"Let's go Zane," his mother called to him. The little brown haired boy looked up at the face of his mother. Not an overly beautiful woman, she was of average stature and build, but to Zane, she was the most beautiful thing in the world. She smiled and reached for his hand so that they could walk back home and she could fix supper for the family, much like she did every night. Zane grabbed her hand and began to try and run, but she laughed and pulled him up by one arm, quickly grabbing the other and both mother and son began laughing as Zane kept trying to run in midair.
When they arrived at their home, Zane rushed through the house to the back so he could help pick the vegetables for the night's dinner. He grabbed some carrots, peppers and some low ears of corn and rushed back in to his mother. He handed her the vegetables and ran to go wash his hands for dinner.
"Mom, can Mica come over for dinner tonight? She hasn't been feeling well and I wanna make her feel better." Zane asked as he came back into the kitchen. His mother nodded and dialed the number on the phone and invited Mica and her family over. As she hung up the phone, she saw Zane trying to stir the pot, but as he pulled his spoon out, he tipped the bowl over. As the bowl was about to fall off of the stove, Daphne grabbed it and saved Zane. He never could understand just how she did some of the things she did, but he was thankful for it.
Finally dinner time arrived and the guests arrived. Mica walked on wobbly legs, still tired from her nap. Zane ran over and grabbed her hand, dragging her to his room while the adults sat and talked and set up the table. Once the children were out of the room, Daphne began talking.
"What is the latest word on the front lines?" "Well, it's not looking good Daph, we're losing more and more people every day, and we're not getting enough people to continue the fight" Mica's dad said, shaking his head and sitting in a chair. Just as he finished speaking, Marcus walked in the room, "Ah that's crap and you know it John. We can't be losing that many people every day, and if we are, He should be losing them just as fast, if not faster. Our warriors are better trained and better prepared for the battle than he has ever prepared someone."
"Yea, that's true Marc, but the fact still remains he controls the Shadows," at the mention of this word, everyone in the room shuddered, "And, we have no idea what his plans are. He finds every spy and gets more info on us." Marcus just shook his head and grabbed a bowl of the stew that Daphne had made. "Well, come on, the kids are out and about and I haven't put the training equipment up yet. Zane, Mica, Jo, get down here and eat!" he called up the stairs of the house.
Zane and Mica came running down the stairs, but as they rounded the last corner, Zane lost his footing and fell down the remaining three steps. Marcus looked on as Zane cried, but he made no effort to comfort his son. "Zane, if you cry every time you get a scrape, you'll be crying your whole life, get up and come eat. Wipe your arm off before you sit down though" and he threw a towel at Zane. Zane looked up at his father, and while he knew that his father was not trying to be mean, he had hurt Zane's feelings, but he wouldn't let his father know that, he just dried his eyes and wiped his arm. Mica went to help him, but he just shrugged her off and sat down, just as Joseph was walking down the stairs. "Has the crybaby been at it again?" he asked in Zane's general direction. "I'm NOT a crybaby Jo, stop calling me that!" Zane yelled at his brother, "Boys, settle down and eat, your dinner is getting cold and Jo, you have a special day ahead of you tomorrow, so you need your sleep." Daphne called over her shoulder, shaking her head. She could not help but wonder when her two boys had stopped being nice to each other and had begun to fight and argue. It seemed like it was an overnight thing, one day they were the most loving family, and the next it seemed like they hated each other.
After dinner was over, Jo went straight off to his room and Zane and Mica helped their parents clean the kitchen. "Zane, take Mica out in the backyard, it's time for one of our meetings." John called over his shoulder. Zane grabbed Mica's hand again and went outside to star gaze with his best friend.
As the kids went outside, Daphne muttered a few words while walking around the kitchen and turned to the group, "Ok, we're safe. They can't come in and no one can hear." She sat down around the table and pressed a button and the top of the table disappeared and a map took form where the wood had been moments ago. "Well, where do you want to start General?" John asked, directing his question to Marcus. "Let's see, we have a strong presence in this world, but let's check the Spirit Realm, that was where we were losing the most people according to the reports." At the mention of Spirit Realm, the map automatically changed. "Looks like we have a strong presence in the Southern half, but He controls the North. We have to break through somehow. How many teams have we sent in to scout around and infiltrate, Jack?"
"About 15, if I read the reports correctly." "And how many have reported back?" "Two. No one is sure if the others were captured and killed or are just biding their time to contact us, or worse, were turned against us." "I don't know that I can handle having anymore traitors. It gets harder and harder every time, especially when I was the one to train them." Marcus said, tears glistening in his eyes. In his mind, memories of watching the life leave the eyes of his students flashed through his mind. The memory of almost losing Daphne to one of his favorite and most trusted students almost brought tears to his eyes. Remembering his sword went through the armor of the poor kid and horror as he saw the cloud of evil leave his eyes. Marcus shook his head to clear the memories and to get himself back on track. Daphne walked over to her husband and put her arms around him. "It's ok Marc, they knew it had to be done, and they wouldn't have wanted anyone else to do it but you" she whispered in his ear. "Right, now, if we have a good hold in Draconmere, can we attack Shalod from there?"
As the adults were having their meeting, Zane and Mica grabbed a blanket out of Zane's tree house and laid it down. "Zane, why do you sit out here and star gaze? It's freezing out here." Zane smiled at his friend, and took off his jacket to give to her. "Because, I can learn so much from just watching things Mica. I can see what animals are out at night, what hunts and what hides, and I can learn from the stars as they speak to us." Mica smiled at his last statement, because neither she nor anyone else knew what he was talking about when he said the stars spoke. Mica lay on her back and gazed up at the stars. "The Eagle, The Cat, The Dog, The Spear, The Sword, The Shield…." as she spoke, she pointed to each of the constellations that she saw. "Yea, but it's not a Dog Mica, it's a Wolf." Zane corrected her, smiling. "How do you know Mr. Smarty-pants?" she threw back at him, she never did like when he knew more than her. "Because, She told me." was his response. Before Mica could ask who she was, her parents were at the door, calling for her to come inside so they could leave. Mica waved by to Zane and hugged his parent's goodbye. Zane waved to everyone as Mica and her family walked out of his house.
A/N Hey all, thanks for reading this far! I hope that you will keep going. I hope that you enjoyed it and if you have any ideas for me, review or send me a message, I'm always willing to listen! -Z