Things just weren’t the same since Lyra had tried to kill Valak. The group was more distanced. Valenstar was keeping to himself almost completely now. He and Brena had stopped talking after she had returned from the forest after following Valenstar and Valak as they went to talk. Something had clearly happened but both were tight-lipped about what that was. Destran still seemed to be toying with the idea of leaving the group and continuing the quest on his own. Yara had so far managed to stop him leaving, but this clearly put a strain on Destran and his relationship with Yara. He seemed constantly on-edge and would be only moments away from storming off until Yara would put a calming hand on his arm and call him back to his senses.
As for me and Lyra, we weren’t the same as before. How she had been. What she had been. It scared me. How could someone so beautiful and caring have such a dark and vicious side to her? I felt as if I was still just getting to know her again, like she had changed who she was. Was she the same woman I had fallen in love with? Or was that woman just a façade covering her darker side which struggled to break free? I couldn’t be sure, and because of this I found myself leaving the group for hours on end so that I could be alone and just think about everything.
I could still remember the first time I met Destran, Yara, and Lyra, how she had accepted me so readily even though she knew nothing of me. I remembered how she had stopped Valenstar from killing me, and had willingly stood in the path of his blade to save me. I could remember our first kiss as if it had happened mere seconds ago, every tingling sensation that went pulsing through my body at her touch. This was the Lyra I knew and loved. Where had she gone?
She had transformed into this fiend. This...beast. After her episodes as this beast she would return to being Lyra, at least in looks. But I had the feeling that her beast was just waiting for another opportunity to break out of its confinement and wreak havoc on the world, starting with the group. How could we be sure that her anger was only reserved for Valak? Once she was finished with him she might turn on the rest of us. Would she kill her childhood friend? And her lover? Would I be able to stop her? I didn’t think so. How could I harm her when the woman I loved was still in there somewhere?
The sooner this quest was over and we could go live in a quiet corner of the world the better. This quest was changing us all, and not necessarily for the better.
I returned to the group after my latest break from them to find that they had already broken camp and left. It wasn’t hard to find them again. Their distinct smells were hanging in the air, and they had left clear tracks on the ground leading from the camp site. Just before I reached them I could hear them talking among themselves. This was strange as lately we had been travelling in silence. I jumped up into the trees and followed them silently for a while. It was just Valenstar and Valak talking to each other about nothing of interest. I was about to leave my vantage point and re-join the group when I saw something move in the bushes ahead of them. I wasn’t sure what it was until the smell of Vann wafted up to me. Surely they must have noticed! Valenstar had to notice with his enhanced senses, could he be leading them into a trap? Or perhaps it was Valak?
“Zahkon, now would be a good time to start shooting” Valenstar stated. They were far enough away from the Vann that he wouldn’t have been heard. The rest of the group looked confused and turned to see where I was but found only an empty path behind them. I notched an arrow and loosed.