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The Wishing Map
Chapter Twenty-Three: Return to Rennou (Continued)
Previously: B’frona confessed his failure to overcome the kidnappers who’d captured Gina’s dragon.
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He stood steeped in anguish as Sh’renn, his adoptive sister, picked up the narrative: “I left my sleeping mother and went to the marketplace, knowing that I would find him there. I found him, yes…beaten and bloodied, this courageous boy. But the Dragon of Rennou was gone. I washed his face and waited. When he came to his senses, he told me what Skelljaip and Artifíga had done. And then…”
To Gina and Zack’s surprise, B’frona took Sh’renn’s hand and finished the sentence for her: “We smelled smoke and rushed to the widow’s house. When we arrived, the flames—”
“He tried over and over to enter,” said Sh’renn. “He still has the scars.”
“Even before we came,” B’frona continued, “the fire consumed the shrennel-thatch and the pine timbers crashed in upon themselves; it was not an irontree house. The widow’s…remains…were found the next day.” He stole a glance at Sh’renn.
He does care about her, Gina realized.
“B’frona was blamed,” Sh’renn said, forcing herself to complete the narrative. “It was known that he resented his adoption. This and the disappearance of the dragon led the elders to assume guilt, but look at him and see what he had been through!”
“She stood by me,” said B’frona, “and Skelljaip and Artifíga were missing. All knew Skelljaip’s crow-bait character, so it was not difficult for them to imagine him and Artifíga doing such things. Then reports began to filter in of two men, one older and one younger, selling the services of a rogue dragon. The shops of merchants in Peludien, Crésie, and D’nair were torched to the ground, bringing sudden windfalls to their competitors. In each case the ruins bore the marks of dragon-fire.”
“I was only eighteen when I was given guardianship of him,” said Sh’renn. “We have made a life together, and yet—”
“And yet if you had never come—” B’frona said, pointing at Gina. “I would have become dragonfaer, the Dragon of Rennou would still be here, the widow F’lenn would be alive—”
“And the curse would have been lifted. But now it is even worse than before, and it is your fault. I would kill you if I were not such a coward!”
Gina was stunned. She had no counter to B’frona’s accusations; they were true, every one of them, and yet she hadn’t known what would happen when she’d fallen on that egg and helped that strange little creature. She thought of her pet phrase, “Make my own destiny.”
But B’frona couldn’t make his own destiny, she realized. He didn’t have any control over his mother’s or baby sister’s death, or his father’s self-destruction…or me falling into his world! Aunt Aloysia had said that finding your true self was about making “hard, awful choices.” What choices will B’frona have to make?
What choices will I have to make?
Thoughts: Life is not simply about fulfilling dreams. It’s also about overcoming curses.
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