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3. The Key of Kilenya

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Chapter 3. The Key of Kilenya

I returned to the cottage a short time later and, after further investigation, found another note attached to the underside of a chair—this one from Aldo. It was addressed to me, with instructions to go to the nearest Kaith tree, not far from the castle. When I arrived, I found a more detailed note protected by spells, allowing me—and only me, its intended recipient—to read it. It seems that the attack wasn’t led by my father after all, but by a group of evil creatures known as the Lorkon. I was to choose several trusted companions of varying talents to embark on a journey to find my princess, who, he believes, is being held in the land of the Shiengols.

I have chosen Kelson, my closest friend. He was one of my followers when I was living under my father’s rule in Troosinal. I’ve also chosen Kenji the Makalo. I don’t know the Makalos very well, but formed a close bond with this one. These two are each recruiting a few good men. In all, there are eleven of us—six humans and five Makalos.

Several of our group have been affected by the Lorkon attack. A few have lost loved ones, and five, including Kelson and myself, have been unable to locate their wives.

Arien’s mother, Queen Ara Liese, is very closely associated with the Shiengols, and instructed me to bring one of them along for protection and guidance. However, we were unable to locate any on such short notice, and are still in need of a Minya. I’ve never found one I trusted, though, so I’m not sure what to do. We may have to use Arien’s—a sour old Minya who hates me, possibly more than I detest her. I can’t even remember her name.

Aldo’s note, similar to Ezra’s, also mentioned the elements—fire, wind, water, and earth. He believes they will be used as a deterrent to keep me from reaching my Arien.

 ***

 “Where should we take the Rog?” Akeno asked Kenji.

“Far away—to the other side of the farm. Knock it out again so it doesn’t struggle while being transported.”

Akeno put his left hand on the nearest tree. “Plug your ears, Jacob. We don’t want you to experience too much hearing damage.”

“Huh?”

Akeno waved at him to hurry. Jacob did as he was asked, noting that the others had already covered theirs. A loud crack, similar to the one he had heard earlier, pierced the air, and the Rog slumped inside the cage. Jacob shook his head. He felt like he’d just been in a blender—he couldn’t keep his thoughts straight.

“Akeno, help them carry the Rog,” Kenji said. “We’ll get Jacob up to Brojan’s place—join us there once the Rog has been deposited.”

Akeno nodded and ran to join the others. On the count of three, the group heaved the cage onto their shoulders and lumbered down the trail.

Ebony reached for Jacob, motioning for him to follow her and Kenji.

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