Chapter XII

Killer scuttled down the dark tavern, as Tan tried to calm Griffin down. He was being surprisingly snippy, probably because he hated spiders and was now being forced to touch one for extended periods of time.

She pat him on the shoulder and he shot her a glare filled with pure malice. He just seemed rawly upset, there was nothing more to it! It was like a jitter bug had crawled up his pants leg, out of his collar, and into his ear and taken over his brain with the sort of antics she would expect from anyone but him.

She sighed and turned around. There was nothing she could do, obviously, and he wouldn't listen to reason; he was past that.

There was a crash from one of the side caverns they passed, but Killer didn't seem to notice. Or he didn't care. Either way, Tan didn't wish to find out what had made the unholy sound. Griffin, however, didn't push it off so easily, and practically jumped onto Tan's back.

"What was that?" He asked, in a panic.

"I don't know, just forget it!" She whispered, a little more harshly than she meant to.

"Don't be mean, I only asked." He said, in a fake hurt voice. She shook her head, and turned around slightly to look him in the eye.

"Just calm down, we'll be out of here soon." She said, in more of an elderly way than a motherly, or sagely one. "We need to be quiet, neither one of us are in good enough shape to fight right now."

He nodded. She knew he couldn't disagree with that logic, and a smile crept across her face. They would be at the end of the tunnel very soon, but they at least had time for a nice nap before they got there. She stretched out and eased forward so that she was laying on Killer's back, and a few minutes later, felt Griffin rest his head on her back. Soon, they were both out cold.

"They should be here soon." The elven woman said. Owen turned around and nodded. Her voice was melodious, and lovely in its own right, but nothing compared to that of Amael.

"The sorcerer and the wind child." He said fondly. "They could make for some interesting tales, if you know what I mean."

She nodded slowly, dark red hair falling in her face. It was lightly curled, and seemed to cascade down her shoulders with a shine that Owen had never seen anyone else carry. Her eyes, also, were special. Not only were they of a lovely shape, but they were yellow, and seemed to glow like the rest of her.

But of course, what else could he expect of an elven queen? She had ruled Ravenwind for as long as he could remember, and he had been the very man to put her in charge.

"Very soon." She added, staring out past the city into the thick woods surrounding it.

"How soon, Atariel?" He asked, turning around to fully consider her. She shook her head.

"No one can say for certain… But I can tell you this is no ordinary boy we're taking in. And I daresay his 'sister' will be joining him here within the year…" She said, smiling at that thought.

Owen nodded.

Estimations like that came easily to most in Ravenwind, and for Atariel Esanael, they were almost never wrong. He turned back out the window. The city was vast and spanned out for miles, but of course he could barely tell from up so high. The woods around it stretched out even farther into the distance, and he couldn't see the end of them at all. All he knew about them was that they were thick, and things dwelled in those woods that would send chills down the bravest man's spine.

Griffin's eyes opened to the sight of light streaming in and the sounds of a bustling market. Killer was going faster, now, and Tan had long since woken up. They seemed to be causing a lot of commotion there…

Tan turned around, grinning widely.

"We're almost there!" She yelled, laughing. Griffin nodded, with a weak smile, and looked down at Killer's fur. How could she possibly be so cheerful? Was she just born that way or something? Either way she was right. They would be there any minute…

The faint scuttling of spider legs filled the air and Atariel turned to the hallway. A small smile crossed her lips, and a moment later, Tan and Griffin were dumped into her floor.

"Greetings, friends." She said, moving up to them and helping them up off the floor. "I'm glad you've arrived. Welcome to Ravenwind."

Griffin swept into a low bow, and Tan made a move to curtsy but Atariel placed a hand on one of both shoulders to stop them.

"Come with me to the window. There's something you should see before we talk further." She ushered them over to a huge stone archway at the end of the room where the light streamed in and a balcony stretched over the opening. "This is the city of Ravenwind. You are to stay here for your own safety until the war ends."

"War?" Griffin asked, turning to her. "What-"

She shook her head.

"It is best that you find out on your own, but not for now. You must stay." She said, with an apologetic smile. Griffin nodded, and looked out of the window once more. She would have loved to tell them about the struggle between the council and the king in Rodirroc, but that would have meant telling him the truth about which side was for the good of the country, and which was only meaning harm…

True, the council wanted nothing more but to kill his sister and wipe out her bloodline, but the king was no better. He valued her as a weapon, and that could not be good at all.