Home > Dryad-Born (Whispers from Mirrowen #2)(19)

Dryad-Born (Whispers from Mirrowen #2)(19)
Jeff Wheeler

Erasmus pursed his lips. “And so you have been told.”

“More than told!” Lukias said defiantly. “I have helped lead the investigation into his crimes. I have known Tyrus of Kenatos for many years. I have seen these records myself. I know Tyrus’s handwriting. I am an expert on the Paracelsus order and their rituals. Do you know how many books were in his tower before it exploded? How much knowledge was disintegrated in an instant due to his pride and reckless ambition?”

Annon’s temper flared white-hot. The flames in his fingers began to swell. “The entire Paracelsus order was formed around the slavery of spirit beings,” he said angrily. “The lights that power your great city shine because they are beings trapped into servitude!”

“Spare me these Druidecht sensibilities,” Lukias answered patronizingly. “There is no servitude or bondage. It is only because you do not understand the principles of matter involved that you scorn it. In the past, the Druidecht developed superstitions to explain forces of nature. You are jealous because you do not understand the truth. Wayland is a backward kingdom in every sense. You know nothing about it.”

Annon stepped forward. Khiara shot him warning look. “I have been to Kenatos, as you well know. I have seen this imprisonment with my own eyes. I visited my uncle’s tower. I took a blade from a Preachán in Havenrook, one that had been constructed by a Paracelsus, and released the spirit trapped inside. Does your ring tell you that I am lying?”

The Rike looked at him with a preposterous expression. “You believe what you want to believe. What you have been trained to believe. Mirrowen does not exist. It is a fool’s legend to bind a fool’s mind.”

“You condemn yourself with your own logic,” Erasmus said. “What do you know but what you have been told and trained to believe?”

Annon nodded firmly. “My mentor was a wise Druidecht. He said that there are many men who wished to deceive, but not one who wished to be deceived. Since they are unwilling to be deceived, they are unwilling to be convinced that they have been deceived.”

“I know that precept,” Lukias responded flatly. “I tell you, boy, that you have been deceived. I can feel the passion in your words and can discern that you have not knowingly told me any falsehood. Your attempt to stop the Plague is misguided.”

“Why is that?” Annon challenged. “What does the Arch-Rike say causes the Plague?”

Lukias looked at him with disdain. “It is obvious to anyone with a mind for research that the Plagues are caused by bad air. And it does not require an oracle to predict that Havenrook will be the next kingdom to succumb to it. You have traveled there yourself and can vouch that it reeks of corruption and insufficient means to drain away its own excrement. The Arch-Rike knows this and has begun making preparations to replace the trade routes. The Romani are part of the corruption and have long violated even the most basic laws of commerce. Yet I am certain you would say that the Arch-Rike is overseeing the fall of Havenrook. Wisdom often appears as evil to those who do not have it.”

Annon shook his head. “I see how powerful he is in persuading his own followers. Truly, your mind is imprisoned as much as the spirits.”

Lukias chuckled. “There are no spirits, boy. What you have been taught is a tradition, nothing more. Even your power over fire, in the end, will be understood after sufficient research is complete.”

Nizeera, Annon thought forcefully. You must help me persuade him.

With pleasure, came a soft, purring reply.

“You say that Mirrowen is a hoax,” Annon said. “You are convinced that there are no spirits being imprisoned by the Paracelsus of Kenatos. Not only did I learn this from my uncle, but I learned it from another Paracelsus who quit the order and became a Druidecht. I learned it from Drosta.”

Lukias’s eyes widened with concern. “He is dead.”

Annon approached him. “He and my uncle were friends. They were like-minded. Drosta forged a weapon for the Arch-Rike, a blade known as Iddawc. I have held it in my hand. I have heard its whispers through the talisman I wear. Believe me, Lukias, that the spirits of Mirrowen are real. There’s one in this very room with us.”

Lukias smiled sickly. His expression exuded doubt. “I will not fall for your superstitious tricks, Druidecht. I must have evidence. No one but the Druidecht can see these beings. That is the very nature of deception, is it not?”

“Not all spirits are invisible,” Annon replied. “Some take the form of birds or insects. Some are as tiny as pollen. But there are others more powerful. Nizeera, welcome our new companion. He travels with us to Basilides.”

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