We were all shocked that Ramin wanted so few of us to travel with him. I was among those he had chosen, but I was outraged at those he had chosen to leave behind. We were a group, and we had come this far. There was no way he was going without all of us, much less alone.
However, the appearance of a unicorn seemed to cement in his mind that alone he must travel. I stared at the creature in awe, having never seen one before. It was rare that they would appear to humans, and while Ramin might feel its presence was a sign he should go alone, I sensed it was trying to say that he would need all of us.
Suddenly beside the unicorn appeared the old woman. One second she was not there and then the next she was, and yet I could get little sense of any magic being used. Jadir gave a start at her presence, so it seemed I was not the only one who had run into her already.
"To go alone foolish child is to meet certain death. It is the destiny of each of your party to accompany you and each you will need to succeed on your quest," she stated in a commanding voice, her hand reaching out to stroke the unicorn. It seemed as if the two creatures knew each other.
"And what would you know old hag? I cannot take all of them, and if leaving one behind is to risk death as much as leaving all then I will leave all," Ramin declared, suddenly striding away.
"No you can't!" Naria cried, her voice distressed. She would have run after him, but she appeared unable to move. "Mariena let me go."
"I'm not doing anything," I protested, before pointing to the old woman. "Its her."
"Then stop him. Please before he gets himself killed. Freeze him," Naria pleaded, tears in her eyes.
I shook my head. My powers had been blocked about the same time Naria, and any others who had made to move after Ramin, had been frozen.
"You cannot go now. He is a stubborn boy, but his destiny lies with each and everyone of you. To leave now will just make him take risks that will lead to his death. No here is what you must do. At first light tomorrow you leave. His trail will be easy to find. When you do find him, it will be during a situation of great peril, which he will not survive without the help and presence of all of you. However, you cannot come upon him before this situation arises or he will try to escape you again," the old woman explained.
"No we must follow now!" Naria protested. I couldn't help but agree. Why should we wait until he was in danger, if we were there we could stop the danger.
"Child you must not," the woman snapped at Naria. On seeing Naria's look the woman continued. "Yes child. You may be many many years old elf, but let me assure you that I am older. I am older than any of you can possibly comprehend."
The woman paused suddenly staring off into the distance as if seeing something important. Suddenly she spoke again. "However I can see that to leave you will mean you will leave tonight. You will sleep now, and awake before first light with your packs beside you. And only then will you set out. Sleep children."
I could feel my eyes getting heavy, and noticed the others were doing the same. Before I collapsed onto the ground unconscious I was able to utter one question. "Who are you?"
I thought I heard a laugh in reply and a simple statement. "One day you may know," before unconsciousness settled on me, and everyone of our group in the vicinity.