Chapter 29

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Dawn welcomed the travelers with grey skies. As they each went about their business, no one had the temerity to make any disparaging remarks about Uriel apparently spending the night with the High Witch. Arhyvhynne was extremely uncomfortable and embarrassed by the situation. She hadn't expected there to be any consequences from their night together. After all, nothing happened. Nothing physical, anyway. She did not know what to think of her discovery of Uriel's golden branded pentagram. It confused her. Worse yet, it scared her. The High Witch had been up half the night considering the possibilities. Her mind was filled with so many thoughts and questions that she could only retreat deeper into herself. She made no effort to explain her actions and mentioned nothing regarding the brand neither to Uriel nor anyone else.

Arhyvhynne, Uriel, Ghemella and the elves quietly set out on the last morning of their journey to Bhel'Ehzz and arrived at the capital of Khaballe shortly after midday. Small crowds had gathered along the main western road through the city to witness the approach of the party. Uriel thought they assembled to get a firsthand look at the elves, High Witch or maybe the unicorn, but before long found it to be otherwise. The people had fear in their eyes. Children cowered behind their parents. The adults pointed at Uriel and whispered amongst themselves. Most made signs of warding at his passage. But no one spoke or made a comment loud enough for Uriel to hear.

Though the Ministry had decided to keep the news of Uriel and the disappearance of the Rune of Destruction from the public, word had leaked out soon after the completion of MidSummer. Some said there was talk of it even as early as the Closing Ceremonies. Thus, Uriel's arrival at Bhel'Ehzz was fraught with much expectation, apprehension and foreboding.

The party was duly received and welcomed with proper decorum by the royal family when they arrived at the castle. Uriel was presented as a guest of the High Witch of the Moons and even were he blind, he would have felt everyone's eyes riveted on him. The situation recalled to Uriel's mind the similar feelings he experienced when he was first brought before the Council of the Moons.

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