part 50

His father said, “There isn’t a spark of magic in Djarret’s veins. He can never be the Representative of the One. Not without magic.” He coughed and lay down again.

Kervaal handed him a glass with a transparent liquid. “But father. Djarret is a fantastic fighter, a born ruler. Every one of his warriors will face death for him.”

The dying man drank greedily. When the glass was empty, he answered. “He is good enough to protect the temples. But he will never be suitable for the Service of the One.”

“He is your first-born.”

“It is my right to refuse him the office, when he fails.”

“You have never tested him.”

“Djarret wasted his chance at your birth. He never even made an effort to understand what magic is. Now, it is too late. He failed, and I will place my office in your hands.” The old man didn’t give Kervaal more time to protest. He removed a ring from the middle finger of his right hand and slipped it on his son’s middle finger.

“You are chosen by the One. He sheltered you and made you safe. Now, be protector and savior for your world. Palumâ waits for you. Will you refuse her?”

Melissa felt the magic behind the few ritual words that determined the destiny of his sons.

Kervaal cleared his throat repeatedly. The magical currents pricked Melissa’s nerves. Like in a dream, she saw the old man slump and loose consciousness.

Kervaal spoke with a hoarse voice. “I will follow and obey the One. I will shelter and protect all of Palumâ’s children.”

His answer sealed the magic, and Melissa felt energy flow from the old man into the young. When the magical energies faded away, Djarret’s father sighed once more and died.

The door curtain was shoved aside, and a man came in who resembled Kervaal like a twin brother. It was Djarret.

“I was such an idiot! I thought Kervaal had persuaded father to make him ruler of Palumâ. Look, how stupid I acted because I understood hardly a word behind the curtain.” He pointed to his younger self which had stopped with clenched fists in the middle of the room.

“Well, I should congratulate you, brother, shouldn’t I,” young Djarret said.

Melissa felt the pain and rage in his words as if he had screamed.

Kervaal jumped up. Melissa had the feeling that he would have liked to hug his brother. “Djarret! Where do you come from?”

“I was told that father is dying. I see that you have been faster than me. Congratulations. But you won’t be able enjoy my office for long.”

“I tried to change father’s mind, but he didn’t listen to me.”

“Oh yes, everybody will believe that.” Djarret turned to go. He did not deem his father worthy of a single glance, and he also ignored Kervaal’s conciliatory words.

Melissa watched him disappear through the curtain. She felt the cold his hate left behind. So that’s where it began. The picture of the vision blurred.

“I would like to go back,” Djarret said. “I have much to think about. Please, witch.”

Melissa almost complied but she felt that it wasn’t enough yet. Was there something else that kept Djarret from letting go of his hate? She shook her head. “I don’t think we are done.”

Again, the room changed, became bigger and bigger. Finally, Melissa and Djarret stood in a hall with an arched dome that was supported by several columns. The room was also dominated by whitewashed walls and colored carpets. Several generous windows allowed the gaze to enjoy densely populated green land with black mountains in the background.

“You are a monster,” Djarret hissed. “No, monsters are kinder than you are!”

A carved and gilded throne made of wood stood on a pedestal and Kervaal sat in it. He was very pale and tense. Two men in the leather uniform of the Dark Warriors knelt at the foot of the pedestal flanked by several armed men.

“That one was my best friend.” Djarret pointed at the left prisoner. “Without Kervaal, he would still live today.”

A man in a wide, colored robe read out loud from a scroll. “Thus is the proof collected by us. High Priestess Durimeh yields the traitor and his helper to your verdict, Kervaal of Palumâ. Punish them according to your law but dispense no mercy.”

The two prisoners raised their heads and looked at Kervaal. In one of them, Melissa recognized Djarret. The one Djarret had called his friend scared her. His black eyes flickered with a mad fire.

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