The Unspeller and the Book of Days
Aesa peered out at the sun peeking over the mountain line. His sleep had been thin and aching and
he was glad the night was over. Giving up on finding any comfort in his blankets, he threw them off. He
rolled them up, his fingers chilling quickly.
He kicked the embers into a fire and huddled closer, willing it to burn brighter.
Lying near the small fire, Killian was pale, the dark shadows under his eyes betraying the difficulty of
yesterday's journey on his still healing body. He opened one eye at the feeble fire. With a small movement of
his fingers, he sparked a healthy blaze.
Surprised and grateful, Aesa enjoyed the warmth until the rest of them woke.
They ate a cold breakfast, Jasper sitting next to the fire draped in his bedding. Dalynara managed to
look well rested.
Loken, his fine clothes as disheveled as his, squinted at her suspiciously. "Where have you been?"
"I was summoned to Na Serin early this morning and..." she stopped, "I couldn't resist a hot bath.
I'm sorry Aesa. I know it isn't fair."
Basking in the heat of the fire it was easy to forgive her. "I don't mind. At least you came. You didn't
This only seemed to increase her guilt, to his amusement.
Laeron had hunted before they woke, contented and eager by the time they were ready to ride. The
horses picked their way up through the range, the hard dirt path easy to find.
Evergreen trees covered the mountains, and their shade during the day reminded him of Arkenian
territory. He rode through the sweetly pungent evergreens, catching the pale blue of the cold sky in glimpses
through the branches.
They passed by the Key Canyon where the Grint River thrashed through the stone walls of the
canyon, revealing the multi-colored layers of rock.
Birds called above the canyons, their cries echoing off the walls. The air had a clean, crisp scent, as if
the mountains had hoarded winter and breathed its chilling breath from the rocks, warding off the sun.
They traveled over the smaller mountain that sat at the base of the peaks of Na Serin, where the
cloistered town of Sagewend nestled in the protective shadow of the larger mountain.
The sun had finally begun to warm them when they came in view of the town, the bright rays
touching them in the waning afternoon. It would not be long, however, before the sun's edge reached the
mountain line and it disappeared early, bringing the cold.
Bright white plaster houses with dark wood beams dotted the deep forest green, the trees sheltering
the town from the mountain winds.
Sagewend had no walls to protect it, only magic, but the runes were powerful and complex. They
were beyond anything Aesa had seen before, and called into place by enchanters who had given their lives to
learning the higher spells. This close to the king, it could have even been enchanters from his court.
The reason for the powerful magic was easy to see once night had fallen. Peering out of his
comfortable room he saw the Arkenian lights gathering in the night, winding so close to Sagewend that Aesa
was afraid to look at them too closely, fearing that he might mistakenly find himself in an Arkenian gaze.
After dinner they all stayed in the comfortable hearthside hall to hear music played. Rumor had it
that those with the gift of music had less of the gift of magic.