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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 - 6. Chapter 6

“You should have seen her face” Paet said with another giggle that made him seem even younger than Lynn who was across from him in another armchair.

“I bet.” Dalen chuckled at the image their words called up. The front room of his apartments in the Mage’s Collegium was smaller than that in his mother’s apartment, but still fit his friends comfortably.

“What did Herald Sorenson do after she sat on it?” Bart asked with wide eyes and a bit of a scandalized expression. For some reason, despite living in a Tayledras Vale, he seemed shocked by the casual use Herald-Trainees often made of their various mind-gifts. In this case, using Fetching to put a pudding pie in Herald Sorenson’s seat just as she sat down to teach a class on Jurisprudence.

“Well, let’s just say Tarvi is going to be spending a few extra shifts in the kitchen.” Lynn giggled just like Paet.

“Which one of you put him up to it?” Dalen asked, knowing his two Herald-Trainee friends very well by now. Even though the two of them were in different year-groups, they were fast friends before being Chosen and had retained that friendship.

“She did.” Paet said while pointing a finger at Lynn who said “He did” and pointing her finger at him.

“They both did.” Bart sighed knowledgeably and they all broke up into laughter at that. Of the current crop of trainees in the Herald Collegium, these two were the most practiced and unknown troublemakers. Somehow they always managed trouble without quite getting caught.

“Thank you for telling about that.” Dalen said with a heavy sigh as they settled down from that fit of laughter. “I needed something funny to listen to just now.”

“What else are friends for?” Paet asked as all three of his friends frowned slightly.

“Still no word on your mother?” Bart asked directly and Dalen shook his head.

“I almost wish there wasn’t news on her.” Dalen said miserably. His mother had left the Palace ten days after their argument and it wasn’t until a week ago that they’d heard where she was for sure.

“What happened?” Lynn asked quietly. “What was the verdict?”

“The Magistrate cleared her.” Dalen sighed unhappily. “He said she wasn’t responsible for the demonstration in Killinjay turning into a riot, and thus not responsible for the deaths that happened.”

“What about the Herald?” Paet asked. “Herald Larrys died in that riot.”

“The Heralds deferred to the regional Magistrate in this case.” Dalen sighed. “I knew she was up to something.”

“You don’t think she really meant all those people to die?” Paet asked in a horrified voice. “She’s a member of the royal family!”

“We are no more than human.” Dalen said sourly. “I wouldn’t put anything past her at this point. What kind of game she’s playing though, I’m not really sure. Father is mortified by everything, but even with the let-up in the fighting he’s needed down there instead of back up here.”

“Well, she’s not your concern in the end, is she?” Bart said, reiterating the statement that he’d heard Prince Dellinar deliver just that morning.

“No, she’s not.” Dalen sighed. “I can’t believe it is my birthing day already.”

“You’re a legal adult now.” Lynn said with a wide smile.

“You can order whiskey at the taverns.” Paet reminded him.

“If he could get inside one without a dozen Royal Guards.” Bart added and they all smiled sadly. None of them had been injured that night, but Paet and Lynn had both lost year-mates in that ambush.

“I’ve got good news, of a sort.” Paet added after they had remained silent for a moment.

“What is that?” Dalen asked.

“I just got told before I came here.” The Trainee said as he adjusted his formal version of the Trainee Gray uniform. It matched the same cut as a regular Herald’s Whites, but was gray to indicate his student status. Lynn was dressed similarly, and Bart was wearing an eye-bending Tayledras costume of muted gold and purple that made Dalen dizzy just to look at it. “I am being sent south with you and Herald Jacen.”

“Jacen is being sent to replace Landir after that run-in with bandits.” Paet said. “One of the trainees was also injured and they’re sending her back here, so I’m going to replace her. I’m near enough to my Whites and might even get them while we’re down there.”

“You will be careful, won’t you?” Lynn’s voice quivered and she sounded like she’d said it once or twice already.

“Yes, little sister, I already told you I will.” Paet said lightly. “Besides, Dalen will be there and you know he’ll watch out for me.”

“I promise, I will.” Dalen assured her and she smiled slightly.

“I know you will.” She huffed. “This being a Herald business is bound to give me ulcers, you know.”

“Only if you continue to worry about anything and everything.” Bart teased her as he usually did and the atmosphere in the room turned merry again.

“Rothar wouldn’t let me go testify against her.” Dalen admitted the one thing he hadn’t told his friends and knew from their silence they were as shocked as the King had been.

“Of course he wouldn’t, she is your mother, no matter what she’s done.” Paet snorted.

“She shouldn’t be let off the hook just because she is a member of the Royal Family.” Dalen said firmly.

“Have you ever given thought to the fact she may not have been involved?” Bart asked him slowly and carefully. Over the last few months his friend had undergone a growth spurt, shooting up nearly two inches, and his chest had begun developing broader as well. It was a startling change, but one that Bart was all too happy to have happen.

“I know she is.” Dalen said with all the conviction she felt. “It’s why she left Haven after throwing me out.”

“Maybe she left because she regretted what she’d done, missed you, and didn’t know how to apologize to get you back.” Lynn offered with a gleam in her eyes.

“You are such a romantic.” Dalen teased her, hoping to change the subject, but failed miserably as she stared at him. He didn’t want to think that her words might have held a grain or two of truth. Luckily, the Collegium bells ringing the hour saved him from further discussion.

“Well, it looks like it’s almost time for your party to start.” Bart said with a wide grin as he stood up. The two Herald-Trainees also stood.

“I can’t believe we’re going to be eating at the Royal table!” Lynn said in a gushing tone.

“Just don’t forget all those lessons in manners that Herald Marilee gave us.” Paet said while rolling his eyes. “I swear the woman was worried one of us was going to try and crack a crab leg and send it flying into the King’s soup!”

“Don’t jinx yourself.” Bart laughed as he led the way out of the room. “I just can’t wait to pester Derrick. The brute kept on trying to terrorize me because he thought I was a pushover. I made sure he’s serving the high table tonight.”

“Remind me to never piss you off, friend.” Dalen said with a chuckle. “You have far too good a memory for things people have done to you and you wait a long time for revenge.”

“Oh no.” Paet moaned.

“What?” Dalen asked.

“Oh nothing.” Lynn said innocently as they continued.

“It was you!” Bart said viciously pointing a finger at the two Herald-Trainings.

“What did they do?” Herald-Mage Dellinar said by way of greeting as they neared him.

“Oh, uh, nothing, sir.” Bart stammered, but his glare promised retribution for some prank or another the two had probably pulled on him.

“If it was nothing, then perhaps we should go inside so dinner will not be delayed.” Dellinar said with a broad smile. He was still limping as they followed him, and Dalen frowned at the sight. Whatever had caused that limp was not something Dell had shared yet, and he did not like that at all.

The Prince had returned from the front lines a week ago, and in that time had spoken only a few words about his experiences in the fighting down south. Thanks to the sudden support of the armies of Jkatha, along with four mercenary companies hired by Rethwellan, the Black Kings had been pushed back from Kata’shin’a’in. Unfortunately they were now digging in along the borders of Ceejay and Ruvan, creating a broad front for the Alliance to fortify.

After resting for two days, Dell had taken back the key of the Heartstone. At first the Heartstone hadn’t wanted to give the control back, but when Dalen insisted, it complied with only a bit of grumbling. Dalen had worried about that until Dell smiled and assured him it was only natural. The Heartstone and Dalen had a natural affection with each other, but Dalen was firmly committed to following the will of the King. It was a measure of how much they had trusted him by allowing him the responsibility in the first place, especially when his mother had proven to be other than trustworthy.

Two days after that, Prince Dellinar had sprung the Journeyman level test on Dalen with no warning, no preparation. Dalen had recognized it for what it was moments into the test and hid his dismay at the suddenness of it while successfully completing the magical tests that proved he had reached a firm level of control. The reason for his surprise was that he had expected it to come on his birthing day, when he was fully of legal age, not before. What happened next was an even greater surprise as Dellinar launched into the opening challenges of a Master-level test.

Every school of magic had their own form of tests for Journey-level and Master-level. The tests that Dellinar gave to Dalen were an amalgam of the several schools that had originally taught the Heralds of Valdemar during the war with Ancar. Parts of it would be recognized by White Winds mages, Tayledras mages, and even a piece or two from the Sun Priests of Karse. When it was over, Dalen was confirmed in his Master status and left blinking at how easy it had all been.

What followed in the time after that was a period of introspection for him, caused by the final words Prince Dellinar had spoken to him. It was just a few sentences as the Prince and Herald Mage closed down the workroom they had been in, and almost delivered in an off-hand manner. They still were in the forefront of his thoughts as he sat at dinner in full Court, a dinner that was at least in part a celebration of his sixteenth birthday and his entry into adulthood.

“You passed these test as if they were nothing.” Dellinar had said to him in a quiet, thoughtful voice. “Over the last few months, I have seen many mages struggle to stay alive under daily attacks, struggle with control over their powers, struggle to solve the problems we faced, just as they struggled through these tests when they took them. For you, these tests were nothing, just another exercise in magic. You are truly gifted Dalen, so I wonder why you are holding yourself back from reaching your full potential. We need your full potential, we need you to be everything that you can be, and yet you let immaterial things like waiting until you are sixteen hold you back. Why?”

Dellinar had shown the rhetorical nature of the question by turning and leaving the room without waiting for an answer. Later, while he was in his quarters, a page had come with a message from Dellinar saying he was to take the next few days before his birthing day relaxing and meditating. The topics of his meditation wasn’t made clear, but Dalen knew exactly what the Prince wanted him to think about.

He had to admit, after a great deal of reflection that the Prince was right. Dalen had always been holding himself back. Part of it was fear, a fear that he would become just another tool, and that was also part of his fear of being Chosen. From the time he was a small boy he knew his mother had used him in her schemes. It was painfully clear how she had done that time and again. He hated it, and he used the move to Forst Reach to escape from that usage.

When his Gifts began manifesting, he knew that they would be further tools, if not for her than for any of the other people at Court that would use someone like him. Whether it was the King, Dellinar, Lord Prager, or his mother, there was always someone waiting to use him for their needs, and he didn’t like that at all.

Even now he was being used, but at least it was for something useful, something that he could support, and with his full knowledge and consent. That was something that his mother had never sought. She had always told him what he would do and when, but never given him any choice in the matter. At least the King, and Herald Dellinar gave him choices. He didn’t have to be going down south, but the King had asked, and it was useful. More, it wasn’t going into combat, something he didn’t want, it was to do things that he didn’t mind doing so that others would be free to go into combat.

Dalen knew he wasn’t being forced, and from things he’d seen and understood during the occasional ride with the King into Companion’s Field, he believed that no Companion would ever choose him as long as he didn’t want to be Chosen. Not only did you have to have the necessary outlook and ethics in order to be a Herald, or at least be able to be taught those ethics, you also had to want to be a Herald. In fact, just yesterday he’d gone out to Companion’s Field for a ride alone, without the King or another Herald with him.

At first it had felt like entering enemy territory alone, but when no Companion did more than look at him before continuing on their way, he began to relax. As he rode, he watched the Companions as they moved around the Field alone, or in small groups. Something the King had commented upon on their rides came back to him and he realized that many of the Companions he saw were young, just nearing their full growth and the Companion equivalent of adulthood.

The Kingdom of Valdemar had many sayings about Companions. One of them had stuck in his head since that ride, and even over dinner as he looked at his two friends in Trainee Gray, and the half-dozen or so figures in full Heraldic White, he heard it over and over again. When the Companions begin foaling in large numbers, it is time to prepare for the storm.

Companions were sent by the Gods, or at least the Gods worshiped by the different peoples of Valdemar. Somehow they always knew when Heralds were needed in advance, and so they began to give birth to more Companions. Rarely did a magic appear out of the Grove as in the old stories. In fact, only the Companion belonging to the Monarch’s Own was ‘born’ by appearing full grown in the Grove deep inside Companion’s Field. Most were born in the ordinary, mortal way, from the copulation of two adult Companions. They grew from foals into adult Companions at about the same rate as horses, whose shapes they shared.

Fully half of the Companions in the field were just entering their adult years, and nearly a quarter were still foals. Now, not all the Companions were in the Field at any given time. Nearly two-thirds of all Companions were out with their Heralds, either on Circuit patrol or down with the armies facing the Black Kings. Still, there were a good number of Companions just becoming adults that had not yet Chosen a Herald.

They would soon, though, and it was well known in Valdemar that when they did, those Heralds would be needed. So far there had been relatively light casualties down in the fighting. Sure, many Heralds had been put out of action, but most of the casualties were not killed outright. Whatever was in store for Valdemar hadn’t hit in full force yet. They were just facing the storm squalls ahead of the main front.

The King was no fool and could see all the signs as well as, or even better than, his sixteen-year old cousin. That was why he was sending Heralds into every potential trouble-spot in the kingdom. He was using them as his eyes, ears, and hands to calm storms before they grew too strong and too out of control.

It was also why Dalen was being sent to Burnham as soon as possible.

“If you haven’t finished thinking about what I said, you’re running out of time, cousin.” Dellinar whispered to Dalen after the main course had been taken away and before the presentation of the dessert course. It would be his favorite, of course, and while he missed his father and even his mother, he had to admit it wasn’t that bad of a time. Even better had been the brief teleson conversation with his father as well as the letters and presents from his relatives at Forst Reach. Those had literally been piled on his tea table this morning when he woke.

“I did finish.” Dalen whispered back to the older Prince. “I just won’t give you the satisfaction of saying ‘I told you so.’”

“Good.” Dellinar said with a smile and clapped Dalen on the back just as the dessert, a bread pudding baked in the shape of an Ashkevron war horse was brought out. After the last of the desserts were taken away, and the Court adjourned to the Great Hall for dancing, Dalen found himself being whisked from one set of lovely arms to another.

Now that he was of age, all the ladies of the court were at their matchmaking best, throwing every eligible maiden at him that they could find. Some were decent, grimacing in shared discomfort with him, but most were vapid doe-eyed girls ranging from innocent to conniving like his mother. None of them got more than one dance, and most gave out sighs of despair when he took Herald-Trainee Lynn for a dance twice in a row.

After that, he managed to find himself with a little breathing room.

“I’m sorry about that.” He told Lynn afterwards as they walked off the floor and the Bards announced a short break before they would begin playing again.

“Glad to help, oh my darling Prince.” Lynn said as she fluttered her eyelashes like one of the worst of the Court maidens and Dalen groaned.

“Now don’t you make me force you to make an honest woman of my little sister!” Paet laughed as they joined him and Bart.

“Oh give off, Paet.” Bart laughed. “She’s not your sister, and what would her dowry be, a big white horse that can’t find its way off the obstacle course?”

“Hey, Wylma is not just a big white horse and it wasn’t her fault we got disoriented on the obstacle course!” Lynn huffed at Bart while slapping his shoulder.

“Watch out, my friend, she hits!” Bart laughed as he danced back a few steps.

“You better watch out before one of those manly men of the court over there mistakes your Tayledras costume for a dress and pulls you onto the dance floor!” Paet teased Bart who glared at him before straightening his robes.

“I will have you know that…” Bart started to say but cut off as a commotion at the far end of the Great Hall drew their attention. As the crowd drew back, it quickly became clear that the cause of the commotion was a riderless Companion standing just inside the great double doors. “Someone should tell that Companion that just because Companion Gwena got away with it, the Seneschal does not like hoof marks in the wood floor.”

“Oh no, oh no.” Dalen kept murmuring as the Hall grew quiet and all eyes followed the Companion who was walking slowly, and carefully, across the wooden hall directly towards Dalen and his friends. His two Trainee friends, already Chosen, stepped backwards as the Companion drew nearer and nearer. Dalen was switching from denials to cursing at the timing of this while the Hall filled with whispers. Oh yes, these Companions loved to make a splashy show just like all these damn courtiers who would be talking about this for generations! It was bad enough that this moment was come at last, but did it have to be in front of everyone?

Oh do shut up, dear. A feminine voice said deep in his head and Dalen felt his mouth start to fall open as he met those gleaming blue eyes of the mare. When it is time for a Companion to Choose, she makes her Choice. I always knew royals could be self-centered, but you take the cake.

What do you mean? Dalen demanded of her mentally while Bart started giggling aloud at them.

Just commenting about how you seem to think that I am here for you, just because you’re a mage and a member of the royal family. The Companion said in a very acerbic tone.

Don’t forget that it is his sixteenth birthday and it is his party you’re crashing!” Bart managed to get out between his giggles and a sudden sense of relief washed over Dalen as he realized what this was all about. The Companion just winked at Dalen and turned to face her Chosen directly. Dalen wasn’t sure what passed between them, but he took great pleasure in the look of pure shock on Bart’s angelic face quickly followed by pure joy. Dalen wasn’t even a lingering afterthought in Bart’s head as he walked out of the Great Hall with his new Companion.

“Well.” Paet said with a harrumph. “Now that is not something you normally see at a birthday party.”

“No, it isn’t.” Dalen agreed as his knees grew weak with relief and the din of several hundred people talking all at once filled the room. He couldn’t help but notice the measuring looks many of them were giving him. Some seemed satisfied that Dalen had not been Chosen, but there were several more who gave him looks that said very clearly they were wondering if something was wrong with him that he wasn’t Chosen.

“I thought he didn’t have any gifts.” Lynn said with confusion. “You can’t be a Herald without at least one Gift.”

“Well maybe his are just very weak.” Paet observed. “Don’t worry, we’ll know eventually.”

“He’s been going through a growth spurt recently.” Dalen said softly as he kept his eyes on the doors through which his friend had so recently passed.

“For a moment there, I was worried.” A deep, familiar voice interrupted their conversation and Dalen turned to see the King standing nearby. “Believe it or not, Dalen, but I was hoping that Companion was not here for you.

“Really?” Paet exclaimed in shock and then blushed when he realized he was talking to the King. “I mean, uh, really, your majesty?”

“Yes, Trainee, really.” Rothar said with a gentle smile. “My cousin here is needed in Burnham, and his being chosen just now would complicate things greatly.”

“Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.” Paet said with blushing cheeks.

“Believe me, I didn’t.” Dalen said firmly.

“I hope you are not too put out that the talk of your birthing day celebration will be that your friend was chosen and you were not.” Dellinar said gently as he joined them.

“No, of course not.” Dalen almost snorted. “I’m happy for him.”

“I think his father will be overjoyed as well.” Rothar added. “Adept Firkin sent him here hoping his son would fit in better here than he did in the Vale, and I would say that based on tonight’s events, that was the right decision.”

“If you will forgive me, I believe we have a new Herald-Trainee to get situated.” Dellinar said with a smile for the King and a clap on the shoulder for Dalen before turning and leaving the room through another side door.

The bad thing about having a Court birthday party in your honor was that it was next to impossible to sneak out. What made it worse was the continued consolation by various courtiers that he had not been chosen. By the time he could make a graceful exit he was quite ready to strangle a few of them.

“A pity the horse was not here for you.” Lord Prager said with an arched eyebrow when he’d finally managed to approach Dalen alone.

“I was relieved, Lord Prager.” Dalen’s voice brooked no argument from the man and he moved off before the man could say another word. Worse than Prager were the simpering fools who though he must be heartbroken to not have been Chosen.

“I am relieved, actually.” He told one of those simpering fools who was also using the chance to push her daughter at him. “Lady Murbella, there is so much to do in this kingdom as it is. If I had the duties of a Herald on top of them, I would never sleep or find time to marry.”

“Oh really!” The Lady in question fluttered with a non-too-discreet look over at her daughter who was giggling with a gaggle of other young Ladies.

“If you will excuse me, I believe the King would like another word.” Dalen said with a bow of his head to the notable Lady, whose most famous achievement was going three days in a row without tripping some unsuspecting court fop into her bed.

“Did you just use me to get out of Lady Murbella’s clutches?” Rothar asked with a chuckle as Dalen walked up to him, effectively chasing away some minor noble who was obviously bothering the King with some silly matter.

“Don’t tell me you’d rather I call whats-his-name back over here?” Dalen retorted and the King laughed gently.

“Oh dear, if you did that I’d have to tell him you were harboring a secret crush on him.” Rothar countered and Dalen glared at him. “I know, I know, you’re not shaych.”

“Are you kidding me?” Dalen asked him. “Why would I want to be shaych? I’m already haunted enough by my damn ancestry. If it isn’t the references to Vanyel Ashkevron, it is that damn Firesong k’Treva, who seemed to trip every Bard he could find into his bed while he was in Valdemar. They point out how I’m a damn descendant of that Vanyel Ashkevron, and like both of them, I’m powerful. Next thing, if they thought I was shaych, they’d think I was one of them reborn, or god help me both of them in one damn body!”

“It’s not your fault you’ve also inherited all their reputed good looks as well as their magical power.” Rothar chuckled and Dalen fumed slightly. This was not how he expected his sixteenth birthing day to go.

“See what I mean, your majesty?” Dalen growled at the King. “If they thought I was full of unrequited love for, oh say Bart for instance, they’d just start making up all these gods-awful ballads and then expect me to spend the next ten centuries as a spirit in the Forest of Sorrows defending Valdemar from all evil!”

“Oh my.” Rothar said with wide eyes. “You know, I think we’ve finally hit on the root of the problem.”

“Not you too.” Dalen growled at the King. “I’ve had Silentstorm and now Dellinar telling me I need to reflect on my inner fears and all that crap and I’m sick of it. Thank you for the dinner, the party, and I hope you enjoyed the entertainment. Good night, your Majesty.”

“Good night, Dalen.” Rothar said quietly as Dalen stormed out of the hall.

For his part, Dalen was furious as he stormed through the Palace, not even aware of the sparks of mage energy that erupted with his spikes of anger. The guards in the corridors noticed, and stepped back when the sparks came close to them, but otherwise remained as expressionless as possible. It was obvious something had upset the young man, and they were certain it had something to do with the fact that his friend had been Chosen instead of him.

“Hi.” Bart’s timid voice when Dalen stormed into his own rooms at the Collegium brought his mounting anger up short. His friend was already dressed in the gray uniform of a Herald-Trainee and had a sheepish smile on his face.

“Oh, um, congratulations.” Dalen said as he stared at his friend. He had to admit that his friend did look good in the uniform. “I – um, I’m not mad at you.”

“I didn’t think you were.” Bart said softly.

“Um, shouldn’t you be with your Companion, or in the Herald’s Wing?” Dalen said uncomfortably. As happy as he was to see Bart, he would rather be alone at this moment.

“Her name is Wren, and she said I should see you before I went to sleep.” Bart said in a rush, and that silly smile was on his face again, the same smile after he realized he’d been chosen.

“It’s a nice name.” Dalen said as he bit down the sudden spike of jealousy that came up when Bart’s smile was still on his face.

Men! An exasperated female voice sounded in his head and Dalen wondered what the hell Bart’s Companion was doing speaking to him. Companions were only supposed to talk to their Chosen and other Companions, except in emergencies.

“She’s kind of outspoken, I’m finding out.” Bart said with a shrug of his shoulders and Dalen found himself laughing. It was the first genuine laugh since the Companion came into the Hall, and he found himself relaxing ever so slightly.

“Tell me all about her.” Dalen said with a smile as he gestured for Bart to sit in an armchair and took the one next to his friend. It had been a long night, but he was prepared to spend the rest of it talking to his friend instead of sleeping. Besides, it would be a long time before he saw Bart again.

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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Chapter Comments

Heh. Dalen protests too much and Wren can see into the boys' hearts. I'm really enjoying the twists.

 

I wonder if Bart's Companion will be able to safely "force" Bart's gifts to levels that they're supposed to be? Time will tell.

 

Finally, I'm beginning to think that Dalen's mother isn't as bad as Dalen thinks she is. I bet she's caught up in the coming storm as well.

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i think so as well about the mother. i am kindda angry at dalen on how narrow minded he is when dealing with his mother and about the whole getting chosen thing. He is slowly starting to piss me off.

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On 01/23/2013 11:32 AM, Rebelghost85 said:
Heh. Dalen protests too much and Wren can see into the boys' hearts. I'm really enjoying the twists.

 

I wonder if Bart's Companion will be able to safely "force" Bart's gifts to levels that they're supposed to be? Time will tell.

 

Finally, I'm beginning to think that Dalen's mother isn't as bad as Dalen thinks she is. I bet she's caught up in the coming storm as well.

Dalen does protest a bit much - but I think he's starting to explore the reasons for his feelings and protests more than ever before. As for Bart's gifts, bonding with companions will enhance what is there - but not all Heralds need strong gifts.
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On 01/23/2013 03:38 PM, itachibones said:
i think so as well about the mother. i am kindda angry at dalen on how narrow minded he is when dealing with his mother and about the whole getting chosen thing. He is slowly starting to piss me off.
I have rarely met a teenager who doesn't piss people off from time to time. Dalen's no different in that respect.
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It's difficult to have a destiny, especially if it's not one that's wanted. Unfortunately, Dalen is going to have to suck it up and accept the greatness within and the destiny that it comes with.

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