Advice the Autumn Crone Gave Me On Climbing the Wall
By Annette Marie Hyder
(from the Night Fairytales series)
Continued from previous installment.
The very next morning I met Erhaiel’s entire family of three-colored whiskras: six brothers, seven sisters, assorted mates and children of said siblings and Erhaiel’s mother, a grand queen of a whiskra who stood out from her many children and her household in not being a three-colored whiskra. Her glossy fur shone singularly in gold. The whole household saw us off after a delicious breakfast made boisterous by chatter and laughter and even (if you can believe they gave themselves over to such a thing while there was eating to be done) snatches of song.
As I walked beside Erhaiel back up the winding steps which swirled with (I now knew) nothing less than dragon breath, I had no idea what would happen at the end of the trail when we caught up with Gnar and the Verms — other than that we would get Gnar back. I also had no idea of how things were going for Gnar (I was guessing since he was with Verms — bad).
Well you don’t have to wonder, because I am going to tell you what I was only to find out later.
Gnar found himself being led away, his neck enclosed in a magic dampening device of the Verms making, a specialty of theirs for dealing with Great Wolves. The Verm (rightly) feared to approach a lone Great Wolf in anything less than a mob.
Why did the Verms take such a risk to get the wolf? Because they wanted me. But thanks to Gnar and the cloak that Latham gave me, they never even saw me. They had heard that the Great Wolf was traveling with a girl (me) and when they didn’t find me with him they decided to use him as bait to lure me to them.
Why me? What could they possibly want with me? Want enough to brave a Great Wolf? Well. It turns out that they had somehow got it into their ugly heads that I had come into possession of one of the stones of Ydna: the Flame Stone.