It started to rain. Feather only paused running to wipe wet hair out of her eyes. But she kept running. Only once she slipped, teeth clicking together painfully. Finally, she stood in the edge of a clearing.

The arachnae was crawling towards a figure. Feather shaded her eyes, keeping the water away. She paled when she saw who it was.

The elf scout stood there. A gem at his throat lit up in grey, wrapping around the creature. It let out a shriek before the energy ripped it in half. Edith was left, the energy wrapping around her. She looked pale, eyes closed, the slight rise and fall of her chest being the only signal she was alive.

He was so still...

"LET HER GO!"

The soldier's attention snapped to her as Feather ran into the clearing.

"I SAID, LET HER GO!"

Edith was dropped to the ground. Instead, the energy wrapped around her neck. Feather yelped, hands rising to her neck as her feet skidded across the ground. She stopped when she was hovering in front of him. "If you want the talisman so bad, just take it! But leave us alone!"

"I'm not after the talisman."

He sounded young, not much older than her.

"I'm after you. You see, the talisman will be useless without you." The energy tightened around her neck, irritating the bruises already there. "You will be the one to kill my father, the Elf King."

"Whoever he is, I'll leave him alone! Promise!"

He burst into laughter. When he was done, he smirked at her. "I don't want you to leave him alone. I want to help you destroy him." The prince reached out, stroking her cheek with one metal finger. The metal was cool against her skin. "Together, we can free Ioriolan from him. You can finish what your great-grandfather started."

They had walked into a war. Her family was in a war.

A war he was trying to recruit her for.

A sob burst out before she could stop it. "Just leave us alone."

He frowned. "I'll make this easy on you." Something appeared over his shoulder. It looked like a clump of smoke, shifting through shades of purple and pink. Only the yellow eyes with slit pupils remained constant. "This is Ewine."

It hovered in front of her, before wrapping around her head. Feather stilled, before it tighten. Pain roared up, ripping a scream from her throat.

"When he enters your brain, you won't have to think anymore. No more anger. No more fear or pain."

"No more anger. No more fear. No more pain. Just focus..."

Her eyes lit up in blue. Fear blossomed in the prince's face. She stretched out her arms, blue energy sparking to life around her talisman.

Ewine didn't stand a chance.

Pieces of the creature scattered around, washed away by the rain. The grey energy was yanked away. She glared at him, stretching a finger. Blue slammed him away. He skidded across the ground, blood leaking from his nose.

"Kill him."

"Wait! You're making a huge mistake!"

"He hurt your family. Make him pay!"

Feather prepared to wrap a tendril...but paused. The blue faded from her eyes. She softly landed, gripping the talisman. "No."

"You're making a big mistake, mistress."

She turned to him. "Run. And stay away from my family."

He nodded, getting to his feet. Turning, the prince ran away from her. Feather sighed, turning back to her mother. It was hard work, but soon Edith was slumped on her daughter's back. The teenager walked, grunting at her mother's weight.

"FEATHER!"

Lowell and Reynard appeared.