Daine closed her eyes, weary to the bone. She rolled over onto her stomach, then onto her side, then back to her stomach. With a sigh she got up. Ever since Darius's death, she'd had a hard time sleeping.

Hunger avoided her, as did laughter.

She knew her friends had begun to worry, but she was in mourning. It had scarcely been a week since the battle that had robbed her friend of his life.

She looked around at the camp she was staying in. Alanna's tent had a light inside, and Numair's had snoring.

No one would notice if she took a short walk. Sliding on her clothes (a difficult feat in the dark) she set off.

The soil was cool under her bare feet, as dead as the silence that filled the air. Silence for humans. Daine knew better. The girl opened her mind to the sounds of the night. Bats overhead, owls in the dark.

She could use a quick fly around the dense woods. Human clothes dropped from Daine's slim frame, feathers covering exposed skin. Her mouth hardened into a beak, she gave a shrill cry and took flight.

Owl eyes scanned the snowy ground. The breeze ruffled feathers as she ducked down, loving the thrill. She pulled up, grinning as best as an owl can.

You get back right this minute! Cloud's voice echoed in her mind.

But I just started-

I don't care what you started! The humans noticed you'd gone! Come back!

Daine turned back around; looking for where she'd abandoned her clothes. She dressed reluctantly, and headed back to camp.

"Could you give us some warning next time?" Alanna yelled upon seeing the girl.

"Sorry." she mumbled. "I just wanted to fly…"

"In the middle of the night?"

"I-I couldn't sleep. Is that a crime now?"

Alanna's purple eyes softened. "I'm sorry Daine. Just tell us next time. Maybe leave a note? In times of war no one should go anywhere outside camp without any notice."

In times of war. That's what they always say! It's just me they worry 'bout. It's always me.

The brunette nodded and returned to her bedroll. She was still tired, but maybe she would sleep this time.

When Daine got up the next morning she found Alanna was already up and had set about making breakfast. Bacon sizzled in a pan she held above a fire, and tea simmered in a kettle.

"We're needed just north of here. About a day or so's ride." The knight informed her. "There're rolls in that bag there if you don't want bacon."

Still half asleep, the younger girl trudged over to the bags Alanna had pointed to and fished out her breakfast.

After she'd finished eating (barely half of a roll) Numair decided to wake up. He was surprisingly cheerful for so early in the morning.

"Alright, who are you and what've you done with Numair?" Alanna demanded, taking another piece of bacon.

The mage laughed. "Am I really that bad in the mornings?"

Daine smiled. This was where she belonged. Her family.

A branch cracked. Daine jumped, recognizing the sound of an approaching basilisk. Tkaa had become an excellent asset to the army as both fighter and a messenger.


Hurry! The whispery voice in her mind urged. There's a Rider group not a mile away who need Master Numair. They say it's urgent!

Daine relayed the message to her friends as she packed

Nuamir sighed and stood to do the same. "It's probably about that spell I wanted to know about. Their mage thought he had it figured out."

Daine closed her eyes. Traveling again. She hated war.