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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7. Chapter 6

She looked around but could see no one. There were no trees or bushes to hide anyone from view. She decided that it was just her imagination and that she must be just nervous about being alone here out of sight. She continued on her way.
"Please don't go. I need help"
She heard the voice again and once again it seemed to be in her head. She looked around nervously.
"Where are you?" There was no one in sight.
"I'm in the river. Please help me."
In the river! Elodie could not swim so she would be little help to someone who was drowning. The voice had not sounded like they were drowning. It had sounded tired and sad but not panicking like Elodie imagined she would feel if she had fallen into the river.
Slowly she edged towards the riverbank and peered over. Instead of staring into the face of a Kashani, she looked into a pair of large round eyes that were deep pools of aquamarine. Its face had at its centre a long snout with delicate whiskers at the tip by its silver nose. Its skin was an iridescent blue and looked rough to touch. In place of arms it had flippers which long thin fingers on the lower edge. Elodie had seen a picture of such a creature. It was a Zamatta; the legendary saviors of the forefathers, a creature that reputedly only spoke to the minds of High Lords. Why was it speaking to her now?
She looked closer at the creature and saw that its snout was clamped shut by a strange contraption. It was a series of rings of a strange white material joined together in a rectangular shape. The Zamatta's snout was stuck in one of the rings and as it had no hands it obviously could not remove it.
"Please help me. I am stuck in this device of torture and can not remove it. I have swum all the way up this river from the sea to try to find someone to help me. I'm so tired and hungry and if you don't help me, I shall die."
"Of course I'll help. What must I do?"
The Zamatta lifted the front of its long body out of the water and onto the riverbank. It then simply looked at Elodie.
Grateful it did not involve getting into the river, Elodie gently worked the contraption off the Zamatta's snout. She examined it but could not fathom what its use could be.
The Zamatta answered her question.
"It is a device from Backbefor. They use it to join food carriers together to make transportation easier. Unfortunately all too often it is discarded into the ocean when it has completed its usefulness. Many of the ocean's children have fallen victim to its cruel grip."
Tentatively Elodie reached out and stroked the Zamatta where the contraption had been caught. Its skin felt like liquid silk but there was a broken raised area and Elodie wished that she had some balm to rub into it.
"I appreciate your caring concern and your great act of kindness, Elodie."
Elodie could not get used to a creature that knew what she was thinking. Imagine if her mother did. Life would not be worth living! Then she realized that the Zamatta had used her name. Before she could even ask how the Zamatta knew her name, it answered her.
"I know of you and I know of your story, most of which has not yet been told. I believe it was not happenstance that you were the one to come across me. As payment for your kindness I will tell it to you.
The men you refer to as the forefathers were from a small town in Backbefor. In Backbefor magic was reviled and anyone who had it was hunted down and punished. Many who did not have it went to their deaths and few who did escaped.
Seven townsmen and one townswomen were found to have magic and their punishment was to be abandoned at sea with their families and left to the wrath of the ocean. These were your forefathers. There were three powerful magicians and four who had minor magic. Two of the powerful magicians were Nathaniel Haythorn, who the Most High Lord is descended from, and Ashley Jackson, who Jante Calende is descended from. The third powerful magician was a woman, Catherine Good."
Elodie knew the story of the forefathers and how they arrived in Kashani. Every young child in Kashani grew up hearing the words of the story traditionally told on Founders day, just three days away now.
The Zamatta continued "The magic was carried in the essence of these magicians in a thing called a kroma zone and was passed on through a magic called Geenaticks to some of their descendants. It was carried on a special magical object within the body called an exkroma zone. The males only had one of these but their other kroma zone called a waikroma zone let it work its magic. Some of their daughters carried it but could not use it since they had two exkroma zones and the essence was hidden by the other exkroma zone. The daughters that carried it passed it on to some of their sons. This is why only males have the magic.
Catherine Good's essence was different. She had the essence on both of her exkroma zones. Somehow this never occurred again until now. I suspect that the Elven had something to do with it.
It is my belief that the Elven somehow changed Catherine's essence for their own purposes so that it would perhaps only appear in a second daughter and you know that everyone in Kashani is only allowed two children and these are always one boy and one girl.
The Elven knew that when a woman finally possessed the magic again it would cause uproar and lead to a major battle between the most powerful magicians. They placed a prophecy in the great book that foretold that a third child will change Kashani forever. The time is approaching for a clash between three magicians descended from the first three great magicians.
You are a descendant of Catherine Good. And I think that it is you who is the only one who can stop Kashani from changing forever. Of course others believe another holds that power but I am certain that you are Kashani's only hope. One day you will have to choose between two strong magicians. Choose the one your heart tells you is right, not the one your head tells you is."
Elodie took in this news with her usual enthusiasm. "But that is amazing. What am I to do? Where should I go? I should. . ."
"Wait child, this is all too much for you to consciously carry so I must calm your brain and hide it deep within. Don't worry, when the time comes you will know what to do."
The Zamatta looked deep in Elodie's eyes and then blinked once. With a flick of its tail, it dove deep into the river and was gone.
Elodie shook her head, it felt like it was full of cotton wool and she felt as though more time had passed than she had thought should have. She decided that it would be wise to hurry and she set off running helter-skelter down the path.
When she neared the town centre, Elodie scaled the bank. She tidied her clothes and stepped onto the road next to the gathering place outside the town centre. She was amazed by the activity. There were people everywhere. There were Haethon women putting up welcoming banners at the entrance to the centre. Elodie recognized Madam Rhys, the Jedda's neighbor. She waved to her and Madam Rhys smiled back. Sleejaxen workmen were erecting a large platform on the stairs of the town centre and Sleejaxen women waited to cover it with woollen rugs dyed the ocean blue of the town's crest. Merchants from all areas had set up stalls around the perimeter and the air was filled with the mingling aromas of all the traditional foods of the region and its people. Now Elodie's stomach was roaring. She hurried across the wide square, trying to escape the tantalizing smells.
She slipped up the narrow passage between the Judiciary and the Town Centre. Even it was full of bustling bodies, fetching and carrying and chatting about the Most High Lord's visit.
Coming out of the passage she found herself facing Master Bogrim's house. Master Bogrim was a Mordequai, as were all Mayors, and his house was the finest example of Mordequai architecture. It rose up five floors with its smooth rounded walls covered in ochre colored tiles. Where other Mordequai houses were also Finalskul, Master Bogrim's was purely for living and entertaining in. The entire ground floor was a huge eating room. There was a smaller scullery attached to the side where food was brought prior to being served to the Master and his guests. This is where Ceddry would be.
Elodie saw a man walk around the side of the building and disappear. She guessed that that was where the entrance to the scullery was. Checking the road for any errant Horsa riders, she ran across. As she came around the corner of the building she was hit by a thousand aromas, many she could not even identify. In honor of the Most High Lord Elodie imagined that they would be having fowl, something she had never even seen; possibly deeha; potato cakes; sweet root vegetables; probably fruita from the North; and of course Nera's favorite - chocolat.
Elodie came to the door and peeped inside. It was a hive of activity with some people unwrapping containers of food, others placing pans brimming with food on braziers and others arranging food on huge serving dishes.
"Elodie Jedda, what are you doing here?" Ceddry's voice rang out across the room. He crossed the room quickly and was soon standing in front of Elodie, beaming.
"I know what you've come for- chocolat! Come on in, I can spare a small piece."
"Well I would certainly like to try some chocolat and if you could spare a glass of spring water I'd soon make it disappear. But what I came for is to ask you what you know about Tenvan Thira's visit - the real reason."
"I have heard something but this is not the right time or place to discuss it. Now come and sit over here out of the way and I'll bring you some chocolat and a glass of spring water and then you had better get back to the Town centre. The Most High Lord will be here soon."
Elodie sat on a stool beside a pile of boxes and waited for Ceddry to return. She was quite exhausted after her travels that afternoon and was looking forward to going to bed that night. Ceddry brought her a plate with a small brown cube on it and a glass of spring water. She put the glass down beside her and picked up the cube of chocolat. Hesitantly she nibbled a corner. Her mouth was filled with the most exquisite taste! She could not decide whether to gobble it down quickly or nibble it slowly. In the end she finished it in five bites. She leant back against the wall to savor the flavor and relive that first tentative bite.
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