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HammerTimeCafe
Slaede Wilson
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Van meg egy rakat hasonló novella nálam…

DAUGHTERS OF MAJERE
a tale recounted by Slaede Wilson

DISCLAIMER: This story contains characters from the published
Dragonlance World. TSR own rights to Dragonlance and all Dragonlance
characters. This story is `fan-fiction`. It is illegal to ask for
money for this story – I only ask that if you distribute it that you
please distribute it verbatim (as is). Thank you.

****

A small stone table sat in the centre of the room, and a crucible sat
on the table, carefully filled to the brim with a strange shimmering
liquid. A small fire burnt under the crucible and the liquid bubbled
gently. The musky scent of spell components filled the air. Rosamund
Majere gingerly sprinkled the final ingredient into the bowl.

When Rosamund`s young daughter entered the room a few minutes later
she found her mother entranced, staring intently into the bubbling
liquid at visions that only she could see. Rosamund`s brow was creased
in worry, marring her normally serene face. Kitiara sighed. Her mother
was often like this – delving strange magics that Kitiara had neither
the ability nor the inclination to understand. She decided that the
rabbit traps probably needed checking anyway and walked resolutely out
the front door.

****

Several minutes passed before Rosamund emerged from her trance. Tears
trickled down her cheeks. Over the past few days she had noticed
several small, almost insignificant omens. The augury she had just
completed confirmed that dark things awaited. And she had learnt
another fact that struck her perhaps more deeply than the predicted
evil.

She was with child. Her husband, a humble woodcutter had died recently
in a tragic accident. And now she would bear his child. Although he
had loved Kitiara as his own, she was not. She was the child of her
first husband.Rosamund laughed half-hysterically at the irony of the
timing. Gilon had wanted children so badly – only to die shortly
before the birth of his first child.

As Rosamund sat, overwhelmed by the bittersweet mingling of sorrow and
joy mingling within her she failed to notice a dark presence filtering
into the room. Her eyes sprang wide open with horror as she first
sensed the presence of the dark entity.

`A good day to you, Rosamund Majere` intoned a deep voice, cold and
mocking. She felt the more through her ears, but through her heart and
mind than through her ears. It felt as though her very soul was being
smothered.
Looking around, she saw no sign of anyone, save that the room had
become darker.

`Who.. _What_ are you?` she asked, her voice quivering.

It laughed. It was an unpleasant sound that chilled Rosamund`s bones.
`An… interested party.` it replied. I too have observed the omens.
You are with child. A daughter. She will be powerful in the magic,
perhaps the greatest… of this time.` it paused. `She will be mine.
You will allow no harm to befall her.`

Rosamund felt a wave of magic sweep across her and knew that she had
been geased. The power of the spell was overwhelming. Though she tried
to resist, her efforts were futile.

`When you have borne the child, I shall return and claim what is
mine`.

The dark presence laughed – an evil cackling laugh as it faded from
the room, until only a faint sense of evil remained…

****

As evening approached Rosamund began to panic. She knew Kitiara was
very capable for her age, but she would be helpless against whatever
that thing had been. Just as she was considering going to look for her
daughter the door swung violently open.

Kitiara strode in triumphantly with a grin from ear to ear. She held a
dead rabbit in her left hand. The knuckles on her right hand were
skinned.

`I finally caught him! It was Derek!` she proclaimed. `The rabbit
traps.` she clarified, noting her mother`s bewildered and relieved
stare. `I _knew_ someone had been stealing the rabbits from our traps
and today I caught him! He`s not likely to try it again,` she
declared, brandishing her small, skinned knuckles.`

Rosamund sighed, partly in exasperation but mostly in relief. Derek
was the son of the town smith and had a reputation as a young thug but
was insignificant compared to the dark entity. She managed a grim
half-smile.
Being beaten up by a girl two years his junior would certainly not do
Derek`s reputation any good.

Kitiara had always been a bit of a tomboy. Rosamund usually alternated
between worry at Kit`s seemingly endless capacity to get into trouble,
and pride at her extreme independance and ability to look after
herself.

`Listen to me Kitiara,` she began, `we have to leave here for a little

Gathering her daughter in her arms, Rosamund gave her a crushing hug.

`Listen to me Kitiara,` she began, `we have to leave here for a little
while.`

`But why? Where are we going?` Although Kitiara`s voice brimmed with
concern at leaving her home, even temporarily, her eyes sparkled at
the possiblity of new adventure.

As they gathered their few items of import and locked the house for
protection in their absence, Rosamund told Kitiara of the afternoon`s
happenings.

`We are going to visit an old friend of mine in the Tower of Wayreth.
Hopefully, he`ll know what to do. I`ve already sent him a message that
we`re coming.`

Kitiara began to ask how her mother had sent a message so quickly but
closed her mouth, realizing the means were undoubtedly magical. She
remained silent as she and her mother walked through the woods,
leading to the forest of Wayreth.

****

It was night. Glowing red eyes stared at them from the darkness. The
woods were perfectly silent. Not even the cries of the usual
night-time creatures broke the silence.

`Don`t worry`, Rosamund had assured her daughter, `They know we`re
coming. The path is only dangerous for the uninvited`. Kitiara
remained tense – she considered herself brave, but only the foolish
did not fear the dead.

Suddenly, as if by magic (which perhaps it was) the Tower of Wayreth
seemed to appear before them. Kitiara had never seen such a huge,
impressive building – it`s spires seemed to blot out the stars.

A dark figure stepped in front of them, seemingly from nowhere,
causing Kitiara to jump, startled. `Who goes there?` spoke the figure,
revealed as an ordinary man wearing black robes.

`I am Rosamund Majere and this,` she gestured, `is my daughter
Kitiara`. `We are here to see Par Salian.`

The man`s eyes widened. `Certainly, my lady. I was informed you would
be coming. Follow me.` He nodded to a second black-robed man who
Kitiara only now noticed, standing behind a nearby tree.

He led them through the huge gates (which opened at a gesture) and
into the tower.

****

The man in the black robes led them to the quarters of Par Salian and
then scuttled quickly away with a servile bow.

Kitiara found herself waiting with bated breath as her mother rapped
on the door. When the door swung open with a creak, she found her
initial reaction one of disappointment. The man who answered the door
looked no different to many of the men around her small village. He
was perhaps fifty years of age, with white hair and white robes. He
looked decidedly ordinary.

He stepped forward and swept Rosamund up into a great hug, a hug that
she returned.

`It has been far too long.` he remarked warmly, `and is _this_ little
Kitiara? Why I remember when she was only this high.` he said,
indicating some vague height. Rosamund smiled.

`Yes, well you _have_ been busy.` Rosamund commented, `I hear rumours
they are considering you as the next head of the White Robes.`

Par Salian waved his hand dismissively `Yes, I hear those rumours too.
In this place a dozen rumours and a small rock are worth the rock`. He
smiled. The smile turned grim.

`But you did not visit me just to reminisce` he added, `Your message
mentioned an emergency of some kind?`

`Yes.` Rosamund`s voice became troubled once more. `I dared not go
into detail in our communication for fear of the message being
detected.` She went on to explain the omens she had deciphered and to
describe the visit of the dark entity.

Par Salian considered her story thoughtfully. If his suspicions about
the identity of the dark entity were correct, the situation was dire
indeed. He shared none of his suspicions with Rosamund. To learn the
true identity of the presence would terrify her to no good end. After
several minutes contemplation, Par Salian smiled.

`I have an idea.`, he said.

****

Kitiara heard a loud knock on the door. Rushing over, she opened it to
discover Par Salian standing outside.

`Hurry up! Come on! She`s gave birth last _night_!` she exclaimed
impatiently, `What took you so long?`.

He opened his mouth to explain but Kit had already turned and marched
into the next room. He followed meekly.
On a bed in the corner of the room lay Rosamund, sleeping peacefully.
The midwife sat on a stool by the table.
He stopped. His mouth fell open.

The midwife sat, cradling _two_ babies – one large and healthy
looking, the other small and frail.

`Twins!` he exclaimed, amazed. Kitiara nodded excitedly.

`This is my little brother, Caramon` she said, indicating the larger
child, `and this is my little sister Raistlana.`

Caramon gurgled happily. Raistlana wheezed. The midwife frowned.

`I`ve never seen so delicate a child. She`s so frail. She was lucky to
survive her first night.` As if in response to her comment, Raistlana
coughed softly.

`Thank you for your help, my dear lady.` said Par Salian. `We won`t be
needing your help any more today.`

The woman began to protest, but, seeing the look in Par Salian`s eye
thought better of it. She placed the children in the cot Kitiara had
built for them and left meekly.

`Thank you!` Kitiara called after her. She put her hands on her hips
testily. `Now that was _rude_`. Par Salian smiled. Kitiara reminded
him so much of what her mother had been like in their youth.

`Please wake your mother.` he asked. `Time _is_ limited` he pointed
out politely when Kitiara opened her mouth to protest.

Without a word, Kitiara gently shook her mother awake. Rosamund`s eyes
flickered open. She rose quickly as soon as her gaze fell upon Par
Salian.

`It`s time, isn`t it.` It was a statement, not a question.

Par Salian nodded. `I have worked hard these past months, preparing
the spell we require. I shall require your aid.` Quickly he explained
to her the part she had to play in the ritual. Kitiara picked Caramon
up from the cot and rocked him gently in her arms.

Par Salian pulled strange-coloured dust from a pouch on his belt and
sprinkled it gently over Raistlana, uttering words of magic. The child
sneezed as the dust settled on its nose. Par Salian and Rosamund
joined hands over the crib and began chanting…

****

`It is done.` Par Salian pronounced gravely. The child in the cot
before them was no longer a little girl, but a little boy. `The…
Dark being who confronted you before has interest only in a girl
child. The boy you see now before you should be safe.` He and Rosamund
collapsed into nearby chairs. The spell had fatigued them greatly.

`How long will she be like that?` asked Kitiara.

`The being may watch your family for decades to come. I fear it would
be unwise to remove the spell until we know of his destruction – an
event my order is looking into even as we speak.`

His voice took on a tender tone. `Rosamund, you realize that a being
as powerful as the one you describe could search your minds for the
truth with ease.`

Rosamund nodded, mute. She feared what she knew Par Salian would say
next.

`For the child to truly be safe, neither you nor your daughter must
know the truth. I wish to erase from your mind all that has
transpired. I can cast a spell that will cause you both to believe
that this child was born male.`

Rosamund nodded again, mutely.

`No!` cried Kitiara, `I _want_ to remember my sister.`

`I know.` Par Salian replied, a sadness tinging his voice, `but you
want your sister to be safe, don`t you?`

Kitiara`s lower lip trembled for a moment then grew firm. A determined
light appeared in her eyes. `Yes`, she stated. `I understand`.

With a tired smile, and a tear welling in his eye Par Salian ruffled
the child`s hair affectionately.

`Are you prepared?` he asked them both. They both nodded. Placing his
hands lightly on both their foreheads he began to chant the
incantation to trigger the spell…

****

`It was good of you to come, Par Salian`, Rosamund said, `but as you
can see there was no need. I have borne twin boys. The omens were in
error`. She noted that the small, sad smile that Par Salian had worn
for the whole conversation was not diminished.

As she spoke, a darkness seemed to fill the room. Par Salian felt a
shiver ride up his spine.

`WHERE IS THE CHILD?` the dark voice spoke.

`The children are here.` Par Salian replied, his voice trembling,
indicating the twins in the crib. Both Rosamund and Kitiara seemed
struck mute with terror.

`What trick is this?` snarled the entity. `These children are both
boys – yet I sense that they are the children of this woman.`

Par Salian felt the entity`s power trying to pierce his mind. Were it
not for the potent spells of protection he had prepared over the past
weeks, his mind would have been overwhelmed. As it was, his defences
barely held.

`I have no need to read your mind, little man`, the entity sneered,
`The woman and the child have told me enough. These two were the only
children she bore. The one who holds the power, her daughter, is yet
to come. I _will_ be watching.` The presence withdrew from the room.
Finally only the faint stench of evil remained. Par Salian cleansed
this with a wave of his hand and a muttered spell.

Par Salian frowned. `I fear a dark shadow still falls over this child.
`However, that creature will leave you in peace until such time as you
bear a daughter` he stated `if such a time arrives, contact me`. He
smiled to himself, doubting such a time would ever come.

`I wish I could stay, but I have business to attend to.` He tipped his
hat to them as he left. `I must have a brief word with your midwife.`

END


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