The Heroine - Kylandra
Ky listened to the even breathing of her siblings. The aromatic aroma of the fir needles had grown faint. She slid from her sleep saque and added another fire brick and more of the needles. After pulling on her boots and poncho she crawled from the tangle. Had Dom Senet and the guards arrived at the hut or had Ash imagined the evil man was near? Ky drew a deep breath of the chill air. She had to know.
What did the dom plan? Did he suspect she and her siblings were near? Snow swirled in the air but the fall was lighter than it had been when they’d sought refuge here. With care, Ky made her way through the forest to the log house.
A spiral of smoke rose from the chimney. As she drew nearer she saw the brush barrier someone had erected. She peered into the enclosure and saw five war steeds and a courser. She edged past. Other than a restless pawing and some snorts the beasts ignored her. She slid around the side of the building. A shame there were no windows but there were places where the clay had fallen from between the logs.
The Hero - Jaydren
With a burst of speed Jay turned from the hut and raced toward the camp where his siblings waited. Ky’s call had held an urgency that spurred him to hurry. The path he took wound in a serpentine manner around clusters of firs and stark stands of hardwoods. Towing the sled through the maze would be difficult.
He passed the first place he’d noted as a possible shelter. The fallen trees and bushes formed a space resembling a cave. Dead leaves lay in a thick mat on the ground. There was room to pitch the tent but he was glad he’d continued past. The abandoned hut could shelter them for days while they decided where to go.
Jay sighed. If only Ash would search the winds for signs of people they could have formed an idea of where they were. He understood her fear. With the twin bond he had experienced some of Ky’s panicked reaction when she’d been Dom Senet’s prisoner. Being separated from her siblings had been hard, but when the two-way conversation had been cut off, her hopes must have vanished. His had.
He caught the scent of burning wood and then saw a great cloud of smoke. Finally he was close enough to see leaping flames. Why had they built the fire so high? If there were people nearby they would come to investigate and they might be enemies. He stretched his legs into longer strides. “What happened?”
The Villains -
The door opened. Dom Manton ushered the four older boys into the room. The four young men swaggered. Their lips curled into sneers.
The one with Fire sent flaming balls around the room. Several passed so close Bran flinched. The boy with Earth formed pieces of metal into links and formed a chain he said could be used to choke someone. The young man with Water brewed a potion Bran knew was a poison.
The fourth boy spoke. “I am Air and thus leader. I read the winds and tell my circle where to strike.” A sly glint appeared. “Doma Jandia is angry with you. She wants you to select Dom Manton as your teacher so she can be rid of you.”
Bran tightened his barriers. Zand broadcast his fear of betrayal. Bran wished he could tell his friend the older boy lied about the doma. Had Doma Jandia sent a false message on the wind? To help Zand regain his calm, the one who had Air had to be shown to be foolish. “If you can read the winds so well, can you tell me where the boy who ran away can be found?”
“Why should I? He was a weakling who listened to a girl. Can you believe she insisted she had a Earth affinity? Girls can’t have an affinity. They don’t have the stomach to fight. If she were still here, she would have been taken away by the Master on his next visit. He would have sold her as a slave.”