Belac's Letter

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          Atamar was glad when it was time to head to the maze that evening.  Everyone else had already gathered and Isoje had told everyone about the centaur's warning. 

The teens were discussing the situation when Atamar stepped into the heart of the maze.  When they saw her, Yendys spoke up asking what Uncle Ulap had said.  Atamar paused for a moment before saying, "I didn't tell him." 

The teens all stared at her in shock.  Uncle Ulap was beloved by all, and even though not related, all the palace youngsters called him Uncle.  Snitrik was the first to speak.  "Why not?" 

Atamar spoke hesitantly.  "Please understand that I am not accusing him of anything, but something happened today.  There is a back way between the throne room and the library that most have forgotten about. 

My family have really been the only ones to use it in years.  Today, I entered it as I searched for Uncle Ulap to tell him my fears about..."

Atamar paused, suddenly wondering if it was truly safe to speak openly.  However, she continued although more quietly when she remembered that Hamori was guarding the entrance.  "my fears about Relos.  When I entered the passage, I heard laughter ahead. 

The voices were those of Uncle Ulap and Relos.  I could not hear what was said except that Relos said the words plan, your help, and think.    Uncle Ulap replied that he thought it would work perfectly. 

Again, I don't know anything, but it made me worry.  Do you think it is possible that Uncle Ulap is in league with Relos?" 

The other teens stared at her in stunned silence.  Noj Vidad was the first to speak.  "Uncle Ulap would never do that." 

Many of the others nodded agreement.  "I don't think he would either," Fanfity added, "But can we afford to take the risk of being wrong?" 

Even more heads nodded now.  Many of the teens began arguing with each other, some saying they should trust, others that they shouldn't.  After a few minutes, Mitym spoke up, raising his voice above the clamor, "I'm sorry, but I just can't believe Uncle Ulap would ever do something like that. 

I think we should trust him."

Yasec disagreed, "Fanfity is right.  The risk is too great.  This is Atamar's life at stake if we are wrong.  Are you willing to risk her life without making sure of the facts?" 

That thought had a sobering influence on the group.  No one made a sound as they thought over the implications of their decision.  Finally Mitym sighed, "You're right.  We can't risk her life, but what can we do?"

Atamar told them about her letter to her parents.  It made everyone smile and many laughed at her cleverness.  It made Atamar feel a little better about everything. 

In some ways, not much was accomplished at the meeting.  They hadn't made any big decisions about actions they would take, but Atamar felt better knowing that she wasn't on her own and that the others approved of her actions. 

    She was also glad to know that everyone would now be watching Uncle Ulap to see if they could discover the truth about his loyalties, and that everyone would be trying to come up with a plan to rescue the centaurs. 

    The next day Atamar received her weekly letters from her parents and Belac.  She opened Belac's letter first.  "Atamar, we are in Rodbre right now, although we intend to leave Friday. 

Our next stop is the palace of Signs to visit King Gink.  When we first got to Rodbre, we were very surprised at how quickly the damages had been repaired, but we soon found out why. 

Prince Crenip of Signs is here with a large company of soldiers and workers helping to rebuild and repair what was damaged.  I've gotten to spend lots of time with him, and he is top notch.  If I tried to write about all his good points, this letter would get way too long. 

Besides, I don't think I need to do that.  He says he is planning on leaving Friday as well, although in the opposite direction.  He is headed your way, so you will find out for yourself soon. 

I thought I should tell you my opinion of him, though, because I bet none of the adults will, and you should know.  After all, I bet all those other princes are on their best behavior around you.  

So how would you know what they are really like?  Anyway, I love and miss you and I am still trying to find out the answer to our question.  Belac." 

Atamar smiled.  Belac was great.  She was glad he was her brother.  Thanks to him, she was actually looking forward to another prince arriving. 

She hoped that Prince Crenip would be all that her brother had said... 

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