The boys were very soon in bed, their eyelids heavy, their bodies weary despite the relief that the warm bath had given them. Sleep came easily, and with it dreams that would not be easy go remember. It was just as well, for their journey was enough without their dreams being an adventure as well.
Breakfast was another hurried affair, not because their host was eager to be free of them, but because James was eager to be back on the road. Cerys did not like being rushed, just as her brother resisted being woken, but in light of the importance of their mission, she was willing to be forgiving.
The horses were already waiting when James ushered them outside, their packs loaded and the saddles strapped securely around their flanks. The stable boys held the reigns while they mounted, and walked with them through the village to to the northern gate.
“James,” Cerys to asked as the wooden doors came into sight, “the wood that makes up these fences doesn’t look very old. Actually, it looks like it was pretty freshly cut.”
“It was,” James told her, his voice revealing that he was not entirely happy about that situation. “Once these beasts started to pop up across the landscape, our village leaders had to start building the fences is to keep the villages is safe.”
“That’s something that I was thinking about,” Cerys replied. “If these fences are so new, how did you know that they would work to keep out the monsters? If the monsters come out of the shadows, can’t they come out of the ones inside the village?”
“I was wondering when you were ever going to ask that,” James told her. “You’re a smart girl, and I figured you would notice sooner or later. The thing of it is, there’s a certain amount of magic at work, too. When the fences were built, the wizard that you met this morning cast protective spells upon the villages. I am not entirely sure that these spells were necessary, though. Do you remember the magic school that I told you about?”
“How could I forget?” Cerise replied.
“Well, the inside of the school has its share of shadows, but as far as we could tell, the monsters never formed inside that magic academy. It was always outside where they took form.”
“So you think that they would not form inside the village?” Cerys asked.
“I don’t know what conditions they may need in order to form,” James said, “but there’s something about being outside, out in the open, that helps them show up.”
“But you need the fences, anyway,” Peter reminded all of them. “They may form out there in the open field, but if they can move about, they can enter the village and cause of mayhem.”