Eavan was as beautiful and naked as always. Her naked skin reflecting brightly in the sun, a stark contrast to the men in front of us. While I didn't want to look at her and lose the men out of sight, it was hard to ignore her presence. She walked forwards, stepped between us and looked at the men judging. It was kind of weird, she looked tired, as if from running, but not at all nervous or worried. In fact, it was more as if she was having fun.
Her voice was playful and lustful, but enforcing as well. "Leave now and I will let you."
The man was obviously angered by this, but his surprised made him speak rather than attack. "You can't make us."
Eavan didn't respond, she just looked up for a moment, a glance we all followed. A large bird, smaller than an eagle but definitely a bird of prey, was already in a dive. Nothing but a blur for us, a dark feathered blur, but red streaks on the man's cheeks betrayed what had happened. The man didn't even have time to lift his sword. He reached for his right cheek with his left hand and touched it gingerly. It looked quite deep and painful, blood flowing out over his neck.
He was obviously considering his options.
Eavan spoke again, her voice darker now. There was still something... tempting about it. Pain could be a temptation, but this time it wasn't meant to be pleasure or even teasing. Just pain. Her voice was not loud, but easily heard over all the soft sounds of the forest and the lake.
"I will not warn you again."
The man clenches his fist around his sword but put it back in it's sheath. "We're going."
The other two looked surprised and relieved of their master's decision. Their swords were put away as well as they turned around. The three of them turned their backs to us and started to walk away. But this wasn't right. If they just left, we'd be attacked in town or anywhere. That would make it even worse. And I didn't want to rely on the forest Spirits for help.
They and helped us too much already.
"Stop." I tried to sound fierce.
The man turned around, looking at me with an indifferent expression on his face. I was not worth his attention to him.
"Vanish. It's a bad idea to let them know you failed and there are things going on that you do not want to be part of. We have no grudge against you as you're just following orders, but make sure the next orders don't get you killed."
To my surprise the man smiled a little. He was tempted to say something as he opened his mouth just a bit but thought the better of himself. Instead he just smiled and bowed very subtly to the three of us. He nodded to his companions and changed direction directly into the forest.
That made me feel better.
We waited for a few moments after the guys had truly walked away before we turned to each other again. Eavan took a step forwards and turned around. Her back was now to the departed men but she didn't look worried at all. In this triangle there were a lot of things I'd love to ask, but I waited as she looked up. The bird, I still wasn't quite sure what kind, landed on her outstretched arm. It looked painful, those claws around her wrists, but she didn't look bothered.
This time I beat Deirdre to the question. "How did you get here?"
Eavan smiled. "I ran."
She was teasing us and Deirdre had the guts to ask her directly. "Be clearer."
She smiled again, a little nicer this time. "Animals saw you sneaking, I wasn't too far away so I came. Of course it was a bit of a run, but I liked it."
I smiled back. "And the bird?"
She shrugged. "There's always friends around."
The mood was already lifting. It was good to have her around. In a way she was nicer than Maeve, but that was probably because there was less burden on her shoulders. On her arm, the bird still rested. It had dark brown plumage and a light beak, but I still had no idea what it was. I'd seen hunting birds before, but I don't think I saw this one.
There was still blood on it's claws.
That reminded me.
"Eavan, why did you draw our blood before?"
She giggled. "That? I thought you could figure that out easily."
I sighed a little. "Just tell us."
"To make a fake trail, of course."