The shaft was clear and glistened like dew while the fletchings were unique colors: the cock feather was yellow while the hen feathers were orange.
This isn’t an Ebonite arrow, she noted. Their shafts are wooden and the feathers black and white. More proof that the Moon King isn’t from Ebon.
Before her thoughts could fade, his mystical face flashed in her imagination. I never saw him shoot this, but who else could have done so?
The rustling paper stirred her curiosity.
Of course, if I take it, I risk violating the Oracles, but this wouldn’t be the first time.
Elabea glanced pensively back at her parents.
Besides, I’ve been going to the oak for most of my life. Nothing has ever happened to us, even when Galadin and I dared to ask to hear a whisper.
Stepping outside, she shut the door and stretched her fingers toward the shimmering shaft. Flesh touched parchment. Tingles raced up her arm. Startled, she jerked her hand away.
The Cauldron’s never known about us at the oak. How will it know now? What harm could come?
She yanked the arrow free.
She untied the leather and unrolled the parchment. Even as a simple girl from Allsbruth, she knew that the paper’s thickness and weight were proof it was an expensive quality. Exquisite black etchings were on one side, except for six that were gold.
I wish I could read! she bemoaned.
Drawn to the golden letters, she ran her finger across the marks. Suddenly, a whisper pierced the winds.
She shuddered and withdrew her finger.
“Galadin?” she demanded, looking this way and that for her best friend, who was noted for playing practical jokes. Only the wind answered.
Regaining her senses, she went back inside and closed the door.
“I told you I saw something last night!” Elabea boasted as she held the parchment and arrow high.
Areall’s eyes widened as if seeing a specter. She sprang and snatched them from Elabea’s hands.
“What have you done?” Areall scolded as she raced to the door. “What have you done!”
She heaved the arrow outside and slammed the door shut. “Your curiosity will bring death to us!” She darted to the fireplace.
Startled by her mother’s erratic behavior, Elabea asked, “What are you doing?”
“This is a curse!” she yelled as she crumpled the parchment. “It goes against the teachings of the Oracles!” She tossed it into the flames. “I must destroy it before…”
She let her sentence fade, as if satisfied that the fire would quell any uprising their daughter had instigated. Areall returned to her chores as if nothing had happened.