IV

THE MALE CHARGED FIREKEEPER, as she gave him one last chance before having to resolve to what she dreaded. As he leapt for her, Firekeeper took the hilt of her knife as hard as she could into the lower left flank of the wolf and knocked him out of the way from hitting her. As he began to get up and shake off his disorientation Firekeeper stood over him, then realizing that he was beat, the wolf cringed before her.

"Now," Firekeeper said, "will you submit?" The wolf took a hesitant gaze at her, then with what was left of his pride trotted off into the brush. Firekeeper began to feel the toll that that skirmish took on her body. She then took was left of her strength and managed to climb up to a tree branch and began to doze.

"AT THIS PACE WE SHOULD MANAGE TO MAKE EAGLES NEST by nightfall." Blind Seer stated.

"We're going through the city of Eagles Nest?" Derian asked.

"Why not," Blind Seer replied, "and besides, when's the last time you have seen your family?" Now that Derian thought about is, he hadn't seen any of his family since the day Derian departed to be ambassador of Hawk Heaven a few seasons past. The Derian remembered how they ventured to the Nexus Islands and underwent querinalo. Derian thought about this as he rubbed his hair, as it felt like a horse's main. "But I can't see my family," Derian objected, "at least, not with the way I look now, besides, we will be walking through a crowed city, I look worse than-."

"Derian," Blind Seer interrupted, "after you explain your situation, they will surely accept the changes in your physical form, but you are still Derian, and that hasn't changed, the spell affects both those with any sort of ability to wield sorcery and those with the slightest bit of talent, ant that is exactly what happened to you. You where attacked by the spell when you entered through the gate."

"But how will I explain the gates, we used mag—"

"That's because it was absolutely necessary and only way for us to get to the islands"

"What about walking though the city—"

"It will be plenty late at night, there will be few roaming the streets at that hour, and with the cloak of darkness, you will look just like another passerby."

With that last little bit of motivation instilled in Derian's confidence the rest of the day was traveled in silence. As dusk settled they were upon over a hill where they looked down on the outskirts of the city and only the tallest of buildings on the horizon. "Eagle's Nest shore has grown in the years that we have been gone." Derian remarked. "Yah," Blind Seer grunted in reply, "and we are here earlier than I anticipated" They made their way down to the ex-carter's family's house, Derian knocked on the door only to end up being dragged in by his belt by the enormous grey wolf.

Demita was the one to, "Derian, is that you? You came on such short notice if we would of known you were coming we would of prepared."

"That's alright, we departed on short noticed." Derian said as Demita began to stoke a fire to brew a kettle of tea, then briskly walked back to the two to then greet Blind Seer. "So, you've been keeping this boy in line?" She said jokingly to the wolf. Blind Seer thumped his tale in agreement, then nudged his large head against her hand. Then after all settled down did Demita noticed the way Derian looked, "say, what happened to your face, you look like a horse." Just as Derian began to tell the story he had rehearsed in his head in the day prior to stopping by, hit parents walked into the room. "You're back from the ball! And just in perfect timing to, look who showed up."

"Ball?" Derian asked. "Yah," Demita answered, "the king set up a dance, sort of like a ball fore those who make lesser income"

Instantly, Derian's father noticed his changes. Derian then got into the story starting from the time Derian talked with Firekeeper after returning to u-Seeheera to the gates, all the way into the fever, to winning the islands from the old world. "Well now, that's an interesting story you've got there, Derian. I'm glad to see you alright and unchanged, at least, personality wise. Just one thing's bothering me? Where is Lady Blysse, surely she's with you, after all, I've never seen her without Blind Seer, and vise versa."

Derian sighed, "That's the reason we are here, this is just a stop on the way to the past the Iron Mountains, she's somewhere out there. To be honest, I'm not sure where, and neither does Blind Seer, and actually, he traveled all the way back to the Nexus Islands to ask me to come with him and help with what ever he , or his pack, needs."

"How did you manage to know what Blind Seer wants? Demita asked, "It must of been hard figuring it out, how do you understand him so well?" Derian looked over at Blind Seer who was resting in front of the hearth, "may I?" Derian asked. Knowing where this conversation is going Blind Seer answered, "Yes, if that is the only way to explain it." Derian went into how they discovered that Blind Seer had the ability, and what he did to let Derian understand his speech. "Do you think he can do that for the rest of us?" Demita asked. "Not likely, you have to remember, the beasts West of the Mountains dislike magic a lot more than we do, and given the circumstances where not there, he probably wouldn't of did what he did for me."

"Well," Derian's father cut in, "I think it would be best of we called it a night, since you will be continuing your journey tomorrow, best you get you rest."

Derian was preparing for bed when he heard the door nudged open. "Your sister Demita is very persistent, isn't she?" It was blind Seer. "What was it that she was doing?"

"She insisted that I rest inside, where it would be more 'comfortable.' I prefer to sleep out in the straw, it is comfortable enough, and retains heat." Blind Seer answered. Derian chuckled to himself at this. "Guess you will have to take advantage of the spare bed in here." Doing so, Blind Seer leapt onto the bed adjacent to the one Derian was sitting on. "I will have to admit, this bed is just a bit more comfortable than the straw. I Originally thought humans slept on beds because they could not merely stand sleeping on the ground on is a pile of straw, I guess," he said as he let out a Wolfish yawn, "the more comfortable you are, the more rested you are for the day ahead."