Title: Deltora's King

Summary: The time spent in Withick Mire from Dain's POV. This follows the book as closely as it can.

Author's note: This chapter is from page 65 to 68.

Disclaimer: See first chapter.

Candles flickered around the walls, Faces - grave, exited, afraid - formed a half circle around the seven. All eyes were on the Belt, lying in the shadow, on the table where Lief had set it.

They were standing be Barda's bed. Jasmine had insisted on that. "in what ever twilight world he is wandering, he may hear us," she said. "And even if he cannot, it is his right to be present."

No-one agued with her. But it was clear to all that Brada's long struggle for life was almost done.

Zeean stepped forward. "I, Zeean of Tora, am here," she said gravely, laying her hand upon the amethyst.

Gal-Thorn was next, "And I, Gal-Thorn of the Dread Gnomes," she said Her head high as she caressed the emerald.

Dain watched, pale and intent, as one by one the others moved forward.

"Fardeep of the Mere." Fardeep's usually hearty voice was shaking. Humbly, he touched the lapis lazuli.

"Steven of the Plains." Steven towered over all the other all the rest, his golden hair gleaming as he bent to the opal.

"Manus, for the Ralad people." Manus brushed the ruby with gentle fingers.

Glock lumbered forward. His face was fierce and proud as he stretched out his huge paw to the diamond. "I am Glock, last of the Jalis," he growled. And Dain caught his breath as he saw tears spring into the savage eyes.

Lief placed his hand on the golden topaz. "Lief of Del," he said clearly.

Dain looked at the table. The Belt was almost hidden by the hands that touched it. Seven hands, of every colour, every shape, pressed together in one purpose.

Zeean was speaking again, saying the words that had been agreed.

"Together we, representatives of the seven tribes, renew our ancient vow to unite under the power of the Belt of Deltora, and swear loyalty to Adin's rightful heir."

"We swear," the seven said as one.

The companions were forced to draw their hands away as the Belt grew hot beneath their fingers.

Dain was trembling but his face shimmering with light as he stepped forward.

The tension in the room seemed to crackle as Lief picked up the belt and moved slowly forward.

Dain waited. The trembling had stopped. He was holding his head high, now. A quiet dignity seemed to have settled over his shoulders like a fine cloak. The smooth skin of his face and hands glowed with light.

Lief stretched out his hands. The Belt hung loosely between his fingers, for the first time catching the light.

Dain reached out and took the belt into his own hands. Smiling, he clasped it around his waist.

And - time seemed to stand still.

A rush of heat swept though Dain's body. There was a strange crackling sound. Then the belt exploded with light.

The gems of the Belt of Deltora blazed like fire, their rainbow brilliance streaming outward, filling the air, dancing on the faces of the people surrounding him. And in the centre of the light stood Dain. Dain the true heir of Deltora.

Note to all: Dain is human in this story. Which explains why he has any feelings at all.