Chapter 27

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The group moved away from the unicorn and two horses. Ghemella thought it unlikely that the vhultards would attack a unicorn and as long as the horses stayed close to the magical animal they in turn would be safe. They stopped at a spot fifty feet from the animals.

Uriel held tight to his staff with growing apprehension while the Guardian methodically pulled out a longsword and dagger. The High Witch withdrew a sword from a concealed sheath. Both Uriel and Ghemella looked at Arhyvhynne, first with surprise then skepticism. The white robe read their expressions. "It is purely for defensive purposes," she explained. "The sword is charmed with a Spell of Protection." But neither of them took much comfort in it and waited for the birds to make their move.

The two vhultards circled high above their heads a few times, appearing to disregard the animals for the time being. They issued shrill cries which caused the party to shudder as one. Then the birds suddenly dove, talons outstretched.

The small group repelled the first attack easily. However, it seemed the vhultards had only made a half-hearted attempt, trying to ascertain what type of defense they might see. When the birds came the second time, it was in earnest.

The vhultards drove down at the little group with their talons. Ghemella was able to fend off one of the birds and the other was turned away by Arhyvhynne's magic sword. The birds decided to stay close to the ground and abandoned their diving tactics. It was difficult for the two large vhultards to move when they were close together and so they tried to separate the group. One concentrated on Ghemella, the other on Arhyvhynne.

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