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Chapter_10 - Bergin Book, The Hideaway

Chapter_10 - Bergin Book, The Hideaway

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Published by Annie Bergin
Though there are legends about ancient magic and mighty heroes, some choose to believe they are real, and others still choose to hunt them. Whether by accident, or by design, Kalreena Jass finds herself on a path she could never imagine, seeking something she doesn't think exists, while fighting to save the life of someone she doesn't know. Who can she trust along the way? And who is the watcher with the chilling warning:
"Be careful who you choose for friends"
Though there are legends about ancient magic and mighty heroes, some choose to believe they are real, and others still choose to hunt them. Whether by accident, or by design, Kalreena Jass finds herself on a path she could never imagine, seeking something she doesn't think exists, while fighting to save the life of someone she doesn't know. Who can she trust along the way? And who is the watcher with the chilling warning:
"Be careful who you choose for friends"

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Published by: Annie Bergin on Aug 08, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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10/08/2012

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Bergin Book 
By Annie Bergin Page 46
Chapter Ten
 Nobody spoke. The silence seemed to linger uncomfortably over each of us as MadamKavo tended to one of the soldiers, his arm bruised purple from the impact of hitting the side of the Hideaway. Ivanin and another soldier were examining the two wide, wicker chairs that hadbattered the tree; one of them was irreparably torn and snapped across its back. The glass tablehad been destroyed, its thick glass top was smashed into millions of jagged pieces that had fallenall around me after the blast. Kagan and I both thought some of the angry chunks must have hurtme, but I had escaped unscathed. How, I don't know, but I had.I could see Mhena staring silently at the fireplace and the thick log which snapped andpopped, the flames licking and teasing out embers that gave off very little heat. Or maybe it was just a different kind of cold that was aching my bones, one that couldn't be warmed by mygrandmother's log fire, or the hot tea I was drinking but couldn't taste.Unable to bear the silence any longer, I rose swiftly from the table, careful to conceal theleather pouch and the journal among the folds of the blanket around my shoulders, and exited thekitchen. Madam Kavo startled, and I saw her look quickly at Kagan, who gestured somethingbefore rising out of his chair to follow me out into the stairwell. We silently ascended the stairsinto the heart of the Hideaway, our footsteps the only sounds bouncing off the walls. Once insidethe tavern, which was closed for the first time in as long as I could remember, I took a seat in oneof the four booths that lined the long wall, and I waited. Kagan Rey took his seat at the other endof the booth, watching me.
“How many of them do you think are real?” I asked, gesturing to the drapes that hung
from the ceiling, each embroidered with battles and stories from history. My grandfather told memany of the stories relating to the tapestries, and I would read books on them too, hearing hisvoice among the pages as I lost myself in the artwork and the tales of great heroes and dastardlyfoes. Kagan simply watched me, waiting.
“I don't know what you want me to say,” I told him, pulling t
he blanket tighter around
me. “He wasn't there, and then he was, and he asked for my help, then –”
What was I going tosay?
Then
 – 
Boom?
I stared at the tapestry nearest me, trying to form my thoughts while angerand frustration tore through them. What exactly did he want me to tell him?
One moment a manmagically freezes time, tells me the legends are real, then throws us across the gardens when oneof your soldiers tries to kill him!?
I sighed. It was a pained, heart-aching sigh because, whileTophen might have been some mystical charmer who could indeed make the birds pause inflight, he also told me that my great-grandfather was part of those same legends and fairytales we
had hanging on tapestries throughout the Hideaway. “It's so absurd you wouldn't be
lieve me
anyway,” I heard myself say. Dang, I realized too late I'd spoken my thoughts aloud.
 
“Try me.”
 Kagan Rey leaned back against the booth. His sandy brown hair was almost blond in thepale morning light. I could see him watching me, and I studied him carefully, trying to form thethoughts and the words without sounding as though Topher's mystical blast had knocked out allthe sense I had left. He waited. I looked away.
“He gave me this,” I told him, pulling out the red leather pouch and the musty j
ournalfrom its hiding place beneath my blanket. I placed them on the table and slid the journal over to
him, not able to bring myself to look up. “He said it was my great
-grandfather's and that theSaorla are real and that my great-grandfather was one of them and that he knew about the
 pendant and he wanted me to find Mareena.” I stared at my hands holding the blanket around my
 
Bergin Book 
By Annie Bergin Page 47
shoulders; it was easier than looking up and seeing if his face showed the same disbelief that myheart was starting to feel.I could hear Kagan opening the journal to examine for himself the carefully written noteswithin. Even from the other side of the booth I could pick out the smell of musty, yellowingparchment and soft, beaten leather that held my great-grandfather's secrets. I willed myself tolook up, and found him watching me, the journal laid open with the aging parchment curleddelicately beneath his fingers. His eyes were incredibly gentle, not mocking nor cynical, justgenuinely caring and a little concerned. Embarrassed, I pulled the blanket tighter around myshoulders and stared at the empty fireplace, trying to will it to burn so that I could at least watchflames dance and flicker and thus avoid the awkwardness that stifled the air and lurched in mystomach.
“Kali,”
Kagan said softly, his voice soothing against the stillness of the empty tavern. Iheld my breath, waiting to hear how crazy I was and hoping so hard it hurt that he wouldn't
actually say it. “Take my hand,” he said, and for a moment I was so surprised th
at I looked up tosee his hand near mine, and his blue eyes gently watching me.
“So you don't think I'm crazy?” I asked. He didn't answer, and his hand didn't move.
 
”Kali,” he said again. I sighed, only momentarily afraid. Then I looked once more into
those eyes that I knew in my heart I could trust, and I took his hand.Nothing happened right away, and I felt a pang of foolishness. What on earth did I think was going to happen? But before I could say anything, a warm tingling began to travel up myarm, through my fingers and my palm from his hand all the way up under my elbow and beyond.A tugging, tiring ache began to creep through me, tracing a path where the prickling warmth hadtrickled through my arm, seeping deep into my being and wrapping itself around my breath, mymind and my eyes. It was trying to pull me away from him.
“What's going on?” I asked, the heaviness on my eyelids making it hard to see him. A
sliding weight of exhaustion began to nestle down on my shoulders, pushing me deeper into adarkness I couldn't fight. I wanted to pull away but something captivating was drawing medeeper into its stillness, the exhaustion too powerful. My head felt so heavy it actually hurt, so Ilet it rest upon the table. I tried to look at him but my body would no longer respond.
”What did you do?” I asked, my voice muffled and thick. I couldn't keep my eyes open
any longer and as the darkness sucked me down into the depths of its embrace, I remembered toolate the words in the letter:
 Be careful who you choose for friends.
 Cool water lapped against the shore of the lake that was spread out before me, and themorning sun cast gentle sparkles across the ruffled surface of its water. Kagan Rey stood a fewfeet away from me, watching some birds fly low across the sky before one swooped down intothe water, then thrust its claws beneath the surface and snagged itself a wriggling fish. He saidnothing as the bird flapped its long, white wings and soared back into the sky beforedisappearing somewhere beyond the treetops of the Ruigh-Gants that embraced us, the helplessfish wriggling and struggling the whole way up. I looked first at Kagan, then at the lake,wondering where on earth we were, and how we got there.
“Did you do this?” I asked, gesturing to the magnificent landscape an
d rich wild flowers
that filled my view where the Hideaway and its tavern had been. “
 How
 
did you do this?” I asked
him. Kagan remained silent for a moment before he spoke.
“It's a little hard to explain,” he said gently. “We soldiers sometimes have the gi
ft of 
helping people remember something that is out of reach.” He smiled suddenly, seeing something
 
Bergin Book 
By Annie Bergin Page 48
in my expression that amused him. “It’s all right,” he assured me, squeezing my hand. “This place,” he gestured to the great lake, “this is where you keep dreaming of the lake of fire.” He paused a moment, then with a deep breath, he said, “In the legend the Saorla were connected tothe Keepers, the ones who were born with the Magik of Kavehn.” He paused a moment to take in
the lake and the trees that framed
it. “Even though these places are things from your dreams,you’ve already shown me that you can witness Mareena’s thoughts. You know where shedisappeared in the castle and how.”
I wanted to speak but when my lips moved, there was only silence. Things were slowlyclicking into place, but the surreal foundation of the information that knitted through mythoughts made it a little hard to believe anything of what I was thinking. My great-grandfatherwas a Guardian. He kept a journal of things so secret and amazing that a magical being had to
 bring them to me to make sure I understood. Topher had even told me I’d inherited the Quest.“What’s the Quest?” I asked, not entirely sure which of my thoughts I’d spoken aloud. “Topher said I’d inherited the Quest. What did he mean?”
 
“I don’t know,” Kagan answered truthfully, his face thoughtful. “But I do know that this place is a part of something real, a memory whether it’s yours or Mareena’s, but somethingyou’re connected to nonetheless.” Taking a seat in the thic
k blanket of grass that covered theground beneath our feet, Kagan beckoned me to join him. I hesitated only a moment, then sank down into the cool, beautiful grass and watched him. He smiled just a moment, but there wassomething there in his eyes that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Silently I waited for him tocontinue. He looked at me intently, reading something in my face before trusting himself to say
anything more. Finally he seemed to relax a little, and let out the breath he’d been holding. “Mythought is,” he explained, “if I help you see the memory that’s been tormenting you, maybe itwill help us find Mareena, and perhaps help us understand a little more about what’s going on.”
 
“So what do you need me to do?” I asked, gesturing to my dream th
at surrounded us.Kagan offered me his hand, and I hesitated a moment. Strange things kept happening when Itouched people, from mythical guardians stepping out of folklore and thin air, to trusted friendspulling me into my own dreams and memories without warning me first.
“I'm sorry about that,” he said, as though I'd spoken my thoughts aloud. I stared at him
for a moment, and he gave me a crooked grin that was charmingly cute. Even as I was sure Iblushed, I found myself once more taking his hand.This time the dream changed slowly around us, swirling from daylight to starlight in onlya few heartbeats, taking the thick beautiful grass and the fragrant, colorful blossoms with it. Themoonlight sparkled on the lake, and I watched as the waves lapped against the shore, and cricketschirped somewhere far in the darkness around us.
“Someone's coming,” I hissed, hearing the snapping of twigs and the rustling of leaves
from somewhere far in front of us and to the left. A moment later, a young woman burst out of the darkness and stumbled towards the lake, her breathing ragged, and her hair spilling in wavesaround her shoulders. Kagan remained still, watching the scene intently, but both unmoving andunafraid.It was the pendant I recognized first, the large, round aqua colored stone that had suckedme into her world when we were at the park. I gasped, and clamped my hands over my mouth incase she heard, at which point Kagan leaned quietly towards me to whisper
in my ear, “It hasalready happened. She can't hear you.” I blushed, my cheeks burning so hard I thought he might
see it in the moonlight, but he said nothing. We both watched, captivated, as Mareena scanned

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