Huddled in the Great Throne Room that day, Quinn had allowed himself a long look at the medallion. Maybe it was then that Elymas started hating him because the Earth Skyll had caught him staring before Quinn ducked his head.
Quinn hadn’t looked up until the booming voice rang out.
The bench was vibrating with the knock of their knees, his own included.
“You’re here because you’ve been chosen,” As he walked to and fro on the dais, he gave heavy weight to his limp. “But the bigger question is this — chosen by whom?”
“Yes, chosen by whom?” Elymas continued. “A stinking village Shaman smeared with mud? A seer with a single sighting?”
There was a pause. He thumped his lame foot louder.
“What were your trials? Did you win a race? Shoot an arrow into the clouds?”
Elymas turned his head, pretending to cough. Every village boy knew he was looking away rather than looking at them. After his contempt had settled into each one, he shouted, ” “Am I speaking to myself? Am I alone in this hall?” He pointed a finger at a boy at the end of the first row. “You there! Answer me!”
“Irwillis,” sputtered the boy. “I come from the village of Irwillis.”
“I didn’t ask where you came from,” Elymas boomed, hitching himself up on his specially made stool. “I don’t care where any of you came from! What was your test?”
“The rock, Sir,” The boy’s voice quivered, but to his credit, he began again. “I found the painted rock in the forest.”
“Ha!” Elymas laughed, hard short barks of contempt that might have gone on forever except the unthinkable happened. A village boy two seats over from Quinn began to laugh. Whether it was from nerves or amusement, the other boys joined in. Soon, the Great Throne Room echoed with the laughter of young men. Elymas’s laugh boomed over all.
Quinn sat still.
The fools, he thought, can’t they see he’s laughing at them?
Suddenly, Elymas focused on him with an intensity that told Quinn he’d been the target all along.
“You in the middle! Speak!”
I’m not a dog to command, Quinn wanted to say, but in a voice that was as steady as he could make it, replied, “Euli, the Seer in our village chose me. I wasn’t given a task. He laid hands on me.”
He stopped. He dreaded this next part but if he were to be completely truthful, he’d had to tell it. He prayed that Elymas would ask no more.
HIs prayer went unheeded.
“Chosen by touch. An old method, but sometimes sound. What was the prophecy? The hands always pull something vague and incoherent from behind the veil.”
Quinn stood. He didn’t know why; perhaps it was in defense of Euli. But Elymas hadn’t bidden him to rise, and having stood, he couldn’t sit down.
“Euli said I would walk the Shining Road,” Quinn took a deep breath. “He said I had the power to change thousands of lives.” The silence was absolute, and Quinn knew it sounded as though he were bragging, but couldn’t they see that he wanted nothing more than to get away? “Euli sends his regards and hopes to meet you again.”
“Which would be wonderful,” said Elymas, arching a plucked brow. “Since I’ve never met Euli of Larnes at all.”