lover. said Kel sarcastically.
Kel thought that after she married Neal he would stop falling in love with
Unfortunately this was not true.
Alanna decided it was time to deal with George.
She got up and began walking to the table where he sat drinking.
I want to talk with you! Daine snapped immediately.
She dragged George in the hallway.
Now I want to tell you this clear. Youre a father. Youre older. Have you
forgotten that I am 29 and you are 31. Eh? Well if youre going to drink like
that and stuff I might divorce. Marry another Alanna began when she noticed
George had fainted and puked all over her beautiful aqua silk gown.
Damn it! Its because hes drunk. Alanna muttered and sighed.
Usually George was wonderful and he was the love of her life.
But when he did this--
Alanna rang for a servant to carry him back to their chambers.
Alanna entered the room again, now dressed in a violet satin.
She spent the the rest of the night dancing with Nicholas of Emerald Caves
who almost made her really divorce George. Nicholas had as wonderful a
personality as George, with brilliant green eyes and brown black hair.
Looks like youve got a new lover, said Jessica, who had come up behind her,
And a new dress.
George threw up all over the aqua which I paid 50 gold nobles for. she
Jessica came up in a fit of giggles.
Want to talk? she said.
Sure, but you cant help me. Youre still dating. joked Alanna.
Its not about that. Jessica protested.
I guess. Alanna shrugged.
How do you feel when you married George? asked Jessica.
Like he was the only person for me. Like Mithros had pulled us together. We
were so happy and I wasnt thinking about anything especially the fact I was
wearing rubies in my hair which looked horrible because I had wanted emeralds
and the order got lost. explained Alanna.
Jessica laughed warmly.
The thing is Alex asked me to marry him. she said.
Congratulations!!! Do you want to? Alanna asked/congratulated.
Yes, but I needed to know about marriage. I couldnt decide between asking you
or Daine about it. said Jessica.
Accept. said Alanna firmly.
all right. laughed Jessica.
The balls over!!! said Alanna in alarm.
Better go, then. said Jessica, now thinking of something else which Alanna
guessed was Alex.
Daine entered for breakfast the next morning with a weary look on her face.
I feel like I could faint, she stated.
Maybe Numair has B.O. I heard youve been sleeping with each other for
awhile. joked Kel.
No, I feel sick and dont I have a right to sleep with my own husband! snapped
Gee, I was just joking. said Kel.
Halfway through breakfast Daine decided she would not be sick anymore and and
visited Mistress Anya Weaver, a healer.
Mistress Anya pinned up her flyaway dark-blonde hair and looked to Daine.
Whats the symptoms? Mistress Anya asked the weary Daine.
Aching head and stomach since a week ago. replied Daine and fainted.
You all right? asked Mistress Anya after Daine woke a few minutes later.
Fine. Could you bring me a chair? said Daine quickly.
Certainly. Ill give you a test. Fine? said Mistress Anya warmly.
Yes. said Daine.
Suddenly Daine was both relieved and in pain.
A mist of warm air surrounded her head, taking care of her ache, yet taking
in a new pain, sort of like a stretch.
This continued through her whole body when finally it stopped and her pain
Mistress Anya smiled, got up, and headed into a storeroom, returning with a
Take a teaspoon once a day and report to me when its finished. It wont last
for 9 months, but shall do for the time being. she said.
What do you mean? asked Daine, confused.
Anya made a cradling motion.
Baby? asked Daine.
Anya nodded, smiling.
You can have another test, if you wish to know if its a lad or lass. she
Is it good to know? asked Daine.
Yes, Anya nodded, It narrows down the number of names and people dont bother
you about if youve found out yet.
I will then. said Daine firmly.
Anya gripped Daines head taking her into a swirling mist for a few minutes.
Girl. Anya said firmly.
Ill be going then. said Daine, putting on her coat, taking the medicine, and
walking out to go to the palace.
I love you... Kel said distantly to an imaginary Neal.
She was married to him but she had the feeling he didnt love her.
She loved him, though.
They had been friends for years, but did Neal really love her?
Keladry felt tears running down her face as she began weeping.
Quickly she buried her face in the pillow hoping that no one would hear her
weeping because of Neal.
Did he ever really love me? wondered Kel.
Finally her crying overdid herself and Lalasa came in later to find Kel
Lalasa locked the door to Kels chambers and went to dusting.
Daine collapsed on her bed.
How would she tell Numair?
But before Daine could think though Numair came bursting in:
Cursed hot robes!!!!! Why do they make you wear these in
July!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he shouted, flinging off his Black Robes, sign of
By the time the babys here youll have more to worry about than hot robes.
Whose baby?? asked Numair.
Oh magelet I-- he said and kissed Daine longly.
At that moment Alanna burst in.
Meeting! she gasped, For all knights and palace mages in the Council Room
When they arrived they knew it must be important:
King Jonathan, Queen Thayet, Sir Alanna, Sir Keladry, Sir Jessica, Sir Raoul,
Sir Gareth the Younger, Duke Gareth the Elder, Sir Neal, Sir Cleon, Sir
Joren, and various mages were present.
When everyone had been seated the King spoke in a deep, grim voice:
The Copper Isles King wishes to declare war. A few of us-- he looked at
Nuamir, Alanna, and Daine know their plans. Now I will let Master Numair
The Isles are using image-magic where a miniature resembling an object is
treated in some way and the process reacts to the true object. The Isles have
an image of our palace to try and make us war. said Numair gravely.
We shall vote on whether to accept war or not. said King Jonathan.
Daine picked up the slip of paper at her place decided that war would come
sooner or later and sooner was best.
She peered at Alannas paper.
Daine then looked Numairs.
Then the votes were counted.
King Jonathan would sign.
The Sea-Dreamer, a Copper Isles ship, bobbed up and down on the Totallan
Sir Alanna carefully watched Lord Ahonar, the Copper Isles ambassador, and
his wife, Lady Gemilla board the Sea-Dreamer.
Alanna shook her head.
Why were Ahonar and Gemilla dressed in such beautiful clothes before
sailing? she thought and answered herself directly:
Because of pride.
Ahonar wore a golden doublet and golden cloak, both to match his hair.
Sapphires glittered at the linings.
Gemilla was clad in a silver gown and headdress.
At that moment, finally the Islanders finished a talk they were having and
boarded the Sea-Dreamer.
Farewell Tortall!! Forever!!!! shouted Ahonar, from the ship.
See you in war Copper Isles- Dead!!!!!!!!!! cried Alanna in pure rage.
Sarra? Alys? Anasyla? asked Daine.
Graveyard Hag? grumbled Numair.
He was too seasick of the long voyage to attack the Copper Isles to even
think about naming his child, what Daine was focusing on completely.
Im going out!! Daine said, To get away from the smell of puke!!
She walked briskly out on the deck, to find no one.
This is boring. Daine grumbled and walked to the practice fencing and archery
Alanna and Kel were fencing there:
Alanna lunged in and Keladry blocked.
Daine headed to the archery court took a long bow and set up the target,
aimed and hit the middle.
She did it again.
Finally Daine got tired of this and walked back to her room.
Numair was reading and Daine looked at the clock: 6:45.
She decided to change for dinner.
Taking off her breechs Daine changed into a silk tunic and hose.
She bound her hair then headed to the dining room.
As she walked she noticed land outside-- close.
Daine walked up to the captain and asked what was the land outside.
I dont know, he said shaking his head, Prty sure that aint no Copper Isle.
Maybe well be going there.
I hope so. said Daine and headed to dinner, which went by quite uneventfully.
Kel rose the next morning to find the Wave-Walker had arrived in a busy
She changed into a green tunic with gold trimming and a golden belt.
She armed herself with the long sword, a daggar, and a good spear.
She walked through the hall wondering if she should wake anyone.
Deciding not to, she headed into the port.
People chattered constantely, reminding Kel of Corus.
She decided to ask someone where she was.
Desparately Kel looked for someone who would actually talk.
Finally she found a pretty, young huntress who didnt seem to be conversing
You! called Kel.
Me? asked the girl in a light, beautiful voice.
Yes! shouted Kel.
What is it then? questioned the girl, who Kel realized had a beautiful
accent, like like water pouring into a tall glass.
I am a forgeiner! called Keladry, What is this land?
Britain, ruled by the great King Arthur! Your lands must be far away for you
not to know that!!!! called the maiden, then vanished into the crowd.
Kel, discouraged, headed back to theWave-Walker.
Britain, ruled by King Arthur? asked Numair.
Aye. said Kel, digging into her vension.
Tomorrow we go!! voiced Alanna firmly.
While walking Kel noticed the maiden she had seen before-- and called to her:
Who are you and why did you run away!!
I am Leacia the Huntress, daughter of Doan the Hunter and Sixela the Weaver
and I was afraid youd hit me with the spear.
Kel shook her head and walked off.
Wait! Leacia called, If there is anything I can do to assist you it shall be
Kel turned and spoke:
If you could show me and my friends to the palace of this Arthur we would be
I and my sister Andarim, also a Huntress would oblige. said Leacia.
Thank you. I will fetch my company to come the way-- now? said Kel in a
Now. said Leacia.
Kel noticed Numair, Daine and the rest of their company were far up the
Just a minute. she said anxiously.
Kel ran to keep up with everyone and reported that Leacia and Andarim would
They accepted and went up to where Leacia and Andarim were standing.