Elodie - Kashani's Last Hope

A battle raging between two High Lords threatens to change Kashani forever. Nothing in Elodie Jedda's life will ever be the same if Jante Calende succeeds in his attempt to assassinate the Most High Lord. There is only one hope for Kashani - Elodie. She believes in herself, the problem is no one else does. Is she strong enough to convince those around her that she is their last hope?

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4. Chapter 3

Mada Paodia was still at her desk and the girls farewelled her once again as they left the classroom. The hallway outside the classroom was now deserted. It was amazing how fast the skul could empty when there was the opportunity to go home early.
They walked along in companionable silence until they were outside the building. Then Elodie turned to Cas.
"Cas, I'm curious about Tenvan Thira's visit. Why do you think the Most High Lord is really coming to Hawkasplain?"
"To give his commiserations to High Lord Calende's family, of course. I hear the High Lord was so badly injured in the rebound of magic that he is not expected to live. Of course no one has been allowed to visit him since he came home so no one really knows. Still he hasn't been out of the house since he arrived and it's been weeks so he must be seriously ill."
"But why would the Most High Lord come now? Jante Calende has been home for a while and the High Lords have just started in council. Surely if the visit was just to express his sympathies he would have come sooner?"
Elodie brushed her hair out of her eyes and turned to Cas again.
"I wonder exactly what Jante Calende was doing to cause such a rebound of magic. Someone said that three other Lords were found dead at the centre of the magic but I don't know if that's true."
"Hmm, I heard that too. Still Tenvan Thira has good reason to visit. Jante is the first Sleejaxen High Lord for nearly a hundred years and the Deputy to the Most High Lord. Maybe Tenvan Thira felt that he should make a special effort. After all the next High Lord from Hawkasplain is unlikely to be a Sleejaxen so my people are heartfully disappointed. My father said that it had looked like we might have got some of our concerns addressed and now . . . Still, Tenvan Thira is fair and he says he will consider the submission from Jante Calende before the year is out."
They lapsed into silence again and carried on down the main street. The Allaskul was close to the town centre in the Mordequai section of town. The Mordequai houses that rose three or four stories above the single level school unnerved Elodie. She always felt they should tumble to the ground under the weight of so many floors. Each house was home to three or four families as well as having a skul room on the lower floor. Entering the finalskul rooms made her nervous. She was sure that at any moment the ceiling would collapse under the weight of the people and furniture above. The Mordequai houses formed a circle around the gathering place at the very centre of Hawkasplain. They seemed to be hiding it from the outside world with only the Arts Centre, Town Centre and Judiciary on one edge looking down on anyone who gathered there.
Elodie and Cas took a shortcut through the Arts Centre, passing the entrances to the museum and the art gallery. Elodie noticed that a poster advertising a play due to be performed that night in the theatre had a large cancelled sign pasted across it. That was a pity, she would have liked to have seen it. Elodie and Cas could hear the orchestra practicing in the Concert Hall and they unconsciously altered their pace in time with the music. Coming out the main doors, the girls walked down the mudbrick stairs and carried on along the street. They passed many excited townspeople hurrying home to get ready. It seemed that Hawkasplain had completely stopped for the Most High Lord's visit. Only the food stores were open for business and they seemed to be doing a roaring trade. Many were selling pre-prepared meals for those who could not face cooking once they got home from greeting the Most High Lord. Both girls remarked at the lengths some store keepers were going to in decorating their stores. The little boot store was completely covered in streamers with a welcome banner across its front window.
It was a long walk from the skul to the Western Haethon section of Hawkasplain where Elodie lived. All the races of Kashani studied and worked alongside each other and in many of the newer towns, they also lived alongside each other. But in the older towns like Hawkasplain each of the groups that made up the population of Kashani lived in distinct houses that suited their lifestyle and physical attributes. This was because each town had originally been settled by different races and as other groups moved to the town they would build their own distinct type of house on the outskirts. Since houses in these towns were generally passed down from generation to generation these enclaves still existed and there were small neighborhoods of each race dotted around Hawkasplain. Most had stores selling traditional foods as well as the breads, fruitas, vegetables and meats eaten by everyone. There were also stores selling clothing suited to the residents as well as furnishings and general supplies. A few towns still remained predominately one race such as the Haethon town of Samuelborough or the Sleejaxen town of Gantry. This was mainly due to their locations - desolate areas of Kashani where few Kashani would move to by choice.
Elodie and Cas passed the street that led to the compound where Cas lived with her family in the Western Sleejaxen section. Elodie was envious of Cas living so close to the skul. It took her little time to get to skul and was sometimes only crawling out of bed when Elodie was leaving the house on her way to skul.
It took another half an hour before they reached the Western Haethon section. There was a small lane between the last Sleejaxen compound and its Haethon neighbor. This was used to access the bathroom facility plumbing for repairs. It was well worn as most of the area's residents used it to get from this street to the next.
The Western Haethon section was a middle class area. There were none of the cement wall ornaments common in the poorer sections nor the projected wall decorations of the wealthy. The houses were neat and tidy and well maintained but had little character. If you were a stranger to Hawkasplain it was possible to take one wrong turn and not even realize it since the majority of the houses were washed with an ochre or brown wash.
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