Chapter 7 - Domnux Plains

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"That tale is childspeak. And I thought you were older," Aeryn shot back. "Why is your answer better?" 

"Well, you and I see others like us every day. The Twelve are not solely confined to Mount Volan or Klaff, so families in power see them occasionally—"

"And the Ancients?"

I was getting to them. "Our blood is what makes us human, you and I age the same way. The Ancients never saw anyone without First Blood." Eirek entered in numbers on the keypad for his last move. "Checkmate!"

The lord and lady and bishop all advanced Angal's lonely and unarmed king and slaughtered it to the likeness of One Thousand Soldiers' Steel—a book from the Mourses that Eirek had read once; it told of a Marquis's rise to power and lordship, a great war that ensued, and finally betrayal when the thousand soldiers who fought for him stabbed him for his reluctance to acknowledge their part in his rule.

The speakerbox cut short the advisor's chortle. "We have arrived."

"Your idea is foolish, Eirek. But I will attest to your skill at that game. Angal never beat you in all four times you played."

"Well, you both are foolish. Neither one is right," Angal said. 

"Pray tell, what is it?" Aeryn asked.

"A wordsmith who explains his answers is like a magician who shows his tricks."

Aeryn's smile turned to a flat line.

Past the second half of the longue, the steel door with Cresica's crest slid open, and the pilot strode out. Using the three fingers that remained on his left hand, he pushed a few buttons, opening a side near the throat of the ship. Light crept in along with the noises of nature and streams. Angal picked up an object hidden underneath a red cloth and led Eirek and Aeryn out the door.

What in Trema's Garden is he carrying? Eirek had wanted to ask even before they boarded the small Aral unit; but since Angal had told him nothing up until then, why should he change now? 

Domnux Plains was a long lay of land. A river flowed through it, separating two land masses if not for three stone bridges. The height of the bridges easily allowed biremes or large budgerows underneath, and the width of the river allowed two ships to travel side-by-side.

Eirek looked at the scenery in awe. To the west lay a stretch of rising flat hillsides, and to the east Eirek saw a large expanse of blue. It seems too big to be a lake.

"Dear boy, you seem confused," Aeryn said.

"I have never been this far north."

"Well, those bridges are called the Three Maidens. They were Trema's most devoted worshipers, and everywhere they stepped, they created land. To divide the two continents, however, they walked on air over the water to form bridges."

"What is that called?" Eirek pointed to the blue expanse.

"An ocean. The Open Ocean, to be precise. Now, how much time do we have?"

Eirek watched Angal, who had his back turned, carrying the red-clothed object in his arms like a mother watching her child. "You know, Aeryn, instead of tearing the boy down for not knowing his geography, you should be encouraging him to succeed. He is representing the Clayses, after all." Angal turned around, showing the present in his arms—it had the distinctive shape of a sword, but Eirek didn't want to get his hopes up. His uncle had been known to let them fall.

Eirek looked at Aeryn, who crossed his arms and tilted his chin up but said nothing. That was amazing. Eirek smiled at Angal and then set his bags of clothes given to him by the Clayses on the ground. I wish I could say something like that. Eirek took the card he kept in his pants pocket and looked at it. "Half an hour," Eirek replied.

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