Nazalia woke to the sound of her mother's wails, and she jumped out of bed. She raced to where Anna was standing, and she saw there was a note in her hands. "Mama?" Nazalia asked. Anna looked over at her daughter with fear in her brown eyes, and Nazalia felt a lump grow in her throat. "What is it?"
Anna pointed down the hall. "Go get your father," she ordered her daughter.
"Not before I know what is going on." Nazalia said firmly.
Anna scowled at her daughter. "You will know after you fetch your father."
Nazalia sighed and raced for her parent's room. "Father," she cried out through her panting. Gabriel woke and stared over at his daughter. "Mama told me to come bring you to her."
Gabriel got up and followed Nazalia to the front door, where Anna stood looking very lost. Gabriel touched her arm. "Anna," he said gently.
Anna looked up at her husband. "It's Tyrney," was all she told him as she stared up into his dark eyes. Gabriel took the note from Anna, but she finished her thought. "He's left."
"What?" Nazalia cried out in a disbelieving way.
Anna and Gabriel turned to their daughter. "Nazalia." Gabriel started.
"Why would he run off when Evon--" Nazalia was ranting.
"Evon has disappeared." Gabriel told her.
Nazalia stopped her speech and stared in bewilderment at her father. "He's disappeared? As in--"
"As in he isn't in his room at all." Gabriel told her.
"How," was all Nazalia could say.
Gabriel and Anna shook their heads. "Tyrney believed something took him. I never believed he'd go searching for Evon." Gabriel said quietly. "Who knows how much trouble he'll get into all alone."
Nazalia raced from the room and banged on Benjamin's bedroom door. "Ben, wake up!" She continued to bang on the door until it opened. She nearly fell right into Benjamin, who stared at her with eyes glazed with sleep.
"What's the matter, Nazalia," he asked her as he yawned.
"Tyrney's gone," she replied and watched Benjamin's eyes lose the sleepiness and gain a look of fear.
"It seems Evon has gone missing." Nazalia told him.
Benjamin shook his head. 'The boy was upon death's door, how could he go missing?' Benjamin asked, "How could Evon go missing?"
Nazalia shook her head, which caused her chestnut curls to toss about and drive Benjamin wild. "I don't know how he could go missing, but Tyrney had a feeling something took him. So, he left during the night."
Benjamin felt fear clutch his heart. Tyrney was his best friend, and he was a good hunter, but he was not very good on his own. He and Benjamin had always been a team, and that worked well. Alone, Benjamin held his own against vampires but a few things he didn't have the best training for. Werewolves were one of his concerns, but having been a team with Tyrney made that threat considerably minute. "Your brother is in danger, Nazalia." Benjamin told her.
"I know," she replied.
"And, I must go after him."
"What?" Nazalia asked horrified. She had already had a heavy heart from the disappearance of her older and younger brother, and she didn't want to lose her love as well. "You can't go."
Benjamin held Nazalia by the shoulders. "Benjamin is my best friend, I can't let something happen to him."
"I don't want to lose you also, Ben." Nazalia admitted.
"Then come with me." Benjamin suggested more to be polite than to be serious.
"All right." Nazalia agreed. She liked knowing that she could help rescue at least Tyrney; she believed that Evon was all ready dead, so Tyrney's life was her first concern.
Benjamin was a little taken back that she agreed to come so easily and could only say, "Okay." He went into his room and began to fill his bag with supplies. Nazalia headed to the bathing room to freshen up before packing.
By afternoon, Benjamin and Nazalia had freshened up and packed supplies. The only problem they had was getting past Anna and Gabriel. "Are you sure you want to leave them here this way?" Benjamin asked Nazalia as he slung his back over his shoulder. "They are pretty sorrow stricken right now."
"I must find Tyrney. They can grieve less with his return because I have brought back one of their sons."
"I'm not so sure they will see it that way. They will see it as losing their daughter and completing the loss of all their children. That is a heavy burden to put upon them." Benjamin said as he and Nazalia slipped outside
Nazalia stared Benjamin dead in the face. "You suggested I come, and I want to. Don't talk me out of this. I need to know that Tyrney is all right. I need to know my brother is all right, Ben. I can save Tyrney, and I am able to save him. I won't let him die out there because I was too caught up in my life, like I let happen with Evon." Tears sprung to Nazalia's eyes, and Benjamin brushed the tears on her cheeks away.
"It's all right. I just wanted to confirm that you were serious about coming." Benjamin said as he freed Nazalia's horse then his own horse from the stables.
They mounted the black horses and Benjamin nudged Shadow. He took off, and Nazalia had her horse follow Benjamin. She felt guilty for leaving, especially without a note, but she had to do something. She didn't want to sit in the manor and constantly worry if she would ever see Benjamin, or Tyrney, again. She would rather ride after her brother and beg for her parent's forgiveness later.
Benjamin followed a fresh path of horse hoove prints, and he knew they belonged to Tyrney's horse. He rode quickly through the woods with a hightened sense of danger in the air. He glanced back at Nazalia often just to make sure she was all right, then he would quicken the pace his horse went. He looked into the trees and saw movement. He knew it wasn't a vampire because he could sense vampires from very far away. It wasn't a werewold either, but it had to be an evil creature. "Nazalia, something is out there. Keep your eyes open."
"Will do." Nazalia replied as she scanned the trees for what Benjamin spoke of. She caught sight of creatures with wings, large creatures with wings. She looked closer and saw they were griffins, and anger filled her body. She stopped her horse and drew her revolvers.
Benjamin noticed that Nazalia had stopped, so he rode back over to her. "What are you doing," he asked in a hush.
Nazalia shot him a look that had pure rage in it. "There are griffins out there."
Benjamin pulled her arm. "We don't have time to deal with those things."
Nazalia pulled her arm out of Benjamin's hold. "I want revenge on them."
Benjamin sighed. "These aren't the ones that injured Evon. You all ready killed those griffins. Let these be now. We have to find Tyrney."
Nazalia glanced at Tyrney then at the griffins. Over and over again she glanced between her love and the creatures she had a personal vendetta with. She then put her revolvers away and chose Benjamin's path. "You are right. Tyrney needs us now."
Benjamin nodded and rode forward again, with Nazalia right beside him. She was struggling with the hate for the griffins, but Benjamin knew she wouldn't turn back. He'd steered her onto the right path by mentioning Tyrney. Nazalia had a problem declining anything that helped her brothers, she always had. As a child, she would try her best to keep Tyrney from going out on rides just because he had fallen into a hole once. She also had protected Evon with her life as a child, and Benjamin knew she regretted not doing that for Evon as a teenager.
Nazalia watched Benjamin as he rode. He was so serious, and that made her lust for him more. His curly blonde hair was being tossed about by the ride, but Nazalia didn't mind. She wished she could see Benjamin's lucious green eyes, but she felt a pleasant shiver go down her spine at the thought of Benjamin's eyes. Nazalia's lust for Benjamin had made her temporarily forget her troubles, except her trouble with why Benjamin didn't return her flirting. 'I don't understand him,' she thought. 'The men in the village are interested in me and winning my lust. But, Benjamin has my lust and doesn't even seem to care. I wish he cared. I so wish he cared.'
Nazalia was dragged from her fantasizing about Benjamin when he stopped his horse suddenly. Nazalia had to quickly do the same just to keep from passing Benjamin up. "What's going on," she asked.
Benjamin stared down the path to the left then to the path that continued straight. "Would Tyrney had turned," he asked more to himself that to Nazalia.
"Why would he go that way?"
Benjamin glanced over to Nazalia. "It depends on where he wanted to go. Stories say that more evil resides in the path to the left than straight."
"So?" Nazalia asked pushing a strand of curls behind her ear.
"So, he may have went down the path full of evil to find the evil that took your brother." Benjamin replied as he stared intently on the left path.
Nazalia stared as far down the path as she could see and shuddered at the thought of entereing that path. "I think he went straight," she lied just to get out of going down that path.
Benjamin didn't turn to her as he told her, "Saying that just because you're scared doesn't make it the right way to go."
Nazalia stared at Benjamin with her mouth open. "How'd you know that?"
Benjamin turned to face her. "My sense have heightened more the past few months, and I can sense fear."
Benjamin turned down the rode. "I'm going down that way." He turned to Nazalia and told her, "You don't have to follow me if you don't want to."
Nazalia shook her head. "I'm not letting you go in there by yourself," she told him. "Besides, we are going after Tyrney. If he went that way, so must we."
Benjamin nodded at her then steered his horse in that direction. The horse was tense, but so was he. There was a dark evil that resided down that path, or so the stories told. Benjamin never wanted to know if the stories were correct, but he had no choice. He turned to make sure Nazalia was right with him, and he felt a little better knowing that he wouldn't be alone to face what might come along that path.