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The Pillar of Dominance

Chapter 7
The Pillar of Dominance
It was a cold, chilly morning. The sky was still dark. Wendell
shuddered in his armor. He was unaccustomed to the restrictions of the metal
plates. His head still swam with Aleafia’s words. “To the prince of course...
that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!” Not more than a few hours had
passed since they parted, yet he felt as though she had been torn from his life
forever, cut from his heart with a poisoned blade. She was never to be with
him. She had chosen someone else. How could he not have seen it coming?
He braced himself for a life without Aleafia, a life without her eyes, her
voice, her presence, her affection. He would have to find someone else to
love, but there was only one Aleafia! A shadow of his dream of her still
lived within him, fluttering his heart like a wounded bird. He had wanted to
be with her forever. How differently it was all turning out. Tears came to his
eyes, and he allowed several of them to fall silently down his face before
brushing them away. Wendell placed one ironclad boot inside the triangular
metal ring dangling from the saddle of his steed, and pulled his heavy body
up onto the leather seat. His master and the prince were already seated on
their horses, waiting inside the royal stable by the entrance. Small parcels of
provisions were tied securely to their saddles. The horses shifted their
weight beneath them, sniffing the air with their velvet noses. A tube dangled
at the old wizard’s hip containing a drawn copy of The Seers’ Map of
Diamondell, marking the location of the pillar. Wendell walked his horse up
alongside his master. The old man nodded to his apprentice.
“Glad you could make it after all,” said Prince Ariallen sarcastically,
indicating Wendell’s lateness.
Wendell did not reply. The prince smirked. Master Loriander lifted a
silver eyebrow at the exchange.
Trumpets blared outside, announcing the appearance of the King and
Queen on the castle balcony. Wendell could hear the noise of the massive
audience that had gathered outside in the main square. He imagined the
thousands of upturned faces eagerly awaiting the news.
“The rumors are true!” He heard the King’s voice call across the
square. “The day of the Dominance has arrived, and the location of the pillar
is known!” The audience exploded with cheers. “We have the advantage of
being closer to the Pillar of Dominance than any of our competition.
Utilizing this advantage, we shall send our three chosen warriors underway
within this very hour.” Applause erupted enthusiastically. “Long live the