Lillee slowed Dapple to a halt and dismounted, helping Kiyonari down after her. She walked the horse off the path and into the thicket taking the girl by the hand and leading her the same way. Lillee knew they were closing in on the witch and she had decided a long time back that this was a battle she could not ask the pair to follow her into. Lillee’s intent was to leave the horse and the girl hidden until she could return for them.
Lillee felt a tug on her tunic and turned to see Kiyonari stirring out onto the forest path, pale. The wraith had returned in many numbers, the mist quickly thickening into an opaque fog; swirling with the faces of villagers lost. Lillee pulled Kiyonari back between her and Dapple and stood to face the now forming shape of a woman in her later years.
Words again formed on the lips of the wraith, but no sound could be heard. Lillee strained to understand what was being said until she remembered a spell that could help. She began to chant as she removed a small amount of dust from a pouch at her waist. She blew this dust with the last word of the chant, right into the face of the wraith and as the last mote settled Lillee could hear a voice appear on the winds.
The wraith told Lillee of their plight, trapped by the witch’s power and bound to her for all eternity unless they give their lifeforce to another as they had to the children. They told Lillee of the shield they now had over the trio and how they were protected from view by the very bond with which the witch held them captive.
Lillee reeled with the enormity of the situation, she had not foreseen any involvement from anyone but Dapple in her visions and doubt was setting in as to the validity of what she had seen. Were her powers capable of defeating the witch as she had foreseen or was it a trap planted in her mind to lure her to her demise. Without Lillee the old king could not be interred, and the new king could not be installed; the land would fall into chaos.
Lillee was pulled from her panicked revere by Kiyonaris cold little hand sliding into her own. She realised then that she had a duty to perform, not just to the king but to this little girl too and no amount of self-doubt was going to help. She had to come up with a plan.
She now knew the powers of the wraith and the protection that they had on Lillee’s group but all that meant was that they could get to the witch unseen. They still had the dragon to deal with as well as the witch herself and Lillee was no fighter.
Dapple jumped as a hand came through the bush and grabbed his reigns. Kiyonari screamed as the kings Son and his last two knights stepped out of the trees; knight in full armour, battered and blood covered. Lillee quickly stifled Kiyonari so to not give their position away as Kalleb stepped forward and bowed low. He regaled them with the tale of the dragon’s demise and the wraith guiding them to her and offered his services to the completion of the mission.
Lillee was blown away. Their trio had suddenly doubled in number with three able bodied, fighting men at her disposal. This deepened her doubts as to why she hadn’t foreseen any of this but she could do nothing except play out what would be.
It was decided that only Lillee, Kalleb and one knight would go after the witch however, the remaining knight would stay with the girl and the horses. Dapple whinnied and tugged on his reigns, he had foreseen this night and he was sure he would be needed when the time came; he was less than happy about being left behind and made his protest known as Lillee and the new trio set off without him.