“What is going on?” I demanded to know from Dark, when his expression went from mean and angry to grim and resigned. He threw my repaired chain at me and said,
“Put it on, we have to get you out of here.”
I did what I was told and scrambled into the chain chest piece, cinching down straps and securing buckles, tightening down the rest of my armor while Elethor stood ready with my shield and mace, my cube in his hand. He looked so very tired and sad in that moment but whatever was coming was bad, something to be very afraid of and as I strapped my cube to my belt Dracia started uttering a long line of what could only be curses, screaming at Billy who only grew more visibly upset. He shouted back at her and she crossed her arms over her chest, the leather of her sword rig creaking menacingly. Dark yelled at them both while I settled my shield on my back and took my mace in hand.
Elethor threw open the window and shoved me towards it. Voice low and urgent he said, “Glide keairrah, I’ll be right behind you. The Shadow Judges wait for no one.” I wrinkled my brow in confusion and did as I was bade, leaping from the window my wings stretching free once I was clear, and I spiraled cleanly and gracefully to the ground, Elethor landing beside me, and Billy beside him. I looked back up to his lofty window and watched Dark close it, drawing the heavy velvet curtains behind him.
Elethor took my arm and steered me into the woods, his pace quick and his eyes sharp, Billy watching our backs. We wended through snow, knee deep in places and finally came out on top of a hill overlooking a low, low valley. Elethor kissed me fiercely and shoved me towards the edge, I opened my wings and spiraled carefully to the ground as I knew he intended landing softly and with as little sound as possible. He landed beside me and Billy not long after that and turning I could see we were at the mouth of a cave, which we quickly retreated back into. Once well back from the mouth Billy began speaking low and urgently to Elethor as if to try and convince him of something, but all Elethor would do was nod in an agitated manner, holding up his hand to stop the man’s speaking and pull me close.
“She called the Shadow Court down upon us, my love. It is time for you to go.” He said, with no little sorrow to his tone. I kissed him, lingering and sweet and wrapped my arms around him, laying my head on his chest.
“What will you do?” I asked, not unafraid. I didn’t know what this Shadow Court was that he spoke of, or why they should be so feared but it was obvious whatever they were… it was bad and that he was in no little danger. Because of me, I thought.
“I will be fine, I will see you again, and if not there will be a letter for you as promised, exactly where we discussed.” He tipped my face up to look at him and smoothed his thumb along my cheek. “Go now, Sirona. I will see you again, and when I do my heart will be well.”
“I love you.” I said, the tears starting to threaten.
“… and I love you,” he said, his clear crystal eyes burning brighter than usual with trapped moisture of their own.
I stepped back from him and said the spell of returning, that would take me back to the obelisk my soul was bound to, still feeling the slight tug in his direction. I closed my eyes and let my body flow into the aether and collect back on the other side. It was warm and bright in Elysea, and I was grateful. It made the tears staining my face dry faster as I made my way toward Ailsie’s.