Chapter 11 - The Heart

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Chapter 11 - The Heart

"It's about time," Gilkrim exclaimed after Sylara's declaration. Her gaze shifted from the angry prince to the dwarf elder who now seemed amused by the situation. She wasn't sure what he meant but before she had a chance to respond Rhydian regained control of the conversation and his temper in his usual smooth tone.

"I'm sorry, Elder Gilkrim. I'm not sure I understand what you mean."

"I have been around longer than ye've been alive, Boy. Are ye really gonnae to sit here and play stupid wit' me?" the old dwarf responded with a chuckle. Rhydian flashed a questioning look towards Sylara but it was Nomi who intercepted the comment and responded.

"How did ya figure it out, Gilkrim?"

"Dinnae insult me, Pixie. I may live under a mountain but that disnae mean I dinnae know things," Gilkrim said with a wink at Nomi causing Dov to narrow his eyes.

"What things do you know?" Rhydian asked in a friendly tone. Sylara figured Rhydian wouldn't offer any information without first knowing if the dwarf elder was bluffing.

"Well, let's see. Ye are a high born dark fae traveling wi' guards and... companions. One of which is the champion of Miiradon, we know by her own confession. And there's a mortal wi' ye, more than likely sent along from Lux-Mindon seeing as the light fae queen has an affinity for 'em. Which would make the pixie here Nomi Cadwallander, because who else would lead a royal emissary through Rasatsi? How close am I?" Gilkrim asked with a grin growing wide on his face.

"Close," Rhydian replied back running his hands through his golden hair. "Except I'm no emissary."

"Ha! I knew it! Ye look just like Rhysten. To what do I owe this unconventional visit, Prince Rhydian?" the elder dwarf asked while puffing on his pipe. Duerrak looked from face to face trying to piece together what his leader just said. Rhydian looked a bit surprised but recovered quickly.

"So you've met my father?"

"Aye. Long ago and not on the best of terms, I might add," Gilkrim answered narrowing his eyes at Rhydian who instantly put the dwarf at ease albeit at his father's expense.

"Who has ever met my father on good terms? I'd definitely like to meet the man who has," Rhydian said flashing a charming smile while the dwarf elder laughed.

"So true. Ye have a sense of humor. Something your father never had. Now, are ye going to introduce me to your traveling companions and tell the real reason ye've traveled so far from Dar-Saike?" Sylara watched Rhydian. He appeared to be relaxing but there was still a stiffness about his shoulders, something she wouldn't have noticed about him just a couple weeks ago. He was doing a good job of hiding his tension from their hosts as he introduced the rest of their party and began the tale of how they'd come to be here. It wasn't until he mentioned the Heart of Votierra the dwarves seemed to listen.

"What did ye say?" Duerrak interrupted, leaning forward in his chair.

"The Heart of Votierra. We came here to ask about the Heart," Rhydian repeated each word clear and firm.

"Where did ye hear about the Heart?" Sylara instantly knew the dwarves were on defense now. She wanted to help but knew nothing she could say would be of any help. After all, this was truly Rhydian's quest. He'd convinced her to join him after all, which was something she never thought could happen. So she did the only thing she knew to do. She slid her hand in one of his strong ones and squeezed. Without looking over at her, Rhydian squeezed back while squaring his shoulders. He wasn't alone in this and she did the only thing she could think of to let him know that and hopefully help assuage some of his earlier anger. Instead of letting go, he held her hand firmly in his as he launched into the complete story of what brought them to this point.

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