I was ready to die and closed my eyes so I didn't see the terrifying image of the minnahorn bearing down on us, its hooves pawing the air before crashing down on us. Instead I heard a shriek and a cry of pain. A great bird came swooping down and knocked the minnahorn away from us. The bird continued to assault the minnahorn until it turned tail and fled.
Ramin whispered softly to the bird, a svithark, and stroked its beak. I pulled myself together as Ramin checked Naria was OK. Then he turned to me.
'She's going to take us back to the elven city.' I nodded, carefully watching the bird. Svithark's were rare and I wasn't sure how they behaved, so my instincts told me to be wary. Ramin, however, seemed comfortable around the creature, walking close by its side.
'Is it safe?' I didn't want to appear like a coward, but I didn't trust things I didn't know. 'I mean, can we trust it to take us the right way?'
'She is an old friend of mine, who just saved all our lives. I think we can trust her.' I'd obviously touched a sore spot and decided it would be best not to say anything else on the subject. Instead I focused on listening to my surroundings, so if there was another attack I would hear them coming.
I was worried that we were so lacking in weapons. Between us we had now bows and arrows, one sword and the other dagger that was in my left boot, which wasn't going to be very useful if we were attacked again. But on the other hand, the svithark had fought viciously to save Ramin. He was right. They were very old, very close friends.
The walk through the forest was short and soon we were walking towards the high gates of the elven city. It looked so beautiful, with the sun behind it and the walls looking like they were painted pure white. It was my favourite place on earth.
We reached the gates and the svithark had to leave. Ramin stroked her beak tenderly, as if it were for the last time and said goodbye. The bird turned and walked a little way before stretching its wings and taking to the air.