"Why are you crying?" Elda asked.
The girl didn't even look up. She began to cry harder. Elda felt bad for her. She flopped onto the bed next to her.
"I'm Elda. Who are you?" She asked, and the girl seemed to stop crying.
"Nebiri," The girl said.
"Why were you crying?" Elda asked.
"Because I am ugly," Nebiri said and started crying again.
"Ugly?" Elda was curious, how could she be ugly.
"Yes! Leave me alone!" Nebiri cried and Elda started scooting to get off the bed, "No, wait. Stay... please?"
"Sit up so I can see you," Elda said scooting back to where she was.
"Promise not to tease me?" Nebiri asked between hiccups.
"I solemny swear," Elda said seriously.
"What's solemy?" Nebiri said sitting up.
"It's what grown-ups say when they really mean it," Elda smiled at the girl.
Elda reached over and wiped the girls tear-streaked face with the edge of her gown. She took in the girls features. On her forehead and into part of her hair it was yellow fur with brown spots like a big cat. She had pointed ears that were not quite an elf and not quite cat, except for the tuft of fur at the point. Her eyes were the brightest green with a cat slit.
"It's Solemnly girls, and I am so glad you have met your cousin," The Queen came into the room, "She arrived while you were sleeping."
Elda took Nebiri's hand because the Queen made her a little bit nervous. Nebiri squeezed her hand back. The Queen looked at them and smiled again.
"Ah," The Queen Ravena sighed, "I will leave you two alone, if you have questions, I will be in the sitting room."
The girls smiled at each other as the Queen left the room. Then they giggled.
"I think you are pretty, Nebiri," Elda said feeling a bit jealous. Then Elda's skin rippled pink.
"Ooh, do you have scales too?" Nebiri asked fascinated. Elda shook her head no.
Elda could hear people come in and she heard talking and her name that Jelen calls her. Nebiri and Elda moved off the bed and stood at the edge of the doorway trying to listen in. They only caught a few words. The men were ushered to the dining room. They watched as Fruit was carried out by another of the Fae who looked hawkish and red. The girls overheard Jelen tell them where to find the other travelers. Elda and Nebiri returned to the bed. They started playing hand rhythm games and chanted silly songs.
"Girls, I need you both to come with me," The queen came back into the room suddenly and startled them. The girls took each other's hands again.
They followed the Queen into the sitting room and Elda saw two men standing there with Jelen. One was a bright redheaded pale elf with a thin build. The other was a tall broad man with reddish brown hair and a red beard. Elda clutched Nebiri's hand tighter.
"Here is the Hatyri," Jelen said, "Safe."
"She is Fae then, and so young," The red headed elf sounded surprised.
"Both girls are scions of my house," Jelen said sounding proud, "The Hatyri has yet to awaken her blood."
"Ah," Said the red headed elf, "Sorry for my mistake."
"You must go with them My Little One," Jelen said gently to Elda. She shook her head and refused.
"The Longer you stay here Hatyri, the more you endanger our sanctuary," Queen Ravena said looking at her Then her face softened, "Dear one, I know this isn't easy, and nothing will be. Your blessing is your curse and we can not help you escape it."
Jelen bent down to her level and looked her in the eyes,"Blood calls to blood, and when you truly have need of me, I will know."
Elda nodded. She gave Nebiri a hug and then hugged Jelen. He took her hand and then walked her to the men. He placed her hand into the bearded man's hand. He smiled.
"We must hurry back to the others. We have been gone long enough." The redheaded elf said.
Jelen motioned for them to walk out of the house and back down the main road. They walked the path out of the city and into the wood. Jelen reached out and opened another rift. Everyone stepped through. A crow came and landed on Elda's shoulder. She reached up to pet him and he winked at her.
"You already have a friend," The bearded man said in an amused tone. Elda smiled but kept the secret to herself. She noticed that Jelen also remained quiet.