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Posted:|| December 17, 2019 Views: 64|
Chapter 32 of the book Quest for the Neckulet
Masters infuse their power into the jewels
"Infusion of Jewels"
The quest still chases the neckulet.
One large swirl followed another, and the dust cleared as the four militiamen surrounded them.
"Witch." The leading man addressed Jewelletta. "What have you done with Vidad and the princess? We're under royal order to deliver them to the king."
Jewelletta's shoulders slumped. She leaned against Radolf. Blood pounded in her ears as adrenaline raced through her. She was in no mood to be called names. She raised her hand to strike them down. "I'm not a witch, I'm a sorceress. And I haven't done anything with them." She took a deep breath and dropped her hand.
The man tried to charge her, but his horse got his eyes filled with acciderum. Anarra nipped at the animal's leg. It bucked and backed from its tormentor. The man cursed as he pulled on his mount's reins, trying to settle it down. The other horses shied from Radolf. Visnell and his friends stopped behind the militia.
Tension grew until the very air crackled as they remained in a stand-off. A bolt of lightning jetted across the plains. It headed toward Jahm and Radolf. The youngster shuddered. They jumped aside. Someone landed next to Jewelletta. Jaws dropped, and eyes widened. Seconds later, an old man with long gray hair and a longer beard appeared where the bolt had struck.
"Are you all right, my dear?" the Majutsu Master asked.
"Yes, Master Chankar. You arrived in time." She breathed a sigh of relief. She suspected it was one of her peers, possibly a master, but not the head of the council.
Speaking to the militiamen, Master Chankar said in a deep baritone, "I suggest you continue on your way and quit menacing my colleague."
"We seek the Royal Princess Chrystella and a palace guard under sentence of death," he said.
"As you can see, they are not here." The master spread his arms around.
"They were, and they fled to Veda. Are you so willing to defy the king and harbor criminals?"
He fidgeted in his saddle.
"The princess is a criminal? What is her crime?" Master Chankar widened his smoky, gray eyes.
"Helping Vidad escape." He puffed out his chest.
"She must have had her reasons. And before I turn her over, I will listen to them." He glared at the man.
"She is in Veda?" the militia man asked.
"She and her man asked for sanctuary in Jewelletta's name. We do not turn away anyone who requests help in the name of one of our tribe, particularly one of her reputation. Go while you still have a chance." Master Chankar's eyes glowed.
Grumbling, the leader reined his horse away, motioning to the others they were leaving.
"King Davonal will hear of this. And he will be furious."
"Do as you must. I am not afraid of your king," Master Chankar crossed his arms over his chest and glowered at the militiaman.
The leader of the troop motioned for them to turn around, and they galloped off.
After they left, Visnell and his friends approached.
"And what do you want?" Master Chankar growled.
"Just making sure Jewelletta and the others are safe," Visnell said. "And glad to hear Vidad and Chrystella are safe."
"What business is it of yours?" Master Chankar still had his arms across his chest.
Visnell introduced himself and said, "Vidad is my cousin. I was interested in his safe journey to Veda. Since he is there, I bid you farewell."
Chankar smiled. "I hope we meet again, Visnell, under a better situation."
"I hope so too." He turned to Jewelletta. "Goodbye, Jewelletta. You're welcome to come by our settlement when things calm down."
"I will, but it may not be for a long time. Thank you for your help." She let her smile reach her eyes.
After they departed, Jewelletta turned to the Majutsu master. "Thank you, Master Chankar, for your assistance. I was so exhausted from my last spell I couldn't help."
"Your leadership was enough." Jahm's eyes shone with love.
"Now let's get home and find out what's been going on. I sent you to find the power jewels, and you return with an army of friends, two in trouble with the king." He gently chastised her as a loving father would. "Did you find it?"
"No, but I got a new one," she answered. "The council must activate it as soon as possible. Dangerous times are upon us, I think, and we must move swiftly to keep our freedom."
"As always, my dear, you speak in riddles. I know you and your friends will explain everything to the council. So let's be on our way." He took the lead, and the rest followed.
The setting sun's red and golden rays streaked the sky as they entered the Majutsu enclave. Clay huts of various sizes comprised the Veda Community. Weaving their way through it, Jewelletta waved and greeted friends in her own dialect. Black robed men and women filled the settlement. The aroma of venison drifted in the air. Radolf's stomach growled.
At the far end, the largest hut stood. Its size was the only difference between it and the rest of the community. It must be the master's home or the town meeting hall. As they entered, Chrystella and Vidad jumped from chairs.
"It's about time you got here." Vidad teased Jewelletta.
Smiling, Jewelletta said, "Well, I'm glad to see you arrived safely and got my message to Master Chankar. Tomorrow I want to hear what happened."
"Afraid that tale is a bit dull compared to the rest of our adventures," Vidad said.
"Do you have room for all of them?" Master Chankar asked.
"We might be crowded, but I'd rather we all stayed together." Jewelletta reached out to Jahm to steady herself.
"Your friends are in no danger here at Veda, my dear, you know that." Master Chankar smiled.
"Yes, but I'd rather we remained with each other," she told him.
"We'll see you at nine in the morning at council. I will have my servants bring you supper in an hour or so. I'm sure you're hungry, tired, and in need of baths. And I'll make sure your dailam has plenty of meat."
"Thank you, Master Chankar," Radolf said.
"And don't forget to bring the new circulet," He extended his hand, and his eyes gleamed.
"Maybe you'd better give it to me now."
"In the morning," she said. "Good night."
"Good night all."
The others chorused the same and left.
Radolf and Chrystella shivered in the chilly wind as they made their way over the sandy surface to Jewellettta's hut.
Inside, a few red throw rugs covered the wooden floor. Chairs circled a wooden table in the main room.
"I only have two bedrooms," Jewelletta admitted.
"I can sleep in your room," Chrystella said. "The men can bunk in the other. What about you, Anarra?"
I'll sleep with you, Radolf.
He told them her answer.
"I have an indoor bath with plenty of hot water, so let's get clean," Jewelletta said. "Make it quick as dinner will be here before we know it. I'm going to sleep. This day has drained me physically and emotionally." As if to emphasize that, she sank into a nearby chair.
After eating, all but Jewelletta brought out their quanya skins and settled down for the night. Tomorrow was going to be a long day.
After breakfast, they left for the council meeting.
"Hey, Jewelletta," an older man hailed her. "Haven't seen you around. Where have you been?"
"Busy, Donal, very busy," she called back.
People continued to wave and call to her as they walked to the largest building.
The sweet smell of fresh bread sailed on the breeze.
"What have you been up to, Miss Jewelletta?" Two tiny ladies in black robes put their arms around her. "We heard the power jewels vanished." Alarm crossed their faces.
"They did," Jewelletta told them. "But I have a new set. Come to council. You'll learn everything."
"That's where we're headed," they chorused and joined them.
Dressed in their violet and gold ceremonial robes, the ten gray-haired Majutsu Masters sat at the long wooden table in the large circular chamber at the rear of Chankar's hut. In a gallery above, people hung over the railing. Radolf looked up. People crowded each other, jostling for a better view.
"Very few outsiders are welcome in council meetings," Jewelletta whispered. "I guess with the news I bring, Master Chankar thought it best if everyone heard it at once."
"Jewelletta, will you and your friends please come forward." Master Chankar stood and glanced around the chamber. "It's obvious everyone including myself is dying of curiosity, so why don't you begin by introducing them."
"Thank you, Master Chankar. I will do introductions in the same the order I met them." She went over to Radolf and introduced everyone, ending with Vidad and Chrystella.
The Majutsu Master sat. "And now please tell us your story."
Radolf told of his grandmother's death and the theft, particularly emphasizing it was Anisha's Neckulet. It flowed easily as he continued with his meeting of Anarra and Jewelletta. From there, the sorceress picked up the tale, letting Jahm and Radolf recount their meeting. Vidad and Chrystella told their story. Jewelletta filled in the rest, finishing with yesterday's battle, and Master Chankar's appearance. She did include various things she observed around Mageron, but did not voice her suspicions. I want to talk to some of the experts before I mention it to the council.
"That's quite an adventure you've had." Master Chankar looked down each side of the table at his colleagues. They whispered to each other in their own language before he spoke again.
"Princess Chrystella and Vidad, the council will allow you sanctuary and will intervene on your behalf if you want us to."
Jewelletta fought to keep her jaw from dropping. At least, they won't be in any danger here.
The militia dared not attack, or they'd be destroyed instantly. Even King Davanol was intimidated with our powers and challenging us would serve no one's purposes.
"Where are you going next?" Master Chankar ran his hand through his beard.
"Aderra, after we've rested. That seems to be where the trail leads," Jewelletta answered.
The master eyebrows raised, his face turning as white as the swans in Rainbow Valley. "We suspected your twin had stolen the circulet, but we had no idea he had the powers to force a unicorn herd to stampede."
Jewelletta walked over and handed the small black box containing the new circulet to Master Chankar. He rose and accepted it. "Fellow members of the Majutsu Council, you heard Jewelletta and her friends' story, of the signs appearing around the world, of Jamari's defection, and increased abilities. Our esteemed colleague and Mistress of the Power Jewels says dangerous times are upon us. These jewels," he raised them "Are our main defense against the oncoming evil. She has requested we infuse the new circulet as soon as possible. I concur. Do you agree?"
Without any thought or discussion, each member nodded in the affirmative.
"We shall meet again in two hours for the ceremony. Every member of the tribe is not only invited but also commanded to attend if physically able. Council is recessed until then."
Two hours later, they reassembled.
"Council session will now begin," Master Chankar announced and reexplained their purpose for being there.
He walked around the table to the ten-sided altar in the middle of the room. Gold satin sheaths draped the salstein altar. In the middle lay a black satin indentation for the power jewels.
"This is something to see. Very few outsiders have been invited to this ceremony," Jewelletta whispered to her friends.
As Master Chankar opened the box, he spoke. "Behold, my fellow Majutsus and friends, a virgin set of jewels ready for infusion." He held them up momentarily. "Praise be to our Mother, the Goddess Khlorae, for again entrusting us with the almighty power of the jewels." He placed each jewel in its special place, beginning at the far left with the ruby, continuing with the emerald, and then the sapphire jewels. The master set the diamond in the middle.
"Will the Masters of the ruby jewels stand and approach the altar?"
As soon as they stood, he continued, "These are the Masters of the ruby power of Khlorae. We commit the ruby jewels to these masters of the Mighty Majutsu to use as necessary to fight evil in her universe. May they always be worthy of her gift."
When the trio arrived at the altar, they said in unison, "We humbly thank thee, Mighty Khlorae, goddess of all that is good, for the privilege to serve thee. Praise be to Khlorae. Asay."
The audience echoed, "Asay."
Master Chankar repeated the same litany for the masters of the sapphires and emeralds. Each trio came and recited their prayers.
When all the masters were in position, Chankar joined them behind the diamond. "As Master, I ask Khlorae for her blessing on this occasion and ask you my fellow Majutsus, to extend your powers as we imbue the circulet with ours."
As soon as he finished speaking, auras of the rainbow rose. They surrounded each tribal member, and extended like brightly colored cords to the master's. Jewelletta raised her hands. Red, sapphire, green, and white tendrils shot from them to the jewels.
Each master placed his hands over his jewel. Master Chankar nodded. A torrent of bright gold erupted from each master's hand, streaming to each jewel. The quest shaded their eyes from its glare. That light remained for seconds before each stream changed from golden to match the particular color of each jewel. Three were three red, three green, and three blue. The controlling jewel, Master Chankar's, shone clear white. The beams pulsated and swirled around the room, filling it with a myriad of colors. It continued for a moment until it reached a frenzied climax before it slowed and returned to the jewels. It stopped once the infusion was complete. Each member's strand snapped back to them as if cut.
Radolf's eyes widened at the amount of power that had whirled above them like a carousel of brilliantly bright rainbows.
Slowly, the jewels ceased to glow.
"We have proudly and unselfishly given our powers to fight evil. Praise be to Khlorae. Asay." This last word the masters said in unison. Except for Master Chankar, all the masters returned to the seats.
"In closing, Khlorae, we, again, ask for your blessing and protection for the circulet and your humble children. Praise be to thee. Asay." Master Chankar lifted the power jewels from their places and laid them in the black case.
He returned to his place at the table. "Since we have completed our business, council is recessed."
People quietly streamed from the building. Jewelletta stood rigid for a moment as Master Chankar left the table with the power jewels in his hand.
"Jewelletta?" Jahm asked. "Are you all right?"
"Why don't you return to the hut? I'll be there in a few minutes." She turned to them. "I must talk with Master Chankar."
They looked at each other with questions in their eyes as they left. She walked to Master Chankar.
"Master, may I have a word with you?" she asked.
He took her elbow and steered her off to one side. "What's the problem?"
"What about the power jewels? Aren't you going to give them to me?" She put her hand out.
"Not at the moment." He clasped it warmly.
She dropped her jaw. "Why? I've been their keeper for many years."
"This is not my choice, my dear. I still trust you and feel they would be safe with you. However, the other Masters don't agree nor do many members of the tribe."
"Because Jamari stole them once he could do it again?" she said matter-of-factly.
"Not only that, but they strongly disapprove of your association with Gildor." He withdrew his hand. "You are still a beautiful woman. You don't need him."
She ignored the compliment. "So I must prove myself to them! What if I must go off planet?"
He stuck the jewels in his robe. "You will get them before you do."
"Thank you, Master Chankar," she said, velvety steel in her voice and stalked away.
She ground her teeth, and her muscles quivered. A lance of pain stabbed at her heart. Those two emotions, anger and pain, warred within her. She spun around and stomped from the building, wondering if she was more enraged or hurt.
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