Dragontide's Daughter by Strewnpapers | World Anvil Manuscripts | World Anvil

Chapter 12: The Sigil's Call

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As Ellie extended her hand, the Seafarer’s Sigil glinting in her palm, Gavin’s eyes gleamed with anticipation. He licked his lips, fingers twitching greedily as he prepared to snatch the priceless artifact.

But before the transaction could be sealed, Kendrick cleared his throat. “Now, just a moment, young lady. I’m afraid that relic cannot simply be sold off like a bauble at market.”

Ellie froze, her arm still outstretched as Gavin’s hand hovered mere inches away from the compass. She glanced over at the archaeologist.

“This sigil is an object of immense historical and cultural significance,” Kendrick continued. “It belongs to the Shorling people, as it was discovered right here in Crystal Shores. To part with it so cavalierly would be a grave injustice.”

Gavin scowled; his hand still suspended in mid-air. “Now see here, this young lady was about to accept a more than generous offer. It’s a done deal.”

But Kendrick shook his head firmly. “I don’t believe I actually heard Miss Harper verbally accept your terms, Mr. Brooks.”

An uncomfortable silence fell over the room as all eyes turned toward Ellie.

“Well?” Kendrick prompted gently. “Did anyone here actually hear Eloise agree to sell the sigil?”

One by one, the others shook their heads. Even Mayor Wright remained conspicuously silent.

Gavin’s face reddened with indignation. “She was handing it right to me! Until you so rudely interrupted, that is.”

Tyler spoke up, his voice laced with a protective edge. “I didn’t hear her say anything about accepting an offer.”

A murmur of agreement rippled through the gathered crowd. Gavin opened his mouth to protest further, but seemed to think better of it as he found himself increasingly outnumbered.

Instead, he turned his glare back toward Ellie, eyes narrowed. “Well then, Miss Harper? What’s it going to be? Are you going to honor our deal or not?”

Ellie hesitated as a heavy silence descended once more. She knew Grandpa Joe’s life quite literally hung in the balance—the money from Gavin could save his life.

But Ellie couldn’t shake the feeling that parting with the relic would be a grave mistake, one she might come to regret.

Slowly, almost unconsciously, Ellie’s hand drifted back toward her jacket pocket. She met Gavin’s gaze steadily as she slipped the Seafarer’s Sigil back into the safety of her coat, the compass disappearing from view.

“No deal,” she said with an unmistakable finality.

Gavin’s face contorted with rage, but Mayor Wright stepped forward before he could unleash his fury. “Now, now, let’s not let our tempers get the better of us.”

Ellie felt relieved as the Seafarer’s Sigil disappeared safely back into her pocket. Mayor Wright stepped toward her; a polite smile plastered across her face.

“Well, when the time comes that you do wish to part with the compass, please keep Mr. Brooks and myself in mind,” the mayor said smoothly. “We would be more than happy to pay a fair price for such a rare artifact.”

Ellie gave a noncommittal nod, not trusting herself to speak.

The steady, melodic succession from the bell tower sounded the Noonbell, the highest point of the day.

“We should get going,” Tyler said, placing a hand on Ellie’s shoulder.

Ellie turned to Kendrick. “Thank you, Dr. Kendrick, for all your help in understanding the sigil.”

The archaeologist inclined his head. “Of course, my dear. I only hope I’ve provided enough guidance to set you on the right path.”

As they exited the Scholaring building, the warm midday sun washed over them. Tyler glanced sidelong at Ellie. “We should grab a bite to eat.”

“Before we do that, let’s swing by Dr. Bennett’s office. See if he has any Dragonscale Moss, he has been researching Elixiron.”

Tyler let out a heavy sigh. “El . . . you know I ship out at first light tomorrow to join the Oceanriders. I can’t help but worry you’ll try to venture into the Thornveil alone while I’m gone.”

Ellie felt a pang, her heart sinking at the thought of Tyler’s imminent departure. She forced a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, I just want to see if I can get this compass working, that’s all. And even if I do end up needing to search for that moss, the sigil will guide me. Keep me safe and lead me down the proper paths.”

Tyler frowned, clearly not convinced. “I don’t like the idea of you going in there by yourself. It’s too dangerous.” He reached out, taking her hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. “But I understand why you might feel compelled to try. Just promise me you’ll be careful?”

Ellie looked toward Lake Dragontide, her heart growing heavy at the sight of the longships anchored just offshore. Row upon row of the sleek vessels rocked gently on the swells, their dragon-headed prows cutting an imposing silhouette against the glittering waters. Small rowboats ferried crew and supplies out to the larger warships, which would soon set sail to join the fight against the Dragonkin Marauders.

She knew those ships would soon carry Tyler and the other Oceanriders off to war. A lump formed in her throat at the thought of her best friend—her closest companion since childhood—being thrust into such peril.

“Come on,” Tyler said gently. “Let’s see what Dr. Bennett knows.”

They made their way through the winding streets of Crystal Shores until they reached the physician’s office, the door’s little bell jingling merrily as they entered.

The waiting room was small but meticulously kept, with a few well-worn chairs arranged around a low table laden with tattered magazines. Potted plants added splashes of green life, their tendrils spilling over the rims of their ceramic homes. The air carried a faint, crisp scent that hinted at disinfectants and herbal remedies.

A few moments passed before Dr. Bennett emerged from the back, his kindly face breaking into a warm smile. “Ellie, Tyler, what a pleasant surprise. My nurse is at lunch, I’m afraid. What can I do for you two today?”

Ellie reached into her pocket, retrieving the Seafarer’s Sigil and holding it out for the doctor to inspect. “This is a . . . well, a magical compass, of sorts. It can supposedly lead me to rare ingredients, like the Dragonscale Moss needed for Elixiron to cure Grandpa.”

Dr. Bennett cradled the Seafarer’s Sigil reverently in his hands. “My word . . . I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.”

“It was frozen in an iceberg,” Ellie explained. “We only just discovered it recently.”

The doctor nodded slowly. “Well, this is certainly an intriguing artifact. Please, come into my office and tell me more.”

He led them through a door and into his private office, a cozy space lined with overflowing bookshelves. After setting the sigil down on his desk, he crossed to a high shelf and retrieved an ornate wooden box. With a key he produced from his pocket, he opened the latch, revealing a single glass vial nestled within.

“This is all the Dragonscale Moss I have remaining,” he said, plucking out the vial and handing it to Ellie. She could just make out a few withered strands of muted grayish green within. “Merely a trace amount, I’m afraid. Not nearly enough for a full batch of Elixiron.”

Ellie frowned but nodded. “That’s what I was afraid of.” She set the vial next to the Seafarer’s Sigil. “If I can find more of this moss, how much would you need to brew up a dose for Grandpa?”

Dr. Bennett consulted one of the thick tomes he pulled from the bookshelf. “Well, let’s see here.” He slid a finger down the page. “With a full bundle of Dragonscale Moss, along with Starlight Dew, Glimmerpetal Powder, Auron Herb, Silvermist Essence, and Heartwood Bark, I should have just enough for a single, potent draught.”

Ellie carefully picked up the sigil once more, holding the moss vial up beside it. She closed her eyes, focusing all her thoughts and energy into a single wish: Find me the Dragonscale Moss. Lead me to where I can gather enough to cure Grandpa.

For a few tense seconds, nothing happened. Then, the sigil’s central crystal began pulsing with a faint blue luminescence that rapidly grew brighter and brighter, soon bathing the entire room in its ethereal glow.

The artifact seemed to shudder in Ellie’s hands as the markings along its surface realigned and rearranged with a series of faint clicks. At last, the sigil’s arrow swung around and pointed decisively toward the window . . . and the dark line of the Thornveil Wilds visible in the distance.

Ellie felt an unmistakable tugging sensation, as though an invisible force were urging her to follow the sigil’s direction.

“I . . . I think it worked,” she said, hardly daring to believe it. “I can feel it calling me to the forest.”

Dr. Bennett
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