She delayed her journey to Velmoura with a few more days. She didn’t know what would happen after she left, and time with her family was growing more and more precious. In that time, the Ravens continued their training and Michael explained to Keara what the safest route into Surendorn would be; and the most direct path to Velmoura would probably not be guarded, though there might be some interesting creatures along the way.
Keara was sitting at the kitchen table, cleaning her sword and various daggers.
Suddenly Joseph burst through the back door, with a message he received from King Artemis, stating that strange things have been occurring and he wondered if the Ravens might have answers for him.
‘He sounds somewhat distressed.’ Michael commented.
‘He’s human and strange things are happening around him; of course he’s distressed, Michael.’ Keara said, ‘You guys better leave first thing in the morning.’
‘What? Us? What about you?’ Jonathan asked.
‘I’m going to Velmoura.’ Keara stated.
‘What?!’ exclaimed Alexander, Jonathan and Joseph simultaneously.
‘To the archives.’ Keara added.
‘Why now?’ Alexander asked.
‘Because I have too.’ Keara replied.
‘She has to go now if she wants to learn how to control the creature she turned into.’ Michael said, ‘And Sharzak is regaining his strength. It’s now or never.’
His brothers looked at him, completely dumbstruck.
‘You’re actually gonna let her do this?’ Alexander couldn’t believe it.
‘Why are you all looking at me like that?’ Michael asked, feeling a little uncomfortable.
‘Because the other day you guys were still fighting about this subject.’ Alexander pointed out.
‘Yes; I know. And truthfully I would prefer to keep all that kind of information hidden from her, but dad made a valid point, and I think it’s time she found the answers for herself.’ Michael explained.
‘You actually agreed with someone?’ Jonathan’s eyes grew big with surprise.
‘You make it sound like I am beyond stubborn.’
‘You are.’ all four his siblings said simultaneously.
‘Well, anyway, I’m leaving tonight.’ Keara said.
‘What!?’ her Woodland brothers exclaimed again.
‘It’s official.’ Joseph started, ‘It’s the end of the world. Michael is letting Keara go somewhere alone.’
‘Come on, seriously guys. I can’t be that bad.’ Michael said defensively.
His siblings all looked at each other for a moment, then gave him an accusing look.
‘Sure man.’ Jonathan padded Michael on the arm, trying to sound convincing, giving a thumbs-up that seemed to take a lot of effort, along with a terribly fake smile.
But Michael could see right through Jonathan.
‘Can’t you wait till morning sweetie?’ Caitlyn protested, ‘It’s too dangerous to go at night.’
‘I’m a Dark Elf, mom. Darkness is kind of my domain.’ Keara said.
‘But I don’t want you to go tonight. Why don’t you wait until morning?’
‘I can’t wait till morning, mom. The entrance to Surendorn is three days ride away, if I take the safe route. But I’m taking the fastest route, which will get me there in less than two days, but it’s through dangerous territory. If I leave tonight, I’ll be able to pass through faster and unnoticed. And once I’m in Surendorn, it will take me at least half a day to get to Velmoura.’
‘But...’ Caitlyn was interrupted by Adin.
‘She’s right, dear.’
‘You sure you don’t want us to come along?’ Michael asked.
‘I’m sure. I need to do this on my own.’ Keara answered, ‘And I’ll travel faster by myself.’
Michael was relieved that he and Keara were on speaking terms again, and though he didn’t want her to go alone, he knew it would be best at this stage.
Keara looked over to Sicily who was quietly sitting in a chair next to Keara, ‘What about you, Sicily?’
‘Well, as your best friend, I would like to go with you to Surendorn. But I know you won’t let me. So I’ll probably head back to my people, get them to safety, before anything happens.’
A Woodland Elf was strolling through the forest, admiring the place he hoped would always remain untouched by human hands. Suddenly his attention was drawn to the breaking of twigs underneath footsteps which sounded quite familiar to him.
‘Keara?’ the elf started; turning to the direction the footsteps were coming from.
Keara stopped a few steps away from the elf, who was looking directly into her eyes, ‘Hello Korian.’
The elf smiled; starting to shrink and soon stood on all fours. His body started reconstructing itself; his skin becoming black fur; a tail growing from the spine.
‘You knew it was me, Keara.’
‘Of course.’ Keara said with a smile, ‘You’re the only person I’ll always recognize in any form.’
‘What brings you here, dear one?’ Korian knew she had not just come by for a friendly visit.
‘I’m leaving for Velmoura tonight.’ Keara stated, ‘I just wanted to say goodbye; and just ask if you would be there when I need you.’
‘Of course, Keara. I am always there; even when you don’t see me.’
‘Thank you, Korian.’ Keara said.
The panther bowed his head slightly, then transformed back into an elf and embraced Keara, ‘I hope you find what you are looking for.’
‘So do I.’