We hid in a cave for several days, the walls soon turning a charred black as I released wave after wave of magic in my grief. Merlas attempted to get me to eat during these times, bringing me her fresh kill and fruit she had found. I rejected each notion forcefully, often throwing the food back at her. Often, she threatened to leave and not come back, but she never did. She would fly off in a huff before returning and tucking me under a wing while I cried myself to sleep.
A week passed before I opened the bag Armen had given me. I found a book of magic he had put together for me and some sort of small booklet with a picture of me and details I didn't understand. A note in Armen's handwriting called it a 'passport'. It would allow me to start my life here. It was time to start living again. Merlas agreed. Using a spell from the book, I cloaked Merlas' wings so that she could pass as one of the wingless 'horses' of this dimension. She dropped down onto her knees so that I could scramble up onto her back. Standing up again, she shook herself violently, raising a cloud of dust from her coat. I grabbed onto her mane.
"Please don't do that," I gasped. Merlas snickered quietly to herself, walking forwards at my command.
We found ourselves in a town not far away from where we had been hiding. People stopped to stare as we walked through the streets. I touched the pendant that had been in Armen's bag, a nugget of silver enveloped in bronze. It kept my magic in control without causing me pain while also casting an illusion to make me appear human, turning my purple hair black and my eyes blue. Hopefully, it would be enough to fool the humans. Strange metal things that I had read to be 'cars' rushed past. Merlas shied away from them, starting to prance, rearing slightly. I gripped the guidance loop tightly, trying to stay calm for her sake. I tugged on her mane twice, signalling to her to put our plan into action. There was no way I could just go up to the City Guard and present myself. Armen had suggested in a letter that we stage an accident. The City Guard would be more accommodating of any questions I couldn't answer after an accident.
Merlas acted perfectly. A car roared past her at some speed. She squealed, rearing and pawing at the air. I screamed, clutching at her mane. People began to fuss around us. A couple of humans trying to grab hold of Merlas, but she danced out of her grasp. Her front hooves touched the ground only long enough for her to charge forwards, bucking madly. I screamed again, letting myself slide from her back.
The ground seemed infinitely softer from atop Merlas than landing on it. The black coating on it was as hard as a rock. I whimpered from my heap under my cloak where I had landed. Humans swarmed around me, asking if I was ok. Someone managed to catch Merlas, or rather she allowed someone to catch her. A man in a blue uniform crouched over me.
"Hey there, are you ok?"
"What happened?" I murmured.
"You fell off your horse. Don't worry, we've got her. Come on; let's get you checked out at the hospital." A team of people with a stretcher moved all of the humans out of the way before helping me onto it. I had to admit that I hurt all over. My back was killing me. I made a mental note to remember to check the surface of any ground I was planning on landing on.
The healer shone a bright light into my eyes. I flinched away, trying not to growl at him. Someone had taken away my cloak and clothes, replacing them with a flimsy, backwards robe sort of thing that was open at the back. I lay on a bed with railings around the edge, being examined by these people for injuries. I heard some muffled swearing as one of the healers ran a hand over the scars on my back, remnants of Meran's actions and my rigorous training. The healer withdrew from the small, curtained cubicle I was lying in to talk to someone else. I strained my ears to listen to their hushed conversation.
"She seems to be ok, although we will have to turn her over to the police. We have no record of an 'Alexiai Roth' anywhere in Britain. The police have checked all the files."
"What do you think caused those scars on her back?"
"We can only guess. The child isn't very forthcoming with information. Hardly surprising, she's still in shock. My guess is that she has been abused somehow. It would also explain how she came to be on a horse in the middle of Forfar."
"Fear would certainly give a child enough confidence to get on a horse far too big for her in order to flee."
"What do we do now?"
"I guess we hand her over to a children's home. Not much we can do for her."