“Do you know why Saint Mirin is called a saint?” My uncle asked with a captious smile.
Curly black locks bounced around Lumia’s small horns as she shook her head. As a dragon, she wouldn’t have much reason to learn about elvin saints, but I was still surprised that Lumia didn’t know the answer.
“That’s an easy one,” I began, then cleared my throat. “She was the first elf with magic strong enough to defeat a dragon.”
Lumia’s eyes popped at my words. “Is that true?” she asked, “Was there really an elf that could fight dragons?”
My uncle nodded. “There was,” he said to Lumia; then, turning to me he spoke sharply, “but that isn’t why she was called a saint.”
“I wasn’t finished!” I said, my voice coming out unintentionally whiny. I cleared my throat again. “She killed the black dragon lord and ended his reign of terror.”
“Are you done?” Uncle asked.
I nodded. Surely that was the answer. Mirin did a lot of good things in her life, but none of her other accomplishments compared to slaying the black dragon.
“You’re wrong again, Silvon.” Uncle's smile disappeared. His smooth forehead creased with lines, and the points of his ears dropped. “If this is the state of your education, I’m worried about where our kingdom is headed.” He frowned.
My heart sank. I was so sure that was the right answer…maybe I should’ve paid more attention to lady Melissa’s history lessons.
“Well then, why is she a saint?” Lumia asked.
Uncle rubbed his beard as he answered. “Good question, young one. I’m afraid the answer is quite disappointing actually. She was sainted for being beautiful.” He paused briefly, letting the words hang in the air before he continued. “Along with her powerful magic, the matriarch of the royal bloodline was also gifted with bewitching beauty. They say her hair was like gold, and she possessed a silver pair of irises…” uncle raised a hand towards her statue. “…she was truly a goddess come down from heaven. That was the belief anyway.”
“Wow, she must’ve been gorgeous.” Lumia smiled.
“And you will be too, when you grow up into a big strong dragon,” Uncle said with a wink.
Seeing how Lumia’s eyes sparkled at his words, I wished I had been the one to say them. Instead I grumbled, “That’s dumb! Who would make someone a saint just for being pretty?”
“The same people who choose their kings and queens based on how closely they match her image.” He retorted with a gesture to my head of half gold hair. “Your mother was blessed with a few gold strands, but had she been born as I—with none—then perhaps they’d have found someone among the civilians to rule.”
I couldn’t argue with him there. It was a practice I didn’t fully understand, but it was true that despite being older my uncle had been denied the throne simply because my mother had a mix of gold and white hair while my uncle did not. I doubted the second part of his statement though. I didn’t think they’d pick someone random off the streets to rule even if both of them had been born plain.
Uncle Vale didn’t usually comment on the issue, but I suspected some part of him was resentful.
“Silvon…” uncle called, drawing me back from my thoughts. He was standing near the entrance to a hidden passage that led to the holy sanctum with Lumia at his side. “I seem to have forgotten the key.”
“Seriously?” I groaned. “I only came because you said you would show us the eidolon.”
“I know, I know. We wouldn’t want to disappoint our illustrious guest either.” he smiled as he gently patted Lumia on the head. “Could you do me a favor, Sliv; go and ask Riona—I mean her majesty, for the key.”
I nodded and ran to find my mother. It was already after noon, so she would’ve been done with audiences for the day. Since it was talusday, she wouldn’t have meetings, but with high lord Andrhei visiting, it was likely she’d be entertaining him.
Usually our visitors were more interested in learning about elven methods of enchanting, or the secrets of magical construction. As such they’d often only seek only a brief audience with the Queen before heading to the artisan district, but not High Lord Andrhei. Whenever he’d visit, the dragon lord would insist that my mother accompany him on a tour of the royal library or a visit to the magic academy. It was unusual, but in this situation it helped to narrow my search.
The library was closer as it didn’t require leaving the palace so I went there first.
Vorlin was leaving as I arrived with a young girl named Clair hot on his heels. She was feisty and a bit of a teacher's pet, but for all her pining, Vorlin never gave her special treatment.
“Your highness.” Vorlin bowed as I barreled past him.
I nodded my acknowledgment and kept going.
The library was the largest room in the castle with the ballroom a close second. If I had to use ordinary means then it’d have taken me an hour just to search each level. Fortunately, Silvia had taught me a trick that would eliminate the need.
Upon entering the library, I closed my eyes and extended my senses through mana. Monitoring the fluctuations in the ambient mana, mages could detect other nearby mages. Someone as powerful as Lord Andrhei would surely be able to hide traces of his presence, but he was proud and confident—dare I say arrogant even. Mana was usually calm, but around him, the particles were charged and wild. No one, but a dragon, would let their power leak so carelessly; however, thanks to his presence, I found my mother in a matter of minutes.
I raced up the central spiral to the second level then took a left at the second book shelf and there they were.
Lumia’s father paid me no mind, but my mother gasped as I darted up to her. “Silvon, is something wrong?”
I shook my head. “No, uncle just forgot his key to the holy sanctum. He promised to show us the eidolon, so he asked me to come borrow yours.”
Her lip twitched and the brow above her left eye dipped. She was bothered by something, but she handed me the key without further questions.
“Thank you.” I said with a slight bow.
“You’re Welcome Silv.” My mother smiled, “I’ll come join you, once we’re done here.”
“Okay,” I nodded, then hurried back to the saint's glade through a secret stairwell, obscured behind the throne.
Before reaching the end of the saint's descent, I knew something wasn’t right. This was a holy place and yet I sensed immense darkness down below. I pressed on faster, tripping over my feet and nearly tumbling down the rest of the steps.
The glade where Mirin’s statue stood was soaked with blood and the air was harsh. My uncle and Lumia were nowhere to be found, but the door to the holy sanctum was open.
Someone must have found uncle's key and come here hoping to steal the eidolon. But why hadn’t uncle stopped them?
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