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Herrin sat down reluctantly and Tryls looked at him.

“Have you ever been to Jesälla?”

Herrin nodded. “Fair enough place. A lot of your folk there, as I recall.”

Tryls smiled. “Yes. It is my home land, and some say it is the ancestral home of all Nittalfar. Like most of the land, however, it is ruled by your kind and we serve them.”

He paused, steepling his fingers before his face. “Some years ago, the ruling family was replaced in a vicious, bloody coup. The entire line, from the eldest grandfather to the youngest babe in arms, was believed slaughtered.”

Herrin frowned. “I’m sure I would remember if I had heard or read anything like that.”

“Indeed,” Tryls said with a heavy sigh. “But history is written by the victors. The story was… changed. The new rulers were painted as heroes, and faked artefacts were produced to prove their right to the throne. Their predecessors were quietly forgotten.”

Herrin sat up with a grin. “And that is what the Sebrimor objected to in your lessons to his daughter! You were telling her the truth!”

Tryls looked down, abashed. “She is to be betrothed to the Emeha, the next in line to the throne of Jesälla. I thought it right that she know the truth about the family she is to join.”

“Right. Fair enough, I guess I would have told her, too. But what has all that got to do with Mirra and that damned horn?”

Tryls looked around anxiously. There seemed to be nobody around but the pair of them and the horses, so he continued.

“The new Emeh thought that he had rid himself entirely of his predecessors. He was wrong. One child, a babe of less than two months of age, was taken away by a trusted servant. She was brought far away and entrusted to the care of strangers who knew nothing of her heritage.”

Herrin blinked and gaped. “You don’t mean…”

Tryls shook his head slightly. “I cannot be sure. There are… certain marks but it would take a certain level of intimacy to know of them.”

Herrin looked thoughtful. “Marks? You don’t perhaps mean, say… a mark like a little red star on her-” He trailed off and indicated the location with a gesture. Tryls stared at him.

“By my ancestral fire,” the elf whispered. “Then it is true. She is by birthright the Emihi…”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: To be continued!)

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