Prophecy Story Index
To Know Everything
"I want to know everything, Tulan, everything that there is to know."
Tulan bit the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling too broadly. He leaned forward on his desk, eyeing the young boy sitting, no, perching on the edge of the chair. Dark green eyes met his eyes steadily, intent on the conversation. Intelligent eyes and wanting to know so much. Hungry for the knowledge that books and studies hold.
After a few moments more of contemplating the seven-year-old, Tulan replied in a soft voice, "Everything is a lot of things, Terel. I'm not sure any of us can learn that much. And sometimes there are things we don't want to know."
Terel shifted slightly in the chair, tilting his head a little. His voice was high-pitched, but firm. "Maybe. But I want to know more anyway. The palace teachers won't let me learn what I want. They say I shouldn't push myself too hard. I'm not pushing. I'm bored. I want to move faster."
Which brought you here, to me, my young prince. Tulan sighed to himself, rubbing one hand over his forehead. What to do? Yes, Terel was extremely intelligent, much more so than many of the students in the Bardic Academy and other schools it housed. Terel was in a classroom setting at the moment with others of his age, but it was obvious that Terel's knowledge and intelligence far exceeded what was expected of a child his age.
He needs a personal tutor, one that will let him go at his own rate.
Tulan paused a moment, considering that idea. All the regular teachers' schedules and rosters were full. No time for a one-on-one teaching assignment. And you already have one official personal student, plus one not-so-official one. Do you want another one? Especially one as active as Terel. Dorien and Camella keep you busy as it is.
He looked over at Terel and saw such hope in his eyes that Tulan just shook his head in defeat. He stood and placed a hand on Terel's shoulder, who looked at him with apprehension and hope at the same time.
Tulan smiled, chuckling softly. "It's okay, Terel, I think I have a way to help you. How would like me to be your teacher?"
Terel's eyes widened, then he swallowed as he shuffled his feet. "You, sir? Are you sure? I didn't mean that you --"
Tulan squeezed his shoulder. "Now, Terel, don't go changing your mind on me. I already knew that your teachers are having a hard time keeping up with you. You learn too fast for them. I know you have a talent for music, old languages, quick reading, and interpretation of texts. I think I could keep you busy. What do you say?"
Terel was quiet for several moments, his eyes on the ground, then he looked up again and met Tulan's eyes. He nodded. "Okay. I would be happy to have you as my teacher, Bard Tulan."
Polite to the last. Amused, Tulan sighed mentally. Where did this boy learn such impeccable manners? And why doesn't Linet seem to have any of them?
Terel hopped down off the chair as Tulan continued. "Come, let's go have a little chat with your parents. We need to tell them what we've decided."
Tulan and Terel found Stefan and Raven down by the stables, talking with Alissa, a horsebreeder and seller from Jourdain. She went through Brightstar a few times each year, bringing her stock for the palace guard and others to buy. Her horses were known to be some of the best to be found anywhere. In fact, Tulan knew that the Teva-bred stock horses came from her mares and Teva, Gwyna's racing stallion from Bornath. Alissa had passed through Rosewood several years ago, when Raven was only a little girl and had traded two mares for some silverwork from Andrel. And now Teva-bred horses were one of the most highly prized stock around. All thanks to a little luck and kindness.
Terel left Tulan's side when he caught sight of Linet at the fence of the stableyard. He ran to her side and started to talk rapidly to her about Tulan being his teacher. By the time Tulan reached Stefan and Raven's sides, they had heard the whole story -- twice. Stefan raised an eyebrow in question as Tulan stopped next to them.
Tulan shrugged, smiling. "Terel is too fast a learner for the teachers to keep him interested in a classroom. A personal teacher is better for him. Most all of the teachers are too busy to handle another full-time assignment, which is what Terel will most likely be until I can get him settled down to a schedule, and any teachers who aren't busy, well, they won't have any more luck that his current teachers. So that left me."
Raven said softly, "But I thought you had a personal student already. Dorien, I believe his name is."
Tulan nodded. "Yes, but I think I can handle both of them. Dorien works as a page in the palace for Tayna. I can teach Terel during those hours and send him off to study when I'm teaching Dorien."
Stefan threw a glance at Terel, still animatedly talking with Linet, whose blue eyes were wide with awe. Even though they were the same age, Terel had always seemed older than Linet; he was precocious almost from the minute he was born it seemed sometimes. Stefan was about to say something when his eyes were drawn to Alissa who was watching the two children with a very odd look on her face. He frowned, wondering what could be wrong. Raven and Tulan followed his eyes to Alissa who jerked her head to meet their eyes, suddenly realizing she was being watched. After a moment, she walked over to them, her silver spurs jingling softly.
Alissa took a breath and smiled shakily. "Your Highnesses, Bard Tulan, I didn't mean to worry you. I had a ... well, I guess you could call it a flash of insight regarding Terel and Linet."
Raven said softly, "In my mother Gwyna's journal, she mentioned you 'saw' something for her, that you had a 'fickle gift of prophecy,' as you called it. She didn't write exactly what you said though."
Alissa nodded. "The words I spoke to Gwyna were for her alone. But suffice it to say that she took some of the words I gave her as the advice I had planned them to be."
Stefan interjected. "And what do you 'see' now, for our children?"
Alissa looked toward the two children again. Both were oblivious to the adults' quiet discussion, still wrapped up in looking at the horses. She then turned back to Stefan and Raven, closing her eyes as she whispered.
"Their lives are tied together in a close-knit bond. The bond must be broken for all to begin anew. Prophecy will intervene in both their lives. I see light and darkness, life and death, silence and change. I see a sword, glowing in its intensity. I see war and confrontation. I see a man of ice blue eyes, another of green eyes. There is a choice to be made whether to take the path of life or the path of death. That choice is the balance between the end and the beginning."
Her eyes opened and she finished. "That is what I see for your children, mostly a flash of images and words and impressions. It's the way it always is. I'm sorry I can't tell you more."
Stefan smiled. "It's okay. What you can tell is enough." He and Raven went to join Terel and Linet at the fence.
Alissa turned to look directly at Tulan. Her light-colored eyes were hesitant and Tulan nodded, urging her to say what she was thinking. Her voice was softer, evading the ears of the others around them. "There is terrible conflict coming soon, too soon, to Rillanda. With it comes war and great loss. One of those losses has been foretold for years uncounted. Let it be known that now you have three, but in the end only two will survive." Before he could respond, she inclined her head and turned away, heading for her horses.
Tulan stood silent, thinking about her words. Three now, but two in the end. Three. Three what?
Terel's laughter caught his ear and he looked over to see Terel pointing at a younger horse in the stableyard galloping playfully around. On the far side of the fence, Tulan saw his other two students, Camella and Dorien, watching the horses as well. When did they get here?
Sudden understanding of Alissa's words washed over him like a bucket of ice water.
Three. Oh. Three students. And only two would live beyond the coming storm.
He looked over and saw Alissa watching him, her eyes sad with the knowledge she had given him. He nodded his understanding to her without words, then let his eyes drift back to scan back and forth over his three students: Dorien, Camella, and Terel.
Which one will I lose? And at what cost?
- The End -
Prophecy Story Index