The sun did not stay for long. A full moon greeted the village early and the gloom of the day sent most people to their beds without supper. Sam had been one of them. Rafe chose to linger for a while, walking on the rooftop of the church. It was a pleasant view from the top, where he could see the gargoyle they had toppled still implanted in the bed of grass beneath. He towered over the treetops and the hills that surrounded the village. Beyond the woodland ranged the fallow deer that grazed the palace fields. The palace never looked more beautiful than it did in the dark. The lights never went out and the spectacular array of gold and white from the turrets sparkled like the stars in the sky. It made the sudden interrupting sound of the horn all the more haunting. Eerie and unexpected, it sent a chill through the spines of all those that heard it, its low groan a warning that danger was coming. The call of it jumpstarted a fear that was resting inside of Rafe. A call he had been expecting and dreading. Lingering in his heart, the sound of it sent his emotions into overdrive. Climbing down from the church rooftop, he tore through the forest as fast as his legs would carry him.
“Rafe!” someone yelled.
Rafe spun around to see Miller, Edward and Theo running from the direction of the mansion. Miller had replaced his top hat with an uncommonly large helmet. Rafe caught up to them, desperate for an explanation. Somehow he doubted whether the Brutes had returned.
“They be comin’ boy! Get ya sword and ya mask. The village be gatherin’ their best to meet ye!” Miller spat. “Meet me? For what? Who’s coming?” Rafe demanded, knowing full well who it was without needing to ask. “Who d’ya think? I’d say ye have ‘bout ten minutes b’fore the Prince be findin’ ya. He wants revenge fer wha’ ye did, though this time he be nay dumb enough to fight on his own! I says there be two dozen knights marchin’ ‘ere. Even if they do b’lieve in the legends o’ Cherubim’s Mask, they be sworn to obey th’ Prince. Th’ villagers b’lieve in ye, Rafe. Some of em are willin’ t’ fight fer ye.” Rafe looked towards the forest, trying to imagine them. “The Prince,” Rafe whispered as the truth of it sank in. “Get the mask, lad!” Miller yelled.