With some rather impressive diplomatic finesse on Elphames' part, The Scald Crow and its crew would be transported by military helicopter once they reached the mainland. While they were on the ferry the team was treated to their new equipment. The Queen gave each member a set of combat armor. Everyone enjoyed cool weapons including Theria. A pair of gauntlets were given to Warren.
"Use them wisely," Elphame said.
"To avoid splinters in my fingers?" Warren stared at the leather and metal, "No offense your majesty, the gloves are underwhelming."
"Warren, do you think the queen would give you junk?" Nerea scolded, "Maybe if you asked what they did."
"Relax Nerea, I understand his concern," She gave warren a stern look, "However, you did raise an excellent point. I should have explained what they were for." She pointed to the gloves, "Please put them on."
Warren inhaled the oily leather and admired the exceptional craftsmanship. The soft fleece inside the protective gloves added a level of unparalleled comfort. "Now what?"
"They are made for eidolon wielders. They allow you to shape the magical energy into hard light constructs. The constructs will behave like the real thing, except it will weigh nothing. However, you also have to be familiar with the object," Elphame warned. "Which is why I had these made," She motioned for a servant to come forward, in the servant's hands, a polished wooden box about two feet in length.
Nerea smiled, "I helped pick them out. They are perfect for you." She stood next to Warren and rubbed his shoulders in excitement.
The lid opened on noiseless hinges, there lay two odd short swords, "They are based on the La Fa Chaux pistol blades. As It was explained to me, they are wildly impractical as weapons. However, if you shape them out of magic, think of the possibilities, all of its strengths, none of its weaknesses."
Warren examined the blades and smiled, "Plus you can stab things if magic fails." He drew the leather belt and attached the scabbards, "Have we identified the attackers?"
Nerea fielded the question, "As a matter of fact we have. The dog people are called Adlets, they enjoy the taste of humans. The big wolf bear things are called waheela, they are wild animals as far as I have been told. As for the flesh golems, they are called Tupilaq, and they come with specific conditions. We'll get into that before we leave."
"This is your captain speaking, we want to thank you for riding the Dreaming Eagle. We ask all passengers to wait for the queen and her entourage to disembark first. That will be all."
Jack, Grace, Herne, and Theria were already in the Scald Crow when Warren arrived. The queen and Nerea entered together, "Are you ready Ms. Theria?" The queen asked in a regal tone.
The Scald Crows engine hummed to life, and nary a vibration rocked the metal frame. Her deft fingers tapped the keyboard on the GPS, "Where are we headed?" Warren moved to the front seat and smiled at her. Theria smiled back.
The queen handed her a piece of parchment, "We were told to go here," She turned to the assembled team, "You represent the Seelie Nation, in our first genuine effort to prove we have something to contribute. The Canadian government has called for a strategic airstrike. From the moment you land, you'll have forty-eight hours to get the residents of Fort Vermillion to safety. After that, all bets are off."
The whine of the engines from the military transport plane filled the cargo area. Here, Grace, and Jack were fast asleep in the Scald Crow. Warren found Theria staring out a window. Her hair fell around her shoulders, and she leaned against the wall.
"You don't look happy to be here," Warren said.
"I know the Adlets pose a threat, but we may bring them to the edge of extinction. Do they deserve it?" She asked. "How am I supposed to live with myself. How are you going to live with yourself?"
Warren pulled her into his arms and held her, "Theria, I don't know what's going to happen. I know innocent people will die because of someone else's mistake. The Adlets chose to attack humans, they didn't have to. There is enough wildlife to go around."
Theria strengthened her grip on Warren, "I must sound like a crazy person. I never expected to be on the Scald Crow, never mind going into battle."
Holding Theria in his arms felt natural, a perfect fit. Warren kissed the top of her head, "I've never gone into battle either. "I've only ever been in hockey fights. I'm scared too."
"You don't sound like it."
"Even with the Eidolon, I am scared."
"I wouldn't be," Theria looked up at him.
Warren laughed ironically, "My whole life hinges on a shaky alliance with a spiritual creature I barely understand. There is nothing I can do about it. What I can do, is make the most of the gift given to me, and try to make a difference. Chances are the Government would've dropped the bomb with or without our involvement."
Theria didn't answer. "Hey, are you..." She had fallen asleep in his arms. With a bit of effort, Warren moved her to a soft pile of netting and laid her down, and then fell asleep next to her. His eyes grew heavy and he dozed off.
A rough hand slapped Warren awake, "Rise and Shine whelps, we are about to unload the Scald Crow and hit the highway. I expected to find you two with fewer clothes on."
A knot appeared in Warrens's stomach at the thought. True he thought about sex but never gave much thought to doing the act himself. In school, the boys used their conquests as a status symbol. Warren never bought into this philosophy, because most of the claims were bald-faced lies and he refused to support it. Theria's mood hadn't improved either.
Warren stared at the fiery-haired captain, "Has the situation progressed?"
"Yes, and no, lad," Grace took a swig from a hip flask, "The Adlets have begun to make camp, and have set up a perimeter around the humans. The behavior puzzles me."
Slender arms stretched behind Warren and Theria blushed at the sight of Grace, "The humans are outnumbered. Why not wipe them out?"
The most horrifying thought struck Warren across his mind, and he excitedly said, "It's almost as if they intend to use the Human survivors as livestock, or at least hunt them down in their natural habitat."
Theria gasped in horror, "Why would they do that?"
"Despite being cannibals, it's safe to assume they revere nature. Maybe they take what they need and move on?" Warren suggested.
"I'll take either theory at this point," Grace crossed her arms, and ruffled Warren's hair, "You're dangerously close to earning my respect, whelp. I think we will see you do great things shortly."
Warren helped Theria to her feet, "How are you feeling about things?"
"Do you think the Adlets would kill a Seelie?"
"I don't know, but in a few short hours we are going to find out."