She flew hard and fast, pushing her body as hard as she could to cover the distance between the Vine pass and her destination. The Frozen Hills to the Far North of Iligesia. The site of the former Shadow School before it was destroyed by Obisidian twenty years previously. The trip, even by wings took three days and not once in the entire time did she stop to land for rest, food or drink. She was filled practically to overflowing with the buzzzing radiance of the Dreaming. Her senses swam with it, everywhere she could see it. The threads, the strings, the waves and ripples and currents of the Ocean of Dreams that flowed in and around and throughout everything in existence. The subversive, seductive and purely destructive raw force that was just there, waiting for her to reach out and grasp hold of it.
It took every ounce of self control that she had nurtured over the years not to open herself to that energy. To fill herself to bursting with pure, radiant power.
Instead she focused on her flight. Wings beating heavily, powerfully.
She cursed and stumbled, if one could call it that, in mid air as she realized that she had just shot over the school and out over open water. She grunted and strained, wings flapping madly to turn her about. There was a severe lack of thermal currents over large bodies of water, her wings couldn't support her properly and she flapped wildly for several moments, struggling to get back over land.
She landed, some minutes later, at the entrance to a small wooden hut. Her body was drenched in sweat, muscles she didn't even know she'd had trembled with exhaustion and despite her best effort she wasn't even able to lift her hand to knock on the door. Finally, in desperation she simply let her head fall forward, forehead smacking against the door with a dull thud. She did it twice more and a moment later the door opened and she fell into a pair of open, waiting arms.
"Jade!" he cried. "Dammit woman what the hell did you do now? What have you and Rhyven gotten yourselves into this time?" As he spoke he dragged her bodily over to a small cot and dropped her onto it. He continued to ramble as he moved about the cabin gathering blankets, a cup of strong coffee and a bowl filled with a thick, rich stew.
"Time for that later," she whispered and weakly waved away the food. "You need to get to the Vine pass, and you only have four days to get there."
He sighed. "Of course. Well if I have four days then I have plenty of time. Eat your stew and tell me what's happened. You know I've been out of touch with the world for a few years now."
"How are you going to get there in time?" she asked. "It took me three days flying non stop to get here and last I checked you didn't have wings."
He gave her a conspiratorial grin. "Trust me. I have my ways Jade. You should know that by now." He winked one warm blue eye at her and carefully spooned up some of the stew. "Now eat," he said and unceremoniously shoved the spoon into her mouth. "You can tell me what's been happening after."
A week. It had been a week exactly since the end of the battle against the Jade Empires forces. Their were far more waiting for them across the ocean but that wasn't important to him. The route they would be taking to get there was going to be an adventure in and of itself and there was plenty to worry about just with that without having to worry about what would happen when they got there. He left the small tent that he'd built off to one side of the camp. It had taken this long but today they were finally going to bury the last of the fallen defenders of Iligesia. Twelve thousand men and women lost against the horrific creations of the Empire, those Golems, made from the still living corpses of their own fallen. The mind that could use such methods without regret was beyond Rhyven's comprehension, but it made things easier to him. Instead of going to face a man they were to face a monster. A horrible creature that had long since forsaken his right to live any longer than was required for them to kill him.
He shook away those dark thoughts, preferring to instead focus his darker thoughts on the paths ahead of them that would lead them to the shores of Shi'An. The distant continent was at least three weeks travel by foot through the Realms, possibly longer depending on what happened inside. Things had been unstable in recent months and Rhyven was beginning to build some suspicions as to why. Either way the creatures of the Realm were more agitated, more prone to attack and far more wide spread than usual. Even the safe paths were no longer such.
He paused as he walked toward where the Shapers could be seen standing outside the Medical tents nearby when a glimmering fluttering mote of blue energy appeared in front of him. It fluttered toward him and landed on his forehead, disappearing a moment later as it deposited it's message directly into his mind. He smiled, a warm expression that was hidden within the shadows of his cloak's hood and continued moving on.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," he called as he approached. Callistans red hair was the most visible of the group. Marisa stood as far away from Callistan as she appeared to be able to get while still remaining a part of the group. Shea the leader of the Sacred Knights stood nearby, conversing quietly with the others. A spear rested across his back as well as a beautifully wrought bow. A weapon created through his use of the dreaming during the battle against the Empires Captain Commander Alernon. Sven sat apart from the others, pen and book in hand and scribbling away as always. He was writing the story of their adventures and could frequently be seen scribbling away, even in the midst of battle his book and pen were never far from his hands. Cedric the High Priest of the Order of Light rounded out the group and they all turned to look as he stopped before them, his black clothing a sharp counterpoint to the mix of colors and gleaming metals that made up the rest of the groups outfits and equipment.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," he said again. "We will be leaving for the Shadow Realm very soon but the friend that Jade went to collect should be arriving in just a moment. Introductions will be made and then I think we should be on our way. If anyone has any goodbyes to make before we go you might want to do that sooner than later." His tone was brusque and to the point but was not unfriendly in and of itself. It was eerie to hear him speaking from within the hood, not being able to see his face meant his words simply floated seemingly of their own accord from the darkness that surrounded him.
As he finished speaking there was a flash of brilliant white light and suddenly a new figure stood not far from them. He was shorter than any of the others, dwarfed entirely by those like Rhyven and Cedric at only five feet tall. His ears made him seem taller at first. A simple green cloak hung about his shoulders beneath which he wore a tan shirt with billowing sleeves and over that a thin chest plate of light leather armor. Twin short swords hung from the belt that circled his waist, one at either hip and his large fur covered feet were bare. His whiskers quivered with barely contained amusement as he took in the assembled peoples expressions and he reached up to straighten the strange dome shaped cap that rested on his head, long ears feeding through two holes cut into the top of the item.
"Keyola Ziloe," he said with a sweeping bow. "The Rabbit Mage, at your service." he turned to Rhyven and a small clear crystal that he held in one hand was swiftly deposited into a small grey pouch tied at his waist. "Rhyven," he said, warmly greeting the muscular mountain of a Shadow Walker. "It's been a long time old friend. And the Ladies Callistan and Marisa. Strange to see the two of you in one place. How is your brother Princess?" he asked Callistan and then turned to Marisa. "And your mother? Is the Lady Anaxel doing well?"