Phaedra and I murmured quietly to one another, watching the humans not far from us on the darkening beach. By now they were shadow figures, muddling around on the shores.
They whooped and danced most clumsily as the first flames of a small fire began to flicker. I had to giggle at the amusing sight, even in this serious time. Phaedra shook her head, her stony eyes still staring onto the beach. I quieted my laughter, watching them crowd around it while others lay themselves out on the sands, staring into the wide, clear skies, like I had done myself many times before. They were most curious creatures-I barely remembered them, their stocky, rugged figures.
"They should not be here," murmured Phaedra, still not looking at me. I couldn't imagine how she felt, loosing her family to humans and having to meet them now.
I solemnly nodded, "Indeed. I wonder why they are here? Has Aerithna gotten too crowded for them?"
"They multiply like mad, and now they need a new place to go." she shook her head again to display her further disapproval of their arrival, her voice bitter. "They will cut down all the trees and kill all the animals before their done with Gyra."
"There is no chance to become allies, and teach them how to live in harmony with us?" I wondered aloud.
"It has been tried before. And failed. They are greedy, selfish things," muttered Phaedra sharply. She paused, tilting her head. I heard it too. "Listen." she whispered, holding up her hand.
Rustling in the woods, very close by. I closed my eyes and reached out, perhaps it was the Council or Alaina, or even an animal. It seemed too loud though. "Humans," we both murmured as we sensed them just a few steps away. I put my hand on the hilt of my sword, holding my breath.
Two human males appeared out of the bushes, their faces shocked and eyes wide. They appeared sun worn and smelled thickly like sea salt and sweat, their clothes tattered and faded. We stared at each other for a moment, stunned.
And then, Phaedra and I fled, running as fast as we could away from them, leaping over bushes and around trees like deer. There was nothing else we could do at the time being. After a while, we stopped, looking at each other as I absorbed the humans we had come so close to.
From what I sensed, they were still standing there, so they were not chasing us. "How strange." I breathed, brushing a piece of hair behind my ear with my hand.
"Too strange." Phaedra furrowed her brow and then looked away from me, back to where we had run from.
Alaina came from behind a tree, her face contorted in worry and her eyes fogged with anxiety. "What is the matter?" I inquired, walking over to her, troubled by her expression.
She glanced down, ashamed. Phaedra remained where she was, but I could feel her eyes burning onto us and her strong, commanding voice, "What have you done, Alaina?"
Slowly, Alaina lifted her face, her eyes looking into my own. "What has happened?" I whispered.