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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Fantasy · #2164231
A sorceress banished by magic is now free and returns to a world in chaos chapters 1-12
Return of the Banished Sorceress

Chapter One

Maeyon stood bare-footed on the sandy beach looking out at the ocean. The moon appeared briefly between the dark clouds casting a rippling reflection over the sea. A brisk breeze blew whipping her shoulder-length silvery hair back over her shoulders. On a clear day, she could make out the continent of Athmador. Not this day or night, however, on this day a storm brewed over the sea that would herald the end of her banishment after five long years. They feared her, the ones that banished her here to this island because she was more powerful than any sorcerer or sorceress living.

A different kind of storm raged across most of the continent of Athmador since her seclusion. A war started by her people that to was another reason for her banishment. Now, most of the sorcerers that banished her here were dead, killed in the war, at last, she would be free. Maeyon watched the storm clouds gather once again shrouding the moon, the sky darkened, and the wind grew in strength. Rumbles of thunder followed by flashes of lightning briefly lit the darkness. The lapping waves no longer caressed her toes but crashed upon the shore in a tumultuous heaving mass of water and foam; almost knocking her off her feet. The spray drenched her through to the skin. She stood her ground holding her head high; arms outstretched as she embraced the elements. The moment neared out to sea she saw a light. A ship bobbed on the stormy seas tossed about like a cork. She watched its progress at it struggled to stay afloat and ride the storm.

Just a little nearer..., nearer, a little more--- “Now!” She shouted defiantly into the wind, gathering the fury of the elements that surrounded her. Maeyon channelled the energies through herself and focused on the floundering ship drawing it nearer to the shore. Nearer still the vessel came until she could see men struggling on her decks. Drawing deep on her powers, she made one last pull. The ship lurched forward with the cracking of timber finally beaching in shallow water between rocks. Maeyon retreated to the cave that had been her home as the storm battered the island. Tomorrow she would be able to return to the land she called home.

Waking before dawn Maeyon felt the last threads of the spell of banishment unravel. She gathered the few belongings she had and cast a spell of illusion on herself; to all appearances, she now looked older with black hair and fair skinned instead of white hair and brown skinned. She waited and watched amongst the palm trees out of sight as men scurried about making repairs to the ship.

Maeyon knew they hoped to have the vessel ready before the high tide. As she watched, two longboats launched, tying ropes between them and the ship to help pull it free. She spotted the captain stood to oversee the sailors at work. At a distance, he appeared a tall, lean man with a dark beard she had met the type before. She noted that he kept turning to look inland warily as if expecting something or someone to appear from amongst the trees. Maeyon decided it was the time to make her move before the captain became overly suspicious. She stepped out from the trees clutching her few belongings close to her as she lurched forward her steps faltering a sailor spotted her he pointed calling out; all eyes turned to her

“Please help me, its been so long since I have seen another soul,” Maeyon began, in a trembling voice. “I feared no one would ever come to my rescue and I would die alone here.” She, stumbled falling on the sand and hoped she wasn’t overacting. Two sailors rushed to her, helping her to her feet. She thanked them profusely as they lead her to the captain who still supervised his crew, occasionally shouting orders or hurling abuse when one of them made a mistake. He gave the odd glance in her direction as the men brought her to him. He stopped and looked her over suspicion clearly showing in his expression then nodded coming to a decision.

“What is your name woman? How are you marooned on this island?” he asked carefully watching her reaction.

“My name is Mia; I’m sorry I can’t seem to remember how I became stranded here or for how long,” she said thinking that loss of memory was a good way to avoid unwanted questions. The name wasn’t entirely a lie she had been known as Mia once by those who were close to her. “I guess I must be suffering from memory loss,” she concluded.

“We have a healer onboard; he can take a look at you to make sure you're suffering no ill effects from your time on the island.” He paused scratching his beard. “Maybe you have had a bump to the head which caused your loss of memory. The healer may be able to help with that too,” he said gesturing for the men to take her on board the ship.

"Thank you, Captain, you're a good man,” Maeyon said and meant it. She could tell from the start the captain was a stern but honest and fair man who made his own decisions without being influenced by others. Some of his crew though looked at her with suspicion a lot of seamen believed in luck, she knew, and a lone woman on board ship was considered an ill omen by some.

By the time the healer finished examining her the ship was successfully re-floated and at full sail towards the mainland. The captain gave her the passenger's cabin opposite his. Maeyon stayed in the cabin most of the journey only occasionally leaving when she needed. The voyage uneventful, with calm seas; on the third-day land appeared on the horizon. By late afternoon the ship prepared to dock. Maeyon sat in her cabin going through the few belongs she brought with her. When they banished her, to the island, they allowed her a few things to take. Her scarlet gown one of the trappings of her former status as a court sorceress. A pair of sturdy sandals, a brush, a few other items for her sanitary needs and clothing. Also, a piece of jewellery although she didn’t know it got mixed in with her belongings. At least she could sell the jewellery for food and other essentials when she disembarked. Maeyon reached for the sandals putting them on when there was a knock on her cabin door.


The captain entered as Maeyon stood he looked down at her bag catching a glimpse of the red gown before Maeyon could move to cover it. He nodded to himself turning his attention back to her.

“We will be docking in a few minutes,” pausing his eyes fixed on hers. “Still can't remember anything?”

Maeyon hesitated, she wanted to tell him everything then thought better of it. “No,” she replied with a shake of the head.

He breathed in and let out a slow breath, looking down a moment before fixing his gaze on her again. “Well then, I want to thank you in any case.”

Her eyes widened in surprise. “Thank me... for what keeping out of the crew's way?”

His mouth curled in a tight smile, “No, for saving my ship and crew. Without you, we would’ve been at the bottom of the ocean now.”

Maeyon dropped the illusion that hid her identity so stunned by the captain's statement. She suspected he might have suspicions the way he acted on the island but thought her illusion had convinced him otherwise. “Maybe your ship was just a way and means to get of the island for me.” Testing how he truly felt about her.

“There is that, but I think you would’ve saved the ship regardless,” he paused. Maeyon was surprised how calm he remained knowing that he faced possibly the most powerful and feared sorceress alive. “Besides you wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to convince me you were a harmless castaway when you could’ve used your power and demanded we take you off the island.

“You mean I did all that for nothing!” She shook her head then started to giggle girlishly; something she hadn’t done in a long time.

A broad smile, crossed the captain’s face, then he frowned. “You know not everyone agreed to your banishment; there are those that heeded your warnings and may well welcome you back."

Maeyon felt a lump in her throat swallowing as emotions washed over her, impulsively she took the captain’s hand clasping it in her own. His was a calloused hand that had seen much wear and tear and like the captain’s ruddy face weathered with age. Maeyon noted one thing though his hand trembled a little as she held it.

“So he does fear me, at least a little,” Maeyon sighed, she hoped one day to meet someone that would treat her like a normal person and not be afraid of what she was.

“What is your name Captain?” She asked releasing his hand.

The captain spoke with feeling, “Mathius Jones, at your service sorceress,” finally acknowledging her true identity. “You have at least one friend here in me. If you ever need my help you only have to ask."

Maeyon smiled, “Thank you Mathius; it is nice to know I have at least one friend.”

“Have you been to Portsewelde before?”

“Once I believe, before my exile.”

“It's not to bad a place for a coastal city,” he paused frowning. “Do you have any coin for lodgings and the like.?”

“I have some jewellery I can sell though I’m not sure how it got in my belongings,” tilting her head slightly with a puzzled expression.

“Maybe you have a friend you don't know about, wait a moment.” He left as Maeyon stood pondering what he said. She never considered the jewellery might have been placed in her bag by someone who knew this day would come, and wanted her to have some means of sustaining herself. That would mean it had to be one of the six that banished me. Mathius returned with a pouch filled with coin.

“Here for you, keep the jewellery it may come in handy later,” he handed the pouch to her.

“I can’t accept this,” Maeyon began shaking her head. “It must represent a significant amount of your time and hard work to accumulate.” Maeyon tried to give the pouch back, but Mathius stood firm.

“It’s a little something extra I saved for a time of need I will not miss it, and your need is greater than mine. “So no, I will not take it back you saved myself, ship and crew you earned it.”

Once again Maeyon fought to control her emotions and considered how fortunate was she that Mathius Jones’s ship happened to come to her rescue. All she could do was nod her thanks as she tucked the pouch into her waist belt.

The captain straightened almost to attention as he addressed Maeyon. “The Dolphin Inn is a reputable place to stay with excellent food,” he paused. “I suggest you cast your illusion spell again at least until of the ship and away from the docks. There are quite a few Tydorans in Portsewelde,” he paused once more, his expression turning to one of concern. "However, you may not know Susweldia is one of the few free kingdoms left, that tolerates your people since the war and they are not always treated well by some. so be careful.”

“I know some of what has been happening, even though I was confined to the island my powers enabled me to observe at times what was going on in the outside world.”

At this, the captain looked briefly startled; he cleared his throat before speaking. “Well,...Errm. Until we meet again then, I wish you a farewell and good fortune.”

“I’m sure we will meet again Mathius, goodbye for now." The captain nodded turning he left.

Chapter Two

Mathius Jones wasn’t sure how the sorceress would react when he entered the cabin and made her reveal who she was. He feared her banishment might have changed her, that she would be bitter and bent on revenge. He watched her as she walked down the gangplank. She had a youthful naivety when banished which was in part why they were so easily able to entrap her. She was a little older and wiser now, but there was still an innocence about her. He feared that others may yet take advantage of that and use it against her to twist her to their ends.

Maeyon turned around and waved to the captain as she walked down the gangplank onto the quayside. She noticed for the first time the name on the side of the ship and smiled. “The Jezebel.” It seemed fitting. She turned her back to the ship and headed uphill along a narrow cobbled street with white-washed buildings jumbled together on either side. Being careful that no one was around to see, ducked into an alleyway and dropped the spell of illusion. Re-entering the street as herself, she made her way towards the town centre. Spotting one of her people she stopped him asking for directions. Although the man seemed reluctant to talk, he pointed her in the general direction of the Dolphin Inn. After several minutes she found herself entering the busy main street as it began to grow dark. At the same time, as she walked up the main road, a young street urchin hurriedly weaved his way between the people towards her. Eventually bumping into her, he muttered an apology before running off again. Maeyon stopped turning she held a hand out discreetly at waist height and curled her fingers. The urchin tripped and fell scraping his knee before he could get up Maeyon stood over him.

“The pouch if you please,” she said holding her hand out. The boy looked around for an escape route. Maeyon waved a finger at him slowly shaking her head as a few people began to gather. Resigned to his fate the boy handed over her pouch.

“Did this urchin try to steal your money? We should get city watch and have him locked up,” one of the bystanders said.

“No, it's alright I just dropped it... quite careless of me, the boy saw it; he was just about to return it when he fell,” Maeyon explained. The bystanders looked dubious but didn't want to get too involved they dispersed leaving Maeyon alone with the boy.

“Why didn’t you turn me in?” the boy asked getting to his feet, he went to rub his injured knee to find it no longer scraped; he looked up at Maeyon curiously.

Maeyon raised her eyebrows, “What!...Well, I need to find the Dolphin Inn you can show me the way, that will be punishment enough.” She paused “I am rather tired, so if you get me there quickly I may even pay you.” She said, shaking the money pouch.

The boy’s face lit up he eagerly took her hand. “This way lady.".

“What is your name boy?” Maeyon asked as he hurriedly led her along the street

“Sam,” the boy answered. They came to a crossroads Sam, turned left at the corner. A short distance of the main street they stopped outside a sizeable white-washed building.

The hanging sign read, “The Dolphin Inn.”

“Here it is lady,” Sam held out a hand out expectantly.

Maeyon looked thoughtful as she stared at the boy. “I’m not done with you yet,” she grabbed his hand pulling him along as she entered the Inn.

The innkeeper leant over the counter eyeing Maeyon with open curiosity as she approached with Sam in tow. Maeyon thought that she must look no better than the boy in her white cotton dress and sandals. She brushed a strand of hair from her face and regarded the innkeeper with a stern expression.

“I’d like lodgings, I’m not sure for how long, I’ll pay a week in advance,” she held the coin pouch up in one hand; while keeping a hold of the boy with the other. She shook the bag the coin jingling loudly in the quiet..

The innkeeper frowned raising an eyebrow. “Twelve gold for a week,” he said. Maeyon was about to get the coin when Sam, tread on her toes, Maeyon let go his hand looking down the boy slowly shook his head at her. Maeyon immediately grasping the meaning turned back to the innkeeper.

“Six,” She said

“Ten,” the innkeeper replied. Maeyon looked down once more; Sam held up eight fingers. Maeyon smiled.

“Eight,” she said with a smug expression.

“Done, You’ll be putting me out of business at this rate,” the innkeeper said forlornly. He finally looked over the counter seeing Sam shook his head. Sam stuck his tongue out at the innkeeper.

“Be nice, Sam,” Maeyon said.

“Is he with you, cost you extra for his room if he is,” the innkeeper said hopefully.

“I’ve employed him as a guide and helper; he can sleep on the floor in my room,” Maeyon said firmly.

The innkeeper sighed nodding his head. “Mary,” he called turning to look over his shoulder, a portly white-haired woman appeared from a door behind the counter. “We have guests, take them to room three,” he paused, turning back to face Maeyon. “Its one of our best rooms.” He handed Maeyon a key.

“Does it have a bathtub?” Maeyon asked.

“Of course, most of our rooms have bathtubs,” the innkeeper answered proudly.

“I’ll bring your bath water when its heated my lady,” Mary said as they went upstairs

“Do you have anything that the boy can wear temporarily so that his clothes can be washed,” Maeyon said,. Sam looked a bit startled and overwhelmed. Maeyon gave him a stern look, as once again he sighed in resignation of his fate.

“I’ll find something for him to wear and bring his clothes back first thing in the morning, cleaned and folded, my lady,” Mary said.

“Thank you, Mary, you’re too good to me,” Maeyon began smiling. “And call me Mia, I’m no lady to be bowed and scraped to.” She finished. Mary beamed and smiled back.

“Indeed you are not Mia, but I believe you were once, and that you know how a true lady should behave; if only there were more like you,” Mary said shaking her head sadly as she left.

As they waited for the bath water, Sam tried to understand what was going on, ever since he tried to steal from this mysterious lady. He thought back to that moment he bumped into her. Then somehow he tripped and she stood over him, his knee, and now she said he was working for her. It all seemed to happen so quickly, and he felt confused. He was also surprised by how much he already liked her. That made him frown worriedly.

Maeyon noticed Sam’s face turn from wonder to a look of worry. “What is it, Sam not afraid of a little water are you?” she asked smiling the boy reminded her of the brother she once had, now gone forever.


“Call me Mia,” she interrupted smiling

Maeyon swallowed, tears welling up once again, she pondered the fates that brought Sam, like Mathius Jones, into her life at this time. “I know, I can take care of myself, don't worry, you are safe with me.” She held the boy in her arms as tears ran down her cheeks. A knock sounded on the door releasing Sam she gestured for him to open the door. Mary, along with a maid, brought pitchers of water for the bath.

“Why don’t you help with the bath water Sam,” Maeyon said. Sam nodded wiping his tear-stained face. The boy eagerly went to work helping fill the tub. When all was ready, and the two left alone again. Maeyon pulled the screen across, undressing she stepped into the tub. Warning Sam not to peep as she luxuriated in the tub. When she finished, she made Sam get in the tub. To the boy’s embarrassment, she gave him no privacy as she went about scrubbing him down making sure he cleaned himself properly.
“Do I really have to sleep on the floor?” Sam asked later.

“You can sleep on the divan seat near the window,” Maeyon began fetching one of the blankets of her bed. “And don’t get any ideas about sneaking out during the night I’ll know if you try and you don’t want to make me angry with you do you.” She said forcefully, Sam swallowed eyes wide and shook his head.

“Good, now go to sleep it’s been a long day,” Maeyon said stifling a yawn.

Chapter Three

Maeyon woke shortly after dawn, checking on Sam, the boy still slept so she decided to leave him for a while. She dressed putting on a blue dress from her bag. Maeyon considered she needed to buy some new clothes soon. Leaving the room, she closed the door quietly behind her and went downstairs.

“Good morning Mia, what would you like for breakfast?” Mary asked, as Maeyon found a table, She sat facing the door looking out on the street.

“Oh, I’d love bacon and eggs if you have any it’s been a while,” Maeyon said smiling, she could almost taste the bacon and eggs.

“Of course, Mia, I have homemade bread as well if you would like some,” Mary smiled back.

“Ooo,... that would be wonderful, thank you, Mary,” Maeyon said, excitedly. It had been some time since she had a proper breakfast, on the island she lived on a diet consisting of mainly fish and fruit.

As she ate breakfast, Maeyon considered her situation. Many in her position would seek revenge after been unjustly banished. It wasn’t that she hadn’t thought of it either in the five years she spent alone. She had considered it many times in the first year even picturing how she would take her revenge. In the end, she found dwelling on revenge a futile exercise that drained to much of her energy and a complete waste of her time. Besides as much as she had thought of revenge, she didn’t believe she could carry it out; it just wasn’t in her nature.

That brought her back to what she aimed to do now. She had planned to stay no more than a week in Portsewelde before moving on. She longed to return to the island city of Coldar the place she had called home; things were different now though. She needed to be more cautious; she couldn’t go, wondering about trying to put things right as much as wanted to. The continent of Athmador was mostly in chaos. Tydora her people and to her shame had invaded several neighbouring countries, led by the tyrant Poefwen. Now other nations adjacent to those ruled by Tydora were on a constant state of readiness the fret of war never too far away. Tensions were high, and war could break out anywhere. She decided to stay in Portswelde, for now, she needed a base to work from and here was as good as any. Besides she had a troubling feeling that something didn’t feel quite right here.

“I have the boys clothes for him,” said Mary emerging the back room breaking Maeyon's train of thought.

“Thank you, Mary; you can take them up, he should be awake by now; if not you have my permission to tip him out of bed,” Maeyon said grinning. Mary laughed shaking her head as she started up the stairs.

Maeyon noticed two men arrive outside the Inn acting suspiciously they peered in as if looking for someone. She sighed, as she finished her breakfast putting down her knife and fork she waited. A few minutes later she heard Sam come down the stairs; seeing Sam one of the men pointed and they both entered the Inn their stance belligerent.

“Sam, you little guttersnipe what, are you doing here,?” Where is our coin, you should be out working now.” One of the men said as Sam stopped half-way to Maeyon; he started shaking as he saw the two men.

“Get over here Sam, you shouldn’t be bothering these people, I ought to take my belt to you,” the other said, in a threatening manner. Sam hung his head trembling as he started towards the two men.

“Stay Sam,” Maeyon began in a commanding voice making Sam stop in his tracks, even the two men looked startled. Turning their attention to Maeyon. “The boy works for me now he is no longer yours to exploit,” she said staring the men down. The innkeeper and his wife stood behind the counter watching the exchange apprehensively. Mary scolded her husband to go to Maeyon’s aid.

“Stay out of this demon lover,” one of the men said to Maeyon.

The tension in the air palpable as Maeyon suddenly got to her feet pushing back her chair. “I’m no demon lover, and if you call me that again you will regret you were ever born,” she said in an icy tone clenching her hands into fists. The plates and cutlery on the table began to shake as did the table and other nearby tables; dust fell from the rafters as the whole building seemed to shake imperceptibly. Sam went to Maeyon taking one of her hands in his. The shaking began to subside, just as the innkeeper came with a staff.

“This is a respectable Inn we don’t need the likes of you bothering our guests,” wielding the staff. “Get out now before I throw you out.” The way he held the staff made Maeyon think It wasn’t just a handy stick to fend of undesirables the innkeeper knew how to use it.

“Alright we’re leaving,” one of them said, he looked at Maeyon. “So you’re not a summoner good to know,” as they turned to leave

Maeyon turned to the innkeeper with a serious expression. “I could’ve handled them myself,” . “But thank you for your assistance. I’m sorry to have caused you trouble."

The innkeeper frowned troubled as he regarded Maeyon. “I have a feeling that maybe you could have handled it by yourself,” he paused. “Sure you want to keep the boy though it's him that's brought trouble here not you.”

Maeyon put a comforting arm around the boy’s shoulder. “Its both of us or neither."

“They can both stay as long as they wish Harry Denby,” Mary began giving her husband a stern look. The innkeeper sighed and shook is head. “Now what would you like for breakfast boy?” She asked fussing around Maeyon and Sam.

Maeyon sat watching Sam eat his breakfast thinking she had made more friends in Sam, and Mary though the innkeeper seemed a little reluctant she counted him as a friend also. Sam looked up at Maeyon curiously trying to puzzle somethings out in his head.

“It’s true then people like you can summon demons?”

“Yes, but not me, I have never summoned demons nor would I want to."

“Why? I’ve heard they can help you when in trouble and the like.”

“You are wondering if I could have summoned a demon it could’ve seen of those men that were after you,” Maeyon said regarding Sam with a stern expression. Sam nodded.

“Firstly in my case, I can't summon a demon there is a reason why I can’t but not all of my people can in any case,” Maeyon paused. “Second even if I could it takes time; you can’t just summon a demon with the click of your fingers there is a ritual involved, and lastly the summoned demon always exacts a price of the summoner.

“A price? What do you mean,” Sam asked curiously.

Maeyon nodded, “A good question Sam, I see you have paid attention to what I have said,” Maeyon began approvingly. Sam flushed with the praise from Maeyon. “Depending on whether it’s a lesser demon or a greater demon it can ask many things from the trivial to the not so trivial.” Maeyon expression grew grim. “Blood from the summoner, wealth, power or...” Maeyon stopped feeling a sudden chill come over her.

“Or what?” Sam asked rapt in what Maeyon was saying.

“Or the summoner's soul,” Maeyon said in a chilling voice, that made Sam shudder. “Now enough talk about that I haven’t seen much of Portswelde yet you can show me around. I need to buy some new clothes for the both of us,” Maeyon said changing the subject her mood lightened.

“Can I ask one more thing, Sam said considering as they left the Inn and turned on to the main street a while later. Though it was still early, the town already bustled with people rushing about here and there. It had been some time since Maeyon had seen so many people in one place. She was finding it difficult to re-adjust to all the confusion and noise.

“What is it, Sam?” She asked distracted.

“Why are you helping me? I tried to steal from you I’m street thief a nobody, not that I’m glad you did, but I can't see any good reason for anyone to help me,” Sam said looking up at Maeyon.

Maeyon stopped as she regarded the boy with empathy. “Don’t you, I can see more than enough reason, your very words speak volumes to anyone willing to listen with an open mind,” Maeyon paused. “There is good in you Sam; even if you can’t see it yourself, it’s there for anybody with eyes to see.” She paused again smiling in a way that warmed Sam's heart and made him feel safe. “You just have to let it shine through,” Maeyon said brightly, as they started walking again.

Chapter Four

Sam showed Maeyon all the sights and landmarks around Portswelde. Eventually, Maeyon became more comfortable with all the crowds and noise. She bought clothes and shoes for Sam and one or two dresses for herself along with a few other items of clothing for both of them. It was late afternoon when they started to head back to the Dolphin Inn. Maeyon spotted an Apothecary shop that sold scented candles and antiques and other unusual items as well as herbs and spices. She entered the shop noting that the owner was a woman of her race. She had her back to Maeyon, busy arranging some items on shelves..

“I’ll be a moment,” the shop owner said absently without turning to face Maeyon.

“That’s okay we are in no hurry,” Maeyon said. She gave Sam a cautionary look telling him not to touch anything as he looked around the shop. Maeyon breathed in the heady smells of herbs and spices. She sniffed a few of the scented candles she found one or two that she liked deciding she must buy them. The woman finally turned to face Maeyon holding a small glass statuette. Seeing Maeyon, her eyes widened, the statuette fell from her hands.

“My lady Mae—

“I’m Mia,” Maeyon interrupted, catching the statuette in mid-air. She handed it back to the shop owner.

“Oh, I’m so sorry I thought you were someone else,” the woman said. “My name is Susa how can I help you.” Susa placed the statuette on a shelf as she spoke giving Maeyon a sidelong look her hands trembling slightly. As she turned back to face Maeyon, she folded her hands in front trying to stop them from shaking and attempted a smile.

Maeyon, noticing how nervous Susa was, reaching for her hands she held them in her own smiling warmly; “I think we can be good friends Susa don’t you.” Maeyon spoke firmly, slowly nodding her head; she held Susa’s hands until they stopped shaking.

Susa let out a nervous breath and gave a weak smile. “Yes... Mia..., I …I think we can,” Susa said her smile brightened as Maeyon’s smile widened both women looking like co-conspirators.

Sam noted the exchange between Mia and the shop owner his time on the streets had taught him to pay attention to small details. He gleaned from what was said, and how the shop owner reacted she knew Mia from somewhere and that Mia went by another name. It didn’t matter to him; she would always be Mia as far as he was concerned. It dawned on him now also that she must be a sorceress. It explained some of the things that happened since he met her. Whoever she was before, and for whatever reason, she went by a different name then or now. Sam, believed her to be a good person at heart.

“Sam can you take these bags back to the Inn,” Maeyon said handing the shopping to him. “Go straight there; I’ll return shortly I just want to buy some of these lovely scented candles.” The boy left carrying as many bags as he could leaving Maeyon with one bag to take.

“You know he is a thief you might not see him again,” Susa said.

“He was a thief; now he is with me,” Maeyon said.

Susa nodded, “Which Inn are you staying at?” Susa asked.

“The Dolphin Inn, I’ve paid for a week, but I guess I should be looking for a more permanent place to live.”

“A good choice, its one of the best in town,” Susa looked thoughtful. “I might know a place for you and the boy to live.”

“Oh where?”

“Let me think about it a while, come by tomorrow, and we will see,” Susa said looking pensive.

“Thank you, Susa.” Maeyon once again held her hand noting that this time Susa seemed calmer

Maeyon bought several candles that she liked before leaving. She walked back to the Inn lost in thought. She was beginning to find her feet, and she started to, form a few ideas, about how to proceed, but it would take time. Maeyon decided she was in no hurry she could take all the time she needed. Arriving back at Inn she saw Sam busy eating a meat pie while Mary fussed over him.

“I hope you are not spoiling him, Mary,” Maeyon said smiling.

“Oh, shush the poor lad is as thin as a rake, he needs fatting up a little,” Mary replied smiling back.

Maeyon laughed as Mary, asked what she wanted for her supper. A while later having eaten her fill of Mary’s wonderful cooking. She sent Sam off to bed as he looked tired; it had been a long day. Maeyon sat in the lounge looking out into the darkened street. Overhead the moon shone, not long ago she had sat on the island watching the moon; on a clear night like this. In the moonlight, she caught a glimpse of shadowy figures lurking not too far from the Inn. Maeyon sighed as she caught a glimpse of one of the rogues from this morning. She knew they would come seeking revenge for their humiliation this morning but hadn’t expected this soon.

“I’m just going for a walk to take the evening air,” she called over to Mary who was talking to her husband behind the counter. Mary waved as Maeyon went out the door.

She headed straight towards the rogues then stopped noting that there was three of them now. The third man was one of her people, and he had a demon on a tight ethereal leash. Demons come from a different dimension and usually invisible to the naked eye, but their effect on this world felt like a supernatural force. Maeyon, however, could see demons clearly like most Tydorans. This demon was of the lesser kind. She turned heading towards a narrow side street looking back to see the rogues following close behind her. The rogues entered the street behind Maeyon, but there was no sign of her.

“Where’s the bitch gone,” one of them said they looked around bemused.

“I don’t like this,” the Tydoran said. “something doesn't feel right. The demon suddenly railed against the hold the man held on it desperate to escape.

“Looking for me,” Maeyon said suddenly appearing behind them.

The Tydoran commanded the demon to attack, but it was reluctant to move. He used the leash as a whip to force it to attack shouting curses at it. As the devil finally moved to strike, Maeyon raised a hand a blinding light emitting from her fingers; hitting the demonic creature. An unearthly scream issued from it then it was no more. The Tydoran looked shocked then cursing he ran off leaving the other two to face Maeyon.

“You should run like your friend and live or stay and die,” Maeyon said coolly.

They looked at each and laughed nervously to far gone to back down a further humiliation too much to bear as they faced Maeyon. “There is still two of us against you,” one of them said trying to sound confident. He wielded a steel chain adeptly the other had a long knife

The two spread out trying to blindside Maeyon. The steel chain snaked out towards her. Maeyon raised her hand and caught the end of the chain wrapping it around her wrist sparks of energy travelled down the length of the chain towards her foe; the chain glowing white hot. As it reached the man he burst into flames screaming. The second man came at her from the side; she half turned raising her free hand. Her attacker was lifted off his feet and slammed with bone-shattering force into a nearby wall he slid to the ground blood oozing from mouth nose and ears. The one with the chain lay a charred corpse as Maeyon let go dropping it to the ground. She walked back to the Inn feeling tired, with a splitting headache and went straight to bed.

Chapter Five

Maeyon rose late in the morning feeling listless for most of the day. Finally, she decided to go to the apothecary shop to meet Susa. She left Sam to help Mary with chores around the Inn. The afternoon felt cooler than previous days with a breeze blowing off the sea. Maeyon inhaled a deep breath of the sea air, feeling good to be alive as she breathed out slowly. The last night’s events had disturbed her. Feeling better to be out and about once more mixing with people again as they went about their everyday lives. Maeyon needed that sense of normality right now to restore her believe that all would be well. Despite her abilities and outward confidence, within she felt cast, adrift she doubted herself at times, feared that they had been right to banish her, that her power would in the end, corrupt her, turn her from her true purpose. That was one reason why she believed she needed friends around her she could trust to help keep her on the right path. She took another deep breath, casting aside doubts for the moment as she entered Susa’s shop.

“Ah, there you are Mia, I thought you would’ve come sooner.”

“I overslept, yesterday was a long and tiring day.”

“Oh, you are refreshed now?”

“Yes thank you,” Maeyon replied smiling.

“I heard a rumour earlier that the city watch found two bodies today near the Dolphin Inn,” Susa began frowning. “One so badly burnt, nothing remained but blackened flesh and bone.” She paused looking at Maeyon curiously. “Strange isn’t,” Susa concluded.

“Yes, strange indeed,” Maeyon replied with a blank expression.

“Well, anyway I’ll close shop early, and I can show you the house I think you will like it,” Susa said changing the topic.

They walked up a wide hilly street that turned right at the top and abruptly ended. A wide path led off from the road along the cliffside with the sea below. Seagulls flew overhead wheeling about and calling to one and other. The sea breeze stiffened, feeling colder, Maeyon sensed the seasons were on the change, autumn would soon be here.

“So, may I speak freely?” Susa asked a little cautiously As they walked along the path seeing that no one was nearby. They passed houses built under an overhang in the cliffside giving the dwellings shelter against the elements.

“Please do,” Maeyon answered astutely.

“I for one I am glad you are back, like many people I believe in your innocence,” she paused. “In fact, I know as few others do, that you cannot summon demons and the reason why so, therefore, you can't be possessed as they accused you of being,” she paused again shaking her head. “There were some that could not believe you could have such power without the aid of a demon,” she finished.

“Thank you, Susa, you are right of course, I also think that not all were so ignorant but agreed to my banishment partly out of fear or to further their own motives."

Susa nodded, “Yes that is part of it also,” Susa said frowning, “Do you wish still to be called Mia?” Susa asked in conclusion.

Maeyon stopped looking at Susa with a severe expression. “ Yes, I don’t want everybody knowing I’m back yet; there will come a time when I’m ready, not yet though,” she paused reflecting. “Mia is what my brother used to call me,” she stated. Her expression turned to one of sorrow.

Susa nodded, “As you wish Mia,” she said as they started walking once more. The path curved around the cliffside and descended a little before levelling out once more Susa stopped. “Here we are, this was my parents home. We moved to Portswelde when I was a child,” she paused reminiscing as they stopped facing a large villa set well back against the cliff. A white wooden fence surrounded a small lawn with a white gate and path that led to the front door.

“Your parents must have been wealthy to own such a villa,” Maeyon said, marvelling at the grandiose mansion.

“Yes, they were a well-respected business people owning several stores and the bank,” she paused smiling as Maeyon stared in surprise. “I inherited it all when they passed, I don’t own the bank anymore and fewer shops, none less I have still have considerable wealth."

“You are not living here now?” Maeyon asked as they opened the gate walking up the stone path to the door. Susa bent down removing a large rock near the door picking up a she key put the key in the lock opening the door.

“I haven’t lived here since my parents past, too many memories, but now you're here it’s plenty big enough for both of us and the boy,” she paused. “That is if he hasn’t run off by now,” Susa said still not trusting Sam.

They looked around the house deciding who was going to have which bedroom. An idea occurred to Maeyon of a business arrangement which she put to Susa and agreed upon. They would go into partnership together. Later when Maeyon returned to the Dolphin Inn, she felt in a much better frame of mind. She found Sam telling him the news that they would be moving and informed Mary.

“Don’t worry, I will often visit to taste your wonderful cooking,” Maeyon began. “Sam can earn his keep by working for you here on a part-time basis if you wish, just pay him what you think is fair,” Maeyon said.

At this Sam hugged Maeyon delighted, both he and Mary were getting along well together. Mary not having any children of her own treated Sam like a long lost son. They were good for each other and Sam could learn from working at the Inn.

“I’ll be sure to send him home to you before it gets late each day and not overwork him,” Mary said smiling.

“And don’t overfeed him either, if he causes you any trouble, let me know,” She paused smiling then giving Sam a stern look. “You can start next week Sam, be sure to do what Mary tells you,” Maeyon said. The boy nodded solemnly.

“Sam seems to be working out well; I was wrong about the boy,” Susa said looking at Maeyon as she locked the apothecary up. The evening air felt cold, now well into autumn; it had been several weeks now since the three hand moved into Susa’s family home and everything was going well.

“Yes I don’t know how, but I can usually tell when I meet someone if I can trust them or not,” Maeyon paused smiling. “It’s almost like we were fated to be together, You, Sam, Mary and her husband even Mathius Jones,” Maeyon said; although she hadn’t seen the captain since she arrived at Portswelde. They walked along the street still wet from rain earlier in the day.

“Maybe it has something to with your power and your exile heightening your senses in different ways,” Susa said

“Could be, I don’t remember being this way before,” Maeyon paused considering. “So, it’s possible I suppose,” she finished. They came to a bookshop with the light still on most other shops already closed for the evening.

As Maeyon looked across she could see through the shop window, three men be behaving in a threatening manner to the shop owner. Maeyon immediately crossed the street towards the shop.

“Are sure you want to do this now?” Susa asked following Maeyon.

“I can't walk by and let those rogues bully or rob the shop owner,” Maeyon replied reaching the shop door. “Wait here for now,” opening the door she entered. Looking around the shop, seeing books stacked on shelves. Not wanting to damage or set fire to the books or indirectly harm the shop owner she considered the best course of action. One of the thugs had the shop owner by the throat demanding money. Without turning to face Maeyon, he signalled to the other two to get rid of whoever entered the shop. They turned to face her, one noticing her white hair ducked behind a shelf expecting an invisible attack, the other clueless came towards Maeyon.

“I think you've had a hard day robbing people,” Maeyon began He gaped at her bemused. “Time you had rest,” she finished raising a hand. The man fell unconscious to the floor. Maeyon turned to the leader; still holding the shop owner by the collar. He turned to face Maeyon using the shopkeeper as a shield. The third man all but forgotten drew a dagger and sneaked up behind Maeyon.

Susa watching outside seeing the thug sneaking behind Maeyon entered at a dead run aiming a flying kick at the man. Maeyon distracted the leader by levitating and throwing books at him until he let go of the shopkeeper; he slumped to the floor unconscious. The remaining thug grappled with Susa. Maeyon turned, and he keeled over out cold like the other two.

“Thank you, Susa, I was a little careless,” Maeyon smiled.

“Yes you were you should not be so willing to rush in without thinking,” she paused breathing hard. “You can't help everyone.”

“No, but I can try,” Maeyon answered. After making sure, the shopkeeper was okay, they left. Maeyon belatedly noticed Susa had a cut on her hand blood dripped on to the ground. “Susa why didn't you tell me.”

“Its nothing just a flesh wound.”

“Its more than that you risked yourself for me,” Maeyon said taking Susa’s hand she got her dagger out and cut her hand joining their hands, so their blood mingled. “There, now we are blood sisters,” Maeyon announced as she healed both wounds.

“I...I’m honoured,” Susa began shocked. “I will have your back always no matter what comes,” she said bowing her head.

Chapter Six

Maeyon sat lost in thought staring through the window dusk approached, dark clouds gathered. She looked out to sea as waves broke on the cliffs below. Almost a year now since she arrived in Portswelde. Her reputation and influence had grown with the help of Susa, Maeyon now a member of the Merchants Guild attended monthly council meetings of the guild. She met with the governor of Portswelde at a few meetings. A stout pompous little man who dressed garishly wearing gold rings and jewellery that immediately made her suspicious of him being influenced by a demon.

Maeyon could find no other sign around him though; she found it troubled her maybe it was because she didn’t like the subservient little man. She found him annoying especially when he tried to raise taxes on the price of grain. She knew enough to know that the wealthy could absorb the tax and gain from stockpiling while the working classes and the poor would be worse off. She found an unexpected ally in James Sarcon with his support they managed to vote down the extra tax. Maeyon knew that James was a sorcerer she sensed it the first time she saw him sit at the council. He never hid the fact either; he always appeared polite and straightforward she grew to like him more than she would admit. Tall, brown-haired lightly tanned with grey eyes and a small neatly trimmed moustache, always smartly dressed Maeyon knew quite a few women tried to court him, but he only paid attention to her.

“Are you going out with James again tonight?” Susa asked breaking Maeyon’s train of thought.

“Yes, he should be here soon,” Maeyon replied turning to Susa smiling.

“You always smile when talking about him,” she paused. “You like him a lot don’t you?” Susa asked in conclusion.

“Is it that obvious,” Maeyon said still smiling.

“Yes,” she said with a faint frown.

“Why the frown?” Maeyon asked noticing Susa’s expression.

“Well,... Oh, its nothing don’t mind me.".

They sat in silence for a few minutes till a knock on the door Maeyon rose to answer it.

“Have a nice time,” Susa said knowing it would be James Sarcon at the door.

“Thank you. I won't be too late.”

Maeyon walked with James by her side she thought him quieter tonight than usual. She looked up into his grey eyes and longed to kiss him, or for him to kiss her on several previous occasions, they had come close to embracing, but at the last moment he always seemed to back off she found it confusing.

“Is he shy, or unsure of me, surely he must know how I feel about, him maybe I’m rushing things. After all, we haven't known each that long.”

Still, she longed for him to hold her in his arms she couldn’t help feeling this way. Her emotions always seemed out of control and confused when with him. Her heart beat louder and faster she felt hot all over. Suddenly he stopped turning to face her. Maeyon stopped her heart raced her cheeks flushed as their eyes met.

“I have a gift for you, Mia,” he paused reaching into his coat pocket he brought out a jewellery box opening it he lifting out a necklace. “Hope you will wear this for me as a token of my regard for you,” he said holding what Maeyon thought it to be a unique necklace, up for her to wear. The chain seemed a little longer than an ordinary accessory and a bit showy in design. Still, she let him fasten it around her neck as he leaned over to attach the chain they came close Maeyon leaned forward hoping this time they would kiss her heart leapt in her chest but again he pulled away much to her disappointment

“Thank you, James, I’ll treasure this gift always,” Maeyon said smiling as they continued walking along the cliffside the wind blowing her hair. Maeyon wanted to scream and stamp her feet in frustration. "What am I doing wrong, doesn’t he like me? No, it can't be that maybe its because I’m a Tydoran. No.. No it can't be that either why would he want to be with me in both cases damn it, I feel so confused right now,” Maeyon’s thoughts swirled in agitated motion. She felt insecure and lacking in experience when it came to matters of the heart.

Before she realised it they stood outside the villa as the first drops of rain began to fall. She fingered the necklace nervously as she stood facing him. He smiled reaching to take her free hand he leant over and kissed the back of her hand delicately. “You will attend the governor’s ball next week?” James asked pausing to stand straight again as he released her hand. Maeyon flushed her heart leapt once more; it’s a start she thought feeling a bit better. “I apologise now for not being able to accompany you to the ball I have business to attend to first, but I will see you there,” he finished with a questioning look.

“Yes I will be there,” Maeyon answered smiling once more.

“Goodnight then Mia, I’ll see you at the ball,” he said bowing to her.

“Goodnight James and thank you again for the necklace. I ’ll save a dance for you,” she said.

As Maeyon opened the door to go inside, he bowed again turning he left.

The following week past quickly Maeyon tried to keep busy, to take her mind off the upcoming ball. She couldn’t avoid it anymore though tonight was the night. She felt surprisingly nervous and anxious. Deciding to wear a long lavender dress she liked. A colour she always favoured and believed suited her best. Tonight she also considered revealing her real identity but remained uncertain as to what the reaction and possible consequences might be. Feeling about ready she left her room She glanced at Susa and Sam who seemed to be talking in a secretive manner.

“You are home early this evening aren’t you Sam?” Maeyon enquired curiously.

“Yes, I didn’t have much to do today so Mary sent me home early so I could see you off to the ball,” Sam said smiling.

“Oh, that is so sweet of you Sam,” she paused smiling. “You’re just like a big brother to me. Thank you for being here to see me off I promise to behave and not be home too late,” she clasped his hands in her own swinging them side to side and giggled.

“See that you are,” Sam said in a severe tone then not able to hold the serious expression laughed.

“The horse and carriage is here,” Susa said looking out the window. Maeyon and Susa donned warm coats and waved to Sam as they departed. Sam waved them of watching the carriage until it disappeared from view. He went inside and prepared himself to carry out what Susa told him in secret.

The carriage pulled up outside the governor's mansion an impressive white stone building with wide steps leading to a double-doored entrance with marble statues on either side. Susa informed Maeyon as the coachman helped them down that it used to be the summer palace of the king of Susweldia. They walked up steps side by side going through the entrance together they entered a large foyer hall were groups of people stood talking. Maeyon saw a few friends she made since she arrived in Portswelde.

“Captain Judena,” Maeyon began with a slight bow of her head. “How are your wife and new-born both well I trust?” Maeyon asked. Next, to James, the captain was the man she admired most. A little shorter than the former with black hair, blue eyes and clean shaven chiselled features. A dedicated family man which she admired most in him. She was glad to offer him money to help him out during his wife’s pregnancy. Nor did she hurt his pride by providing the funds as a gift. Instead, she said he could pay it back when he was able, or by way of a favour, she might ask of him.

The captain bowed deeply before answering. “Lady Mia they are both healthy thank you for remembering and your help at a difficult time for my family and myself.” He said smiling pleasantly. Then he frowned hesitant to continue. “Be careful lady Mia you have made enemies here,” he said suddenly.

Maeyon let the captain’s last words pass over her rapt in the excitement of the ball and the possibility of dancing with James. Several open doors lead from the anteroom Maeyon, and Susa turned to the left entering a cloakroom were an attendant took their coats Then they entered the large ballroom having few windows chandeliers hung from the high ceiling lighting the room. The wall coverings were ostentatious in design adorned with paintings wall-mounted oil lamps added further lighting to the ballroom. Down each side of the hall were tables dressed with centre floral pieces people either sat or stood in small groups talking amongst themselves. From where Maeyon stood a maroon carpet divided the hall in two leading up to a raised dais. In the middle of the podium Cecil Olwyn, the governor sat on a large ornate chair with stylised arm-rests. On seeing Maeyon enter, he smiled.

Chapter Seven

Cecil Olwyn rose from the chair coughed loudly raising his arms to call attention to himself. The murmur of voices died down as the people turned to hear what was going to say. “Ladies and gentleman,” he started. Maeyon wondered what the pompous little man was scheming. “Before the dance begins I have an announcement to make,” he paused to put empathise on his next words. “We have a special guest this evening in lady Mia,” he paused again as the guests began to talk in low whispers; curious as to what the governor was about to say. “Or should I call you by your correct name Maeyon Relais,” he proclaimed raising his voice to fever pitch pointing an accusing finger at Maeyon. For a moment the ballroom went deathly quiet then erupted in pandemonium, not all were shocked though. Maeyon had many friends in the hall. Friends who already suspected who she was and still supported her.

“Maeyon Relais demoness you have escaped your confinement once,” the governor began droning on once more.” Maeyon remained unfazed by the little man’s spouting she stared at him coldly. “For the safety of the people of Portswelde you must be banished once more,” he finished. Then James Sarcon stepped out from amidst the guests to stand near the governor; her heart began to sink.

“Maeyon Relais you have broken your confinement surrender." He gestured with a hand, the necklace around her neck began to glow. Maeyon felt the hidden dormant magic come alive in the chain constraining her power and weakening her.

“Betrayed again!” Maeyon thought distraught beyond words.

This time it wasn’t just her former colleagues but someone she believed she loved. It hurt even deeper like a dagger piercing her heart. She stood stunned unable to move as soldiers filed in through a door behind the dais to surround Susa and herself. How could she be so naïve, so stupid, love was indeed blind, or she would have seen this coming. Hardly able to breathe she stared numbly ahead. The room spun slowly around her. She saw then the Tydoran enter behind the soldiers. The one that escaped the fight in the alley nearly a year ago with a greater demon that cleverly hid from her until now. The Tydoran didn’t control it though; the opposite was the case. Here stood the truly possessed one, she could see the threads of influence the demon weaved around itself, and those it held sway over as the demon slyly smirked at her. She watched detached as the man she loved turn to face the governor bowing. James Sarcon then left with not a backward look.

The necklace James had given Maeyon was unique no other existed in the world. It held power enough once evoked to do what took three sorcerers, and three sorceresses the first time Maeyon had been banished, so the old sorcerer explained as he gave him the necklace several months ago. So already feeling sure who Mia was he went to the governor informing him of his suspicions. He described a way to stop Maeyon and let himself be guided by the governor it seemed, the right thing to do at the time. He thought he ought to be relieved she was after all possessed wasn’t she? He didn’t feel so confident now as he observed how devastated Maeyon was at his betrayal, how helpless she looked. On reflexion, something didn’t feel right. If she is possessed wouldn’t the demoness try to escape, railed against him and spat hate-filled curses at him? He left the mansion feeling disturbed by the way the night's events turned out.

The soldiers surrounded Susa and Maeyon with iron-tipped spears keeping her at a distance. Iron believed to be a deterrent against magic. Susa knew as did Maeyon iron only worked against certain kinds of magic. As the soldiers forced them to turn around the way they came Susa held Maeyon by the arm supporting her whispering urgently for her to pull herself together. The governor began droning on again vaguely registering on Maeyon consciousness. Then she saw Sam weaving his way towards her, like the first time she met him.

“What’s he doing here he should be home safe in bed?” She thought bewildered. He fell once got up carried on reaching the soldiers surrounding Susa, and Maeyon. As they tried to stop him, he dodged taking a glancing blow to the side of his head. Blood ran down his face undaunted he continued finally reaching Maeyon he grabbed for her hand. The contact of their hands seemed to awaken something in Maeyon. Time slowed, the room spinning slowly around her then stopped coming into sharp focus as Maeyon looked down at the boy and healed him.

A realisation dawned!

Maeyon focused all the power she could bring to bear inward on herself. She concentrated on the necklace as the magic surged within her. Energy coursed through her veins, she felt so hot that her blood may boil, and flames consume her. Once again the chain began to glow this time shining brighter until its brilliance surrounded Maeyon. The necklace sundered small pieces flew in all directions. Candles and lamps blew out the chandeliers swaying leaving the ballroom in semi-darkness. Maeyon slowly turned, around raising a magic shield surrounding Susa, Sam, and herself. The backlash from the sundered necklace and the magic shield sent the soldiers sprawling amongst the guests. Susa reached down and grabbed a spear from one of the fallen soldiers. The three strode slowly towards the governor and the demon. The scene in the ballroom one of utter confusion some guests panicking and scrambling for the exit.

The demon raged, shouting hate-filled curses while the governor quaked in terror pushing himself as far back in the chair as he could. The demon rained bolts of energy and fire on Maeyon only to dissolve coming up against the magic shield. Finally, she stood facing the governor and Demon. The remaining guests couldn’t see the demon they saw only the Tydoran cursing and hurling spells at her. Maeyon attempted a spell she never tried before weaving her hands reciting the mantra in her head the demon raged even more. The spell started to rip the devil away from the man though still tethered to the Tydoran by an ethereal leash. The fiend now stood exposed for all to see. Caught between to planes of existence its visage wavered between solid and transparent. There were gasps or terror from around the ballroom. A few of the ladies swooned others screamed in terror.

The demon stood nearly half as tall again as the one it possessed with a bulbous bald head. Forwarding curved horns on either side. Its eyes glowed like embers of a fire, extended lobe less pointed ears; four claw-like fingers on each hand and cloven feet. Its bloated torso bear save for a loincloth barely covering the genital area. The room fell silent as Maeyon faced the demon as it raged trying to break free spitting curses.

“I am demon lord Caruthu you may have the better of me now sorceress,” the demon spoke as it stopped struggling. “Mark my words, I shall return to take my vengeance on you and all you hold dear,” Caruthu said in a chilling tone.

“You mistake my intent Caruthu I do not banish demons."

The demon looked confused a moment then spoke slyly. “Do you propose a deal?” The devil asked in a sinuous voice. “Together we could rule this world."

A long silence passed as Maeyon seemed to consider the fiend’s proposal. It was tempting even for Maeyon working with the demon she could brink a new era of peace and stability. Demons were unbiased in that respect their primary goal was to invade worlds and use humans to further their own selfish ends and lust for power. They didn’t care if they achieved it by peaceful means or not as long as they got what they wanted. A demon's word could not be trusted Maeyon knew.

“Again you mistake my meaning and my true purpose,” she fixed her gaze unflinchingly on the demon. “I do not banish demons I destroy them,” raising her hand a beam of light sprung from her fingers striking the demon. The devil writhed screaming as it began to tear apart and dissolve until nothing remained.

The former possessed Tydoran suddenly drew his dagger charged Maeyon foaming at the mouth. Susa stepped in front and ran the spear through him the point exiting the back of his chest. Swearing she gave the man a kick to the chest to help remove the spear. He fell back dead as he hit the ground.

Maeyon turned her attention to the cringing governor staring at him coldly. She noted with disgust the little man had wet himself as he stared wild-eyed quaking in terror. “Get out of my sight,” she commanded in a voice that seethed with barely controlled anger.

“Wh...What how dare you. I... I 'm the governor,” he stuttered. Seeing Maeyon draw nearer to him still staring angerly. He attempted a different approach. “L... Lady Maeyon I... I may have been wrong--,”

“Get out off my sight now before I throw you out myself,” Raising a hand Maeyon began to gesture to add emphasis. The governor struggled to his feet trembling he stumbled down the steps collapsing in a heap at the bottom. Maeyon cast a spell that sent the urine stained chair flying to hit a back wall and break into pieces.

As Maeyon turned slowly to face, the still stunned guests Susa watched her closely wondering if Maeyon was about to become the monster a lot of people feared her to be. She noticed Sam beside her take her hand Maeyon glanced down and gave a wan smile. She didn’t understand why but the boy had a bond with Maeyon Susa felt a bond also as a blood sister. It was nothing like the bond between Sam and Maeyon which seemed profound, that’s why she suggested for Sam to follow behind them. She felt something not quite right with James Sarcon and felt uneasy about coming to the ball. Maeyon was so smitten by James to listen to any advice to be cautious.

Chapter Eight

Maeyon stood tall as she faced the remaining guests the few that fled minutes ago returned curiosity overcoming their fear and a need to know what was happening. Maeyon raised a hand casting a spell. The lamps and chandeliers that had blown out earlier re-lit bringing the ballroom to full brightness once more. It brought the full attention of all in the hall on Maeyon. Another short spell, made her voice carry so all could hear her.

“Nobles, ladies and gentlemen you all now know who I am,” she paused looking around noting the expressions on the peoples faces many were still in shock. “I’ve been court sorceress, advisor to kings and lords. It is my duty if I believe the current governor unfit to preside over this city to take control myself.” There were murmurs amongst the guests most wondering what this night's events would mean for them, their families, and their livelihoods. “As you can all see the former governor is unfit to rule,” again she paused taking a breath. “Therefore I now assume the governorship of this city until such time a new governor can be elected.” Maeyon looked around the hall again trying to judge the people's reaction. She heard some decent in one or two places and picked out one in particular noble about to speak out.

“You lost any right to advise or govern when you were banished,” the noble shouted above the whispered voices.

Maeyon turned to face the man her expression stern. “Incorrect-- banished or not once made a court sorceress that right cannot be undone add to that the fact I was wrongly accused further puts my right to govern beyond doubt.”

“We have only your word that you were wrongly banished how do we know you are not possessed even now.” The noble spat back venomously.

Maeyon stiffened she didn’t have time to spar with narrow-minded fools like this noble. She raised a hand pointing at the noble. “I dare say you will not believe me no matter what I say,” Maeyon paused casting a spell. “So believe this I will not tolerate deceit or behind my back plotting. I will root it out and deal with those responsible take this as a warning.” The man found himself lifted above the other guests. He hung a couple of minutes in mid-air his legs flailing inanely about under him. Terrified he shouted to be let down; eventually, Maeyon lowered him until close to the floor. Then releasing him, he fell to the floor in a quivering heap

“Does anybody else object to my authority?” Maeyon asked looking around the ballroom.

Silence the only answer!

Maeyon let out a pent-up breath “There will be no dance tonight, please return to your homes for now.” Maeyon, scanned the room as the people started leaving talking amongst themselves. “Captain Judena a word if you please,” Maeyon called spotting the captain rising to leave.

Though the captain looked a little nervous; he did not hesitate in coming forward to talk to Maeyon. “Yes lady Mia... Ah, that is lady Maeyon,”

Maeyon gave the captain a reassuring smile and gently led him to a nearby table where they both sat. Her cheeks drawn and pale she grimaced holding her emotions at bay. “I’m afraid I have to call in the favour you owe me, captain,” she began. The captain nodded frowning and waited for Maeyon to speak further. “Firstly can you have some men take the former governor to his quarters; have him confined there until I decide what to do with him. Again the captain nodded. “Next I want to ask if I can rely on the support of the army?”

The captain again nodded this time speaking. “The army tries to remain neutral and does not get involved in politics.” He paused considering. “General Takan is the overall commander of the army.”

“Will he take orders from me?”

“You can ask him yourself he was a guest and has only just left I can go ask him to return to speak with you?”

“Have one of the soldiers still here fetch him,” Maeyon said. “Lastly,” she began her voice going down an octave her eyes narrowed. “Have some soldiers bring James Sarcon to me,” pausing she swallowed hard. “Tell him that he is needed urgently do not inform him what has transpired is that clear.”

The captain stared at Maeyon a moment feeling menace in her tone then nodded. “Yes, lady Maeyon it is clear.” The captain bowed, leaving to follow Maeyon’s orders.

A few minutes later Maeyon stood at the top of the dais as general Takan approached still with his wife in tow. Maeyon frowned leaving the dais and met the general part-way up the centre aisle. “Lady Takan would you like to take a seat and wait here while I talk with your husband,” Maeyon said seeing the matronly woman looking pale. She solicitously guided her to a chair making sure she was comfortably seated. Lady Takan gave a wan smile and nodded her thanks.

“Thank you for your care of my wife, lady Maeyon; I fear tonight's events were all a little too much for her.” The general spoke as Maeyon led him forward. “I didn’t wish to leave her to go home alone."

“I understand completely general Takan,” Maeyon studied the general closely. She met a few soldiers in her previous position as court sorceress. The general appeared to be typical of his type immaculately dressed he stood ramrod straight with white hair. His clean-shaven face weathered with age and blue eyes which sparkled with a hint of mischief

They stopped at the foot of dais general Takan looked Maeyon straight in the eye. “I presume you wish to ask me if the army will support you as acting governor, “ he began Maeyon merely nodded her expression serious. “I’m sure captain Judena has already told you the army doesn’t normally get involved in politics.”

Maeyon picked up on the wording of what the general said. “Normally?”

The general sucked a breath in letting it slowly hands clasped behind his back as regarded Maeyon. “To be frank, sorceress I fear your power and how easy it would be for you to abuse it, so I don't entirely trust you as yet,” he paused. “I will give you the benefit of the doubt for now and trust in your judgement; until you give me a reason to think otherwise. Besides after what we witnessed tonight few dare stand against you.”

Maeyon sighed bowing her head slightly. “I thank you for your candour general I will try my best not to disappoint you.”

The general gave a faint smile returning the bow, “You are a very shrewd and clever lady as well as a sorceress lady Maeyon.”

“I do try general; I do try.” Maeyon returned the smile.

The general’s expression became serious. “There is one thing you should consider now lady Maeyon.”

“Oh, what is that general?” Maeyon frowned wondering if what the general was about to say would effect the rapport she just gained with him.

“The king of Susweldia will move against you when word gets out as it soon will that you have taken control here. Whether he believes you possessed or not there are those close to him that will advise him to do so regardless.”

Maeyon chewed her bottom lip in thought. “Portswelde has long enjoyed independence from the rest of Susweldia and has prospered because of it.” Maeyon paused. “You are saying there are those close to the king that wish to take back control of Portswelde.”

“I’m sure of it, when word gets out those who have the king's ear will convince him to mobilise the army and march on Portswelde,” he paused breathing out. “Our armies are I believe about equal in strength,” he stated.

“I want to avoid a war if possible,” she looked sharply at the general. “but I have the power to cause great destruction in an enemies ranks thus tipping the balance.”

“I’m glad to hear you say you want to avoid a war. I’m also glad you’re able to tip the balance in our favour if it comes to fight. Most people here if asked would wish to remain independent.” He once more gave a short bow. “If you please lady Maeyon I will be leaving now I need to see to my wife’s welfare.”

Maeyon nodded, “Please do take good care of your wife, and I’m sorry for delaying you; give your wife my apologies.” The general once more bowed then turned stiffly leaving as Maeyon went to speak to Susa.

“Susa, take Sam home I will be staying here for a while until things settle down.” She paused considering. “Please return with some of my clothes and other essentials including my court sorceress gown. I will leave it to you to decide what else I’ll need.”

Susa regarded Maeyon with a look which conveyed all the concern she felt for her. “You are not going to confront James Sarcon alone?” Susa reached for a hand holding it in her own a moment.

“He may be a sorcerer, but he is no match for me,” Maeyon answered releasing her hand from Susa’s grasp.

Susa shook her head still concerned. “That’s not what I meant as I’m sure you know.”

Maeyon stood erect, her hands by her sides clenched into fists, fingernails digging into the palms of her hands.

Chapter Nine

James wondered what was going on that made his presence required again at the governor's manse. The soldiers who escorted him back were tight-lipped and refused to answer any questions. He did not want to go back what happened earlier left him with a bad taste in his mouth and a feeling of guilt. He kept visualising the look of betrayal on Maeyon’s face. It troubled him a lot more than he realised and the more he thought about it, the more troubled he became. I shouldn’t feel this way if she is possessed. She is, isn’t she? I can't be that wrong surely. He tried to shake the feeling but still found it troubling. Demoness or not he didn’t want her harmed; banishing her once more would be enough. He suspected the governor wanted to do more than banish her though. He hoped that wasn’t what this was about; he would not allow anything more than banishment. He wondered why he begun to think in this way and why he tried so hard to convince himself she was harbouring a demon within her. Did it mean within his heart of heart’s he believed her not to be possessed? That revelation shook him to the core, as the soldiers led him up the steps to the entrance. He looked around all seemed unusually quiet there were no carriages outside and no music from within.

One of the soldiers opened the doors and ushered him closing the doors behind him. James half turned back seeing he was alone. The closing of the door behind made him think for some reason of a prison door closing; a shiver went down his spine as he entered the ballroom. He looked around confused by the now the empty hall still brightly lit then he noticed something shining pieces of jewellery on the floor caught his eye. The necklace, it surely cannot be--- how it is possible? Looking up once more he heard soft footsteps. Maeyon stood on the dais facing him; he felt relief and dread at the same time. Relief because she was unharmed. The fear he felt was not for himself rather a fear that he was about to lose someone he cared for more than he realised. “Mia I’m---"

Maeyon’s face contorted into a look of pure rage as she interrupted him. “You have lost the right to call me that only close friends may call me by that name.” Her voice shaking with emotion the lights in the hall suddenly dimmed, chandeliers swayed, tables and chairs began to lift off the ground and float in mid-air. It took a great deal of effort to control herself she wanted to lash out and make James Sarcon pay for his betrayal. “Did you not know how much I loved you? You were beside me for so long and didn’t know me!” Maeyon paused a single tear rolling down her cheek. She outstretched a hand pointing at James. “Did not you know I was not possessed? That who you were with was the real me? How could you not know? How could you think so little of me?” James found himself in mid-air being pulled towards Maeyon as the tables and chairs crashed to the ground.

He did not fight her; he would accept whatever fate lay install for him. James realised Maeyon was right he should’ve known better. It was all his fault he deserved to be punished even if it meant death. He found it hard to breath as he fell to the ground in front of Maeyon. He looked up into her red-rimmed eyes saw tears welling up as she fought for control. He did not fear her anymore; there was nothing he could say or do to make things right. He could not even ask for forgiveness he didn’t deserve that getting to his knees still gasping for air as Maeyon’s grip tightened on him; he bowed his head in silence.

Maeyon stared down at James shaking with emotion threatening to overwhelm her at any moment. She came back to herself briefly realising her grip on James was strangling him, she released him. He gasped sucking in a deep breath coughing once or twice; his face deathly pale. If he pleaded for forgiveness now admitted he was wrong, Maeyon might have weakened and forgiven him. She wanted so desperately to hear him say sorry to forgive me. At the same time she didn't want to forgive him she just wanted to hear him say the words and maybe she would forgive him later. James did not say the words she wanted to hear. Anger rose within her once more she thrust a hand out again. Once more James found himself raised off the floor this time so that he faced Maeyon eye to eye.

“Have you nothing to say for yourself?” she spat at him. “Nothing to say in your defence? She wanted to cast a spell to throw him across the room; to make him speak and apologise. She half raised a hand about to do so then lowered it fully in control of herself once more. She let him fall to the ground, “Consider yourself lucky I’m not like you or those before you who banished me wrongly. I’ll give you till the day after tomorrow to leave Portswelde.” She paused taking a shuddering breath. “If you are still here then I’ll have you thrown in prison to rot. Don’t ever return here again for I will not be responsible for my actions if you do.”

James got to his feet bowed his head low to Maeyon and held it a few seconds. Raising his head, he turned his back on Maeyon, slowly walking down the aisle to the exit. He did not look back as Maeyon looked on tears streaming down her face. Once alone again she turned and fled weeping unashamedly she found an empty bedchamber entering she closed the door behind her. She flung herself on the bed her tears soaking the satin pillow. Later Susa found her after asking one of the many servants that occupied and helped maintain the governor’s mansion. Susa put the bag with Maeyon’s belongings down beside the dressing table and went to Maeyon taking her in her arms.

“Let it all out Mia, let go you’ll feel better for it,” Susa rocked Maeyon slowly to and thro she felt deeply for her.

“What am I to do Susa... I love him if only he said sorry and that he loved me too.”

“Shush now Mia, time heals all wounds,” Susa consoled.

“I believe I would have forgiven him... If only...” Maeyon wept bitterly finally laying down as Susa looked on, Maeyon fell asleep sobbing into her pillow.

“That is your weakness, Mia; you forgive too easily,” Susa said aloud to herself finally rising to leave.

Chapter Ten

On the island city of Coldar, court sorceress Rayne Mive knocked on the door of lord Haron’s drawing room. A voice within called for her to enter. Rayne entered closing the once more behind her. Her red gown swishing, as she confidently walked to the desk where the said lord sat head down, reviewing the day’s reports.

Rayne bowed politely, “My lord.”

Lord Haron did not look up; still focused on the reports in front of him, “What is it, Rayne?”

Rayne Mive glanced around the well-lit study. Everything in the room appeared neat and well ordered, reflecting the meticulous mind of the owner. "Maeyon Relais is in Portswelde.”

Putting the reports down, lord, Haron finally looked up at the court sorceress. His blue eyes widened slightly. “How! When?”

Rayne breathed in and out slowly, her slender shoulders almost indiscernibly rising. Golden ringlets of shoulder-length hair displaced and falling back in place as she lowered her shoulders. She stood coolly detached, her porcelain-like features held no expression. “She has been there for some time, I believe.”

Lord Haron frowned, “Why then did we not know sooner of her return?”

“She has until now been very discrete; also a demon may have blocked any attempt to see what has been happening there.”

“A demon!” The very mention of a demon made lord Haron’s blood run cold.

“Maeyon recently killed a greater demon there,” Rayne gave only the slightest sign of emotion that lord Haron could detect. Most people made use demons for whatever reason but feared them; few did not fear demons. He suspected Rayne Mive was one of the few. Lord Haron knew as did Rayne Mive and a few others that Maeyon did much more than banish demons; she was the only person alive capable of killing a demon. “She has overthrown the governor and taken control of the city.”

Lord Haron frowned worry lines creasing his tanned face, “That’s not like the Maeyon we have known in the past, could she have changed that much?”

“Exile could’ve embittered her; she may be seeking retribution for being falsely accused,” Rayne said, pursing her lips in thought.

“No, I can't believe that of Maeyon, not Maeyon! Gods I hope not anyway,” lord Haron bowed his head considering about to say more, Rayne spoke first having further to tell.

“The king of Susweldia has mobilised his forces; they already march towards the border with Portswelde.”

Lord Haron looked up sharply as his sorceress, “They plan to depose Maeyon?”

Rayne nodded, “I think you also know those close to the king will use this as an excuse to try and take back control of Portswelde.”

“The fools! Don’t they know whom they are dealing with?” Lord Haron exclaimed in dismay.”

“I am sure they do, but their greed and the king’s ego blind them, so they choose to underestimate how powerful a sorceress Maeyon is and what damage she can wreck if provoked,” Rayne stated coolly.

Lord Haron’s expression became grim, “Inform the admiral to prepare a small fleet to sail to Portswelde.. say three ships, you are to take command. I can't go myself while in the middle of negotiating a trade deal.”

Rayne frowned bowed her head in thought a moment looking up again she spoke of what troubled her the most. “If Maeyon has changed and bent on vengeance, we might not get a good reception, she may see us a threat and attack on-site. Do not forget I was one of the those that banished her also.”

Lord Haron shook his head slowly, “I do not believe Maeyon would attack out of revenge, but you have my permission if you are attacked to defend yourself, and the fleet by any means necessary.”

Rayne gave an intake of breath and stared at lord Haron, “Can you be so sure? You may be sacrificing the fleet and myself for nothing. A dozen armed ships would stand little chance even with myself to aid them against Maeyon especially if Portswelde’s army backs her as well.”

“You exaggerate, besides you were once friends you can appeal to the friendship you once held with Maeyon,” said lord Haron staring back at the sorceress.

Rayne bowed she could say no more, she started to turn, but lord Haron had more to say. “Are all the others involved in the banishment dead?”

Rayne stopped facing lord Haron once more, “Only I and old Malison live, he disappeared some time ago and has not been since. His spell dissipated shortly after mine, about a year ago now.”

Lord Haron stroked his chin with a finger and thumb considering a moment then nodded accepting Rayne’s explanation. “I see--- you can make the necessary preparations first thing in the morning. I want a fleet ready to sail the day after at the latest,” he waved a hand in dismissal. Rayne bowed and left closing the door once more behind her.

A day out to sea, Rayne stood at the prow of the command ship her long golden locks blowing in the wind. The three ships under her command were the best and fastest in the Coldar navy. Each ship carried a complement of Coldarian veterans, making a total of a thousand well-armed soldiers. Rayne’s stomach heaved as the ship rose and fell with the sea swell. She could never get used to travelling by sea and would be most grateful to be back on dry land again. She felt a pang of fear and regret, Maeyon once a close friend to Rayne, now Rayne felt she didn’t know her anymore after five years. At that time Maeyon was shocked to see that Rayne helped to banish her. How will Maeyon react now? Would she understand that I had no choice? Lord Haron sent the fleet to supposedly help Maeyon against the army massed on the border of Portswelde but would Maeyon see it that way or would she misunderstand?” Rayne Mive took a deep breath of the bracing sea air steeling herself. She cast aside her doubts and fears Rayne would carry out her duty regardless of the consequences.

Chapter Eleven

Maeyon sat on a wide high-backed cushioned chair on top of the dais. She ran a hand down her red gown smoothing the creases. On her right, stood Susa dressed in blue, on the left captain, Judena in military uniform. Nobles and dignitaries gathered around the foot of the dais. Mathius Jones stepped forward to face Maeyon with a courtly bow. “I’m glad you finally came to see me Mathius. How have you been? She paused as she looked Jones over, noting his serious expression. “I take it you are not here just to pay me a visit?” Maeyon asked with a smile; the captain looked no different from what she remembered the first time they met. Though it was only a year and a half ago, it seemed almost a lifetime ago to Maeyon.

“I’m well thank you, sorceress, ah, that is lady Maeyon,” Mathius flushed briefly covered his mouth with a hand and coughed as he glanced around at all gathered in the hall. He cleared his throat before speaking further, “I was recently in Coldar and noticed a fleet being prepared, I believe it is headed this way as we speak.”

Maeyon pursed her lips in thought before speaking, “I see I haven’t had much time for scrying what is going on outside our borders lately.” She paused considering a moment, “Thank you for the information Mathius it is an interesting piece of news. Will you be staying long in Portswelde?” Maeyon asked in conclusion.

“I will be here for a few days at least until after the Coldar fleet arrives,” Jones answered with meaning.

Maeyon considered what the captain said a moment, “Where will you be staying? You’re welcome to say here if you so wish.”

Jones shook his head, a little bit of the seafarer's accent slipping out as he spoke, “Ah, no thank ye lady Maeyon if it's, all the same, I’ll be staying at the Dolphin Inn,”

Maeyon smiled, leaned forward and spoke in a low voice. “Probably a wise decision Mathius, it’s so stuffy here at the mansion everyone is serious even the servants are so straight-laced.

Jones weathered features broke into a wide grin, “If you need my assistance for anything lady Maeyon, you only have to ask.” He said for all to hear. He bowed stepped back, turning and left.

The morning air felt bracing as Rayne stepped on to the quayside. She pulled her cloak tightly around herself; giving a sigh of relief to be safely back on dry land. The soldiers busily disembarked and began to form up behind her; she glanced around the docks. Many eyes observed the ships as they docked, and now watched herself and the armed soldiers who were lining up on the docks. An atmosphere of tension prevailed as all waited to see would happen next. Rayne fixed her gaze on the street leading up to the town where she could make out people moving aside as soldiers marched towards the docks. It wasn’t long before a contingent of armed guards lined up facing her and her men. Both sides waited anxiously neither speaking. Rayne felt a weight pressing on her shoulders she breathed in and out slowly taking measured breaths and held her composure. A hush surrounded the dockside. The only sounds, that of the waves lapping against the harbour walls and the seagulls calling overhead. A chill breeze blew tussling Rayne’s golden hair as she stood erect all poise and grace.

Rayne locked eyes with the captain facing her, “Are you here to greet us or oppose us?”

The captain gave a curt bow his face expressionless, “My apologies, sorceress, we await the arrival of our commander in chief who will answer your question for you.” Rayne heard the carriage before it arrived it came to a stop not far from where she stood. Maeyon stepped from the carriage to walk slowly towards her. Rayne, watched Maeyon, carefully, mentally preparing a defensive spell if needed.

Maeyon nodded to the captain of her men, and they moved aside to let her pass. She stopped a short distance from Rayne and smiled, “It has been a while, Rayne, you look well.”

“Yes, five years you haven’t changed much Maeyon.” Rayne paused, taking a slow breath, still wary of Maeyon. “Maeyon I’m sorry I...”

Before she could finish speaking Maeyon closed the distance between them and embraced Rayne, “I know, I know it's all in the past, you had no choice I forgive you,” she paused letting go of Rayne. “How is my father, why didn’t he come?” Maeyon asked as the tension surrounding them slipped away.

“Lord Haron is well; he is the middle of negotiating a trade deal with the northerners of Narvonof they’re very picky when it comes to trading.”

“Trading with the northerners? Things have indeed changed much since my exile,” Maeyon said, looking thoughtful she gave a slight nod of the head. “Come, let us go to the mansion. We can talk more once we get you settled in comfortably,” she paused, turning to her captain. “Captain, you and your men escort these soldiers to the barracks and see they get settled in properly.” She commanded then turning back to Rayne they walked arm in arm to the carriage.

It was past midday when Maeyon and Rayne sat down together in the spacious drawing-room. Both finally feeling at ease with the other. A servant brought them a tray with two glasses of wine; they sipped their wine in silence a few moments. Maeyon held her wine turning it slowly in her hand looking at Rayne with a faint smile, “How is the wine it’s the from the mansion’s cellars,” she paused, taking another sip. “The former governor at least had good taste in wine.”

Rayne studied Maeyon considering the changes in her since her banishment, “Why did you overthrow the governor? Surely he didn’t do that bad a job while he governed it's not like you to put yourself forward this way.” Rayne watched Maeyon’s expression turn bitter, “I know he was probably influenced by the demon once free though.”

“Even without the influence of a demon, he was, an incompetent, mean spirited and greedy man unfit to govern,” Maeyon, almost spat her words. “I’m sorry Rayne maybe I went too far in overthrowing the governor. Things have changed since my banishment; I wanted to help put things right again and here was as good a place any to start.”

Rayne features softened, and a brief smile crossed face, gone almost as suddenly as it appeared, “So what has happened to the former governor?”

Maeyon smacked her lips, making a faint tutting sound, “Confined to his quarters.”

“You are still the Maeyon I knew, but at the same time you have changed,” Rayne said.

Maeyon frowned, “How so?”

“You have lost your innocence and you are wiser than before.”

Again Maeyon smacked her lips smiling at Rayne, “Well enough about that, let's decide what we are going to do about the king and his army. I believe the queen of Latenia has joined forces with him they have two sorcerers at there command also.” Rayne nodded together they exchanged ideas and formulated a plan,

Chapter Twelve

The two armies faced one and other across a broad grassy plain close enough just to be able to see each other's faces but not their expressions. Queen Natalia of Latenia fidgeted on her horse. The light-weight chest armour chaffed in some sensitive regions making her feel uncomfortable and irritable. She had no wish to be here along with king Myson of Susweldia, leading what she considered to be an army of invasion. King Myson considered it to be one of liberation.

Natalia knew better. She was, however indebted to king Myson and therefore not in a position to reject his request to join forces with him against the sorceress now in control of Portswelde. “Speaking of which I think I can see her now,” She turned to speak to king Myson. “Isn’t that lady Maeyon now?” she stood up in her stirrups to try and get a better view.

The king of Susweldia frowned, “I believe you are correct your majesty I wonder why she is here in person. I didn't think she would get involved personally.”

Queen Natalia gave king Myson a startled look, “Why ever not? She is the ruler there now whether you consider it legal or not. Why wouldn’t she lead the army.”

King Myson scoffed, “I hear she is possessed by a demon. Demons are arrogant, and bent on revenge.”

Natalia frowned bemused by how the king of Susweldia could be so wrong, “Even if that’s true should not we fear her more? Are you not afraid of what she can do? I hear she is more powerful than any living sorcerer or sorceress.”

Again king Myson scoffed, “She is but one woman sorceress or not possessed or not we have the might of our combined armies as well as two sorcerers. In any case, her reputation is vastly overrated, I believe.”

Queen Natalia turned deathly pale, “What have I got myself and my people mixed up in? Does king Myson really not understand how powerful the lady Maeyon is? Or is it because his pride is hurt, and he can’t see what’s in front of him.” As they looked on, Maeyon talked with her general a few moments then started walking towards them. “It seems we are about to find out how powerful she really is your majesty,” Queen Natalia said watching Maeyon approach on foot. Bile rose in her throat she swallowed hard her hand trembled as she held the horse's reigns.

As Maeyon walked towards the opposing army, a detachment of halberdiers formed up in front of her blocking her way weapons at the ready. Maeyon stopped a short distance from the halberdiers. Her eyes scanned the soldiers taking in their grim expressions. “If you don't wish to get hurt move aside now,” she said. A few of the halberdiers looked at one and other bemused.

“Stand firm men remember she not a defenceless woman but a dangerous sorceress,” the captain said.

Maeyon nodded, “You are correct captain... That is why you should stand down; this is your last warning.” Maeyon bowed her head waiting; she stood head bowed for several moments each moment seemed to stretch for an eternity. The air still hardly a sound could be heard. The halberdiers stood their ground. Maeyon finally lifted her head to face the soldiers sighing she waved a hand at the soldiers. Suddenly the halberdiers were lifted off their feet and thrown like ragdolls finally falling unconscious to the ground. Maeyon started walking forward again.

“Majesty we must use the archers to stop her,” One of the king’s advisors said anxiously. King Myson hesitated as he watched Maeyon casually walking towards them.

Queen Natalia looked aghast at the king and his advisors, “Isn’t that going a bit too far it is not even as if she’s attacking; she is just defending herself.”

King Myson ground his teeth his face a mask of uncertainty, “What about those men she waved a hand and they were just thrown about as if they were nothing,” he paused, taking a breath. “Have the archers fire,” he commanded.

Maeyon kept walking volley after volley of arrows descended towards her. Rayne suddenly appeared close behind Maeyon raising a hand; most of the arrows caught fire and fell as ash before getting anywhere near Maeyon. A few reached her but were turned aside as Maeyon raised a magic shield. A full company of soldiers advanced on Maeyon; she stopped once more. This time the soldiers were less sure of themselves. Maeyon stared at them shaking her head slowly one or two bolted and ran the rest hesitant held their ground. Maeyon once again waved a hand at the soldiers some were thrown high in the air others tossed aside as if a great wind had blown through their ranks. Soldier and weapons lay scattered across the plain; some men dazed got their feet staggering about others lay on the ground groaning more still lay unconscious. The scene before everyone watching was more like the aftermath of a battle, yet no battle had begun.

King Myson sat his horse stunned his mouth wide open, unable to speak by what he witnessed. “Majesty what about the sorcerers,” one of his advisors spoke urgently.

“What? Oh, yes it's time they earned their pay call them,” the king said. One of the kings men turned calling for someone to fetch the sorcerers. A short while later, a soldier reported back; that the sorcerers refused to take part and were leaving. “They refuse! They’re leaving Why?” The king shouted disbelieving

“they say they are no match for the sorceress sire,” said the soldier.

“Cowards I’ll make them pay when this over,” the king said in a fit of rage about to say more when he realised, Maeyon now stood to face him.

Maeyon let her gaze slowly pass over the monarchs, “Now I understand,” she said pointing a hand at one of the king’s advisors a bolt of energy emitted from her fingertips striking the man and knocking him off his horse he writhed on the ground several moments before laying still. The man finally got to his knees, looking around in confusion. Maeyon once more pointed at a man who looked to be a wealthy noble again the man was thrown to the ground to eventually stand, not knowing where he was or how he got here. Maeyon turned back to queen Natalia ignoring king Myson who sat dazed and dumbfounded on his horse.

Maeyon smiled kindly at the queen of Latenia, “You look uncomfortable in that armour your majesty let us set up tents and arrange a truce. Rayne!”

Rayne appeared beside Maeyon startling everyone, “I heard Maeyon, I’ll pass the news on and arrange it with the general,” Rayne vanished as suddenly as she appeared.

Queen Natalia returned Maeyon's smile and gave a slight bow of her head in thanks, “I would welcome the chance to sit and talk with you, lady Maeyon.

Maeyon finally addressed the bemused king, “Majesty, as you can now tell you’ve been influenced by demons it’s in everyone's best, interest to avoid conflict. Let's all sit down together and work this out peacefully.

King Myson nodded accepting, still shocked by what transpired but now beginning to get a grip and regain his composure. Negotiating was his strong point he began to think of ways he might be able to turn the present situation to his advantage.

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