Norida~ Changes & New Beginnings; A Shocking ArrivalMature

    Things began to return to normal― well, as normal as things could get. Few stragglers came along that wanted to join the Hawks, which was handled by Jem and Griever. Speaking of those two, it was more apparent that they enjoyed each other's company of late.

    Not everything was so good, though. Kate was constantly absent, as if it plagued her to be near our re-established camp, as well as the new one that was being constructed. Jem and Kiara both worried for her, and to be honest, I shared their concern. Kate was our leader. She had given me a chance when I most needed it, and she'd helped me whenever I was in need of assistance. It hurt me to see her so. . . broken. The same went for Kiara, Jem, and Griever. They were the only kinship that I had left. If e'er something were to happen to them. . .

   "Norida!" Dreda called, snapping me away from my thoughts. I looked up at her as she stopped in front of me with a nervous-looking man/boy behind her. He looks familiar, I thought. When I raised a brow at her in question, she declared, "Griever stuck me with this nitwit. Said to take him out on patrols so that he could learn his way around the forest. You're coming with me."

    Sighing, I stood up, then bent to grab my sword. "Why do I always get stuck with the newbies?" I muttered under my breath.

    Dreda nudged me hard in the side. "I heard that."

    We set out when the sun was in the middle of the sky, making rounds between the two camps and checking the perimeters. After some time, we stopped in a small clearing to rest for moment. While we rested, Dreda and I explained the approximate layout of the infamous Night Hawks' camp. I did most of the talking, since I was more familiar with these parts of the forest.

    After we'd finished, Dreda asked, "By the way, what be your name, boy?"

    "Oh, it's Edmond," he said. "Edmond II, as I am named after my father."

    "So," Dreda inquired with a sly tone, "are you native to this region?" I gave her a suspicious look and Edmond became nervous, as if there was something he didn't want to say. Dreda caught my expression and shrugged innocently. "What? I'm curious." I rolled my eyes.

    Edmond remained silent for a moment, so I said quietly, "You don't have to tell us if you don't want to."

    "No, it's not that I don't want to tell you. I'm just not sure where to start."

    "Start anywhere," Dreda said.

    He nodded, then took a deep breath. "I came from a slightly wealthy family on the outskirts of Nottinghamshire. My mother was admired for how well she could give advice, so people from the area came to us and paid her to give them some guidance on whatever situation they were in. My father was in the sly business of trading goods for profit. Things were alright, until last year, when my older brother and I were drafted into the war. I haven't seen my parent since then. My brother and I were separated when they deported me here to serve under the Marshall."

    "And how long ago was this?" I asked.

    Edmond looked up at me. "This past Spring. Why?"

    That's right, I thought to myself. No wonder he looked so familiar. He fought the Fae with us.

    "No reason," I said. We were all quiet for a moment, then I asked, "So you've decided to join the Hawks?"

    He nodded. "Aye, and I've no intention of going back to being under the Sheriff's control. I guess, in some way, I wanted a new start. That's why I mustn't fail the Night Hawks."

    It was a little while before anyone spoke again. Dreda was the one to finally break the silence. "We should be getting back. They'll be wondering where we are."

    "Alright," I agreed. The three of us made one more round about the perimeters of the camps before going back and reporting to Jem.

    When we arrived, Jem asked, "Anything out of sorts?"

    "Nothing that I could tell," Dreda replied.

    Jem nodded approvingly. "Good."

    Dreda stood there for a moment, as if hesitating to speak what was on her mind. Then, she suddenly asked, "Has Kate returned yet?"

    The question caught Jem by surprise. She was quiet, then sighed and said, "No. Not yet."

    "Alright then," Dreda said, then turned and pulled me to the edge of the forest. "I need to speak with you."

    "What about?" I asked, following her and stopping.

    We sat down on a log that had been set as a bench. Dreda spoke quietly, as if she were about to speak a sacred language. "It's no secret that Kate is torn by her obligations to the Night Hawks and her feelings toward the Marshall."

    "Aye. . . ?" I wasn't sure where she was going with this.

    "Well, there may be a way to reunite the Hawks and 'Falcons' without a horrid amount of bloodshed." I must've still looked puzzled, so she continued, this time even more quiet. "We must kill the Sheriff."

    My eyes widened, but I tried to keep my voice at a low level. "What?!"

     She nodded. "Yes. It may be the only way to bring peace to the land, as well as the Night Hawks and the Marshall. Think about it― how else would we be able to establish harmony between rebels and soldiers again?"

   I shook my head vigorously. "There is no way that we could do this, lest we be caught and hanged for our crimes!"

    "Don't you see, Norida?" she tried to reason. "If the Sheriff is dead, then there will be no one to hang us."

    Someone cleared their throat behind us. We both turned at the same time to see who it was.

    My breath caught in shock. "No way. . ."

The End

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