Logan awoke with a start, fear pulsating inside of him. It hadn't changed; he'd thought that all of this living nightmare he'd participated in would have changed his dreams. But they were the same. Still plagued by images of Kaylin and the mistwolf, the mysterious gryphon general wounded and trapped. The bronze eye wrapped around his neck. He found himself clutching it. Whatever it was he knew it had something to do with his being here lost. He wondered how Kaylin was doing, back home.

Slowly he sat up and the after affects of the nightmare started to wear off. He'd begun to get used to them by now. The camp they'd made the previous night had been hasty, Athelia had not wanted to risk a fire, but both had been exhausted from their escape. Sleep had come surprisingly easily.

There was a fire now and his Lightrunner bodyguard was nowhere to be seen. Probably off killing some helpless animal, he wasn't sure why but the image made him smile. He stood and stretched peering up through the tropical trees to see the sun was just rising. It was early yet.

Suddenly he felt a sharp blade at his back and Logan's arms went up in surrender. His heart caught in his throat and his eyes grew wide. He didn't know what to do. Had the shadow cloaked men caught up with him? Was this some murderer? What should he do?

"You're dead." Athelia said as she lowered the dagger and moved around to the fire. "You need to be more cautious, boy."

Logan dropped his arms and scowled even though his adrenaline was still pumping. "Forgive me if I am not used to having people threatening my life everyday." His sarcasm rang solidly.

Athelia just scoffed at this, Logan was beginning the see how much she seemed to dislike him, though he didn't know why. This is going to get old fast, he thought. She plopped some more wood onto the small campfire and tossed Logan a bit of dried meat. He caught it clumsily and took a large bite. It was heavily salted but he hadn't eaten since yesterday before the chaos.


Athelia didn't seem to acknowledge him. Yup, real old, real fast. They sat like that for a while, in complete silence staring at nothing. Yesterday had been such a whirlwind, Logan still didn't know what to make of it all; the attack on camp, them escaping just barely, it was intense; but he did get the feeling that Athelia's dagger in that man's throat had surprised even her. I wonder if she's done that before. Killed someone? He was too scared to ask.

"So, what are we doing now?" He asked lamely instead.

She lifted her head and glared at him, one eyebrow raised, "We keep moving, heads low, staying in the brush, head east toward the water." As if it was obvious. "And we stop talking to one another."

She said that last bit with a sting and adjusted so that she was turned slightly away from him. She was toying with that bronze tube that Hakrin had given her. Clearly it had some importance to her, but Logan could find none by not talking to her.

"That's dumb." He said challengingly, something had changed in his attitude over night; he was a bit more confident today.

"Pardon me?" Athelia eyed him again, viciously.

"Not talking, that's dumb."

She seemed surprised by his continuing with this, almost bemused. "And why is that?"

"Because if we stop talking we'll both get so bored that we'll kill each other, and then the men who are trying to catch us won't have anyone to chase anymore. It's not very considerate."

Athelia gaped at him, mouth open wide, eyebrows raised, clearly that was not what she'd expected him to say. After a long pause, she chuckled lightly and smiled at his joke. Then when she chuckled again and shook her head, Logan felt a little better already. He was always good at lightening moods.

"All right," she slipped the bronze tube back into a pocket. "We're heading east toward a town called Akhom, there is something I must do there before we move to the capital. Then when we get there I hand you to the king and we see what he does with you." Her smile made Logan gulp nervously. That sounds fun.

Logan looked around again at his surroundings, the trees tropical and the underbrush flowery, it was so bizarre to anything he could picture. The sun slowly rising in the distance was growing brighter. So peaceful and warm, he still wasn't sure if last night had really happened.

"When you… killed that guy last night, in the woods, what happened to him? I saw a smoke rise up from his cloak and disappear into the shadows. What was that?" He felt so naïve and innocent asking, like a kid, he hated that.

Athelia sighed audibly; clearly she was disturbed by the events last night. Maybe it was her first time.

"It's called mistweave. The cloaks they wear aren't normal cloth. They are infused with dark power, makes them harder to see at night, when one of those wearing it dies, the cloak returns its borrowed power to its owner."

Makes sense, Logan thought, and then he wondered why that actually made sense to him. Because I know that I am no longer in the same reality, the thought snuck up on him and surprised him. He began to fiddle with the Eye around his neck again.

"So, who is the owner of these shadowy cloaks? Why does he want to kill you and your friends?"

Athelia just sat there, silent. Clearly this line of questioning was doing nothing but bothering her. Better not give her any more ammunition to hate me with.

"Where am I?" The ignorance of the question made Logan even feel dumb. No wonder they think I'm lying, I sound like it.

Athelia didn't take it as he expected. "About seven hours walk to Akhom, it will be a hard trip, off the roads, but we should get there before dusk."

"Not exactly what I meant. I mean where I am as in a whole?" Athelia was staring blankly at him again as if he were some strange creature.

"Look, I don't know what game you think you are playing but those men chasing us are going to catch up soon and probably kill us if we don't move. I have no idea what the captain saw in you or why he wants me to take you to the king. But if you keep up this game of you don't know who you are or where you are, we are going to finish this trip with me dragging your unconscious body!"

Logan sighed; he was angry with her but was never very good at outright confrontation. "It's not a game. I understand why you might not believe me but I'm telling the truth, I have no idea how I got here or even where here is. And I'm getting a little tired of everyone thinking I'm some kind of evil spy." He felt good releasing a little pent up aggression. He was getting tired of this place, with people trying to kill him and magic cloaks and things happening to him that should not exist. It was very tiring.

"What's a spy?" Athelia asked with a little less harshness to her voice, clearly she still didn't believe him, but changing he subject at least showed she had some compassion toward him.

Logan sighed, "It's a guy who infiltrates the enemy forces and finds out things about them without them knowing who he is. Pretends to be a friend but ends up being the enemy I guess."

Athelia nodded at this, she seemed to like the word. She stood up swiftly and started kicking dirt onto the fire. Logan got the hint and began to pack up his pack. They were silent for a long time until they were both ready to go.

"Shouldn't we cover the fire, get rid of any evidence that there was a camp here?"

Athelia looked at him surprised again. She cleared her throat.

"Don't worry spy boy, I spent all morning leading tracks in all different directions, if someone does even find the camp they'll have a hard time picking a one."

Logan stared at her blankly, "Spy boy?"

Athelia chuckled at this, "Just think about it this way, at least I don't think you're evil."

Logan shook his head and began to follow her into the east. And I thought girls back home were confusing.

Hours passed with them moving swiftly through the trees, climbing rocks, across open fields. The terrain reminded him a lot of Hawaii, or images he'd seen of other tropical islands. And the air was getting muggy, he was glad for the cover of trees because he didn't want to burn his skin again.

It wasn't until the approached a quick flowing stream that Athelia called for a break. His muscles burned, his side was tight and pained, and he was panting. The stream called to him, he wanted to plunge his face into the water and drink but he knew better. Instead he pulled out the skin of water that was in his pack and took three big gulps of warm, stale tasting water. It still felt good.

Athelia perched herself on a stone on the edge of the stream, she pulled her sword out and stuck it into the ground next to her, at the ready. Logan stepped back and leaned against a tree, staring off into the shade.

He found himself toying with that necklace yet again. The bronze eye seemed to look back at him, follow his gaze. But nothing seemed magical about it, no glowing edges or symbols, no portals back home. Just a bronze necklace with a cool pattern. But that isn't the case, he found himself thinking, it's the same necklace from my nightmares, the same eye that belonged to that gryphon trapped somewhere. But how had Kaylin come about it. Had he seen it somewhere before and just made up a dream about it? Or did it have something to do with this place, something to do with Kaylin? I wonder how she's doing with all this, probably just wondering where I got off too.

Logan thought about his track meet, it was this weekend, he'd been gone for two days already, I wonder if I'll get back in time to compete. The thought alone sounded ridiculous, but still scared him. He began to drift off into a worry daydream.

He remembered back to just the other day, when Erik and he had stumbled on Kaylin at the creek near his house. They'd heard her singing that song about an evil wolf, one who preyed on the weak and stalked in the shadows. How did it go again? He thought,

He comes, he comes, the Shadowpaw,

He'll put your head into his maw,

And chew your flesh, he likes it raw,

A hunter stalking prey-

He snapped out of his daydream in a heartbeat, he'd just realized that he wasn't just remembering the tune. Athelia was humming the exact same tune. He paused for a moment and listened intently just to be sure.

"Where did you learn that?" He demanded of her.

Athelia stood up slowly and looked at him quizzically. "Learn what?"

"That song you were just humming, how do you know that song?"

Logan stepped in closer, he probably looked crazy but he didn't care. Athelia had a look of worry on her face when out of nowhere a snap in the woods nearby made them both jump. Athelia rounded the rock and removed her sword from the ground, in less time than Logan could think she was already packed and moving across the stream, waving him to follow.

Hastily he grabbed his sack and started to follow, but he couldn't shake the feeling of dread when he heard her humming that.

"Where did you learn that song?" He panted next to her as they ran; the sounds of rustling bushes were following them, someone or something was right behind them. Athelia picked up the pace. "Athelia, how do you know it?" He yelled at her.

"Why do you want to know, we have more pressing things at hand. Now is not the time!" She jumped a small log and Logan followed suit. He found himself staring at her, like he had the first day they met. There was something about the way she acted without hesitation that caught Logan's eye. Even in the middle of running for their lives, again.

Her short dark hair was shimmering in the sun as they moved through a small field. Her dark olive skin with a sheen of sweat, her Lightrunner garb flowing softly with the wind they made. But when she looked over her shoulder, Logan saw real fear in her eye and it snapped him back to the task at hand. There will be time to figure that mystery out, once we get out of this mess. He pushed himself along beside her.

The sounds of footfall and yelling were approaching behind them, Logan knew he was a swift runner and Athelia could outpace him, but whoever was following them was faster. A branch snapped closely behind him and Logan took a glance. Four men, all clad in black, those silk-like mistweave cloaks flowing behind them. They moved faster than Logan would have thought; all with blades drawn. His heart raced and he got a second wind.

Athelia peeled out ahead of him and took the lead as they moved into a thick patch of trees, the palms were denser here, and the brush was thicker, perhaps it would slow them down or maybe they could use it to gain an advantage. Athelia started leaping off of anything that would hold her, rock, stumps, roots; she even swung on a few low branches. She flew across the brush and her speed hadn't changed much at all. Logan was impressed and he was glad he was just as good a runner because otherwise she would have left him in the dust.

Perhaps not as graceful as she, but Logan followed swiftly, keeping pace expertly. This was the one thing he knew he was good at.

The sounds lessened behind them and Logan glanced back, he couldn't make out any of the men. It's working, Logan thought, they can't keep up. Just in front of him he could make out Athelia slowing down, she disappeared through a patch of brush. Logan burst through it and skidded to a halt. In front of them was a low cliff, about twenty feet, and in seemed to stretch in either direction fairly far. Great.

Right when Logan was about to suggest they climb or double back, he felt a whoosh right past his ear and watched a rock thump into the side of Athelia's head, she slumped to the ground, out cold.

His heart climbed into his throat as he turned to see the four men pushing through the brush casually toward him, laughing amongst them.

He froze. He didn't know what to do; he had nowhere to go, the cliff in front of him and the men coming to surround him. He couldn't just leave Athelia there to be taken. He reached down and grabbed her under the arms, began pulling her toward the cliff. He set her there in a sitting position as he heard the men crash through the last bit of brush. Taking a deep breath Logan reached behind Athelia and pulled her sword out of her sheath. He spun around and tried his best to look menacing. He was hoping that he looked like he knew how to use the blade; maybe it would give them pause.

Really? This was a smart idea, Logan thought sarcastically as his hand started shaking, the men slowly made a semi-circle around him, all laughing softly.

"Look at this men, we got ourselves a fighter." The tallest man said, they all chuckled at this as they began toying with Logan. One darted in and slashed at Logan's sword; he jumped out of the way and took the full force of the hit. The vibrations rang down the blade and made his arm muscles vibrate. Still shaking he backed up and stood above Athelia. I wish I knew what I was doing; Athelia groaned underneath Logan, now would be a good time to wake up Amazon.

Another slash at his weapon and Logan's arm already hurt from the impacts. He knew he wouldn't last much longer even if they were toying with him.

The tall one stepped forward and loomed in. He had an ugly face, pocked skin and a disheveled beard and a large scar across his cheek gave him a nasty snarl.

"Enough of this, boy, step aside, save yourself a world of hurt. We just want the girl. You can go back and tell them you tried to save her. You'll get a nice shiny medal." He raised his sword so that it was pointed toward Logan's neck, "Or we can just do this the easy way."

Logan was trembling, his mind was racing as he stood there staring at that sword. Could he do it? Just leave her to be taken and disappear. He could find someone else to help him, she didn't even seem to like him. No one would blame him.

No, he thought, I wouldn't do it, even if it meant my life. I'd always blame myself. The thought surprised him, that he would sacrifice himself for a stranger. He straightened his back and held the sword more firmly. Pointing it back at the tall leader, Logan spoke more confidently then he felt.

"How about option three, you four just leave back the way you came, my friend and I go our own way, and no one has to scrub a bloody sword. I forgot my cleaning kit."

The tall man looked at his fellows for a moment before laughing out loud. Clearly amused by the idea of Logan able to inflict any sort of damage, the man had lowered his sword and sighed.

"Bad move, kid."

Something inside of Logan changed then, he wasn't sure exactly what but his hands stopped shaking and his body calmed, maybe it was realizing he was about to die. He wasn't sure, exactly. Raising Athelia's sword above his shoulder, Logan pulled his arm back and threw it at the leader quickly. The sword sailed the short distance through the air, the man's eyes grew wide as he tried to block the sword, but Logan had acted too quickly.

The sword sunk deep into the man's leg, he'd thrown it harder than he thought. Never did he expect anything like that to happen. Despite inflicting that kind of violence, and now realizing that he was unarmed, Logan laughed outright. He'd surprised even himself.

The man screamed out and sunk to the ground clutching his leg. Logan laughing pushed him over the edge, he was furious.

"Kill him!" The leader yelled to the others. The three men rushed in and Logan crouched down still above Athelia, still protecting her. The first man sprinted in and raised his sword high in the air. Just about to bring it down onto Logan's head, Logan closed his eyes and waited for it. This is it, he thought. And just when he was convinced he was finally going to kick the bucket, another whoosh whipped near his head and made a thunk into something. The man near him grunted painfully and Logan forced his eyes open.

Just two feet in front of him the man that had been standing over Logan about to strike had a spear sticking straight out of his chest. He slumped to the ground lifelessly and his mistweave cloak dispersed immediately, the mist rushing off in all directions. Logan looked up above him to the top of the low cliff just in time to see a man leap off the edge, soar through the air, and land in front of Logan and Athelia. He tucked into a roll for the landing, stood up next to the man with the spear through him and yanked it out, standing at the ready.

He was one of the darkest skinned men Logan had ever seen, tall and lanky. The muscles on his arm tensed impressively as he spread his legs slightly, bent his knees and gripped the spear behind him, tip pointing toward the ground, the haft rising up behind him. The three men remaining all looked stunned. Clearly this was not what they expected.

The injured leader stood up shakily and held his sword out toward this stranger now protecting Logan and Athelia.

"Dawnblade." The leader said almost reverently. The stranger with the spear nodded toward his enemies calmly; almost a taunt in itself.

"I'll have three times the reward when we bring him your head!" All three men rushed in and attacked. This stranger, who they called Dawnblade, moved like lightning, he began spinning the spear expertly parrying and deflecting blows. He moved around in a small arc, his feet always staying in a stance. Logan was in awe of it, watching him thrust and jab, pull back and block, he always seemed to be on the offensive even against three men. One of the men went for a high stab attack and the Dawnblade crouched low and thrust with his spear stabbing the man through the chest. He jabbed quickly and pulled his spear out, the man fell back and his cloak dissipated before he hit the ground. Logan's protector took a bad slice across his forearm as he tried to return to his position. Clearly it wasn't as easy as it looked.

The other man dropped soon after, taking a spear to the gut. The Dawnblade kicked the man off of his spear, but took another small stab to the leg. He cried out in pain but didn't falter. He squared himself in front of the leader, who was still favoring his stabbed leg. Logan's guardian, the raised his spear into the air and slammed it into the ground. Crossing his arms he stared at the man, eyebrow raised. The leader yelled in fury and went in for attack.

Like a lightning bolt, a bird zipped over the Dawnblade's shoulder and slammed into the charging man, knocking him down. Landing on the downed man's chest, the bird, what looked to Logan like an osprey, pecked the man a few times in his face before hopping off and alighting itself on a crossbar on the Dawnblade's spear. The man scooted back alarmed, he looked terrified; taking his chance he turned and sprinted back into the trees.

Logan breathed out a long breath; he didn't realize he was holding it. He stood and stepped out in front of Athelia again. She was beginning to stir a bit, groaning, the bruise on the side of her head was big and swollen. Logan turned to his savior, the man with the spear was trotting over, and his pet osprey flew over and landed next to Athelia. The bird stretched up and nudged Athelia on the cheek a few times, her eyes fluttered open.

"Ouch" was all she said as she looked up at the man with a spear and Logan. She seemed embarrassed. The osprey hopped into the air and flew back onto the cross bar of the spear.

Logan turned to the man and extended his hand.

"Thanks, I didn't think we were gonna make it out of that." The man nodded his head as a bow but didn't shake Logan's hand.

Logan looked at the osprey, dark brown and white coloring in patterns along his body, he had an dark eye band around his white head that had symbols on either side. It was a unique pattern unlike Logan had seen before. Its eyes were speckled orange and yellow and he seemed to be looking right at Logan. It was a majestic animal, Logan had never had the chance to be this close to an osprey before.

Then the osprey cocked its head and spoke.

"Not a bad toss wi' that sword, brotha. Didn' know ye had it in ya. Hah!" The bird seemed to be smiling. He even winked at Logan as he finished speaking. Speaking? Logan looked at Athelia and the Dawnblade and they were all looking at him. He felt the color flush from his face, he felt queasy, cold and lightheaded.This was the last straw for him today. Did a bird just talk to me? He stumbled back away, this is all wrong, this shouldn't exist. I shouldn't be here. Where am I?

Logan felt the edges of his vision go blurry, his head started spinning and he could feel himself falling. Blackness overcame him as he fainted; he was out cold before he hit the ground.