The Fae of the North survivors had called for a campfire, some singing and storytelling and some had their ideas. They collected wood for far extended than they should have and built a bonfire.
"What was that Catherine?" Sean asked her with an annoyed tone.
She ignored him and watched as the sisters went to search for the remaining survivors. She knew Sean was asking about the fire in her hands and the sword. But she dismissed it, she couldn't tell him just yet.
The Fae had been defeated, but they will surely move on and they will conquer their land once more. The Fae of the North will then request another treaty and under it, they will renounce all claims of sovereignty.
Cheena and Prestiney decided to stay with their remaining warriors while Miah, Catherine, and Sean have the plan to travel to the Dark Forest to save Nathan from the Golden Pool.
The Golden pool was exchanged in the middle of Dark Forest, The Pool seemed to be glowing with crystal golden colors, and curls of steam were increasing from the water dazzlingly and seem to be as bright as the sun, the tale says that only a fae with dark magic can seize someone into the deepest part of the pool and be cursed for internity.
The trouble was, no one has traveled the roads to the Dark Forest for hundreds of years or has the least idea where they lead or who else might be upon them.
Together the trio traveled up north passing through the Cold Mountain.
Many days passed, after ascending yet another mountain they had yearned was the last one on The Land of Nod only to discover at its summit dozens of more peaks in the distance, Miah said, frustrated,
"We're not going to find the Magic Pool any time soon." As she sat down, exhausted.
After an hour of rest and their stomach fulls, they launch on their journey again until they reach the Dark Forest and by noon the path at their feet fades as it leads into the gloom of the forest, but they must follow it for the sake of their friend.
Somewhere in there are the answers they require, and so their feet pursue the narrow strip of naked earth among the monsters of root and leaf.
The darkness of the woods and the sounds of the unknown creatures howling from the distance were enough for the weak-hearted to returned to its paths and never come back.
Yet, Catherine let her hands touch her skin as she passed, feeling their thoughtful spirits soothe her own. The darkness was everywhere, for this was their world as they sprawl toward the light they never see yet sense; and she must do the same, open up her other senses, to sound, to the aroma and listen so very carefully to every instinct.
The narrow path, which was made unstable by the twisted roots that crossed it, spread out at intervals. There was no map to follow, but even if there was the endless dark would prevent them from using it.
There were only small sounds of crinkling bushes and the howl of the wind. The paths that were brightened just hours before become lost in a blackness that even the afternoon sun cannot help.
Suddenly from the woods crawled a rattlesnake, numerous times massive than the normal snakes! Twitching its rattle and flicking its long scarlet tongue, it seemed to glide towards them. Terrified as they draw their sword. Catherine's stunning face was visible and yet she was confident.
Miah then yanked the sword up before her face and closed her eyes, realizing that if it did not protect her, she was doomed. She swung it as hard as she could, her motion seems to have been eyeing the rattlesnakes.
They fought back and forth. Then she unexpectedly heeded a loud clump. She lowered the sword to just above her nose and was astounded to see the rattlesnake had crumbled on the ground. The rattle at the end of its tail, staggering, pitched over. Blood was everywhere, in her face and all over her body, tired and running out of breath she then looked over Sean and Catherine; fighting with a huge white scorpion who then unexpectedly appear; yet the ugliest scorpion she'd ever seen.
The next moment another enormous white scorpion, snarling its sharp front claws, surprised her from behind. A mother perhaps as it scurried toward her on its many legs so rapidly that she scarcely had time to put forward her sword to protect herself.
They fought for survival, these creatures weren't happy for an intruder invading their land, and she thought they weren't quite enough for them to awaken from their slumber.
She fought side by side with her friends, watching Catherine with her precise movement, fighting with the creature had made her proud.
While on the other hand, Seans was having difficulties, he wasn't as skilled as her. Nevertheless, he too fought for his life.
The white scorpion wasn't detracting from her attack. Miah swiveled her sword relentlessly though as soon as she did, the noise of its rushing along the ground toward her stopped. The scorpion lay on its back as if asleep; its many legs trembled in the air and then settled down to rest, as the creature tread its head, she then abruptly cut it with her sword.
Carefully walking around the scorpion and the rattlesnake, they headed to the shore of the Magic Pool.
They wanted to stop for a rest when suddenly a low humming commenced behind them. Whirling around, they saw what looked like a low, dark cloud. Soon the humming evolved louder and the dark cloud became enormous and darker.
Catherine then realized with horror that a swarm of vicious army ants was about to encircle her. Rapidly she shot the sword in front of her face, and yet it didn't do any good. She called out her fire and tried her best to control it without destroying her surroundings.
She burned them as she lay her hands above her head, her vision blurring, but the ants were about to surround her again, so many ants, where are they coming from?
She thought not knowing if her fire would protect her from so many ants coming from so many different directions.
Yet in the next few seconds, no ants bit her feet and ascended her legs. Shivering, she peeked through the hands. The throng of poisonous army ants silently lay around her, dead.
Catherine kept her left hand in front of her face while she hurried to the Golden Pool and, with her other hand, she then dipped both hands into the magic pool. Releasing the fire within her, as if she couldn't control it any longer. When suddenly she halted, she then contemplated the swirling of the waves, so magical and hypnotizing.
Stepping into the dark forest deprived her of one sense and deepened the others. It was disorientating to be almost overwhelmed as she watched the motion of the water in the Golden Pool all over again.
The next moment, she was grabbing Nathan's unconscious body while Sean and Miah run towards her, helping her as they carried his body onto the far side of the pool. The afternoon sun's bright rays couldn't infiltrate the dense canopy above as they quivered from the cold air.
They began to breathe the cool air more quickly. The dusk pressed in on them from all sides and their body wailed for them to run. Yet, they sank to their bottom on the damp earth and settled in to stay for Nathan to wake up.
All the while they heeded for the creatures of the woods, howling at its madness. Hours passed and Nathan hasn't regained his awareness so they decided to start their journey out away from the forest.
As they went out away from the Golden Pool, the bare branches speared into the sky - no sign of life to be found anywhere. It was so dark they were barely able to see where they were going. Sean carried the unconscious body of Nathan hurriedly walks away as they didn't know what laid in the dark forest, all they knew was that it wasn't going to be a peaceful journey out from the darkness.
Sean steels himself to keep striding, his hair on end as if the forest was on the enemy side. The air was several degrees cooler and soon he begins to shiver.
They saw the leaves and trees parading side to side and smelled the fresh air that passed their way. It was so dark that light from Miah's torches died only inches from the faltering blaze. But their feet couldn't walk any longer as the exhaustion settled in. They agreed to camp.
The heat from the campfire appeared to be sucked into the frigid air before ever reaching their frozen hands. They added more wood and poked it with long sticks. It seemed to die a little as if unsure of itself, unready to devour the new offerings. But after a time it found its confidence and thrived until the heat warmed them, orange flames celebrated with their wild flickering dance.
"Is Nathan okay?" Catherine asked eyeing Sean while feeding the fire for more wood.
"I hope so," he said.
"Miah, I need to ask you something." She then added while facing Miah with her doubts.
"Okay, what is it"
"How did Alton knew about us,? as far as I can remember, only the three of you, knew about our arrival in the Grassland".
"I am not sure, but my guess was my sister, Prestiney!" she replied sadly.
And she thought about her younger sister, how shortly Prestiney love turned to hate as if she didn't even protest it. She let that unfavorable and jealous emotion swallow her and gush acid into her soul.
Miah fought for reasonable memories, the reasons to be considerate. She fought to keep herself empathic even as every horrible thing she had anticipated came true.
For her, that's the betrayal, that absence of willingness to battle the negative thoughts and jealousy, to think the best for them, for their family and friends. And so, her heart still has only sweetness for the memories of who they were, but she is relieved to see the new life that waits ahead, just around the corner, she can sense it. She is still willing to forgive her sister.
So she decided to give the Prophecy Coin to Catherine, it's time for her to have it, being a Mark; she was the only one who could touch it aside from the keeper. The coin brought them so much madness and so she thought its time to give it to the rightful owner, she then offered the coin to Catherine.
The light flicker by the flames danced across the dark trunks of the trees, wrenching and curling in murky shapes and giving a small radius of light.
It would have to last through the night. Someone would have to stay up and care for it through the darkest hours, warden it, nourish it.