Later that night, Falcon stands outside the cave, staring out at the darkening sky. They're both exhausted, but are still too close to the castle for Falcon's liking. It looms in the distance, a gigantic black spectre, taunting them. Falcon glares at it, wishing he could turn the accursed place to dust just with his gaze.

He remembers the fight all too well. They'd been set upon by Shadow and his cronies just as they exited the forest. He remembered those at the front trying to cry out a warning, but the Blazes had been on them before they could fight back. Soon enough most of the group were either pinned to the ground or dead. Falcon had barely managed to get free himself, and then only with Dane's help. Had it not been for his friend's intervention, he would be in there with them, awaiting his death. It tore at Falcon's heart to remember having to turn his back on his friends as he and Eternal had fled. The last thing he'd seen of the group was Dane standing protectively over Mary, eyes blazing as he lashed out at the two Blaze soldiers advancing on him, grinning wickedly. Whether either of them had survived, Falcon didn't know.

Please, he prayed silently, imploring whatever deities might have been listening at the time, please let them be alright. Just keep them alive until we can get them out. Don't let Blaze kill them, please please please....

Eternal moves up beside him, resting her head on his shoulder. Falcon doesn't move, but takes some slight comfort in the knowledge that she's there. She's all he has left now. And they're going to have to stay together if they're going to save their friends.

"Come on," she says at last, "We've got a long way to go tomorrow. We're going to need our strength."

Falcon nods mutely and follows her back into the cave they've chosen as a shelter. As he curls up beside Eternal, he listens to the snufflings of the night creatures outside, and he swears he can still hear the echoes of the battle, ringing in his ears from only hours ago...

The End

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