The wolf demon, Terthon, glared at Elaynna and squeezed into the room, taking a seat on one of the small cozy chairs that sat in a crescent shape around the window.

"So, Zirel it is, eh?" Terthon asked, studying her with narrowed eyes. Zirel nodded without uttering a word, he did seem odd to her, and not too many Fox Demons seemed to like him. "Never did like your mother did I. Too sneaky you fox demons are, much too sneaky for my liking. Never knew…" He babbled on for a bit before Elaynna shot him a look that shut him up.

"Glad you could come Terthon." Kerchne said simply and took a seat; he motioned for the others to sit as well. "Please, please, sit, Elaynna dear, would you get them some tea?" He asked, Elaynna nodded and walked off into a room beyond. Zirel nodded a thank you and sat in a chair. It was black leather with silver vines, like everything else, she thought with a slight smile.

"So. Now that you're here Zirel, what do you plan to do?" Terthon asked, eyeing Zyra who was sitting next to the chair, glaring at him.

I don't trust him. Zyra said simply, blankly, just a statement.

Nor do I. Zirel said and looked at Terthon, her gaze steady.

"I don't exactly know, I just thought coming here was the logical thing to do." She said and yawned eyelids and ears drooping.

"My, my, Zirel you best be getting some rest. You boys can speak of these matters whilst Zirel and Zyra rest, they must be exhausted. Come, come my dear." Elaynna said as she hurried back in, placing the platter of cups and a tea kettle on a table. She pulled Zirel out of the building, ignoring her protests.

"But I want to…" Zirel started.

"No, no, no! You will hear of what happened from Kiran. Come, come you two. I'll show you to your room." She said dragging Zirel to one of the stone buildings, this was the one that, earlier, the Fox Demons had deposited Zyra's saddle Bags in. "You may sleep here. I'll make sure no one bothers you, not even The Blessed Ones. Go my child. Get some rest." Elaynna urged and walked off, back to the building that held Kirchne and Terthon as well as her friends.

Zirel shrugged and walked into the building, she let her eyes adjust to the dark interior.

The building was much larger than it looked, large enough for even Zyra to maneuver around in. The walls were the same rocky material with the same sliver vines, but these vines glowed, bathing the inside of the building in a silvery light. The door was rimmed with diamonds and shadowed runes that Zirel couldn't read. Zyra walked in, eyes glowing faintly in the slivery light. In the middle of the room there was a bed, on the bed sat the saddle bags and some robes, robes Zirel guessed, were for her. Above and around the bed hung slivery lit curtains that made it look like a tent. Zyra walked up to the bed and sniffed it before jumping onto it, sinking into it's downy mattress.

The walls of the room were decorated with various gems embedded into the surface. Upon further inspection Zirel found they made the seal of her family, or at least, that's what she guessed it was; a ring of crimson gems with a white fox and a black dragon curling around an oak staff, heads meeting at the tip of the staff where a black lily-like flower with scarlet interior grew. The gems themselves were beautiful but when one stepped back to admire the work of FoxWood's artists it was marvelous; the gems forming a glittering tapestry. Zirel gaped for a moment, captivated by the beauty of the seal. She yawned and finally noticed how tired she was. She yawned again and sat on the bed, sinking into the softness of the mattress she placed her things on the ground and changed into the robes which were black in coloration with sliver vines and crimson blossoms. Zirel lay on the bed, her eyes slowly closed and within moments she was asleep. Zyra curled up next to Zirel and let sleep take her as well.

♦♦

Terthon glared at Elaynna as she returned, Zirel in the dwelling where she would be staying whilst she stayed at FoxWood, hopefully this would be for a while.

"She deserves to hear this you know Elaynna." Kerchne said sharply, Elaynna nodded.

"I know. She will hear it from Kiran later. She needs her rest." Elaynna returned curtly. "Now. Let us continue." She said and sat in one of the chairs.

"Zirel is the heir to the throne, that much is known. I saw her just moments after her birth and that is definitely her. So, the question is What now?" Kerchne stated blankly.

"I say we train her, teach her the ways of her people, magic and such things, of course you know she will have control over at least one element, she must be taught how to use it. We will teach her how to use a bow and arrow, swordsmanship and other arts." Kiran suggested. Kerchne nodded,

"Yes, but such training could take years, time we do not have." Kerchne said, a tinge of worry coating his voice.

"Why do we not have that sort of time? The forces of the Seven cannot penetrate the borders of FoxWood; here is a safe haven for her and for us. They cannot harm her here." Kiran asked, eyeing Terthon who had remained silent.

"Yes she is safe here, but the rest of Alaston is not. We cannot leave the people of this continent to their own defenses. We must hurry to stir a rebellion, this can be done whilst she trains, but…as for the length of the training, it will take a year at the least." Kerchne said, holding two fingers to his brow in thought, eyes closer tightly.

"War is upon us." Terthon said, speaking for the first time since Zirel left. Kerchne looked up and sighed.

"It is as I feared. War is indeed upon us. We cannot stop it. The rebellion will rise and the dragons will have no choice but to fight, and fight they will. Slaughter thousands they will. History is repeating itself." He sighed again and stood, robes dancing around his feet. "Let her rest for now. The first step of her training is for her to see the Sorceress, find what element she has control over and for the Sorceress to will it to awaken." He said looking over the others' astonished faces.

"Why should we not teach her swordsmanship first?" Terthon asked, glaring at the elder fox.

"Because, magic is in her blood and will set the stage for other powers to awaken. You saw how quickly she mastered the shifting into fox form Kiran; that was in her blood. Magic is in her blood, so it is that which will be learnt first. If it comforts you Terthon your daughter may lead them to her and observe the training." Kerchne said sharply and walked into his personal quarters. Terthon grudgingly nodded and trudged off, back to the city of the Wolf Demons, Torina.

Kiran nodded and with Arynton exited the building, only to be met by The Blessed Ones.

"What is the fate of the girl?" They asked, eyes flashing.

"That is of none of your concern." Kiran said sharply, words meant to cut, to draw blood. The recoiled and glared at him. "Just so you know. I rather dislike you two." Kiran said with a sly grin.

"We dislike you as well Kiran Snowfoot." They retorted and stormed off, tails following behind them like storm clouds. Kiran snorted and walked to his own quarters, where he had once lived before he left. Yes, he had chosen to live with the Fox Demons opposed to his own people, the Wolf Demons who had their own city. For that choice he was resented and hated by his people, most at least.

He sat on the bed and thought over what had happened over the course of a few weeks. It had been two weeks since they left The Bloody Claw. Arynton was sitting on the bed, next to Kiran; he laid his head on his crossed forepaws and thought, thought of Zirel. How would she ever become queen? But of course, she did have Zyra to help. He sighed and closed his eyes, ears twitching as he dreamt of gods know what.

♦♦

Zirel awoke to a thick crack of bright colors in her mind. She sat bolt upright in bed and blinked repeatedly.

Good. You're awake. It's nearly midday and we have many things to do. Come. Zyra said; she was sitting in front of Zirel on the bed, ears twitching.

"Fine; I'm coming." Zirel said and stood, she straightened her robes and with Zyra leading, exited the building.

Small children played in the streets, adults walked to the market, all Fox Demons except for a few scattered Wolf Demons. The streets were paved with black stone and lights hung on poles for when darkness fell.

Kiran shouted to Zirel from across the street, he shouldered his way through the crowds towards her as many children crowded around Zirel. A small Fox Demon picked up Zyra and began to chatter about how cute she was and then she dropped poor Zyra and stared up at Zirel.

"You're the Queen aren't you?" She asked; voice high. Zirel nodded and shooed the children away.

"Go, you little midgets." Kiran said coldly and pushed them away, Zyra darted into the doorway to avoid being trampled then calmly walked up to Zirel and sat next to her, tail twitching. "You're going to see the Sorceress; she will be able to tell you what element you control." Kiran informed. Zirel nodded,

"But…where do I go?" She asked. Kiran chuckled.

"Not just you, Melia and I will be accompanying you there. Melia is Terthon's daughter." He answered with a smile. Zirel smiled and nodded.

But where will you be Zyra? Zirel asked

I will be receiving my training. I'll tell you about it tonight.

As will I.

"Where do we meet Melia?' She asked, her question was answered as a Black-furred wolf demon came running up to her, grinning broadly. The Wolf Demon looked no older than sixteen, she wore the same garments as The Blessed Ones did, except the ribbons that ran down her legs were scarlet not white. Over her clothes she wore a robe, it was black with crimson vines like her father's. Her eyes were a silvery grey in coloration.

"Hi! I'm Melia!" She said, tail swishing to and fro in excitement. Zirel smiled.

"I'm Zirel." She said warmly. Kiran grunted,

"I'm Kiran. Let's go." He said. Melia nodded and walked onward, Zirel followed as they walked out of the city, Kiran not far behind and Zyra weaving between the trees idly. Melia every few moments would turn around to look at Kiran then hastily turn back around and chatter to Zirel nervously.

"Do you like him?" Zirel asked, cocking a brow. Melia blushed and nodded giggling.

"Don't you?" Melia asked, smile fading.

"Err...No not really." She said blankly. Melia shrugged,

"Well I do, H's gorgeous! I don't see how you can't think the same, Oh well. I always did think Fox Demons had unusual taste in men." She Melia said with another giggle. Zirel laughed,

Kiran sighed, ears drooping, Melia, he knew about her adoring him, even to the point where it was an obsession, it was quite annoying really.

Sighing again he flicked his tail as the path narrowed, they were coming closer to the small cottage. He looked around, noticing the strange plants that flowered here, the crimson blossom with delicate black interior. Shadows played across the trio's faces as they passed through a scarlet rock archway with ebony vines, this time real, not just engravings.

"We're almost there." Melia said shortly, tail twitching and no longer giggling, her face now serious and her ears pricked.

"Alayna, is that you?" Came a soft and silky voice from the path ahead.