‘You need to know everything
before we can decide our next course of action,’ said Droog.
‘I agree,’ said Roki. ‘First of
all, when did all this happen?’
‘Two days ago,’ replied Droog,
‘the exact day you were due to arrive. We knew you were going to be
two days late, but had not received any other messages about the
further two day delay due to the storm.’
‘Interesting,’ said Gilster,
‘could someone be passing information to the Anubians?’
‘Well as much as I hate to
think any of our people would betray us,’ blustered Droog, ‘you may
be right. I think I saw some of the Clan Fish people fighting
along-side the Anubians. But I cannot be sure,’ he added.
‘Where did they come from,’
asked Roki, ‘we had scouts out the whole journey and never saw
anything out of the ordinary.’
‘That is the strange thing,’
said Droog, ‘they just appeared, hundreds of them came running out
of the forest, we had no warning, the only thing that saved us
initially, was their weapons would not work, our magic must have
stopped them. In the end it was sheer numbers that overwhelmed us.
We managed to kill a few but the bodies just disappeared, some of
our people shape-shifted and escaped, but many didn’t make
‘They must have been using the
same instruments they used with Daria and me,’ said Gilster, ‘if
your magic works as you say, I find it hard to believe they could
have used their instruments to escape, surely the magic would have
stopped them. And another thing we haven’t thought of, two of the
portals are open now, maybe they brought reinforcements through
from our worlds, people who are backing Anubis.’
‘I could be both of those
things,’ said Droog,’ ‘but they disappeared quickly, one minute
they were here, the next, gone.’
‘Are you sure they’re gone,’
said Haven, ‘perhaps they are just regrouping somewhere to come
back for a second attack now we have arrived.’
Elkeira and Tallon entered the
tent. ‘Good news father,’ said Elkeira excitedly, ‘we have found
all the parts of the sacred text, apparently the Anubians were only
looking for the Chosen, they discarded the text, which was then
collected by someone from Clan Prey who managed to escape, we found
him hiding in the forest.’
‘That is good news,’ said Roki,
it’s about time we had some.’ He passed the texts to Droog, ‘we
need a translation as soon as possible, we must know where the
portal is hidden.’
‘I’ll get on it right away,’
said Droog fitting the pieces together on the makeshift table.
‘Tallon, did you find many
survivors?’ asked Roki.
‘We did, they are gathering all
the weapons they can find in case of another attack.’
Just then the baby started to
cry. ‘I’ll take her outside,’ said Max, rocking Ti Athra gently,
‘that way she won’t disturb you.’
‘I’ll come with you,’ said
‘No, we’ll be fine, you stay,’
said Max exiting the tent.
Tallon slipped quietly from the
tent. ‘Hello Maxine,’ he said softly walking up behind her. ‘How
are you . . . and the baby?’ Max turned, surprised he had followed
‘We’re fine,’ she said forcing
a smile, ‘and you? How are you coping?’
‘I miss you,’ he said sadly,
‘but I will speak no more of that. I have something for the baby,
if it is alright with you . . . and Haven,’ he added, ‘I would like
to give Ti Athra my amulet.’
‘But isn’t that the only thing
you have of your mother,’ said Max, surprised.
‘Still . . . I would like her
to have something of mine.’
‘Of course,’ said Max. He
untied the amulet from around his neck and placed it on the
‘There,’ he said, ‘now I will
always be close to her heart.’
Max smiled, ‘and mine,’ she
thought. They stood quietly talking together.
Suddenly the sounds of clang
swords and the fizz of flying arrows could be heard coming across
the burning encampment.
Tallon turned. ‘The Anubians
are attacking again, quick, into the tent little one.’ He shoved
Max and the baby in front of him. The four men and Elkeira stood as
Tallon, Max and the baby came hurtling into the tent.
‘What is it?’ cried Roki.
‘The Anubians are attacking
again,’ said Tallon, ‘I must go and help fight.’
‘No,’ said Roki, grabbing his
arm, ‘we have reunited all the pieces of the text and now know
where the portal is, we must get to it before they block us.’
Everyone turned to look at Max.
‘What,’ she said, ‘I totally
agree, let’s go.’
‘I was hoping to have more time
to talk to you,’ said Haven sadly, he was carrying a small basket
made of marsh reeds.
‘Talk to me about what?’ said
Max, ‘unsure of where the conversation was heading.’
‘Ti Athra,’ said Haven, looking
down at his tiny daughter.
With shocking clarity Max knew
what he meant. ‘No,’ she screamed, clutching the baby tighter, ‘no,
I won’t leave her behind, it’s too dangerous.’
‘And you think where we’re
going is not dangerous?’ said Haven, ‘once we leave, the Anubians
will have no need to be here, they will probably follow us through
the portal and she will be safe.’
‘No,’ sobbed Max, ‘no I can’t,
she’s so small, she needs me.’
Droog stepped forward. ‘I will
take her,’ he said. ‘I am of Clan Bird I can fly her away to safety
and when it is safe to do so I will take her to Roki, she will be
here when you return.’
Max knew deep down in her heart
they spoke the truth, it would be impossible to take a baby where
they were going, but it didn’t make it any easier.
‘Promise me, she will be safe,’
‘I promise, on my oath as a
Clan Leader I will protect her with my life,’ said Droog
‘We must hurry,’ said Tallon,
looking out the tent flap, ‘they will be upon us soon.’
Outside the tent Droog
transformed into a giant eagle, Max kissed the baby and whispered
to her, ‘I will return for you little one, be safe.’
She handed Ti Athra over to
Haven who held her close stroking her silver hair, ‘be safe little
silver wing,’ he said before placing her in reed basket.
Droog the eagle delicately
picked up the basket in one massive talon and with two mighty beats
of his giant, golden wings, took off into the sky and was
‘The portal,’ yelled Gilster
over the ever encroaching sounds of battle, ‘where is it?’
‘Follow me,’ yelled Roki.
‘Tallon, you must shape shift and carry Max and Haven, Gilster, I
will carry you, Elkeira, change and follow us. Tallon transformed
into a monstrous black bear, easily as tall as a horse. He had
thick shaggy fur, small brown eyes and huge claws. Max stood
‘Get on,’ roared Haven,
‘they’re almost here.’ He picked Max up throwing her onto the
beast’s huge back, then jumped up himself, his arms around Max he
gripped the shaggy fur tightly. Roki, transformed into a dire wolf,
easily big enough for Gilster to ride and Elkeira took on her cat
Roki raced ahead followed
closely by the others, he was heading for the waterfall skirting
the edge of the encampment to keep away from the main fighting
arena. Tallon’s warriors were fighting ferociously; the clang of
swords, the fizz of arrows and the screams of dying men could be
heard all around, they were for fighting for their clan; they were
fighting for their lives.
The smoke from the burning
bodies wafted over the fleeing group, the stench was overpowering.
Arrows whizzed by, coming closer and closer, soon they would have
the range and the arrows would reach their mark. Haven hunched down
over Max to protect her, they had been spotted by the Anubians who
were now trying desperately to break through the lines of clan
warriors to reach them.
Racing through the waterfall
they came into a cave hidden behind, going deeper and deeper until
finally Roki stopped. It was very dark, almost too dark to see
anything, except for a tiny light shining above them, a small
opening at the top of the cliff. They quickly got off the animals
who instantly returned to human form.
‘The portal is a short way on,
now go, there is no time, the Anubians will be here soon,’ said
Roki, his breathing ragged from the desperate run.
Elkeira threw her arms around
Roki’s neck, ‘I love you father,’ she said, with tears in her
‘And I love you daughter, but
you must go, be brave and look to Tallon for advice and protection.
Here take this,’ he said handing her a small scroll, ‘keep it safe,
you will know what to do with it when the time comes.’
She carefully put the scroll
into one of the many pouches hanging from her belt.
Tallon step forward, ‘thank you
. . . father, thank you for everything, I promise I will protect
all the Chosen with my life.’
Roki smiled, it was the first
time Tallon had ever called him father, ‘I know you will my son,
Haven shook Roki’s hand, ‘thank
you for everything,’ he said, then turned and walked further back
into the cave. It was Max’s turn to say good bye.
‘Please, look after my baby,’
she said, tears rolling down her cheeks.
‘I will protect her with my
life,’ said Roki.
Gilster remained silent, his
nod to Roki said it all. Roki turned back into a dire wolf and ran
off back the way they had come.
Haven called, ‘quickly, it’s
here I can feel it, hold on to one another tightly.’
They experienced the now
familiar wind, flashing lights and banshee wails. Bang! The cave
Chapter 4 Chaos
Daria was becoming very weak.
The tattered remnants of her clothing hung from her shrivelled body
like beggars rags. Her once beautiful copper hair was falling out
in handfuls and her lips were covered with weeping sores. For weeks
she had been unable to hold down any food or water and had
eventually stopped trying, her body was badly dehydrated, she was
dying. Stefan refused to give up, constantly badgering her and
talking to her in the hopes of keeping her alive.
‘Don’t give up Daria,’ he said,
‘my friends will be here soon to rescue us and I’m sure your
friends aren’t far away either, just hang on a little longer,
that’s all I ask.’
Daria was so weak she could
barely lift her head. ‘Unfortunately my friend, I fear it’s too
late for me.’
‘No, don’t say that,’ pleaded
Stefan. He pulled his chains to their full extent, dragging himself
over to Daria. He could just reach her and gently took her hand in
his; it felt like old parchment. Logically he knew she was dying,
but he refused to believe his head and instead listened to his
‘Tell me again of your
wonderful world and how the sunlight filters gently down through
the leaves of the trees and of the work you did helping people at
the temple, tell me of your friends and the times you shared
together and will again.’
‘I can’t,’ she rasped, ‘I’m too
tired. But there is one thing I must tell you before I die. Can you
come closer? I don’t think I can speak any louder.’
He could only manage to get one
more foot of distance out of his chains but it was enough, he could
now reach Daria. He lifted up her head and held it gently in his
‘Please don’t die Daria, don’t
leave me alone in this god forsaken place.’
‘Listen closely,’ she
whispered, her voice now so soft he could barely hear her.
‘What is it my friend?’ he said
‘Tell my friends I loved them
very much and I’m sorry I couldn’t finish the journey with them, I
know they will be sad but tell them they must continue until the
journey is over and our worlds are safe, tell them to do it for
‘I will,’ whispered Stefan, his
eyes filled with tears. ‘But how will I know them, what do they
Daria continued. ‘And . .
‘What? Is there more you would
say?’ He leaned closer wondering how Daria was managing to talk at
all given her weakened state.
‘I am not the Chosen,’ her
voice so soft, he wasn’t sure he had heard correctly.
‘I don’t understand,’ said
Stefan frowning, ‘that’s why they abducted you, because you are the
‘No,’ said Daria, a small smile
forming on her scabby lips, ‘It was a ruse to keep the Chosen one
safe, it is what Minerva and Apollo asked of me. The Chosen does
not know they are the one, you must help them when the time comes.’
Her breathe began to rattle in her throat. ‘Please, help them.’ She
was finding it harder and harder to breathe. ‘For a long time, I
wasn’t sure if you were a spy, but now I know you to be a true
friend.’ The effort of talking had taken a deadly toll on Daria.
She breathed one long sigh and was gone. Stefan sat for hours
cradling her body, crying silently.
Eventually there was the
familiar rattle and clank of keys in the lock but this time it was
not the jailer who entered. A short middle-aged man with a haughty,
sneering face entered the cell; he held a lace handkerchief to his
‘Ugh,’ he grimaced, ‘how do you
stand the stench in here.’ Noticing Stefan cradling Daria’s body,
he asked, ‘so, did you get the information we required? Do you know
the names of the other Chosen and their descriptions?’
‘No,’ said Stefan, his head
bowed, ‘she died before she could tell me.’
‘Ah well, that’s too bad for
you then,’ said the haughty man laughing as he turned to leave,
‘now you and your family will die too.’
‘No . . . wait,’ shouted,
Stefan, ‘she did tell me something, if you promise my family will
be safe I will tell you.’
The man turned. ‘Do you really
think you are in any position to bargain?’ he smirked. ‘Tell me
what you know and I will think about it,’ he said wafting the
handkerchief under his nose. Stefan looked at Daria’s body.
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