Thalion waded up behind me just as I informed Llewellyn that I intended to go back to rescue Ash. His arms were empty, so he must have handed Sarah Morgan to Aunt Sarah, who ran down to the shore right behind me. He put his hands on both my shoulders, and turned me around to face him.
"As much as I love you darling, I cannot not allow you to fly off on such a dangerous mission."
I considered this for a moment, then looked up at him hopefully.
"You'll go with me, then?"
He started to laugh, then stifled it when he saw that I was serious.
"No, neither of us are going. You know it's our destiny to stay here and fight on the island together. That's why I changed the plans to send you to the Amazon with your mother and Sarah Morgan."
"Well, I could fight with you when I came back ..." I began doubtfully.
I didn't get any further with my argument, because Miriam the dead seer came flying at us, with only the top half of her visible, and the bottom half of her seemed to be a small whirlwind of sand and water, which strangely could be seen, but not heard. A ghostly whirlwind, perhaps?
"Princess Gloria, Princess Gloria ..." Miriam insisted that she use my new title, although I told her time and again that it was not necessary on the island.
"What is it Miriam?"
"If you go to the stronghold with the dragon and the shape shifter, you'll all die!"
She blurted this out as her essence swirled around Thalion and I. It was difficult to speak to her when she was in this excited state, because her face kept fading in and out.
"Miriam, settle down and stay solid for a moment. I can't understand what you're saying."
She swirled to a halt in front of us, where she took solid form again.
"I had a vision just now about you flying to the stronghold on the dragon's back, with the shape shifter along the side as another dragon. A poisonous thick fog overcomes all three of you, and you fall to the ground where you are attacked and killed by a pack of horrible creatures that I can't even begin to describe!"
she burst into tears and disappeared from view. Miriam had a hard time staying solid and visible at the same time, especially when she was struggling with strong emotions.
"It's alright, Mirium. I'm not going anywhere, and neither are Llewellyn and Galen." I called into the empty air.
Galen waded toward me from where he stood with Llewellyn and the wizard a few feet away. He had resumed his human form.
"If we're not going anywhere now, will we be staying here for good? We were captured when we were little. We don't have a home to go to."
"Of course you'll both stay here, as well as the little boy. Sarah Morgan has become rather fond of him. We've got lots of room in the castle."
Galen's smile lit up like the sun, and Llewellyn released plumes of excited smoke into the air.
"We're going to have a real home where people like us, and feed us, and everything?"
"Yes, of course," I answered. The dragon sat down in the water and looked relieved.
Thalion put his arm around me and pulled me close. "I'm glad you decided to stay, not that I would have allowed you to go, with me, or otherwise."
My jaw set with stubborn annoyance. "Allowed me? Since when did I need your permission to do anything?"
Thalion laughed and kissed me until my quick temper settled down. It annoyed me that he often avoided quarrels by kissing me, but it didn't bother me enough to stop him from doing it. I dearly loved to be kissed by my husband. When we both came up for air, I could see Aunt Sarah beckoning to us from the beach. Uncle Ben had joined her at some point. We waded hand in hand toward them, with Galen, Llewellyn and the wizard coming up behind. When we reached the beach, Uncle Ben had a grim expression on his face.
"I just got a message from your father, brought to me by the captain of a small contingent of archers that arrived here on the island about fifteen minutes ago." He told Thalion, as he handed over a scroll of thin birch bark. The king still held to the old ways, in spite of the fact that his clan had adapted to many of the modern human ways. Thalion read the message quickly, and turned toward me with a deep, worried frown.
"My father regrets that he can spare only fifty archers, because our realm is under attack by an army of humans and magical creatures. They haven't breached the boundaries of the realm yet, but there seems to be at least two evil wizards employing the dark arts to bombard the kingdom's spellbound barriers. There is no doubt that they were sent by the Van Helsings. Several flag bearers are carrying the colours of the stronghold - black and grey."
"It looks like the Van Helsings have declared war on everyone that doesn't agree with their murderous tactics. The faeries aren't under attack yet, so their Queen has announced that they are willing to fight by our side." I told Thalion.
He nodded, then turned to Aunt Sarah, who held Sarah Morgan, sleeping soundly. We'll have to make arrangements to send the children and all other non combatants to safety, Uncle Ben."
Aunt Sarah told Thalion before the wedding that he was to consider them as family, and they would be honoured if he would address them as such.
"We've already put the wheels in motion to send everyone not involved in the battle, to the island of Sanctuary. It's a smaller version of this island. We used to live there, until the population became too big to be comfortably sustained, so we moved over here. It became a retirement and vacation place. It has a huge hospital, because many of the present residents are elderly, and it was built to fit their needs. If necessary, we will send our wounded there. It's not far in distance, but it is in another dimension, like the elven realm in the amazon." Uncle Ben answered
"Good, good. We'll send Sarah Morgan and Gloria's mother, Rebecca over there with the rest. It's obvious we can't send them to the Amazon now, because the realm itself is at risk. I'll set up the archers my father sent me with the contingent we already have here, and start their training immediately." Thalion told Uncle Ben.
Sarah Morgan took that moment to wake up and whimper from a bad dream. I took her to comfort her, then we all went back up to the castle.