Marek sat alone for most of the evening. He pondered where to go next while pretending to study a map of the known world. As the men finished eating and the fire died out Trax asked if Marek needed anything. Marek dismissed him and said that he was fine. Trax knew this to be a lie, but gave Marek his space. When everyone was asleep Miranda approached Marek.
She placed her hands on his shoulders and kissed him softly.
“Come to bed Marek.”
“I’ll be along in a minute.”
“What are you thinking?” She said as she wrapped her arms around him.
“I’m trying to decide where to go next.”
“Have you made a decision?” She said as she brushed her strong but delicate fingers across his chest.
“I want to go to The Cliffs. We must go south.”
“Why there?” She continued to try to distract him.
“It’s just a feeling I have, I cannot explain it.” He returned her embraces as he said this.
To her delight they finally retired together once more. Everyone rested deeply that night. They were all up and eating breakfast as the sun rose. Marek told everyone where they were headed and they moved out quickly. They would need to pass through a couple of cities before reaching The Cliffs, Dremaus, and Kortone. Marek planned on spending a day in each city so that they could gather supplies and more importantly, information. They would also inform the respective leaders of Avaxia’s fate and warn them to keep their citizens away. At their pace Marek predicted that each city was a day’s ride away and then another day’s ride to reach The Cliffs. In total it would take them a week of travel to reach The Cliffs. Just what they were going to do once getting there was anybody’s guess.
The day progressed slowly and quietly. Marek was thankful for this as it gave him time to think. When they broke for lunch Marek ate quickly and then went off alone. He tried to communicate with Razoun.
Razoun I must speak to you.
Marek relayed what happened in Avaxia while Razoun remained silent.
What was this force we encountered Razoun?
From what you describe it sounds like the one who now controls our island.
Why was he there?
I do not know, there were rumours at one point that he was searching for something, but we did not know what.
I suspected as much. Do you think he found it?
I do not believe so. If he is searching for something then it must be powerful and if he had it I think we would know.
Marek noticed that Razoun’s voice was stronger and that their connection seemed to be lasting longer.
Barsheel does not believe this force to be magical, do you agree?
Barsheel is correct, we dragons would have sensed his magic immediately, we can smell it. He deceived us though in other ways and a lack of magic does not mean a lack of power.
What do you mean?
You are going to The Cliffs. What do you intend to accomplish there?
That wasn’t the question Razoun.
You want to see what is beyond The Cliffs. We dragons know.
What, what is beyond The Cliffs?
It was suddenly silent again. Marek returned to the group. They were busily preparing to leave. Marek said nothing of his conversation except to let Barsheel know that he was still in contact with Razoun and that the connection seemed to be improving.
The rest of the day seemed to be quiet and uneventful. Marek was glad for this. Each man took a turn leading the group as did Miranda and Marek together at one point. The only two who did not lead were Barsheel and Dynast. They always seemed to be lagging behind. It appeared that they were talking quite a bit, as if Barsheel was teaching him everything that he could about how to yield magical forces. Marek was starting to sense something different about the boy as well. In addition to amplifying everyone’s feelings, when he was near, he seemed to be amplifying Barsheel’s abilities and confidence.
They reached Dremaus by the evening as Marek suspected. They found a copse of trees to make camp at and settled for the evening. They went over the plan for the next day. They would split into four groups. Marek and Miranda would seek out the council members and speak to them about their journey so far. Barsheel and Dynast would search for any items that may be of magical use. Finally the men would split into two teams of eight and go through the streets and talk with anybody, to gather intelligence about this evil that now seemed to be a reality. They ate and drank well that evening and all went to bed with smiles on their faces.
Image Credit: Celtic Warrior with colors by Darksigfried