We left the crowd behind as we headed back to the forest. They wouldn't accept the boy among them either and I certainly didn't want to leave him in the hands of the mob. I wasn't quite sure what I did want to do with him, but having him killed just felt wrong. It actually felt like he hadn't done anything wrong. He had just been guided by the wrong hands. I didn't want to guide him either, but give him his own guidance back. That way what he did would truly become his responsibility and fate.
We didn't have to prompt the boy to follow
It was kind of tense to turn our back to the crowd though. But they didn't come after us and/or lynch us. We were safe, for now. But I lost a lot of little things. There were still items in my room back in the castle that I would miss. None of them were particularly irreplacable though. I was never one to have keepsakes to remember fun times.
It was an odd feeling to be excluded from somewhere you once had free access to suddenly. It didn't feel like I would miss much though. This wasn't the only city with a market and I had been, luckily, not branded an exile officially. Besides, the way this had gone, most people in the city would forget about us in time.
It was still strange though.
"Do you think they'll find out the truth?" Deirdre's voice asked gently.
I smiled grimly. "I doubt it. People are often quick to come to conclusions just to have an answer rather than keep looking."
"Do you think it will be war?"
I took a moment to think about this. The way things looked now, it would be very tense between the Forest Spirits and the Humans. But War? It looked a bit far away still. And if Derrek was gone and the dissapearances stopped, it might make a big difference in calming things down again. Not that I expected the rumours to calm down or die any time soon. Lies had this tendency to run half-way accross forest before the truth even fastens it's boots.
I smiled a little. "Maybe, but it doesn't feel likely now."
"So, what will we do now?"
I looked around to the boy. "Help him, find a place to stay for us, see how things will go from there?"
She smiled. "Sounds like a plan."
I grinned. "A slightly flawed one though, but I'm sure Maeve or Eavan will help us with that."
"Food, water, etc."
She giggled. "I'm sure we'll work something out." She turned to the boy. "Do you want to come with us?"
He looked surprised he was asked for an opinion. "Don't I have to?" His voice had vibrations of nervousness and insecurity in it.
She shook her head. "No, you can go anywhere you like."
The boy stopped walking for a moment, then he shook his head and followed us again. As he didn't say anything, I thought it would be better not to ask him anything either. Deirdre understood as well and walked next to me, sliding her hand in mine. She looked at me with her grey-blue eyes, smiling and looking almost angelic with a hint of sunshine on her face. There was no charm that beguiled her looks, just my love for her. And it was enough.
It was definitely enough.
Even though I was banished, I wasn't alone. We could handle anything that would find it's way to us, together. Not that I felt that powerful or particularly strong. But, I felt I'd done the right thing. And that was the most important thing for me. In fact, I felt a calm over me that would hopefully carry into the next few days, weeks or months. A calm because I had no longer a burden to carry. No messages, no secrets and no betrayal. The world would have to do without me for a while.
I felt free.
We walked further into the forest. A bird flew closely over our heads. Crowing once and flying ahead. It looked like he was exploring the world for us, to make sure it was safe.
From the dark eyes of that bird, we were but a simple collection of shapes, moving in the forest. Disjointed shapes for the surroundings even. Shapes with shiny and odd contrasts. Shapes that didn't belong but knew were welcomed by the others. Not food. A change in the tailfeathers changed the direction of flight. The branches wooshed by in its dive, leaves indistinguishable from each other and no more then grey streaks on the background. But they were not important.
Important was the air, the path, the space where flight was possible. Just the flick of a wing and a rise above the trees. Now we had a bigger view, the trees from large bushes into a field of shapes. Some other birds in the sky, but none important, none a threat. The sun was high, almost no shadow on the landscape itself. Just the depth of hills and valleys reflected in the height of the trees. Even some bald patches where water or rock prevented anything from going high enough. Smoothly gliding higher, the beat of a wings calm and controlled. The air was warm, rising and supportive. Turning a little it could see the crowd of people dispersing back into the city. No glitter or shine, just moving shapes that went back inside of the walls a bird rarely ventured. Turning back again it headed for the large mountains that denoted the north edge of the forest, the border of its domain.