Zenlial felt like she was living a dream, being back here, in the countryside and always on the run. She had been with Devon on this journey for a few days now, and they had settled well enough in a war-torn area left ransacked by a battle and then hit by bandits. No one lived in this little village any longer. As far as Devon and Zen could tell, they had sought out help from the Weylyn castle and the lands inside the grand walls that were constantly defended – or they had dispersed seeking shelter elsewhere.  This story had been retold to them in many places, and now they were seeing the truth of it with their own eyes. It had taken Devon seeing it to believe it.  She had watched the honorable lycan become heartsick from it all. This was not the legacy he had intended to leave his people or those whom his people called allies and friend.   

As much as this was an adventure for her, it was a tragedy for him. As soon as the elf realized this, she had curbed her own enthusiasm as much as possible. She didn’t want to seem apathetic; difficult for most elves. So far, she hoped that he understood that she actually did give a damn about what was happening to his people. The more she was around him, the more she cared about how it affect him, personally.  

She had made her way cautiously to one of the cottages along a secondary path inside one of the empty villages. They had decided to meet back here after each making travels to gather information. Coming upon the back door, the elf made with a light chitter that sounded much like a raccoon’s voice. She waited to hear the return call. If not, she’d need to be very cautious on her entry.

The sound was returned and the door was opened. Dull golden eyes caught Zenlial’s as Devon let her in. It had been heartbreaking what they’d been seeing for the past three days. Villages and small farms that he and his siblings had visited time and again while pups were now little more than ruins. Even the old wars had never come this close to home. 

It tore at him to see this but he needed to see it. He needed to know how bad it had become.  “Any news?” Devon moved to the fire to stir the stew he’d started knowing she’d be returning soon. He wiped his hands and tossed the bit of cloth over one shoulder.

“I have either done a good thing or a bad thing.” Zenlial said as she placed her bow and quiver on the hanging rod she had been using for a while. She began unwrapping her hands. The seasons here could be harsh, most of the weather was hot or hotter, some – like where they were, remained temperate for the most part. But right now, the cooler season was upon them. The elf moved closer to the fire once she had her fingers unwrapped. Her nail beds were purple.  

“Apparently ya been pretty busy gal.” Devon rumbled low as he set the dipper down and grabbed her hands to inspect them. “What’d I tell ya ‘bout proper gloves and how long ta be out in there?” He rubbed her hands to warm them faster knowing that his own body heat would do the trick.

“I can be stubborn as you,” she whispered watching his hands over hers.

“Tell me what ya did?” As he released Zen’s hands, the big lycan turned to make them each a bowl of stew.

“I came into contact with a scout from your pack. I let him know that I should like to summon the Alpha in charge to a meeting. I told him that I know you and have been in contact. It seemed to brighten the warrior’s day and he made with a quickness back into the packland near your home. I would have been at least a half-day in gain from him, though…” Zen took the stew and smelled the aroma of it over the bowl. Then, she took a spoon and sat on her bottom to begin her meal.

That got his attention, Devon took a bite and chewed as he thought over what Zen had just said. “I’m gonna say it was a good thing, now just gotta see what it gets us.” He hoped his sister and her mate were doing better than what they’d seen of the Pack lands. “Where is this meetin’ takin’ place?”

“I told the scout that we could meet at the old well on the outside of what’s left of this village’s walls. If the excitement was enough, they’ll be scouting the village by tonight, just to be sure it’s not a trap. Or at least, I would if I were them.” She slurped the thick stew and then put the big pieces back in the bowl.  

“I need ya to act as my backup. I need ya to watch the meetin’ from a good view.” He ate more stew and explained what was going to happen. “If this meetin’ goes badly I need ya to get back through the portal and get with my friends.”

“I won’t let it go badly.” It was simply stated before she slurped again. To her, both the sound and the flavor was most satisfying!  

Any other time Devon would have chuckled, but he just couldn’t do that with the current situation. “Let’s hope it doesn’t.”

Before Zen could say anything, Devon held a hand up to his mouth letting her know that he’d heard something. Carefully he’d set his bowl and rose to his feet to move quick and silent around the inside of the small cottage. His head tilted one way and then the other as he listened to every little thing that was going on outside. It was obvious he was tracking movement of something outside.

Of course, the elf couldn’t remain still. Not if her life depended upon it. She settled the bowl silently and then made her way back to the opposite end of the house, that was honestly one big room with furnishings. There were very few windows, and that was good. She had her dagger drawn and ready as she also listened for the sound of what was going on outside.  Had the lycan got here much quicker than anticipated?

Drawing a deep breath Devon rushed the front door, yanked it open and pulled a middle aged man inside. As he shut the door the Alpha shoved the man back against it and he rumbled low. “Relax Zen, this is my brother in law Ethan, it seems that the scout wasted no time reportin’ to him.”

The elf directly across the room from the lycan slowly took her dagger, flipped it in the air and hilted it in one of several places on her body.  Her eyes narrowed on the other lycan. He didn’t look like a proper Alpha to her. He looked a bit weasley for her liking. How had they come to the decision to give him title?

“I might’ve made a few more stops than I should’ve,” she admitted. Zen shrugged the surprise off her shoulders and casually walked back over to the fire. Being cold and hungry was a good reason enough to not worry about what Devon was handling.  She could listen while warming up and eating. Sitting legs crossed in a knot, she continued enjoying her stew.

“I couldn’t believe what the scout said until I saw it for myself. Devon, what are you doing here?” Ethan had that wide eyed astonished stare going on at Devon. “You shouldn’t be here right now… it’s not safe.”

Letting him go Devon returned to his seat and his own bowl as Ethan stayed leaning against the door in obvious shock. “Heard some troublin’ gossip and had to come over and see if any of it was true myself. After the past couple of days I got some questions for ya.”

Ethan swallowed hard and his heart skipped a few beats as he knew what was coming and wasn’t sure how he was going to explain without ending up dead. “It’s complicated, Devon.”

“Did ya hear that Zen, it’s complicated.”

Zen rolled her eyes and continued eating. She was also still thinking over the dynamics of foot travel. No. She hadn’t made too many stops. How had he gotten here so quickly? Had to be magic. So… how were they using magic? What kind of magic? Her ears twitched as she continued to listen to footsteps outside the cottage. So far she had counted four separate sets of footfalls. She slurped louder before wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, habit from being around Devon long enough. 

“Complicated is one way to describe this situation he had obviously contributed to. Perhaps that makes an explanation even more imperative?” the elf’s purple eyes held Ethan’s grey eyes.

Taking the next bite of stew Devon’s irritation showed. His teeth scraped across the spoon before he tossed it back in the bowl and set the piece down roughly on a busted up side table.

“Tell me anyways, we got time. Explain to me the ruins and death that we’ve seen and passed through for the last three days. Come on, Ethan, let me here how ya explained it to my sister. What does Neala say about of this?”

“Your father is the reason for all of this. Kieran has been raiding at the edges of Pack lands for years now Devon. He went too far and stirred trouble with Pack Simoan. They have been striking and raiding our lands for weeks now in retaliation.” Ethan blurted out and watched the pair before him as if watching for a reaction.

There was a low rumble of warning from the big blonde as he cut a dangerous glare on his sister’s mate.

“That’s all ya have? Ya blamin’ all this on Kieran? I somehow doubt all this is on him. Who else ya bring with ya?”

“Weylyn’s aren’t real welcome outside the pack lands lately if you ain’t noticed.” Ethan pushed on the latch behind his back intent on making a quick exit if need be. “And no one can ever mistake you as anything but a Weylyn.”

“Funny we ain’t had no trouble up till now.” Something told him that he was being baited.

“I never knew lycan gave birth to cowards. This is a first for me.”  Zenlial smirked as she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, placing her nearly empty bowl on the ground near Devon’s. “I count four, in case you had a different count…” she mumbled before getting up and mentally preparing her defensive magic. 

“Devon nodded, “Same.”

“How…” Ethan didn’t get a chance to speak.

“You all got here very quickly. You have access to magic. I guess I got that wrong about lycan, too. I thought they only used shamanic magic.” 

“Desperate times. And this isn’t a good time, Devon. You should go back to your chosen home.” Ethan tried to regain himself.

“You want Devon to leave so you can keep the title? But it’s just a title, isn’t it? You certainly haven’t been living up to that title. I wonder who they’d choose to follow if given the choice?” the elf decided to continue to push the buttons of this obviously failing lycan leader. “That scout I spoke with seemed very excited to know the true Alpha had returned for them.”  The elf moved so she had a clear shot to the one known as Ethan. Her magic was limited. She needed easy and clear view. “So, if they think of Devon as the true Alpha, what does that make you?”

“Why don’t we go and find out?” Devon walked to his brother in law. Taking Ethan by the upper arm, the man barely jerked and grunted – he knew he had no chance against the larger, stronger lycan. Dev walked right out the front of the cottage with him. One of the four were standing only a few feet ahead of them and was indeed the scout Zen had mentioned. Devon could hear the movement of the others stop.

“I’m Devon Weylyn, true Alpha to Pack Weylyn and I’ve come back to clean up this mess! Step out and present yaself proper to be recognised by ya true Alpha.” Devon never let go of Ethan’s arm as he made his stand.

Cursing in elvish under her breath, Zenlial simply moved to a better window view in the cottage. Sometimes Devon forgot the idea of having a partner at his back… this wasn’t ideal. Therefore, within seconds, Zen had her bow and quiver on and was out the door to the side. She did not remain anywhere near Devon, opting for a spot in the trees with a good sight. Her bow was held proper and there was an arrow notched in it. She knew Devon could take them all physically, but that magical component had her senses on-point. It was familiar, and not in a very settling fashion. Who had this scruff been making deals with? Or was it that he had found something he shouldn’t have messed with?   

“Devon!” Jaysson came forward with a quickness. “It really IS you!” He stooped a bit before the Alpha in respect. His hand moved across his chest, since Devon had his own hands full he couldn’t properly clasp arms.  “Thank the Goddess! Fellas! Come on over! It’s really him.”   

Devon couldn’t hide his excitement, and made his first minor mistake. He let go of Ethan to actually clasp arms and hug the scout. Ethan moved to the opposite side away from where he felt the elf. The magic he was using told him where to go and where not to go. He was quiet and seemingly unimportant to the situation right now, and the magic he wore made it even moreso.

For the first time since leaving the city Devon grinned at the familiar face. “Jaysson who’s here with ya?” His gaze moved around to locate the others as they started coming out. “Ty, Rawly..”  Devon greeted each of them in turn, and then paused to really smile when greeting the last one with a hug and a resounding clamp on the back, “Wulf.. it’s been too long.”

Returning the greeting the dark haired male that was the same height and build of the Alpha, chuckled. “Yes it has been far too long. We have a lot to discuss, but first please tell me ya left Eva and the pups on the other side. This is no place for them right now.”

“Yeah she stayed behind, she wasn’t happy though.” Devon couldn’t help but look them all over again. “But now tell me what’s really goin’ on here?”

“I will, just as soon as your elven companion takes her bow sight off my back.” He’d seen the little elf creep out and slip into the woods. She had gotten past the others. Wulf  had been expecting another to exit the cottage; not her. He’d have to ask his friend a few questions later but first he looked around for Ethan and like a snake he was gone. “Damn, where’d he go?”

Zenlial climbed down from the tree so far and then somersaulted to the ground. She had the bow to her back again and all arrows up.  

“He’s using elven magic. I saw the flash finally. He just left you all here once he got you distracted. I did not believe you would want me to harm him, Devon. I apologize for my hesitation.” Zen looked up at Devon, a hand on her hip. “besides, I had to climb a tree to get any shot at all. You forget how big you are, my friend. And how short I am.” Her smile was sincere, though she was scolding him.

“Next time I’ll be sure to kneel just so you have a better shot.” Devon actually chuckled, “Zenlial let me introduce you to some of my Pack. That’s Jaysson the scout you met earlier, the redhead beside him is Ty, the short round one is Rawly and this mountain is Wulf. Fellas this is my friend, Zenlial and she’s with me for this long adventure.”

“Nice to meet you and now we need to move.” Wulf interrupted Ty’s move to actually greet the elf. The younger lycan swallowed and stood back in his place. “She’s right, Ethan is dealing with elves. I have no doubt he uses their magic to get what he wants out of people. If we stick around here you’ll either be their slave or dead.” Wulf gave a sharp nod to the others and they scattered to grab their gear and make sure the way was still clear.

As Devon stepped inside to grab their things, Wulf followed. He let Zen pass in first. The Alpha had to ask. “How do ya know all this?”

“We’ve been tracking the other Packs and Jaysson has been keeping tabs on Ethan. With all the raiding and border scuffles it hasn’t been noticed until recent. Lycan are coming up missing from all over and I think he has something to with it. If I’m thinking that then so are others and it’s stirring trouble.”

“It has caused war. It is a very hostile accusation, is it not?” the elf pointed out as she grabbed her things and stuffed them back into her pack.

“I ain’t accusing anymore, elf. I know.” Wulf was very confident.

“Then we need to finish making our way to the palace and my sister.” Devon was insistent.

“And what do you intend to do once we get to the palace. It’s not like Ethan is just going to let you walk right in and take over.” Wulf had to point out the obvious to his friend.

Slinging his pack up onto his shoulder, Devon turned away from them and walked back toward the door. “I never said I was walking through the front doors. It’s my family home and I have other ways in Wulf.”

“Of course you do.” Wulf looked at the elf in a way that said he wasn’t sure how successful they’d be. He then rearranged his own pack on his broad shoulders before picking up hers too without even being asked. “It’s still a good five miles out so we best start walking.” He really didn’t seem to care if she was going to protest either. She was small, the pack looked like it was nearly her size, and there was no way he was letting her slow them down by trying to heft it by herself.

“Excuse, me? By picking up my pack, do you mean to have me scout ahead and don’t want to bother me with it, or are you assuming I need your help?” Zenlial wasn’t sure how to take the action. She’d been traveling with Devon all this time, and other than him taking the backpack from her so she could be more maneuverable while scouting – she had been just fine and kept up with him. She had a high tolerance for physical endurance, despite her looks.  

“No, we don’t need you to scout that’s what Jaysson is doing right now. I’m not assuming anything other than that your legs are shorter, the pack is heavy and we are on a time constraint if you’ve not noticed.” Wulf didn’t stop walking as he explained. “So unless you are going to magically grow about another foot or so, or can bench press my weight while running, let me carry the pack.” There was no love lost between him and elves, especially not after what they’d done to his family. But out of respect for Devon, Wulf as being somewhat hospitable.

Zenlial looked at Devon, indignant as hell.  Then, she got a determined air about her and had that bow down from her shoulder in an instant. She came up on what was Wulf’s blind side and swatted his hind with the light iron-wood – knowing she was doing it to leave a nice welt on his back-side.  

When he turned to react to her, Zen wasn’t there. She grabbed her pack from his other hand and rolled away from him, missing his secondary reaction by two feet. The elf was running, the pack up, raised above her shoulders more than they wore theirs. But it worked for her. And she jogged along to keep up with their larger strides.

Devon watched Zen’s antics and Wulf’s rumble and glare. “Easy,” the Alpha chuckled. 

Adjusting his own pack Wulf watched the small form bound off in front of them. He could chase her down and make her pay for that backhanded move, but instead he shrugged his big shoulders as if not bothered by her. “That’s trouble on two legs.” He shook his head and let his gaze move to Devon’s “And that’s why I’m not mistaken for a soft hearted gentleman like yourself Dev.”

“Don’t drag me into ya scuffle with Zen. We ain’t had no problems at all between us these past few days.” Swiping up a long stemmed weed, Dev shoved the slender end between his teeth to chew the sweetness out of.

“I’m not trouble, unless you make me trouble!” Zenlial called back, turning slightly to do so.  She smiled before turning forward again to keep pace with Devon.  

Just giving her a look of irritation, Wulf fell back a little further to avoid the elf if at all possible at this point.

“Who is he, anyway? The others have been so quiet compared to him.” The elf was naturally curious. “The only lycan I know personally is you, to be honest. So if I overstep my boundaries, please tell me.”  

“So much ta say?” Dev pointed out to his traveling companion. “Wulf’s a long time friend. No, you haven’t overstepped. He’s actually been more talkative and nicer to you than he ever has to other elves since they wiped out his entire Pack. He was about ten at the time and his mama hid him, but he watched it all.” Devon went on chewing and walking. “He’s one of the best men I ever knew over here. I ain’t gonna talk for him though, he’s seen his troubles that’s all I’m saying Zen.”

The elf felt immediately guilty. Not because of what had happened to his pack, but because of how she had treated him. Apparently he had been trying to be nice. Zenlial was proud, though. She wanted to do things on her own. And there were reasons for that.  For a while, she said nothing. Then, she slowed down so that she could pace the other big lycan.  

“Sorry about your ass. Where I come from, if you allow others to do for you, you are seen as weak or… worse. I did not understand what you were doing was meant to be… honorable.” She looked aside at him.  

“That’s the damnedest thing about elves, they always think they’re better than others.” Wulf looked down at her before he quickened his pace to leave her and Devon both behind. “I’ll go see what Jaysson’s found out.”

Devon waited for Zenlial to catch back up to him. He didn’t say anything about what he’d overheard. If his time as a mate to Eva had taught him anything it was to know when to stay silent. Sometimes females just needed someone to vent to and he knew from experience that he was good for that too.

“He’s correct about most elves.” It took her a long time to say it. And even as she spoke, the lump in her throat made her wish she hadn’t.  She knew how most elves were -because she had lived with them. Normally she was tough and unapologetic. Perhaps she should have been with this lycan as well. Had she made things more difficult for Devon, now?  

“Ya just ruffled his fur a little. He don’t make it easy on anyone.” Devon hugged her to his side a moment before letting go and continuing on. “We gotta a long walk ahead and I’m all ears.” He smiled for her and it actually reached his eyes to set the gold off in them.

“What should I talk to you about? My life in this world or what I remember of the other? Considering we’ve still a nice march, I can do either. You’ve told me everything you can about your life here and there. And it has helped prepare me for your world and your customs – well…” Her purple eyes looked forward to Wulf as he disappeared to find Jaysson. “… for the most part.”  She continued. “It has been an epic adventure and a beautiful romance as well.” Zenlial grinned a bit as she waited to be sure Devon even cared to hear about it.

The other two, Ty and Rawly kind of scooted closer. After all, they were curious of her. Elves were normally not dealt with in their lands. They were avoided. Lycan and Humans were good slaves for the magic wielders in this world – elves included. 

“Do tell.” Devon watched the way she looked at Wulf and smiled to himself.

“Where should I begin? There or here? Or… in linear order as you told me?” Zen waited to see what he chose. She didn’t mind telling them some of her story.  Maybe not all of it. But it was only proper in return for his own.

“Works better in order don’t ya think gal.” Devon was relaxed and easy going as was in most cases. Sometimes he had to act otherwise but it wasn’t what he cared to do. “Besides, like I said we got plenty of time for the tellin’.” He felt the others draw close and rumbled just a small warning so that they would stay back enough that she wouldn’t feel suffocated by them all.

“My family did not flee the other world. But we weren’t welcome in our own world. So, we hid from human sight and studied and watched and learned to survive with those who refused to travel through the portals when humans began to truly populate the other world.  We became kindred to the more powerful race. My kindragon’s name was Rhegal.  He was ebony with silvery scales.” The way her voice climbed told them that she thought very highly of her dragon’s looks.

Ty and Rawly traded glances before returning their attention to the storyteller.

“I was bonded to him after two decades of training and the approval of my people.  He was restless in his scales and longed to learn more of humans he followed the course of. I knew of where to find old elvish and draconic spellwork that would help. One day, we happened on a battle. Rhegal always felt such things were heartbreaking, but necessary. When a race battles itself, it is almost like the world has decided there are too many… and so things are pushed and the balance must once again be had. We watched humans kill one another. But there was one that kept fighting and fighting and in the end, though he was mortally wounded, his people, they won the day – if you could call it that.” the last was said with a touch of sadness. Even after all of these years, Zenlial could remember everything, including the emotions. 

“His comrades carried him back to the tents and he was cleaned and the spiritual leader was called.  Like your shaman?” Zen smirked at the parallels. “When the time was available, I snuck in and spoke to him about his options. The warrior hero wanted to find his lovelies in the world he believed in beyond his present life. You see, they are not so very different from lycan in their beliefs of a beautiful place for their souls after their bodies die. I told him, we could see to it that his passing through the veil would be painless. We came for him in the night, and took him to a stone altar Rhegal had made overlooking the winding river. The moonlight was overhead and the stars. I comforted the human and helped him pass onward, and while I did, Rhegal performed the ritual I had procured for him. His body… it became like… like those stars. They sparkled and swirled around the human’s body until the body took a deep breath once again. Only, the human warrior, he was beyond the veil, holding his loved ones and enjoying his reward. Instead, my dragon was in the human body. We danced for the first time…well… a few weeks from then.” Zenlial cleared her throat. She looked around at her audience, whom she was fairly certain had their noses in the gutter and said, “First he had to learn how to walk on two legs.” She giggled with the memory.

“I imagine there was other things he could do before walkin’ on two legs,” Rawly chuckled and nudged Ty with his elbow. 

Zen blushed, but kept walking.  

“Forgive ‘em gal, yer the first elf they’ve really gotten up close to. Plus there’s no tellin’ how long it’s been for any of ‘em if ya get my meanin’.” Devon chuckled and grinned, “Yer dragon found his human form and ya taught him the fine workin’s of his new body along with some dancin’. What happened after that? Humans are hard to live around on their best days, so I’m sure for the two of ya it wasn’t any better.” Her tale stirred memories of his first meeting and the following courting of his own mate.

“Well, I won’t bore you with the romantic portions, I’m sure you have imaginations well in hand enough to know that when two who have been bonded and have lived so long with one another have the opportunity, they will fall in love in every way possible. So… we did. And we lived quite free along with others of my particular clan for some time. I…I think it was at least another century before we even had to hide much from humanity. On the other side, the humans spread very quickly throughout the world. Both our people left through the portals. Most all elves did. The dragons, they either left or they adapted. Odd thing is, we always thought that the humans would be our enemy in the future. And I believe, because of that assumption, when the true enemy came, we were caught completely unawares.”  Zen sighed as she did her best not to remember the details.  

“So, who was yer enemy?” Ty asked.

“Elves in this world had begun using other races and even each other for gain and survival. They had a completely different culture from my clan. They realized how useful we could be… with our special abilities and our kindragons.  One by one, the people of my clan began disappearing along with the dragons they were bonded with. We were becoming very spread apart over the other world, so it took a very long time for us to realize what was happening – that we were being hunted. One day, the hunt came to me. And that is where my story changes from my life in the other world, to my life in this world.”  

Devon’s voice softened as he rested a large hand on her small shoulder, “I’m sure it did Zenny, but I’ll let ya hold on to that for now. I think that’s enough for the fellas.” There was another deep rumble that let Ty and Rawly know they’d better be giving them plenty of space. He enjoyed hearing about Zen’s life but not if it pained her in the telling.

It was a quiet three more miles into deeply wooded areas before Wulf returned to say it was time to spread out to scout around the main pack ground and palace. They needed to be sure of safety before getting too close, especially if Ethan was using elven magic and was on the alert.  Zenlial wanted to go out to scout as well, but Devon shook his head before she volunteered. The elf nodded. She had learned that when Devon made a decision he usually had a very valid reason for it.  She would ask him after the others left. 

She was paying for her obstinance, that was for sure. Zen took the pack off and tucked it into a downed, rotting tree before stretching and rotating her shoulderblades. It was then, that Devon got the first glimpse of the odd hidden appendages that poked out beneath the fabric of her shirt. Being around dragons and demons previously, perhaps even around elves like her – it was easy for the lycan to realize what they were.  

She shook, and shivered before popping her neck and then returning to her seat. Since they didn’t want her scouting, she wouldn’t. Zen didn’t want to make herself a target or hurt their methodology or strategy. And it was true that lycan had a very different strategy than elves when it came to such missions. She sighed and in her squatted position, closed her eyes to try and relax. 

Taking a seat beside her, Devon continued to scan the area with his eyes and ears while he spoke of what was going to be a sensitive subject. “Shoulda let Wulf carry ya pack Zenny.” He gave one knowing glance at her before looking out and towards the palace again.

“It’ll be okay. I just needed to stretch. Have a couple of blisters…” she was interrupted while moving to sit on her bottom and fold her legs over one another. 

“When did they take ‘em from ya? And why did they take ‘em?” She didn’t have to answer but something said that maybe it would get it off her chest if she did. And he was curious about his friend. How had she ended up the Elven Councilor if the elves had been so cruel to her? 

Zen looked down at her hands in her lap. She took a deep breath and quietly whispered, “That’s how they kept me from healing him. I can’t heal much of anything without my clan’s magic. Our magic is somehow… connected to our wings.”  

Slowly, she looked up at Devon. “I was brought through the portal to lure Rhegal through. He came later, with our children. Luckily, the children knew how to survive on their own and deal with what was about to happen. They blend in as well as they can.  They planned to use my kindragon in the pits or the mines or… I don’t know.  He fought them… for me.  They had things that they had created to handle dragons. I tried to heal him, and I thought we would make it. They took my wings to keep me from healing him when they cut him with those swords.”  

“I’m sorry to hear about ya loss Zenlial. It’s never easy to lose a part of  ya heart.” This was disturbing to the lycan for many reasons. First, he was upset for her and her losses. Second was the fact that there were weapons out there that could damage dragons in such a fashion. He’d need to warn his brother. He’d never hear of such a thing. 

“I have survived the elves that Wulf spoke of. They’ve not taken my spirit from me, Devon.  When I laid eyes on you, I recognized in you a similar spirit. It’s why I came back here with you. I don’t want to see this war remove your wings. I want to help you make everything okay, again.”  

“I appreciate that. I still got a lot of questions for ya. But I think we need ta rest a bit for now.” He was concerned about her. Sure, elves were hearty as a race, and he’d watched Zen take on this adventure like it was nothing. But sometimes, one could be both emotionally tired and physically tired. This was where he felt the elf was right now. 

“I told you why I’m helping you. Why are you being so nice and accepting my help? You don’t have to. And if your people are any indication,” Zen motioned over her shoulder toward where the others had left to go. “Elves aren’t exactly wanted.”

“I don’t judge by what you are. I judge by your character. So far you’ve shown you have an honorable character, Zen. You have the character of someone I’d like as my friend.” The big lycan smiled. A wicked glint came to his eyes as he added, “Besides, I need to keep ya safe. Kennedy would have my ass if anything happened to ya gal.” 

Zenlial giggled. She was also keeping him safe. But he knew that. 

“Ahhh, the truth comes out. You’re doing it to save your own ass?” She smiled brightly. She was actually thankful for the respite, and the humor.  

“Hey, the Councilor doesn’t just bark. He has a bite. And I’m an expert at that kinda thing.” Devon chuckled.

“That, I don’t doubt, my friend.”