Magical Hearts chapter 10

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Magical hearts chapter 10

During our last chapter, we found out that the kingdom of Izmira had not only ordered Raiders to capture slaves, but had infiltrated Edmonton one of the main cities in Cowan. I fear this is a prelude to war, the harbor there would allow them to bring in as many troops safely with as many ships they can bring. A small army could more easily defend the peninsula that Edmonton sets on as they wait for reinforcements.

I briefed my father, who seemed to lose his appetite. The two ships we destroy this year, I believe had more troops to reinforce Edmonton. The loss of those two ships probably delayed their plans. It would make sense, bring troops and take away slaves, destroying villages under the guise of Raiders. If their plans thwarted, they could back off saying it was Raiders doing the damage, and they had no control over them.

Dad agrees with my assessment, although we need to gather more information confirming what we fear. Dad says, “As king I cannot just declare war on another kingdom over suspicions alone. Our Navy is not that large, but I will send our ships south. We could use some of the carpets for scouting, if we know where their ships are we can bring some of our mages and damage their ships or maybe destroy them.”

I tell my father of my plans, to retake Edmonton keep. Using my guard, and cast a sleep spell, and paralyze spells to infiltrate the Castle from the top of the towers working downward. Binding the guards and soldiers once, they are unconscious. If we can get in, and control large enough area we can bring more troops in on your carpets. Before they know what is happening we can take the keep, wait for patrols and surround them as they return. Once the city is ours again, we can just simply destroy or capture any of the ships sent by Izmira.

My father smiles and says, “On one condition, you take two more mages with you. Justin and Selena, Selena is in Brittany, but I can have her at the staging area on time. With the two of them, your plan is much more likely to succeed. Both are very powerful, and skilled in battle.

I say, “Justin is here already, be picked him up last night.”

We leave my father so he can bath and dress for the day. It is going to be a very busy day. My father has about two hundred and fifty troops he can bring to bear at this moment. Provisions, arms and armor are all contained in enchanted crates. Isabel and I have created carpets capable of carrying all of the troops and their necessary items.

I seriously doubt it will be something they are ready for, four mages along with two hundred fifty troops dropping in from the sky. I think no one in the kingdom knows we had that capability, and certainly no one outside of the kingdom.

Other than our raid against the Raiders two days ago, we have not used that capability, father left under cover of darkness. The raid on Bethany was with clan Morgan assistance, I am sure everyone knows of their carpets, although clan Morgan normally uses the three small carpets.

Magical carpet seldom last more than a season, that is why Justin was so surprised when he did his discovery spell and found that they were permanent, the enchantment would last as long as the carpets. The three small carpets are not in unique patterns, so someone may believe that they are replaced on a regular basis.

Before the day can really get started, Isabel takes Ruth to a different dress shop, and has her dress finished.

Ben and I need to fix her ring, and I have Ben tell me what her favorite flowers. She loves roses that seems to be a favorite among most of the kingdom’s women. Ben hands me a couple gold pieces; they turn into miniature roses after I removed the Green diamond. I ask Ben, “Does Ruth like Isabel’s ring?”

Ben nods his head, yes. I have the roses grow as they absorb the gold from the coins. Ruth unlike Isabel needs a slightly tougher ring, after all her job is to protect us. Like Isabel’s ring, the roses span into a lattice with flowers completely around the outside. Although they are slightly larger, they flatten making a smooth surface both on the inside and out rosebuds hold the diamond, both seeming to cross-halfway or just over the edge. I have improved the fire of the gemstone with tiny cuts that only removed a little dust from the diamond.

Unlike Isabel’s ring, I enchanted with healing activated when husband and wife kiss, they may want to pass it on down to their son. I also add the scent of roses in the morning. Just for the fun of it, when husband and wife kiss they too will be surrounded by a glow.

Isabel had been encouraging me in my mind, and I has to does anything else I should add. With a giggle, she thinks (no).

As an afterthought, I ask Isabel, (What is Ruth’s favorite flower?)

Isabel pauses for a moment or two I know she is asking Ruth. In my mind, I hear Isabel respond, (Roses.) Isabel continues, (That is a good question. Not every girl likes the same flower. Ruth wants to past the ring on.)

Looking at the ring in my hand I know I cannot alter all the magic I placed in it, the web of magic is too complex. So I separate the diamond and begin again, fortunately Isabel has arrived. Ben almost fainted at seeing the ring melt. I smile and say, “This is just going to take a little more power; Isabel is here now give us a moment or two.”

Isabel and I take the diamond and the gold and begin again. Again the ring forms, from flower stems this time lavender. Ben nearly interrupts us, but Ruth places a hand in the center of his chest smiles and says, “Isabel told me about what was going on. I want to pass this on to one of our children. Isabel and Julius are going to do something very special.”

We add one enchantment, when the ring placed on the finger of the betrothed the flowers and fragrance on the ring will change to her favorite when her true love kisses her. As before when the husband kisses the wife the ring will heal them and cause them to glow, not only them but also the ring itself if it takes any damage. The ring will automatically adjust to the betrothed’s finger, just like Isabel’s ring.

Now that the ring is finished, we hand it to Ben who looks disappointed. Ruth nudges him and says, “Put it on my finger and kiss me silly.” Ben slides it onto Ruth’s ring finger and it adjusts to her hand.

Ben sniffs and says, “I smell lavender.”

Ruth pulls him to her. “You have not finished.” She says. Ben pulls her into a kiss, Isabel and I, gasp at seeing the two glow. That spell should not be active until they are married.

Our friends chuckle, before Bill says, “Told you, you are contagious.” We see that more and more, it should not surprise us anymore. Isabel and I join in on the laughter.

Ruth brings her left hand to Ben’s face. The smell of roses is strong. The ring has shifted to roses. When they break their kiss, Ben holds her hand so he can look at the ring. Ruth smiles and says, “When we pass the ring on. Isabel and Julius enchanted the ring so who receives it, when they are kiss by their true love they will get their favorite flowers and its fragrance.”

Ben laughs, “That was a good one Julius.”

I say, “Well you put me on my ass so many times while we trained I had to give you a little payback my friend.” The carpet lands in the courtyard and our friends climb aboard and we fly to the temple. Like our wedding, Ben and Ruth are separate pulled into their own bathing area. While there are there, the Temple quickly fills up with most everyone from the Castle, including my father.

The priestess begins the ceremony. There is something new she speaks of the glow of love and the blessing given by Aphrodite for those who share in it. Ben comes out in a new suit of armor he wears rank of captain, shined extremely bright. Ruth has her dress that Isabel had gotten her. The two are little surprised at seeing how many people are here.

As they speak their words of love Ben says, “Ruth, you are my Angel, with halo bright seen with each kiss. Your love has lit my heart.”

Ruth smiles and says, “You fill my heart with beauty, with love and joy. I love you Ben.” The two fall silent and then move into a kiss, the two glow as the congregation cheers.

The priestess says, “A union blessed by Aphrodite, husband and wife in life and death.”

Knowing what we are going through tonight, we send Ben and Ruth off to spend as much time together as they can before we have to leave.

Will have a grand party when we can return, if everything goes well we may just have it in Edmonton.

We talked to several people who know Edmonton keep, including Carissa. About two and a half months ago, the Duke of Edmonton started changing his guards, ignoring his normal counsel. Carissa does not know why her father began acting strangely. She finally confessed that her father had sent her off with the son of the traitor. They had an arranged marriage, before his family’s disgrace. Carissa stated that her father had canceled the marriage. Two days after his sudden change in behavior when her former betrothed arrived, he treated him as he always has, and sent the two of them off together.

Carissa begs that her father be unharmed, that he must be sick. She does not understand why he was behaving strangely. Later she led off in tears, she returns to her room and a couple priestesses show up in the afternoon to counsel her. I assured her that we would try to make sure he is unharmed and undo any curse or magic that must be controlling him.

I am hopeful that the plan works, if we managed to land without raising the alarm, and clear one of the towers. Perhaps two of the towers, along with the battlements connecting, it would be a simple matter to keep the guards in their guardhouse, just magically sealed their door or doors.

The real problem is if they have mages, they may have alarm spells, wards or other magical traps. Wizards from other parts the world can use magic differently than we do. Magic itself generally works the same. Nevertheless, when a wizard figures out a new way of doing a spell sometimes that is not shared openly. Spells from different areas of the world had been diversifying, at one point in our history mages went to a single college, a single mage counsel ruled all mages on this world, we stood apart not allowed to join in on the political scene. Spells were shared more readily in those long past days.

I am counting on that one thing. Izmira does not have the spells escort gungoren needed to enchant a carpet to fly. They probably do not recognize the danger, the towers may not be heavily guarded, or possibly no guards at all. It would be very good to land and only face one or two, not a dozen armed guards, with ward and alarm spells to alert the entire keep. The whole plan hinges on that fact.

Shortly after dark, Isabel and I with our companions and six archers leave the city, space our departures by half an hour to bring less attention to them. We are meeting at the village directly across the great bay that separates the peninsula that Edmonton sets on from the main land of Cowan. With any luck the jeweler will be there, he may be able to give us some more information.

Dad informed me that house Morgan will be bringing fifty of their strongmen, and city guards from Camarillo. They will meet us at the rally point tonight. That would give us more than enough men to land on each of the towers once they have been subdued. We can leave crossbow men up there, if need be they can cover our escape, leaving by carpet just the way we came.

We plan to hit the keep as the moons set, that will be about two hours past midnight. The last carpet to leave New Cowan will arrive with one hour at the rally point before going on. Selena, and Justin are taking the last two carpets, my father and son will remain in New Cowan. Dad really wanted to come, but I convinced him is not a good idea to risk both of us. He only said, “You are your father’s son.”

We arrived at the village inn. I am surprised how fast we made it, is only two and a half hours after sunset. The jeweler has made it, and I reluctantly wake him from his sleep. We speak for several minutes, he tells me of the random searches, the guard had looked for Isabel and I well into the next day when he left.

Altogether, the information he gives me is just confirmation of what he has already said. I do get a better number of guards the Duke is using. An Izmira ship arrived a week ago, it brought the number of guards to one hundred and fifty. It is as I suspected, the cities jail cells emptied onto the ship before it left. The jeweler highly doubts the ship took criminals.

That ship only left port a day and an half ago, and once we take the keep. We will catch that ship and retrieve our people. Force that Captain to return our people. If our people have come to harm, if they abuse the women, most of the sailors will never return home. They will face trial and punishment for their deeds. I see the same determination in my companions, as I feel it echoed from Isabel. That nation can no longer be permitted to pray on others.

When we are all gathered, we come to the decision that Justin and Selena will take the northwest tower, Isabel and I will take the southeast tower. We will strike at the same time, only taken enough troops to secure each tower. Then will jump to the others, secure them, and signal for the troops to arrive and begin to secure the keep. In might be a bit more risky, but with all four tower secure, we have eight large carpets landing two at each tower we can probably secure the keep in less than an hour. It is a variation of the plan, where stealth and surprise used for our benefit. If we can take out the other towers, the guards there could not raise the alarm the moment they see our carpets begin unloading our troops.

I wish I could take credit for that, but that was Jeremiah’s idea. Dad really should make him a general. He actually visited the keep several times. He will be with us on our initial strike the tower tops first, and then the battlements, followed by securing the towers as we go.

We move low, fast, and silent not high enough to be outlined against the stars, yet high enough that we do not alert our passing to those on the ground. Justin and Selena are taking the seaward side; Isabel and I are in the landward side that is why we are taking the opposite towers. When we come into range, there is only two guards atop the tower. We approach so fast they did not even have time to open their mouths before they found themselves paralyzed. I checked for magical wards just before we land, finding none we set the carpet down silently. Leaving the six archers, Isabel, Jeremiah and my companions accompany me to the next tower. It has two guards stand watching over the city, they do not even see us before we have them paralyzed.

Only one guard walking the battlements at this hour at night. We simply descend low enough on our carpet before using a sleep spell. He falls asleep silently leaning against the wall, the other guards follow quickly.

Returning to the top of the tower, we begin our dissent into the Royal bedrooms. Most likely, the heaviest guarded, but as we reach each level, I cast a wide area sleep spell. It is not as strong as a direct sleep spell, but at this hour of the night, it proved very effective. Each floor fall silent quickly, and we move quickly to bind the guards. Checking each room, we find one magic user and we placed a magical binding on him, before gagging him. By the time, we reach the bottom floor there is not a single guard in the keep still awake.

Justin has given the signal, and our soldiers arrive. A few grumble that, there is nothing left for them to do. Nevertheless, we have them recheck each guard to ensure that they are secure. We find the guards quarters, much like the Raiders we found have taken women for their pleasure.

Ruth and Isabel begin marking each man, as they began to pull the women away. Once the keep it secure father may come and begin their trials. We find that two patrols are still in the city. We wait in ambush for their return. Our men now occupies the battlements and towers, and control the gates.

In the dungeons, we find the advisors and their families, along with others designated to be slaves. Isabel and I do what we can to heal them. We share a long kiss as I carried Isabel among the jail cells. Even a few of the guards along with their families occupy the cells, seeing their loved ones healed gives them strength.

Both of the enemies patrols arrived just before dawn, they have several prisoners that they threaten. I say, “They are the only thing keeping you alive. When they die you will have a long and painful death.”

Realizing the impossibility of their situation, their escape cut off, and the threats only served to anger our troops they lay down their arms and released their captives without any further harm.

Our troops bind them, if I did not hate slavery so much, I would have them all branded and sold as slaves to different kingdoms. The soldiers make poor slaves. They usually whipped to death within a season.

Jeremiah informed my father using his mirror, we began going through the Royal bedrooms again, and we separate the Duke and his family. The Duchess, and a younger daughter seem to be okay, but who knows what they went through.

Justin cast a spell to determine if the Duke coerced by magic. He almost cursed at what he found out. The Duke was no longer himself, some powerful magic ripped his soul away, in its place another. Essentially the Duke was already dead, and someone else inhabiting his body. Necromancy outlawed here for over a century, and this is the worst case of it. The person that inhabits the Duke’s body dies as part of the enchantment.

I fear what this news will do to Carissa, her father’s body yet lives but hopefully his soul is at rest, or soon will be. We revive the servants first, one at a time to ensure they are not agents of Izmira. Before dawn, we have nearly all the servants revived, and we get many tales of horror about the guards and even the Duke.

Shortly after Dawn, father arrives with Carissa. We set them down and give them the grave news. My father shakes his head, and pulls the crying Carissa to him. I say, “We have the wizard that probably perform the spells. I do not believe there is any way of reversing their effects, and I would not trust anything that evil of a person would say.”

My father still trying to comfort Carissa says, “What my son says is true. Take comfort in knowing this that it was not your father that put you in the hands of the traitor son. I hope that when we revenge your father he may rest in peace.”

I explained to my father that we have a ship to catch. It left two days ago and should still be at sea with some of our people aboard. I will do my best to bring them back.

Isabel and our companions are waiting at the top of the tower with the carpet. Jeremiah steps in line with me and says, “I would go with you, I can send word to your father if we catch the ship and have to destroy the crew. He can send a new ship, to bring our people home.”

We pick up provisions for ourselves for as long as we can two water barrels and much dried food. I figure will be a day at least on the carpet to catch up. We know their course, if it is one thing these people are great record keepers. All the information about the ship, the people he took, and their course we have found during our search of the keep.

Before the sun is an hour past dawn, we set out to sea following the ship’s course. The carpet seems a bit faster, both Isabel and I wish it to move faster and the carpet does. We are moving so fast the sun seems to almost standstill in the sky. After moving West by Northwest we can almost feel the wind shifts, and we begin heading due West. After only an hour we spot the ship, it flies the flag of Izmira. Only about twenty men spotted on deck, one stands by the helmsman, it appears to be the Captain.

Several children are on deck, they apply water to the wooden decking, which is how it kept watertight if the wood dries it shrinks. The shrinking wood allows water to pour through making the ship harder to keep afloat in bad weather. When a man raises a whip to strike one of the children Isabel reacts. A lightning bolt races out while the whip is still high in the air running down it and killing the man.

I use magic to make my voice louder on the ship. I say, “You have taken our people. If you do not want to join the pile of ashes you will turnabout and return them without any harm.”

The helmsman begin to turn the will, the Captain ordered him to maintain his course as he ran for one of the children. He was six steps away when I paralyzed him freezing him in mid stride. He tumbled to the deck, bouncing once before he came to rest looking like bağcılar escort a toppled statue.

When several of the crew drew their weapons, arrows flashed into their chest, or lightning bolts turned them to ash. The result was the same any who drew weapons died almost instantly. Almost as soon as it began it was over, the helmsman begin turning the ship about, he was surprised when the wind refilled the sails, only moments later to become even stronger than it had been before. Below decks, another twenty-five crewmembers soon surrendered.

It took us two days to return to port and we landed at the nearest which was Camarillo. The sailors were little surprised, as city guardsmen went to their knee before me. When the new city Captain, greeted us going to his knee he said, “Welcome back Prince Julius and Princess Isabel, the King waits at the keep. Duke Jeremiah Lady Claire waits for you to join her at court.”

Jeremiah had made sure to point out the two wrecks on the way in, telling the helmsman that was the work of the Prince and Princess. He told them that they would be a few of their fellow citizens who survived that they would be returning.

We gave them a small ship, one barely able to make such a journey. When they left they were heavily laden with water and food, and a small boat sailed slowly away. A letter to their King detailed our grievances, helmsman turned out to be more than willing to offer messenger service. We still had a hundred of their soldiers in our jails. The return of their men were contingent on the return of ours. Two of the hundred were officers, minor nobles we treated them like the rest of their men.

Be quickly sent messages to the other kingdoms friendly to us, both as warning of Izmira’s treachery and news of our victory. We also sent word that Izmira was to return our people, if they failed to do so we were going to declare war.

Jeremiah had come up with a plan, when we return their people, or at least the last two nobles. We would have shown them the ships, allowing Justin to bring forth the images of that battle. Placed the two nobles, or all of the prisoners we were returning in a specially made crate, to them only a few moments would pass no matter how long or trip took. Using one of the larger carpets, we would land with forty men, two teams of horses, wagons and enough food for everyone for a two-day march.

Landing secretly on their coast, we would release the prisoners from what looked like a jail cell but was actually an enchanted crate. They would believe we got there nearly instantaneously, by an unknown means of transportation. If our enemy believed we could bring a group that large to their shores with no problems, destroy their ships at sea. Perhaps they will surrender, return our people and never raid our shores again. That was a hope Isabel and I shared.

Justin and Selena had found the necromancers spell books; they found that the Duke soul captured and held within a large crystal. They actually found the crystal within the necromancer’s quarters. From the faint glow within the stone, we knew a soul was still within it. It was uncertain if it was the Duke are not.

We stopped the execution just in time. We were going to try to switch the souls. It was a slim hope at best. The necromancer was one of the first we executed. We would not have trusted him anyway.

We went to the temple of Aphrodite. We needed to know if they could help, possibly even ask Aphrodite herself. We did this for Carissa’s love for her father. The priestess asks, “Could you two kiss, and it may be possible Aphrodite will come in answer to your request.”

We had brought the crystal, and the gagged bound body of the Duke. Four guards escorted the chained man into the temple. He was held a short distance away from us as we spoke. When Isabel and I leaned in together and began to kiss, the glow reached out. First to the chained man, he screamed as the light enveloped him. The guards could not prevent him from sinking to his knees as he screamed. His eyes rolled back as he began to spasm, the scream stopped as a spirit of a disfigured man pulled out of the body. The spirit was screaming, and struggling but eventually, the spirit pulled free of the body. The body slumped unmoving and it did not draw breath.

The glow still surrounded the body. The crystal flies until it struck the body in the chest. There was a moment of bright light, and then the body was again the Duke. He drew breath, and began to blink. Confusion and fear at his condition was the first sign of his return, only a moment later he fainted.

We release him from his chains, remove the gag and summon his family. Isabel and I kiss as is family including Carissa arrive; the light now seems to caress the Duke. His breathing becomes stronger, and only a moment later he sets up blinking. Looking around he asks, “How did I get here? Am I still in that nightmare?”

His wife and children surround him in a hug. Their tears flow freely. He holds them tightly and says, “I am finally awake. Think the goddess.”

My father speaks with him the next day. His old friend still is not quite himself. Nevertheless, I feel he will make a full recovery, given the love of his family and friends.

We change our plans.

We gathered Driftwood and stone for two days, Isabel and I decided to not only make a set of cells, but an entire keep or what looked like one. With the main drawbridge down it would be its normal size. When you close the drawbridge, it would be half the size of a crate. The trick was to make it shrink each time into a miniature Keep. Isabel and I had experimented with this for over two months before perfecting the enchantment.

The two large islands off the coast had no names on our map. None of our sailors or navigators from any of our ports knew of them. We went to the ruins of the keep, and found the name Fox. That was the only thing that identified anything there. Therefore, we nicknamed the islands Fox and Hound. Fox being the northern island of the two and slightly smaller.

We decided to work on this island because of its isolation. No rumor was to escape about our plan, and seeing a magical castle built would definitely bring about many rumors. With a few more trusted guards, and even those were stationed where they would not see or hear anything that occurred.

We find a large flat meadow excellent for what we wish to accomplish. We brought the wood and stone leaving them on the edge of the meadow. Only our guard is with us, except for Justin and Selena to observe our process.

Like creating the crates you start with a full-size object, then through magical means shrink it. Therefore, the first order of business was to create a full-size keep. We had scoured the outer islands for more Driftwood, bringing what more we could. Two enormous balls of wood set on the ground outside of the meadow. A huge piece of stone set beside them. We begin with the stone, because we wanted this to be able to move it would not have foundations that pressed into the ground. Rather sit flat a crossed.

The first order of business was to create a smooth hard surface within the meadow. We had brought sand and spread it out on the meadow, the day before. The sand made level and pressed into a hard surface. Then we begin with blocks of stone very large but thin at first. As each block lay down beside the next, it fuses to its neighbors. Creating one solid flat sheet, this will be the base of our keep. This took all day and Isabel and I are exhausted just accomplishing that. What little stone remained would be far short of what we need.

Justin and Selena volunteered to gather more stone; we noticed a quarry not too far distant. The quarry was originally the stone source for the buildings on this island.

Isabel and I retreat to our small house we had created. It was large enough for rooms for our companions and us. We had tested out the enchantment creating this home. It had a porch on the front that was the equivalent of the drawbridge. It did not use near as much stone as the keep would use, although it had a stone fireplace. This was actually the fifth attempt. We had various problems from furniture that would not shrink, to one that shrink to nothing. One burned because of the fire in the fireplace. This one uses an illusion of the fire, which gives off heat magically, only on command.

Isabel and I have not dared to collapse it a second time. We will cross that bridge when we do not need it again. Right now, Isabel and I need our bathing pool followed by a meal and long night’s rest. From the sound when we walk in the door, Ben and Ruth are enjoying each other’s company. Michael asks, “Can you do something about the sound?”

I point his daughter to a spell of silence, and ask, “Have you learnt this spell yet?”

She giggles and shakes her head yes, so I instruct, “Casted upon that door.”

Isabel giggles, “Remember we had to disallow casting inside.”

Thinking quickly I say, “Go outside and get a small stone. Cast the spell on the stone and set it in front of the door. Once the spell expires, be sure to remove the stone.”

Giggling Isabel says, “Do the same on a second stone, and place it front of our door.” The room breaks out into laughter as Isabel pulls me back into our bedchambers.

As soon as our door closes, Isabel strips us as I pick her up and walk into a large bathing pool we have created. I gently wash Isabel with scented soaps. Even exhausted we are enjoying the feel of each other’s hands on our bodies. I doubt we do more than kiss and cuddle tonight. Isabel wraps an arm around my neck and pulls me down for a kiss. Our kiss seems to energize us. Isabel jumps wrapping her body around mine. Her arms around my shoulders, her legs are over my hips and she pulls her beautiful body against me.

As we kiss my manhood begins to react, and before long, it rubs against Isabel’s wet bottom. Isabel lifts high enough and wiggles once I am in the right spot she slides back down taking me within her. Her internal muscles ripple as she pulls me deeper sliding downward onto my erect manhood. Isabel fully impaled, and her muscles excite my cock, my breathing is becoming heavy with my excitement. Isabel makes small movements grinding her clitoris against my body. As her body increases the massage, Isabel begins to shake against me, causing her clitoris to have heightened stimulation. Isabel and I both climax at the same time I grunt as I push escort beşiktaş spurt after spurt through her open cervix. Isabel screams her pleasure at her orgasm. We are both breathing heavy as we look into each other’s face and laugh at the joy we give each other.

We finish our bath, dress for dinner. We join our companions, even a satisfied Ruth and Ben. We eat and speak of how much longer will be here. I say from what we have accomplished today, at least a week more like ten days.

Justin laughs, “He will build a keep in ten days, and normally it takes years.”

Selena nods her head yes and says, “I have only seen one new keep build in my lifetime, and actually took ten years and thousands of men laboring to accomplish it.”

Justin says, “I have not seen a mage even in my life time attempt such a grand enchantment. Even this house is far greater than many can accomplish even working together. I watched as you shrink it, picked it up as if it was a dollhouse, set upon your carpet flown it here and expanded it back to its original size. I find it simply amazing.”

Selena says, “You even enchanted the cabinets, they hold entire meals that all we have to do is remove the hot meal we wish to eat and close the cabinets again.”

I give Isabel kiss and say, “It was my wife’s idea, and we had done a set for father’s cook.”

Selena giggles, “She so appreciative, she can prepare a meal and set it within one for a week undisturbed and it will be hot and ready to eat when she decides the serve it.”

Isabel giggles, “There is a four-month-old pie I would like for dessert.”

Justin chuckles, “Now you are just showing off, you are behaving so much like your husband.” The room breaks out into laughter.

The next day we began on the skeleton of the keep. Using the wood and the stone to make the reinforcements for the next floor, we were going to make a total of three, with the battlements on the fourth floor, a set of six-story towers on each corner, with a gate and a gatehouse, complete with battlements of top.

As the time passed more of the keep, begin to take shape, on the eighth day it was complete. The next two days we create furniture. On the tenth day, the keep has officers’ quarters with furniture, and storerooms on the second and third floor. All three floors have an armory we had yet to equip. Also on the first floor of the keep has bunk beds in four large rooms, a huge kitchen, dining room and stables. The keep has only wooden doors to give you the impression that is actually not a prison, but a fortress.

The Keep is large enough to hold four hundred men, with a full unit of cavalry, and enough arms to ensure they can stand for a long time under siege. It would be a daunting site for any army to come upon, and a great surprise if they knew the land to be barren, one-day empty land and the next a full scale Keep capable of protecting itself. The Keep wrapped in thick stone walls so smooth no assassin can climb, towers and battlements topped with archers, and two ballistae.

With somewhere else to stay, Isabel and I decide it is worth the risk to attempt to re-close the house. We ensure it has nothing that was not originally in it. Not even a grain of sand. One of our houses failed because we did not empty the baths. On something this complicated it seems more little things can go wrong. We needed to close the house for one very important reason. We had not tested if it would not kill a living thing. It was similar to the enchantments on the new crates, only slowing time not completely stopping it.

Justin brings a rabbit, and Isabel groans before I say, “We will release the rabbit once the experiment is completed.”

Isabel is not too happy about it, and I know she does not like using rabbits as food she prefers them as pets. However, a rabbit is a better test subject than an insect.

At the corners of the porch, Isabel and I placed our hands and spoke the command words that shrank the house. As a house begin to shrink, the rabbit froze as time began to slow for it. It shrinks along with the house. By the time, the house shrunk to its smallest point, Isabel and I knew it was going to be successful.

Isabel and I walk across the sand to the miniature house. Again, we place our hands and say the command words. For the test we wanted to do it would not matter if it was five minutes or five days, the rabbit merely had to survive. Once the house has fully expanded, the rabbit begins to hop around inside.

Isabel gently catches the creature, as she pets it brings it outside in the open meadow. She releases it back into the meadow. It is only a moment or two before it disappears from site. I rub my wife’s shoulder, Isabel and I are both rather exhausted despite all we have done today is test the house’s enchantment. The last ten days, we have created a keep from raw materials and furnished it, tons of raw materials. When we began this effort, we had no idea how much power it would consume. Isabel and I were exhausted every day. We could have made twenty carpets a day and not been as exhausted.

Justin and Selena smile at us, and Justin says, “I think you two deserve a break, the enchantment on the keep is going to be very difficult and may take an entire day to accomplish. After all is many times larger than this house. You need a few days’ rest.” Selena nods her head yes.

I have to agree with them, besides that the cupboards are getting very low. It would be a good time to go restock. We gather everyone, for the trip back to New Cowan. Shrink the house and loaded aboard the carpet. Isabel and I miss our son, and we noticed Michael spends a lot of time with his daughters. They miss Juliet, the girl’s mother, who we will bring on our return trip.

Isabel giggles in her mind, mentally she points out how Justin and Selena are holding hands. (Perhaps we are contagious.)

Communicating back with Isabel I think, (I hope so Justin deserves happiness.)

Justin chuckles aloud and says, “Julius and Isabel are matchmaking. I guess he forgot I could still hear his thoughts.” Selena giggles and pulls Justin into a kiss, when the two began to glow.

Ben laughs, “They are definitely contagious.” All our companions laugh along. We spend two weeks in New Cowan. It took Justin the first week there to get up the nerve to ask Selena to marry him. Because we were not in a great hurry, we spent a week preparing for their wedding. Isabel and I enchanted the wedding ring, much as we had for Ben and Ruth. Isabel provided the diamond, and I cut it for the maximum fire. It was a large raw diamond, and I created earrings, and a pendant necklace to match her ring from the same stone.

Dad actually stood with Justin on his wedding day. Selena was beautiful in her gown, and their wedding vows showed a slight difference in how the two felt about each other. Them being both more mature, their love was not the animalistic lust share when young.

It is wonderful to see the castle with so many lights coming from the windows. As couples, find love, joy, and the blessing of the goddess. Several windows around the city shine brightly most of the night as my companions have said it is contagious. If this were an illness we would worry an attempt to find a cure, instead we would rather spread it. It seems to be a cure for so many sorrows.

We took an extra week, and made a horse barn, and another house. They gave us a little more practice, and both seem to make it easier, the second house was easier than our first. Moreover, the barn was far easier than the houses. We feel the house with furniture, and I presented it to Michael and Juliet. In the house is a large master bedroom, with deep bathing pool, a room for each of his girls, study and workroom. There even is a third bedroom, kitchen and dining area. That way the girls would not have to be in the same house hearing three different couples.

Juliet was rather surprised, but even more so when we showed her how Michael and her could shrink the home, and bring it along with us to Fox.

Justin and Selena had created their own home in the time we stayed. They would bring it along with us back to Fox.

We tested the barn with a couple grasshoppers, before filling it with feed for the horses, tackle and saddles. We placed one of the older horses in the barn and tested it. After it shrink correctly, and retook its original size. The horse was unharmed by the process. We added another four older horses.

After getting enough food to restock our pantries and cupboards, we loaded the three houses and the barn on the carpet and left New Cowan early one morning just before dawn. When we did return to Fox, the keep was just as we had left it.

Jeremiah had suggested that we try first with horses, and we use several older horses that may not have a long life left. For their service, we would allow them to live their remaining days on Fox. The meadows and pastors here would provide them with enough food, the trees would provide them was shelter when needed.

In the meantime, Isabel and I would rest for a while gathering our strength and enjoying the time together. We had returned with Juliet and Little Patrick on this trip. Both Isabel and I missed our son and it would be nice to get away with him as well. To play with him as a normal child and to do so without guards present.

Little Patrick had been cooped up on the carpet, from this morning and it was now late in the afternoon. Our son did like watching the ground go by as we flew over the land. However, once we flew over the water he quickly tired of the unchanging scenery.

He curled up into Isabel’s lap and had slept for a long time. Perhaps that is why he had so much energy on our arrival. He loved watching the house expand from what looked to him like a toy.

For the first time in his life, he is allowed to do something most children take for granted. We took him for a walk in the open meadow. It did not take him very long to want to get down and we allowed him to run free. I had to chase him once he got too far away. We finally ended up by the stream tossing stones into the water to make splashes.

We came back for dinner and little Patrick climbed into my lap. He ate from my plate. By the end of dinner with the afternoons exertions, satisfied with his full belly little Patrick leaned his head against me and fell asleep.

Isabel and I had a small bed for him in our room. In the middle of the night, he crawls in to bed with us. Smiling he gives his Mommy a kiss, before going back to sleep. We hold our son in the glow that Isabel and I share. We will rest now for a few days. On the day of the full moon will begin the enchantment.

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