Chapter 39 of Quest for the Blue Crystal

Rangee, Chief of the Snow Wind tribe of the Rauder nations, entered his hut having just returned from the raid on the settlements along the Mauser. The raid itself had caused a fair amount of terror among the would be settlers, but whether it had the desired long term effect of discouraging the northward migration of the Condeuians remained to be seen. The Esaf would probably not be convinced until Epigash itself was attacked, but Rangee was reluctant to go south of the river. The Rauders claimed all lands to the north of the river, save for the city-state of Purgatorius, which had long ago earned the right to eke out a precarious existence in the mountains.

Lollanna was lying on the floor, shivering. A dozen high capacity spent wands lay scattered around her, completely spent. Most of their savings.

Rangee bent down to her. “Lollanna, what’s wrong?” He touched her skin; she was drenched in cold sweat.

She grabbed his arm and pulled herself up. “I’m all right.”

Rangee stared at the wands. A thousand Megs, at least. “Lollanna, what were you doing?” His tone grew harsh. “Did you prophecy?”

“The wife of the chief break the tribe’s most sacred law?” she answered weakly. “I think not.”

“This much power…”

“I was alone, Rangee,” she snapped. “I did not speak. There was no prophecy.”

“Then what did you spend the energy on?”

She hesitated before answering, and Rangee knew what followed was a lie, or at least not the full truth. “I was watching out for you, husband.”

“For me? On a simple raid.”

“I fear for you. For us. I must watch over you.” That was the truth, at least.

“The Chief of the Snow Wind does not use his wife as a shield,” he said angrily.

“I beg forgiveness, Chief. The strength of my love weakened my character. I shall not weaken again.”

Rangee watched her shiver, and he picked her up, carried her to their bed. She hoped he would do more; it was her time of ovulation and his concern for her was at its peak. If only he would take her then the failure of her intended plan would have led to success in her ultimate goal.

But Rangee still brooded about the Taka Shema, and Lollanna remained barren.

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