"Wh-wha' d'you want with me?" Kaytlynn stuttered. She had been shoved roughly inside the room by the Healer, and was now facing a cloaked man. He was short, and his face was shadowed, so Kaytlynn couldn't see any of his features.

The cloaked man chuckled. "Nothing. I just wanted to look upon you. My son says you are very beautiful." He seemed to be mocking her.

Kaytlynn noticed the Healer was bowing. "What are you?" she asked, "Some kind of sick tyrant? Planning to rule the capital of Lachelleida?" she yawned, despite her fear, intent on not letting it show. She had to be strong. "All'abirrim already has enough of those." Despite her terror, her voice showed contempt.

"Fool! But if you only knew who I am. Unfortunately, I have not the luxury of giving my name to everyone. You might squeal to my enemies." He laughed again. "And I wouldn't want that. To you, my sweet, I am the Dragon Mask." He chuckled again."However, I have a mission for you, if that is what you mean."

Kaytlynn stopped staring, and blinked. "You are even more of a fool then I thought if you think I will do as you say." Her knees felt like jelly, unsupportive, but she gathered up her strength. She would not show her fear!

The cloaked figure sighed, and whispered, "I will help you…" he paused, for dramatic effect, "Help you fight the Rie."

Kaytlynn stifled a gasp. How did he know about her prophecy? The last time she heard, it had not been public knowledge. Jhorederan, of course, had been there, but… then again, why would he have sent for her unless he did know? Too much.. too soon…

"The Rie prince… he's in my way…" the cloaked figure said. Kaytlynn let out a sigh.

"Look," she said, "I'm not killing Jhorederan. I'm not killing anyone, for that matter." To her delight, her voice came out strong. This man wanted to kill Jhorederan…

"I don't want you to kill him, fool. No, you must find him… find him and make him forget…"

Kaytlynn's eyebrows shot together. He was smart… If he forgot, it would give him a chance to use Jhorederan's powers…

"No." Kaytlynn said flatly, quelling her fear.

"Fool!" the man's voice rose. He was getting angry. "Fool! You must! The prophecy made at your twelfth-"

For a moment Kaytlynn forgot her fear. "Oh?" she interrupted. "Just because someone made a unique prophecy about me means I'll do whatever you say? I can think for myself, you know. I'm not going to mindlessly obey anything anyone tells me to do!"

"What can I offer you?" pouring honey into his voice, but Kaytlynn had already had enough of him.

"Nothing," she said. "There is nothing I want."

"He'll kill you…" 'Drewilan' spoke softly, then his voice rose, like a madman. "Have you ever wondered why he came to All'abirrim? To kill you! You're in his way! He'll kill you!"

"No." she shook her head. "Jhorederan's better then that. He doesn't lower himself to the level of a murderer. I know him. Jhorederan wouldn't do that." She was convincing herself as much as him.

'Drewilan' snorted. "We'll see…" he said. He seemed to think, then he said, "Adarienne misses you, you know."

"Adarienne's dead," she said flatly. "I was there when it happened."

"Are you sure?" the cloaked man asked. "I know where she is."

"No. I know what you are. You're a liar. First, you lie about Jhorederan. Now, you're lying about Adarienne." Kaytlynn tried to slow her pounding heart. No matter how hard she tried not to, some part of her believed him. "No!" she cried out. The man chuckled.

"I can assure you, I haven't yet lied," he said silkily.

"Then where is she?" Kaytlynn demanded, trying to keep the panic at bay, and failing. She wanted to run away, run away from this liar, this oh so very convincing liar.

"No where of your concern." He said this quietly, calmer now that Kaytlynn was showing panic.

"Tell me!" she couldn't keep this up much longer.

"She is alive and well, and will remain so if you do as I ask."

"You wouldn't!"

"I am not a liar. Get rid of Jhorederan, Kaytlynn, and you will see her again."

"I won't!" screamed Kaytlynn. "Adarienne's dead! I saw the blood!"

"Bring her back to her room," the cloaked man said to the Healer. Kaytlynn had forgotten she was there.

Kaytlynn was lead silently to her bed, limping the whole way. Why did everything always have to be so complicated? It wasn't fair, it just wasn't fair.

Outside her window, rain started coming down in sheets. She felt so useless trapped in this hospital. The pitter-patter of the rain clouding her thoughts, she drifted off into an uneasy sleep.

Kaytlynn woke up to the sound of rain. This time, it took her less time to remember the events of the last two days. It passed before her eyes in a blur: Waking up, seeing Jhorederan, spelling the Healer, seeing the Grandmother, Jhorederan's invitation and the strange cloaked man. She found it easier to deny the lies outside the man's presence. They rested just outside her consciousness, not going away, ever-present but hardly noticed, like the sound of the rain pouring down outside the window. She wished the rain would stop; it did nothing to help her gloomy mood. She was trapped, trapped in the hospital until her feet healed.

Then it hit her. The fact that she had not remembered before reflected on how she had been neglecting to practice her magic since Baltaim's Grandmother died. Once again, not for the last time, she but herself into a trance, breathing in the moisture, the water. Closing her eyes, she whispered, and picturing the triple-wave that was Malith's symbol, she whispered, "Malith." Nothing happened. She wondered what she was doing wrong; Malith was her specialty. Why weren't her feet healing? Sighing, she tried again.

She poked her nose out the window, splashes of water landing on it. She pictured herself surrounded by water, swimming, she was the water. The triple wave swam into her vision. She opened her mouth to say the name of the healing Ungari, but nothing came out. Instead, water came in, filling her lungs. She was drowning…

With a start, Kaytlynn pulled herself from her magic, and took a deep breath, filling her lungs with the oxygen needed. Was it possible the spell was beyond her? Once upon a time, she could heal better then the Grandmother, fixing bones and taking away the pain. But now…

Had the Ungarii deserted her? Perhaps…

No. She put it down to lack of practice. After all, she was still groggy from waking up; she never had been much of a morning person.

Jhorederan would know. She glanced at the clock, then remembered her planned meeting with All'abirrim's grandmother. With that, came the prophecy, coming back to her before she could block it out.

The princess of the Rie has is no longer

But she lives in another

She will rise from the flames

Wielding Frozen powers

The Princess of our land

Is no longer ours...

The end of the Rie

She'll bring power to the Fae

No longer will the we

Be cursed...

Wielding Frozen powers?She had never noticed that line before. Perhaps… the problem was, she had no idea on how to go on about this power. Maybe it was like magic? Possibly the Ungarii had deserted her because of it? She shook her head. Jhorederan would know. He had been the most supportive about the prophecy… until…

The Grandmother came up to the two flirting teens. "Kaytlynn," she said, ignoring the Prince, "Kaytlynn, it is time you started your training."

"Training?" Kaytlynn asked, surprised.

"The prophecy!" the Grandmother was stern. "Have you been neglecting it again?"

Kaytlynn didn't know what to say. On the one hand, she didn't want Jhorederan to think she was planning to fulfil it anytime soon, because she wasn't. Yet the Grandmother expected her to destroy the Rie before she turned 20! Didn't she realise there were more important things in life then fulfilling some ancient destiny? All she wanted was to enjoy life… unfortunately, the Grandmother wasn't someone you could say no to.

The worst of it was the Grandmother didn't know the awkward position she had put her young protégé into. Kaytlynn had told Jhorederan about it against the Grandmother's will, in secret.

"Of course not, Grandmother!" Kaytlynn said, desperately hoping Jhorederan would understand. She shot him a worried glance- she didn't dare wink- and noticed he h ad turned away. Kaytlynn knew the Prince well. She knew the glint of anger that would be growing, his well-guarded face would be unreadable but for his flashing eyes. She knew that when he turned away, it was out of shame, distrust. She knew he wouldn't let her explain.

Nevertheless, she tried. Once the Grandmother had left, which had taken awhile because the Grandmother did not take her Prophecy lightly, Jhorederan turned to leave. He had not left in the Grandmother's presence, for it is rude to leave the Grandmother without her dismissal. His cheeks damp, he ran across the otherwise peaceful village of Baltaim.

"Jhorederan, wait!" Kaytlynn's sharp and panicked voice cut through the clear morning. But he didn't. He ran on, walking only when he was out of her sight. After that, he stopped coming to see her every day. You never realise how much you depend on some one until you can no longer depend on them. For Kaytlynn Shayno'ir, it was a lot.

She missed his smiles, missed his laughter, missed his comfort. No one else, save for the Grandmother, in her village dared speak to her. No one wanted to become friends with the Child of Prophecy.

Her memory stopped, leaving her with a terrible ache. She felt a pang as she remembered Jhorederan as he had been before then, all smiles and laughter. Her mind turned to the meeting with the cloaked man. How could she bring herself to kill him? She couldn't. It was as simple as that. But not doing him in was practically as bad as killing her baby sister. So many whispered secrets at night, late at night, when Adarienne confided her deepest thoughts with Kaytlynn, distracting her from her life, knowing that she wasn't the only one in the world who found it hard to bear. As long as Adarienne had been around, Kaytlynn had never been alone. Now, she had a chance to regain that…

What about Jhorederan? He had asked her to the Rie palace, a small haven of safety, where she could go unnoticed among the many servants. But she'd still be alone. Jhorederan wouldn't be allowed it see her…

Stop! she cried out to her whirling thoughts. It made her head hurt, thinking about it too much. Maybe she'd find a friend in the All'abirrim's Grandmother? Sighing, she glanced at the clock, and then realized she had no way to get to the Grandmother's place unnoticed.

The frozen powers probably worked like the Ungarii. Only, she didn't know the symbol. She shook her head, and tried meditating. Next, she became aware of the cold in the air, the moisture, the drafts… she breathed it all in. Count of seven. Held it, count of seven, and let it out on the bed.

Her head felt like exploding! She closed her eyes, and collapsed on her bed, barely noticing its hardness or the deep chill it sent up her spine as her head hit the pillow…