Sunday, February 26, 2012

Star looks up from her papers as Pike slips away from his usual sentry post, which is: slouched against the porch rails. He moves like a shadow, nearly invisible in the still bright late afternoon sunshine. Wish had already somersaulted off the roof and is drifting gracefully through the trees at the edge of the clearing. She pauses, fingertips drifting over the bark of several young trees. As she dances on, they fall into step behind her.

The pair meet before the telltale shimmer of a Veil parting. The tree folk continue moving until they flank the petite Wyldfae. Whoever is crossing would have a surprise waiting. Four black mounts step into the clearing. At once Wish and Pike bow low, sweeping back out of the way. The tree folk move back as well, forming a path to where the others wait. The horsemen urge their mounts forward, making way for Inari and the riderless steeds following her.

The dark steeds part, two to each side, allowing Inari to trot her mare forward. The Ambassador slips from her saddle and motions to the following horses. It isn't until the animals are closer that anyone notices the demifae clinging to the bridles. They rise in a cloud and move back to hover between the guards.

Inari hugs Star, telling the fae woman "I brought mounts for those who do not have a horse that would be able to pass into Faery. I assumed you would wish to ride your own."

"I am going to ride Horse and Erik is borrowing Tannr's warhorse."

Inari nods. The four riders dismount and join the group as Tori drops from the sky. She folds her leathery wings, still keeping the viperish image of her Gargoyle form. Her teasing words nearly hiss when she speaks. "Hmmm... Have you come in the company of The Four Horssssemen of the Apocalypsssse?"

Inari cocks her head, pursing her lips as she takes in the image the cloaked riders present. Tori grins, fangs glistening in the sun. "Let'sssss ssssee... Guunnar would be Famine. With him around, there issss no food for anyone elssse." The big man laughs as he pushes back his hood. "War would be Dmitri. I have ssseen him practiccce. Any weapon in hisss hands would be lethal." Dmitri bows his head in her direction.  Keon slides back his own hood, arms crossing over his chest. "Lord Blackthorn... you would be Pessstilenccce, becaussse," She inclines her snake head to the smallest of the riders. "A female is the deadliessst creature in nature, and our friend here would be underesssstimated by the malesss around her. Henccce, she would be Death."

A slim hand reaches up and pushes back the hood over its owner's face. Eite offers a tentative smile. Tori closes her eyes and concentrates a moment as Tannr puts his jacket around her shoulders. When he steps away, Tori is in her fully human form, bare legs the only betrayal of her state of undress. The Gargoyle steps forward and offers her hand to Eite. "I haven't been able to thank you for what you did to help rescue me. I heard you lost someone in the battle. For that I am... I am truly sorry."

Tears well in Eite's eyes. A transparent membrane blinks them away and the half Drow clears her throat. "Thank you." She takes Tori's hand in a firm grip, then quickly slips her hands out of sight under her cloak.

Mera tugs at Tannr's jacket, lifting her arms to Tori to be picked up. The little girl giggles as Tannr scoops her up and tosses her in the air. He tickles her and whispers, just loud enough for everyone to hear, "You better remember everything, little miss! Your cousins will not be happy if you can't tell them everything you see. I think they are jealous that you are going to see the land your daddy grew up in..."

Mera stares at Tannr, eyes wide. She nods solemnly. "I will Unca Tannr. And evera thing I hears. I tol' Gracie promises."

Keon glances at Tannr. Their eyes meet as Keon collects his daughter. The little one wraps her arms around her father's neck, hugging tight. "Da? Chloe gots a dragon. Absynny's cool..."

Her gills are fluttering in excitement. Keon smiles gently and kisses her nose. "We will discuss it Mera. We also need to discuss things with Mama Star and Da Erik. With all the creatures here already, a dragon may not be a good idea." Mera sighs, pouting. "After this trip, we will discuss it, okay?"

Her dark blue eyes brighten. Looking over her father's shoulder  Mera spies Eite. The little girl waves at her. Eite waves back, quickly hiding her hand back under the cloak. Mera grins and turns her attention to Pike and Wish among the trees.

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