Together in a group they walked somberly back to the lake. Tym and Quay climbed into a boat with O’Beth between them they began traveling down the river. Rory had tried to get into the same boat as O'Beth. She simply shook her head at her and then pointed out that Aryeh was waiting for her by another. Feeling a little nervous, she packed her things into the front of the canoe. Why was she feeling so shy now with Aryeh, they had been friends for most of her entire life? It was the kiss they had shared earlier, it left her wanting more. Feel his hands on her hands, feel his breath on her neck again, nuzzling her. She was starting to breath faster and glanced up to see if he noticed. He had, he looked at her with such a bright look in his eyes, she felt her heart race even faster, and it spoke of a barely kept control he was now exercising. He reached out and took her hand and helped to place her in the craft in front of him. But he moved things more up into the front with her in the middle and him right behind her. She could feel heat and warmth radiating from him. He smelled nice too, like grass and pines.
The water was quiet and yet it carried them, slowly down, Aryeh pulled her back against him, and said, “I know this is going to seem, well, unusual because in essence, you have been sleeping for 17 years now, but I really think that a lot has happened now and you should rest.” She turned back to look at him, he was very close, so close. She swallowed, “I admit I am weary, but, I am not really afraid but more hesitant to do so.” He reached out his hand, and cupping her face, he pulled her closer and said, “Trust me, I have been watching over your evenings now, for 17 years, I think I can do it for a few hours.” Then he bent and kissed her, with a bit more longing, less pleading than he had done before. This was not a kiss of trying to awaken her, she was more than awake... it was of a promise. Rory leaned back and feeling the rhythm of the rise and fall of his chest against her fell asleep. It was here, she really came awake, here she relived, that day, when everything changed.
Tym was hatching some new scheme to torment or play a trick on Quay, he said it was his mission in life, to get her to laugh. Quay actually was not much older than them. She was 15 years older than Lumi, but only five than Aryeh and 6 years older than Tym. Aryeh had insisted on coming along, because Lumi was. Last night Tym had Lumi turn the little green frogs they had found in the creek, white, and then had placed them in her tent. They liked to sing and he made sure there were plenty of flies for them to eat in her tent, Aryeh and Lumi had caught fireflies using honey and flowers as bait. They had placed these all in Quay’s tent, which was now full of fireflies and frogs, and honey and flowers. Needless to say, Quay was not pleased, about turning the frogs white. They glowed in the dark now. Tym was trying to come up with a new plan. Their parents were farther along towards the head of the procession. Some had carts or wagons while other’s carried their packs. Some cargo was piled and tied down to a fabric that was strung on poles that they also used to make their tents.
She caught her Mother looking back at her, as Tym stopped her from falling when she tripped over a root. Celeste frowned at her, why did she always seem to be so clumsy. She felt she would never be as graceful as Tym or Aryeh, she was so awkward. Elves were not to be awkward. Here she had all this power and she could not control it. In fact everything around her was out of control. She had recently become aware of Aryeh, on a different level and all he could see is the little girl. She was growing, she was older now. Her body was maturing now faster than her mind is what Antaquay said. That is why elves do not marry until in their thirties, because they do not bind themselves to each other until their minds are fully matured also. Also it is for life, unless a mate dies. They do not cheat or take lovers, they enter into commitments. They believed that they were bound by laws of nature and love. Like the wolves, the swans and other animals.
That was when she felt it, Quay did too, she had been walking behind them a few paces back and they both started running. Aryeh and Tym tried to catch up to them. Lumi began to panic, realizing they were too far, they could not, they would not make it in time. Suddenly from out of the sky appeared dark shapes like diving birds, that seemed to straighten and turn into shafts, like spears, pierced her Father and then her Mother's flesh. Striking them down, without knowing how, she used the wind, to fling Quay into the river they were walking alongside and then she flung up her arms and stood in front of Tym and Aryeh. It rippled, the air, it turned blue and green surrounding them as three more shafts arced from the sky towards them. She felt first one, then another, then the last one strike the barrier she had placed over them like hitting a wall. She felt it buckle then, and fall inward, into her, and she cried out. Then it was if she was blind she could only sense an overwhelming blackness. She could not speak or respond. She could hear though like from a distance, could hear the weeping. The great weeping, but she could not respond to it. Her Uncle Mandel, to him, she was his precious Lumi, he doted on her and held her for the longest time rocking her, begging her to awaken.
Quay, Mandel and the other Elven leaders spoke amongst themselves. They decided to split the group. Some would go on to Kestral, to ask for their help and tell them what occurred. Mandel would lead the procession back to their home, where her parents would be entombed. He would take over leading the people for now. Quay, Tym and Aryeh would try and see if they could awaken Lumi because now she was their Queen. Her people then worked quickly the sound of packing and people moving all around her. They moved both day and night, until they reached a mountain valley, small, with a forest that held great magic. Lumi could sense this through the darkness from smells and the touch of the cool mountain air. This is where she would be safe. She could feel the cool ground they placed her on, beneath her clothes, smell the grass. She heard sounds like when people built things, she lost track of the hours until suddenly she felt kisses and hugs and people whispered farewells. Lumi wished she could respond and in the darkness she began to cry as she sensed few around her. Then she could feel a presence of light, illuminating the darkness.
She could see the Stag. He spoke to her, “Dawn child, you are very brave. You must be braver now, trust only those I tell you. These three you can, I see no malice in their hearts. They will protect you until you awaken. Now, rise, and in the dream, walk with me.” She then felt movement in her limbs, and she could see again and as she looked at Aryeh he shifted... into a Lion he was growling softly. “Growlers.” Lumi mumbled a soft giggle escaping her lips. Then she turned and fleet as the Stag she followed him into the forest.
With her hand on the Stag's shoulder, they walked together into the village as the sun slowly rose. Until they came to the last house, a small cottage structure, with a sun porch with tables and benches with bowls filled with plants full of color and magic. The Stag then turned and looked at her, gesturing with his hoof towards an elderly woman with sharp eyes. “This is O'Beth, my chosen protector, who serves me. Trust her, listen to her and obey her. She will guide you through this until the time you awaken. Also you can trust the muskrat. You will see Rikos in his human form and that of the muskrat. Recall this, I gift you this, this dream state, to be aware, to speak, to act only during the day though, at night, I cannot hold back the darkness from your mind. It is too strong right now.”
The Stag then turned and speaking to the old woman said “O'Beth, you must protect the Elves. This is their Queen, she is young and she is under a great hurt. She will need your help in healing this great wound on her mind. Help her find the path back to us, this world needs her. She is the Dawn. Use your gifts and protect her.” She then saw, with a vision of his making, the Stag go into the forest and leave her. O'Beth, looked at her, and said “What should we call you?” She thought for a moment and said “Rory, my name is now Rory.”