The Sorceress – Chapter 8

Stev had been waiting impatiently for the full moon to rise. As it did and its rays poured through the windows, Alisande began to stir. Slowly her eyes opened, empty and glassy. Her husband was already by her side, holding her hand.

“Welcome back, Alisande,” he said with a sad smile.

“Where am I?” the girl asked.

“At the castle in Carrock.” She nodded, but he could tell that she had no idea where that was.

“I had a dream,” she began in an almost childish voice. “I saw a little boy in a big bed in a dark room. He was a prisoner and so was I. He didn’t know my name.”

“But I do,” Stev whispered. “I know your name, Alisande.”

“No, no, that’s not it.” Her voice was uneven. Suddenly she screamed, writhing in the bed, as if some pain assailed her. Her husband tried to comfort her. As quickly as it came, the pain was gone and she stared at him angrily.

“How dare you touch me!” she snapped. “Who are you anyway?” His jaw dropped open and he staggered back. Slowly the enchanted girl rose out of the bed.

“It’s me, Alisande, Stev, your husband...” She cocked her head to one side, as if thinking.

“I don’t have a husband,” she finally snapped. “Get out before I call the guards.”

“No, Savoy said you musn’t be left alone for even an instant,” he fired back, his worry slowly letting his temper go. “Get back into bed.”

“I’m up and I’m staying up.” She crossed her arms and stared at him angrily. “You don’t even know who I am.”

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I — “ her face suddenly fell and she gaped at him. “I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.” Tears began to form themselves in her eyes. “My God, I don’t know who I am,” she whispered and sank onto the ground, sobbing. “Who am I?” it was a cry for help. Stev Pulleny stood there, unable to think and unable to move, watching his mad wife silently. When would the spell break?

• • •

Roanna had carefully drugged the children that evening before sending them to bed. It was important that they didn’t wake before dawn, when the spell was gone. At least the one over Alisande was strong enough to keep her from remembering and it was a good thing that the pesky shade was not in the castle walls at the moment. But for that matter there would be many more wandering the lone halls. She had come to know and fear some of them. They were dangerous. That was why she stayed in her small room during this time. They could not touch her here. This was the only safe place. The children would be left alone, uninteresting to those beings of the mist that once had been human. She could already hear the sad sighs and cries from the corners of the dark building. The last months she’d taken a dream voyage on the night of the full moon, escaping these walls. Now she was cut off from the great hall, where the one place was where she could separate her spirit from her body and go riding the wind, away from Damrok’s night of ghosts.

Suddenly she sat up straight. One of the cries had been very close to her door. She shuddered. There was little that could scare her, but those shades, those spirits of old could. In the same instant an uneartly light began to glow in the room in front of her and a man in full armor was standing there. A five-fingered claw was on his chest. His visor was shut and he held a bloody sword in his hand, the point touching the ground.

“Roanna of Dell Cairn,” came a deep and ominous voice from inside the armor, “I have come to warn you. It is the last I may do. You are near destruction. If you do not heed my word and free the children in this night, you will fall under the hands of the Watchcarer.” That remark drew a grin from the sorceress.

“The Watchcarer?” she snickered, trying to cover her uneasiness. “The Watchcarer is dead. I defeated her and killed her myself. You must be joking, shade.”

“The Watchcarer can and will return, Roanna of Dell Cairn. And when she does, you will die.”

“Who are you, shade?” the sorceress demanded slowly rising, her fear was slowly giving way to anger. One hand went up and opened the visor.

“Sean Welling,” she gasped. The man who’d been her first teacher and who’d taken her virginity. “You!”

“Yes,” the shade answered, closing his helmet again. “I was destroyed many years ago by a Scholar. It now is your turn, Roanna of Dell Cairn, and you will experience the pain and solitude of these halls. You will be banned to the room of mirrors, where you will die. Until we meet again among the shadows, Roanna of Dell Cairn...” And suddenly she woke, sitting up, noticing light from beneath her shutters. Slowly her chest heaved up and down. It was only a dream, only a dream, she whispered to herself. The night was over. The children would be waking soon. She rose and looked at her shaking hands. No, she must control herself, she would win. No shade would destroy her and much less the Watchcarer. She would destroy them all and take the throne of Carrock. With that she rose and brushed a hand through her hair, not noticing that it was now completely white.