Today was a light writing day since we spent all day looking at places to move to. And then spent over 3 hours in L.A. traffic trying to get back home. I can’t wait to be done with this moving process.
Jaw set, head high, and eyes focused on the French doors, Alyssum swept past them. She threw open the doors and walked out onto the patio, letting the sunlight fall in and across the floor.
Allison leaned close to her sister and muttered, “I guess my memory of Mom saying she was raised in a palace is true.”
“I have a feeling a lot of our memories that never really made sense are true,” Cass said softly. She sighed and rose. “And if she is a regal as we think she is, we had better join her.”
“That would be a good idea,” William said, nodding solemnly.
“Dad?”Daniel said as he paused near the doors. “Are you really a knight?”
“We call ourselves protectors, but, yes, you can say I’m a knight.”
“Mom?” Jonathan said as he rose.
Jade had been silent the entire time, pale with sad eyes. Her hands were clasped tightly together and she shook her head.
“Not now, Jon,” she said softly before turning and following her friend out onto the patio.
“Off with you,” Meagan said, offering a small smile. She made a shooing motion. “Alyssum is a queen. Don’t keep her waiting.”
“So,” Allison said wonderingly as she rose and headed for the patio, “does that mean I’m a princess?”
“May as well be,” Jonathan muttered as he and Cass followed. “Being a princess can’t make her any more obnoxious than she is right now.”
Cass smiled, but didn’t say anything.
A few minutes later, they were all gathered on the patio, clustered beside the table. A gentle breeze danced around them, but, try as she might, Cass couldn’t hear any voices. The shadow of the umbrella was gently lengthening, but away from them. They stood in full sun, the Spring day now verging on hot despite the cool ocean breeze.
Alyssum held out her hands and joined with William and Jade. Arnold’s parents stood before them, hands tightly clasped.
“Traveling to Sairon is a little…unsettling,” Alyssum said, her blue eyes serious, the gentle, smiling woman they had known all their lives suddenly replaced by a solemn visage held high. “We will send Arnold’s parents first so they can also be on Sairon to greet you. Unfortunately, the three of us will be unable to join you until later in the week. We have many preparations to make here before we do.”
Arnold frowned and glanced at his parents, who were waiting expectantly. They were relaxed, though their hands were held very tightly together.
“Exactly how are you sending my parents?” he asked, skepticism heavy in his voice.
Alyssum offered a thin smile. “On the winds.”
“You’re joking,”Arnold burst out. “That’s impossible.”
Alyssum fixed him with a cool, serious gaze. “No, Arnold. You will soon learn that it is quite possible, and you might have a gift for it.”
“I might what?”
Meagan turned. “Not now, Arnold. When we arrive on Sairon, you will learn more, and you will have an easier time understanding and learning.”
Allison backed away towards the house. “I think this is crazy and I’m not going.”
Alyssum turned to look at her sharply. “You will go, Allison.” She turned back to the Witherworks. “We are wasting time. It’s time.”
Arthur and Meagan nodded and made sure their hands were tightly clasped. They closed their eyes and tilted their heads up slightly. Alyssum, William, and Jade raised their joined hands. As they did so, the breeze picked up and seemed to swirl around the couple. Cass raised a hand to her face as the wind started to lick her. Her hair played around her face and her skirt swirled around her knees.
When she lowered her hand, her gasp joined those of her siblings and friends. Arnold’s parents had vanished along with the wind.
Arnold stepped forward and looked around, eyes wide. “What happened to my parents?”
“They’re on Sairon,” Alyssum said. “As I said, they traveled on the winds. It’s the only way to travel between here and there and is the fastest mode of transportation on Sairon.”
“The winds?” Allison asked faintly. “That doesn’t seem…safe.”
“It’s perfectly safe,” Alyssum said, though her brisk tone was all but reassuring. “No one has ever gotten lost or hurt. Now, gather together, children. It’s your turn.”
Allison shook her head and folded her arms. “I don’t think so. I don’t care if I am a princess, I’m not traveling on something as unstable as winds.”
Alyssum turned her head and fixed her daughter with a sharp look that had Allison swallowing hard. Pale, Allison stepped forward and Daniel latched on her hand.
“Join hands,” Alyssum instructed. “Hold as tight as you can.”
Slowly, nervously, they did so, sharing looks full of uncertainty, fear, and worry. In the middle, Cass closed her eyes and swallowed hard. She had vague memories of doing this before, but she had been a child full of anxiety and excitement. As an adult, she was mostly afraid, but dying for answers to why she could hear voices on the wind and whether what they said was true.