Ah, Mary Riley but everybody calls her Boston, there are more secrets to be revealed. It isn’t the fact that she is in love with Roland, the Elf, That is a secret even a child could see. The Sybil called her Little Fire, but not just because she had short, red hair.
The Sybil got back up on her pony and had Roland help Amira up so the girl could ride with her. Roland and Boston remounted to follow as instructed, but the Sybil paid them no attention at first. She turned her pony back the way they had come, right out of the village, through the farmland, and right back up the hill to the cliff face border, all the while whispering to Amira like she was already beginning her time of instruction.
One of the defenders rode off as they arrived. Several men were walking back down the far side of the hill to the open field. They could see the army of men still arrayed there, a hundred or more, and Boston and Roland wondered what had transpired. They did not have time to ask. The women defenders were too busy bowing their heads to the Sybil and to the elf, and checking their defenses, and the Sybil spoke.
“Come.” She led them to a place aside where they could sit among the rocks, face each other and still keep an eye on the men in the plains.
“You are betrothed?” Amira spoke up as soon as they sat and the Sybil hushed the girl and in a kind way scolded Amira for speaking out of turn while Boston and Roland looked at each other for a long second.
“I haven’t asked her,” Roland said.
“I haven’t asked him either,” Boston agreed.
The Sybil instructed Amira. “It is not always wise to say everything you see. You cannot see their faces or the language of their bodies so it will be especially hard for you. You are young. You see the love in their hearts, and know it is true and it is exciting and, um, romantic at your age. I understand. I was young once myself, believe it or not. But you must understand that it is not your place to make decisions or to use what you see to manipulate others. You must never be the decider. The goddesses will be very cross with you if you try to decide or control things or make them come out the way you want. We have a Queen who decides. That is her place. And people must make their own decisions for their own lives. You keep your thoughts to yourself.” The words were sharp, but not cruel.
“I’m sorry,” Amira responded, and she sounded like she meant it.
“Besides, that is not what we are here for.”
“Why are we here?” Roland wanted to change the subject. He glanced at Boston and saw that she agreed with him.
“We are here for the magic,” the Sybil said. “Amira.” The old woman waited for the young girl to speak. Amira paused first, like she wanted to get it right and not say too much or too little.
Amira covered her eyes with her hand as she spoke which said to Boston that the girl could perceive light and dark, and the light might be interfering with her vision. “There is a man of magic among the men down below. You are the only two people of magic among us right now. We ask if you might be willing to, inter…”
“If you might be willing to interfere with the man’s magic so the events that take place below may happen without interference.” Amira uncovered her eyes and smiled.
“It is not the way of the elves to intrude in human events,” Roland answered. Boston had another thought.
“I don’t have any magic.”
“But you do,” Amira blurted out. “It is more than enough, and I feel it.”
“Amira!” The Sybil scolded again and the girl fell silent. The Sybil turned to Boston. “I understand in your world magic is considered foolishness. In you it has been blocked by many things, but mostly by your own thoughts and words. Your, um, preconceptions.”
“No, you don’t understand. I tried to do magic when I was a little girl. I couldn’t do anything. Even after I saw what Alexis could do, I still couldn’t do anything at all.” There was the sound of desperation in Boston’s voice, like she would give anything to be able to do magic.
“The truth is magic comes with maturity, like the strength of the elect. I understand in your world by the time people are mature magic is considered a childhood fantasy. The pressure to be adult is overwhelming and even seeing magic with the evidence of your own eyes, the mind’s way is to invent some reason to explain why she can and you can’t.”
“Like reminding yourself that Alexis was once an elf and that must be the source of her magic,” Roland interjected.
“By the time you were old enough, you were convinced that magic for you was not possible.”
“You mean?” Boston did not finish the sentence. She thought quietly for a second before another thought crossed her mind “But what about you, don’t you have any magic? Can’t you take care of whatever it is you need magic for – that man?”
The Sybil shook her head. “It is forbidden for a seer to practice magic. It is also forbidden for an elected one. The gods are very careful about not concentrating such power in one person’s hands, and would be swift to punish any who try to defy those boundaries.”
“But.” Again Boston did not finish her thought before she had another thought. “What can I do?” She had no confidence in the matter.
“By yourself, right now, nothing. It is up to the elf. He alone has the power to unblock you and he can teach you all that you need know about the ways of magic to exercise your power.” The Sybil smiled at the elf.
Roland felt trapped. He responded with a frown which he turned first on Amira, though she could not see his face. He turned the frown to the Sybil and spoke. “It is also forbidden for elf kind to be involved in the events of women. But you knew I would do this thing for Boston. I don’t think I like you.” He did like the Sybil and thought Amira was precious, but the Sybil had the good sense not to correct him.
Roland put out his hand, and for the first time Boston hesitated. She looked the elf in the eyes and found some reassurance there so at last she settled her hand comfortably in his and closed her own eyes. After a moment she began to glow very softly in a fire yellow, slightly orange color. She could not see the man or the field or anything like a seer, but she sensed the dark power not far away and with Roland directing, she set her firelight up against that power like a wall. Roland cheated and added a bit of himself to the wall just to be sure. That power seemed very dark.
The wall wavered and nearly fell completely as horses came by. Boston looked and saw it was Zoe and Katie. Chloe was riding with Iris. They were going down the hill and out to the field. But then Boston closed her eyes again and concentrated and the wall became firm. She still had her doubts, but could not help thinking about pulling rabbits out of hats for real.
Avalon 2.4: Fight to the End … Next Time