She flushed, embarrassed at her thoughts of his piercing eyes, sensuous mouth and athletic build. She eyed him through lowered lashes as he began to saddle Pride. Muscles rippled in his arms as he threw the draperies over the saddle, not having any means to tie them to the back of it.
Drace caught her staring at him. “What, my tail showing?” Finished with Pride, he walked back to her. “Hey, answer something for me. Can you dream that you’re having a dream? You know, actually aware of each.”
“I do not see why not,” Vashti answered, puzzled at his question.
He told her about the dream of the panther and the woman. “I could see the woman, but not her face…she was just a hint… there, but not. Oh hell! I can’t explain it. I keep waiting to wake up from this one, but it just keeps going on and on.”
“Drace, this is not a dream. This is reality. And the reality is we need to be moving on soon,” Vashti said patiently.
He squatted down next to her by the fire. “So you’re telling me you are really an elf, and I’ve done some kind of time-travel thing,” Drace said, obviously frustrated.
Vashti sighed and brushed a stray lock of hair off her check. “It is not really time travel,” she tried to explain. “It is another plane of existence. Life of all sorts is found on many different planes. There is one who will be able to explain all of that better.”
“And the elf part…?” Drace stood up, arms crossed over his chest.
“Legends usually come from some fact,” she said, pulling her hair back to reveal her ears. They were slightly pointed to the tops. “Convinced?”
Drace fought the truth before him, “Oh yeah, maybe that’s a birth defect, like having an extra toe or something.”
A male voice from behind him answered, “I can assure you her toes
Drace whirled to see a tall, slender man with long dark blond hair and brown eyes. His hair was braided back and his ears were visible and shaped exactly like Vashti’s. He had a bow and quiver of arrows slung over his back and led a handsome bay gelding. He wore brown leather breeches and a loose fitting pale blue linen shirt with long sleeves. The hilt of a dagger showed at the top of one of his tall leather boots. Another was tucked into his belt.
Vashti gave a glad cry, jumped to her feet, and ran into the elf’s open arms. He gathered her close, buried his face in her hair, and then looked up at Drace over her shoulder. Without releasing Vashti he said, “I am Ka’Ril, Vashti’s husband.” He gave a welcoming smile.
He said something in elfish to Vashti and let her go. “I knew you would be here soon, so I was headed this way when I met the Lady’s messenger last night. I thought to ride in with you.” He extended his hand.
Drace went to take it and Ka’Ril grasped his arm just below Drace’s elbow. Drace hesitated then copied him.
“My friend,” Ka’Ril exclaimed. “What in the name of all the gods happened to you?”
Drace released the elf’s arm and chuckled. “I’m not totally sure. Drace MacKinnon—pleased to meet you.”
Vashti came between the two men, laying a hand on Drace’s arm. “If you please my Lord, we need to be leaving.”
Drace wasn’t sure what to do next, Who do these people…ah elves…think they are, taking me and dragging me around in the wilderness? I have…had…a pretty content life…isn’t this kidnapping? He decided it would be best to just follow along and to see what happened. It was this or allow himself to become seriously pissed. Besides, being alone and lost in another ‘plane of existence’ didn’t exactly tickle him either.
Both elves helped Drace back into his armor, and finished saddling Vashti’s gelding, while Drace covered the fire with dirt. The camp was quickly broken. Soon the three were riding west, leaving the woods and entering a large plain. They rode in silence. Drace really did not feel like talking anyway. He still felt the remnants of his headache, and he was trying to figure things out as he quietly fumed.