“I’m afraid Archibal would not be returning,” said the gargoyle who Archibal called Balendin. “He had an emergency and asked us to inform you that you two can leave for the day. He will see you another day.”
“Is it because of Cadi? Is she all right?” Walter said.
“Cadi will be all right,” said Balendin.
“What is utenfor and why will it be too late?” said Walter.
“Not if Archibal reaches her on time,” Balendin reassured him. He was very calm in light of what was happening.
“It is not uncommon for wizard to use utenfor. It is a form of out of body experience. A body can only last without its spirit no more than a few hours before it becomes permanent.”
“What happens if it does become permanent?” Alden said.
“Then her body will die,” Balendin said. “She is only allowed to be out of her body for no more than thirty minutes. She must have lost her way back. I wouldn’t worry. Archibal will get her back.”
“Amias, has permitted us to take you home,” said Agi. “If you like?”
Though, Walter was worried about Cadi he knew Archibal wouldn’t let any harm to her, but he also wondered about the phantom. He agreed with Archibal that it was getting stronger, but for what purpose and how? Why did it attack people? How far will it go? But his main concern was for Cadi.
“Don’t worry, young Walter,” said Balendin noticing he was troubled. “Archibal will take care of it. We should take you home now before it gets late.”
Walter road on the back of Balendin. He was a brawny gargoyle about the size of Agi. His skin felt like that of an elephant’s skin, it even had the same grey texture, but his visage was not like Agi’s or Amias. It had a more of a devilish appearance, though, he had a placed nature. Walter glanced at Alden riding on Agi. He seemed to be enjoying the experience.
They were flying high above the lands. Seeing it from the sky was amazing for Walter. It was a bit nerve wrecking at first, but the flight went smoothly. The sun peeked out from the grey clouds. The winds were stronger and colder than it was on land. It was hard for Walter to keep his eyes open, the bitter air stung at his face and made his nose burn every time he tried to take a breath. He tried to breathe through his mouth, but he struggled to take in air without causing his lungs to hurt.
The gargoyles were flying rather rapidly and further higher above. They were cautious of flying too low. It didn’t take them long to reach a clearing near the edge of town. They landed swiftly, letting Walter and Alden got off safely. “This is where we leave you, young Walter,” Balendin said. “You should be out of danger here. We can’t get any closer to the town.”
“We are not allowed to be seen,” added Agi.
“Why not?” Alden said.
“Because of the war,” said Balendin. “Before, we flew wherever we pleased, whenever we pleased. We never had to worry about being seen. We were as familiar as the birds that flew, but then the war came and changed it all. Our brothers fought along with the humans and the wizards. Then the sides became muddled and the humans fought against us and the wizards. After the war, it took ten years for the land to recuperate from the devastation. During this time, the humans became superstitious and overly suspicious. They started to burn innocent people to the stakes, accusing them of witchery. We had to stop flying in view.”
“This time of the month is the only time we can fly freely,” said Agi. “If the humans see us with you nothing good will come of it.”
“We have seen what they could do to each other,” said Balendin. “We must leave now. Amias is expecting us back. Hurry home, young Walter, young Alden.”
The boys said their farewells and the gargoyles flew away. They looked like ancient birds as they took to the air. That was something Walter barely saw every day. “What time is?” Alden said. Walter took out his pocket watch.
“It’s ten minutes before five,” Walter said.
“I better hurry,” Alden started walking towards the town. “Mr. Boyd hates it when I’m late.”
“Jacob Boyd, the Mason,” Walter said.