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Wychlaran part 1

The boy had been proud on the day they came for him. It had been three years since his particular talent was first noticed and he had done his utmost to develop it since then. They all kept telling him how special he was, how unique. How he would be able to benefit them all. The praise felt good, as did the admiration. He wanted more. And so he spent almost every waking moment at practice, constantly stretching his limits. There were others like him, true, but they were girls. Their training was mostly the same, but it was silently understood that they would use it in different ways. No one had said what he would do afterwards, but it had to be important. And as he performed the exercises over and over again he promised himself that he would make everybody proud.

The spellbook was a brand new one, its pages crisp and clean, its glossy black leather covers still unmarred by sticky fingerprints, scorch marks or spilt spell components. It even had that intoxicating smell unique to new books, the one that even the dullest of textbooks possesses before you are actually forced to open it. So far every single page was empty except for the first one. Childishly rounded letters painstakingly crawled across the page, accompanied by a few random ink blots.

' This Spellbook belongs to Edwin Odesseiron' it read. 'Odesseiron Mansion, 12 Newt Eye Road, Pyarados, Thay, Faerun, Toril, The Multiverse. If found, return to owner. If you try to steal it the owner will come to find you.' Below this ominous prediction there was a drawing of a monster that looked like a cross between a giant octopus, a hairless monkey and a sword spider. It was quite a good drawing. The eyes of the monster almost seemed to follow the reader around the room. If eyes they were. It was a bit hard to tell for sure. The writing beneath this hideous beast read ' Yrkpthuurllhr, the Eater of Souls and Punisher of Book-thieves'

Young Edwin Odesseiron thoughtfully chewed on the tip of his quill. The drawing still lacked that certain something, the final touch to make it perfect. Quickly he sketched in a few mutilated corpses sprawled at the many feet and suction cups of the monster. Yes. Much better.

"Not bad", said a voice directly behind the boy. "Not bad at all. You have some natural talent." Edwin started and quickly turned around to see his teacher leaning over him. Vadrak Dekaras, the Odesseiron House assassin and tutor was a tall and lean man in his early thirties, with sharp black eyes, and an overly long nose that made him resemble a watchful carrion-bird. A raven perhaps, or a crow. As always his clothes were a solid and uniform midnight black, from his boots and leggings to his tunic and the ever present black cloak with its myriad of hidden pockets. The effect this had was that his face seemed to be floating freely in mid air, since his body was almost totally invisible against the dark red of the curtain behind him.

"Yes", Dekaras repeated, a slightly sardonic grin on his face. "Quite a good effort. But there is something missing, I believe. May I?" Without waiting for a response he took the quill and drew a very realistic wizard kneeling at the feet of the monster, an expression of utter horror on his face. "That", Dekaras said, "is to remind you never to use a high level summoning spell without first taking care to be adequately protected. Had he drawn a correct pentagram he wouldn't currently be waiting to be eaten alive."

"Will I get to summon real demons one day?", Edwin asked eagerly.

"That would depend on your ability to stay alive long enough and on your ability to master basic spells. Speaking of which…" The assassin produced a few spell scrolls from within his cloak and handed them to his pupil. "Your next assignment", he said. "These are all spells suitable for a beginner. Since your Mother gave you that spellbook I thought it fitting that you should also be able to use it for something other than a sketchbook."

Edwin eagerly took the scrolls and leafed through them, his eyes glowing with anticipation. "This is so great!", he exclaimed. "Thank you, thank you so much!"

"Don't thank me yet, boy", the assassin said. "This is where I expect you to start doing some serious studying. You must be intimately familiar with each spell before you even attempt to copy it into your spellbook, or you will surely fail and the scroll will be lost. And then you must memorize the proper incantations and gestures for the spell you wish to store in your memory and learn exactly how to open your mind to a spell. Expect a lot of hard work before you manage to cast your first one. These are basic spells, but still a lot harder than the cantrips we have been studying so far."

"I don't mind", Edwin gleefully said, almost bouncing up and down on his chair. "I'll show you! I'm going to be the greatest wizard in the whole world! When I've learnt these, then will you teach me how to conjure up demons?"

Dekaras gave him a suspicious look. "Exactly why do you want to conjure a demon?", he asked.

"Well…to do my bidding I suppose. At least that's what all the stories say wizards use them for."

"I see. However, there will be no demonic assistance in regards to your homework. I suggest you get started with it without further delay. Silently."

Two hours later Edwin's hair was sticking wildly out in all possible directions, the result of much frustrated pulling. His hands and face were smeared with ink, but the spellbook remained as empty as before. "It won't work", the boy complained, not for the first time. "Why won't it work?" He was quite red in the face by now and almost in tears. The small piles of dust that covered the work table were all that remained of the precious scrolls.

"You are too impatient", Dekaras calmly stated. "You will not be able to scribe the spells unless you properly understand them. And even then the actual casting may very well be beyond you. Also, you try too hard. You must be calm before it will work, your mind focused on the spell alone."

"But I want to do magic now!", Edwin pouted. "I always have to wait for everything, and I'm tired of that. I want to be a Great Wizard!"

"And I want to retire to a pleasant little cottage somewhere, with a vast fortune and an empty 'to-do-list'. Possibly take up bee-keeping. Pleasant as planning ahead can be, we all must live in the here and now. Right now that involves us going shopping for some more scrolls, and this time I think we'd better get three of each kind."

It was already late afternoon when they reached their destination, 'Madam Morgana's Magical Emporium'. Madam Morgana herself was an elderly little old lady of a Red Wizard who handed Edwin a lollipop from the tin she kept on the counter as she wrapped up the new scrolls for him. The sweet went a long way towards improving the boy's mood, even if he still was disappointed in his earlier failure. He licked it cheerfully as he followed his tutor through the broad streets of the Inner City, now quite certain that his next efforts would be successful. By now the sun was beginning to set and the shadows were lengthening, minute by minute. As they entered the still and leafy darkness of Conquest Park Edwin found it more and more difficult to make out the dark shape of his teacher amidst the other shadows. Dekaras noticed this and slowed his pace accordingly, allowing the boy to catch up. And so it was that they were walking at a slow and deliberate pace when they came upon the two women, allowing them to spot them first, without being seen.

Two women were walking along the gravel path, both of them proud and regal looking. One was old, with snowy white hair that almost glowed in the dark. Heavy shadows obscured her deep-set eyes and firm mouth. The second woman was younger, dark of skin and hair, and obviously deferred to her elder. They were both dressed modestly, but not poorly, and they were conversing in whispers. A pace behind them walked a large man with a sheaved sword slung across his back. He scowled ferociously at the encroaching shadows, as if to dare any possible assailants to make themselves known. The muscles, the weaponry, the confident stride, all of them declared him a bodyguard.

Edwin watched them idly, much more intent on his lollipop than on these passing strangers, and so he was entirely unprepared for what happened next. Without further warning he suddenly found himself yanked off the path and behind a large rhododendron, his teacher's hand firmly clasped across his mouth while the other still held his shoulder in a death grip. Dekaras' entire body had gone rigid, and as he watched the two approaching women Edwin could feel the grasp on his shoulder tighten convulsively to the point where it was almost painful.

Wychlaran!, the assassin uttered in an almost inaudible whisper, containing a strange mixture of hate, surprise and - apprehension? That slight hesitation scared Edwin more than any demon from the Nine Hells could have. He had no idea what was going on, but whatever it was it had to be bad if it could make his tutor react like this.

"What have you been able to learn?", the older woman asked her companion.

"Not much, Othlor", the other admitted, her dark braids slipping across her shoulder as she shook her head. "Frankly, I do not believe there are any here. There would have been rumors, surely?"

"Perhaps. Perhaps not." The old woman paused, inspecting something on the ground. "But I know what is here. A vremyonni."

"That cannot be!" The dark-skinned woman's voice went louder with disbelief, her mouth forming a stunned 'O'. She immediately checked herself, respectfully lowering her eyes. "Forgive me, Othlor. I intended no disrespect."

"Your surprise is understandable, if impertinent. This is a rogue vremyonni. One who…refused. That in itself is extremely rare, almost unheard of. But this one also managed to…disappear. You may know this one better under another name."

The younger woman's voice shook as she answered, the whites of her widened eyes suddenly starkly visible against the midnight hues of her face. "Not the Wrai…" She fell silent at her companion's raised hand. The old woman was bending over now, picking something off the ground.

"That is the one, yes", she said. "So you had better watch your tongue. But this time the predator will become the prey, chased from its secret den to meet justice at last. I have heard some interesting rumors during the time we have spent here…" She studied the object in her outstretched hand, and Edwin froze as he recognized his lollipop. He must have dropped it. "Interesting", the old woman said to herself. "Very interesting." She raised her head, and almost seemed to be sniffing the night air. "Perhaps…But no. Too many shadows about." She smiled, a small and secret smile, and walked off, her companions trailing along behind her.

"Who…who were they?", Edwin whispered as soon as he was certain that the strangers were no longer able to hear him.

Dekaras did not answer immediately. His stance shifted subtly, like a snake coiling itself to strike. "Trouble", he said, his voice grim. "Serious trouble." He was still staring at the path where the two women had disappeared. "Much as I should like to determine their whereabouts", he murmured, seemingly oblivious of Edwin's presence, "that will have to wait. It would be unwise to rush into anything without proper preparation unless absolutely necessary." He gave Edwin a sharp look. "We must get you home at once", he said. "Your Mother will be getting worried."

The rest of the walk home was an uncomfortable affair. Dekaras kept scanning the surroundings, staring intently at every shadow as if he expected something to leap out them at any moment. When Edwin asked what he was looking for the assassin curtly told him to be silent and not attract unwanted attention. Edwin walked in silence after that, clutching his new scrollcase with its precious contents tightly to his chest and nervously trying to look in ten different directions at once. The fact that he had no idea what he was looking for did nothing for his confidence, as his imagination readily supplied him with a plethora of horrible monsters, every single one of them ten times worse than its predecessor

As soon as they reached the Odesseiron Mansion Dekaras purposefully made his way towards the Parlor of Mirrors, paying no outward attention to the fact that Edwin was still trailing along after him. Edwin entered the room on his tutor's heels, trying to stay unobtrusive. The Parlor of Mirrors lived up to its name. A relatively small room compared to others in the Mansion, it contained some comfortable chairs, a few polished tables with fresh flowers and expensive ornaments and a deep blue carpet decorated with a thousand glittering stars. The mirrors were everywhere. Large and small, oblong and round, dim or shining, they decorated every single available piece of wall. And on the tables were the smaller hand-mirrors, .all of them as unique as their cousins on the walls. Some, if not all of these mirrors were said to be magical, and part of a great collection created by some ancient Odesseiron ancestor with cold eyes and bushy gray eyebrows whose portrait was the only one allowed into this room. Unfortunately he had taken the secret of how to work most of them with him to his grave.

Elvira Odesseiron was sitting on one of the couches, her shapely legs curled up beneath her. She was dressed in a deep red dressing gown, almost the exact color of her Red Wizard robes, and her black hair had been gathered into a single braid. Unlike many of her colleagues she had never succumbed to the fashion of shaving her head, much preferring to look the best she knew how. A small glowing ball of light hovered over her right shoulder, providing her with sufficient illumination to read the heavy tome resting on her lap. As she closed it with a sharp snap Edwin saw that the title was 'How To Utterly Crush And Humiliate Your Enemies For Fun And Profit'. "Where have you two been?” she asked, looking annoyed. She then noticed her son's pale face. "Something is wrong", she said in a flat voice. "Tell me at once."

The assassin didn't answer immediately, pausing to pull the door shut behind him. "There are wychlaran in town", he said, his eyes cold with barely suppressed fury. The strange word still meant nothing to Edwin, but his Mother instantly got to her feet, the book falling forgotten to the ground. She had gone very pale.

"Not looking for…” she began.

"Only as a secondary target, I dare say", Dekaras answered. "Still, it is extremely unfortunate. I must leave at once."

"Leave?" Elvira hissed, her dark eyes flashing dangerously. "What do you mean 'leave'?" The glowing ball of light swelled in size and turned a deep red.

"Surely that is obvious?" the assassin asked, raising an eyebrow. "My presence here is currently a liability. I will not have them come here looking for me, placing you in jeopardy."

"So you would rather make a target of yourself for all to see? Let them hunt you down in the streets like a dog? Is that it?"

Edwin shrunk back towards the wall as the two adults faced each other. The air between them almost seemed to be giving off sparks.

"Of course not", Dekaras snapped, his normally respectful mode of address crumbling like a broken mask. "I have contacts throughout the city, you know that. I will be perfectly fine. Please show a little faith in my abilities."

"Why should I?" Elvira retorted. "You don't seem to have much faith in mine." By now the red orb was pulsing in an alarming way. "How dare you imply that my magic is insufficient to deal with those vagrants!" Her eyes widened in sudden surprise as the assassin grasped her wrists.

"Perhaps it wouldn't be", he snarled into her face. "But are you prepared to gamble your life on that chance? Or that of…your son? I am not."

The wizardess' mouth tightened at that, but her eyes softened a bit. "You are right", she said. "Go then. Send word if possible."

The assassin stepped back and let go of her wrists, that mask of calm detachment settling back in place. "I will", he said. "Thank you, Mistress." He bowed to Elvira, gave Edwin a brief nod and walked out the door, closing it behind him. Elvira stared at the door for a moment, her black braid almost lashing like the tail of an angry cat. And then the magic orb crashed into the door, exploding in a million angry red sparks.

"Damn you", Elvira whispered in a low voice. "Damn you for being right again." She sank into the chair again, staring into empty space.

"Mother?" Edwin asked, almost in tears. He had no idea what was going on, but he knew it had to be very bad. "Mother, what's happening?"

"Oh, my darling", Elvira said and opened her arms. "I'm so sorry." She pulled her son onto her lap, clutching him as tightly as if she were afraid he would suddenly be snatched from her. "I can't tell you", she whispered. "There is so much I can't tell you. Too many secrets. But it will be all right. I promise." Edwin tried to believe. But deep down inside he was still very much afraid.

When they finally told him what they intended the boy refused to believe it at first. They couldn't really mean that, could they? They couldn't mean for him to spend the rest of his life doing that. But no. They all meant it. His parents, his aunts, his grandmother. They had known from the very beginning, and they saw nothing wrong with it. Rather they thought it a great honor, something to be proud of. So why couldn't he feel the same? Why did the very thought of a life like that fill him with terror and despair? He could almost taste the long and dreary years ahead, the loneliness, the enforced servitude. And the taste was bitter in his mouth, bitter as wormwood, bitter as the betrayal by all those who had claimed to love him.

Edwin deliberately relaxed his grip on the quill and calmed his breathing. The page of the spellbook was still blank. He needed his mind to be the same, empty of all the useless thoughts that occupied it. Calm, white and empty like the page, except for the one thing that mattered. It was a small glowing pinprick of light at first, but it grew and took shape inside his mind. That curve, yes. And then the wavy line, flowing like water. Then the intersection. Perfectly formed the runes floated serenely inside his mind, looking exactly as they should. Almost of its own accord they left him, channeling themselves through his arm. He couldn't feel the quill move, but as his eyes came to focus on the page he saw the spell written down in full with not a single mistake.

"Yes!” Edwin exclaimed. "It worked! It really worked! I'm a real wizard!" He jumped off his chair and strutted around the room, puffing his rather unimpressive chest out. "All you big demons and gods had better watch out", he hissed in a sinister whispering voice. "For I am Edwin Odesseiron, the Archmage. Wearer of the Robes of the Archmage and the fabulous Staff of the Magi. Wielder of spells to rival those of the gods themselves. In fact, I think I'll challenge the gods and become one myself." Then the rasping whisper became to much for his throat and a violent coughing fit brought him to his knees, gasping and wheezing for air, his eyes streaming. "One Magic Missile spell written down", Edwin told himself as soon as he could speak again. "It's a start." He grinned happily at the thought, but soon turned somber again.

After a week of grueling practice he had finally managed to scribe a spell and his teacher wasn't there to see it. As a matter of fact Dekaras had been neither seen nor heard from since that evening when he had left. What could be taking so long? Surely he would have sent word by now had he been able to? And if he wasn't able to, what could be bad enough to prevent him? Edwin had always taken great comfort in the notion of his tutor's infallibility. The thought that maybe there was a danger somewhere out there too great for him to handle was immensely frightening and made Edwin feel as if the very foundations of his world were crumbling. Adding to that, there were the nightmares. Haunting images of the ancient old woman swum across his sleeping mind. Her face was wise, her eyes sharp. They held no pity and her smile felt like talons digging into his heart. Shuddering at the memory Edwin tucked his spellbook under his arm and went to show his latest accomplishment to his mother.

Elvira was in her study, a great heap of books and scrolls in front of her on her desk. She smiled when she saw her son enter the room and congratulated him after he had shown her his new spell.

"You use much the same principles when memorizing the spell", she explained. "But you must promise not to cast it without adult supervision. If it backfired you could get hurt."

"But Mother…"

"No. No casting on your own. Promise me."

Edwin sighed in defeat. "Oh, all right", he said. "I promise, I guess." Then he thought of something else. "Mother?" he asked. "Have you heard from Teacher Dekaras yet?"

Elvira's eyes became guarded. "Yes", she said slowly. "Only this morning. Everything is fine." Her gaze briefly flicked towards her desk. Edwin expected her to say something more, but she remained silent. "Now run along and play", Elvira said, sounding a little absent minded. "I have much to do."

Edwin thought about trying to wheedle some more information out of his mother, but decided against it and obediently left, heading for the Great Parlor instead to think things through. Something told him she wouldn't be forthcoming. On the other hand, perhaps there was another way of getting what he wanted. On that desk there would be valuable information, he was willing to bet on that. Now if only he could get his Mother out of the way… Edwin mulled the problem over for a while, as he lay on the thick carpet in the Great Parlor staring into the fireplace where the flames danced cheerfully. There had to be a solution. All he had to do was to find it. Eventually, he did. The idea came to him, fully shaped and beautiful. Edwin grinned, dark eyes flashing with sudden delight at his own cleverness. Yes, that would work. He set off at a near run to find his Father.

Galen Odesseiron was a skinny, vague looking Red Wizard who owed much of his current prosperity to the inheritance left by his father, and much of his influence to the fact that his brother Homen was the current Tharchion of Surthay and so not a person to be needlessly offended. His thought processes were reminiscent of the life cycle of a tick. They would latch onto a subject with single-minded obsession and refuse to be budged. When fully bloated with blood they would then let go and wander off in search of a new victim. In other words, he was a man who had had more hobbies than there were stars in the sky, each one more disastrous than the one before. The current one was painting. While he wasn't very good at it, at least it wasn't noisy and did no real harm, so his family had chosen to let it die from natural causes. Galen was standing in the middle of the downstairs hallway, frowning at his easel. The masterwork seemed to portray a large green blob, a smaller yellow blob, and a cluster of red blobs.

"Hello, Father", Edwin said as he approached. "What are you painting?"

Galen looked up and after a moment or two recognized his offspring. "Well, hello there, son", he said. "Don't you recognize it?"

Edwin hesitated a guess. "Is it a frog and some ladybugs?" he asked.

"No", Galen said, his voice a bit sullen. "I call it 'Tarrasque with Sun and Roses'. I thought that was obvious."

"Oh", Edwin said, privately thinking that he could have painted a much better Tarrasque himself. "Sorry. I can see that now." It still looked like blobs to him, but he didn't think it prudent to say so. Unfortunately his mouth had other ideas. "Yes", it said, "if I squint my eyes real hard the blobs sort of meld together into a Tarrasqueish shape. Sadly, so do the roses."

Galen seemed on the verge of a sharp retort, but then he sighed. "I don't know", he said. "Perhaps I'm just not cut out for this. Maybe I should try something else…"

This was it. Feigning nonchalance Edwin spoke up. "I heard sculpture's what all the really great artists do", he said in an innocently helpful voice. "And a statue lasts much longer than a painting anyway, plus you can make it really big so everybody can see it from far off." He smiled inwardly at the fanatical gleam that suddenly filled his father's eyes.

"Of course!" Galen exclaimed. "That was a very clever idea. Why didn't I think of that myself?"

"Don't know, Father."

"Yes, I can see it all now. A sculptural masterpiece! An image in everlasting stone of the greatest wizard who ever lived."

"Who, Father?"

"Myself, of course. No time to waste! Now where does one get hold of a lot of stone quickly…"

As Galen went off muttering to himself about granite and marble Edwin ran as fast as he could towards his Mother's study and then lurked behind the potted plant standing next to the door. It wasn't long before he saw one of the servants hurriedly come charging up the corridor and then knock on the door. After the man went inside there was about half a minute of silence and then a loud explosion, followed by Elvira's voice.

"He did WHAT?" she screamed. The door crashed open and Edwin saw his Mother stride out like some rampaging warrior woman. "Dump rocks on my carpets will he? I'll show him. There will be only so much dust left of him when I'm done."

The servant limped after her as fast as he could, his hair burnt clear off his head. "And Mistress", he added, "the Master snatched the rocks out from the foundation of the Old Bridge, and I'm afraid the Tharcion's consort's carriage was passing on the bridge at the time and…" Elvira uttered a few words that she would have bitten her tongue off rather than say out loud had she known her son was listening. As soon as she had turned the corner Edwin swiftly sneaked inside the study that had been left unlocked by his Mother in her hurry.

Edwin congratulated himself on this brilliant execution of his cunning plan. Now to find that letter… The room was dark, but he neither dared nor had time to light a lamp. He'd always had good night eyes though. He hurried around the desk and started leafing through the papers on top of it. There were spell scrolls, an old Necromancy book, customs accounts and a lot of other things that made no obvious sense to Edwin. He kept glancing nervously towards the door for fear of his Mother entering and finding him here. His heart was beating so fast it felt like it was about to pound itself out through his ribcage. I wonder if this is what being a burglar feels like, Edwin thought. Still no sign of a letter. A horrible thought struck Edwin. His Mother had been anxious to keep the letter from him. Suppose she had burnt it? The fireplace was cold now, but there had been a fire earlier. Hardly daring to look the boy turned towards it fearing to find paper ash. Seconds later he was crowing with delight and digging a small and white object out of the fireplace. The letter had in fact been tossed into the fireplace, but happily enough it had got stuck beneath the end of a hard old log that hadn't caught fire yet. Edwin paused only to make sure that it was his tutor's handwriting before hurrying away from the scene of the crime and back to his own room.

The letter was brief and to the point, with a couple of words blotted out by soot and ash. It wasn't signed, but Edwin had seen his teacher's handwriting enough times to be able to recognize it. It usually tended to say things like 'Erroneous grasp of subject' or 'Ten points deducted for sloppiness' This letter was very different.

Am currently staying at SMUDGE Nest. Plenty of ravens about. Undertaking investigation of subjects' whereabouts. Difficult so far. Must be cautious, subjects are highly dangerous and are, after all, SMUDGE and also likely to be trying to turn the hunt around. Am therefore working undercover and with the aid of an associate, the one who left this letter. She is trustworthy, as far as such things go, but do not attempt to contact me here. Too dangerous. Will attempt to finish this up quickly.

P.S. Do not let the boy see this letter. Better that he know as little as possible of these old debts

Edwin read the letter over and over, trying to comprehend it. Something dangerous was going on, that much was obvious, but he couldn't understand what. It must have something to do with those two strange women in the park. Who were they? What did they want? Why had his tutor reacted so violently to their presence? For that matter, where was Dekaras? The Nest, whatever and wherever that was, when not out in the streets looking for…somebody. And who was the 'associate' who had delivered the letter? Far too many questions and far too few answers. But perhaps one or two could be answered by looking carefully at the known facts and thinking about them. He had managed to scribe a spell after all. He could manage this as well.

The Nest. That rang a bell. What had it been? Yes! Edwin excitedly pushed his black hair out of his eyes to read the sentence over again. Something about the word 'ravens' tugged at his memory. A year or so ago he had overheard a whispered conversation between two of the cooks, concerning the rumored existence of the Assassin's Guild. Everybody knew there were assassins of course, but it was an official sort of secret. And rumor spoke of assassins banding together in a Guild, having hiding-places all over town and possibly even a secret headquarter. It was only whispered about, but it was said to be called 'Ravens Nest' as a reference to ravens being birds living off the deaths of others. It all fit together. Where else would an assassin go to ground?

Edwin congratulated himself on figuring this out. It didn't help much, since he had no idea where the Nest was, but it was a start. And the 'associate' had to be another assassin, hadn't she? Suddenly Edwin had a thought that made him go cold all over. If he could find this woman, then he could find the Nest and find out what was going on. Perhaps he could even help. And she had delivered the letter here. Somebody must have seen her, perhaps even seen where she went afterwards. Yes. He could do it. He was sure of it. Assuming he wanted to trail an assassin to find another assassin in a place no doubt full of assassins. Dekaras had warned his Mother against trying it. But she was an adult. He was a child. He wouldn't be seen as a threat. And Edwin knew that most adults tend to underestimate exactly what children are capable of.

The boy remembered the hurt and confused looks on his family's faces the most. They had been so proud of him moments before. And then he had opened his mouth and spoken the words that had condemned him forever in their eyes. How could he refuse to serve, they no doubt asked themselves. How could he put his own wellbeing, his freedom, and his life ahead of his society's? And the faces of Them, of the Others, had been even worse. Shocked, yes. Outraged, yes. But some of them also looked strangely pleased. As if they were looking forward to what was to happen now.


Wychlaran part 2

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Last modified on , March 2 2003
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