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The WeatherMaker Hearts Desire By Lady Lilium Characters: 4988

Updated: 2018-07-11 12:03

'An art…what were you doing imprisoned with other soldiers and mercenaries in that place?'

'I was accused of practicing sorcery. The punishment is to be drowned in the sea, far off coast…somewhere deep where it would be near impossible to find you again. Of course' the man smiled, 'if I am a sorcerer as they believed me to be, I would be drowning forever and ever. Sorceresses are believed to live forever. It is believed they cannot die.' He sighed. 'I almost wish I were what they claimed me to be.'

'What nonsense do you foreigners believe in?' Farrell scoffed.

'Not all believe in such things' the man smiled again. 'It does sound ridiculous I know. Sorcerers do not exist, or at least I've never seen one. Don't even know what they look like.'

'So how come you weren't thrown into the sea?' Farrell asked him.

'My wife was trying to secure a trail to show all those who accused me were false, and that I am just a normal man…' he broke off, '….I don't suppose I shall ever see her again…..or my two children.

'You may still' Farrell told him.

The man smiled silently.

'Thank you' Farrell said, rolling the paper up again.

'You are most welcome' the man bowed and walked away.

That night, as Farrell slept, he heard singing.

In his dreams, he walked through the woods towards the voice and found Ramana standing there, waiting for him. She smiled when she saw him, ending her song, and slowly drifted away. He followed.

They walked side by side in silence beneath the falling leaves, their footsteps rustling on the earth below them. The low sun shining through the columns of the trees.

And Farrell was happy.

The next day they set off again, heading towards the mountains.

Along the way they came across a small town called Pentland, where they stopped to rest and buy more food with what little money they had left. It was here they met a man.

When that man spotted Barrel, he threw his head back in laughter.

'Well if it isn't Bill returned to me after all this time. What a pleasure it is to see you boy.'

Barrel instantly paled, quaking in fear and falling to his knees before the man.

'Please' he stammered. 'Please don't hurt me father.'

Chapter Forty

The Land across the Sea

Arlen stood on the deck, leaning forward against the wood, watching the waves lapping against the side of the ship as they sailed onwards.

Beside him Shawn stood.

'Do we have to return?' Shawn spoke after a time.

Arlen straighten

ed and turned to him, his attention then sliding towards Annabel who sat on the deck further away on the ship. The tune she played on her violin was a beautiful one, yet sad. These sorts were all she played nowadays, she seemed to notice nothing around her, but was entranced by the melody that she created.

'You love her don't you?'

Shawn looked away in silence.

'I know you want to protect her' Arlen went on, 'but you can't.'

'We dragged her into this' Shawn replied at last. 'She should not suffer because of us.'

'The king dragged her into this' Arlen answered. 'She suffers because of him.'

'I only wish that at the end of all of this, she returns home to her family. Her parents don't know where she is. Perhaps they even think her dead.' Shawn took a deep and steady breath. 'I just want her to return home safely' he said. 'I just want her to be happy.'

'Yeah' Arlen nodded. 'Me too.'

'Do you mean what you said earlier' Shawn asked him, 'about it being near impossible for us to succeed in our task, and that we were doomed from the start?'

Arlen barely glanced at him.

'Do you really believe the words you spoke' Shawn continued.

'Yes' Arlen replied sombrely. 'I did.'

'But…' Shawn stammered uncertainly. 'Why do you think that?'

'She's been gone for twelve years' Arlen replied in a dead tone. 'The odds of her being alive….'

'But you…' Shawn began, 'then why are we still looking for her?'

'Because' Arlen said, 'she is the last thing left in this world that I truly care about. Ramana's daughter…the woman I love…. Even if there is only a glimmer of hope….as small as a drop in the ocean, then I would take it. I've already lost Ramana, that pain is bad enough…and I would willingly give my life for Amaia to be found alive and safe.' Arlen began to blink several times. Shawn saw tears coming to his eyes. 'I can't put into words' Arlen said his voice breaking, 'how much she means to me, how desperately I wish to find her.' He gritted his teeth, gripping the wood of the ship beneath him with whitening fingers. 'She is the last reminder I have of Ramana….the only woman I ever truly loved….'

Arlen turned away from Shawn to hide her grief, pulling from his coat a small tin that opened up. On one side there was a mirror, on the other, a thin tray of black paint and a small brush. Arlen began to apply this to his eyes after dabbing them dry.

'Why do you paint your eyes like that?' Shawn asked him. 'You never used to.'

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