When they set down for camp that night, still ahead of the Mists, Kamika thought over the day herself. As they were running, always looking for that way out, every day merged into the next, and there seemed no more sense to be gleaned from it than if there were any sense in studying trees with mechanical instruments.
A light spray of rain began washing her face, but that was, by far, the least of her worries tonight; her sorrowful mind was still thinking about Thorn. He would not sit with them, the rest of the group, preferring to steal away to different ground a few feet away, and he had a distracted look upon his face all the time, as though there was more to deal with than the Mists of the outside.
But was there? Kamika couldn’t understand it, yet it all seemed like this was déjà vu for some reason.
Shrugging in a frustrated manner, she pushed the thoughts out her mind, replacing them with the more hopeful ones that dared to dance around the dread, and shuffled over to Thorn as he sat eating the boar that they had just cooked. He looked thoughtful, staring up at the star-speckled night, but his deep eyes were grave, reading the signs as the weather worsened.
“Thorn…” Kamika said. He didn’t seem to notice her. She placed a hand upon his shoulder, feeling as he jumped slightly at her touch.
“This could be the way,” Kamika muttered, sitting down on the rock beside Thorn as he turned to her.
“The way for what?” he asked, distracted and slightly frustrated that she had come to interrupt his train of thought.
“The way in which we will not to have to sacrifice either of you!” Kamika cried. She should have known that Thorn wouldn’t want to be interrupted. “Don’t you see? If Arrow or Rosalie have the gift of ‘tree-singing’, then they will be able to sing to nature to push away the mist.”
“Somehow I don’t think it will be as simple as that. And what of that greater power?” Thorn muttered. “What did Rosalie mean? If there’s a way to be free by using this other power, then we don’t need to put pressure onto elves who don’t need the pain. Then again…”
“‘Then again’ what, Thorn?”
“If it’s something that…the Mists are afraid of, then what’s to say that it won’t try and defeat us too. Power of that sort can be too good to resist.”
Kamika shook her head.
“I don’t think that’s what was meant…”
But Kamika noticed that Thorn was not listening again. His eyes were unfocused into the night, and so she turned herself to the stars too.
Thorn hated the voice that crept into his thoughts as easily as the air he breathed.
None of you know how to use what nature has given you. She has picked the wrong fools again, and you know it, Thorn! Engoroth sneered at him. Thorn wanted to shake his head against the raging noises, but he did not want to alarm his companions.
Instead, he watched as the glowing fireballs hidden in the fold of night-cloak led a shaped path across the sky. A constellation. It had no meaning, but it was a pretty wonder to the eyes and the form galloped with many imaginations.
Emerald too was gazing at the stars. She watched them kindly, tracing patterns in them with her dainty fingers.
Making sure that Rosalie and Arrow were safe, she walked gracefully to the other elves.
“All might not be lost because of a lack of knowledge, Thorn,” she addressed the prince. “I can take you to someone who knows about these skills and could help from the incidents that he has seen in the past.”
Kamika jumped up and Thorn gave Emerald a quizzical look.
“Who is he? Is he an elf?”
Emerald shook her head.
“He is a nymph. And, older than me, he has seen a good many things including the fall of the stars and the first time the Mists came.”
Thorn jumped up now, surprise going through him more than anything.
“So what are we waiting for? Let’s go and see him!”
“Wait, Thorn,” said Kamika. “We need to rest here for the night. We’re all tired, even you, I know.”
Emerald glanced between the elves and Thorn could see that she was biting back something more.
“What is it, Emerald?”
“I’m afraid rest tonight may not be possible.” She pointed to the distance from where they had travelled, white.
“And the nymph we need to seek can be found eastward of here…”