Star galloped as quickly as she could, jumping over rocky crags along the way. We were a long way from the closest entrance to the underground, but if Kort was pretending to be me, I knew I had to get back as fast as possible. All I could think about was my family taking advantage of my sweet Ellie, and my stomach churned at the thought of Kort’s grubby hands on her. It was enough to make me wretch.
We neared the halfway point to the entrance when Star abruptly stopped. I thought perhaps she just needed a drink of water and a rest, so I offered her my canteen. She refused the water, staring ahead and shaking her head. I tried to peer through the murky fog, but I could see nothing. In times like this, I wished she could speak.
If Star had stopped, it was for a good reason. I decided that I needed to sneak through the low-lying clouds so that I could see the problem for myself. In a stalking position as close to the ground as I could manage, I slowly began to move forward. I’d seen Beneberak use this tactic when he was trying to move quietly and I felt confident that I could do the same. I didn’t have to move far before I could hear the commotion. There was a battle raging and I was about to fall witness.
The thunder roared and the winds picked up, pushing me backward the closer I moved. I could hear what sounded like Caddock, shouting out orders and calling upon the power of the Great Mother. When I was close enough to behold the skirmish, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Several Stormriders were engaged in an all-out war with some biped beings I’d never seen before. These must be the intruders that Great Mother warned me about, I thought. I watched as Caddock’s wind blew one of the beings off its feet.
“Bring the bracelets,” I heard one of them shout. “These are rowdy. We will need to suppress them.”