Castien, an elf mage who cannot speak except with the aid of a magical dagger, has been captured while on a mission. He is freed by his companion, the warrior elf Daeron, and returns with him to Daeron’s homeland. There they will join forces to rid the land of a Lord bent on the destruction of the elves.
Theirn, a young half-elf thief, attempts to rob Castien during his stay at an inn and is caught by the mage. Much against Theirn’s will, he is enlisted into the group of rebel elves. But as Theirn's infatuation with Castien grows, he becomes more than eager to risk treachery, betrayal, and even death on dangerous missions just to be close to the man he is growing to love.
Daeron and Castien stood at the top of the watchtower as they looked out over the scene below. Castien still found it unbelievable that in the middle of a forest there could be such a building and no one could see it. "You have a very powerful sorcerer at your command," he signed.
Daeron chuckled. "Well, as he is my father, I sincerely doubt he is at my 'command', but yes, we are lucky he has the powers to do this."
Castien seated himself in one of the merlons then looked up at Daeron. "What now?" he mouthed.
"Now we deal with the Lord who knows I have returned, which means you get to infiltrate his castle and see what you can learn we can use against him."
Castien nodded, one eyebrow arched in question.
"We need to know who is in league with him, how large his army has grown since I left, how strong his mages are, the usual."
"Understood," Castien signed, "Anything else?"
"No, just get in and out without getting caught please, and feel free to take any of my men you think you may need."
"You have a mage other than your father?"
Daeron shook his head. "I wish we did. We could use a good battle mage but so far, no luck."
Castien tapped his chest with a smile, and Daeron looked at him in surprise.
Castien bowed his head modestly.
"I know you have powers but didn't realize ..." Daeron frowned. "But how long can you battle? You would have to use Ange, yes?"
With a nod Castien held up one finger and then a second, folded it and raised it again.
"One to two hours I hope, not minutes." When Castien agreed, Daeron grinned. "Well, I'll be damned." He walked to the trap door which opened onto stairs back down into the Keep and beckoned for Castien to follow. "Come, I'll show you the plans for his castle, what we have of them, which is not much, I'm afraid."
As they entered what Daeron called the War Room on the third level of the Keep, they were greeted by arguing voices. Theirn stood in the middle of the room, hands on his hips, as he glared at one of the guards.
"No one told me I was not allowed in here, you cretin. Your master said I was free to explore and I am. If this place is so sacred, it should be locked up."
The guard turned to Daeron as he came into view. "This ... this boy broke in here. It was locked, you know it always is."
Castien leaned against the doorframe with a grin on his face. Theirn had said he was a fair thief; Castien had the feeling that was an understatement if he was in the War Room. Castien motioned to him to come over. "You were able to open the locks?" he signed.
Theirn's eyes twinkled. "I was. Any competent thief could. Look at them."
Castien did, and was impressed Theirn had gotten in; it would take more than a 'competent' thief to get through them. Castien walked over to Daeron to let him know Theirn was the one he wanted to come with him.
"You are not serious." When Castien indicated he was, Daeron said, "All right, he is better than he admitted but think, Castien, he's just a lad and I am certain he knows nothing about fighting or defending himself if trouble arises."
"Then teach me," Theirn said after he strode over to join them. "I am a fast learner, show me the basics and I should be fine."
Daeron and Castien looked at each other over his head, an easy feat as he was smaller than Castien by at least three inches and, as males go, Castien was on the short side for an elf. He nodded and, after a moment's thought, Daeron nodded back.
"All right, I'll give you some training and we will decide whether you go with him after I see how quickly you pick up the fundamentals," Daeron said.
"I'd rather he do it," Theirn said with a nod toward Castien. "I trust him."