Author's Note: This story will be another one of my attempts at extending the length. I love reviews, new friends, pen pals, input, and just people reading my stuff.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters.

As an outsider, it may have seemed a rather odd gathering. Among the individuals, there was a King, Queen, Black Mage, Wild Mage, Basilisk, Badger, dragon, marmoset, a Baron, Lady Knight, a Horse Mistress, a Healer, and a Spy. But as an insider, you were surrounded by friends and family.

Jonathan, the king of Tortall, had requested the presence of his highest ranking officials and his most trusted comities. He began to speak softly and calmly.

"By now, I am sure that most of you are expecting something dire, for I rarely call all of you together at once.

"You have all been informed of Illyria's plans to overrule Tortall. I will be needing my best arms men to fight. That requires Alanna, Daine, the Queen's Own, and your own troop Alanna. I've spoken to the rest of you as to where your skills are most required. I've been having difficulty as to where Master Numair shall go", he said, pausing to glance at Numair.

Numair sighed and ran his hand over his long hair slowly.

"I suppose I'd be useful in both places. But if they came into contact with magics, they'd be somewhat stuck."

The King nodded.

"The other palace mages could hold their own, if anything were to happen, until you return. This is what I have been keeping you in reserve for."

Numair nodded, setting the decision of his placement.

"You ship out after midday" he finished.

The room exited and the people headed towards their quarters to prepare for what was coming.

"Daineā€¦" Onua spoke. "When you have finished packing, I'll need your help checking and preparing the mounts."

"I'll be quick" the girl replied, and headed towards her room underneath the boys dormitories.

Entering the dinning hall, the clamor of voices surrounded him. He scanned the vertical lines of tables and smiled when his eyes found what he had been looking for.

Daine had placed herself at a table with Alanna, George, and Onua. She was bent over a piece of parchment, scribbling away. Numair moved to the table and sat down beside her, with his cat like, yet unsure movements.

"There you are" Daine said, looking up from her writing. "I was wondering when you would get here."

"I had to speak with the other mages about some details."

She nodded in response and continued her work.

"What, may I inquire, are you working at so diligently?"

"I am writing to Kaddar. I wanted to respond to his latest letter before we leave, since I don't know when we will be returning."

Numair made a face. He liked the young Emperor, he did. He didn't like his closeness to Daine was all. Perhaps it is one of those alpha male things. Kaddar knew the Numair and Daine belonged to each other.

Daine just rolled her eyes at him. "I don't want him to worry."

The group glanced up when the bell struck midday. It was time to be heros.