Tempara's Stand

*Third instalment of the Elevea Trilogy* With the King of Hinnid captured, the Prince on the run and the Lady of the Moor believed lost, the Queen is forced to relinquish power to save her people. All over Elevea battles are being lost as Nith takes back its long lost treasure. But the Elevean magic is growing out of control and not even Nith can match its power. With magic threatening everything, it will have to be decided: is this a battle of men or of the ultimate, dark powers ruling the earth?


3. TWO

A GOOD HALF of an hour later, both the dozing Ilidh and Balovet were violently woken by a crash as a door was thrown open at the far end of the little apartment of rooms. Heavy clicks of boots came across the floor as both madly rubbed their eyes, drew the hair from their vision and tried to look vigilant. It was obvious to Ilidh from Balovet’s reaction that it must be some kind of seniority approaching.

The tall figure of a man strode through a low arch leading off the room they were in which lead to the deeper parts of the palace. As he came into the firelight, his handsome features were illuminated along with his powerful limbs and broad smile.

“My good Ilidh!” he exclaimed. “How glad I am you are here.”

Ilidh almost fell off the chair. Balovet, looking madly at the man who had entered and Ilidh’s curious reaction, rose to her feet.

“My lord, I,”

“Thank you, B,” he said, turning to her and giving a little bow to the old lady, “for caring so well for my guest.”

Ilidh jumped to her dainty feet.

“I, I,” she stammered.

“Ilidh, you are warm and fed? Are you rested at all?”

“Yes, a little.” Ilidh’s reply was a stunned one, as if she could not work out anything else to say. Balovet had still not worked out why Ilidh had been so shocked by the man’s appearance. Balovet had no idea how the man still stood in the doorway knew Ilidh and how Ilidh was showing the signs of an extremely shocked recognition.

“Balovet,” he called, turning back to her, “could you make up a bed for Ilidh in this wing? She will be staying as our most esteemed guest.”

Ilidh looked bewildered by this and merely bounced on her feet, alive with confusion and energetic with her tiredness.

“My lord, how kind of you!” she squeaked pathetically.

“It is my honour, you have come so far and deserve care.”

Balovet had bustled off to find some linen. The man had moved further into the room and more into the firelight. Ilidh could make out his sparkling green eyes and young features. He could not be much past twenty. His charming smile remained constant. Ilidh was simply overwhelmed by this character and his kindness.

“I do not wish to sound rude, but,” Ilidh averted her gaze in fear, “have I met you before?”

The man let out a laugh as Balovet appeared again, her arms full of linen and she continued through to another room where an empty bed was waiting. A second later Balovet appeared from the room and headed in the direction of the log pile.

“I think we can talk properly in the morning once you are rested. There is much to do and explain.”

Balovet disappeared into the room again with logs and the sounds of a fire being struck up rang through the main room as the dying fire lost its hiss and crackle with a gust of wind.

A head popped through the doorway.

“There’s a room here for you, Ilidh,” Balovet said, “and the fire should get nice and warm pretty quickly.”

“Excellent,” boomed the man. “I shall leave you in peace. I just wanted to check our guest had arrived and is being well cared for.”

Balovet had disappeared back into the room to stoke the fire. The man, still several paces from Ilidh where he had been for the entire conversation, started walking backwards.

“Goodnight, Ilidh,” he said, spinning to face away and head back out of the room with his heavy clicks of the boots.

Ilidh felt like a dumbfounded rabbit which was stuck. She was twitching all over again with the excitement, shock and novelty of the place and people.

“Good sir!” she called out suddenly, jumping a little.

The man stopped almost instantly and swivelled on his heels to face her again, smiling his broad smile.

“I still do not know your name.”


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