Eryndir raised his hand and the group halted, lined up flush against the barn, weapons at the ready with eyes focused on him. Emmy, outfitted in the same green camo outfit as the rest, was nervous and holding her breath waiting for Eryndir’s next command.
Eryndir peeked around the edge of the barn and then looked back at the team and made a circular motion with his hand. Most of the team took off, crouching low, weapons at the ready. Eryndir leaned over to her and whispered, “we’re going to establish a perimeter around the house.”
Straightening up and touching his earpiece, Eryndir said quietly, “Roger that, advance to the exterior of the objective and stand by.” He then leaned back toward Emmy and put his hand on her shoulder. “Alright, lets move in toward the house. Please be very alert. We don’t know if the Fae have attacked here or not. We don’t yet know all that they are capable of during a lunar cycle.”
Emmy gulped and nodded. The whole idea of sneaking up on her own home seemed surreal to her. This was her home, her safe place. It was where she had grown up. Her world had changed completely since last night. It was now much more frightening. Looking into Eryndir’s eyes she said, “Ok, I’m ready.”
Together they ran in short bursts toward the house, stopping to hide behind the power pole, a wagon and then the car. Eryndir turned back to look at her, “Ready for the door?” Emmy nodded. They stepped out and began running for the back door when the screen opened. They froze, Eryndir quickly moved Emmy behind him with his left arm while raising his weapon with his right.
Regan stepped out onto the stoop, looked directly at Eryndir and Emmy and said loudly enough for the whole team to hear, “Ok everyone, olly olly oxen free. There’s no one here but us chickens. Come on in the house for some sweet tea and biscuits!”
Emmy broke from behind Eryndir and ran into her father’s waiting arms. “Oh Daddy, I’m so sorry!”
Regan just held her and said, “That’s ok baby girl. This, or something like this, was bound to happen sometime.” Then he released her and stepped back from her slightly and cupped her face in his big hands. “We’ll deal with it. We’ll get your sister back. I see you’ve already found our Elven family, and they’ve taken you in. Let’s go inside, your mother’s gonna want to know you’re all right.”
Eryndir spoke to the rest of the team and, one by one, they carefully approached the back door and entered the house.
Pat had most of the contents of the refrigerator laid out on the table plus the warmed up pancakes and biscuits from earlier that morning and several pitchers of sweet tea ready for them as they entered.
“Daddy and Momma, I want you to meet Eryndir. He kept me from being captured by the Fae and told me a lot about how we came to be here.”
Regan reached out and shook the boy’s hand, “I believe I know your mother, Galalithe. Is that right? I am Aranhil, and this is my wife Aegliriell. I can see you have already met my daughter Miluiel.”
Emmy’s mouth hung open at the sound of her own and her parents Elven names.
Eryndir winked at Emmy and smiled at Aranhil and said, “Yes sir. She is our Chief Commander now and authorized this mission.”
“Good, we’ll be anxious to have a mutual briefing session.”
Eryndir then introduced the other members of his team, and once everyone had eaten, everyone pitched in to help clean up the kitchen.
Aranhil announced, “It would be good it everyone went outside now so we can finish closing up the house. Miluiel . . . Emmy is there anything you want to take with you or that your sister might want? We won’t be coming back here.”
Miluiel thought for a second, ran up the stairs to her room and came back with her journal and Gigi’s teddy bear.
She smiled and said, “No, all I need are the two of you and for Gigi to be rescued!”
Miluiel smiled and said, “And we can’t do that standing here. Ok, we’re ready, let’s move!”
Once out in the yard in front of the barn. Aranhil stood in a circle with Aegliriell and Miluiel, closed his eyes and un-cast the magic that had made them appear human. Their bodies tingled, but changed only slightly. Their features became more angular like the other elves and their ears took on the slightly pointy shape that distinguished them from other humans and other elves. Miluiel’s awareness and perception of her surroundings changed too. She could now hear and smell things well that were only faint for her before. The camo suit she wore, which fit oddly before, now fit her comfortably.
Once this change was complete, Aranhil made sure the animals were released from the barn and asked everyone to stand together while he pulled an object from his pocket and used it to cast a spell that caused the house and all the buildings and equipment to fade from view.
Miluiel spoke, “What was that? What just happened?”
Aranhil put his arm around her shoulder, “It’s a safekeeping spell. Everything is still here. But it’s like it’s all asleep. No one can see it or touch it, and it won’t change for as long as we leave it this way. It was all here from a long time ago, and we woke it for our use when we had to flee from the Fae.”
Miluiel looked up and said, “So you’ve just put it back like you found it?”
“More or less. Let’s get going now, we have far more pressing matters to deal with. Eryndir, you and your team, please split into two squads, one ahead and one behind our column. Aegliriell, Miluiel and I will take our place in the center of the column.”
Eryndir ordered his team to assemble as Aranhil requested and they moved out quickly.
Within twenty minutes they were in the underground command center. They proceeded immediately to a conference room where Galalithe stood to greet them. “Ladies and gentle elves, may I present our Lost Elders!” Then Galalithe and everyone around (including Eryndir) bowed deeply at the waist. Emmy blushed at the sight but felt a new pride in her parents.
For the next two hours, Galalithe briefed Aranhil and Aegliriell with Aranhil asking questions or making comments occasionally. Miluiel sat next to Eryndir enthralled and somewhat bewildered by what was going on.
“So to conclude,” Galalithe said, “we have about three weeks time to plan, outfit and train a rescue expedition. We can only pray and hope that Gigi will be safe until we can execute the plan. Gwyn’s threat must be taken seriously. We have seen what he is capable of. Anyone else?”
Aranhil stood and looked over those in the meeting room, “It has been a long time since I have addressed a group of my fellow elves, but this needs to be said. We must remain extremely vigilant in our monitoring of the barrier between the exile dimension and our own. Gwyn has demonstrated that they can bridge the barrier to break through and capture one of our own during the peak of the lunar cycle. He was also able to send a holographic transmission directly to that location when he knew I was there. We do not know what else they are capable of. Monitoring the barrier for intrusions will be our only defense until the team is ready to travel through a reverse bridge vortex and mount a rescue of Gigi or Gianna which is her Elven name. Will you allow me to pray to the Father-Creator for his grace and blessings on our efforts?”
Murmuring and shuffling filled the room. Some, folk looked confused, others shrugged their shoulders.
“Ah, I can see that such things have fallen into disuse. Please allow me the privilege of re-establishing the practice as is my right and responsibility as Elder of this clan. Please bow your heads—Father-Creator we, your children, plead with you for your mercy in an hour of need. At your behest, we fought with and cast out the Fae from this land. My family, in order to prevent further attacks on the others, went into hiding and have now returned during a time of crisis. Please bless us as we prepare to do battle once again with the enemies of your people. Make us strong and remind us daily of our reliance on you for our lives and abilities. Thank you for the provisions you make for us each day. As you have spoken, so shall it be.”
The group responded haltingly with “As you have spoken, so shall it be.”