Chapter 32

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Evelyn dropped to her knees and screamed with frustration. She had been trying to influence a chipmunk to come out of its hole and into her hand for over two hours, but try as she might the little guy simply stared her down from the safety of his burrow. Evelyn glared back, wanting nothing more at that moment than to summon some vines and drag it squeaking out of its hole and into her hand. Instead she sat down with a groan and silently cursed the tiny animal.

"You can't force it, Eve!" Puck scolded. "You have to ask it! You have to work with him!"

"She's trying man, give her some time," Brandon said, "I'm sure she'll get the hang of this soon enough. It's still new to her."

"Well it shouldn't be!" Puck screamed, jumping to his feet. "She should have mastered this years ago! Now it's almost time for her to leave and she can't even call a chipmunk! How's she supposed to survive against what she may face in our world if she can't control the animals in yours?" He dropped to the ground in a huff and began to absentmindedly pick at the twigs on the ground, ignoring the shocked looks on the faces of both Brandon and Evelyn.

"What do you mean by survive what I find in your world?" Evelyn asked. "Just how dangerous is this place and what kind of animals am I going to find?"

Puck sat upright and smiled. "Everything," he said. "All the stories you may have heard growing up, all those fairy tales you thought were make believe. Magic is gone here, dead and forgotten. But back home, back where Eve belongs, it's alive and it's growing."

"So you're talking elves and dragons, that kind of stuff?" Brandon asked, somewhat sarcastically.

"Elves are just a different name for Fae," Puck said, ignoring the sarcasm. "And there are many, many different types of Fae. Some who live within the fire of the mountains, others who live only in the ice caves of the north. Fae that tinker with gears and machines, and Fae that work only within nature itself. There are as many shapes, sizes, and breeds of Fae as flowers on the earth.

"Dragons also exist, but they're very rare and don't really like coming around, at least the big ones. They find us boring. The Dragons Eve will see are tiny. They live in fireplaces and are more like insects than paintings you've seen all your life. If they leave the fire or the fire gets smothered, they'll die. So they're nothing to fear. We also have water spirits that dance within each raindrop, birds that fly in the greatest of storms. You can wander the forest and talk with butterflies, swim the seas and feast with sprites. It's a wonderful world Eve, and I can't wait for you to see it all!"

"But that doesn't answer the question," Evelyn said. "What would I have to be afraid of that I'd need to know how to control?"

"Oh you'll never be able to control them," Puck said thoughtfully. "All you can hope to do is calm them enough to walk by. It's the guardians of the queen's home that you'll have to fear. The Erebus. They stay hidden, unmoving until someone who cannot feel their presence and calm them passes through the garden that protects the queen's gate. When that happens they come, and they're always hungry."

"And what exactly is an Erebus?" Brandon asked.

Puck shuttered. "When the Fae first came into the world, Oberon discovered two eggs within the caves of the red sisters. Ancient, beautiful, powerful, they had the appearance of smooth, milky diamonds. Finding no other living thing he took them and studied them, cast magic upon them in an attempt to learn the secret of what they were and would become. Somehow he learned what he did about them, and fearing attack from the humans he used his most powerful magic to hatch them to life as protectors of the keep.

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