The New Adventures of Jamie

by Jamie Mac

Chapter 15

Council Members

Swift and Eric arrived upstairs; they had decided to check on Jamie first before doing anything else. As they approached Jamie's door Swift knocked quietly, and did not get an answer. He tried the door and found it unlocked, so he opened it and peeked in. Lying on the bed next to each other were Kyle and Jamie, eyes closed and earbuds in their ears; one of them tapping his hands gently to the beat of the music. Swift's sensitive hearing could pick up faint hints of the melody and knew that in his mind Kyle was sending stones skimming and flying. Swift cleared his throat a bit, Kyle turned and looked over at him, and smiled. Jamie did not move, Kyle placed a finger to his lips indicating Jamie had fallen asleep. He removed his ear buds, carefully sat up, then even more carefully stood up and walked to the door. They all stepped into the hallway and Kyle slowly closed the door, but left it open enough he could hear if Jamie called him.

"So what happened bud?" Swift asked.

"He was given way too much stuff at one time and just went into overload," said Kyle. "It scared him so bad he thought he would lose everything, and everyone because of what he'd been told."

Kyle then went on, looking down as he continued, "He even thought I would no longer love him. Let alone, would I want to be with him."

"He was scared you'd leave him? Wow, I knew he had it rough, but I never imagined it could be so bad that he would be this afraid," Eric said in disbelief.

"Yeah man, I think he felt his whole world was caving in right around him. He soaked a pillow and his teddy bear with tears; it took me a while to finally get him calm enough to where I could even talk with him. I was really scared everything we had gotten accomplished was lost," Kyle continued as a tear rolled down his cheek. "Jamie is so sensitive. He has such a huge heart, but it breaks so easily. He finally relaxed and I explained and reassured him I would never leave him. I think it would be great if you guys did the same thing; just talk to him, tell him you'll never abandon him and mean it. He'll know if you are not being honest with him."

"I could never leave him. Jamie is way too nice, and I will always protect him no matter what happens. He's my friend too," said Eric in a defiant tone leaving no doubt that he meant every word.

"I love Jamie. He is a great kid. But Kyle, before you worry or think anything – Jamie is your love. I love him as a brother, and I always will, anything beyond that is for you and Jamie alone. I stand with Eric, I will always be here to protect you both," Swift stated firmly.

And just then the voice was heard again: "Done."

They all stood there and looked at each other in surprise. Swift then said, "Well, I guess that's settled. Shall we keep Jamie company now? Or would you just like to be alone with him? Eric and I can go play a game or watch some T.V.; it's up to you, my brother."

"I think Jamie might freak if we all went in there at once," said Kyle, who was about to say more when they all heard a voice.

"You can all come in," Jamie called out. "My friend woke me when he said 'done'."

They opened the door and found Jamie lying on his side. He had one earbud in his ear, was propped up on an elbow, and had an impish smile on his face.

"Hey bud you feeling better?" Eric asked. "You had me worried there, when you took off like that."

"Yeah, Kyle worked his magic on me again," said Jamie. "I'm sorry, I just thought the way everything sounded … I was going to be like something nobody would wanna be with. I thought I'd lose you all," he explained, as tears leaked out of the corners of his eyes ready to roll down his cheeks.

"Jamie, I for one will never let you down. I'll always be here for you, I mean that; we're brothers now, and I love you like a brother. You have shown me how real brothers are supposed to be," stated Eric, meaning every word he spoke. Deep down he did love Jamie as a brother, and he knew it. He would give anything to keep him safe.

"I don't think I can say it any better than Eric just did, but know this: I love you just as much, and you are as much my brother as are Kyle, and Eric. No matter what, Dragon's Son or not, you'll always have us for brothers," said Swift, the feelings showing in his eyes, as they shone with tears brimming.

Jamie got off the bed and motioned for everyone to come close. He reached around them all as far as his arms would let him and gave them a huge hug, saying, "Thanks, I really needed that. I'm sorry I just fell apart like that."

"It's okay, Sunshine. You've nothing to be sorry about. Hey, if all that was told to me, I think I'd have freaked out as well."

Eric added, "Yeah Little One, I know I was struggling just to wrap my head around what was being said. I'm still lost, but I'm sure over time we'll all get it."

"We sure will and we'll all work together with it," finished Swift.

"Sounds awesome! I think I'd really like to find out more now. Can we go down and join everyone again?" Jamie asked, the sound of his voice saying that he was happy again.

"Yeah we can, and Mum said dinner was going to be ready soon," said Swift smiling.

"Oh boy dinner! I'm hungry!" said Jamie quickly. "Let's go!"

The boys all laughed. Jamie was probably the only kid they knew that could fly apart over finding out he was a Dragon's Son and then get excited over dinner, all in the span of just half an hour. They headed back downstairs, and found everyone sitting in the parlour. Jamie walked in behind everyone his head down, almost shuffling along.

"I'm sorry I ran off like that. I got really scared," said Jamie sheepishly as he entered the room.

Onas spoke first, "Jamie, I must apologize to you as well. I gave you too much at one time. I should have thought before unloading so much information so quickly. You are very smart, but still a youngster and still growing. I sometimes forget how some things that seem matter of fact to one, might take a little more time to be absorbed for another. So please accept my apology."

"S'okay, it was a bit too much for me, but now that I have thought about it, and with Kyle's help I understand it better," said Jamie, as he started to lift his head back up and smile again. "So, can I ask you some questions?"

"Sure thing, Little One," Onas replied. "And please stop me if you do not understand something, we can take this slower if you need time."

"I guess my first question is, how was I born?" he asked.

"The normal way, just like any other child would be born," Onas replied.

Jamie looked at him like he had lost his marbles, but then Onas smiled and he raised his hand to stop Jamie before his next question, adding, "That part is completely true. It was at some point afterwards that you were changed; by whom I don't know, but I can speculate and guess …"

"My friend!" Jamie interrupted tapping the side of his head.

"Everyone has spoken of how quick you are Jamie, and you are correct. Now I am sure I know your second question so I am just going to continue, if that is okay?" said Onas, gaining a nod indicating Jamie's assent.

"Now being a Dragon's Son means that you have the same abilities as a dragon. However, I do not think that as a human being you can change into a dragon's form. I may be wrong; so do not hold me to that answer. The last human who was a Dragon's Son could not change form. He lived a long time though; well beyond the span of normal human years. If I recall my history correctly, he lived close to a thousand years of age.

"Now because I was born with Elvish blood I can change my form as you could see. I stay for the most part in this form, but if I need to I can change. I can also take other forms if it suits me. Mostly when I am in public I use a human appearance, although with all the changes people are making on their bodies today we probably could pass as human."

"So what about umm … I don't know how to ask this … I … umm … well can I still … you know … will it still umm …" Jamie struggled, as Onas smiled, knowing what he was attempting to ask.

"Jamie, yes you can; and yes, it will still work," Onas said with a wink.

Everyone looked at Jamie who suddenly turned beet red and then started to look at the ground. Kyle quickly sat down next to him.

"Hey Sunshine, it's okay. We can talk about 'that' later," Kyle said with a wink, Jamie still blushing smiled back at Kyle.

"Okay," Thondir said. "We have some important matters we need to speak about now."

"I guess this is our cue to leave again," Swift said, with a slight tone in his voice as he stood up to leave.

"No Son, not this time. This involves all of you boys: you and Kyle even more so." said Thondir.

Swift sat back down saying, "I'm sorry Pop. I'm just so used to that meaning it's time for everyone under five hundred to leave the room."

"Not this time. This is too important to leave you out, and your mother and aunt have convinced us; it is time to admit both you and Kyle into the Council of Elders."

"No way!" Swift interrupted.

"Yes, the time has come. And I do not want to upset you: Eric or Jamie; you will be involved in some the meetings as well, but there will be times we need to speak of things that will be beyond you," said Thondir, who then paused and raised his hand to stop them before they said anything. "Now relax, you will know everything that is said and done in these meetings. Let me explain why, then you can ask questions."

Both boys at the same instant said, "Okay."

"Let me start with the day we had steaks. Remember how I explained the different kinds of ways to cook them, but you did not completely understand?" to which both boys nodded 'yes'.

"Now remember how you got it right away when Kyle explained it?" and again they nodded an affirmative.

"So we want to avoid things like what happened today, where Jamie got so overwhelmed by what Onas had told him that he broke down. Kyle and Swift will be on the council, but they will tell you everything that is going on and make it so you both will understand. And if there is anything you want to contribute you will tell them, and they will bring it to us. Now of course there will be times when we are all together and information will also come out. I hope this makes sense to you. If not Swift and Kyle, can you explain my meaning?"

Eric was the first to speak, "I understand. I know I need to learn a lot more. I mean some of the stuff you guys talk about just goes ZOOOM over my head. Yet when Swift or Kyle explain it, it seems to connect better."

"I get it as well, and I also know Kyle and Swift can explain things better to me … especially Kyle," said Jamie with a slight grin on his face as he winked at Kyle.

Kyle began to blush; the others understanding the look Jamie had just given him. The two senior boys smiled, and Kyle responded, "I can help. I know Jamie will get it, and understand things better from me. I think Eric will too."

"I know we can do it Pop. Eric is catching on fast when I explain things to him, so between Kyle and myself, we can do it," Swift added.

Brúndaer stood and in a deep formal voice said, "Swift and Kyle, will you please stand." Both boys stood up, fully erect and looking directly at him.

"Repeat after me," began Brúndaer. "I swear to keep and hold the secrets of the Council until death take me, or I retire of my own accord; I will forever retain any information that I may learn henceforth while on the Council, or while performing my duties for the Council; my oath will still bind me even if I should leave the Council of my own choosing. Mar sin Mote e. Tha mi gu sòlaimte mionnachadh."

Swift repeated the full oath and then swore the loyalty pledge, "Tha mi gu sòlaimte mionnachadh."

Kyle then repeated the oath and swore his own loyalty, "Tha mi gu sòlaimte mionnachadh."

Brúndaer said, "Welcome to the Council with full rights and all privileges. Congratulations Kyle, you are the first human ever, let alone so young a man, to be on the Council. Swift congratulations, you are the youngest member of Elvish blood to be on the council. I know you will both do it honour."

"Wow, that is so cool," Jamie said as he got up and gave Kyle a big hug. He whispered into Kyle's ear, "I'm so proud of you," then he kissed him on the cheek.

"Thanks Sunshine," Kyle said, blushing a bit.

Jamie then went and hugged Swift as well, and then proceeded to hug everyone else.

"What was that for?" Onas asked him.

"I know I'm quick at some things. It's just sometimes I'm too quick to jump; if that makes sense. Like earlier: I should have stopped and said I don't understand, but I let my brain run away with it. Thank you for making Swift and Kyle a part of the Council I know they can do it," Jamie said, smiling.

Out in the kitchen both Gwinis and Aunt Faervel heard the voice: "Done."

They both turned and looked at each other and smiled. "I think that went well," Gwinis said.

Faervel smiled, "I agree. Shall we see if they would like dinner now?"

"I hope you are all hungry. We have made something a bit different this evening for dinner," Gwinis said as she entered the parlour.

"I'm starved," Jamie chimed in, suddenly a renewed smile on his face. The storm of problems seemed to be put aside for now, at least until his stomach was satisfied.

They gathered at the table for a nice meal. Gwinis was right, it was a surprise even for the boys; they had never had a meal quite like the one they were sitting down to eat. A large pot sat in the middle of the table and when Gwinis removed the lid the aroma's captured everyone's attention instantly. It was chili, but everyone other than Eric and Jamie knew it would be spicy. On each plate was a bowl made from a loaf of hearty homemade bread; the centre of each loaf removed to allow the chili to be placed inside of it.

"It's going to be spicy Eric and Jamie. Everyone here likes a little heat. I hope you don't mind?" Gwinis cautioned.

"I love spicy stuff," Jamie quickly replied, as he looked on fascinated by the bread bowl on his plate, wondering how it could hold a liquid and not leak. "What kinda bread is this? And how will it hold chili?" he asked looking at the strange round flat-bottomed loaf of bread on his plate; the centre of which had been cut up into small pieces for dipping and were sitting on a side plate.

"There are five different kinds of bread you can use for this; tonight I thought pumpkin bread would be good. The bread is baked a little firmer so the crust is heavy enough to hold the liquids. You will love it, I promise," Gwinis said.

Soon everyone sitting around the table was enjoying their meal. Jamie and Eric watched as the adults, Swift, and Kyle each took chunks of the bread set on their side plates, and dipped them into their individual bowls of chili and ate. They followed suit, and soon the cares of the day seemed to fade away as the stomachs filled. Even Jamie was happy again as the talk around the table turned from food to what new tricks the boys had learnt while practicing with their weapons. After dinner, and the requisite cleaning up, they all retired once again to the parlour.

"Why is this called a parlour?" Jamie asked as he lay on the fuzzy rug in the middle of the floor looking at the ceiling.

"Older homes were done with class. They had a study which would also serve as a library; for some a formal dining room like we have; a billiards room, though oft times it was used for other things; the pantry here is known as a butler's pantry, it was were all the formal dining ware was kept, and the butler would often sleep in the same room; then of course the parlour, sometimes called a sitting room, now in modern times it is called the living room, which is where families and friends gather," Thondir explained.

Okay, that makes sense," Jamie replied.

"Now boys, we do have something that does need to be discussed. Eric and Jamie, can you give us a few minutes? Swift and Kyle will fill you in, we promise that, but this is important and we need to head to the study; I am expecting a phone call and I need to make sure word is passed that Swift and Kyle are now full council members."

"Yeah it's cool with us," Eric said looking at Jamie, who nodded in agreement.

The adults as well as Swift and Kyle excused themselves and headed for the study, Gwinis and Aunt Faervel stayed behind however. "How come you're not going?" Jamie asked still laying on the fuzzy rug in the middle of the parlour.

"While we are part of the council there are times we do not need to be present and we thought maybe you two would like to go play a game with us in the Billiards Room," Gwinis replied.

"Okay sounds like fun I've never played billiards before," Eric said.

"Me either," Jamie also added. "What's billiards?"

"Maybe you know it by another name. Pool, maybe?" Gwinis said.

"Oh … yeah … I've seen pool places before," Jamie replied, a frown instantly appearing on his face.

"Is there something wrong Jamie?" Aunt Faervel asked. She could see that something had triggered a memory in the small boy's mind. She also sensed some fear in his rather stiff response.

"I don't think I wanna talk about it if that's okay. You all can go, I'll just relax here, my tummy is still really full," said Jamie, trying to dodge the question as best he could; the memory already full in the front of his mind, and it was not a pleasant one either.

"If you are sure Sweetie. We could stay and just talk instead if you prefer," Gwinis added, hoping maybe Jamie would come out of his shell just a bit more.

"I guess … it's just something that happened and it brings back some bad memories for me," Jamie started. "One time we stopped by a pool hall, and he was drunk, and well … he and his buddies … made me get undressed … then they took a pool cue …" Jamie couldn't go on; the memory was too fresh in his mind, he rolled over on the carpet and began to cry.

Gwinis got up and sat on the floor next to him and started to rub his back, "I am so sorry, Little One. It is sometimes hard to know what might bother someone when they have been hurt in so many ways. It's fine, we can just sit here."

Eric looked at Jamie and realized that in the past he must have been brutalized beyond belief. He wondered just how Jamie could ever find love; after what he surmised had happened with that pool cue. Tears rolled down his cheeks too as he thought about what had happened to Jamie. He remembered some of the times his brother would torture him, and he felt for Jamie. He knew that Jamie had it rough; Eric had left home at twelve, and Jamie had been running away since he was ten – it spoke volumes of the brutality he must have faced.

The phone rang and Thondir answered it, then put it on speakerphone so that everyone could hear saying, "Orrian has some more information for us from the other day and the gang you boys ran into." He then directed his voice to the phone and Orrian, "Swift and Kyle are now full members of the Council. It was Gwinis' and Faervel's idea that they join, and we all agreed. They are sworn and have full rights and privileges."

"Welcome boys, and congratulations," came Orrian's voice over the phone. "One of our protectors has been inside the police department and managed to get hold of the image we only had the sketch of. It should be coming through your fax now. I still do not recognize it, nor does anyone else in this area. Maybe you can get something from it."

"It is coming through now," said Lornen. "Onas is here, we have more news as well."

"Okay, good. Jassin and Orndacil are with me," replied Orrian. "Knowing this is a secure line we can speak freely."

"Then I call this session of the Council of Elders to order," stated Brúndaer. "Onas, you have the floor."

"The news I have is based on recent events, and then additional details relayed to me by Lornen. I need to share with all of you that I am, or thought I was, the last Dragon's Son. I have never shared this with anyone until today, and I would ask that it be kept within our circle," Onas requested.

"Mar sin Mote e," said everyone in turn.

Orndacil said, "You kept that well-hidden my brother, I did not even know."

"I am sorry my friends it was due to necessity that it remained a secret. The time has come now however, that it can be revealed. Some of the council already know this, but for everyone's benefit I was once the child of The Light," continued Onas. "We have discovered another Dragon's Son today. He is the young man you all know. They have nicknamed him 'Little One'. He is now the champion of the Light Entity."

There was a long pause, and then Jassin finally spoke, "The child? How is it possible?"

"I think Jamie himself hit on the answer, when we spoke. He would periodically refer to 'His Friend', and I think he is referring to the Light Entity. I was the last child of The Light, although much older than Jamie is. Now it would seem The Light has chosen him."

"It makes sense. When I was visiting my brother at the Amazon Preserve several of the faerie folk spoke of the 'Child of Light'," said Orndacil. "So it would fit the signs. A Dragon's Son though, I am very much impressed. How has he taken it?"

This time it was Kyle who spoke, "He did not take it well, sir. At first he thought he was going to lose everyone. I guess maybe you all need some background on Jamie?" he asked them.

They all agreed, and Kyle then continued, "Jamie is very loving and caring, but he has been hurt very badly. He has scars covering a good portion of his body. When we first came here I saw some of those scars, and I could tell by the purple coloration of them that they had just healed. He has come a long ways in a very short time, but is still quick to curl up inside his shell.

"A good example was today. Onas filled him with too much information and what he got out of it was that he was a monster that nobody would want to be near, including me. It took me some time, but I can get through to him and help explain things," finished Kyle.

There was a pause.

"This is why we decided to admit both Swift and Kyle onto the council," explained Thondir. "Not only that but the voice, or 'Jamie's friend' as we now call him, has told us that all four boys will be involved. We would have included Eric, but his education and experience are lacking due to his past, and Jamie is simply too young. Kyle is the first ever human, let alone a young adult, that we have had on Council, and Swift the youngest Elvish-born. With the other boys having some issues, Gwinis and Faervel thought it would be a good idea, and we all agreed. As you can see, Kyle is worthy of membership by what he just explained. Swift can you add anything to this?"

"I know Eric better than Jamie; Eric is quick in his mind, but his former family treated him as if he were a nit-wit. They even took him from school telling him he would never learn anything. So he has a very low self-esteem about himself. He also had an older brother; I have not gotten much on that, but I gather that it was very bad as well," Swift stated.

Lornen reached over, grabbed the image that had just came out of the fax machine, and passed it around the room. Everyone looked at it carefully, but no one seemed to recognize the mark. Onas said, "I am just guessing here because I have not seen this particular mark. It is however rather similar to a demon's mark. I do not know much of what happened, can someone fill me in?"

"Swift, Kyle, I'll leave this part to you, it's related to when you first brought Eric and Jamie here," said Thondir. "You were both there from the start."

"Long or short?" Swift asked, wondering if they wanted full details.

"You can go short. If we have questions, you can fill in the answers," Onas said.

"Kyle and I had taken each boy to see if they actually had figured it out, and somehow we wound up at the City Centre Station. The long and short: Nidhogg lit a fire under the butt of the owner of one of the restaurants and Kyle and Jamie bolted. Eric and I had just left the place we were eating at and spotted them running so we followed. We met in the alleyway, spoke of a few things, when both dragons noticed that something was amiss; then as were trying to leave suddenly the gang was there. We knew they had been hassling kids in the area so we figured we would spank them good and it would be the end of them. It appears it worked for a short time. I think Orrian would know that part better," finished Swift. He then looked at Kyle and added, "Anything more you can think of?"

"Yeah, I can add to that," Kyle began. "The gang seemed real intent on Jamie, and it was the same with the police. Granted Nidhogg and Fáfnir played a part in that, but it seemed odd that they were targeting Jamie. Although at the time I thought it was to use Jamie for their pleasures … but now I'm not so sure."

Orndacil said, "While the gang did break up for a time, I have also noticed they seem to be avoiding contact with street children now. I think you boys did a fantastic job; I want to thank you. I know I sent that message with your father, but I had to say it for myself as well. We have not found any other children with the gift of sight since we found the three of you: Kyle, Eric, and Jamie. While we still search there is always someone who can spot whimsical beings, or will say something to one of us. Sadly, it is becoming more and more rare, as you well know Kyle. A time will come, one day, when all belief fades and there are none to replace us."

"I think our next step should be to see if we can catch one of these teen gang members alone and question him; maybe even bring him to a preserve – although ours is out. I think the best one would be Onas' preserve. It is far enough away, and they would in essence be trapped until we saw fit to let them go. We only do this however, if we have unanimous agreement. I do not relish the idea of doing this, but I think it is imperative that we get information somehow," finished Brúndaer.

The adults all nodded and spoke their agreement that it was the proper move to make, Brúndaer then looked at Swift and Kyle and said, "Well boys, it is your turn to have a say in this."

Swift looked at Kyle and nodded, "Yes I think we must. There is too much at stake to not do this."

"I agree as well. Considering we know that Jamie is the champion of The Light, we need to find out if they have other motives," Kyle added.

"Mar sin Mote e," said Brúndaer. "Is there any other business we need to discuss?"

Onas said, "I would like to use the phone afterwards if that is okay. There is one person I know who actually might know what this symbol means. He is now the caretaker of my preserve."

"Sounds like a good plan. Tha mi an uair sin dùin an coinneamh bheannaich bhith," said Brúndaer, officially declaring the council meeting closed.

"How did you like your first meeting boys?"

"It was different. Thank you all for letting us join, I hope we have helped," said Swift.

"I agree. I hope what we said helped. It was different, but I enjoyed it. Thank you for including me," said Kyle. "I think I need to go find Sunshine now. I've got this funny feeling; I think he needs me."

"You're very welcome boys, and yes the information was invaluable. You know Eric and Jamie far better than we do since you have spent the most time with them. There will be more calls I am sure coming soon. You both spoke with elegance and etiquette. You are free to go, and yes check on Jamie, I sense something as well," concluded Thondir.

"I'll catch up with you Kyle, I need to ask Jassin a question. Go see Jamie, Bud," said Swift.

Kyle got up and quickly left the room. He walked to the parlour where he found Gwinis sitting on the floor rubbing the back of a crying Jamie.

"What happened?" Kyle asked angrily. "Did someone hurt Jamie?"

"Nothing bad has happened," Gwinis said, as Kyle sat down next to Jamie. "We asked if the boys would like to play billiards. Jamie did not understand what that was, so I told him it was also known as 'pool'. He said that some time back he had had a very bad experience with that, and then he started to cry."

Kyle put his arms around Jamie, pulled the sobbing boy against him, and whispered into his ear repeatedly, "Never again Sunshine … Never again." Finally, he gave Jamie a kiss on the cheek as the crying subsided.

Jamie looked up at Kyle, eyes red and tear stained, and he managed a smile, "Thanks. I'm sorry everyone, I just seem to be falling apart today."

"It's okay Little One. You have been through enough, and crying is a good way to get it out. I hope you are feeling better?" Gwinis asked him, as she smiled down at him.

Jamie sniffled and said, "Yeah, I think I am." He then leaned over and planted a kiss on Gwinis' cheek. Jamie then turned back to Kyle, who was still holding him, and planted another kiss on his cheek. Jamie then switched on the special smile he reserved for Kyle alone and said, "Thanks."

"S'okay Sunshine. Anything for you," Kyle said in reply.

Swift entered the room and asked, "Is everything alright?"

"It's better now," Jamie replied.

Soon everyone had returned to the parlour, and they spoke of the events that had taken place during the council meeting. Swift and Kyle explaining everything to Eric and Jamie, who both asked several questions and grasped the details quickly. Since it was still light out and would be for a couple more hours, the talk then turned to more mundane things and Gwinis noted that Eric and Jamie began to look quite bored.

"Would you boys like to go and be on your own for the evening?" Gwinis asked.

"Are you trying to get rid of us, Mom?" Swift asked, still somewhat sensitive over the topic of 'adults only conversation'.

"No Son, we are just going to sit and talk about old times for a while. I thought maybe you boys might like to go and play. You have all been working hard and I think some play time is in order," Gwinis replied, a firmness in her tone.

"Hey, how about we go play with the Satyrs! Lets get a good game of lacrosse going!" Kyle said eagerly.

All of the boys nodded in agreement and headed upstairs to get their padding on and head off to the field for a rousing game. The adults all smiled as the boy's feet could be heard thundering up the stairs.

"Expect a bloody nose or two and some bruises, Faervel," Lornen quipped.

"Oh dear," she sighed.

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