A summons back to Cor-cael was not something Liamath expected, but — he’d learned long before — fate did not give a clipped wedge for his expectations. If Lord Kaerna wished his presence, then her will would be done.
If it’s hostilities or calamity, I’m sure there would have been some hint in the code; but, nothing. So, vital enough to call me back, not vital enough to inform me.
Or, it’s secrecy that’s needed. No way of knowing who or what might be about when I received the summons …
As with the firebird, and the children.
His musings kept Liamath gnawing at possibilities — and his growing relief at returning to his liege’s lands — for nearly the entire return trip. Distractions came when hunting with Swift or, once, offering aid to a stranded forest-gleaner desperate to reach his village and too thorn-riddled to make it back without that help; but no firebird appeared to chide him along, so Liamath deemed the detour more than worthwhile. They’d make it up.
By the time he trotted through the cobbled lanes of Larell towards Cor-cael’s walls, Swift was growling and snappish and Liamath didn’t blame the gelding one bit. The last few days turned into hard riding …
“Don’t you worry, my big lad, a warm stable and proper grooming and good feed are waiting for you on the other side of the gate — just tilt me there, now.”
Swift never paused, only sidling at the last moment for Liamath to hold his hand out to the veins of crystal threading through the massive nightcedar gates that loomed above them. Beneath his palm, pale light flared, ghostly runes flickered, an echo of the light seeping through his glove; and the great Horizon Gate of Cor-Cael yawned open.
Portal Emblem: Another example of Kauvri crystalwork, usually a finger-ring, pendant, or cloak-brooch, carved from a crystal spall mounted in metal or especially dense wood. The emblem responds to the presence of of the core-crystal it was spalled from and is tuned to the life-pattern of its bearer, who can use the emblem to instruct the core to unlock or unbolt access to anything from jewelry boxes to buildings.