Knock. Knock. Knock.
Anan heard the sound of a hand on wood. Her lids fluttered for a moment, then stilled.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
She breathed deeply as the sound came again. She heard the knocks as numbers in her mind: one, two, three. There was significance to the knocking, but she didn’t remember what. Anan moved slightly and felt an arm on her stomach. She smiled and tried to let sleep take her.
One. Two. Three.
She gave an exasperated sigh, but rolled over and cuddled closer to Eloran.
One. Two. Three.
Anan frowned and opened her eyes. The persistent knocking finally pulled her out of sleep. She took a deep breath and realized the sound was coming from the Finaran side. She then frowned deeper. The door wasn’t locked. Her eyes grew wide. Or was it?
She raced off the bed and pulled on a robe as she ran to the door. She yanked it open before her mind could fully register that her father’s symbol glowed green upon the wood. On the other side of the door stood a tall elf with long silver hair and piercing blue eyes. There were five armored guards with him.
“Father! What are you doing here?”
King Nassir stepped into the house, placed his hands on her cheeks and peered into her eyes. He looked terribly worried. “The door has been locked three days, Anan. Are you all right?”
Shock made her gasp. “Three days? I didn’t…” She closed her eyes as she realized. “The spell.” She looked up at her father and tried a smile. “I’m sorry father. I had to break a hex. I wove a protection spell as well. That must have triggered the locks.”
King Nassir took his daughter’s hands. “Who?”
“Xyta placed a hex on Prince Eloran.”
He nodded. “When?”
“If the doors have been locked three days, then three days ago.” Her hand flew to her mouth. “Xyta has been gone the entire time. She only had a one-day pass. Father! I’m sorry!”
King Nassir’s eyes narrowed as he turned to two of the guards. “Go fetch her.”
“She came with friends. Five in total.”
The King nodded. “They are my guards. They know what to do.”
She nodded and watched as the men jogged by. They headed to the human door and did not bother changing. When they opened the door, they called to the King.
Both the King and Anan came, but Anan stood in front of her father, in case of danger. On the other side of the door stood Yxal, Xyta’s sister, in her true pixie form. She looked terrified.
“She wouldn’t stay. I begged her to, but she wouldn’t. She convinced the others to go with her.” Yxal saw the King and ran to him. “Please sir! You have to stop her!”
The King gently pried the girl’s hands off his arms. “Who, Yxal?”
“My sister, Xyta. She does nothing but hurt others. She has mother under a spell. No one knows but me and she may kill me for telling you, but I can’t let her do this any more!” The girl burst into tears.
The King looked to the two guardsmen. “We will need more help. Take Yxal to my castle and keep her safe. Bring back more guards.”
“Father.” The tone of her voice made the King raise his hand to stop his men. “We need permission to go after her. If you send a squadron out, King Falk may not be happy, despite our friendship with him.”
“I’ll give permission.”
All turned to see the man standing in nothing but pantaloons. King Nassir frowned at the blue symbol over the man’s heart, but dismissed it for the moment. “And who might you be, boy?”
Prince Eloran walked to the King and bowed. “Your grace, my name is Prince Eloran. Though I am the youngest of King Falk’s sons, I am able to give your men permission to enter Grenlacks.” The Prince looked to Anan. “If my dreams are true, Xyta is trying to take over Taren. My brothers Randolph and Leo are in charge of Taren and appreciate any help Finara can give us in stopping the bandits.”
Anan stepped forward and placed her hand over his heart. “What did you dream?”
“Xyta sat on a…large chair that was almost a throne, in my brother’s home.” He paused, as he tried to remember the rest. “There were bloody bodies all around her. She was laughing.”
The King turned to Yxal. “Is this true? Is she trying to take over Taren?”
The girl shook her head. “I don’t know, but she goes to Taren whenever we’re allowed into the human world.”
The King sighed heavily. “Go. Fetch more men. Send a message to Klaes to let the King know our actions. Tell him also that Prince Eloran knows of our plans and gave us permission to enter with a squadron.”
A guard nodded and two left. A third picked Yxal up and carried her back to Finara. The King looked to the other guards.
They nodded, and went to the Finaran side. King Nassir closed the door to the human world then turned and walked to the Finaran side. He closed that door as well and came back to his daughter and Prince Eloran. He looked to his daughter.
“Care to tell me why Prince Eloran has your symbol over his heart?”