Chapter 7

To Pam, the two days seemed to pass by quickly. At first she had wanted to make amends with Mitzi, but finding difficulty in learning to hold her body weight, she had been forced to focus on becoming accustom to her new size instead. Even now, as the day of their departure drew near, Pam was still struggling to control her body as easily as she had wanted to. When her body had first changed, she had been able to walk easily, but now the magic had worn off and she no longer had it supporting her, she felt rather helpless.

"Don't worry about it." Galvin said when he saw Pam rubbing her leg as she tried to move it, "You'll be riding the horse, just focus on keeping yourself sat up right and you'll be fine."

Pam sat back down and sighed, Galvin had mentioned this before, but she didn't want to be reliant on others, even if it was a horse. She lay back on the bed to rest as the pains in her body began to throb and become unbareable.

"Why does it hurt so much?" She muttered to herself as she stared up at the ceiling, "Even if my body grew bigger, it shouldn't hurt this much." Pam was startled as Buona's hand clasped on her forehead and began to stroke her hair back in a comforting pattern. "Hey, Buona." Pam said grabbing the hand lightly to stop it moving. "Why..."

"...does it hurt?" Buona said finishing her sentence as she took back her hand and used it to smear an ointment on Pam's back to relieve the pain. "It's not like your original body grew, but more like you gained a new body." She explained as she turned Pam over and began to rub the ointment on her back whilst being careful not to get it on her tail. "Of course, the muscles in your body will take some time to gain strength. Just give it some time."

Pam sighed and scowled at the bed head in front of her. She knew that it could possibly take months before she could move around normally, but time wasn't really something she had a lot of either. She had already come to decide that she would blame all her pain on Roald, though she already knew that this was something which would have happened anyway, she just felt more at ease when there was someone to blame. She sighed and looked through the door of the room towards the dining room where Galvin was sat drinking a tankard of ale whilst discussing the plans with Ninian. She knew herself that since that day, she had made it hard on the others, yet they would not blame her for her outbursts. Even though she was in pain she still regretted her attitude over the past couple of days, they had only been trying to help her, but she had returned their kindness with anger, even now she still felt frustrated, but she had calmed down a little as the pain had become less with time.

Pam looked in the mirror beside her and felt she looked pitiable. Her clothes were deshelved and her face looked sour. Buona had finished rubbing the ointment into her back and had now left to work in the kitchen leaving her alone with her thoughts. Placing her hands on the bed she pushed herself up onto her knees and sat on her heels staring into the mirror. She readjusted her top and pulled up her shorts back over her tail before flicking it through the modified hole in the back. The style was different to her usual style and left her stomach exposed, apparently Ninian had chosen them on a whim, but the lack of extra fabric covering her legs did help by causing less restraint on her movement. She giggled quietly to herself as she thought about it. Though Ninian often acted uncaring, she had noticed that he did seem to do a lot of things that he didn't need to, and every time he would come back and act as if it was an accident or as if it was nothing important. Lying here and watching for the last couple of days she had learnt many things about her kidnappers, until now she had been too mixed up in what was happening, she had never really had the time to stop and think about them. It was true that they had kidnapped her, and to most people that would make them seem like bad people, but now, she didn't seem to be able to think that of them. As time went on she had realized that they were actually good people, but she wondered why these people would want to put themselves at risk. When they had met, they had told her they were searching for their friends, this was probably one of the things that had helped her to trust them initially, but now they seemed to have given up on that goal and seemed to be more interested in taking her back with them.

Now she thought about it, they had often mentioned something called the Tulevik. The Tulevik were a radical group whose name stood as a symbol of their goal to create a future where all kins could live as equals once more, a noble dream Pam thought, but there were also rumours that they were really a bunch of bandits who stole from everyone without distinction; cutthroats, murders, thieves, they would stop at nothing to oppose the Kuma clan, even now Pam had her doubts about seeing them.

"Hey Ninian." Pam said as he entered the room. "Are the rumours about Tulevik true?" She asked, Ninian froze for a second then looking back to make sure his dad wasn't listening he closed the door and sat in front of her to talk at a whisper.

"It's true that there are many in Tulevik now who seem to use it as an excuse to do bad things." He said leaning forward slightly. "However, for the most part, they won't harm anyone who isn't of the Kuma clan so you can at least feel safe there." Ninian then stood up and began to walk towards the door once more. "Don't let Galvin hear you thought." Ninian whispered once more. "He does not take kindly to anyone saying bad things about the Tulevik." With that he turned and opened the door to leave again.

At nightfall Pam was lead outside with her arm on Kyrena's shoulders. Just outside the door she saw 3 horses and a mule, upon two of the horses were Ninian and Galvin, the other was saddled and empty ready for her to get on, and the mule was packed with supplies for the journey. Galvin had said that a mule was a must have to carry all their luggage as their backs were stronger than horses, but it also meant that they would have to go slower so it could keep up and the horses might get restless because of it. The horses were also so they could get away quickly should they need to, in which case the mule would be left behind. As she was lifted onto the horse she looked at the mule who seemed to be rather moody now it had all the extra weight to carry and she couldn't help feeling sorry for it.

"Here, put these on." Kyrena said placing a boot on either of her feet before putting them in the stirrups. "Your feet might be better for running on, but it's no good if they get cold, so you should at least keep them covered." She then handed Pam a blanket and stepping back smiled ready to wave them off.

"All right." Galvin called tapping his horse lightly on the backside and indicating the others to do the same. It was at that point that Mitzi came running out in front of him yelling for him to wait. "Woah child." Galvin said pulling the reins of the horse back to stop it. "Don't run out in front like that, it's dangerous."

Mitzi ignored him and ran around to Pam's horse, she reached up and placed a small object in her hand and stepped back with a smile, though her face was covered with tears. "Take that with you." She said wiping her eye with the back of her hand. "You better come back, you hear?"

Pam looked down at the object and smiled, it was a small wooden carving, though its quality was not very good, she could tell that the shape was that of a wolf howling up at the moon.

"I'll keep it safe." Pam said hugging it happily. "I'll make sure I come back, until then, will you wait for me?"

Mitzi nodded and they all set off up the road and over the hill. As they crossed the brow of the hill the house disappeared and Pam looked out ahead of them, as far as the eye could see, the valley below them was covered in trees. The forest of Kadunud, a place that was said to be forever cast in darkness, there was no day and it took 3 days to cross from one side to the other. However, the darkness was not the only thing to be worried about, the forest was said to be enchanted so that any traveller who did not know the way would find themselves lost within it, a fate from which very few return.

"Stick close to me." Galvin stated as they reached the border of the wood half an hour later. "If we get separated..." He stopped and sniffed the air, a thick smell of burning wood was floating down from the top of the hill and turning they could see a pillar of black smoke rising from behind the crest of the hill.

"Pam! Wait!" Galvin called chasing after Pam who had already turned her horse and was galloping off back up the hill. "Ninian, wait here, I'll go bring her back." He called as he left. Pam could already hear the sounds of crackling, and the loud whiney of horses, reaching the top of the hill she stared down at the sight of the house burning, it was surrounded by uniformed soldiers on horseback watching it burn and three figures outside the door represented the 3 inhabitants. Two of which were lying motionless on the floor and the smallest seemed to be sat shaking in front of a man with a tall hat and spear covered in blood.

"Where did they go." Pam heard the man saying as she waited at the top of the hill and listened closely to the ones bellow. "Three fugitives were reported to have been staying here, where are they now?" The man's voice was deep and full of malice, just hearing him made Pam shiver and freeze with fear.

"They left!" Mitzi called through sobs, "I don't know where they're going, they wouldn't tell me."

"Lies." The man hissed pointing the spear towards her. "Tell me where they went, or you'll end up like the two corpses either side of you." Mitzi's eyes looked up the hill and fell upon the outline of Pam's figure stood side on looking down from above. Pam could see her face clearly as she smiled and turned towards the man and shook her head. "Even if I knew, I would not tell you."

The man growled at her with annoyance and pushed the blade of his spear deep into Mitzi before removing it and making her flop onto the floor before him. "Sergeant!" He called turning to another decorated man behind him. "Make sure this mess is cleaned up, I'm going to..." He paused as his eyes fell upon Pam at the top of the hill and they both stared at each other.

"Pam, hurry, we need to get out of here." Galvin called from just below her, he had just arrived and noticed the soldiers below. "Hurry!"

Pam looked back at the man who seemed to be smiling menacingly at her, and as she turned her horse she heard the shouts of the men followed by the loud thunder of hooves chasing towards them. Side-by-side, Galvin and Pam's horses charged down the hill and Pam looked around to see the guards coming over the hill some distance behind them, they were catching and at the front leading the charge was that man, the large scar on his face making him look more and more menacing as he got closer. His hat flew off his head revealing a main of long black hair matching his neatly trimmed beard.

"Dyfan." Galvin muttered to himself. "Of all the people to run into, it had to be him." Pam looked at Galvin then back at the man charging towards them. She had never heard of Dyfan before, but she had heard him described many times around the mansion. The servants often spoke of a man with pitch black hair and piercing eyes who lead the local forces, it was said that he was a dangerous person who hated the other kins, he was unmatched on the battlefield and enjoyed killing as if it was some sort of sport. He was a man who had often given the children nightmares, but she hadn't believed that anyone could really kill with such lack of mercy, until she finally saw him.

"Ninian!" Galvin shouted as he came into view, he had noticed them charging down the hill and was already getting back into his Saddle. "Into the woods! Quickly!" As they charged past the hill they met up with Ninian who joined them as they fled into the woods.

"They won't chase us in here." Ninian said trying to comfort Pam as they slowed down to navigate through the trees.

"Don't be so sure." Galvin retorted frantically searching for direction in the maze of trees which to Pam all seemed to look the same. "Dyfan is with them. He won't stop just because of Kadunud." His eyes stopped and he lead the way through the trees encouraging his horse to go faster than it wanted to through the tight trees, closely followed by Ninian and Pam.

After many hours Galvin stopped and got down from his horse. "We should be safe here for now." He said patting his horse as he tied it up. "We can't keep going with the horses in this shape anyway, we have to let them rest." Ninian nodded and climbed off his horse as well which he tied up alongside Galvins while Galvin lead Pam's horse over and tied it up for her. After Ninian helped her down and she was helped to sit on one of the logs, Galvin turned to face her, she could tell from his face he was furious and though he tried to keep his voice low, to Pam it still boomed as if he was shouting because of her ears sensitivity. "What do you think you were doing!" he bellowed while Ninian looked frantically around them to make sure no one was coming. "You know we're being pursued, and yet you run off without us, and what's more you run straight out in front of the enemy without thinking. If you're going to throw your life away, at least don't get us involved next time."

Pam looked up at him and shivered with fear, then began to wipe her tears as the seriousness of her actions began to take hold and make her cry. "I...I'm sorry." She replied sniffing, "But, everyone...they killed everyone." She sat and cried while the others remained silent, finally Galvin sighed and placed his hand on Pam's shoulder.

"I'm sorry I shouted at you." He apologized and then helped lay her down on the grass beside her. "But, you have to promise me. You won't run off like that again, you are important to us as well, we don't want you putting yourself in danger like that anymore." He patted her head and sat on the log where Pam had just been sitting and looked off into the darkness. "You need to calm down a little, get some sleep while the horses or resting, Ninian and I will keep an eye out, we'll wake you when it's time to go."

Pam looked up at him, as Galvin mentioned it, she suddenly found herself to be getting very sleepy, though the was more she wanted to say she couldn't keep her eyes open, and before she knew it she drifted off into sleep.