The News

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          The next morning, a messenger arrived and was immediately granted an audience with King Bybob.  Soon, the king's council was called together. 

The meeting lasted most of the day.  Although the messenger took his news directly to the king and no one else, rumors soon followed behind him. 

Although people were gossiping about the rumors, they stopped their conversation when they saw Princess Atamar.  After this had happened several times, Atamar went to find her friends.  She found Noj Vidad & Nehat first.  They were caring for their mounts in the youth stable. 

Atamar looked around carefully for adults before speaking.  Other than the guards and maids that trailed her everywhere, no one was around. 

The maids never came into the stable, and years before Atamar had made a deal with her guards.  If they would give her space instead of staying right on her heels, she would not try to run away from them. 

When she entered the stables the guards stayed near the door to honor their agreement.  Since they were too far away to hear, she said "I need to know what the fuss is about.  I know the adults know something but they keep quiet as soon as they see me.  Will you guys help? " 

Noj Vidad frowned.  "I wish I knew why they act so strangely.  Of course I will help.  I bet the palace guards know something and they are used to me hanging around.  I'll go to the guard house as soon as I finish caring for Fire." 

"And I'll go to the big stables," Nehat agreed. 
"The stable hands often hear rumors first.  If I help them with their work I can probably find things out." 

Atamar smiled.  "Thanks.  If you see any of the others, please tell them to keep their ears open as well?  Let's have a maze meeting this evening after supper to share what we learn." 

    Atamar found several of the other young people and they all agreed to help.  She still hadn't seen Isoje & Eticia a couple hours later, so she decided to see if they were in the sick wing helping while their parents were in the council meeting. 

When she walked up to the open door, she saw them talking with one of the patients.  As soon as Isoje saw her, she shook her head, put a finger to her lips and mouthed the words "we know."  Atamar smiled.  It appeared that her message had indeed been passed around. 

    That evening, all the palace youth gathered in the center of the maze.  After years of meeting there, all of them knew the correct path by heart.  Once everyone had gathered, Noj Vidad was the first to speak. 

"There was an attack on the village of Rodbre.  The attack was too well-planned and the men were too skilled for it to have been merely an attack by brigands.  However, no one knows who planned the attack because they did not wear uniforms and no one was captured alive." 

Nehat then volunteered his information.  "Part of our border patrol was there and was able to repel the attack, but there were injuries and deaths.  I'm not sure how many because I have heard different numbers." 

Eticia spoke up, "I heard that the only reason the border patrol was there was because the mysterious Tepry showed up at their fortress and warned them that they needed to get to the village of Rodbre as quickly as they could because it was about to be attacked." 

Isoje chimed in saying, "The mysterious Tepry also appeared in the village of Rodbre itself and warned the citizens of the attack advising them to take their women and children to safety.  Some of the men stayed to make it look like the village was still occupied and to help the border patrol when the fighting started." 

Mitym added, "I looked up the location of Rodbre on the map.  It is on our northeast border.  It sits next to the Squiggly River.  Across the river is the kingdom of Signs, but since they have been our friends and allies I doubt the attack was by them.  I think someone sailed up the Squiggly River from the sea and landed close by, crossing the rest of the way on foot." 

Enielda assented saying, "I agree with Mitym.  I don't think the King of Signs was behind the attack.  I heard that some people from across the river woke up during the attack and came over to help.  I also heard that none of the women or children of Rodbre were harmed thanks to the warning by the Mysterious Tepry." 

After this many of the others also gave reports on what they had heard and discussed what this news might mean.  Some of them, like Snitrik, Thifa, Noj Vidad, Lylek, Enitala, and Thananoj were worried because their older brothers Jandor, Yt, & Yasec had joined the army. 

Atamar knew that the attack was grave news.  However, she failed to see what it had to do with her.  Yet, she remembered the way her parents had looked at her at the banquet and knew that they believed there was a connection. 

Over the course of the week, Princess Atamar saw little of her parents.  They were extremely busy.  They seemed to be in never-ending meetings.  There was a buzz of excitement and busyness throughout the palace. 

Five days after the messenger had arrived, Atamar's parents King Bybob and Queen Gleapa called for Atamar to come to their room after supper. 

As soon as she walked in and saw their faces, she knew that she was going to HATE whatever they were about to say...

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