Chapter 12

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Astrin's allies paced up the hill as quickly as they could. It was darker now. The night would end soon if they didn't find Mimoza in time. The stars almost seemed exceedingly bright, and Astrin paid close attention to the crescent moon looking down at the hilltop.

"Bad omen," Astrin murmured. "Spirits could still dwell here."

"This better be worth our damn time," Basil growled.

Astrin looked forward at the captain, "I assure you, it is."

There were twelve soldiers altogether. All of them Scythian guards, dutiful to their Athenian masters when given the task. There was an aura of confidence in the air, but Astrin's mind was on the stone tablets Mimoza had read to him. Egyptian legends had always unsettled him. There was always an air of mystery to them that he could never quite soften to.

"I swear to the Gods," Basil growled marching ahead of the team. "I'll chop your arms and dick off if this is for nothin."

Basil was a voracious man. Even in his late fifties he was still strong with a warrior's body. He was stubborn and proud. Basil had so much experience and stories under his belt it had reached the point that most things seemed beneath him. Broad-shouldered, enormous with blonde hair and blue eyes like most other Scythians, Basil towered over his men like a giant leading ants.

Astrin only nodded as he followed behind him. Their relationship was smeared because Astrin had fallen asleep a few times while under his watch. Such behavior would have gotten most soldiers executed, but Granit saved Astrin from such a fate, by convincing Basil to let him adopt Astrin under his own wing.

Basil only agreed to go visit cabin out of fear that his lifelong friend Granit was in danger. But the man had no respect for Astrin.  He marched with weightedness as the both of them walked together as allies, but not as companions.

"Look," a soldier behind them said. The horizon was still dark, but a thin light unveiled ahead of them. It was an aura of orange hue. They all expected to see the morning horizon to hit their view. Instead, it was a green fire.

"What in Poseidon's eye is that?"

The light shined the top of the hill. Like a glistening lamp, the green fire was condensed into a single spot on the hilltop to spread its light throughout the entire clearing. It smelled like fruit. Apples, grapes and pears, meshed together into a mushy aroma that seemed like freshly picked delicacies prepared for a morning supper.

Except there was no food in the area. Just ravaging flames burning away the grass as it morphed into oddly cylindrical shapes dancing like a consciously aware fire. "That's the cottage," Astrin said. "Mimoza went in there."

The cottage ruins stood in the flames. Bricks melted as the fire raved. It seemed like melting clay, morphing into sluggish mud as the fire burned quickly through its surface. Mild smoke blew into their faces. It served as a minor annoyance, smelling kindly as it entered their lungs to commence a coughing fit.

They walked around the blowing smoke, and stepped closer to the hill center. Two figures sat silently in front of the cottage. Their legs were crossed and they wore black robes listening to the sizzling sounds of the fire in front of them. The oddest thing about them had to be their hair. White hair as cold as snow, both of which were cut just above the neck.

They were silent. Watching the fire as though it were a spectacle. Fireflies drew close to them. Between the stars, the grass, the moon, and the fire, it seemed as though these two purple-robed people were the center of it all.

"You there," Basil stepping behind them, "what happened here?"

The white-haired twins didn't say anything. Their backs faced him as they stared silently at the fire.

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