Chapter 21: An Unwanted Visitor

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Rhiassa Greer set out from her palace and went to the middle of the city. Many people stopped and waved to her as her car went down the streets of Asmance. But it wasn't just a friendly drive around the city that she was doing; in fact, she was going to the house of Talia Heinesse.

Talia had kept the former Crown Prince Evidizan Silverheart prisoner because he had killed an innocent child and her witch nanny during the massacre of the Earthchaser Family many years earlier. For that and several other misdeeds, the king banished his only son and forbade him to return to the palace. Rhiassa saw him entering her forest with many human refugees and tried to have him executed, but the council recommended that she take him prisoner.

Talia was placed in charge of Evidizan, a task she hated and she had tried to get rid of him several times. The prince himself was none too pleased with his arrangement with the witch. Despite the fact that Talia had given Evidizan two children named Geogorpo and Gregrien, she refused to consider herself as his wife. Evidizan himself didn't like staying in Talia's house; in fact, he had preferred the human woman he met on his travels.

Evidizan was sitting in the garden of the house when Rhiassa showed up. She said to him, "I hear you're being active in the realms again."

"Indeed I have," said Evidizan to the witch queen. "Shadowwolf is on the move."

Rhiassa shook her head; she had remembered failing to kill the wicked elf during the massacre of the Earthchaser family and how he had tricked her into killing the Crown Prince Labatt and his new wife, Chie. She had vowed to hunt Shadowwolf down and kill him for that.

"I know very well that he has resurfaced," said Rhiassa. "In fact, the council is making a motion that we strike him now before he has a chance to make a move. But his whereabouts are currently unknown."

"As far as we know, he could be out there," said Evidizan.

"You only think you know where he is, Evidizan," said Rhiassa. "I'm not fooled by you. You think that you're championing a good cause by siding with those who don't support your father, but your sins have prevented you from being fully accepted in society. Even the poorest person wouldn't hesitate to kill you on sight; the rich are providing handsome rewards to anyone who finds and captures the man who killed Rhiassa Earthchaser. That means you, oh demoted prince."

"Demoted prince?" Evidizan laughed. "Why, you wound me."

"Oh, and I suppose that your wizards' magic is any better," snapped the witch queen. "Shadowwolf is in Itenana, Naetael Cliffs, and that town is just within distance of Greywyn Academy. And it was there that 50 years earlier, he had tried to break into the school's library and its guardians chased him out. I know this because it's true. I know this is true because you helped him break into the library, did you not?"

"I have done no such thing," Evidizan snapped.

"But your father wanted you gone so he could produce another son," said Rhiassa. "Somehow, you survived and not only that, you presented him with a grandson. Your sisters have also had children, from the littlest 2-year-old to the boy that is your son. How is it that you're still alive when you should be dead?"

"Maybe the gods are trying to test me," said Evidizan. "Maybe they want me to suffer for my sins until I learned that what I had done was wrong and I have an insatiable desire to set things right. So far, it hasn't occurred to me that maybe my father doesn't want me to set things right; maybe he wants me to fail. Maybe he wants to put Talcedo in my place and make him the perfect prince."

"I think that may be it," said Rhiassa. "That is why your father knows nothing of Geogorpo and Gregrien. As for you, the time has come where your sons and daughter must be taken away from you and Talia and educated. So many boys who are living here have been born with witches' magic and we have failed to remove the magic from them. Seven of our women have decided that it would be best to educate the boys, teach them to use their ill-gotten magic."

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