The journey from Ayla’s home to Kira’s camp was short and eventful, but the aforementioned events paled into the past as Ayla and her little party arrived at their destination.
“Ayla.” Kira met them at the entrance of the camp. She was in full armor, gold edged black steel plates covering every inch of her impressive body. Only her head was bare, her braid wrapped about her head in usual style, her eyes narrowed with obvious irritation. “I’m fairly certain I asked you to keep these two away from here.”
“And I’m fairly certain I’m not one of your soldiers to be ordered about,” Ayla said smoothly. She met Kira’s gaze evenly, without concern. The warrior was still no match for the witch, no matter how great the armlette she commanded.
Vix sat down and began whittling, avoiding the chaos of conflict in the work of her fingers. Ayla had returned to the task of packing in her improbable fashion, putting everything into a little bag which did not grow any larger for the objects it contained. Liz was standing by indignant, her mouth moving without words, for it seemed she could not voice the full depths of her annoyance.
“You have struck me,” she finally said. “And so you must be struck back!”
Vix looked up just in time to see Liz dart forward and slap Ayla fiercely across her ample rear.
Having tended to Blaine’s wounds, Kira had to deal with the other, more difficult soldier. She found Aeron sitting in her tent, looking into the middle distance as if the blank walls contained some mystery unseeable to any other person.
Aeron did not look up, let alone get up. Any other soldier in the camp would have leaped to attention upon perceiving the great Kira in their presence, but Aeron was not so easily impressed.
“You have made a grave error,” Liz declared, both hands gripping the spanked rounds of her bottom. “You have made the gravest of errors!”
Ayla did not seem concerned by this announcement. She was paying little attention to the irate spy. Instead she was packing a bag with powders and potions and other such ingredients, including a hairy-legged spider which rolled itself up into a ball and turned into a purple flower when she blew upon it.
“By the goddess, you are in trouble now!”
Tall, handsome and broadly muscular, Kira scowled darkly at two soldiers standing in front of her tent.
One blonde was sporting a fresh cut which descended from her hairline and stopped just shy of her eyelid. She had sustained another gash on her cheek, as well as one on the side of her neck. None of the wounds were particularly deep, but they looked unpleasant.
The other, a smaller, darker woman with a very sheepish expression had injuries to her bare upper arm and shoulder. Several long cuts from a short blade had given her an impromptu ribbon effect.
“Perhaps I didn’t mention this before,” Kira said, her husky voice deep and hard as nails. “But we’re all on the same side.”
“Are you going to tell me what is happening?” Ayla asked the question with a calm intensity as she ushered Vix into her cottage.
“Nothing is happening,” Vix said. “We are waiting for you to be ready to travel.”
Ayla’s lips thinned. “Do not play verbal games with me. You know perfectly well what I am asking. I know there is something amiss.”
“She doesn’t know what’s going on!” The traveler exclaimed, appearing all of a sudden from under the table. She proceeded to dance all about Ayla, kicking her legs out at the knee in a stiff-legged jig. “She doesn’t know nothing at all!”
Vix did not know what to say, so she did not say anything. She sat and she whittled and she watched the world unfold as her new found companion chortled in amusement.
“Someone should tell that Moon to put some clothes on,” she said. “Or she’s going to end up with nettles on her nipples and weeds in her wazoo.”