On the Move

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					                                 On the Move
          Allorah opened her eyes long before the sun had a chance to wake up the earth. She sat
to find a thin ribbon of light through the trees, close to the horizon. Standing, she brushed light
curls from her face and went to place her hands on the cool stone of the windowsill. Something
felt different about this day. Almost like the storm moving out took every sense of security she felt
with it. Suddenly, she wasn‟t sure of anything, except for the growing feeling of dread in her
stomach. She turned from the window and decided to go into the main house, wondering if
Onalle had decided to sleep out there instead. She had offered to share her bed and Onalle had
agreed, but she didn‟t remember hearing her come in or leave. Opening the door, she saw
Onalle sitting by the fireplace with a lapful of parchment.
          Onalle looked up and smiled. “Good morning.” Her voice was soft. “I am surprised you
are up already after going to bed so late.”
          Allorah sat down close to her. “Did you ever get to bed?”
          The elf shook her head, her long red curls making a soft frame around her face. “I did not
feel the need for it. Besides, I wanted to catch up on some reading.”
          Taking one of the papers from the floor, Allorah looked it over. “What‟s all this?”
          Onalle took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. “These are letters that Elentaari‟s hand
maiden kept. It seems they date back to when she was just a baby.”
          “Wow.” She read over the one she held, then reached for another to skim over. “Have
you found out anything good?”
          “Well, actually.” Onalle turned and grabbed a pile of papers to her side. “These are all of
the ones I have gone through that, I felt, had pertinent information.”
          Allorah‟s eyes widened as she took the pile from her. “How fast do you read, lady?”
Onalle only smiled as Allorah tilted her head. “Sum up?”
          “Kenneth and Alina knew very well what Rislyn could and could not do. He had pages
upon pages in his study of light mages strengths and weaknesses. The hand maiden even took a
few, which are in that pile. Also, something I did not know, Rislyn and your mother were
          “Excuse me?” Allorah‟s brows came together. “My mother was what? Why didn‟t I know
this?” Onalle blinked. “How could I have not known this? My grandparents were…”
          “Allorah, we need to focus right now.”
          She sighed, distressed. “I know, and I‟m sorry. This is just…wow, this is something I
never expected to find out. Ever.” She looked back to the pile in her hands. “What else?”
          “Kenneth had every plan he ever made, every thought of murder or revenge, all laid out
in a book in his study. She mentions the false title of the book somewhere in there.” She thought
a moment. “Did you know that Alina, for a period of time, made people refer to her as Rislyn?”
          “She has issues, I‟d say.”
          Onalle laughed softly. “I would have to agree with you.”
          “She seemed pretty nervous yesterday. I mean, when she was in the stable, trying to
keep her baby quiet, she kept hiding it and looking around like some frightened animal.”
          The elf shrugged, going back to her papers. “Have you heard of anyone missing a baby
recently?” Allorah stiffened and bristled. She looked down, remembering yesterday and the
baby‟s cry. She sprang from the floor and rushed to find her boots. Onalle looked up, her eyes
following her. “Are you alright?” Without answering, Allorah rushed past Onalle and left the
house, not taking care to close the door quietly.
          Outside on the street, she looked from left to right, her breath coming in short spurts of
fog in the chilly air. Turning to her right, she ran down the street, trying to find the barn she had
led the king and queen to. She nearly passed it, but skidded to a stop when she recognized the
half broken latch on the window. She pulled the door back and stepped inside, only to be greeted
by the horses. They were still here in town at least. She stepped back out on the street and
closed the barn door. Her eyes went to the tavern. They had to be there.
          Smokey came out of his room and looked down at Onalle. “What‟s going on?”
          She shook her head. “I do not know. Allorah and I were talking, and all of the sudden she
ran out of here.” Smokey scratched his head, mumbling and shuffled back to his room. Onalle
stood and walked to the door on light feet. She opened it and peered outside. Allorah was no
where in sight, so she grabbed her cloak and slipped it around her neck, deciding to try and follow
the young light mage.
          Allorah stood outside the tavern, trying to get her thoughts together. She wanted to
barge in and grab that baby, then, if she felt like it, she‟d kill Kenneth and Alina. Or should she kill
them first and then take the baby? Her hands found her hips and she growled as Onalle came up
beside her at a slow run. “What are you doing?”
          “That‟s my niece she has, I‟m sure of it.”
          “Your niece? How do you know? Why would your niece be here?”
          Allorah looked at Onalle, surprised and a bit taken back to see Elentaari. “I forgot you
were a shape shifter,” she mumbled. “Lexa, my sister‟s daughter, was kidnapped weeks ago.
And when they came into town yesterday and the baby was crying…” Her hands went to her
head and she looked ready to tear her hair out. “Why didn‟t I recognize her cry?”
          Onalle gently touched her arm. “How were you to know?”
          Anger burned in her eyes. “Do you have a weapon?” Onalle pulled a broadsword from
her back and handed it, hilt first, to Allorah.
          “Are you sure you want to do this?”
          “No one messes with my family, Onalle. No one.”
          “And you think that, by charging in there, drawing attention to yourself, killing the king and
queen of Whitepearl and stealing the baby that appears to be theirs will help diminish the
negative reputation you have as a light mage?” Allorah blinked and Onalle continued. “You need
to think this through first. You are a light mage. Why not find out if they are even here first.”
          Allorah breathed. “You‟re right.” With a partially annoyed sigh, her face turned to the
slowly brightening sky, her violet eyes glazing. Onalle took the sword so she wouldn‟t drop it and
waited patiently, though she didn‟t have to wait long. Soon, Allorah blinked her eyes. “They‟re in
the last room on the right on the second floor.” The elf nodded and handed her back the sword.
“And Aidan is on the other side of the tavern with Miire.”
          Allorah nodded confirmation. “What should we do now?”
          “I wish I knew.” She frowned. “You know they are in there, what are you going to do?”
          “Kill them and take Lexa.”
          “Are you sure that it is your niece?” Allorah nodded. “Right. Then you go after her, and I
will see to the young prince. If he finds that you are working with me, the tide will surely turn, and
I fear for the worst. Meet me back at Smokey‟s house when you can.” She disappeared around
the side of the tavern, and Allorah opened the door to go inside. No one was about except for the
tender who was setting his glasses in towers behind the counter.
          “We‟re not open yet, Miss.”
          “That‟s okay,” she said, heading for the stairs without making eye contact with him. “I‟m
not here for a drink.” She took the steps two at a time, a little surprised he didn‟t try any harder
to stop her. When she reached her landing, she turned right and made her way to the last door.
She stopped, pressing an ear against it to hear if anyone was awake. She heard the babbling of
a baby and a sob caught in her throat. There was no mistaking that sound. She turned the knob
slowly and opened the door. Stepping inside with light feet, she closed the door quietly behind
her, but not quiet enough. Kenneth stirred and opened his eyes.
          “What‟s going on?” She growled and walked menacingly toward him, her conscience
nagging at her. “Who are you?” With the hilt of her sword, she knocked him on the back of the
head and he fell on his side. Alina sat up and stared at Allorah.
          “Who are you?” Allorah narrowed her eyes at the queen, then went to the crib to see
Lexa, feeling that Alina was no threat to her. She peered in to see Lexa sucking on her foot. She
saw Allorah and screamed, then laughed. “What are you doing with my baby?”
          Allorah stood and looked at Alina. “Your baby? You want to rethink that one?”
          Alina‟s hands shot to her mouth. “Your eyes…you‟re her mother.”
          “No, she is my sisters child, lucky for you. If she were my child I would leave you here in
much worse condition than I will now. Consider yourselves blessed…for the time being.” She
knocked Alina out as well, then dropped the sword. Scooping Lexa up, tears formed in her eyes.
“Oh sweetness.” Lexa laughed and poked at the tears that ran down Allorah‟s face. “I can‟t
believe this. We‟ve got to tell your mommy.” Picking up the sword and holding Lexa tight in her
arms, she left Kenneth and Alina. When she was down in the tavern, she walked to the bar and
set her sword atop it. The man watched her, slightly curious as she set a pouch before him. “I
was never here.” Gabbing the sword once again, she turned to leave.
         The tender reached for the pouch and opened it. His lips spread into a grin and he
nodded to her before she disappeared out the door. “Yes Ma‟am. Thank you.”

         Onalle, still in the form of Elentaari, crossed her arms and watched Aidan as he
conversed with a dark looking man. He was far enough away so that a normal person would only
be able to hear mumblings. But her elf ears picked up every word of what was said with ease.
         “I only need one horse. A fast one that won‟t tire easy. And the cost is nothing you need
to concern yourself with, I assure you. Here is half of your pay.” The man nodded and took a
satchel from Aidan. “Plus there is extra for your troubles.”
         “How soon do you need it?
         “Before the sun is fully risen.” The man nodded and they clasped hands before he left.
As Aidan made his way towards the tavern, he stopped, his features melting into anger. “What
do you want?”
         “What do you think I want, Aidan?”
         A strange look came into his eyes. “If you want Miire, she‟s in here.” He held a hand out,
leading her down a dead end alley. Onalle pushed herself from the wall, feeling like she was
walking into a trap, but not trusting Aidan‟s intelligence enough to cause her any fear. With a
slight smirk, she followed him down the alley. “She‟s right here.”
         Aidan stepped aside to show Miire swallowing the remnants of a young pig. She hissed
at Onalle and Aidan smiled, pleased. “What have you done to her?” The hair on the back of the
elf‟s neck stood up, something not feeling right.
         “I have done nothing but care for her.” Aidan walked past Onalle and stood behind the
drackling, his arms crossed. “And she answers to no one but me. We had a long night of
learning things, Onalle. Things that I taught her. Things she is, no doubt, much better off
knowing. Things that endear her to me. Me.”
         Onalle shook her head, the little drackling looking at her, agitated. Miire‟s tail flicked back
and forth like an angry cat and Onalle started to back away . “I wouldn‟t do that if I were you,”
Aidan warned. “Move too quickly, she‟s likely to hold you as a threat and attack. See, she„s been
programmed to hate Elentaari, and since you look like her, well…”
         “Then set her straight.”
         Aidan tilted his head. “Is that fear I see in your eyes, elf?”
         “Call her off, Aidan.” Onalle was afraid. The only weapon she had brought with her was
the one she gave to Allorah. She was defenseless against another person, never mind an angry
hatchling. Miire hissed again, opening her maw to show off her rows of pointed ivory teeth.
Aidan said nothing, but watched with great interest as the young dragon spread her downy wings
and lunged at Onalle. She was quick to protect her face, and Miire sunk her teeth into Onalle‟s
arm. The elf cried out in pain, tearing her arm away. She whipped around as the dragon lunged
for her again and kicked her square in the mouth. Miire grunted and landed with a thud,
whimpering. Aidan was quick to draw his sword and charge at Onalle.
         Unbeknownst to the young prince, a sudden burst of blue and gold flames behind him
came and went. Elear looked around and saw Onalle, holding her bleeding arm, and Aidan
charging at her. Pulling a dagger from his belt, he tossed it, hitting the prince in the calf and
sending him down on all fours. Aidan growled and turned his head. His eyes went wide. “Where
did you come from?”
         Elear dashed past him to stand before Onalle. His face was shadowed with worry as he
looked her arm over. “Are you alright?”
         “Yes. We need to get out of here.”
         Aidan tore the dagger from his leg and struggled to his feet. Elear whipped around to
punch him in the face. He was knocked out for the time being and Elear frowned, looking into
Onalle‟s eyes. “What happened? Here, let me see it.” She took her hand from the deep
bleeding wound. Elear sighed, annoyed as he placed his hands close to her arm without
touching it. A soft white began to glow under his calm hands and her wound healed slowly and
completely. Her voice was quiet as she thanked him. “I do not have long. Are you sure you are
          She nodded and threw her arms around his neck. “I am so glad you are here.” His hard
expression softened as he embraced her. “Elear, things have gotten complicated.” He said
nothing, but just stood there, happy to have her in his arms again. “I have missed you.”
          “I missed you, too.” He pulled back from her and closed his eyes, gently touching his lips
to hers. She smiled and pulled him back to kiss him again. This kiss lasted longer and was more
passionate. When they finally pulled away from each other, both were flushed and breathless.
“More than I thought.”
          She grinned, then looked over Elear‟s shoulder at Miire. The hatchling sniffed the ground
next to Aidan, nudging him with her nose. Elear turned and saw the creature and jumped back,
startled. “Where did that come from?”
          “I told you it was complicated. But I have got it under control.”
          He frowned. “Some control. You were hurt.”
          She nodded. “Yes, and I would have been fine without light mage magic.” She smiled
and kissed him softly. “But I am grateful for the assistance.” Aidan groaned. “Can you come
back to Smokey‟s with me?”
          He nodded. “It will only be a short visit, though. I do not have much time.”

          Elentaari came out of her room with a small bag and set it by the door. Itsy was following
her. “How long will you be gone for?”
          “I don‟t know.” Elentaari crouched and Itsy fell into her arms, wrapping her little hands
around her neck. “Don‟t cry, Itsy. We won‟t be gone for very long.”
          The little elf sniffled into Elentaari‟s hair. “But I‟ll miss you.”
          “I‟ll miss you too.” She set her down. “But I promise we won‟t be gone for long.”
          She started back to her room and again, Itsy followed her. “But why can‟t I come with
you? I‟ll be good and listen, and I won‟t get in trouble. Please?”
          Elentaari sighed as she made her bed. She stopped and looked at Itsy, her hands on her
hips. “I don‟t think so, heartling. It may be dangerous.”
          “Then why are you going?”
          Alu appeared in the doorway. “Itsy, come out here with me. Let Elentaari have a few
moments of peace.” Itsy grunted and crossed her arms, but did as she was told despite the
scowl that clouded her face. Elentaari smiled after her, then finished making her bed and tidying
up the room. Before she finished, Yassen surprised her by clearing his throat. She looked up,
          “May I come in?‟
          “Of course.”
          He walked to her and folded her hands in his own. “I wanted to speak with you out in the
garden for a moment. Is that alright?” She smiled and nodded, and he tucked her hand into the
crook of his arm, leading her outside. The morning air was still chilly, but the rising sun would
soon warm everything. As the two walked slowly through the flowers, the worry that Yassen wore
seemed to age him, and as they sat amid the lilacs, Elentaari fidgeted.
          “Is everything alright?”
          He smiled, but did not nod. “Elentaari, I wished to speak with you about what may
happen once we leave here. I want you to understand that this will not be an easy place for
Allorah and Shanell to go back to.”
          “I don‟t even know where we‟re going.”
          “Oceana Palace.” Her blank expression told him she had never heard that name before.
“It is the childhood home of your cousins.”
          She didn‟t understand. “The won‟t they be happy to be back?”
          Looking down, Yassen shook his head. “Most of it is in ruins now. They have not been
back there since the death of their parents.”
          “Oh…” She bit her lip. “What happened to them?”
          “Not long after Rislyn and Meiglan‟s parents, your grandparents died, Meiglan and her
husband Theron inherited the palace. They lived there for close to two years before the past
caught up with them, a battle was waged, right at the very borders of their home.”
          “What do you mean, the past caught up to them?”
          “Theron, and even Allorah at such a young age, had caused trouble in the lives of many
people. Both had a side to them that could not be controlled. And while both of them eventually
had overcome that darker side, hurting families were not easily swayed with promises of better
          She blinked. “So they were attacked because of past mistakes.” He nodded and
Elentaari licked her lips. “And so the lesson comes full circle.”
          Yassens brows came together. “I am afraid I do not understand.”
          With a sigh, she placed her hands in her lap. “When I was first beginning to learn about
things, to really question them, Aidan told me about the fyre in the canyon by Dragon‟s Den. The
very same night I learned of that, I found Elear, and he knew how to use the same fyre I did.
Aidan found out that he was the only elf in the village who could summon it.” Yassen nodded
confirmation. “And I assumed it was he who committed such evil acts…killing Chessley and the
dragons. And I judged him according to that, unrightfully so. Just as I am told light mages are
judged for their past transgressions.” She frowned. “I suppose when a lesson hits as close to
home as this, you learn it faster.” Looking at Yassen, she smiled sadly.
          “Both Meiglan and Theron were killed in the battle that lasted for almost six weeks.”
          “How old were Allorah and Shanell?”
          “Seventeen.” A weight settled on them both. The sun was almost completely risen, but
the chill had stayed with Elentaari. Yassen‟s story had only intensified it. “I did not mean to bring
you sadness, I simply meant to warn you.”
          She looked at him and nodded. “I understand. Thank you for telling me.” She looked
around. “Where is Elear? I haven‟t seen him all morning.”
          “He went to Dragons Den to make sure Onalle was alright and to let Allorah know what
the plan is.”
          Blinking, Elentaari was surprised. “It is two days ride to Dragons Den and back.”
          Yassen chuckled. “There are still things you have yet to learn about the power you
possess as a light mage. It is not my story to tell, as I know little about it myself. But you will
learn in time.”
          They turned, hearing the back door open. Shanell stood in the doorway. “There are two
men…elves…there are guests here that wish to speak with you.” Yassen nodded and stood,
looking down at Elentaari.
          “Are you coming in?”
          She nodded. “In a moment.”

          They ran through the alley, hand in hand, almost giddy with the happiness of their brief
time together. As they reached Smokey‟s door, someone called out to them. Both elves stopped
in their tracks and turned to see who was trying to get their attention . “Elear, what are you doing
here?” His questions must have shown in his eyes. Allorah‟s own questions fell from her mind as
her face lit up. “It‟s Lexa!”
          Elear let go of Onalle‟s hand and ran to his cousin. Allorah lifted the baby to him and he
gently took her, laughter escaping him. “What is she doing here? How did you find her?”
          Allorah growled. “Let‟s get inside and I‟ll tell you everything.” Onalle opened the door
and they filed inside to surprise Smokey.
          “Two women leave and they come back with an elf and a baby. How does that happen?”
          Allorah closed the door. “Kenneth and Alina had her.”
          “What?” The other three looked at her. “How is that possible?” Elear asked.
          “I don‟t know.” She took Lexa back from Elear and danced around with her, ignoring the
frown on Onalle‟s face. But it didn‟t go unnoticed by Elear. He looked from one to the other.
          “Have I missed something?”
          “How did you get her out without a fight, Allorah?” Onalle watched Allorah smile at her
niece, her features shifting back into her own.
          “I didn‟t kill them,” she said as if telling Lexa. She stopped dancing and held the baby
close to her. “I took what you said into consideration and, all things counted, you‟re right. Killing
them wouldn‟t have solved anything. I just knocked them out.”
          “And what about the tender?”
          She shook her head. “He won‟t say a word.” Smiling again at Lexa, the baby giggled.
“It‟s amazing how much silence a satchel full of gold coins can buy.” She turned to her cousin.
“What are you doing here anyway?”
          “There has been a slight change of plans.”
          “Is everything alright?” Onalle asked quickly.
          He sighed. “The village has made it known to your father that we are unwanted.”
          “What?” Onalle looked as though she couldn‟t believe it.
          “What do you mean?” Allorah asked quickly
          He sighed and sat down. “Everyone is afraid of what having Elentaari, Shanell and
Allorah in the village will bring.”
          “Meaning we are leaving.”
          Onalle shook her head, greatly disturbed. “You cannot leave Suskas. Where will you go
that will help?”
          He smiled and reached for her hand. “Your father has a plan. I trust he will not lead us
          Sitting down beside him, she still wasn‟t convinced. “So you will run? How many of you
can fight if the need should arise?”
          “I can fight, Shanell can. I am unsure of Elentaari‟s talents, but your father will be a great
help in battle.”
          “My father is going with you?” Elear nodded and Onalle and Smokey shared a glance.
          “Is he ill?” Smokey asked.
          Allorah and Elear looked at the old man, the question not making sense to them. “No, he
is perfectly fine.” Elear chuckled. “Why do you ask?”
          Smokey shook his head and crossed his arms. “It just doesn‟t sound like Yassen to put
himself in danger. Doesn‟t sound like him to do something when the rest of the village is against
          Onalle agreed. “That does not sound like him at all.”
          “Something has changed in him,” Elear said slowly.
          “What do you mean?”
          “With Elentaari, he is gentle. Like she is a drop of dew on a spider web, and all the time
he is trying to make the web stronger so it will hold her.” He thought a moment. “Almost like he
is making up for the way things ended with my father.”
          Onalle nodded. “Being kind to Elentaari will reach Silverleaf‟s eyes in heaven…” She
smiled. “That does not surprise me. He has always told me that life gives you second chances,
though they may not be what you would expect.” She met Elear‟s eyes. “Has he treated you the
          He smiled and squeezed her hands. “He treats me like I am a son to him.” She grinned.
          “Whatever spell your sister has cast on him, I am grateful for it.” Tilting her head, her
brows came together. “Does she know she is your sister yet?” He nodded, bringing her smile
back. “Good.”
          “What does this mean for us?” Allorah interrupted. Everyone looked at her. “I‟m sorry for
bringing the mood back down to the not so happy level, but we have to think about this.” She met
eyes with her cousin. “I have to get Lexa out of here somehow, and then get myself out before
those two wake up. Both of them got a good enough look at me to be able to identify me if they
saw me.”
          “Would it hurt her to use fyre?”
          She shook her head. “I don‟t know. She‟s too young for me to even know if she has any
light mage abilities.”
          Onalle furrowed her brow. “Why wouldn‟t she?”
         Allorah shrugged. “For some reason, Shanell‟s light mage power is very low. Sirill has
enough in his blood to summon fyre and that‟s about it. Even Flight would be dangerous. And
Erihs doesn‟t have any magic in her whatsoever.” She looked at the baby in her arms. “So it‟s a
toss up as to whether Lexa will have any.” She looked back to Elear. “I would try to leave in the
fyre with her, but I don‟t want to hurt her.”
         Elear sighed and looked at the floor in thought. “How fast can you ride with her?”
         “As long as I don‟t have to stop too often, about the same pace as if I were alone.”
         “Then leave now. Take her with you, and ride hard.”
         “Where am I riding to?” When he didn‟t answer her right away, a lump formed in her
throat. “Elear, where are we going?”
         When he answered, his voice was scratchy. “Oceana Palace.”
         Try as she may to swallow that lump, it wouldn‟t go away. Memories came flooding back
to her, causing her to catch a sob that pulled at her heart. Shaking them away, she nodded
solemnly. “No one will think to look for us there. I think it is a good place to hide. I should be
able to make it in less than a week.” Taking a deep breath, she tried to smile at Lexa. “There are
a few small villages on the way where I can stop if I need to.”
         Smokey shook his head. “I don‟t think you should stop unless you really have to. The
less people that see you, the better.” He glanced at Onalle. “We‟ll bring enough food, water and
milk for all of us to last the trip.” She nodded in agreement.
         Elear looked from one to the other. “This is not your fight. Either of you. I do not want
you to be involved when there is no need for it.”
         “But there is,” Onalle said hastily. “If Allorah is riding all the way to Oceana Palace with
Lexa and she gets attacked, she could be in serious trouble. If we go along with her, then she
will have protection.”
         Elear raised his eyebrows in question to Allorah. She shrugged. “I wouldn‟t mind the
company. Also, if I get tired carrying Lexa, one of them could take over for a little while.”
         “Onalle and I already have what we want packed. I‟ll go let people know that need to
know we‟re leaving. Onalle, you get food and water ready and we‟ll be able to leave within the
hour.” Smokey left and Elear blinked.
         Onalle stood and went into the kitchen to rummage through the cupboards. Standing,
Elear crossed his arms and faced his cousin. “Are you ready?”
         She nodded, avoiding his gaze and keeping her eyes locked with Lexa‟s. “As ready as I
will ever be to go back there.” Finally she turned to him. “You should get going. Let Shannie
know that Lexa is safe and she‟s with me.”
         Elear studied her face. “Are you alright?”
         “I‟m going to have to be, aren‟t I?” He reached out and squeezed her shoulder gently,
then bent and kissed Lexa‟s drool covered face.
         Walking into the kitchen, Onalle surprised him by grabbing him and pulling him close for a
kiss. When they pulled away from each other, she wasn‟t smiling. “Promise me you will be
careful. I have a bad feeling about this.” He looked down and she felt her heart skip a beat. “But
I am not the only one with a bad feeling, am I?” She took his chin in her hand and made him look
at her. “Did you have a vision?”
         His nod was slow. “People are going to die, Onalle.”
         She smiled, trying to give him confidence. “None of us will.” He wrapped his arms
around her, embracing her tightly. “Be safe,” she whispered into his chest.
         “I will. You be safe too.” He let her go and kissed her once more, a strange sadness in
his eyes. “I will see you soon.” He glanced at Allorah, then disappeared into a sudden burst of
blue and gold flames that rose up to surround his body. When the flames died, Elear was gone.

        Elentaari bit her lip and watched as Yassen and Shanell disappeared inside. She wanted
to see Aidan, even though she was warned about using Flight until she was more experienced.
But Elear was no where to be found and Shanell was busy, and besides, she could use the
experience. She turned her face to the rising sun, still chewing on her bottom lip as she tried to
remember how to use her gifts. It was only a matter of moments before she felt a pull at her
mind, and she in Dragon‟s Den before she realized it.
          The small town was just waking up and people lazily walked the streets. She recognized
the front door to Smokey‟s house and peeked inside to find it empty. Disappointed, she
continued her search. Her wanderings eventually led her almost outside of town, but she finally
found Aidan down a side alley, close to the waters edge, and the end of Dragon‟s Den.
          She was slightly shocked to see the scruff on his face, indicating he hadn‟t shaved for
many days. She drew closer to see his face, to be sure it was really him. The way he held
himself and moved his hands as he talked to the stranger in his company told her it was. But
there was something in his eyes. Something darker than she remembered. Something sinister.
Getting closer, she tried to see what was being said.
          “The horse will ride swiftly, My Lord. She has been ridden by racers, and was sired by
race horses. You can trace her back to the chariot races, I‟d wager.” He smiled when Aidan
nodded, pleased. The man placed a proud hand on the horse‟s muzzle. “She‟s been washed,
fed, and watered.”
          “Excellent. I am sure you will find adequate payment in this.” As Aidan handed a small
pouch to the stranger, Elentaari wondered where he was going. The man untied the leather ties
and looked inside. He grinned at Aidan. “Remember, tell no one of this exchange or what you
          “And the king and queen?”
          Aidan frowned. “It was unfortunate that they should come here and ruin my plans. But
thanks to your help, I will reach Elentaari before they do.” Kenneth and Alina were there? “And if
she fails to see things my way and refuses to cooperate…” To her horror, she saw him draw his
blade and run it through the strangers midsection. “I shall have to do to her what I have just done
to you.” He pulled his sword out of the man as he fell to the sandy ground, then walked to rinse it
in the waters that crashed on the shore. Once it was cleaned, he sheathed it and went back to
take his money pouch from the dead man. “I‟m sorry, my friend, but I can‟t have you leaking
          Elentaari pulled back with such a force that she gasped for air and cried out. He meant
to kill her if she didn‟t cooperate with whatever it was he wanted her to do. She breathed fast,
unsure what to do with herself. Another person she trusted…lied to her. Tears found their way
into her eyes and she groaned, sliding from the bench to sit on the cold stone path below her.
She curled into a fetal position and screamed into her dress.
          Elear ran outside and found her on the ground. “Elentaari!” He fell to his knees beside
her and reached out to try and calm her, but she lashed out with her fists, telling him to leave her
alone. Shanell was close behind him and watched as he persisted through the beating and
pulled her to him, firmly pinning her arms to her side as she sobbed and tried to wrench from his
grasp. “It is me. Calm down. Elentaari, it is me…” His voice was soft as he repeated those
words over and over until she calmed. Like a parent with a distressed child, he rocked her,
whispering gentle words in her ear and stroking her hair. She eventually gave up fighting and let
him hold her as she cried.
          “Relax,” he whispered. “What happened?”
          “Aidan,” she managed, wiping at her tears with the sleeve of her dress. “It‟s Aidan.”
          Elear glanced at Shanell, then looked back down at his sister. It was then he
remembered that he hadn‟t had the chance to ask about the prince and the drackling that seemed
to be in his company. Perhaps she had used Flight and had found him still in the alley.
“Elentaari, what about him?”
          She seemed to crumble in his grasp and he had to struggle to keep her close. “He
means to kill me…”
          “What?” Brushing her hair from her face, he tried to look into her eyes. “What do you
          She pushed Elear away and dried her eyes. “I should have listened to you.” More tears
fell and she bit her lip, finally looking at her brother. “He was telling some man that if I didn‟t
cooperate with him, he‟d kill me, and then he killed the man.” Crawling back to him, she buried
her face in his chest and screamed.
          Quietly, Shanell backed away and left the two alone in the garden. Elear kissed
Elentaari‟s forehead and she looked up at him, something broken in her eyes. “I thought you
were not going to use Flight.” He said it not to chide her, but to try and calm her more with his
tone of voice.
          Sniffling, she sat up. “I wanted to see him…I thought he loved me, Elear. I thought I
could trust him.” His strong arms held her tighter. “I can‟t trust anyone, can I…?”
          “You can trust me.”
          She nodded and looked up into his face. “I know I can trust you…you‟re the only one I
can trust.”
          His heart sank as she spoke those words. It must be a terrible thing to grow up in a world
of lies, believing them all to be true until one day when the world seems to cave in. He kissed her
forehead again and stood, helping her stand, then wrapping his arms around her again. “Close
your eyes,” he told her softly. “Listen to my voice and let your mind go blank.” She did as she
was told, resting her head against his chest, listening to his calming voice and the soft beating of
his heart. “You are strong. Much stronger than I am, maybe ever will be. You have dealt with so
many things, and here you stand still. Fighting for what you believe in and trying to make things
          “I‟m strong because of you,” was her shaky response.
          “No. You are strong because of you. Something inside you keeps you going when many
others would give up. I love you, Elentaari, and I can only hope that one day, my will can be as
strong as yours. Come. It is time to use that strength and pull yourself together. I know you can
do it.”
          She looked up at him, her eyes red. “You knew all along that Aidan wasn‟t being truthful
with me.” Elear stayed silent. “If I had only trusted you…”
          “Talking about it will not change anything. I will admit I am glad you know him now for the
snake that he is.”
          “I just mean that you were right. You have always been right in your decisions and your
actions. And I trust you like I trust none other, and I don‟t feel that you will break that trust.”
          He smiled tenderly. “Never.” He suddenly remembered the news he had brought home
with him. “I have to tell Shanell the news.”
          “What news?”
          “Allorah found Lexa.”
          She pulled away from him, blinking. “She did? In Dragon‟s Den?” He nodded. “What
was she doing there?”
          “Come inside and I will tell you all about it.” With their fingers laced together, he pulled
her inside. Yassen and Shanell stood in the living room with two other elves. Yassen nodded to
them and clasped hands with one, and then the other.
          “Vanya sulie,” they told Yassen, then nodded to Shanell and left.
          “What is going on?” Elear asked as they stepped into the room.
          Yassen waved it off. “Nothing you need concern yourself with at the moment.” He
looked to Elentaari and noticed her red eyes dart to the floor. He frowned. “It seems I should ask
you what is going on.”
          Elear glanced at his sister. “Elentaari used Flight to find Aidan and found out he has
plans to kill her. But that is not all of it.” All of them looked at him, even Elentaari who seemed a
little surprised that he had more information. “Aidan has a hatchling.”
          No one said anything or tried to hide any confusion. “A hatchling what?” Shanell asked.
          “That is not possible,” Yassen said swiftly. “Dragons have not been alive in this part of
the world for ages.”
          “But he does have one.” The look on Elear‟s face told the elder that it was true.
          “This is unfortunate news.”
          “What does that mean for us?” was Elentaari‟s quiet question. She clung closer to Elear.
          “It means we leave now.” Yassen shook his head, unhappy. “Gather your children
Shanell, and get them ready to leave. Elear, Elentaari, are you ready?” They both nodded.
“Then I will leave you two to get the horses and…”
          “Wait!” Elear almost forgot his news for the second time. A grin spread on his face as he
looked at his cousin. “Allorah found Lexa.”
          “What?” She trembled with joy and reached out for the back of a chair to steady herself.
“ she alright? Is she hurt? Is she alive?”
          He nodded. “She is very well, and Allorah barely let me hold her. She is perfectly fine.”
Tears of joy coursed down Shanell‟s face and she ran to embrace Elear. He hugged her tightly
and looked down into her eyes. “She is bringing her to Oceana Palace.” Shanell nodded and
hugged him again.
          “Thank you.”
          “You are most welcome.”
          Yassen cleared his throat. “Anything else to discuss?” No one said anything. “Alright.
We must be hasty. Gather your things and we will meet in the center of town in a few minutes.”
          Shanell left to find Sirill and Erihs playing outside with Itsy. “Sirill! Erihs!” Sirill looked up,
concern covering his smile.
          “Mom? What is it? Is everything okay?” He ran to her and she wrapped her arms
around him laughing. Erihs and Itsy clasped hands and walked over to them, Erihs biting her lip
upon seeing the tears in her mothers eyes.
          “Lexa…she‟s with your aunt Allorah.” Sirill grinned and Erihs cheered. “She‟s safe now.
We‟re going to see her soon. And it‟s almost time for us to leave.”
          “Where are we going?”
          Shanell took a deep breath and stood. “We‟re going to a place I used to live when I was
          Sirill looked at her knowingly. “Oceana Palace.” Shanell nodded. “Are you sure you‟re
ready to go back there, Mom? I remember all the stories you and Dad used to tell.”
          “Too wise for your young years…” She ruffled her sons hair. “We have no other place to
go.” Smiling softly, she nodded. “It is a safe place, one no one will think to look for us in.”
          He still wasn‟t convinced. “It‟s going to be hard on you. But don‟t forget Lexa and Erihs
and I love you.”
          She bent and embraced her children. “I love you, too. So very much.” Looking up, she
saw Elentaari and Elear pulling two horses each, heading toward the center of town. She stood.
“It‟s time to go.”
          Itsy looked at the ground and shuffled her feet. “I‟ll miss you guys.” Erihs hugged her
and Sirill kissed her hand. She looked up at Shanell with her big, sad brown eyes. “Be safe.”
          Shanell smiled and kissed the top of the little elf‟s head. “We will, Itsy. And you be safe
as well.”
          Holding the hands of her children, she went to join her cousins and wait for Yassen. It
wasn‟t long before he was there and ready to go. Elear helped Elentaari into the saddle of one of
the horses, then climbed up to sit behind her. Sirill and Yassen rode alone, while Shanell rode
with Erihs in front of her. As the horses made their way slowly out of town, many elves gathered
to watch them leave. They called out well wishes and farewells, some of them sad to see the
group leave. It was mid-morning by the time they had left the village and began their long journey
to Oceana Palace.

          Allorah slung a piece of cloth around her neck and tied it around her waist. Onalle, now
shifted to look like Elentaari, held Lexa and slipped the baby between the cloth and Allorah,
making sure she was in safe and snug. “How does that feel?” Allorah gently adjusted the small
bundle she now carried, then nodded. “Will that be alright for a little while?”
          “Yeah.” She smiled down at the baby, lavishing her face with kisses. “We‟ll be just fine.”
She walked around the house, bouncing to see how Lexa would react. The baby only chewed on
her fingers and drooled, occasionally spitting out a babble or two. “This is perfect,” she
          “I‟ve tied up all that we‟re taking with us,” Smokey announced, hobbling in from outside.
“Milt is going to take care of the house and Poppy.” He shook his head. “Poor girl. I hope I get
to see her again before it‟s either of our time to go.”
          Allorah frowned. “If you say negative things, then negative things will surely happen.” He
mumbled something and went back outside. Allorah took a deep breath. “Do you have
everything, Onalle?”
         The elf went into the sitting room where multiple weapons lie in wait for her. Pulling her
long red spirals over her shoulder, she first sheathed one blade to her back, then another. She
tossed her hair back, then hid two small daggers in each of her leather boots, then tied another to
her belt. She made sure her quiver of arrows was full, then tested the stings of her bow.
Satisfied, she nodded to Allorah. “All set.”
         Allorah blinked. “You‟re a small arsenal.”
         “You can never be too safe.” Onalle walked past her and joined Smokey outside. She
tied her bow and quiver to her saddle bags, then helped Smokey into the saddle of his horse. As
she handed him the reigns , she titled her head. “Are you sure you can take this journey,
         “If your asking if my old bones can take it, Onalle, my answer would be that I don‟t know.
But what I do know is that my old heart couldn‟t take it if I just sat here and let you all go off to
fight, and not know anything of what‟s going on.”
         She nodded. Allorah came out then and motioned to her. “Can you hold her while I get
adjusted on the horse? Then I‟ll take her.” Onalle smiled and took the baby from the makeshift
pouch. Allorah climbed up onto the horse and smiled down at them. “That‟s your cousin‟s face,
Lexa. That‟s Elentaari.” Taking the baby again, she slid her back close to her in the protection of
the cloth. “We‟ll see her soon enough.”
         Onalle mounted her horse last and she made eye contact with both of them. “Shall we?”
         “Let‟s get going.” Smokey gripped his reigns and yelled, pressing his heels into the side
of the horse, spurring him on. The other two horses followed with haste, and the two men at the
gate were quick to get out of the way as they sped past.
         Aidan grinned from the shadows, his horse growing uneasy behind him. “They will lead
me right to her.” His gaze went upward and he saw Miire perched on the roof of the tavern,
looking like a red clay gargoyle. He climbed up onto his horse and gently prodded her forward.
As they stepped into the sun, he watched the cloud of dust the group had left slowly settle. He
would give them a small head start so they wouldn‟t hear him following. But follow he would, and
with his flying friend, it would be hard for them to lose him, even if they did suspect.
         “A new day begins,” he said to himself. “And a new age is born today, for my hands to
care for, and to mold into a future for us all. Yah!” Digging his heels into his horses ribs, the
beast jolted into a run and flew past the gate, the two men chasing after him and yelling. Miire
flapped her wings lazily and took off into the sky, clumsily dipping now and then. The only people
to look up and see the strange bird shrugged it off as just that. Peace was once again in
Dragon‟s Den, though none new how long it would last.

          Ambar looked up from the fire with Miska, her green eyes falling on the other fire. Tanya
and Wista stared intently into the flames. “Wista, I may need your assistance.”
          The white elf looked up from the vision, glancing at Tanya before joining the other two.
“What is it?”
          Wista stood, tucking her hair behind her ears. “Look.” Miska stood and left them for the
other fire, and Wista frowned. She and Amber watched as Aidan followed close behind the trio
that had just left Dragon‟s Den. “Can you create a double draft wind?”
          Studying the vision, Wista shrugged. “Like, pushing the wind to carry them further away,
while pushing the wind against the prince to slow him down?” Ambar nodded and Wista
shrugged. “I‟ve never done it before, but I don‟t see why it wouldn‟t work.” She gathered her
skirts in her hands and kneeled, extending her hands over the flames and closing her eyes in

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