Daysong Graphics
Bitter Chivalry

“Why? Why have you said nothing all these years?”

Calla sat across from him, the stillness of his body at odds with the crackle of his mindvoice. His face remained hard, the eyes glittering. Heavy waves of gold, also his mother’s legacy, fell fashionably to just below the clean-shaven chin.

Nothing visible to indicate he was Daymonde’s son and not Rydane’s. Certainly nothing to indicate the true state of his heart, safe behind the iron veil of his Gift.

Now that the initial shock of the young man’s reappearance had passed—the Androvian retinue had departed yesternoon—Daymonde eased back in the cushioned chair, keeping his posture calm and unperturbed. He spun the chalice in his fingers and watched the play of light across the jewel-studded gold. “ I. . . could not. Could not do that to my wife and children.” The words lashed his conscience as soon as they were out of his mouth.

Calla’s eyes narrowed—a deep green like his mother’s, oh aye, Daymonde remembered. “And I was not also your child? With a far greater claim upon you, if what Lord Altnik has told me all these years is true.” One eyebrow arched. “Or was that, too, a lie, like the illusion of integrity you maintained after that night with my mother?”

Daymonde suppressed a shudder at the edge in Calla’s voice. What could he say? Nothing would answer the accusation the young man—aye, his own son—leveled against him.

“After all, what importance is the Law, and how much less the Gift, against the need to maintain appearances. Aye, Father?”

A profound sadness squeezed Daymonde’s heart. He lapsed into mindspeech. Oh, my son . . . son of my Gift! Why indeed?

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Seeking Blackbeard's Treasure

Tom and Joanne Dixon and their teenage daughter, Caroline, were eating dinner with their eyes glued to Wheel of Fortune when Danny raced in screaming, “Mom! Dad! Sis! Look what I found!”

“What is it this time?” Joanne sighed.

Holding out an old sheet of paper, he exclaimed, “It’s a treasure map!”

“Get that filthy thing away from the table!”

“But, Mom . . . !”

“Don’t ‘But, Mom’ me!”

Tom reached for the paper. “Let me see what you have.”

Danny thrust it into Dad’s hand. “I found an ol’ log cabin in the woods. The logs are rotten, an’ this was in a bottle in a hollow log.”

Tom began reading it aloud, turning it so he could see the faded words. ‘“I, Ebenezer Smith, leave this note to guide the finder to my fortune.”’

Joanne switched off the television, and she and Caroline listened as Tom continued.

‘“On August nineteenth, eighteen seventy-nine, I was looking for my dogs on the north shore of Newport River when I spied an old chest sticking out of the mud. Tales about Blackbeard burying his treasure somewhere in Carteret County came to mind, and I thought this must be it, so I went back to the tree line and watched to make sure nobody got it. Just afore nightfall, I went and got my mule, shovel, axe, and some rope. I dug up the chest and cut some small trees to make a litter, lashed the chest to it, harnessed it to my mule, and drug it home. I took out a few coins, but I’m old and don’t need much, so I buried the treasure again. Directions to bottle two is on back. Each bottle has a gold coin buried with it in a shallow hole with directions to the next bottle. Bottle four tells where the treasure is buried. Distances are feet.’”

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Fossil Hunter