|Echoes of Faydwer Lore|
|1. The Calling of the Guardian|
|2. The Whispers of the Spires|
|3. The Shores of Growth|
"Come on, Elin!" Kariya cried. He hovered at the edge of the pat and lifted an overgrown leaf out of the way of his younger sister.
Elin said, pausing to catch her breath, "Are you sure it's safe now?"
Kariya laughed, jumping off the thick vine and landing lightly on the sand. "Why not? There haven't been any earthquakes in so long, I don't even remember them, do you?"
Following her older brother, Elin glanced cautiously into the thick foliage that created a barrier between the forest and the shore. She had never been to the sea before and was curious more than frightened. And yet, standing so close that she could sea the turquoise water lap against the shore, something stirred within her that she had no name for. Maybe it was fear. Maybe it was something else.
"No one ever said we weren't allowed to come here," Kariya said. He picked up a large seashell and held it to his ear, then drifted further away toward another shell. "If you're so scared, go back to Kelethin."
Elin's wings beat a little faster. She fluttered after him, dragging her toes through the unfamiliar warmth of the sand. Chin thrust high, she said defiantly, "I'm not scared. I'm... what's that?"
"I won't fall for that again," Kariya said, but he turned to follow his sister's gaze nonetheless. He saw a large ship at the edge of the bay's mouth, a winged silhouette against the horizon. Kariya whistled softly, pulling Elin back into the shadows beneath the trees.
"Who are they, Kariya?" Elin whispered, her heart now pounding as she watched a smaller boat inching its way toward the beach, oars cutting purposefully through the water.
"I don't know," Kariya replied. "Perhaps more Feir'Dal are returning now that the seas and the land are calm again. Let's hide here and see who they are and what they want."
Folding their wings, the Fae children waited. At long last, the small boat was close enough to the shore that its occupants leapt out, pulling the boat up the sand and out of the water, dragging it beyond the high tide mark.
"Doesn't look like anybody's here," said one sailor, shading his eyes with his hand and scanning the tree line.
"Maybe the Rending hit this place harder than we expected," said another. "Look at the size of the trees, though! I've never seen anything like them!"
"Cut the chatter and let's get to work," said a third sailor. From her authoritative demeanor, it was obvious that she was the crew's leader. "Dixon, come with me. We're going to scout inland and see if Kelethin still exists."
"Kelethin!" Elin exclaimed, her voice ringing clear. Kariya groaned inwardly, cursing his sister's big mouth. Sure enough, the sailors had heard her and had drawn their weapons.
"If you don't come out on your own, we'll come after you," the third sailor called out. She moved towards the woods, her boots crushing the fragile seashells on the sand.
Glancing over his shoulder, Kariya whispered to Elin, "Go back to Kelethin, tell the Queen that there's a ship here. Go! Quietly!"
He unfurled his wings, gliding forward onto the sand before the surprised sailors.
"It's only me," he said.