Over the next couple of days Vin and Ezra worked
with Greylin teaching her how to control her magic. Josiah tried to help
but the shape-shifting spell was a Druidic spell Josiah's help was limited.
Being a Bard Ezra also knew Druid spell and was able to help with her training.
Jaydee had fun watching the two adults try to convince a five year old little
girl to shape change. Ezra would try to explain as Vin transformed into a
wolf than back again. Jaydee laughed when Greylin kissed Ezra on the nose
and ran away. Mary had donated clothes for Greylin. At first she tried to
get her to dress like a little girl but Greylin wouldn't. So now she ran
around in boys britches and a tunic from Billy. She refused to wear shoes
and ran around the yard barefoot. They knew Greylin could change back to
her dragon form because she did it just to show them she could. She just
preferred to stay as an Elf.
"I see she still isn't making it easy," Chris commented as he sat down next
to Jaydee on the bench.
"You should have seen them Chris," Jaydee laughed. "Ezra is really funny
when he gets frustrated."
Greylin couldn't talk but she still whistled and chirped when she wanted
something. Chris watched as Vin, in his wolf form, chased Greylin around
the yard. The dragon whistled loudly when Vin grabbed her by the belt and
lifted her off the ground to carry her back towards the cottage.
"I'm surprised Vin would ever want to change into a wolf after what happened,"
Jaydee said as Ezra came over to join them.
"I asked Vin that myself," Ezra said as he sat down. "He can change into
anything he wishes he just prefers the wolf. He said since he was one for
so long it's the most comfortable."
Vin trotted over and deposited Greylin in Jaydee's lap. She gave Jaydee a
lick on the cheek as Vin transformed. When she was done saying hello to Jaydee
she moved to Chris's lap.
"Damn, Vin, can't you get her to kiss instead of licking," Jaydee complained
as he wiped his cheek.
"I tried," Vin said as he glanced towards Jaydee. "She'd rather lick."
"That's all well and good as long as she only does it to us," Ezra pointed
"How much longer do you two need?" Chris asked.
"There's nothing else I can teach her," Vin admitted.
"Nor I," Ezra said. "Vin's skills as a druid are superior to mine. So therefore
I have been playing babysitter."
"And entertainer," Buck said as he came out of the cottage.
Greylin screeched and jumped up and down in Chris's lap. She wiggled out
of his grip and proceeded to walk across Jaydee stomping her foot on a very
sensitive area. Jaydee cursed as Buck took her in his arms.
"Well hello little darlin'." Buck said as she licked his cheek.
"Why'd you wanted to know if they were done?" Jaydee asked in a strangled
"It's time we started for the wizards conclave," Chris announced.
"Oh," Jaydee said as he slumped against the cottage.
"I don't like it any more than you do," Vin said with a sigh. "But it's the
right thing to do."
"It's settled than," Chris said. "We'll leave tomorrow."
"I'll go check the horses and tack," Jaydee said.
"I'll inform Nathan," Ezra said. "He'll want to gather bandages and other
vile concoctions in case we take ill."
"Buck why don't you take Greylin and go over to Mary's," Chris said. "Get
whatever clothes she can spare for her."
"Right," Buck agreed as he walked off with her as she played with his mustache.
"Come on Vin," Chris said. "Let's get together the provisions."
The rest of the afternoon was spent getting supplies together and planning
the trip. Josiah was the only one who'd been to the conclave and figured
it would take two weeks to get there. It was decided they would need at least
two pack-horses to carry the tents and the supplies. Chris didn't want to
stay at any villages in case there were other magic users who could sense
what Greylin was. Mary gave them enough clothes for Greylin and she sat on
the floor playing with them as they talked. Ezra convinced them to take some
of the gold out in the shed. He insisted that if they had to stay in town
the money would come in handy. The bulk of the treasure they could leave
with Mary. Greylin grew tired of playing with the clothes and walked over
to Vin. The half elf was checking his bow and making sure the feathers on
his arrows were perfect. She stood at his side and pulled on his sleeve.
"What?" he asked as he turned to her.
She continued to pull on his sleeve and he stood up. Greylin headed for the
back door and Vin followed. As she went outside she shed her clothes until
she was naked then turned back to a dragon. Vin shook his head and picked
up the discarded clothes and followed her to the shed. He found her pushing
the gold around to her liking and lay down. Mystra winged into the shed and
landed on Greylin's back. Vin turned to go inside and she cried.
"You want me to stay?" Vin asked looking into her swirling yellow eyes. "Alright
I'll be right back."
Vin went back inside and grabbed a blanket from the bedroom. When he came
out he saw Buck folding Greylin's clothes and placing them in a pack. Chris
came out of the kitchen and saw him carrying the blanket.
"Something wrong?" Chris asked.
"I think she knows," Vin said. "Her eyes are yellow tonight and I think she's
troubled. She wants me to stay outside with her."
Over the past weeks they all noticed that Greylin's moods were reflected
in the color of her eyes. Blue for when she was happy, green for mischief,
yellow for distress and when she was truly content a deep purple.
"Alright we'll see ya in the morning," Chris said as Vin walked out.
Chris woke up early the next morning and went
out to the shed. He found Vin sitting cross-legged on the floor of the shed
separating the treasure. He had three piles started. One for coins in gold
and higher denominations that would cause suspicions if they spent them.
Another with silver and smaller coins and the last was jewelry and gems.
Chris suppressed a laugh as Greylin looked over his shoulder watching everything
he did as if she was making sure he counted everything. She was still in
the shape of a dragon and was curled around Vin. Vin shooed Mystra away as
she tried to take one of the rings. Josiah cast an identify spell on the
treasure when they got back and revealed none of the jewelry was magical,
except for the three rings found in the box. They were a ring of invisibility,
a ring of protection and protection from magic. Chris was given the protection
from magic; Jaydee the protection ring and Ezra claimed the ring of invisibility.
The magical chain mail was too small for any of them and they kept in for
trading. Vin took the bracers when it was revealed they were bracers of speed.
Buck teased him and said he was already fast with a sword but now he'd be
impossible to hit. The sword ended up being a frost brand and of elfish make.
Vin ended up with it when no one else claimed it. When Vin realized Mystra
would keep pestering him for the ring he gave it to her. Greylin chirped
and Vin sighed as he picked up a necklace and secured it to her front paw.
"Ezra is going to have a fit when he sees you keep giving them the jewelry,"
"Not really," Vin said with a smile as he looked up. "They're not worth much.
"I heard Buck stirring as I came out," Chris answered.
They watched as Greylin's form shivered and she changed into the elf child.
The necklace slipped off her arm and she picked up. She held it out to Vin
and he hooked it around her neck. Chris smiled as she walked over to him
clad only in the necklace.
"Um, Vin, we're going to have to get her to stop parading around naked,"
Chris said picking her up.
"Why?" Vin asked as he placed the last of the coins in the bags. "She's an
elf. Others will expect her to act strangely."
"You have a point," Chris said putting her down after he received his 'kiss'.
She ran a short distance away and played in the grass.
Chris took one of the bags from Vin as they walked towards the cottage. Greylin
followed then stopped. She cocked her head and ran off around the side of
the cottage. Vin was about to follow when they heard Mary's voice.
"And where do you think you're going," she asked.
They waited for Mary as she walked around the cottage. She had Greylin wrapped
in her shawl as she walked towards them
"Really gentlemen," Mary scolded. "Letting her run around without any clothes."
"Not our choice," Chris said defensively. "You ever try to dress her?"
"How hard can it be," Mary laughed as she preceded them in the back door.
Chris and Vin looked at each other and smiled as they followed her inside.
The others were awake and breaking their fast wen Mary walked in. She asked
where Greylin's clothes were and Buck pointed to one of the packs. She took
the pack and headed to the common room.
"My money's on Greylin," Vin said as he sat down at the table.
"A wise bet my friend," Ezra said sagely.
They continued eating as they heard Mary telling Greylin to stop squirming
and put these clothes on. Suddenly Mary yelped and Greylin ran into the kitchen
dragging a red shirt and moved to Jaydee's side. Mary walked in rubbing her
"She bit me," Mary said in surprise.
"Tried to force her, didn't ya?" Chris asked
"Well she wouldn't be still," Mary hedged and Chris just looked at her. "Alright
I tried to force her."
"That's alright, Mary, I'll dress her," Jaydee said and snatched the red
shirt from Greylin's hands as he ran for the common room. She screeched and
ran after him.
"This I have to see," Mary said
Buck and Josiah offered to get the horses as the others followed Mary. Mary
watched amazed as Jaydee spread three different shirts out for her to choose
from. Greylin looked towards Vin then turned back towards the shirts and
picked the green one. She willingly let Jaydee dress her and Mary smiled
when she realized her mistake. Greylin wanted to look like Vin and the red
shirt was unacceptable. When Jaydee was finished she looked like a miniature
Vin. Greylin ran to Mary and climbed into her lap.
"I see you still can't get shoes on her," Mary commented as Greylin played
with her long blonde hair.
"Nope," Jaydee said packing the extra clothes. "Even Vin can't get her to
"The horses are ready," Buck said
"Well I guess this is good-bye," Mary said kissing Greylin, "I'm going to
She stood up holding Greylin and followed them outside. They added their
packs of clothes to the bundles already loaded on the pack-horses. They mounted
and rearranged weapons until they were comfortable. Mary walked over to Vin's
horse and handed Greylin up to him.
"The extra gold is in the usual hiding place in case you need it," Vin said
as he settled Greylin in front of him.
"Don't worry I'll watch the place," She said as she stepped back. "All of
you be careful and come home safe."
They nodded and Josiah took the lead. Buck and Jaydee led the pack-horses.
They placed Vin in the middle as Chris brought up the rear. He turned back
to Mary and waved. She waved in return and watched until they disappeared
around the bend in the road. She sighed and returned to her shop.
Chris watched as Greylin played with the mane
of Buck's horse. They'd been traveling for nine days and everyone was still
wary. They hadn't met with any trouble but they knew as they got closer to
the capital, Pallanthas, they would begin to meet more people. They avoided
towns along the way not wanting Greylin's secret to be discovered. This of
course didn't sit well with the Bard. Ezra tried to persuade them to go into
town whenever they got close to one. Vin refused to risk it but said they
could go if they wanted. He said he could camp outside of town with Greylin
and meet them in the morning. An argument would start and Chris ended it
by saying they were going around the town. Chris glanced ahead to see if
Vin was on his way back. They were coming to the great forest that surrounded
the city of Tarsus. The forest was known to shelter bandits. Jaydee wondered
why they just didn't go around it. Buck explained it would add three days
to their journey. That's why the road was cut originally so that farmers
and merchants didn't have to travel all that extra way. They all put hands
to swords when they heard a horse approaching. Chris was the first to relax
when he saw it was Vin.
"Everything looks clear," Vin said as he pulled up his horse.
"That's not saying much," Buck said "You can't see ten feet into that forest."
"It didn't used to be like this," Vin said remembering. "When the elves lived
here the forest was friendlier."
"That was a long time ago," Josiah said sadly.
"I still don't think we should stay on the road," Vin insisted.
"It's faster if we do," Chris disagreed. "I know you'd rather be in the cover
of the forest but it will be rough going. If we stick to the road we'll be
on the other side by night fall."
"I suppose," Vin said reluctantly.
They'd purposely camped the night before just before the forest so they would
enter it in full day light. The group continued on the Kings road in
companionable silence. Mystra and Shadow were playing chase and Greylin whistled
in delight as they few passed her. She would take turns riding with all of
them but preferred Vin, Jaydee and Buck. Buck urged his horse forward so
he could ride along side Vin.
"Hey, Imp, she doesn't want me any more," Buck said as Greylin leaned towards
"Can't Jaydee take her?" Vin asked. "I might have to scout ahead again."
"You try telling her that," Buck said as she squirmed and whistled in his
arms. "You've been gone for over an hour and she's been looking for you."
Vin sighed and held out his arms. Greylin jumped the short distance and wrapped
her arms around Vin's neck. She settled in front of him and began to brush
the horses mane with her fingers. They rode for and hour when they came to
the edge of the forest. Josiah and Vin sent the familiars ahead to keep a
"Alright, let's stay alert," Chris said as he pulled up his sword to loosen
it from its scabbard.
Chris took the lead followed by Josiah. Vin was in the middle with Jaydee
and Ezra. Buck and Nathan brought up the rear wit the pack horses. The trees
were huge and the top canopy soon blotted out the sun casting shadows along
the road. They rode along keeping a constant watch to either side. Josiah
reported everything was clear ahead. Shadows eyesight was limited and Vin
checked with Mystra. Vin also confirmed that Mystra didn't see anything.
Chris wasn't so sure and kept his hand on the hilt of his sword. At the half
way point was a clearing next to a small stream for travelers to stop. They
hadn't seen anyone on the road so they had the clearing to themselves.
"Well gentlemen I don't know about you but I can use a rest," Ezra said as
he reined his horse off the road.
"I don't like it," Vin said looking around uneasily. Greylin chirped as if
she agreed with him.
"What is it Vin?" Nathan asked.
"Nothing," he admitted. "But this is a convenient spot for an attack."
"He has a point," Buck agreed. "Everyone stops here. "It's almost like a
"Doesn't seem to be much of a choice," Josiah said looking around.
The road continued straight through the forest. Undergrowth came right to
the edge making it difficult to move off the road.
"We can go a little further than just stop on the road," Jaydee suggested.
"No I think this is our best bet," Chris said surveying the clearing. "We'll
just keep ours eyes open."
They walked the horses off the road and onto the clearing. Chris picked a
spot close to the road with the trees to their side in case they had to use
them for cover. The groups pulled up the horses and dismounted. Vin placed
Greylin on the ground and before he climbed down from his horse. As soon
as her bare feet touched the grass she chirped and ran around. Vin watched
her out of the corner of his eye as he rubbed down his horse with a handful
of grass. He saw her wandering over towards the trees. Vin was about to yell
when Buck came up behind her and scooped her up in his arms.
"Hey little one stay out of the trees," Buck said as he threw her over his
shoulder. Greylin wiggled to be let down and Buck set her on her feet. "You
stay close by hear."
Buck went back to tending his horse as she continued to wander in the grassy
area. Mystra flew in and landed on her shoulder. They both noticed Ezra taking
the food bags off the pack-horse. She walked over and stood at his side.
When he didn't acknowledge her she grabbed his tunic and gave it a tug.
"You my dear can wait like everyone else," Ezra said not looking down at
her. She stomped her foot and crossed her arms. "Your unladylike behavior
will not sway me."
She stayed patiently at Ezra's side and he finally gave in. He handed each
of them a piece of jerky and they moved over to where Jaydee was starting
a fire. Mystra flew off her shoulder and landed on a log to eat. Once Jaydee
had the fire going he sat back against the log and Greylin promptly sat in
his lap. Vin helped Ezra bring the food over as the others joined them. Vin
was about to put tea on when Josiah took the pot from him.
"I think I better do it," Josiah said.
"Why what's wrong with mine?" the half elf asked.
"You make it too strong," Chris said sitting next to Jaydee and grabbing
one of the bags.
"A little is an understatement my good sir, Ezra commented as he pulled cheese
from another bags. "His tea could clean rust off a sword."
"It's not that bad," Vin grumbled as he grabbed the piece of cheese Ezra
was about to bite into.
"Jaydee pass the wayfarers bread," Buck said.
"Hold on let me see if Greylin wants some," Jaydee pulled one out and held
it out to her. Greylin sniffed it then looked expectantly at Jaydee," What?"
"She only likes it with honey," Nathan said. "Her sweet tooth's as bad as
"Sorry," Jaydee said holding it out again but she refused it.
They ate their lunch and discussed the route. Ezra again tried to persuade
them to go to Tarsus. Josiah laughed and clapped him on the back for his
efforts. As they sat eating Chris noticed Vin watching the forest.
"What is it?" Chris asked becoming alarmed.
"Not sure," Vin said not taking his eyes off the forest. "I don't like it."
Just as Vin finished a battle cry rang out and twelve bandits ran out of
the forest. Josiah immediately cast magic missiles taking out two of them.
Vin ran to intercept the two going for the horses. Ezra, Buck and Chris engaged
two apiece, as did Nathan. Jaydee was sitting with Greylin in his lap and
was taken completely by surprise. He quickly pushed Greylin down next to
"Stay!" Jaydee yelled and went to help the others.
Greylin was confused and looked around at the fight. Instinctively she knew
that if she ran to the trees she'd be safe. Mystra was still with her and
she hissed when Greylin stood up. Greylin ran for the protection of the trees.
"NO!" Vin screamed when he saw her.
The half elf viciously slashed one of the bandits in the neck. The bracers
of speed made his hands blur as he swung his sword. He cast magic missiles
at point blank range and the other bandit went flying back. Vin heard Greylin
cry and looked up. Arrows were flying towards her and Vin could see one had
nicked her arm. Suddenly Greylin shimmered turning into her true form and
bellowed. Vin raced towards her and stumbled. He felt a pain in his left
leg but kept running.
Chris heard Greylin bellow but couldn't spare a minute to look. Ezra went
down hard when one of the bandits got under his guard and stabbed him in
the side. Another went to deliver a killing blow that Jaydee stopped inches
from the Bards neck. Buck and Chris dispatched the ones they were fighting
and went to help Jaydee.
"Go help Vin!" Buck yelled as he stood next to Jaydee.
Chris went to move towards Vin just as arrows rained down on them. They bounced
harmlessly off Chris and Buck's armor. Nathan and Jaydee weren't so lucky.
An arrow pierced Jaydee's shoulder and he went down. Another arrow hit Nathan
in the calf but he remained on his feet. Josiah quickly threw up a protection
from missiles spell and the rest of the arrows bounced harmlessly off an
invisible barrier. Chris glanced towards Vin he was fighting three men. Mystra
tried to swoop in to hit one with her tail but missed. He would have gone
to help but two more bandits charged from the woods. They were now facing
six men altogether. Jaydee had pulled himself up and gamely stood holding
his sword as the arrow stuck from his shoulder. Nathan tried not to put too
much weight on his leg as he held his war hammer at the ready. Josiah prepared
to cast a spell. Buck and Chris raised their swords just as the bandits ran
forward. Suddenly the grass and vines tangled around the bandits' legs and
they fell to the ground. Chris glanced down at Ezra.
"That will teach them to attack Ezra the Bard," he said before he passed
Chris quickly moved to help Vin. He'd never seen Vin fight like this before.
It was as if he was possessed. The bracers of speed made Vin's hands blur
as he parried each sword. Chris tried to shout a warning when one of the
bandits moved in behind him. Chris knew he'd never get there in time and
watched as the bandit raised his sword. Chris wasn't expecting what happened
next. Chris heard Greylin roar and looked towards her. Her eyes were an angry
red as she swiped the bandit with her deadly front paw cutting him in half.
Chris made it to Vin's side and engaged one of the bandits. Vin cursed in
elfish and killed the one he was fighting. Chris quickly followed suit and
the bandit lay dead at his feet. He turned to look at Vin as he stood at
Greylin's side. The ranger had an arrow sticking out of his left thigh just
below his hip. Chris moved closer and saw Vin was healing a gash on Greylin's
leg. When it was healed Vin moved from her side and almost fell when he put
weight on his left leg.
"Easy I got ya," Chris said throwing Vin's arm over his shoulder. "Let's
move back to the others."
Vin nodded and let Chris accept his weight. He didn't even know he was shot
while he was fighting. Greylin followed closely looking for reassurance.
"It's alright," Vin said patting her head.
They made it to the others and Vin could see he wasn't the only one hurt.
Nathan was sitting next to Ezra with his hands over a wound in Ezra's side.
"It's pretty bad," Nathan said looking up. "It will take all my spells to
"Do it Nathan," Vin said with a grimace as Chris sat him down. "Mine ain't
"Mine either," Jaydee said bravely. "Ow! Buck that hurt."
"Sorry kid," Buck said as he pressed a cloth around the arrow in Jaydee's
shoulder. "We're gonna have to get you better armor."
"Vin I'm sorry," Jaydee said looking at the ranger. "I thought she'd stay
where I put her."
"Not your fault Jaydee," Vin said through clenched teeth as Chris tended
his wound. "Her instincts told her she'd be safe in the woods."
"Damn," Chris cursed looking up at Vin. "The arrows in deep. We'll let Nathan
decide what to do."
Vin leaned against the log watching Nathan. The cleric was chanting and leaning
over Ezra. Josiah was wrapping a bandage tightly around Nathan's calf. Apparently
the arrow passed right through and Josiah broke off the head and pulled the
shaft out. He looked towards the trees and saw the six bandits tangled in
vines. They were all dead and the ranger knew Buck had given them the deathblow.
He didn't feel sorry for them considering they were going to kill all of
them. Nathan finished with Ezra and sat back.
"How is he?" Chris asked.
"I healed the wound but he lost a lot of blood," Nathan said.
"Can he be moved?"
"Yeah," Nathan said. "Why?"
"Looks like Ezra is going to get his wish," Chris said with a wry smile.
"We're heading for town," Buck said with a laugh.
Josiah laughed also and helped Nathan over to Jaydee. The arrow wasn't deep
and Nathan was able to pull it out as Buck held Jaydee. The kid didn't cry
out not wanting them to think he was weak but he did almost pass out. Buck
shooed Nathan away saying he could wrap a shoulder as good as he could and
to see to Vin. Nathan agreed and hobbled to Vin's side with Josiah's help.
Nathan used he magic to see how deep the arrow was.
"It's deep," Nathan said opening his eyes. "I don't want to take it out here.
It's safer if it stays in."
"How's he going to ride?" Chris demanded.
"We'll break off the shaft then pack it," Nathan said.
"That's going to hurt like hell," Chris said.
"Quit your worrying Chris," Vin said. "Just do it Nathan. The faster it's
done the faster we can get out of here."
Nathan nodded and he held Vin's leg while Josiah grabbed the shaft close
to Vin's flesh. Chris grabbed the upper part and looked at Vin. The half
elf nodded and braced himself. Chris snapped the wood and Vin cried out.
After Vin recovered his breath Nathan instructed them on how to pack clothe
around the exposed shaft to secure it in place. Nathan said a litter would
have to be made for Ezra. Josiah and Buck went into the woods and came back
with two saplings. Josiah quickly cut away the branches and they constructed
a litter. Chris got some water for Vin and Jaydee. Jaydee looked a little
green and Vin was as pale as Greylin's whites scales. When the litter was
ready they secured it to Ezra's saddle then strapped the bard in the litter.
Josiah moved around the clearing picking up the rest of their supplies and
securing them to the pack-horses. Buck helped Jaydee into his saddle.
"Tie him on Buck," Chris said. "Just in case we have to run."
"Vin you have to get her to change," Josiah said.
Vin tried to get Greylin to change back into elf form but she wouldn't. She
now associated it with pain and she was afraid. Vin finally convinced her
to change but she wasn't happy. Josiah and Buck lifted Vin into the saddle
and he groaned as he felt the arrow shift. They lashed him to the saddle
as he took a handful of the horses mane. Greylin insisted on riding with
Vin. She was about to change back to dragon form when she didn't get her
way. Josiah quickly picked her up and placed her on his horse and told her
to behave. They got Nathan onto his horse and the others mounted theirs.
Buck took Jaydee's reins as he started to protest saying he could do it himself
as he swayed in the saddle. Nathan took the ropes of the pack-horses. It
was decided Chris wouldn't be burdened leading one of the others so he could
be able to fight if necessary. Ezra's horse was tied to Jaydee's and willingly
followed behind. Josiah took Vin's reins and he knew the half elf must have
been hurting because he didn't protest. Greylin tried to squirm out of Josiah's
arms and tried to get to Vin. The magic user explained to her that she couldn't
as she settled in front of him. Mystra rode behind Vin on the horse's rump.
Chris took point followed by Buck leading Jaydee and Ezra. Josiah moved in
behind them and Nathan brought up the rear. Shadow perched on the packs and
cawed when Josiah sent him ahead to check the road. Chris knew they were
vulnerable and hoped they didn't meet any more trouble.