Riding horses means we don’t have to follow set paths. Perhaps that’s the point of them. No need to maintain roads, though I imagine there are places where paths have been worn into the ground from traffic between villages. And yet we do not arrive at Kain’s until the sun is well on its path of descent. I don’t think sunset will be soon, but it’s there, threatening us with the forward march of time.
Kain clearly heard us coming for he is standing at the door when we ride up. “Well, dismount and come on in,” he gestures to the fence where the horses can be tied.
I look at Dad who looks to Kain.
“Don’t worry,” Kain laughs, “my wife’s out shopping, so while I can’t invite you in for long, I’ll invite you in.”
“Thanks brother,” Dad gins back and dismounts, “Though Morgan and I just have a delivery to make and then we must be off.”
I dismount and help Dad collect the remaining two pies.
“Now I figured you’d be back for Morgan’s things but,” Kain lifts the towel off one pie and inhales its scent, “this is a bit unexpected.” He grins at my Dad.
“Don’t look at me,” Dad states, “Morgan made them this morning.”
“It’s nothing really,” I stammer out as his gaze turns to me, “just a sort of thank you and apology, for your hospitality and...” my hand flounder.
Kain’s arms wrap around me in a hug. “Not your fault kiddo,” he tells me, “Latina is just sensitive, just looking to keep her family safe. Blinds her sometimes you know.”
He steps back and I nod. She’s only doing what I am doing, protecting those she loves. Only in my case it’s a rescue mission. I look to my Dad. We don’t need to even use our link to communicate what we feel.
“It is time for us to go.”
“Hang on,” Kain disappears into the house for a second then returns with my bag. “Here are your things Morgan. I made sure my wife didn’t throw them out.” He smiles again as if it’s a joke, though I sense it really isn’t.
Someday I hope Dad’s family will see me for who I am rather than these circumstances around me. “Thank you,” I whisper as I take the bag.
As Dad and I begin to mount Kain speaks again. “If you wait a moment I’ll come with you and send you off, proper like. Not like last time you know.”
He grins at Dad who looks embarrassed as eyes swivel to him. Kain is already half way to the stable.
“It’ll just take a moment,” he calls back over his shoulder. “ I’ll meet you all at the gate.”
“Go on,” Dad urges us as he pulls out his phone. I presume to confirm the helicopter is on its way.
Kain canters up to us just as Dad sets the cell phone down. It only takes a few moments to get to the Entrance Hall. Handing over the horses to a stable there, we wait for the elevator. Once inside I force myself to relax my grip as we rush upward. I’m becoming accustomed to the speed, though it still turns my stomach. At last we step out into the cool imposing hallway. Dad looks up and then down then marches us purposefully in one direction. I don’t know how he knows which way to go.
When we reach the desk before the wall there is a woman arguing with the attendants there. It sounds like she’s having trouble leaving. We stop off to the side as Dad approaches. As he steps forward I hear my name called, softly.
“Morgan.” Hazel joins us, giving brief smiles to Theo and Katha before turning back to me. “I just wanted to say thank you. You know for saving me during the test and all, but, well,” her voice lowers as does her head, “They failed me anyway.”
“They failed you?” Katha stomps a foot, “That’s so not fair!”
“Well not really,” Hazel murmurs. “I’m barely half Faerie and I didn’t get any idols…”
“Who are your friends, honey?”
I look to see the woman who was arguing with the men has joined us. She looks frazzled beyond belief.
Hazel introduces me, Katha and Theo. Katha introduces Layla, I introduce Kain and Hazel introduces her mother as Amber.
Amber sighs. “I don’t suppose being of Ollerond you could help me leave.” Not waiting for an answer she continues on. “It seems they have no real place for Hazel here and I thought she might rather live with the other side of her family.”
I shake my head sadly. If there wasn’t a war brewing I’d offer her a place on the helicopter. Only when I look to my Dad he too is arguing with the guards. With an exasperated sigh he turns to us.
“I can’t believe this,” Dad states, “they aren’t letting us leave.”
“But,” I looked at him shocked, “we have to…”
Dad looks to Kain, who nods. “I’ll try but,” he shrugs.
I look around me worried that we might have to force our way out. What a nice impression of me that will leave Cecil with. Not that he seems to have a nice impression of me anyway, why not make myself look like the bad girl. But I’m not, I’m good. My eyes flit down the hall where I notice a couple guards. It’s not the Guards with swords that scare me, but the ones with the bows. I think we could be through the wall before the swordsmen neared us, but the bowmen… I bet that are deadly accurate with their weapons.