14  -  Chapter 14 - The Mourning Prince
Webmistress's Drawing of a Sculpture.  Artist Unknown.
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The Mourning Prince



Chapter  XIV




  Utter blackness and the smell of the ancients surrounded them where they appeared. At this point Camber noticed his nephew had gone awful white. Extending his senses in his direction, he encountered extremely weak shields.

"Are you all right?" Camber asked, deeply concerned.

"Yeah I'll be all right in a second," Kelson answered, "that jump just took more strength out of me than I expected. Would you mind conjuring handfire? I don't think I have it in me." Camber cupped his hand, and a bright ball of crimson flame appeared. The illumination revealed them to be in some sort of alcove. As he looked at his nephew, he saw the paleness in his face.

"Really I will be all right," Kelson said noticing his uncles concerned face in the dimness of the handfire. "Follow me."

Having said that, Kelson stepped out the alcove and Camber followed. They were standing in some sort of corridor.

"It smells like an antique shop doesn't it?" Kelson said.

"Yes it does," Camber replied as he mentally pushed the handfire up so that it was just slightly above them. "Let's have a better look at our surroundings."

With the better illumination, Camber could see that they were standing in a short corridor with a big oaken door to their left. To their right he saw a small writing table with a chair and candle sitting in the center, and behind that was a darkened doorway. Kelson walked towards the desk and with a wave of his hand, flame appeared on top of the candle. Seeing that his handfire was no longer needed, Camber dispelled it.

Sliding the desk drawer open, Kelson reached in and removed a quill like pen.

"What is that for?" Camber asked.

Looking down at the pen in his hand and back to uncle, Kelson replied, "it is for something I have been putting off for quite some time." Before Camber could question him further, he picked up the candle with his empty hand and made for the doorway.

"Can you do me a favor, would you mind bringing that chair with you?" he said pausing just at the entrance. As he entered the room, Camber saw that it appeared to be a library with full bookshelves around the room and a large oak table in the center.

Seeing that Kelson was occupied removing some books from one of the shelves on the right side of the room, Camber placed the chair near where Kelson had placed the candle. Having done this, Camber turned to see that Kelson had removed a dozen or so books and had slid back a secret compartment. Reaching inside, he removed a small wooden box and a thick black book with the Golden Haldane lion embossed on the cover. Moving back to the table, he placed both items on the table, sat in the chair, and proceeded to leaf through the black book.

"What book is that? And what is in the box?" Camber asked, as Kelson continued to leaf through the book.

"This is the royal lineage to our family." Kelson answered, "and that contains the Eye of Rom, the Ring of Fire, and the Crimson Lion," indicating the box which was also embossed with a Golden Haldane Lion.

"Go ahead and look if you don't believe me," Kelson said after he noticed his uncle had stopped and was staring at him. Slowly opening the box, Camber did see all three. Truly fascinated, he made as to touch them.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Kelson said.

"Why not?"

Kelson looked up at his uncle over the rims of his glasses, "you know very well why not!" Legend has always said only the true Haldane heir, properly attuned of course, can touch those things."

"I am sorry, I don't know what I was thinking."

Seeing that Kelson had stopped leafing through the book and had settled on a page three fourths of the way through, Camber came to read over his shoulder.

"What are you looking for?"

Leaning closer, Camber saw that Kelson had settled on his own name. Underneath Kelson's name, he saw Malcolm, Kelson's son. The year of his death had not been entered yet, and more than that, the dates hadn't been entered for either the death of his wife or youngest son. Kelson's hand was poised, the pen almost touching the paper, but slowly he put it down. Removing his glasses he placed his head in his hands, and began to sob. Not wanting to intrude in his grief, Camber quietly put his hand on his shoulder to comfort him. After a minute or so, Kelson wiped his eyes on his sleeve. "I am sorry about that, uncle..."

"Don't you dare. I am surprised you haven't done it sooner. Do you want me to fill that in for you."

"No I need to do it. I guess it is my little way of saying goodbye, since I was not allowed to do it in person. I need some sort of closure I guess."

"As long as you don't shelter those feelings away, okay?"

"Okay," Kelson replied," Can you do me a favor, I need to keep my mind off what I am doing and if keep crying like a baby we'll never get out of here. Ask me something about what you saw in my memories."

Camber thought for several seconds and ran through the memories in his mind. "Okay, who was the cloaked figure in Louisiana? The one who seemed to be your protector?"

"You don't ask the easy ones do you?" Kelson answered absently starting to write in the book. "Truthfully, I don't know."

"Could it be...? You know...?"

"Saint Camber? I doubt it. He hasn't made an appearance in several centuries that I know of, but what do I know?"

"Then who was it?" Camber asked as he watched Kelson make the final notation in the book.

Looking up at his uncle, Kelson said, "I think I might have an idea, but I can't be certain. When he/she made their appearance in Louisiana, I got this feeling, and I got this feeling in only one other place."

"And that was?"

"I'll have to take you there when we get back."

"Can't you tell me?"

"No I have to show you," Kelson said as he closed the book and handed it to his uncle.



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