Elspeths temper was on a short leash, her patience was almost non-existent. To make things worse she had gotten a major headache.

"Ok, tell me if I've got it right. Clara has just been chosen by that... thing." The 'thing' snorted in indignation and Clara glared at Elspeth, who in turn ignored both of them. An`desha felt that he was in for a long night as he replied.

"Yes, and that 'thing' as you described him has a name. Call him Spirit please."

"Fine. He's not a companion..."

"No, sorry sister, your 'Windrider' hasn't been reincarnated."

"But he's Clara's companion..."

"Partner would be a better term, in this case."

"Did you create him?"

"No."

"Was he ever a human?"

"No..."

"Then where in blazes did he come from?!" Elspeth said, starting to loose control on her temper.

"I don't know who created him, nor why he was created. All I know is that I was walking the moon paths when I was instructed to come here. I was told to open a gate to nowhere and help guide something through. It's generally unwise to argue with anyone on the moon paths so I obeyed. Obviously Spirit is what I and the others were helping."

"ARG! Ok, fine. So what are we supposed to do with Clara then? And I don't suppose that whoever-it-was told you what happened to the dark mage? I thought he needed more magic, yet he left his victim here to die. What is going on?"

"Train Clara. Teach her to fight and teach her the use of her gifts. Do NOT train her to be a herald! She has a different destiny to discover. As for the mage, I don't know."

"Um... excuse me? Who is this 'dark mage' that you guys are talking about?" Clara asked nervously. Elspeth turned to her.

"He's the one who did those horrible things to you, who took you from your world and brought you here."

"I see... how could he possibly get magic from me though?"

"When a creature is hurt or scared it unleashes a certain energy. That energy can then be used by a mage, we call that energy 'blood magic' as a lot of it is released when blood is shed. We call people who use that energy 'blood mages' or 'dark mages' as it is a horrible thing to use... what's wrong?" Clara had suddenly become very pale, her partner nuzzled her, concern in his eyes.

"Before... before I lost consciousness he said something to me... he said that thanks to something I did back in my world he had all the energy he needed... the only reason he brought me here was because I was rude and he wanted to teach me a lesson." Elspeth stared at her in shock.

"All the energy he needed? That's a helluva lot of power! Clara what did you DO?"

Clara looked down as tears came to her eyes.

"I... I don't know what happened! My classmates were being cruel to me, and... and I felt this rage take control of me... things went all dark, there was a lot of screaming... when I could see again all my classmates were dead... he was there, and I ran and..." she choked and lost control, she turned and buried her face in her partners neck. The people in the clearing stood silently, the only sounds were those of Clara's heart-wrenching sobs. Talia and Keisha silently walked over to the girl, giving her what little help they could. Kero and Alberich walked off to make plans for the battle that was to come, Firesong, Elspeth and Darkwind followed. An`desha looked over to Treyvan and Hydona.

"You know what this means..."

"Yes." Hydona answered, sadness and worry in her voice.

"Yes, we know exactly what this means." Treyvan said, rage and fear was written all over his body and he spoke clearly, without even a hint of his usual 'Griffon accent' as he turned to face his beloved.

"We must fly to the clans, warn them about the war to come. Tell them to prepare the mages," he then looked in the direction of the clans.

"prepare them for the return of Maar."

Authors note: Yup, I know this is short. Sorry it took me so long *stupid exams* I am still working on this fic, I haven't forgotten about it! Happy Holidays!

Oh, and don't worry. The mystery of Clara and her odd partner will be explained in time! Till next time!