When I rose, the two guards sidestepped away. Nay, they would not gamble their lives again by being within my reach.Thankfully, since rescuing Celeste from the oak cave had taken all night, Shadowdancer was rested for the ride back to Tamlon.With Celeste’s wounds slathered with yarroway and other healing plants, she mounted. Then Emillya climbed up behind her.
At least one Elvin besides me did not hate humans. If Emillya didn’t like humans, or Celeste for that matter, she wouldn’t speak to her much less ride on a horse with her. I ran alongside them while Celeste and Emillya talked. One guard raced on the opposite side of Shadowdancer, the other in front. And it appeared the horse gave the Elvin a race.
The Elvin were considerate enough to let Shadowdancer canter or walk whenever he tired. How they understood that running the horse too long too fast would be the end of him I do not know. There have never been horses in Elvin lands for as long as I can remember.
We all took turns getting Celeste to talk to us about her cave adventure; she must stay awake awhile longer, even though we could all see she fought to keep her eyes open.
“As soon as you’ve rested,” Emillya told her, glowering at my constant interruptions to translate, “you need to view the prophecies of the four. Nivel gave me instructions when he left with Brock. The library vaults await unchanged. He told me you’d come back after banishing the Warloc to the underworld.
“Hopefully, Brock hasn’t caused unrealized damage by the oak magic trapping you.”
I nearly stumbled at her words. How was I to know snares waited to spring upon humans in our land? Our kind was immune.Just as I opened my mouth to voice my argument, Celeste smiled at me. Her grey eyes held a glimmer of her merriment, and my frown eased.
With a chuckle, I turned back to the path. Celeste was safe now. And that was all that mattered.
“We’ll make camp at dark.” Emillya patted Shadowdancer’s rump. “Should make Tamlon soon. It’s a fine horse—any other I fear would take us three or four nights to return.”
“That reminds me.” I said. “How did you get to the labyrinth so soon? The journey from Tamlon is longer than the time of Celeste’s entrapment.”
“We have a secret path Nivel created. It’s ancient magic and travels Elvin here within an hour.”
“Then let’s take this path back.” Celeste said.
“It’s only for Elvin. The magic would crush a human and perhaps even a horse.”
“Perhaps your magic needs to be altered now.” Celeste smiled.
“Indeed.” Emillya answered. “I’ll mention the request to the elders.”
When we arrived in Tamlon, I hoped to show Celeste the wonders of my land. And bask in the sun naked with her.
After the others slept, I laid down beside Celeste. She turned and snuggled her head under my chin. “Your language is so beautiful. Almost like music with its rhythms and melody.”
My hand traced circles up and down her back. “Emir voulan sptrea.”
“What does that mean?”
I eased her chin up and she looked into my eyes. “We are one heart.” I kissed her and relished in the sweetness of her mouth for we could do little else with company.