"Evie?" Aria questioned, staring curiously at the way the sprite paused and skipped in her strange lilting gait. "Why do you stop walking every few seconds?"
"It's for your own good. I'm charming and blessing the road as we go. I need to, for your safety," the sprite muttered tersely, still strung out from healing the worn down but victorious party.
"And why do you need to charm and bless it? Our enemies are at least half a day's distance from us," Aria continues, her insatiable thirst for learning about her new companions propelled her on. "How do you do it? Can I do it?"
"I don't think you can, my human dolly, you need magic in you. And I need to bless it, not just for us, but for the great mother nature too. I still smell something bad following us," Evie pursed her lips unhappily.
The wolf-like anivamp, Ray, listening closely to their conversation agreed."Smells like death," he said, wrinkling his nose.
Evie nodded. "As a sprite, I wish my best for the safety of the great mother nature and pray that she provides protection to us. If you feel the goodwill, the heartsong and project it well, mother nature will hear you, and she will be stronger in the places you are."
Aria squeezed her eyes shut and concentrated until her knuckles were white. She opened her eyes but didn't relax her posture, "I swear to Anubis, that shrub stood taller!"
"Wind." Elian the elf chuckled.
"Definitely the wind." Shard agreed.
"The great mother lives in the wind," Evie stated simply, comforting her adopted human doll.
"Evie? How come your wreath is wilting?" Aria noticed the edges of the white roses in her wreath wither and brown at an increasingly faster rate.
"It's getting closer isn't it?" Ray murmured in a hushed throaty voice.
"Yes, stronger too," Evie wrung her hands as she stopped to bless their trip and her wreath browned and withered once again.
"She's a sprite," Elian offered, answering Aria's question. "Her wreath will change depending on her mood and strength."
"Yes," Evie muttered mutely.
"The smell of death," Elian mused. "I think I too-"
Evie retched. She didn't bring any food back up, but she sounded horribly sick. She gripped onto Ray's thick fur and he nudged her, so her frail little body draped across the strong anivamp as though she were a sack of potatoes on a furry horse.
Aria shrugged. "I can't smell anything. What about you, Shard?"
Shard opened his mouth to answer but a deeper, ethereal voice spoke instead. "Aria Kahner, I have always been watching. I greet you, as a protector, and you me, as my charge. May I serve you well."
"It's you," Elian accused modestly. "You bring the smell of death."
"It will go where I go." The tall, lean man bowed his head, humbly and deferent, but not subservient.
"If you are a protector, I will welcome you like I have the others." Aria held out her hand, a gesture of camaraderie.
Evie staggered to them, and planted her small frame between Aria and the newcomer. "You must not," she pleaded with Aria. This smell has been following us since before the fight. Why did he not protect you then?"
The dark haired newcomer nudged the sprite out of the way with a gentle hand, he wanted to face Aria Kahner, not the sprite. "I predicted you would win. I planned to visit you alone in the night, but it seems I made the sprite sickly. I thus, reveal my presence now and place my fate in your hands, Aria Kahner."
Aria placed a reassuring hand on the Evie's shoulder. "You are welcome with us. What shall we call you?"
"Tsir," He intoned and he said not a word more for the next ten miles.