Before Jelen could smell the smoke or see the burnt out ruins, he could feel the urgent tug of a child. He parted his way in front of him coming to stop at the edge of the dead grass, smoke and the remnants of burnt tents. He heard the child crying and surmised it could not be any older than three or four. He hesitated to step into the dead area. He could feel the devastation and the necrotic poison. He hesitated because it was painful.
The child cried even more urgently now like it was being prodded to do so. Jelen Drew his sword, and as soon as it was free a netting landed over him, painful and burning. Iron had somehow been woven into it and he bellowed using his pain to fuel his body into action. His sword cut through the cloth part of the netting but the iron would set it alight in places.He threw off the netting quickly yanking it from shocked soldiers that obviously did not anticipate this level of resistance.
He then swiftly moved his sword in a powerful arc and the soldiers intimidated and outmatched ran leaving a child behind that looked angry but not afraid. He scooped up the child and opened the dimensions again to make it back to Sid Hayef. He was greeted in short order and only realized when he saw Kenna, that he had lost Xander somewhere in between. Could a human, even a magical one survive in between without help? He shook his head and thought if anyone could he would. He handed the child to Ravenna. Then he met Kenna's stare. The question on her face, she did not need to say it.
"I... I lost him," Jelen felt awkward for the most part, he rarely made mistakes and this was more than a mistake.
"Lost him?" Kenna glowered.
"I will go look for him." Jelen bowed deferring to her quiet fury.
"You are damn right you will," Kenna said angrily.
Jelen leaned into her face with his and urgently whispered, "The soldiers laid a trap, no matter how urgent the call or from whom it generates no one but me must leave the sanctuary. Please keep them safe, the calling might make them agitated, and your cooler head must prevail."
Kenna blinked and nodded, overwhelmed by the trust given her and the responsibility. He did not give her time to question him or object, he moved between again in search of Xander. He could feel no ripples of any mortal in between, not even near where they had traveled together. Then he felt a faint calling. They were muffled but he could hear them because of their great numbers. Were all the tribes together in one spot? He moved slowly. Cautious after the trap and his enemies knowledge of the blood call.
He moved and then stopped. Death, and decay. The stench made him ache. He could not cross. He came out of the in between and saw he was on the edge of a vast dead desert. The Wastes. And still muffled and urgent came the calling of his kin. His sword quivered and he put his hand to it. It whispered for him to go back, there was nothing they could do in a place so dead.
Then he felt something powerful stir. It watched him. It wanted him. Jelen staggered back from the edge of the wastes. It teased him by lifting the muffle and blasting him with all of his kin's fear and confusion. The calling deafened him now. He quickly split the way to the in between and felt blinded by the call of so many so loud, his heart pounded his veins throbbed, he vibrated as though he would fall to pieces under the weight of the call. He lost his footing and fell from the in between.
He fell to the hard ground and quickly rolled up. The call once again was indiscernible from any other background noise in his body. He caught his bearing and could feel now where Sid Hayef lay. He took in a deep breath and centered himself on it. He heard rustling nearby. He quickly took his stag form and put himself under the shade of a thick tree.
Hunters. Men. Human. He squinted to see them better and one loosed an arrow, he bolted. Jelen ran not looking back. He reached a small stream between the trees and shook off his Stag form. He quickly split the way into the in between and made his way back to Sid Hayef. The tribes were in danger, his kin were in danger. He needed help. He could not journey to the mountain himself. No full fae could.
He came out onto the great walk of the sanctuary. This time his people were staying inside their homes. They could feel his weakness and his rage, they knew that war had come once again to the Fae. This time there were no generations outside of the tribes, it was just those who crossed. Their number was small and most were never warriors. Could anyone answer his call without being assured of their own death? It was time to rejoin the rest of the world. They must make ready and find their allies. If the old treaties still stood. Jelen looked to where the frightened people peeked from windows with curtains drawn taught. He sighed. He bowed his head in sadness. Would the Fae still stand after this? He could not say. The long sight did not always reveal exactly what he wanted to know. As he drew closer he could already see the tears in Ravenna's eyes but he could also see her determination. Elda clung to her skirts, still very much a confused and scared child.