Renefaire stood there stunned at the sight before her. There were possibly over a hundred tents scattered throughout the trees. “Who are these people?”
“I don’t recognize most of them, but there’s a smaller group who are druids,” Amira replied. “We often stop here to visit when we’re close during out travels. I have no idea where all of these other people came from.”
They followed Ida through the camp with Noran lumbering behind them. When they reached the middle of the camp—an area that was decorated with fabrics and flowers hanging between the tent poles and tree branches—a woman approached them. She was tall and thin with pale features and dark circles underneath her eyes, almost like they were sunken in. On her head was a wreath of twigs and leaves. She did not smile, not even a little, as she looked upon her guests.
“It has been some time since you last came to my camp, Ida,” the woman said in a thick accent. “I welcome you once again.”
“Thank you, Morose,” Ida replied. “I see we have come to find your camp more populated than usual.”
For the first time, the druid woman grinned, only slightly. “These people had nowhere else to go when they found us.”
“They are refugees?” Amira asked.
“I have heard nothing about a war anywhere in Aleron,” Ida remarked.
“That is because there was only one attack. These people came all the way from Gresh. It is leagues away from here, yet somehow, this strange enemy has managed to keep its secrecy from the rest of the world. You would be shocked by their story. They told me about these strange creatures—”
“Did they come after an army of men were pushed back?” Renefaire interrupted.
They looked at her, stunned.
Morose stepped in front of her, staring into her eyes. Up close, she was much more intimidating. “How do you know this? Who are you?”
“My name is Renefaire. I only knew about it, because it happened to my village, near Anecia.”
The druid woman was quiet for a moment, still as a mountain. “You are a leïfae.”
Renefaire nodded nervously.
“I am sorry to hear about your home,” Morose said stiffly. “You are also welcome to stay here as long as you wish.”
“Thank you for your kindness.”
“What about the rest of your people? Do they still reside in your village?”
Renefaire didn’t answer and hung her head.
“I sent my riders to her home,” Ida explained. “There were no survivors to be found.”
“A pity. Perhaps you could go to the elves in Zoron. Even if your riders could not find survivors in Anecia, I would not think to overlook the possibility of even one making it to his or her own kin.” Morose turned and stepped toward her tent. “Come, you can tell me more over supper. We have plenty.”
Amira rested a hand on Renefaire’s shoulder. “Are you all right?”
She took a deep breath and nodded. “I’m fine. I think the long day of traveling has gotten to me, that is all.”
Amira offered her a sympathetic smile. “You will probable feel better after supper. The druids make really good food.”
“Do you think she could be right, about any of my people making it to Zoron?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “There is always the possibility of that happening. Perhaps we can go there when we start traveling again.”
After supper and well into the night, Renefaire laid on the far side of the bed she shared with Amira in the wagon. She looked at the stars above the thin tree canopy beyond the open window. If there was to be any chance of finding at least one other leïfae, Zoron was the place to go.
She soon fell into a deep sleep, and for once she slept soundly without the nightmares.