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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works.
Valdemar world, characters, events belong to Mercedes Lackey and Tor Publishing

Tests of Blood - 24. Chapter 24

Boldness came in many different ways, and had a wide variety of results. Dalen could remember being told of Ambassador Karlkist ordeal being kidnapped while traveling back to Sunhame. The man literally preached to his captors day and night, and when they stuffed a gag in his throat, began using his powerful Mindspeech to continue his sermon regarding the Sunlord Vkandis.

In the end, they had returned him to the nearest Karsite City and threw themselves upon the mercy of the local militia. Ambassador Karlkist himself spoke at their trial, arguing for clemency. The version of the story Dalen had heard first said after their exoneration the would-be bandits had joined a monastery and devoted the remainder of their lives to the Sunlord.

A later version he heard said that they were sentenced to the Monastery.

Windfire had told him the story of a bold young mage among the k’Chona. The young man had gone boldly into a nest of firebirds hoping to convince one to bond with him. Windfire had spread healing salve on the badly burned, and scarred young man for three weeks.

Dalen wasn’t sure if his boldness would end in a good way or a bad way, but he did know that instead of fighting off a dozen Haighlei, he was walking in the middle of them as the senior mage led the way to the Palace. Dalen knew the route better than they did, but said nothing since they were going in the direction he wanted.

He even managed to hold his fury down when he saw that his mother was using the King’s offices, and that they were not guarded by Valdemarans. There were four Haighlei soldiers there who snapped to attention as they approached. When they stopped in front of the doors to the private offices, the lead mage turned to look at Dalen.

“We will wait for you until you have seen the Regent.” The mage said in a thick accent and with a direct look. “Do not try any magic while inside.”

“Thank you for the escort.” Dalen said and pushed past the man, grabbing the doorknob himself and opening the door. He shut it behind him before he’d barely cleared the door. A gasp from the inner doorway announced his mother realizing he was there, and he turned just in time for her to grasp him in a tight hug, something she had not done since he was far younger.

“You’re alive!” She cried and there was the sound of real joy in her voice. Dalen realized he must have grown, because she seemed smaller, frailer as he raised his arms and hugged her back. Part of him was glad, and relaxed ever so slightly in her arms, but he’d long since given up the illusion that his mother protected him.

“Hello mother.” Dalen said as he put his love for her in his voice. No matter what she might have done, he loved her and he always would.

“Oh my dear, what happened to you?” She asked as she pulled back and took in his hair. His contact with Haven Heartstone had bleached out the dye in it, and it was once again a silver-white translucent color.

“I was trapped in an ethereal plane for the last six weeks with the spirit of a dead Tayledras mage who was experimenting with things he should have left alone.” Dalen answered her and took a perverse pleasure from her look of confusion.

“This is not the type of situation to be joking.” She snapped. “They told me there was a strange mage in Dell’s room, and then that everything was okay and that you were on your way. I cancelled a very important meeting to talk with you right away.”

“Poor mother.” Dalen said with a sad shake of his head. “You’ll be happy to know that Prince Dellinar is awake and will be able to resume his royal duties soon. I was able to remove the Haighlei spells that bound him into the coma.”

“Don’t say that, Dalen.” His mother snapped at him, stepping away as she spoke and crossing to sit at an expansive desk that had several neat piles of paper stacked nearly everywhere.

“Don’t say that Dell will recover or that the Haighlei were keeping him in a coma?” Dalen asked with a raised eyebrow as she sat down and looked up at him.

“Have a seat.” She said coldly and he shook his head. “Dalen, sit down. We have much to discuss.”

“Yes, we do.” Dalen agreed. “The good news is that as soon as the Healers clear him to resume his duties, Dell can take over and we won’t have to worry about a thing.”

“I’m afraid that won’t be possible.” Selenay said, and Dalen let out a sigh.

“Would you please explain why not?” Dalen asked and she frowned.

“Don’t look at me that way.” She snapped. “I am not a traitor. This is what is best for the people of Valdemar. Certainly it is better than unceasing war until the Haighlei are extinct or we are.”

“What are you talking about?” Dalen asked her sharply.

“If you’re going to play around in things that are beyond you, well you’ll just have to understand the bigger picture.” His mother snapped. “I’ll admit up front, I was used and didn’t realize what was going on, but by then it was too late. My choices were to resist and be killed, or cooperate and maybe, just maybe protect the people of Valdemar.”

“There was only one real choice there to make.” Dalen said. “I would have grieved over losing you mother, but I would have been proud. Now I merely grieve.”

“Don’t judge me so damn quickly!” His mother snapped and looked away from Dalen.

“Then explain yourself, Selenay Valdemar.” Dalen said. “I am the friendliest court you will ever get. After all, I do love you, still.”

“You always were such a good boy.” Selenay said sadly. “That was what was so damn infuriating about you. Dalen, you always was the good boy, no matter what the consequences. I left the palace when I realized Rothar had no intention of listening to the plebiscites. He said they were corrupt and only after their own power, but whatever their motivation, they are right.”

“In essence, yes.” Dalen agreed and she nodded.

“I knew you would understand.” She continued and then she got up and paced the floor behind the desk. “Rothar wanted to form a commission to look at true elections, but he was going to appoint all those Guildsmen and Nobles that wouldn’t let it happen in a million years because it would mean they would lose power!”

“A third of the commission was to be from the nobility and the Guilds, combined.” Dalen said flatly. “Their third would even include you, mother dear, as the King was considering appointing you before you left. When you did leave, he was still going to continue but have Dell on the commission instead of you. He wanted me to act as Dell’s assistant since I was more familiar with the arguments you’ve been using ever since we returned to Haven, and even while I’ve been growing up.”

“I’ve always embraced the cause of the Plebiscites.” Selenay said. “I was so certain that Rothar was going to stonewall me.”

“He wasn’t.” Dalen said sadly. “We talked about you, you know, after the war started and we were going on our rides. He always respected your dedication to the notion of people choosing their leaders and he believed that some of those concepts were good ideas. What he never approved of was your methodology.”

“Yes, well something had to be done and people stopped listening to me before you were ever born.” His mother said irritably. “Rothar wasn’t bad, but his mother, well she hated the idea and practically banished me from the palace several times.”

“You have a way of grating on people the wrong way.” Dalen said with a fond smile for her, and she stopped pacing long enough to look at him.

“I love you too, you know.” She said and he nodded. “The Haighlei approached me in Watersedge. They wanted a go-between to introduce them to the King, and I was their first choice they said. It was my husband who had fought them to a standstill, and they had heard of my work with the Plebiscites. I came back to Haven right before them, and prepared Rothar for their arrival. He knew what they wanted, and he had promised me that he would hear them out in full Council.”

“So that was how they got in here and blew up the King.” Dalen said with a grimace and his mother stared at him. “Yes, I know how they did it, using an Ambassador that was also a mage and having him do a Final Strike on all the Valdemar leadership at once.”

“It was more than that.” His mother said with a pale face. “They wanted Dell to survive and start a civil war with planted evidence that it was Dell who had killed the King. Fratricide was something they thought would split this Kingdom apart.”

“Why?” Dalen asked.

“Why did they think it would split Valdemar apart or why are they so set on destroying us?” His mother asked and she smiled grimly at Dalen. “No, son, don’t answer that. We both know the answer to the first part. They just don’t understand Valdemar. I’ve had to do all I can to keep them from snuffing Dell’s life out. At least with that damn Heartstone acting up, they feared the result of just killing him. I told them that killing him would cause Haven Heartstone to explode.”

“It wouldn’t.” Dalen said at once and she smiled.

“I know that.” She said and Dalen had to revise his estimate of her again. “I told you Dalen, I’m not doing this to betray Valdemar. I’m doing this to save it, whether you agree with me or not. I know what history will say no matter what. They will record me as a traitor worse than any since Orthallen during the reign of the first Selenay.”

“Then why are you doing this?” Dalen asked and she snapped at him.

“So there will be a Valdemar!” She practically yelled. “It won’t be the same place it was before the Haighlei came, but if I can do this right it will still be a good place.”

“Why are they doing this?” Dalen asked and her shoulders slumped.

“I had so hoped you’d never actually come here.” She said. “They promised not to harm you, and of course you’re not chosen so there will be no reason to harm you.”

“What does being Chosen have to do with anything?” Dalen asked.

“Their methods don’t work on Heralds or Herald-Trainees.” She said sadly. “I’ve talked them into not continuing their experiments anymore and just letting the current crop of Heralds die out eventually, naturally, from old age instead of being murdered in the halls of our palace. It was the most I could do, but I did it and I am not ashamed of that.”

“Speak plainly, mother.” Dalen growled. “What methods and what are they doing to people who are Gifted and aren’t Chosen?”

“Anyone with Mindspeech gets it burned out of them right away.” Selenay said sadly. “I understand it’s relatively painless and they help the people recover afterwards. Most of the other gifts they just block so they can’t be used anymore unless the person chooses to join the Priesthood. Mages though are subjected to the harsher methods. I don’t know exactly what they do, but afterwards, well the person’s just not the same.”

“What do you mean?” Dalen asked in a horrified voice.

“Your friend Diers, you remember him of course.” Selenay said. “Well, I met him twice before he went through the process, afterwards he was totally different. The only way I can think to describe it is that he’s a puppet dancing to someone else pulling the strings.”

“And you let this happen to any of the Gifted here in Valdemar?” Dalen growled.

“Only the adults.” Selenay said quickly. “The children with the gift, they are being educated through the regular priest schools back in their home kingdoms. They’re taking them there by Gate once a month.”

“You’re letting them kidnap our people?” Dalen’s voice was almost shrill.

“It’s better than killing them.” She snapped. “Dalen, you have to understand. The last round of Mage Storms, the Haighlei were hit hard about ten years afterwards. Some disease that got started in a change-circle killed two out of five of them and they’ve been decades recovering ever since. They know it was mages from the north that caused it, and they decided at their last ceremony that they will not allow anything like the Storms to happen again.”

“I haven’t heard it told like that.” Dalen said flatly.

“They are very reluctant to go into the details of why they reached this decision.” Selenay said. “They knew we would refuse, and they sought to show us that they will take us by force if we don’t come to some agreement. Eventually most of them will go back home, once they are certain that all mages will be controlled by the Priesthood. They have never had a mage create anything like the Mage Storms and they’ve been an Empire since centuries before Urtho and Ma’ar fought each other. That is real stability, Dalen.”

“I… they have a point.” Dalen said as the memory of his recent experiences came back into play. For him it had been more like six years, but even here in this world he had been gone for six weeks because of a magical experiment gone wrong. Losien, Windfire’s partner in the experiment had killed hundreds when his attempt at a Permanent Gate had failed.

“Yes they do.” Selenay agreed. “It doesn’t justify going to war though, or forcing mages into servitude. Someday I hope we will be able to change their laws, but at least they are letting us move forward with elections and changing how our government works. Valdemar is growing up Dalen, and not even this will slow us down in the long run. I’m just afraid we’ll have to go back to more non-magical solutions to the problems we face.”

“What do the other members of the Alliance have to say about this?” Dalen asked and she frowned.

“I have withdrawn Valdemar from the Alliance.” She said.

“Mother, you do not have that right.” Dalen said.”You are not in the line of succession.”

“Well no one who was in the line was around!” His mother snapped.

“Dell is awake now, and can begin making decisions soon.” Dalen retorted.

“Not if the Haighlei have anything to say about it!” She half-shouted. “If they can’t force him back in a coma, with you here now, they’ll just kill him. I’m sure you’ll be able to keep Haven Heartstone from killing all those poor innocent people in this city. Then after you’ve gone through this process of theirs, you’ll do whatever they want no matter what I say. They certainly won’t let me keep you out of their program and you’re not chosen.”

“It would take more power than what is in Haven Heartstone to break the shield I placed on Dell’s room.” Dalen said. “As long as the Healers I gave access take care of him, he’ll recover and you know the Healers will care for him. It is their oath.”

“They’ll care for him only if they’re allowed into the room.” She retorted. “You might be able to keep them out until they break you, but they can keep anyone else from going in, and even if you don’t resist them it’ll be three weeks before they let anyone in there to see Dell and he’ll be dead long before then from dehydration.”

“Calm yourself, mother.” Dalen said as she panted after her rather long sentence.

“Calm myself.” She murmured. “I’m looking at my own son becoming nothing more than a puppet!”

“You’ve watched it happen to others.” Dalen shrugged. “What’s the difference?”

“Because I love you!” Selenay cried out and Dalen’s heart skipped a beat at the anguish in her voice. “It’s hard enough when they are people I never knew, but when it is you, my courage falters and I consider throwing myself from the nearest window. Why oh why couldn’t you have stayed away?”

“It is my duty to find out what is going on in Haven.” Dalen said firmly.

“Well you’ve done that.” She snapped. “Now why don’t you get out of here before they decide to break up our little family reunion and take you away? You know they’re just waiting until they think they have enough mages to take you by force if it is necessary.”

“I know.” Dalen said with a gentle smile. “They do not worry me. You do.”

“You’ve picked a fine time to start worrying about your dear mother.” Selenay snapped at him.

“I’ve always worried about you, mother.” Dalen said gingerly. “Now I wonder how I will get you out of this mess you’ve landed yourself in.”

“I did not…” She started to protest, but stopped when he held up his hand.

“You did, mother, just as I put myself in the situation as well.” He told her and she stared at him for a long moment.

“When did you grow up so fast?” She breathed and moved to sit back down in the chair she’d abandoned earlier.

“I’ve always been mature for my age, or so you’ve told me.” He replied with a grin for her and she sighed.

“I wish we’d stayed at Forst Reach.” She said sadly. “Your damn Grandfather has been making a right nuisance of himself and giving King Kalachman’s agent there a headache. He can’t get the Guards to go in there and enforce the decrees about mages, and if he invades Forst Reach using only his own troops, he knows most of Valdemar will rise up against us.”

“You orchestrated that.” Dalen said with a sharpening of his eyes. She nodded slightly and smiled.

“I do what I can for Valdemar.” She shrugged.

“If there were no Haighlei to worry about, could we reach some resolution?” Dalen asked and she smiled.

“Son, if they weren’t here I’d step aside and let you take over until Dell got better.” She told him. “You’d probably do a better job than me anyways, but you’re a mage and the Haighlei won’t let you go without turning you into a puppet like your friend, Diers.”

“I can have us in Burnham long before they could break that door down.” Dalen said slowly. “Come with me. Once I have you safe, I’ll turn around, come back and get Dell to safety.”

“It’d be better if you can bring a hundred troops through that door.” She laughed.

“I could do that too, if you felt it was better.” Dalen said.

“This is no time for boasting.” She snapped at him.

“I can.” He assured her and she gave him a very long look before sighing.

“I know the limits on Gates, my son.” She said. “Not even you can make one to cover that distance all that quickly. Even if you could, a hundred loyal soldiers would do no good, not now. They have two thousand Haighlei in this city alone, and another fifteen thousand spread out throughout Valdemar. That doesn’t include the thousand that are with your father’s forces fighting those damn Menmillith people.”

“How did you get father to go along with this?” Dalen asked.

“I didn’t.” She murmured. “He took Jacov with him as his valet and I got a message telling Jacov to put some sleeping potion in Lofar’s tea. My husband was quite furious when he woke up back in Valdemar and found his troops were already pulling out of the front lines. When the Menmillith folks told the Haighlei off for backstabbing them, I knew sending him down there to fight those bastards was my best choice.”

“I have enough troops to take Haven, if we are only fighting the Haighlei.” Dalen said with a frown. “I can’t deploy them to all the cities where there are Haghlei, though, and I don’t have enough to take on fifteen thousand.”

“Not yet, but your base down south is growing and many of the policies I’m putting in place should drive more Guards to you.” She said. “It was my hope that you would establish a loyal resistance down there. Maybe when those Menmillith bastards are fought off, your father will join you and kill the Haighlei troops with him. I can shrug and say it was my former husband. Your father will never stay married to me now.”

“Don’t be too sure about that.” Dalen said as a happy feeling filled him. His mother really wasn’t a traitor. He didn’t agree with the choices she had made, but she had made them for the right reason. It made what he had to do a lot easier.

“I could only wish.” Selenay said with a hefty sigh. “I know I never loved him the way he loved me, but I did love him in my own way. He was a dashing young man when we first met, and now, well now he is quite distinguished.”

“He will always love you, mother.” Dalen said. “I remember this one night, back before you left the palace where you said we had to talk. As I recall, we never did.”

“No, we didn’t.” She frowned. “Now I wish we had. Dalen, listen, maybe you can make that Gate and get out of here before…”

“Ah, I heard you were having a family reunion, Selenay.” A voice interrupted them as the door behind Dalen opened. He wanted to get up and run, or at least turn and face the speaker since it spoke with what he now recognized as a Haighlei accent. He was too frozen with pure fear.

“Your Eminence.” Selenay said as she got to her feet and made a slight curtsy. Dalen did not rise and forced himself to barely turn his head as the man in the scarlet and gold robes came into view. His head was bald, and he was very dark-skinned, although only of medium height. His build was slender though, and he did have a small fringe of white hair above his ears. Dalen could tell he was old, far older than Dalen had expected, but he was still quite healthy.

He was also the most powerful mage that Dalen had ever felt before.

“So, this is the remarkable young man you love.” The man said. “He is quite young to have hair so bleached by the power of nodes.”

“Who are you?” Dalen asked.

“I see he does not share your impeccable manners.” The man replied with a slight curl of his upper lip. “Sadly, I must say it is usually a sign of his raising. You did say those uncouth Ashkevrons had a great deal of influence on him. That is something we will have to adjust in him.”

“Who are you?” Dalen asked again.

“Son, you should rise and bow before his Eminence.” Selenay said and all trace of warmth in his mother was gone. This was the Court-loving bitch he was far more familiar with and detested. “You are not a barbarian.”

“No, I am not.” Dalen agreed with her. “I do not force my will upon others or start wars by invading people who have not done me any harm.”

“Oh really?” The man asked. “How delightful! A young man who thinks he knows everything and that he must be right. My dear young man, do you forget those Shin’a’in barbarians once served Urtho, one of the two mages that caused the Mage Storms? Did they not guard more magical artifacts for millennia?”

“Their ancestors served Urtho.” Dalen said. “They guarded those artifacts so they could be used to stop the rebounding Mage Storms, lessening their damage.”

“You would call millions of my people dead a ‘lessening’ of their damage?” The man snarled angrily.

“If they had run their course, we might very well not be here having this conversation because we, and all of our peoples, would be dead.” Dalen argued.

“Do you really take comfort in that?” The man asked him. “Tell me, young mage, were you by chance in Burnham eight days ago?”

“Yes.” Dalen admitted cautiously as he sat a little straighter in his chair.

“Very interesting.” The man said. “I might ask how you arrived.”

“Why?” Dalen asked.

“The local power reservoirs were tremendously unsettled when a pocket of power suddenly appeared from another plane.” The man said and Dalen frowned at the very good description of what had happened. “The disturbance caused a massive storm which killed three people in its wake before my priests were able to bring it under control. Oh, and if it makes a difference, all three were Valdemaran.”

“Oh.” Dalen frowned and he almost bit back the surge of guilt. Instead he let it swell in him, bringing tears to his eyes, and a promise to never be so flippant about a storm again. “I am sorry for the deaths, more sorry than you will ever know.”

“This is why we must control magic.” The man said. “Our system guarantees no such things will ever happen again, whether three people in a small town or the millions that died in the plagues.”

“No.” Dalen said flatly.

“No?” The man asked.

“I said no.” Dalen reiterated.

“My apologies young man, but I did not ask you for your permission.” He said with a shrug of his shoulders. “You have to know you are outclassed, both here in this room and outside it as well. We hold the upper hand. The question is if you will struggle as you are taught a new understanding of the world in which we live, or if you will learn it willingly. Believe me, it will certainly be less painful if you go willingly.”

“I speak about more than just myself.” Dalen said flatly. “Valdemar will not accept your conditions.”

“Ah, as to that, it is not important what you say.” He replied. “Your lady mother makes those decisions as Valdemar’s Regent.”

“Prince Dellinar is freed of his coma and will wake soon.” Dalen said. “By the oldest laws of Valdemar, set forth by the very first King of Valdemar, Dellinar is the rightful heir to the throne and is Valdemar’s voice.

“Alas I fear the Prince will never leave that room to speak.” The man said. “With no clear heir to the throne, your mother is the senior member of the Royal Family to speak for Valdemar. Unfortunately, she is your senior as well and has more right to speak than you.”

“I am sorry, but you are wrong.” Dalen said. “Any member of the Royal Family that is Chosen by a Companion is next in line to the throne before my mother.”

“There are no more alive beyond your Prince Dellinar, and he will not leave that room alive.” The man said angrily.

“There you are wrong again.” Dalen said with a gentle smile at his mother who was already looking horrified. “You see, you’re actually wrong on two accounts. Your methods of trying to turn me into your puppet won’t work either.”

“They work on every gifted we have ever met with the exception of your Heralds.” The man snapped angrily. “Your mother has told me you are not a Herald.”

“Unfortunately, my mother was not up to date on current affairs.” Dalen said with a rueful smile for his mother, who was looking quite horrified. “I was chosen eight days ago by Companion Jadev. By Valdemar’s oldest laws, I am now Heir to the throne after Herald Dellinar, and as you yourself noted, your methods do not work on Heralds, and I am a Herald.”

“How sad.” The man’s voice was filled with anger, and frustration, and Dalen worried that his own smile may have been just a little too much.

Valedmar and its world belong to Mercedes Lackey. Everything else belongs to dkstories. Copyright ©2013; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works.
Valdemar world, characters, events belong to Mercedes Lackey and Tor Publishing
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Hm. A super adept? I'm thinking that it's blood magic. Dalen might have to almost drain the Heartstone to kill him.

 

I really am happy about Selenay. She is doing the best that she can with what she has available. Hopefully she can help even more.

 

Finally, you were right about me being happy about this chapter and then being frustrated that you left it there. Is there going to be a fight? How is Dalen going to get out of this one?

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i disagree with you Rebelghost85 Selenay is not good nor is she doing the best she can. I too, wanted her to be doing her best and being used against her will. However, she is doing so willingly, because she is a coward. Valdemar would not be in this precarious situation where the people are turned to puppets, including she herself. yes she had good intentions but as they say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. He is greedy and selfish and bitter, she wants things to go her way she wants to be in control, she willingly brought them here where they killed the rightful monarch and has his heir in an induced coma so she could remain their puppet, here she is bowing to a foreign government calling him your eminence. How despicable, and sordid. I don't disagree that she had good intentions but she was hasty and greedy, she and the king could have come to a conclusion but she reasoned that she would not have her way so she allowed herself to be used buy them.

 

If it was nothing else she is responsible for the death of the king and counsel, the continued absence of the rightful heir, the kidnapping of the people of Valdemar, the false accusation and staining the honour of the Heralds which leads to corruption and lack of trust of the people in something that has keep Valdemar honest and good all these years, now, even if they are able to drive off the enermy, the honour of the heralds will be stained.

No Selenay's head should roll and if she is acquitted i will be very upset with this story. If she wants to be a martyr then let her put her neck on the block literally.

Other than that it was a really good chapter and the next promises to be quite the show down can't wait. I hope Dalen is able to handle such a superpower with the help of the haven hearthstone, i really want selenay to die for her treachery. Her reasons are like dust in a desert totally unnecessary.

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Ah, I see the defintion of a cliffhanger is that the reader has to wait at least one week for the resolution. Hmmm, interesting. ;)

Okay I try to push every thought aside that Dalen might have slightly understimated his enemies and distract myself with working, wondering why this mage thinks he won't cause any damage with his tremendous powers.

Very good chapter with no cliffhanger per definitionem.

~A.

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I would title this chapter "The Apology of Selenay" -- understanding "apology" not as an expression of regret or remorse but of excuse or justification. What a pathetic, tragic figure she is, a person who had access to so much potential in the Kingdom but wielded it haphazardly to the detriment of those she professes to help. Clearly her guile superseded her sagacity and intelligence. Itachibones reminds us of the saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Selenay is confirmed in her position as Master-Paver.

And what you stated about Diers in the last review-response is also true about Selenay. Perhaps, growing up, she suffered from the magical kingdom's equivalent of "middle-child syndrome" where, as someone not Chosen and therefore marginal in Valdemar's royal governance, she embraced the cause of the plebiscite to craft a relevant role for herself thereby raising her self-esteem. But we all know that eschewing the status quo and working to undermine the organization from which she felt excluded (or not being able to fully participate) -- essentially working to take down the family business -- she is dealing with her own esteem issues in a very public way. So, like Diers, what you say also seems to apply to Selenay: "Weaker personalities are converted quicker and are then actually stronger in their resolve afterwards." Let us see if Dalen can convert her back. Personally, I hope the eminent mage tries to threaten Selenay in order to bend Dalen to his will. Then Dalen can refuse to give himself up to save her and would have the opportunity to say to his mother, "Now you can become a martyr and redeem your role in history. Meet your destiny knowing you have my love." LOL!

I am glad that Dalen understands the bold in life can either be characterized as wise or foolish. So we see a still maturing Dalen giving "his eminence" an imp of a self-satisfying smile, but a wise Dalen recognizing that "his own smile may have been just a little too much."

Let's see how Dalen extricates himself from this sticky-wicket! Thanks, Dan!

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On 02/02/2013 10:08 AM, TheGameMaster said:
Lord Farvenal, I presume?
Farvenal is a minor lackey - more of a gatekeeper than anything and Dalen doesn't need to worry about gatekeepers...well not that much.
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On 02/02/2013 12:05 AM, itachibones said:
i disagree with you Rebelghost85 Selenay is not good nor is she doing the best she can. I too, wanted her to be doing her best and being used against her will. However, she is doing so willingly, because she is a coward. Valdemar would not be in this precarious situation where the people are turned to puppets, including she herself. yes she had good intentions but as they say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. He is greedy and selfish and bitter, she wants things to go her way she wants to be in control, she willingly brought them here where they killed the rightful monarch and has his heir in an induced coma so she could remain their puppet, here she is bowing to a foreign government calling him your eminence. How despicable, and sordid. I don't disagree that she had good intentions but she was hasty and greedy, she and the king could have come to a conclusion but she reasoned that she would not have her way so she allowed herself to be used buy them.

 

If it was nothing else she is responsible for the death of the king and counsel, the continued absence of the rightful heir, the kidnapping of the people of Valdemar, the false accusation and staining the honour of the Heralds which leads to corruption and lack of trust of the people in something that has keep Valdemar honest and good all these years, now, even if they are able to drive off the enermy, the honour of the heralds will be stained.

No Selenay's head should roll and if she is acquitted i will be very upset with this story. If she wants to be a martyr then let her put her neck on the block literally.

Other than that it was a really good chapter and the next promises to be quite the show down can't wait. I hope Dalen is able to handle such a superpower with the help of the haven hearthstone, i really want selenay to die for her treachery. Her reasons are like dust in a desert totally unnecessary.

Uh - wow. I am amazed and honored at how long some of these reviews are here. Reading them is amaazing and I love them!
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On 02/01/2013 11:02 PM, Rebelghost85 said:
Hm. A super adept? I'm thinking that it's blood magic. Dalen might have to almost drain the Heartstone to kill him.

 

I really am happy about Selenay. She is doing the best that she can with what she has available. Hopefully she can help even more.

 

Finally, you were right about me being happy about this chapter and then being frustrated that you left it there. Is there going to be a fight? How is Dalen going to get out of this one?

I love being right :)
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On 02/02/2013 12:12 AM, aditus said:
Ah, I see the defintion of a cliffhanger is that the reader has to wait at least one week for the resolution. Hmmm, interesting. ;)

Okay I try to push every thought aside that Dalen might have slightly understimated his enemies and distract myself with working, wondering why this mage thinks he won't cause any damage with his tremendous powers.

Very good chapter with no cliffhanger per definitionem.

~A.

Dalen better hope he hasn't underestimated his enemies or he will be dead, dead, dead.
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On 02/02/2013 01:16 AM, Gulab Jamun said:
Oh no...not a cliffhanger!!
Cliffhanger? Where? !! (imagine dog in Up going "Squirrel!")
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On 02/02/2013 04:08 AM, Rosicky said:
I would title this chapter "The Apology of Selenay" -- understanding "apology" not as an expression of regret or remorse but of excuse or justification. What a pathetic, tragic figure she is, a person who had access to so much potential in the Kingdom but wielded it haphazardly to the detriment of those she professes to help. Clearly her guile superseded her sagacity and intelligence. Itachibones reminds us of the saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Selenay is confirmed in her position as Master-Paver.

And what you stated about Diers in the last review-response is also true about Selenay. Perhaps, growing up, she suffered from the magical kingdom's equivalent of "middle-child syndrome" where, as someone not Chosen and therefore marginal in Valdemar's royal governance, she embraced the cause of the plebiscite to craft a relevant role for herself thereby raising her self-esteem. But we all know that eschewing the status quo and working to undermine the organization from which she felt excluded (or not being able to fully participate) -- essentially working to take down the family business -- she is dealing with her own esteem issues in a very public way. So, like Diers, what you say also seems to apply to Selenay: "Weaker personalities are converted quicker and are then actually stronger in their resolve afterwards." Let us see if Dalen can convert her back. Personally, I hope the eminent mage tries to threaten Selenay in order to bend Dalen to his will. Then Dalen can refuse to give himself up to save her and would have the opportunity to say to his mother, "Now you can become a martyr and redeem your role in history. Meet your destiny knowing you have my love." LOL!

I am glad that Dalen understands the bold in life can either be characterized as wise or foolish. So we see a still maturing Dalen giving "his eminence" an imp of a self-satisfying smile, but a wise Dalen recognizing that "his own smile may have been just a little too much."

Let's see how Dalen extricates himself from this sticky-wicket! Thanks, Dan!

I would not be surprised if a Bard decided to write a song titled "The Tragedy of Princess Selenay" after this was all over.
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