A New Arrival

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As the group stared in horrified silence at Mitym's still form, they suddenly heard the sound of someone approaching. The seven questors looked at each other in shock.

Who could have found them?

Noj Vidad, Nehat, and Nelia quietly drew their swords ready to defend the others. But moments later, the Mysterious Tepry appeared riding a large black and white goat with long curved horns.

The Mysterious Tepry looked around and smiled. "I see you weren't expecting me. I've known about your plans for some time, and I'm here now because I want to help."

The Mysterious Tepry knelt by Mitym and studied his wound. "It is good that you have a healing dragon. Your friend is only unconscious. He will wake in a few hours, but he won't regain full strength for a few days."

The questors breathed a sigh of relief.

"Now let me ease your other fears. Princess Atamar you worry that you aren't good enough. Years ago, when you were a baby, I shared this oracle with your parents.

'Beware lest the Princess loses too much for then your land will feel war's icy touch.'

I am sorry to say that in trying to keep you from losing too much, your parents have caused you to lose the things that matter most including joy and confidence in knowing who you are and what you can do."

The teens stared at the Mysterious Tepry in amazement as the Mysterious Tepry continued.

"I am sorry that my oracle has caused you so much pain. However, I believe that in following your heart instead of your fear you are making the right choice.

You have already gained back some of the freedom you had lost due to your parents' fear, and I hope that you will also reclaim your family from wherever they are."

"Eticia, & Isoje, I know that you and Mitym are especially concerned about those who have been left behind. You know that they will be extremely worried, especially your parents.

While Hamori was searching for the missing stable animals, I gave him this message to take home to ease their fears: 'If you value your country of birth, don't seek the princess you've lost. She and her friends have counted the cost and are seeking a prize of great worth.'"

"Nehat, Noj Vidad, & Enielda your greatest concern is whether your skills will meet the needs of the group. I cannot promise you that no one else will get hurt, but I can tell you that I believe that this group is exactly the group that is needed to uncover the truth.

Each of you is vital to the success of your mission."

"Nelia, your biggest concern is whether you will be accepted and truly fit in. You want them to be your friends just as Nehat & Noj Vidad are your friends.

You want to feel that you belong and are wanted for yourself not for Nehat and not for what you can do.

It will happen in time.

The only way to accomplish your goal and restore SET's royal family is to work together as a team."

"Now, let's move on to other business. Having escaped the palace, what is your plan?"

Princess Atamar answered, "We will travel to Signs seeking to locate the place where the royal coach was ambushed."

"How do you plan to go unrecognized?" the Mysterious Tepry asked.

"We plan to travel as a group of entertainers." Atamar answered. "Eticia can sing and play, and the rest of us can join her.

Nehat & Noj Vidad told me that Nelia is great at making up stories. They were right. Last night she told the tale 'Camera's Green Thumb'.

It was fantastic.

Also, we have new clothes that fit the styles worn by the common folk of SET and Signs.
Ijema, the palace seamstress was most helpful in giving us all the information we needed to pass ourselves off as common travelers."

"Excellent. Do you have a name for your group of entertainers?"

The group looked at each other blankly. After a moment, Nelia spoke, "We could call ourselves Jat Clyden." Everyone laughed although a little shakily.

"We are a motley group," Nehat agreed looking around.

Noj Vidad smiled, "Yes, we are Jat Clyden, and it is a good name, but maybe we should call ourselves Jat Clyden a Jeetee, for we are not just a motley group, but we are a motley group of friends."

Isoje spoke up. "I like the name Jat Clyden. Change the ogre words around just a little and you have the elvish phrase, Taj Clyden which means close friends." Everyone nodded.

"Wonderful. Now you just need to know where to go." The Mysterious Tepry declared, "Nehat, if you will pull that package from Prince Crenip out of your pouch, I believe it contains a letter telling you how to find the ambush spot."

All of them gave Nehat puzzled looks. He was just as shocked for he had forgotten the packet completely, but the Mysterious Tepry continued,

"I have one final question to ask...

...May I join your quest?"...

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