I clenched my fists and opened them again repeatedly in my lap. My eyes felt like they'd been rubbed full of dust and every muscle I had was sore from being tensed and alert for too long, but I could not . I'd done nothing to help the flock, I'd stayed beside Kate, even when Griever return without his sword, I hadnt made sure he was alright. I'd stayed behind Kate, like a frightened child...
Griever would live. His pulse was steady and he was gaining strength every day. He was actually getting restless, held up in the infirmary with nothing to do. So far though, he'd followed orders and stayed put. I'd pretty much been by his side since we'd gotten back.
"Jem!" Norida ran into the infirmary. "The portal is open again, and there are tracks around it, we also found traces of blood and fur. Dreda thinks that the creatures are Fae..."
After that first discovery, the Fae beasts had gotten bolder. We heard them at night, sometimes very close to camp, and Kate made the decision to evacuate and set up in the village. We'd packed very little, only essentials, and quickly called in a few favors. A group of us led the old and sick villagers to a neighboring village, about a day's ride away, where Kate hoped they would be safe. They didn't ask many questions, but packed up their belongings and loaded onto carts usually made for trade goods. I went with the group as far as the edge of the shire, then turned back.
"Jem, would you like to help with dinner?"
I blinked and looked up at the kindly face of the village woman who had spoken. She'd kindly allowed me to stay in her home for a while, in thanks for the help the Hawks had provided for so long. The Night Hawks were scattered throughout the village now, living with the villagers, and keeping out of the Sheriff's sight.
I helped cut vegetables and tossed them into a pot for the stew, and then wiped my hands on the apron of the rough dress I wore.
"I'm going to check on the others," I said to the woman, and she smiled and put a hand on my arm.
"You don't have to be everywhere at once," she said.
"Yes I do," I replied, which didn't make any sense, but I kept speaking anyway. "Our numbers are spread too thin. It's the least I can do to make sure everyone is alright."
I left the cottage and the woman and headed toward the house where Kate had taken residence with a small family. Before I got there though, I had an idea. Kate would disagree, she wanted to kill the man after all, and so did I, but Corin Twynam had many men at his disposal. Perhaps with some diplomacy, we could prevent the Fae from leaving the forest. With new purpose, I knocked on Kate's door. She answered. The family behind her looking wary.
"Kate, I have an idea, and I need your help. You aren't going to like it..."