Iniara had the maid shuffled to a chamber on the east side of her domain. The room was encased entirely of ice, but amazing to Ad'cero, the bed remained warm and soft. A protected fire burned in the brick fireplace on the north side of the room and a few frames and statues sat on the mantle above the flames. No windows openly expressed the light from outside, but a few strategically placed candles lighted the chamber with a homely golden glow. Few mats actually covered the ground, but a long, white, furred rug lined one edge of the bed's sides.
Moving closer to the fireplace, Ad'cero could clearly see the pictures outlined by the metal frames. They were old pictures of course. Iniara sat, looking much younger, with what seemed to be Im'os, also much younger and less impish as he was today, posing in front of a waterfall with tight clothing that covered all exposed skin- sans their faces and hands. Im'os grinned in the picture happily towards the photographer as he stood with his arm wrapped around the side of Iniara's back. Iniara's blank stare stabbed Ad'cero as her eyes drifted along the black and white photograph's image. Ad'cero did not know Iniara well, of course she only just met her, but from her expression she could tell that Iniara controlled excellent personal discipline.
Other pictures displayed moments of council meetings and honors that Iniara
has received. One particular picture showed Iniara standing on a platform
accepting a rolled up piece of paper while shaking a man's hand; still she
displayed her stern gaze. The frame was constructed out of a thin silver
metal that had been twisted to create a vine-like appearance. At the bottom,
a plaque of some sort read:
Awarded Mage Scientist in bold lettering.
Mage Scientist, what does that mean? Ad'cero commented to herself
while picking up the light frame to pull closer to her weakened eyes.
The plaque continued on to read in smaller printing:
Title given to
Iniara for her work in ice elemental magic and alchemy in the project of
- and the rest was smudged out and tarnished.
Now what could that have been? Ad'cero placed the frame back on
top of the mantle where she had found it.
Beside the bedside was a small nightstand made out of a dark brown wood and metal handles. It included a shelf and one drawer above it. Old feeble fingers wrapped around one of the knobs and pulled tightly to search the inside of the lone drawer. Inside a stained book bound with a thin twine occupied its whole. Ad'cero slowly lifted the bounded book and sat down on the bed. A red velvety material sheeted the bed and kept her warm. She sat the book in her lap and she pries open the cover to the first page.
Why did you have her sent to the east chamber, Iniara?
Iniara stared back at Im'os,
because I can. She stood up and walked
closer to the imp.
I think she could be a valuable asset to me. When
I confronted her this evening, I saw more than I ever expected to see in
You always said that Hearthans were evil in talking form, m'lady...
Of course, and I will never go back on that, but this woman, Ad'cero...
-Seems like the mother you never had?
Iniara shot a cold glare to the old man.
I don't need a mother. I was
going to say that she can be just as deceiving as I can be, but she might
get away with it while we travel through Hearth and Burgin in order to get
the information we need to precede accordingly- someone like me would easily
Im'os nodded to his mistress.
The book creaked a bit as Ad'cero bent the cover back to read the first page. It seemed to be an old journal of sorts, where one wrote down procedures and daily tasks. A few diagrams were sketched in the margins that resembled archaic machines. Ad'cero wondered why this journal remained here in this room. Outside, she heard footsteps and immediately blew the lights out.
Is the wench asleep? An old voice whispered in the hallways.
A rustle of armor responded with,
I haven't heard a sound from her chamber
since she arrived.
Good, make sure she doesn't leave until Iniara waits to travel.
Footsteps fade down the hallway in the opposite direction in which they
Ad'cero sits up the bed and twists to light one of the candles again. She holds the book close to the light, weary of the flame, to read the writing.
Today she came alive. Her blood beat at the rate of 80 and breathes
regularly. The body of the infant is warm and soft to the touch; I can feel
her move as she pulsates in my arms.
Ad'cero flips to the last page and there an old and tattered picture remains taped to the last page. There, a smiling Iniara holds an infant wrapped in a blanket in her arms.
I could never expect something as this! Ad'cero marveled.
happened to the infant, Iniara...?