Sword's Edge Excerpt
by L. S. King
She took the key from around her neck and held it out, its glow illuminating the dim chamber. Alcandhor struggled to his feet, holding his side and shouting, "Haladhon!" And, after a moment, louder, "Haladhon!"
Light spilled in as the door opened.
"What is it?"
"Get in here and close that door."
The latch clicked and Haladhon gasped. Tam looked from one to the other in confusion.
"Tam, hold the key in your hand, please," the Thane said.
She did so and the key glowed even brighter.
"By all the Bells in the heavens and the two moons," Haladhon whispered with reverence.
"What does it mean, Uncle? What is wrong?"
Alcandhor sighed with a relieved smile, sitting back down on his bed. "Nothing is wrong. Nothing." A burden seemed lifted from him. Haladhon clasped his cousin's shoulder and sank down next to him.
"I do not understand," Tam said.
"Give me the key, Tam." The Thane held out his hand. She did so and the light diminished.
"It is barely glowing at all!"
"Back away, Tam," Haladhon whispered.
She did as he said.
"Now blow out the candles."
Again, she obeyed. Hardly any light came from the key.
"It was the same with Valdhor, was it not?" Haladhon asked.
"Aye. It glowed for him as for me, very dimly. You hold the key, Haladhon."
"No light at all, Thane," Haladhon said, his tone blithesome. "Further proof I should never become Thane."
"Hush. Now, Tam, slowly walk toward us."
As Tam came to stand before Haladhon, the key began to glow slightly.
"By all the Bells and stars," Haladhon murmured.
"Now hold the key again, Tam," the Thane said.
She took it and the glow became bright—brighter than many candles. Tam trembled. What caused this?
"Have you ever seen that?"
"I have only read about it. How long has it been, Haladhon?"
"You are more well read than I am, Thane. You know not?"
"Please, Uncle, tell me what is happening."
"'Tis too long to explain in one night," the Thane said. "When this crisis is over and we are back at Zaidhron, we must begin your studies of the Enaisi and eventually go to the Enaisi's Portal Complex nearby."
"But what does this mean?"
"It means, my dear cousin,"—Haladhon leaned forward, elbows on his knees, his eyes shining—"that you have the blood of the Enaisi in you."
Fear gripped Tam's insides as she stared, frozen, at her uncle and cousin, clearly seen by the light of the key.
"I...what?" she whispered.
"Her father taught her little of the Enaisi, I think, Haladhon," Alcandhor said. "Tam, do not be alarmed. 'Tis a rare thing these last years to find a Child of the Enaisi—someone who can cause a key to glow."
"But, how does this happen?"
"Oh, stars, Tam, it is too complicated to explain. Keys, like this one, were created by the Enaisi—they called them bio-crystals. They react to the bio-electromagnetic field of an Enaisi, or of one who has certain of their genes. Know you how we came here?"
"Only that the Enaisi brought us here."
"Aye. They saved us when our world was dying. Some of them stayed here and lived among us. And married into our clan. 'Tis what makes Ch'shalna clan unique, separate from all other Teldheri clans."
Tam swayed, light-headed. Haladhon pulled out a chair and pushed her into it, telling her to breathe deeply. She could not. Her breath came in quick puffs. Haladhon took her by the shoulders and stared into her eyes. "Breathe slowly, Tam. Control."
Her father's word. Control. She closed her eyes and fought to master her body with slow, deep breaths until the light-headedness left. ... Tam sat, looking at the strange, alien thing shining in her hand. After what seemed an eternity she whispered, "What does it mean, Uncle? Why is this important?"
"'Tis a symbol and a sign, Tam. For those reasons alone it is important. I have hope it may mean more, but I will not speculate yet."
© 2014 L. S. King
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