Once Walked With Dragons

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Chapter Seventy Two

It was early afternoon when they reached the town called Diemed. No one seemed to give Keara or Korian a second look; Aric and Thrax on the other hand got all the curious looks. After all, it wasn’t every day that people saw two grown men with blankets wrapped around their waists. Keara looked around.

‘There’s a clothes store right there.’ she pointed.
‘I’m afraid we have no money.’ Thrax said.
‘We have more than enough.’ Korian said and took some out of the rucksack hanging over Keara’s shoulder.
‘Thank you.’ the Golden Elves mumbled and made their way to the store.
Korian put the saddle on Legacy’s back, ‘I’m gonna see if I can find someone who will take us to the Forbidden Island.’
‘Sure.’ she said, stroking Legacy’s neck.
After a moment, she lead him to a bench where she sat down, putting the rucksack down next to her and removed her hood before she started putting on her boots. When she was done, she fastened the straps of Legacy’s saddle and retied the rucksack to it. She was barely finished, when a teenage girl approached her.
‘Excuse me.’ the girl said.
Keara turned around, ‘Yes?’
‘Are you Keara?’ the girl seemed almost too nervous to ask.
‘I am.’
The girl suddenly got very excited, ‘You’re Crucis Salerra.’
‘I’m sorry, do I know you?’ Keara asked confused.
The girl giggled, ‘No. I’m Miette.’
‘Nice to meet you Miette.’
She giggled again, ‘It’s nice to meet you too. We’ve heard so much about you.’
‘You have?’
‘Yes. It’s the most exciting stories we’ve ever heard.’
‘Yes, not much happens around here.’
‘I see.’ Keara said.
‘You have to meet everyone.’ Miette said and grabbed Keara’s hand.
‘Whoa, okay.’ Keara barely had time to think, before she was being dragged along to meet new people, ‘Legacy.’ she called back and he started following her.

Back at the castle, it was still deep winter. Recruits were still coming in from every corner of the kingdom and every day the clouds grew darker above the Haunted castle. Preparations were being made every day for the coming war. Artemis hoped to get a message from Keara, but no message ever came. He never received a message from the Ravens and his brother either. He grew worried that he might lose his brother, but he was sure that if something like that were to happen, he would receive word.

It had not been long after they entered the town that people started harassing them. Michael had been very short-tempered for a long while, so it had not taken long before various fights broke out.
Before long, most of the townspeople had been beaten almost unconscious and Michael left a message to ensure that none of them would ever return to the castle.
'Well, at least you didn't provoke anyone.' Alexander said as they left the town.
'There was no need.' Michael said.
Alexander just sighed and shook his head.

Thrax and Aric walked out of the store, fully dressed with the blankets draped over their arms. They expected to see Keara and Korian waiting for them; instead they were nowhere to be seen.
A crowd had gathered in the middle of the town, so they decide to see what all the commotion was about. Peering over most of the people, they saw Keara in the middle of it all, playing with many of the children. Two young children were sitting in Legacy’s saddle, the others were running around, playing with Keara.
‘She seems to be quite popular.’ Aric said.
‘Yes, she does.’ Thrax agreed.
‘Would you transform for us?’ Miette asked excitedly.
‘You want me to transform?’ Keara asked with a young child’s arms wrapped around her neck, sitting on her back and two other children clinging to her arms.
‘Crucis Salerra.’ the child said excitedly.
‘Um, okay. I guess I could.’ she said.
Miette took the children’s hands and lead them away and Keara put the child on her back down. Everyone gave her some space and waited. Keara closed her eyes and wind started swirling around her. After a moment, wings started growing from her back, her nails grew longer and when she opened her eyes, purple flames were burning. Everyone got excited and cheered.
‘What’s going on here?’ Korian asked. He had just returned from the harbour.
‘Keara’s entertaining the people.’ Thrax said.
Korian looked at her and saw children jumping up and down around her.
‘Show us your powers!’ some of the children yelled.
She lifted her hands with her palms facing towards each other and a purple flame erupted. The children clapped their hands and yelped in excitement. Then she created a small whirlwind around the fire until the fire went out. She put her palms together and the whirlwind disappeared. The children shouted, wanting more. She looked out at the ocean, lifting her hand and waited. Everyone fell quiet, waiting to see what was going to happen next. A moment later, water drifted towards her in a stream. She manipulated it, twirling it around some of the children and allowing them to touch it. She spread out her hands and the water fell over the children in the form of rain. She retracted her wings and her nails started retracting. Her eyes changed back to purple. The children didn’t want the spectacle to end. So Keara sat down on the ground and crossed her legs. She put her hand flat on the ground and it glowed a light green. After a moment, she lifted her hand and a small bush of daisies began to grow. She moved her hand around in a circle and the daisies followed, curving back down to the bottom. She moved her hand around again and the daisies started to weave through each other. Finally she picked all the daisies and weaved them into a crown and put it on a little girl’s head. The little girl was so happy, she flung her arms around Keara’s neck and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
The children started shouting for more, but an adult came to Keara’s rescue, ‘Alright children. That’s enough now. Go on now. Go and play.’
Keara got up and dusted herself off.
‘I’m sorry. It’s not every day that they meet someone who is capable of all this.’ the young woman said.
Keara laughed, ‘It’s okay. I have quite a few nieces and nephews.’
‘Do you entertain them like this?’
‘Sometimes, yes.’
The young woman smiled, ‘I’m Sonja.’
‘I’m Keara.’
‘I saw you enter the town with three other men.’
‘Two of them were wearing blankets.’
‘It’s a long story.’
‘I can imagine.’ Sonja said with a giggle.
Korian beckoned to Keara.
‘Excuse me one moment.’ Keara said.
‘Of course.’
Keara walked up to her companions.
‘I got us a ship to the Forbidden Island.’ Korian told her, ‘But they will only leave tomorrow morning.’
‘So how much is that gonna cost us?’ she wanted to know.
‘A normal voyage fee.’ Korian answered.
Keara was surprised, ‘Really?’
‘When I mentioned that you are one of my companions, they were more than happy to oblige.’
‘I’ve never been so popular.’ Keara said.
‘I don’t think they get a lot of excitement around here.’ Korian stated.
‘Looks like it.’ Keara agreed, then she said, ‘I’m starving. Shall we get something to eat?’
‘That sounds like a very good idea.’ Korian said.
‘What should we do with the blankets?’ Aric asked.
‘Roll them up and reattach them to the saddle.’ Keara said.
At first, the Golden Elves just stood there, then walked over to Legacy, rolled up the blankets and attached them to the saddle.
‘Let me just take care of Legacy, then we can eat.’ she said and walked over to Legacy just as the Golden Elves were returning.
‘Sonja?’ Keara started.
‘Yes?’ she said with a smile.
‘Is there a stable where I can keep Legacy for the night and also feed him?’
‘Of course. Follow me.’
Keara turned and shouted to Korian, ‘I’ll be right back.’
Keara followed Sonja to the stable. She lead Legacy inside where she removed his reins and the saddle, untying the rucksack and putting it to one side. Sonja gave her some horse feed and a bucket of water, which Keara put it down in front of Legacy and stroked his back.
‘It seems the town is very happy to have us here.’ Keara pointed out.
‘We don’t get a lot of visitors in these parts. So when someone does come this way, everyone gets very excited.’
‘I noticed.’
‘You and your companions must think there’s something wrong with us.’ Sonja looked at the ground.
‘Where I come from, that’s what I would’ve thought.’ Keara said, ‘Not everybody’s very fond of me back home.’
‘Why not?’
‘Things happened. Mistakes were made. And being a Dark Elf in a human kingdom, doesn’t always count in my favour.’
‘Maybe people are just afraid of what they don’t understand.’ Sonja suggested.
‘They are. But they also choose not to understand.’ Keara paused, ‘Considering that your town doesn’t get a lot of visitors, you all seem to be very open-minded.’
‘We live between the Sea-mist Forest and the Sleepless Ocean. Stranger things have happened.’
‘Like a drastic change in the weather.’ Keara pointed out.
‘Among other things.’
‘I’m just curious,’ Keara started, after a moment of consideration, ‘How is it that you all know so much about me? Miette recognized me and called me by name. And you all know of Crucis Salerra.’
‘When we do get visitors, they are often from very far away. Much farther than any of us would dare to travel. And they bring stories with them. The one we have heard most often was of a Drow with black hair and purple eyes, who could transform and was destined to become the Drow Queen, with her brothers by her side.’ Sonja fell silent, ‘Until today, we believed that it was only stories.’
‘I’m quite real.’ Keara added.
‘So, why are you going to the Forbidden Island?’ Sonja asked as they started walking back to Korian and the others.
‘Uh,’ Keara started, ‘The less you know about my journey, the better.’
‘Why? We could help.’ Sonja suggested.
‘All I need is a ship to get to the Forbidden Island.’ Keara stated.
‘Are you sure you don’t need anyone else to go with you?’
Keara stopped walking, ‘Are you trying to say that you wanna go with us?’
‘No.’ Sonja exclaimed, then paused, ‘Well, kind of. Yes.’
‘I’ve already picked up two unintended companions.’ Keara started, ‘And a journey such as this is quite dangerous. It certainly isn’t for anyone.’
‘I can fight.’
‘Whether you are capable of fighting or not, is irrelevant, Sonja. This is about survival; something even I struggle with.’
‘I just, I just wanna get away from here.’ Sonja pleaded.
‘Why?’ Keara didn’t understand. She started walking again.
‘Life is so boring here. Nothing ever changes. I want adventure.’
‘You’re not gonna get it on this journey.’ Keara stated.
‘Come on, please.’ Sonja pleaded, ‘I’m begging you, take me with you.’
‘I’m sorry, Sonja. I can’t.’ Keara said and walked up to Korian and the others.
They all walked together to the nearest tavern, hoping to get something to eat.
Sonja watched as they disappeared into the tavern, sighed deeply, then followed them. She desperately wanted to go on an adventure, but she had heard enough about Keara to not push her luck.

Keara, Korian, Thrax and Aric had a big lunch, after which they decided to get the biggest room that was available for the four of them and decided to turn in.
There was only one bed, though it was huge. The rest of the room was furnished with chairs and a big sofa.
Keara lay down on the bed, ‘Close those curtains, will you, Thrax?’
‘You don’t intend to go into Reverie now, do you?’ Thrax asked.
‘Yes, I do.’ Keara said.
Thrax closed the curtains and Aric sat down on one of the comfy chairs. Korian lay down on the other side of the bed.
‘You too?’ Thrax asked.
‘Yes.’ Korian answered, ‘It’s not often that we get to rest in a comfortable bed. And we are both very tired, so please do be quiet.’
Keara closed her eyes and immediately went into Reverie, closely followed by Korian. Thrax sat down on the sofa and leaned back against the fluffy cushions. Before he realized it, he had also gone into Reverie. Aric watched the three of them for a while, then finally decided to go into Reverie. He had nothing better to do and he needed it anyway.

Michael, Alexander and Deryck were finally on their way back to the castle. But it would be some time before they finally returned home. Michael’s demeanor didn’t seem much different from before, but at least it seemed as though he had gotten rid of some of his rage. Deryck just kept getting lost in his thoughts about Keara, like he usually did. He missed her so much, it was driving him insane. They kept travelling like this well into the night, before deciding to stop and make camp. Though none of them slept much. They travelled as fast as they could without wearing out their horses.

Thrax came out of Reverie first. He walked over to the window, drawing back the curtains slightly and opening the window, wanting to watch the sun rise; he was a Golden Elf, after all. It wasn’t long before the hawk flew in through the window, giving him a fright. The hawk settled on the bedpost next to Keara without disturbing her. The dragonfly came in shortly after, fluttering over to Keara. It settled on the bedpost, right next to the hawk.
Korian came out of Reverie, got up and sat down by the window with Thrax.
‘How long have you been Keara’s guardian?’ Thrax asked, trying to make conversation.
‘Since the day she was born.’
‘You believe she can carry out this task?’
‘I do.’
Thrax nodded his head, then changed the subject, ‘I didn’t know that there were any shape-shifters left. I thought you went extinct several hundred years ago.’
‘Well, we’re not extinct, yet.’ Korian spoke.
‘What does it feel like to be the only one left?’ Thrax was almost too afraid to ask.
‘To tell you the truth, I don’t think I am the only one.’
‘Yes. But I suspect I’ll find out soon enough.’
Before long, there came a knock on the door. Korian got up and answered the door. It was the sailor he had spoken to the previous day.
‘We are ready to leave. We’re just waiting for you.’ the sailor informed.
‘We will be there shortly.’ Korian replied.
The sailor nodded and left.
Korian closed the door and walked over to the bed where Keara was still in Reverie. He leaned over and touched her shoulder. She slowly opened her eyes.
‘It’s time to go.’ Korian informed her.
She just nodded and got up.
Thrax woke Aric and they all started to gather up their things. Korian threw the rucksack over his shoulder and they headed out the door.
Once they were outside, Keara went to the stable to get Legacy. She wasn’t planning on leaving without him. She greeted him, stroked his neck, then put on his saddle and lead him out the stable towards the harbour. When she got there, she discovered that the entire town had gathered in the harbour to see them off. The old lady who owned the clothes shop, had given each of them a coat, telling them that it would protect them against the cold and the rain.
They said their goodbyes and got on board. Keara watched the townspeople as they grew smaller, occasionally waving to them. She wondered if she would ever see them again and if the threat of war would ever reach them. She hoped that they would always be safe and the kindness they have shown her and her companions would be shown to them as well.

Scander got the feeling that his scouts had now completely lost Keara’s trail; if there was even a trail to begin with. And he was right. The few that had managed to survive the trials she had already been through had no way of finding her trail again and instead started wandering around aimlessly, until they were either killed or simply died from starvation.
He had thought about informing Sharzak, but it wasn’t long before he was called to the throne room to be scolded for the great failure. Sharzak demanded that Scander send out warriors instead of scouts. Scander had no intention of sending any warriors out, deciding that they would need every warrior they had, but he agreed just to keep Sharzak happy. Instead, he decided to continue with his own plans, while Sharzak continued to waste everyone’s time with useless tasks.

Keara leaned over the side of the ship. She looked at the waves crashing against it. She found it mesmerizing and even calming, which was strange considering how stormy the ocean seemed to be.
‘Is there any specific reason you guys wanna go to the Forbidden Island?’ a sailor asked as he stood next to Keara and leaned over to watch the water.
‘I’m pretty sure you’re already the twentieth person who’s asked me that.’ she grunted.
‘So why?’ the sailor asked again.
‘You don’t need to know.’ she answered.
‘Why don’t you wanna tell us?’
‘Because it’s my business.’ she stated, ‘And the less you know, the better.’
‘But maybe we could help you.’ the sailor suggested.
‘Why not?’ the sailor didn’t like Keara’s answers.
‘This is not your fight. And if I can help it, it never will be.’
The sailor was about to nag her even more about their reasons for travelling to the Forbidden Island when Korian walked over to her.
‘Did I interrupt something?’ Korian asked, leaning against the railing, looking intently at the sailor.
‘No sir. We were just talking.’ the sailor answered and turned to leave.
‘Of course.’ Korian knew exactly what they had been talking about.
Keara sighed deeply. Korian already knew what was wrong.
‘The questions are getting a bit much, aren’t they?’ he knew.
‘You say no to one, and another one comes asking.’ she replied.
‘I know. They’ve been doing it with me all day.’ Korian said.
‘And me.’ Thrax added as he approached.
‘Me too.’ Aric chimed in.
‘They don’t know how to keep their noses out of our business.’ Thrax said.
‘It’s so disrespectful.’ Aric complained.
‘They’re only human. They can’t help themselves.’ Keara said.
‘We’ve already told them more than they need to know. Why do they continue to ask?’ Aric wanted to know.
Keara shrugged, ‘Human nature.’ she suggested.
‘It is in their nature to be curious.’ Korian confirmed, ‘And these people don’t often receive visitors, so I suspect that made them even more curious of our business.’
‘And it’s two Dark Elves and two Golden Elves travelling together. And you two were dressed in blankets when we arrived.’ Keara added.
‘Even more reason for them to be curious.’ Korian said.
Keara just smiled. Even she would’ve been curious if she had witnessed such a spectacle.

They had only been at sea for an hour when it started raining. The farther they travelled from shore, the more stormy the sea became. Keara and the others were holding on for dear life as the ocean tossed the ship this way and that.
‘I guess this is why they call it the Sleepless Ocean.’ Keara said, trying not to fall head over heels.
‘I can certainly understand that name.’ Korian agreed, trying not to lose his footing.
Thrax and Aric weren’t saying much. They were too busy leaning over either side of the ship, vomiting from sea sickness.
Legacy was below deck and the hawk had decided to join him there; he wasn’t terribly fond of water.
After a while, Keara and Korian found their sea legs and were able to move around the ship without tripping over their own feet too much. Though there was not much they could do on deck, they still decided to stay there, rather than go below deck. At least here, it felt like time passed faster.

It was just past early afternoon when it stopped raining. The ocean didn’t calm down, but at least the skies were clear.
Keara had removed the heavy coat the old lady had given her and again stood peering over the side of the ship. The water didn’t stop splashing against the ship for even a moment, but it didn’t hide the wonders beneath the surface.
A face broke the surface for a moment; big black eyes, bigger than any human’s, full lips that glittered a light metallic blue, a tiny nose, dark blue hair and a light blue-green coloured skin.
Keara watched curiously as the face stared back at her, smiling mischievously, then disappearing under water. She watched as the being swam along the ship, noticing several others swimming with it. They seemed very playful and each time they appeared above the surface of the water, they beckoned for Keara to join them.
‘You should join them.’ Korian suggested.
She looked at him, ‘What are they?’
‘They go by many names.’ Korian started, ‘Some people call them mermaids, others call them sirens. I’ve even heard some people calling them the humans of the ocean, though they don’t have legs. I just call them water beings, that is after all what they are.’
‘Why do you want me to join them?’ she wondered.
‘Because they have requested that you join them. You are, in a way, a water-being yourself.’ Korian explained, ‘They won’t harm you, in case you were worried.’
Keara hesitated for a moment, then took off her boots and trousers, now wearing her top and short, tight shorts. She even removed her gloves, revealing the mark of the Dark Elves and the mark of Crucis Salerra that was almost fully formed, and jumped into the water.
Korian gathered up her things and leaned over to watch what was happening.
Keara held her breath at first, but soon realized that it wasn't necessary. She watched the beings curiously swim around her. Now that she could see them properly, she noticed that they had fins and webbed hands and gills on their necks. The females’ hair curled a little and was significantly longer than that of the males. The females had small breasts and their bodies were also somewhat smaller than the males’.
A webbed hand touched her arm. Soon, more of these water beings were touching her hands, legs and feet, even her hair and neck, noticing the differences between her and them. It tickled when they touched her feet, but she didn’t pull away, she just laughed inwardly. After they finished examining her, they beckoned her to follow them.
She followed them down to the depths of the ocean. They took her hands as they swam, helping her move faster. It was like being under water while healing; only that wasn’t her purpose for being in the water. She played with them and smiled at their sweetness and childlike innocence. It seemed as though they didn’t have the hardships of the beings that walked the earth. She was happy to see that at least one part of the world was in complete peace and she hoped it would remain that way.
A few water beings approached her, holding what seemed to be seaweed in their webbed hands. Others took her hands as a female lifted the back of her top. She got a fright, but one of the other females looked into her eyes and she immediately relaxed. A male put the seaweed on her spine and it started glowing bright blue. When the glow disappeared, wave-like markings in metallic blue ran down her spine. They let go of her and she felt even more comfortable in the water than she had before. They urged her to do something and before she knew it, she was manipulating the water better than she used too. She didn’t even have to move, she could control it with her mind. She smiled at them, completely grateful for the gift they had just given her.
After several hours, she finally surfaced.
‘Hello Keara.’ Korian said with a smile.
She looked up at him, ‘Korian.’
‘Are you having fun?’
‘Yes, I am.’
He smiled again, ‘I’m glad. But it’s time for you to finish up. The captain says we should reach the island within the next few hours.’
‘Already?’ Keara couldn’t believe it.
‘You’ve been in the water longer than you think.’ he said.
She looked surprised, then disappeared under the water again. The water beings knew that it was time to say goodbye. Each of them touched her shoulders and kissed her on her cheeks or on her forehead. She looked at them fondly, knowing that she would miss them dearly then slowly started rising out of the water, her hair and body drying as she rose higher. The water formed steps from the side of the ship onto the deck and she climbed down with them, the water slithering back into the ocean as she lifted her foot off a step.
‘I see your ability to control water has increased dramatically.’ Korian observed.
‘It’s thanks to them.’ she said as she put on her trousers and boots.
‘What did they do?’ Korian was curious.
She turned and lifted the back of her top, revealing the wave-like markings on her spine.
‘That’s quite a gift.’ Korian was impressed.
‘I know.’ she said as she looked back at the water.
The water beings poked their heads out of the water, just as it started raining again. They waved goodbye to Keara and she waved back as Korian put her coat around her shoulders. The water beings disappeared under the water. She looked up towards the island as the rain started pouring down. She put her hood on and patiently waited for them to reach the island while she held on so the Sleepless Ocean wouldn’t knock her off her feet.
‘This was a surprisingly easy journey, despite the Sleepless Ocean and the heavy rain.’ Korian commented.
‘I’m not complaining.’ Keara said.
‘Neither am I.’

The last hour of their journey across the water, was the worst. The Sleepless Ocean tossed the ship this way and that, making Keara and her companions lose their footing more often than they would like. When the worst of the waves finally ceased, Thrax and Aric seemed a little green after vomiting from sea sickness.
‘This is as far as we can go, Miss Harpstrom. From here there are too many sharp rocks beneath the surface to keep going.’ the captain said, ‘Henry here will take you to shore in a lifeboat, but I’m afraid there won’t be any space for your horse.’
‘Thank you. But Legacy won’t be a problem.’ Keara said and headed below deck to fetch her beloved companion.
Her companions started packing their bags, weapons and Legacy’s saddle into a lifeboat. She quickly returned and took off her coat, handing it to Korian.
‘You’re gonna fly?’ Korian knew.
‘Yes.’ she replied, turning to the captain and the crew, ‘Thank you all for your help. I hope that you will return to your town safely and that you will always be at peace.’
Everyone said their goodbyes and her companions climbed into the lifeboat before the crew started lowering it into the water. Keara spread her wings and took flight almost instantly, closely followed by Legacy who headed straight for the island, but Keara flew around the ship once before heading to the island.
By the time her companions reached the shore, she had already started exploring the island, but took care not to venture too far by herself, especially since she didn’t know what to expect. She returned to shore and helped them unpack what little they had and put on Legacy’s saddle, tying her rucksack to it.
‘So, now what?’ Aric asked.
‘Now, we proceed with caution.’ Keara said.
‘I agree. This island is completely unknown to the rest of the world. We have no idea what to expect.’ Korian said.
‘Shouldn’t we rather proceed tomorrow?’ Thrax asked.
‘Why?’ Keara wanted to know.
‘We’ve been at sea for several hours. And it’s gonna be dark soon. Perhaps we should just start a fire and rest.’ Thrax said.
‘You’re still nauseous, aren’t you?’ Keara knew.
Thrax hesitated, ‘A little. Sea water doesn’t agree with me.’
‘It doesn’t agree with me either.’ Aric added.
‘You guys feeling a bit fragile?’ Keara felt a smile spread across her face.
‘Yes.’ they said simultaneously.
‘You have to remember, we’ve been the Kenami for a very long time.’ Thrax said, ‘The last time I even saw the ocean was several hundred years ago.’
‘And until yesterday, I never set foot on that beach.’ Aric added.
‘Alright. But I don’t think we should stay here, we’ll be too exposed.’ Keara started.
‘We do need cover.’ Korian agreed, ‘A few minutes inland should do it.’
‘Then you two can sleep off your nausea.’ Keara said with a smile.
‘Very funny.’ Thrax said, ‘You didn’t even flinch on the ship.’
‘I was born from the water. Unruly waves are not gonna upset my stomach.’ Keara informed.
‘You’re lucky.’ Thrax said.
Keara just sighed and rolled her eyes, ‘Let’s get going.’
They walked for a few minutes, looking for thick underbrush and trees that would cover them well enough if they started a small fire. It did not take them long to find it. They settled down and started their fire. It did not take Thrax and Aric long to go into Reverie. Keara leaned back against Legacy who was lying behind her. The sun had started setting on the horizon, spreading a soft glow through the leaves. She closed her eyes, trying to keep the worst of the blinding light from giving her a headache. Soon she went into Reverie, or so she thought. She opened her eyes again, looking around.
‘Hello Keara.’ came a familiar voice.
‘Kydriel. It’s been a while.’
‘I was not sure if you wanted to talk to me after our last conversation.’ Kydriel said, ‘So I decided to keep my distance.’
‘It was a good idea. You’re not here to make me angry again, are you?’
‘I just wanted to see how you were doing.’ he lied.
‘You can do that without the visit. What’s the real reason?’
He hesitated for a moment, ‘I wanted to apologize. Adriel gave me an earful the last time we spoke. And after thinking about it for a while, I realize I was out of line. Making you see things that weren’t real, was wrong. I’m sorry.’
‘Thank you, for apologizing.’
‘You’ve done well so far. It couldn’t have been easy.’
‘It wasn’t. But somehow I feel that the worst is yet to come.’
Kydriel held his breath, ‘It is.’
She looked at him, waiting for him to start explaining.
‘You know I can’t tell you the future.’
‘After what you did, that’s the least you could do.’
Kydriel wasn’t sure how to react. He wanted to tell her, but he also didn’t want to, because the future could easily change, ‘You have to understand that it’s only a probable future. It could always change.’
‘Tell me anyway.’
He considered it for a moment, then sat down next to her and started explaining to her the basics of what she needed to know. He didn’t give her exact details, because the future could always change, but he told her what he thought she needed to know to keep her and her companions alive. He told her of the kind of people she would most likely meet on the island, how they would react upon seeing her. She didn’t ask any questions. She just listened to what he had to say. He also told her of a group of beings that might be rather hostile. These beings were not terribly smart, but they were extremely vicious and they were not much to look at either.
‘Thank you, Kydriel. I appreciate your help.’ she said when he was finally finished.
‘You’re most welcome, Keara.’
‘Now, if you don’t mind, I need to get some rest before the sun rises.’
‘Of course.’ Kydriel said as he got up, ‘Best of luck to you, Keara.’
She just nodded her head and the next moment, she opened her eyes. It was dark, the fire was smouldering and all three her companions were sound asleep. She put her head against Legacy’s back and closed her eyes again and went into Reverie.

Thrax and Aric had awoken first and started making breakfast with some of the food the townspeople had given them. By the time Keara opened her eyes, Korian was already awake and helping himself to some food, but when he noticed her stirring he put down his plate and took another to dish up some food for her. He handed it to her and continued to eat. She enjoyed breakfast with a cup of tea and when she was done, she helped Thrax clean the plates and pack up their things.
She took Legacy’s reins and the hawk settled on her shoulder. She looked at it as it made itself comfortable. She watched her companions fidgeting with themselves and sighed.
‘Shall we?’ she asked.
They all looked at her, only now realizing that she was watching them. Then each of them nodded their heads and followed her as she started leading Legacy away from the camp site.

A thick blanket of snow still covered the ground by the time Deryck, Michael and Alexander finally returned to the castle, and another storm was on the way. Deryck made his way through the castle to go see his brother and assure him that he was still fine. Michael and Alexander went looking for Joseph and Jonathan. They found the in the Raven barracks having breakfast with Saresse and a few other people. But they didn’t expect those other people to be their wives and children.
Michael hugged his wife tightly, ‘What are you doing here?’
‘We are on the eve of war. If these are to be our last days, I believe we should spend them together.’ she said.
Michael pulled her close and hugged her again.
‘Besides,’ Alexander’s wife started, ‘You’re gonna need all the help you can get.’
‘Can’t argue with that.’ Alexander agreed, looking at Michael.
‘But what about the children?’ Michael wanted to know, ‘This is not a safe place for them.’
‘It would be more dangerous for them, if we had kept them at home.’ his wife said.
‘And according to Artemis, there are hidden tunnels underneath the castle into which they can escape.’ Joseph said.
Michael just nodded his head.

‘Why do they keep dying, master?’
‘Cause the most important ingredient to their DNA is still missing.’ Scander stated.
‘We could go get it, master.’ the servant said.
‘All in good time.’
A knock came on the door.
‘Answer the door.’ Scander ordered his servant.
The servant walked over to the door and slowly opened it as it groaned. A goblin stood on the other side of the door.
‘King Sharzak is asking for Scander’s presence in the throne room.’ the goblin said, then turned around and walked away.
The servant closed the door and walked back to his master, ‘He wants to see you, master.’
‘In the throne room.’
Scander gave an exasperated sigh, ‘What does his want now?’ then he turned and headed to the door, ‘I’ll be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, make sure that no one enters this room.’
He arrived in the throne room in record time.
‘How can I help you, my Lord?’ Scander asked.
‘We need to go over the plans for the plot against the Dark Elves.’ Sharzak said without looking up.
‘What plot, my Lord?’ Scander didn’t understand.
‘It’s do or die this time.’ Sharzak started, ‘A thousand years ago they condemned me to an eternal prison. I will give them one chance to correct their mistake and join me in the fight for power, or I will kill them.’
Scander considered everything for a moment, ‘But I thought it was too dangerous to attack them. I thought you would just leave them be and continue to dominate the surface world.’
‘I changed my mind. I’m much stronger than I was back then. This time I will reign over them. And as long as they don’t have a queen, there’s no way they can stop me.’
The concern grew on Scander’s face. He knew very well that the Dark Elves could do pretty much anything they wanted too. He agreed that the Dark Elves had to be dominated, but this was not how he had intended to do it. He would have to convince Sharzak to set that plan aside until he had a better way to conquer them.

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