broke in. "And it is you who are right, Dain. The Enemy's power was
gained by sorcery. Ordinary strength, however determined, may undo
some of his evil work, but can never defeat him for good."
Jasmine had been listening, looking from one speaker to another.
Now she spoke.
"Ordinary strength may not defeat the Shadow Lord. But ordinary
sense tells us how we must proceed from here. Plainly, we are about
to travel into territory the Enemy is watching closely. There will
be many eyes watching for the group they have been told abouta
man, a boyand a wild girl with a black bird."
She said the last words with a bitter smile.
Lief tried to interrupt, but she held up her hand to stop him.
"We must separate, if we are not to be noticed," she said. "And
since Kree and I are the ones who make our group obvious, we are
the ones who must take another path."
She pulled on her pack. Kree flew to perch on her arm. Filli chattered
"Jasmine, no!" Lief exclaimed.
"Do not leave us!" cried Dain at the same moment.
Jasmine turned to Barda. "I am right, am I not?" she demanded.
The big man hesitated, but his grieved face showed that he knew
her reasoning was sound.
She nodded briskly. "Then that is settled. All being well, we
will meet on the coast, at the river's end."
With that, she lifted a hand in farewell and moved quickly off
into the darkness. With a cry Lief started after her. But she did
not answer his call, and he could not catch her. In moments she
was just a flickering shadow among the trees. Then she was gone.