The Other Gift

"A gate?"

"Yes," Jeremi said, "if there's a portal to the other realms, it would have to be marked so people could find it. I've also heard that if one physically does something, doing the magic to make it happen is easier."

Arianwen thought about this for a moment before having to agree that Jeremi was right. This being settled, she finally got around to telling her friend what had happened in the Meditation Circle that had marred her face.

"You have to tell Gwydion about this. If Vollomeer has betrayed us, he must know about it."

"If he knows, he'll suspect that I'm involved somehow and-"

"-and it  will look more suspicious if he finds out on his own and you don't come forward." Jeremi finished. 

"I suppose that does make sense, but I'll only go if you come with me. I've had conversations with Gwydion before, and I always feel so useless near him."

Jeremi replied that of course she would like to go with Arianwen, she was curious as to what Gwydion would say anyway.

Arianwen and Jeremi put on their coats and headed outside into the raging snow. It always snowed in Winterealm, and when it wasn't snowing, it was still freezing cold. As the two fought their way through the bad weather they hardly spoke, for both were anxious as to what Gwydion would say.

When they got to the Houses of the Elders, who lived apart from the main population, they walked up to the tower that they knew belonged to Gwydion. Jeremi reached up and knocked on the door, but no one answered. From behind them, a voice said:

"I see you've come to see me. Just go inside and go into the sitting room to the right."

Jeremi and Arianwen stepped aside to let Gwydion into the house before them. While he went upstairs to change out of his wet, snowy roves, they settled themselves on a velvet sofa in the sitting room. 

After a few minutes, Gwydion returned wearing clean robes. He sat down and adjusted them accordingly before asking:

"To what do I owe the pleasure of your company? I received news that you were most likely dead, Arianwen."

"Master, I went to the Meditation Circle today in order to meet with my old teacher, Vollomeer. When I got there, he wasn't the one that showed up. Instead, one of his servants was waiting. The servant made an attempt on my life. I believe Vollomeer was the one that freed Wolfram from his prison, since he obviously wanted to prevent me from going off in search of Wolfram."

Gwydion looked thoughtful for a moment, then seemed to come to some conclusion.

"Vollomeer hasn't been here for several weeks. If he managed to find out that you were the one going, that means he has spies in the Council of Elders itself. I also learned today that Vollomeer is the one that set Wolfram free, I had it confirmed."

"That means the man you punished for it was innocent, wasn't he?"

Jeremi was giving Gwydion a look that could break glass. When her question wasn't answered, she tried again.

"Wasn't he innocent?"

"Yes. He was. The Council demanded retribution, and they found someone guilty because they wanted to find someone guilty. None of what we say here is to leave this room, understand? I want Vollomeer's spy to think that I'm content with the outcome of our investigation. I also don't want anyone to know that you live. It would be far better to let everyone involved think that everything was going according to plan. Jeremi, can you excuse us for a moment?"

Jeremi stood up and left the room looking hurt, but said nothing.

Arianwen looked shocked and asked:

"What was that for?"

"What I am about to tell you pertains to the portal that you are going to use to leave Winterealm, and it involves Jeremi."

"How will she open the Gate? You know she has no specialization of her Gift."

"She does, but she won't admit it to anyone. She sings to locks and can go unseen in the night. She has the Thief's Gift. There isn't a door she can't open, and if Vollomeer and Wolfram could open the Gate, so can she."

The End

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