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?


5. Chapter 4

Elodie's house was similar to the surrounding houses with its square front and wooden entry door. But instead of ochre or brown, it was washed a pale yellow which Elodie always found cheering in Wenta. Today the sun was shining and the house looked warm and inviting. Even the sharp spikes along the top of the rear yard fence glinted like silver in the sun.
Elodie opened the door and they stepped into the living area.
"I'll find Miry and see if she has something that you can borrow."
Walking through to the cooking room, Elodie dropped her bag on a chair by a thick wooden door. When she opened the door a strong smell wafted out. Elodie was used to it but Cas wrinkled up her nose. The concentrated perfumes and odors of the hundreds of herbs Saoirse Jedda used as a healer created an almost palpable cloud.
A young Sleejaxen woman was sitting at a table beside a Haethon woman with the pale skin of a Southerner. Saoirse had lived in Hawkasplain for sixteen years but the western sun had made little impact on her skin.
"H'you Ma, H'you Miry."
The two women looked up from the herbs they were cataloguing and greeted the two girls.
"Have you heard? Tenvan Thira is coming to town today."
"Yes. Is that why you two tearaways are home from school early? I wonder where Aethyn is?"
"We've been let out to get ready to greet Most High Lord Tenvan. Maybe the Finalskul tutors think learning is more important than mob hysteria! Cas' problem is that her family are away from home so she can't get her good clothes. We wondered if Miry had anything she could borrow?"
Miry smiled.
"I have my old skirt and tunic you can borrow, Cas"
"Thank you, Miry Clyll."
Miry was as close as a sister to Elodie. She had only been a few months old when Miry had come to live with them. As their house was being renovated, the family had noticed the little girl who came with her builder father. Her family were outcast Sleejaxen and could not afford to send her to skul. Owaen and Saoirse Jedda were not wealthy but they valued education. They talked to her father Freta about Miry and her prospects. He told them that he and his wife taught her when they could but they had little time and never stayed in one town long enough for her to attend a Haethon Earlaskul. It is clear that he loved his daughter and was sorry that he could not give her everything she needed. Saoirse had talked to the young girl and could see that she was bright. As the house got closer to completion she came up with a plan. She and Owaen offered to pay for Miry to attend skul in Hawkasplain and then, if she wanted, she could train as a healer at Hawkasplain finalskul and become Saoirse's apprentice. Freta took time to think over their offer and finally agreed. He knew that as a healer Miry would be able to earn enough money to care for herself and perhaps might consider letting her parents live with her once Freta was too old to carry out his itinerant building.
It had been thirteen years since Miry had come to live with the Jeddas and Freta and his wife visited her every year. Miry was always glad to see them. Elodie did not think that she could have been so warm and loving to people who had abandoned her to relative strangers but Miry was a kind and forgiving person.
Elodie's mother rose from the table and removed her gloves and apron.
"Are you two ready for middease? Miry and I could do with a break."
"Of course!"
They went through to the cooking room where Saoirse had a middease of beefa stew, dumplings, root vegetables and fruita tea ready. Cas had taken a while to get used to Saoirse's southern style meals but now Elodie noticed that she ate them with relish, managing her fork as well as she used her traditional stappa. She noticed that her mother was careful not to serve Cas sheepys' blood sausage -? you can only press friendship so far. While they ate the meal they discussed the Most High Lord's planned visit. Elodie recounted Nera's sudden arrival with the announcement and Mada Paodia's reaction to her arrival and appearance.
"Poor dear, she does take life so seriously" Saoirse smiled as she thought of Mada who always tried to be in control.
Miry folded her napkin and stood up.
"I'll head off and see our patient, Saoirse. Do you want to walk with me, Cas?"
"Are you going past the Arts centre? I want to do some study there."
"Yes, come to my room and I'll get that skirt and tunic. C'you Saoirse and Elodie."
"C'you Miry and may your way be clear."
"C'you Madam Jedda, C'you Elodie."
"C'you Cas, may your way be clear."
"See you at the Town Centre tonight, Cas."

Elodie helped her mother to clear the table. She put a plate aside for Aethyn when he finally got home. She had seen Finalskul students on the streets as she came home so she knew that the Finalskul had closed as well. She also knew exactly where her obsessed older brother would be -? the elephante polo practice ground on the edge of town. Still, no point in worrying Saoirse, she would only want to march down there and get him, and Elodie loved her brother too much to cause that sort of embarrassment. He would be back in time to greet the Most High Lord- she hoped.
"Ma, why is Tenvan Thira coming to Hawkasplain?"
"To meet with Jante Calende's family and offer his condolences and help. Maybe he can help with his healing."
"But he has never come to Hawkasplain before. Even when Master Glouft died he only sent an envoy. Surely a dead mayor is more important than an injured High Lord?"
"Jante Calende is an important High Lord and I'm sure the Sleejaxen would have been offended if a gesture wasn't made. Tenvan Thira is an astute politician. He will do what is necessary."
"But . . . "
"Elodie, leave it. It is not our concern. I have to get on with the cataloguing. Maybe you could do some study or tidy your room, your floor tiles could be stolen and we'd never know!"
Saoirse Jedda washed her hands and went through to her herb room, shutting the door firmly behind her.
Elodie was glad of the thick wooden door to keep the smell from the rest of the house. She knew many of the neighbors had taken a long time to accept her mother when her parents first came to Hawkasplain. Although her father was a Westerner he had been in the South for many years and had taken on many Southern idiosyncrasies. That, combined with the family taking in Miry when she was young, had not helped them to blend easily into the Hawkasplain Haethon community. Having a house that reeked of herbs and potions would certainly not have improved their chances.
Elodie wandered through to her sleeping area. It was at the back of the house and overlooked the yard where her mother grew her common herbs. During Suntyme when they were all flowering it was nice just to sit by the window and look out at them but now in Jooniari most had died back so Elodie didn't bother to open the shutters.
She opened her wardrobe and took out her best outfit. She was still not convinced that the blue skirt with its Eastern embroidery around the hem suited her but it had been a gift from a patient of her father and she had not liked to appear ungrateful. Since she was tall it seemed to sit uncomfortably close to her knees, exposing too much pale lower leg. The blouse she wore with it was plain white with shell buttons and it hung down to her hips. Since it was cold she also took out her beefa skin jacket.
The reason for Tenvan Thira's visit still preyed on her mind.
Why exactly had he come?
What had Jante Calende been doing when he was injured? Surely if it had been anything major he would have been permanently mindnumbed, not sent home to recover . . . or die.
If Jante Calende had been up to no good, it would not reflect favorably the residents of Hawkasplain or at least the Sleejaxen population.
Elodie remembered Cas' family talking about the uproar when Jante had been elected High Lord of Hawkasplain by the council of Lords. It had been presumed the son of the previous High Lord Keddal would take over the role when his father relinquished it but Siddi Keddal had been vanquished in the Questa before his son was ready to even present to the High Lords, let alone test his magic. Despite this there had been bad feeling towards the Sleejaxen from some residents for quite a while but that was twelve years ago and was long forgotten
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