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The Forest of Darkness

by ladydark


I shall not post on this unless the need is dire, only reason for me to reply will be to include new stuff... so if you see new post from me, and ye've already read, or in middle of reading, it'll mean there is a new part I just added and whatnot...

Prologue

once...In a far off place, there was a forest. This wasn’t any ordinary forest…oh no, this was a special place, a magical place…

This place was full of creatures of all shapes and sizes and breeds, you have your normal woodland creatures but there were magical beasts as well. Dragons’ powerful and mighty, unicorns with their shyness and grace, and flying horses with razor sharp talons. All sorts of these magnificent creatures, but among them all, woodland beasts and magical fantasies, there was one human, though one wouldn’t call her normal, she was full of mystery and power…

Now about this lady… she was what you would call the keeper of the forest. She knew everything and anything that went on in that forest, she had dark magical powers, but she was also a vampire. A sad one at that, for she did not care at all for eternal thirst for blood, the cravings were unbearable at times. Even though she was lonely, she kept her forest clear of intruders for fear of destruction of her humble sanctuary. She called herself Lady Dark for that’s what the forest was called, the Forest of Darkness… she kept this title for a time unknown, and was known to be cruel and heartless. She stayed in a clearing in the center of the forest. Travelers have always hoped to see this clearing, for it was said to be the most spectacular place on the planet.

This clearing was truly magnificent… It stretched for almost half a mile. Near the northeast corner, there was an orchard full of the juiciest and the most wonderful fruit of all types; the northwest was just a barren place with only a small creek passing through it and a small vegetable patch a bit further south. In the center of the clearing, there stood 2 magnificent trees, this was where the Lady stayed mostly. Towards the southern end of the forest was a massive lake, the East Side of the lake was guarded by sheer cliffs, a massive waterfall cascading down the cliff into the lake. The shore of the lake was a spectacular sight. It was a meadow, filled with wildflowers, and a slight hill, perfect for stargazing. In the middle of the West Side there was a tunnel and an over grown path, here is where our story starts… Here is where the travelers first made their appearance…

Mist lay thin across the clearing, giving the place a foreboding aura. Four strangers stood huddled together, staring in awe at the sight of the clearing. Despite the gloom, this is what they had been hoping to see, the clearing of the Lady Dark. They stood there in shock for there was the Lady. Cautiously they walked further into the clearing, silently walking up to her still form leaning against a giant willow tree.

The Lady watched them approach. She didn’t make a sound or a move, she was too shocked to see not one, nor two, but four strange men walk into her clearing. No one had ever entered her clearing before. She watched them closely, slightly fearful but more than that, she was curious. She stood up and stepped towards them, welcoming them into the clearing but ever wary of what their intentions may be. The men stopped, they stared at her cautiously as she walked towards them and bowed. ‘’Welcome to the forest of darkness’’ she said with a quiet and curious voice. Each of them in turn bowed to her slightly, keeping their eyes on her as they each introduced themselves in turn…

* * * *

The youngest of them stepped forward and his head inclined slightly, as he bowed respectfully to the Lady Dark, looking up at her face, ‘’Greetings fair lady, my name is Kalith, I speak for us all when we say we do not mean you harm. We heard of your forest and we wanted to see if it was a truly magical as the tales told. I do not know much of those three for I only met up with them on the road to here. But rest assured I do not mean you or your forest harm’’ he told her. The Lady Dark watched him closely for any hint of a lie but sensed none. She reached out and touched his cheek with her hand, and dropped it, sensing a strong power of healing within him. She eyed him curiously but she turned to face the other three.

The youngest of the trio bowed low to the Lady Dark, ‘’Good day to you Lady Dark, my name is Romien, and this…’’, he beckons other two with his hand, motioning them to step forward. ‘’…This is my friend Kain, and his brother, Tabris, we also mean you no harm, as Kalith said, we just wish to gaze upon the forest and all its magnificence.’’ Again the Lady watched him carefully, but senses no lie out of him, she bowed slightly to them, and wrapping a thread of magic around each of them, and sensed something the sparks her interest. She stared at the trio hard, her green eyes flashing curiously. ‘‘You three, like me. You are all vampires.’’

* * *

After the Lady had spoken, a silence fell upon the travelers. Finally barely more then a whisper Kalith spoke, his eyes widened with fear, and surprise as he took a step away from the other travelers. “ You…you mean you are all vampires? Why didn’t you tell me before?’’ ”Because we figured it was none of your business what we were.” Kalith shook his head and stepped further away, his face pale. Kain looked at him glaring slightly, “oh we never would have tried to take some of your blood, don’t worry about that, we prefer female blood, much sweeter nectar then that of a male…’’ Kain. Kalith shifted nervously and glanced at Lady Dark, and back to them slowly. ”It is my business if I’m traveling with three vampires. What if you couldn’t control the urge for blood! What would I be able to do? Nothing!’’ Kalith squeaked, and his body trembled as his eyes looked around quickly, without warning he dashed back into the forest. Kain growled and went after him, after a time he came back, holding the squirming body of Kalith. ”Oh stop it Kalith, if wanted to hurt you we would have done it at the beginning at the trip. No harm, you still have all your body parts and every drop of blood still in you. Stop squirming, or else we will hurt you!’’ Kain said angrily, his eyes flashing a pale red as he gazed upon the fellow traveler.

At that last comment the Lady raised her hand and spoke, power ringing in her voice, ‘’Silence all of you, there shall be no fighting in my clearing. I don’t know how you four got to here but I do know that if you do not end your fighting now, none of you will ever leave this clearing alive…’’

* * * *

Stunned once again into silence, the four looked at one another quickly and then back at her. Gathering his courage the oldest one spoke in a soft, quiet voice, ‘’Forgive them Lady, I understand where Kalith is coming from, and in his place I would as well, be afraid and angry. Please don’t turn us away from this place, we all do appreciate it and we will stop our argument.”

Lady Dark lowered her hand and looked at him, “You men may stay… but no more arguments, from any of you. I have no rules for I have never had people in my clearing before, but anything that I say I expect to be followed without complaint.’’ she said to them, her eyes cold for the lack emotion. Kalith stopped squirming, and murmured quietly, ‘’Yes lady.’’ Lady looked at the others, growling quietly. The trio bowed their heads and looked at her with curious eyes, “Of course lady.” They then followed her to the northwest corner of the clearing. She set up a fair sized fire, crackling warm and bright. Lady waved her hand at the forest, four logs flew out of the forest and landed around the fire in a semi circle.

’’You may stay here, do not wander into the forest yet, if you do, you will be killed… Sleep, I shall return in the morning,” at her last word she turns and walks off to the great willow tree and sits beneath it, creating a small fire within her hands. The four of them watched her walk away then looked at each other, and started to set up their camp.

Kalith grumbled as he set up his blanket, keeping far away from the others as possible. He sat against the log and stared into the fire, deep in thought. Romien looked at Kalith, and shook his head, and thought, Humans, always assuming the worst of vampires. He looked over at Kain and sighed; Kain had laid out his blanket as far from Kalith as he could and sat down against a log, lost in thought. Then Romien looked over at Tabris and wondered what he was thinking, for Tabris was still staring off at the great willow tree, at the figure of the Lady Dark.

* * * *

Romien walked over to Tabris and tapped him on the shoulder, and said coyly, ‘’Tabris, you can’t spend your time gazing upon the Lady. It’s getting late you should make a place to sleep, and get some rest. ’’ Tabris jumped in surprise at the tap and looked at Romien with a blank expression and nodded. He walked over next to Kain and set up his blanket, laying down he turned his gaze up to the blanket of stars, slowly drifting off to sleep. Kain yawned, looking over at Tabris, he lay down, facing away from his brother, still pondering the encounter, and he drifted off into a waking sleep.

Kalith snapped back to reality and looked around. Romien noticed Kalith’s movement. He wandered over and sat next to him. Kalith looked over at him then back at the fire, muttering quietly, “What do you want…’’ Romien sighed and placed a hand on Kalith’s shoulder. Speaking softly he replied, “I’m sorry for not telling you about us, I wanted to but they decided against it, I don’t know why but I am sorry.’’ Kalith looks at him, a slight surprise showing in his eyes, “Its alright, just… its not a very good thing when you travel with three strangers for as long we did, and find out from another source that they are vampires….’’

Romien nodded slowly, moving his hand off of his shoulder he laid out a blanket on the log next to Kalith and he lay upon it. “Good night Kalith…’’ he says humbly as he closed his eyes. Kalith looked over at him and says, "Good night, Romien." He sighed heavily as he lay down with his back against the log and watched the fire's light die down. The warmth from the fire still spread among them. Kalith fell into a restless sleep, still thinking about what he learned.

* * * *

Early the next morning, the Lady awoke before anyone else. She pulled out her sword silently, the blade gleamed a mysterious light, even though the sun had yet to rise. She crept over to where the four forms lay still. She searched swiftly and silently through the woods around where they lay. Seemingly out of nowhere, a small black wolf with blood red eyes pounced on the Lady, driving her to the ground. With an angry cry she hacked at the wolf, fighting to keep the thing off her. The wolf tore at her as she gave another fierce cry and swiftly drove the blade deep inside the wolf’s body. She whispered an ancient word of the elves and the wolf howled a mournful cry as it collapsed. The wolf was dead. She looked over at the travelers and found them all watching her with curiosity in their eyes. Lady Dark sighed deeply and stood up, she walked over to them, and sat down on the spare log. She glared at the fire and instantly the fire burned hotter, and brighter. The travelers recoiled a bit from the sudden heat, and light. Lady picked up a cloth and started to wipe her bloodied blade.

The travelers watched her cautiously, but fear and awe dominated in their eyes. The Lady looked at them and smiled wryly, “You men look like a bunch of children at a market.’’ The travelers sat up and continued to watch her. Kalith looked at her curiously, “What was that thing, Lady?’’. Lady Dark looked at him and sighed, “That thing was a rogue wolf. There have been a few here and there, but not very often... Rogues almost never come close to the clearing...There is something out there, something I cannot find, that is controlling them. When I said that if you don’t end your argument none of you would leave alive, this is why. These monsters are drawn negative emotions like bees to nectar. That’s also why I said you must obey me for if you don’t you could die…’’

* * * *

Romien looked at his companions and then at the Lady and spoke quietly, “What if we helped you find this source of power that is driving these rogue wolves.’’ Lady Dark looked up at him with a sad look in her eye, “Its not just wolves that are rogue, there are many types of these beasts, and if you want to help you may, I would appreciate the help. Though, I do not see the use of your help. I have been searching for the past year. I haven’t had any luck…at all…’’

Lady Dark sighed heavily and lowered her gaze, her figure bending over slightly with the despair burdening her soul. The Travelers looked at one another and conversed quietly. After awhile Tabris stood up and walked over to the Lady, he placed a hand on her shoulder and said, “We will help you Lady, we are not all that we seem. Romien over there has the power of the dragons, the draconian ancestry, and Kain and I both have superior swordsmanship and powerful magic. I believe the little human fellow, I mean Kalith. He is very good at archery, and also has the gift of healing. He saved an entire village from a disease. We will use all our power and strength to help you find and purge the forest of this evil.’’

* * * *

Lady bowed her head, allowing the hood of her cloak to hide her face as she remained speechless for a time. When she finally spoke her voice was slow and quiet, “Why do you men wish to help me, you’ve heard the stories no doubt… Why would you want to help me, the ‘cruel and heartless wretch’?” the last few words were full of scorn. The three remaining travelers wandered over to her and sat down in front of her, looking up into her shadowed face. Tabris’ fingers tightened their grip on her shoulder spoke, “Because Lady, if you were as heartless as you were claimed to be, you would have given us no fire, no place to sleep. You could have thrown us out, or killed us, but you didn’t. We wish to help you, for no one deserves to be challenged this way, an unknown, unseen evil.”

Tabris removed his hand, but remained seated, Lady absent-mindedly rubbed the spot where his hand had rested. Romien looked at him, then at the others, “If we want to find this evil we each have to take a separate way… But I do not suggest for us to go alone. Lady, you know the forest well. What if we each paired up and searched?” Lady Dark looked at him and shook her head slowly, “As I’ve said, I have already searched; I believe the only way for us to find this… this evil is if we catch a rogue animal and track its power. I would have done it sooner but I cannot catch a rogue by myself. It’s either kill it, or try to catch it and be killed. But if you help, we may be able to catch one and track the extra power.”

Romien looked up at her with a curious look in his eyes, “Extra power? What do you mean extra power…” the Lady flinched slightly and looked to the side, “Err… The rogues have the power to regenerate, and multiply. I thought it would be a good idea to give them this power to help protect the forest…” Romien groaned and covered his face with his hands, “This is just wonderful! Rogue animals running around with the power to regenerate and multiply, being controlled by an evil set on destroying you and the forest! Wonderful, just wonderful!” He stood up abruptly and walked off, disappearing from view as he headed for the other side of the clearing.

Kalith stared at Romien as he walked off, and he looked over at Tabris, “Do you think he will be alright?” Tabris looked over at Kalith and nodded, “He will be fine, he just doesn’t like extra difficulties, but he will get over it… I hope…”

* * * *

Kain stood up and walked off after Romien slowly. Tabris watched them go then he looked over at the Lady, “Is there any place where I can gather food for us to eat? We have supplies but they are low and no doubt not very good anymore.” The Lady Dark nodded and pointed east, over hill, “Go over that hill and walk along the blue flowered path and it will lead you to a fruit orchard. Only follow the blue flower path, for if you don’t you may be led to a more dangerous place. This may be my clearing but even I don’t know all the mysterious within it.” Tabris stood up and bowed slightly to her, and picked up a bag, “You coming Kalith?” Kalith shook his head, his gaze once again on the Lady, “No, you go ahead.” Tabris looked at him curiously but he walked off, over the hill and out of sight.

Kalith scooted up and sat at the Lady’s feet and looked up at her, “You want to talk to me; I saw it in your eyes when you touched me with your magic. You must have sensed the healing power within me. Now is a good time to talk if you have any questions, Lady.” She looked at him and smiled slightly. Lady reached out and touched the top of his head, wrapping a very small thread of unnoticeable power within his soul’s magic. “You are correct Kalith; I did want to talk to you. One question is, who are you? I mean, you looked like you wanted to see the clearing and all, but I can tell there is another reason why you’re here. So tell… why you are really here.”

Kalith sighed deeply and sat next to her, straddling the log as he faced her. The Lady turned to face him and looked into his face. Kalith stared into her eyes and said slowly, “Lady, you want to know who I am? Why I’m here?’’ Lady Dark nodded slightly, her eyes never leaving his face. “I am here Lady, because I have come to tell you that I am your brother.”

* * * *

Romien stood at the edge of the lake, skipping rocks into the water slowly. Gazing at the ripples the rocks made, lost in thought he didn’t notice the small, red eyed cat, approach him. Foaming at the mouth the large cat crouched down on the ground, and remained still. Just as it was about to leap onto Romien, Kain appeared at the top of the hill, he saw the beast and cried out a warning to Romien and rushed down the hill. Romien jumped in surprise, whipping out a pair of daggers he turned around quickly. The creature leapt at him, claws extended and latched itself onto his body.

Romien growled and drove his daggers into the beast, trying to get it off his body. Kain rushed up to the chaos and wrapped a cord of power around the beast. Carefully he pulled the snarling cat off Romien. Romien hacked at it again, and killed it. Seconds later he cried out in anger. “We could have used this to track the power!” He kicked at the cat, sending it flying into the woods and he looked at Kain. Kain stifled a laugh and wrapped an arm around Romien’s shoulder and led him over to a rock and sat him upon it. Romien scowled at Kain, “What’s so funny.” Kain grinned and took out a water skin and filled it with the clear, cold water of the lake and offered it to Romien. “The look on your face when you realized what you did was funny.” Romien glared up at him. He took the water skin and opened it. Looking at it he grinned and threw the entire content of water onto Kain.

Kain laughed and grabbed Romien by the shirt and threw him bodily into the ice cold water of the lake. Romien grabbed hold of Kain’s wrist and pulled him in with him and dunked Kain under the water. He squished out of the lake and shook himself off. Kain still chuckling faintly followed him and laid out on the hill, staring up at the fluffy clouds, letting the sun warm his body, he closed his eyes and fell asleep. Romien grinned and lay down next to him, relaxing against the warm grass, the scent of flowers filling the air, and drifted off into a light sleep.

* * * *

Tabris walked slowly along the blue flowered path, staring up the sky he sighed deeply. His mind wandered back to the first time he saw the Lady, the way she looked at them when she first saw them, the curiosity and amusement sparkling in her emerald green eyes, the way her hair fell upon her shoulders, the way she moved. He shook his head, trying to clear any thought of her, he walked faster and came upon the orchard and stared at it. Fruits of all kinds, peaches, apples, oranges, and plums were just some of the fruit bearing trees. On the ground, watermelons larger than he could ever imagine.

He picked up the bag and started to pick some of the fuzzy peaches, and ripe red apples, he also picked some of the plums and oranges. He kept to the blue flowered path, but a large golden apple caught his eye. It was off the path, but she said only to take the path to the orchard didn’t she? What was the harm of going off the path to pick something so beautiful, so welcomingly? He set the bag down and stepped off the path and walked towards the tree. Suddenly he fell into a large hole, he fell for a time. He landed on the ground hard, his head smacked hard against a rock, he sank into a deep, dark, dreamless sleep.

* * * *

Lady stared at Kalith, her eyes wide with shock and she shook her head violently. “No! I can’t believe it; I will not believe it. Y… You cannot be my brother. It’s not possible.” She stood up abruptly and walked off to her dark willow tree, she leaned against it, trembling. Kalith stood up and followed her, resting a hand on her shoulder he said in a slow, soft voice. “I’m sorry Lady, I shouldn’t have told you right away, I should have waited, till you got to know me, but the fact still remains that we are sister and brother.” Lady stared at him and blinked slowly, “But how? It’s not possible, is it?”

Kalith sighed, “About four weeks after you disappeared from the village, I was born. You were only three, Lady, when you disappeared like that. You must have known that I was on the way.” Lady nodded her head and sighed heavily, “I did know. I just forgot, that was so long ago. I can’t even remember our parents, or my own name. That’s why I call myself the Lady Dark.” Kalith grinned slightly and leaned up, whispering softly into her ear, “I know your name, if you wish me to tell you it, I can.” Lady stared at him with inquisitive eyes. “You remember my name? But how?” Kalith smiled and gently pushed back her hood, allowing it to fall back, he fingered her hair slightly. “I just do. Do you wish to know your name?” Lady nodded and stared at him, Kalith looked into her eyes. “Your name is Faith.”

* * * *

After a time, Romien opened his eyes slowly to see the sun sinking down into the west, and he nudged Kain. “Wake up Kain; we should get back to camp. It’s getting dark.” Kain grumbled and sat up, rubbing his eyes he stretched out and stood up, offering Romien a hand he helped him stand up. Slowly the two of them wandered over the hill and headed towards the camp. As they approached they saw the Lady and Kalith in deep discussion but when Kalith looked him and saw them he stopped talking. The Lady stood up and smiled, “Where have you two been? You look like you’ve been rolling in a haystack together.” She smirked and plucked some of the dry grass off their clothing with her magic. Kain grinned faintly and looked at them, “Have either of you seen Tabris? He went to get food but hasn’t returned yet…” Kalith shook his head and stared off into the darkness, “We haven’t seen him since this morning…”

Lady blinked slowly and stood up, she looked at them, then up at the hill where Tabris had crossed over. She sighed deeply, “Kalith come with me. I may need you. Kain and Romien stay here, watch the camp if anything goes amiss I’ll send you men a signal”, she glared at them as they started to protest, “Don’t argue with me. Come on Kalith.” The Lady picked up her sword from beneath a log and sheathed it. She grabbed Kalith’s arm and pulled him along, over the hill towards the orchard.

Romien and Kain watched them wander up the hill. Romien sat down cross-legged on the ground and mediated. Kain sat down, still watching where the Lady and Kalith disappeared over the hill.

* * * *

Lady Dark and Kalith trudged along the blue flowered path for a time. Kalith glanced at Lady and bite his lip. “What is it Kalith?” Lady inquired. “When we first arrived, you said you were a vampire. How is that possible?” Lady looked at him sadly, “That is a sad story, for another time. Come on, we need to find Tabris.” They kept walking till they came upon the orchard, and they walked along the path slowly. Kalith even more slowly then the Lady, for he had never seen such trees, or such fruit. Each tree was well over 10 ft, and full of the ripest, juiciest fruit that any tree bearing fruit could bear. He looked around on the ground and saw bushes and bushes of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and bordering in between all the types of trees, not to mention the magnitude of strawberries and watermelons covering the ground. Suddenly he saw it, a large pack.

He hurried over to it, calling out to the Lady Dark; she hurried over next to him and picked up the pack. Kalith looked around and saw a large golden apple, he stared at its magnificent icy. Slowly he walked towards it. Lady saw where he looked and growled. Grabbing him, she whacked him across head with a branch, “Kalith! Don’t even look at that fruit look at me!’’ Slowly, as if in a daze Kalith looked over at her, the Lady pressed a glowing hand against his eyes and he jumped in surprise. “Wha… what happened?” The Lady pointed over to the apple, Kalith flinched and looked away from it. “Its okay Kalith, you may look at it if you want to. It was an illusion that’s all. There are a few here and there. I forgot about them.” Kalith looked and saw a half-rotten, evil blood red apple. “You either fall into a trap and die, or you eat that apple and become less than the living, but more than death. I fear Tabris has fallen into a trap though, come along, but be careful!”

Kalith nodded meekly and followed her slowly as she picked her way closer to the evil apple. She stopped suddenly, standing at the edge of a vast pit she groaned and turned to him. “Kalith, I want you to wrap your arms around me and holds onto me tightly. We’re going down the hole, Tabris is down there. I can sense it.” She kneeled down slightly, and Kalith climbed up onto her back, wrapping his arms around her tightly. “Won’t I hurt you doing this?” the Lady gave him a look and held onto his legs tightly and jumped into hole. Kalith’s body stiffened and the Lady rolled her eyes and used her power to float them slowly down to the floor, where the body of Tabris lay motionless.

* * * *

Kain stood up and paced quietly. Romien opened his eyes and looked at him. “You should really calm down Kain, I’m sure they’re fine. Come meditate I will watch for them.” Kain glared at him but obeyed. Sitting next to the fire he closed his eyes and fell into a light, absent minded meditation. Romien looked at him then sat down on the path, staring up at the hill.

* * * *

Lady shook Kalith off her back gently and walked over to Tabris and put a hand on his back. After a time she looked at Kalith, “He isn’t dead, but he is knocked unconscious and something is draining his life force slowly. I need your help Kalith.” Kalith nodded and walked over to her, kneeling next to her, “What do you need me to do Faith.” Lady looked at him with a slight surprise at her given name, ”Um, I have the power to heal, but you are more powerful than me, I am going to help you heal him. I will give you some of my power and guide you through the process.”

Kalith nodded slowly and placed his hands on the side of Tabris’ head. Lady placed her hands on Kalith’s back and poured the information to heal him into his head slowly. Kalith closed his eyes and murmuring quietly in the ancient language of the elves, he, Tabris and the Lady started to glow a pale shimmering purple aura. Lady felt something within the power rebelling against them and she poured more of her magic into them, pushing the unknown away. Kalith sweated heavily poured more into his power then sank into darkness.

Lady pulled Kalith away from Tabris breaking the connection. She placed her hands on both of them and in a bright flash disappeared and reappeared next to the fire, to the surprise of Romien.

* * * *

Lady Dark looked at him and trembled. She picked Tabris up in her arms and motioned silently to Romien to pick up Kalith. Romien obeyed, picking up Kalith, he followed the Lady up to the massive oak tree. Lady sat down under the giant oak tree with her back against it. She cradled Tabris in one arm and Kalith in another in her lap and closed her eyes. All three of them faded into the tree as Romien stared in awe and fear. He ran over to Kain and shook him. In a hasty and breathless tone he spoke to Kain “Come quick to the oak tree! Tabris and Lady and Kalith just disappeared into it! They don’t look too good come on.” He hauled Kain to his feet and the two of them ran over to the oak tree. They sat down under it, and waited.

Lady Dark, Tabris, and Kalith appeared out from the tree a few hours later. Kalith was wide-awake and he scrambled up out of her lap and stumbled over to the others and sat next to them. Kain and Romien looked at him curiously. Romien inquired if he was all right and Kalith only mumbled something inaudible and looked up at the tree. Lady bowed her head over Tabris’, her hair cascading down, hiding their faces. She pressed her forehead onto his and murmuring quietly, a pale white aura surrounded them slowly.

* * * *

Almost instantly Tabris started to regain conscious and he opened his eyes to see her own, staring down into his. The Lady smiled and sat up; gently cradling his head she looked Kain and Romien. “You should really get him some water and get him washed up. He’ll be too weak to do it on his own, so please help him; you may use the spring hidden behind the cliff. The water is warm and there is stuff to wash him with.” Slowly Kain and Romien stood up and helping Tabris stand up. They led him slowly south towards the lake, then headed east to the spring. The entire time Tabris kept his gaze locked upon the Lady.

Lady looked at Kalith and grinned, “That was fun wasn’t it?” Kalith glared at her slightly but broke into a faint smile, “I will join them, is that alright?” Lady nodded. “I will go with you; I have some clean clothes for you as well… I would have you take them but you will not be able to make it.” He made a face but stood up when she did, wrapping her arm around him to support him. They slowly walked over to the spring. Kalith stopped her before they reached the entrance, he turned his head and stared at her, “Will you please tell me how you became a vampire.” Lady sighed softly and nodded, “If you truly want to know, I will tell.” Kalith nodded quickly, and Lady led him over to a rock and sat him down, kneeling down in front of him she took his hands in her own, staring at his face.

“I do not know if you know this, but we have a half brother. His name is unknown, for it is often changing. I did not know it was our brother, he seduced me, made me fall in love with him. We were together for quite a long time, then one night he turned against me. Knocking me out cold, he leaped on me, and sank his fangs into my neck. He was a vampire, our mother once mated with a vampire a time long ago. I do remember that much. He changed me… our brother did. He forced me into the life of a vampire that is why I hide in this forest. I do not trust anyone, it is simply the way I now am.” Kalith looked at her, horror and sadness resided in his eyes. “Oh Faith, I am so sorry…” Lady shook her head quickly, “Don’t. It is in the past. Whats done is done. No going back, but please Kalith, don’t tell anyone about this.” Kalith shook his head, “Not a word…”

* * * *

Lady stood up slowly and offered him her hand, Kalith took it and stood up slowly. Lady re-wrapped her arm around him and led him to the spring slowly. When they reached the entrance, the Lady reached into a niche and pulled out a large long screen and she grinned. “You should put this up so I can put the clothes out.” Kalith smirked slightly and walked into the spring and set up the screen for her and he stepped behind it and joined the others in the warm water.

Lady Dark walked into the spring quietly and set on a stone bench a bunch of towels, a pile of new outfits for each of them, including boots, and then she turned away and walked out of the spring. Going over to the lake she set up a new place to sleep. Lady Dark made a large fire, and set upon it a large pot filled with a stew. She wandered over to a rock and pulled out cots, and set them up next to the fire, she also pulled out pillows and many blankets. She set them all up in a semi circle around the fire and sat down. Waiting for the travelers to return…

* * * *

The travelers climbed out of the water and to their surprise, found a set of new clothing for each of them. They put them on and wandered out of the spring. Kalith smiled and looked the others, “I like her. Don’t you?” All the travelers nodded in agreement. Kain sniffed the air, “Hmm, smells like food is cooking.” They all gave a hungry look and dashed over to the source of the smell and stared at her, sitting on a rock on the shore of the lake, unmoving. Upon a very low wooden bench sat 4 bowls of steaming hot stew and utensils. Lady Dark stood up and walked over to them. “Thought you might be hungry. There is bread under that plate and more soup in the pot. Hope you sleep well tonight.” At that she curtsied low and walked off towards the giant willow tree, sitting beneath it, they couldn’t see her.

Romien picked up a bowl and a spoon and sat down next to the fire. The others mimicked him, but Tabris sliced up the bread and passed it out. Next to the bread they found fresh butter. They exchanged a look and sat down in a half circle, eating the food slowly. Slowly one by one, till all that was left was Tabris, they went to bed. Tabris stayed by the fire for a time then stood up, he walked over silently over to the Lady’s still form under the tree.

The Lady heard him coming; she stood up quietly and looked at him. Tabris walked up to her and stopped before her. He took her hand in his, raised it to his lips and kissed her fingertips lightly. “Thank you, Lady. You didn’t have to do that… I would have been fine, but still. Thank you.” Lady smiled and rested a hand on the side of his face, “You’re welcome Tabris. Most likely you would have been fine but your brother was worrying. I had to do something. Now, go off to bed now, its getting late.” She moved her hand and stepped back. Tabris took a small breath, and then to her surprise, he stepped forward and gave her a light hug. He turned and walked away, heading back to camp. The Lady watched him until he disappeared over the hill, then she sat down under the giant willow and fell into a deep sleep.

This continued on for some time, a few incidents here and there nothing too serious. A many battles with Rogues but never were they caught. The travelers and lady got closer, the travelers grew fond of this so-called cruel and heartless lady, who turned out to be kind, just cautious and lonely, the Lady in turn, grew fond of the travelers who wandered into her woods… catching her by surprise… one month ago. Then one day, they got the surprise of their lives… at least, in the forest that is…

One morning they woke up with snow on the ground. The travelers had started to sleep under the giant willow tree, called the Dark Willow. The Dark Willow kept the weather, and night attacks. This snow had covered the entire clearing. Winter had come early this year. The Lady now called Faith by her new found friends, almost like family to her, Faith or Lady, either way. Lady woke up with her breath freezing before her mouth. She went over to others to make sure they didn’t freeze over night. Lady nudged each of them awake. After the travelers had been aroused, she went and made a bright and warm fire under the dark willow tree. Suddenly, from the tunnel of the forest, came a traveler, half frozen, badly beaten, the man fell to the ground, and lay motionless.

Kalith, now the most powerful healer thanks to Lady, hurried over to the fallen traveler. Lady followed closely and knelt next to Kalith as they examined the fellow. Lady picked him up in her arms and carried him over to the fire, with Kalith following close, a strange look on his face. Lady laid the man down on a blanket close to the fire and started to peel off the bloodied clothing. Kalith raised his hand, it was glowing a deep purple, and rested his hand on the travelers head.

Lady watched as the purple fire rolled over his body, burning the rest of the clothing that was left on the body, but healing at the same time. She looked at Kalith proudly, and kept her gaze up out of modesty for the man, and stood up slowly, she reached into her willow tree and pulled out clothing and playfully threw the clothes at Kalith’s head. But Kalith didn’t move. He just stared at the man’s body. Romien nudge Kalith, “Kalith! Snap out of it man.” Kalith blinked slowly and looked away ashamed, he finished the healing then sat on the other side of the fire, away from the man. Romien stared at him bewildered and looked at the other men. Tabris shrugged and moved over to Romien to help dress the traveler’s cloth-less body.

Lady moved over next to Kalith and wrapped an arm around him. She led him away from the group and behind the oak tree. There she sat down, pulling her brother into her lap she brushed some hair off his face, she spoke quietly “Kalith, I saw a look, are you in love with that man?” Kalith scooted out of her hold and faced away from her, whispering quietly he replied “I suppose I should tell you… Faith, I’m gay.” Lady nodded slowly and pulled him back into her lap and held him close. “I figured as much, why so worried?” Kalith leaned into her and closed his eyes, “What will they say…”

* * * *

Kain watched Kalith and Lady walk off and he turned his attention back to the stranger, reaching into a hole in the ground he pulled out the stew from the other night and reheated it, because it was almost noon. He poured it into bowls and passed it out to Romien and Tabris, he set out two more bowls for the Lady and Kalith. After they had eaten, he filled up another bowl and walked over to the man and shook him gently awake.

* * *

The stranger opened his eyes wide, and looked up into three unknown faces peering into his. He started and tried to sit up and gaped in shock at his healed body. “Wha… What happened? How…” he stammered. The oldest one helped him sit up against a log. One of the others, he couldn’t recall who, placed a large bowl of hearty stew into his hands with a spoon. Stepping back, the trio sat down across from him near the fire, watching him closely. He devoured the food and fell back into a deep sleep.

Romien watched the man, after he fell asleep he looked over at the others with a strange face. Kain looked at Romien and inquired, “What’s wrong Romien?” Romien shook his head and stretched out in front of the fire, then after sitting out on the snow. Romien fell into a deep meditation. Tabris and Kain exchanged looks then shrugged, settling against a bench they waited for Kalith and Lady to return.

Lady looked at Kalith and saw that he had fallen asleep again so she picked him up in her arms and carried him back to camp. There she laid him gently down on the cot and looked over at the other traveler. She glared at the other traveler; she walked over and nudged him hard in the stomach. The man woke with a start, staring up into fiery emerald eyes, he cowered slightly, and he backed up till he was almost at the edge of the Dark Willow. Lady walked over and knelt in front of him, taking his chin in her hand. The man trembled and tried to pull away. Lady kept her hold and kept her eyes on his, “Who are you, and how did you get into my forest.”

The man cleared his throat and stared squarely back into her eyes and replied slowly, as if cautious, “My name is Sanska. I am just a traveler in seek of this mighty clearing that everyone is talking about. How I got here I do not know. Some creatures attacked me and I ran away. But they followed me and were about to rip me apart when they suddenly vanished. I’m assuming they fled because they saw your approach but I don’t’ know. Please believe me, I speak the truth.” Lady couldn’t find a trace of lie in his explanation but she always remained cautious with him.

* * * *

Kalith woke up and saw that the man was up and Kalith stood up and walked over to him, and then he sat down in front of him. The man smiled at him, “Hello, I’m Sanska. I hear you are the one who saved my life. Thank you.” He held out his hand and Kalith took it, “It wasn’t a problem, and you may call me Kalith if you wish.” He dropped Sanska’s hand, turned to face the fire. Sanska watched him with a smile and scooted up next to him. Picking up a bowl of stew he offered it to Kalith. Kalith smiled back and took the stew with quiet thanks. Slowly he ate the stew, watching Sanska closely with a hidden smile.

Tabris watched Kalith and Sanska then went down and sat next to Lady. “So Faith, what did our new guest say.” Lady looked at Tabris and leaned against a log with her eyes closed. Tabris stared at her and took her hand, “Faith?” Lady took her hand back with a slight pink tinge on her cheeks and opened her eyes, looking at him. “Our new ‘guest’ said he’s name was Sanska, and that he, like you, he was traveling to see this clearing. Then he claimed that a pack of wild animals attacked him, he ran, but they followed. Then when he reached our clearing the animals fled when they saw me approach with Kalith. I don’t believe him though…” Tabris looked at her curiously but didn’t question further. He wrapped a blanket around Lady and she leaned against him, staring into the fire.

Kain looked over at Lady and Tabris, then over at Kalith and Sanska. He sighed deeply and walked over to Romien, with a slight grin he made a snowball. He threw it at Romien’s head and raced off. Romien opened his eyes and looked around quickly, after shaking off the snow of course, and he saw Kain, and raced after him, tackling him down into the snow. Kain pushed Romien off with a grin and looked at him curiously. “So, Romien. Do you trust our new companion?” Romien’s eyes grew cold and he stared off into nothing. “He is not a companion and no I don’t trust him. I don’t think Lady believes him either, and it’s her call to whether he stays or goes.” Kain nodded slowly and he lay back in the snow with his eyes staring up at the clouds.

* * * *

Late that night, after everyone had gone to bed, Kalith got out of bed. He was restless, and he walked to the other side of the tree. Sanska heard him and followed. Kalith looked at him in surprise at the presence of Sanska but looked away. Sanska walked over and stood next to Kalith. He took Kalith's hand in his own and held it gently. Kalith looked at him curiously. Sanska smiled and he wrapped an arm around Kalith’s waist and pulled him carefully down onto the ground with him. Kalith leaned against Sanska, he turned slightly and wrapped his arms around Sanska and fell asleep. Sanska smiled and held Kalith close and he too, fell asleep.

Lady heard Sanska and Kalith get up and she too sat up. Silently she faded into the shadows and followed them. She watched them fall asleep in a tender embrace. Lady glared at Sanska from within the shadows but returned to the camp and lay down at the foot of Tabris’ cot. She stared into the fire for a time, and then fell fast asleep.

* * * *

The next morning, Tabris woke up early to see Lady at the foot of his bed. He sighed softly at the sight of her and carefully put a blanket over her sleeping body. Tabris tenderly brushed a lock of hair off her face, he watched her sleep for a time but he stepped away and went to gather food for breakfast. Romien, who was already up, watched Tabris’ movements then climbed out of bed and followed him.

Romien caught up to Tabris and placed a hand on his shoulder, whispering quietly he asked, “You love her don’t you Tabris.” Tabris jumped in surprise and looked at Romien, he nodded slowly. “I do... I have for quite sometime. It isn’t obvious that I do, is it?” Romien shook his head slowly, “Unless you know what to look for, no it’s not obvious.” Tabris nodded and they stepped around the Dark Willow and stared at Kalith and Sanska, asleep in each other’s arms. They gave each other a look, quickly they hurried away silently.

Romien and Tabris went up to the orchard to pick fresh blueberries, and then they headed a bit south where the cow and chickens were kept and they gathered milk and eggs. Returning to the fire they found Kain already heating water. The Lady remained asleep, curled up under the blanket Tabris put over her. After they cooked the eggs and made the porridge,

Romien walked over to Lady and shook her gently, “Faith, get up, its time for breakfast.” Lady mumbled something inaudible and rolled over. Romien, Kain, and Tabris exchanged a look. Tabris went over to her and kissed her cheek softly, “Faith, time to get up now.” She sat up and faced the fire; Tabris put a bowl of the porridge in her hands. Lady bowed her head in silent thanks, and slowly picked at the food. Kain looked at Lady and then over at Romien. Romien shrugged and sat down; Kain sat down next to him with their porridge. Tabris sat down next to Romien but kept his eyes on the Lady.

* * * *

Sanska and Kalith woke to the smell of breakfast. They looked at each other, and with a shy smile Sanska disentangled himself from Kalith. Both of them wandered over to the fire and got themselves a bowl of porridge. Tabris, Romien, and Kain looked up at them with a smile, and then went back to eating their porridge. Lady looked up at Kalith and Sanska, her bowl dropped from her hand as she stood up. Silently, she walked out of the camp towards the hidden springs near the cliffs. Kalith looked at the other questioningly, but they all shrugged, not knowing what bugged her.

Tabris stood up and headed down to the springs slowly. Kain and Romien watched him, then set to work picking up the breakfast when a scream echoed through the clearing. Kain and Romien picked up their swords and raced towards the sound. Tabris started at the scream and he too raced towards the sound. It came from within the spring. They entered the spring and saw the Lady, clad in only a towel, with tears rolling down her face, kneeling on the ground next to a spring. They looked at the spring and saw the spring had frozen over and written in blood were the words, “He is here. The Lady will not last a fortnight.”

Tabris growled deeply and thrust his sword into the icy spring, the ice broke and melted. The Lady remained motionless as she watched the ice melt back into the spring. Kain and Romien looked at her, then at Tabris. Tabris knelt down in front of the Lady and lifted her head gently with her hand and wiped away her tears softly. “He will not get you Faith. Not with us around. It’ll take a lot to get us to leave you now.” Romien and Kain nodded in agreement and they each rested a hand on her shoulder.

Lady bowed her head, “Thank you…” They smiled and Tabris picked her up in his arms. “Is there another place where we can go? Obviously whoever he is knows about this place.” Lady nodded and pointed southwest, to a blank sheet of rock. Then she looked at Romien and Kain. “You people should go back to the fire. Never leave the camp unguarded, I know Kalith is there, but I do not trust him and Sanska alone together. Ever.”

* * * *

Back at the camp Kalith and Sanska watched the trio vanish over the hill. Kalith shifted nervously and then sat down. He picked up his sister’s daggers and he started to polish them. Sanska sat down next to him and watched him. Kalith finished the job then put them away behind a rock, and then he sat down next to Sanska. Sanska smiled and slowly leaned over to press his lips against Kalith’s in a light kiss. Kalith stared at him in surprise and curiosity. Sanska grinned, pressing Kalith gently onto the ground. He rested his body over his and kissed him again. This time Kalith wrapped his arms around him and kissed back.

Kain and Romien walked back to the camp slowly. Kain stared in utter shock when he reached the camp. Seeing Sanska and Kalith making-out, Kain stopped suddenly and Romien ran into him. “Grrr, why did you stop?” Romien peered over his shoulder and stared at the two, it was impossible to tell who was who in the tangle of limbs. They obviously didn’t notice they had company, Romien raised his eyebrows then picking up a branch he slammed it against a tree, emitting a sharp cracking sound as the branch broke in half.

Tabris held Lady in his arms gently and she looked up at his face. Tabris looked down at her and blinked in surprise he set her back down on the ground. The Lady swayed slightly and leaned against his solid body as she closed her eyes. Tabris gently tilted her head up. “Shall we go to the other spring?” Lady smiled, “Yes, I do not think I can ever return to this place again…” Tabris nodded and picked her up in his arms again and carried her out of the spring. “Wait…” she said softly. Tabris stopped and the Lady waved her hand at the cave and the rocks filled up the entrance and pressed together so perfectly it looked like there had never been a cave. Lady rested her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes as he carried her slowly over to the other spring.

* * * *

Kalith and Sanska leaped apart and stared up at Romien and Kain with similar look of surprise and embarrassment. Kain snickered at the sight of them. Romien glared slightly at Sanska. Kain looked at them, “Having fun?”

Lady reached her hand out and placed it on the rock wall, almost instantly the rock crumbled away, revealing a long tunnel. Tabris carried her down the tunnel and set her down on the stone bench, he looked at the spring. Put up a screen around the edge of the spring and gently pushed him out. “If you want to stay, stay out here and wait. Otherwise you may go back to the camp…” Tabris looked down at her and nodded, he hesitated slightly then kissed her forehead firmly with his lips he turned around and sat down at the edge of the cave and stared out. The Lady stood there for a moment in surprise then stepped behind the screen and dived into the spring.

Kalith looked away ashamed. Sanska stood up and bowed low, staring at the ground. Romien growled slightly at Sanska Kain chuckled faintly at Romien and looked at Kalith, “So Kalith, have something to tell us?” Kalith looked up at him with a slightly amused look, “How about, I’m gay?” Kain nodded, “I thought so”, and he walked over to Romien and pushed him over, “Stop it Romien…”

Romien sat down on a log and stared into the fire. Kalith sat against the log and stared into nothing; Kain sat next to Kalith and stared with him. Sanska sat down on the other side of the fire. Romien looked at the three of them and thought, then with a grin scooped up some snow and threw it at the three of them, starting a giant snowball fight.

* * * *

Lady climbed out and donned her gown, and a heavy cloak, and she walked silently over to Tabris’ still form and gently rested her hands on his shoulders. Tabris looked up with a smile, then stood up and bowed low. Lady curtsied in return with a shy smile. “Shall we go back to camp and see the damage those four have done?” Tabris laughed and offered her his arm. Lady looked up at him curiously but took it and he led her out of the spring and up the hill. They reached the top of the ridge and Lady laughed at the scene, but ducked quickly as a few snowballs headed their way.

Kain and Kalith had formed a small fort at one end of the willow tree, and Sanska and Romien closer to the forest. They were viciously throwing snowballs at each other mercilessly. Lady stopped in mid throw of a snowball and stared into the forest. Silently, to the surprise of all, she transformed into a large snowy white wolf and raced across the clearing and into woods. Lady disappeared into the forest. The four stopped and watched where she disappeared. Swords in hand Kain and Tabris stepped towards the forest. Sanska sat back in the snow and sighed. Kalith raced back to the Dark Willow and picked up his bow and arrows and stood next to Kain and Tabris.

* * * *

The wolf form of Lady raced out of the forest and slid to a stop in front of them, she rested her paws up on Tabris shoulders. Tabris nodded and looked at the other two, “Faith says there is groups of rouge… rouge bears heading this way.” Kain and Kalith exchanged a look then looked over at Romien and Sanska. Tabris looked into the wolf’s eyes, “She also says that Kalith, Romien, and Sanska need to stay at the camp. She knows Kalith would like to go but she doesn’t trust Sanska with only Romien around.” Kalith bowed and walked off towards Romien and Sanska.

Lady dropped back onto her paws and turned into a large snowy white bear and rambled off into the woods. Kain and Tabris looked at her and followed swiftly into the Dark Forest. The Lady led them into a small meadow where four large black bears with glowing red eyes. Kain and Tabris stared at the size of the bears but they raced towards them, and what would be a bloody battle.

Kalith explained in quiet tones to Romien, where they went, and Romien nodded. Slowly he stood up and headed for the Dark Willow. Kalith looked over at Sanska, “We need to go back and wait at the Dark Willow.” Sanska nodded and he stood up, wrapping an arm around Kalith, he led him over to Romien, they sat down together. Romien stared at Sanska with a cold look in his eyes, but he kept his eyes on the two.

* * * *

Tabris went for the second largest bear, for the Lady was already involved with the leader. Kain went to help the Lady as the third bear crept up to her. Tabris swung his sword in a mighty blow and sliced off the bear’s head. He turned to see the Lady in a bear hug with the Leader. They were ripping and slashing at each other violently. He turned to help Kain kill the bear he was fighting. Lady smacked the Leader across the head with her claws, blinding him. She turned back into her human form and pulled out her sword and she drove it deep into the heart of the Leader.

Tabris and Kain finished off the bear and turned to the last bear. “Don’t kill it, I can trace the power” Lady cried out. Tabris looked over at her then looked away quickly, and went to help Kain seize the bear. The Lady went over to them and put her hand on the bear’s head and she tracked the second power. She stumbled back and shook her head, turning into a small white rabbit she hopped away. Kain and Tabris exchanged a look then killed the bear.

Tabris turned to Kain, “Go back to camp, I will catch her.” Kain looked at him cautiously but obeyed; he sheathed his sword and headed back towards camp. Tabris turned into a fox and followed Lady, catching up to her; he turned back into human form and picked her up. She struggled in his hold and sighed. Tabris petted the top of her head. She turned into a mouse and jumped out of his hold, running behind a tree she turned back into human form. “May I borrow your cloak Tabris?” Tabris slid off his cloak and put it in her hand. “Thank you.” She slid it on and stepped over next to him, “I suppose you want to know what I saw don’t you…”

* * * *

Kain returned back to camp to find Kalith and Sanska asleep once again in each other’s arms with Romien watching over them with hate in his eyes. Kain picked up a pair of sticks, throwing one into Romien's lap, he thwapped him on the shoulder with the second.

Tabris looked at her and nodded. “I do.” Lady sighed deeply and wiped some blood off Tabris’ face, she wrapped her arms around him, hiding her face in his shirt. Tabris gently stroked her hair as she mumbled quietly, “Kalith is going to be so disappointed…” Tabris looked at her in shock and lifted her face up with his hand. “Its Sanska isn’t it…” Lady looked up at him sadly, “I was right about him, he is more then he seems. I don’t know what I’m going to say to Kalith…” Tabris kissed her forehead softly, “Just tell him the truth, and don’t drag it out.” She nodded and looked up into his eyes. Tabris leaned down but stopped, he straightened up. “We should get back to camp.” Lady looked at him curiously but nodded. “Yes... we should…”

Tabris and Lady arrived back at camp to find Sanska and Kalith asleep in each other’s hold, and Romien and Kain having a fight with a pair of wooden sticks. Tabris looked at Kain and Romien with an amused look in his eyes. Lady walked over to Sanska and Kalith, she nudged them hard with her foot. They jumped apart; Kalith looked up to see her face, hardened with anger. Sanska scrambled away from her, and he stood up. Lady glared at Sanska and drew her sword. She pointed it at him. “Tell the truth. Who are you.”

* * * *

Romien and Kain dropped their sticks and stared over at her. Tabris placed his hand on the hilt of her sword as Sanska sneered at them. “The truth? You want the truth do you…? The truth is that it is I who defy you, oh Lady of Darkness. I control the rogues; I am the one you seek.” Kalith stared at him in disbelief. Sanska smirked, “A shock is it Kalith? I did tell the truth, I was attacked by animals, but not the Rogues. A pack still loyal to the Lady attacked me. I thank you Kalith, for letting me survive to seek my vengeance… on my aunt who killed my brother!”

Tabris, Romien and Kain remained silent through this argument, but their hands rested on the hilt of their swords. At the ready for whatever went on. Lady’s eyes started to gleam a deep scarlet, “Your brother? Your brother deserved to die, he defiled this place. I was not happy to kill my nephew but I had no choice!” Sanska shook his head, never letting his eyes stray far from her face, “You had a choice, dear Aunt Faith. You could have let him live, forgiven him! But you didn’t you killed him!” Lady shook her head, keeping her scarlet eyes on his cold eyes. “What he did was something that never could have been forgiven. Did you know that there is a small, rugged mountain village yonder those trees? He murdered almost every one of those innocent people. Nothing gave him the right to do such a thing! I could never forgive him.”

Sanska shook his head, “No foolish girl. My brother didn’t murder those people… I did! Oh didn't you know? We’re twins. He tried to save the village but all he did was help with the murder.” Lady threw a dagger at Sanska, but it passed through him. Sanska laughed, “Oh you truly are a foolish girl. Did you really think I would hang around? As soon as I was well enough I created a copy of myself and ran off. Foolish girl, I will get you. Oh, and here’s a warning for you, someone within your midst is not all who they seem to be… Now watch your step, milady, my vengeance will be completed!” The copied Sanska disappeared in a burst of colour, leaving silence through out the camp.

* * * *

Lady dropped her sword, pulling the hood of the cloak over her face to hide it in shadows; she walked off towards the lake. Kalith shook his head and ran off towards the orchard. Romien, Kain and Tabris exchanged a look. “You people go after Kalith, I’ll get the Lady.” Tabris said quietly, with that he ran off silently after her. Romien sat down on a log. “You go after Kalith, I’ll protect this camp,” he said. Kain nodded and ran swiftly after the disappearing form of Kalith.

Tabris ran up to the lake and found her sitting in the middle of the lake on a pile of rocks. Silently he dived into the water and swam over to her, sat on a large rock next to her. Lady turned away from him and stared into the water. Tabris moved over next to her and wrapped an arm around her, “What’s wrong Faith?” She leaned against him slightly and looked up, “I was tricked, so badly. I was a fool, still am… “He held her close and looked into the water, “We were all fooled Faith, and how were you to know they were twins... please don’t be hard on yourself, foolish or not, we will stay with you.” Lady put a finger to his cheek and turned his face towards her. She looked up into his eyes, “I’m glad, I must admit, I don’t know what I would do without you people.” At her last comment he smiled, leaning down, he gently pressed his lips to hers in a slow kiss.

Kain stopped just before the orchard. Seeing no signs of Kalith, he searched the area around the orchard as well as inside. He searched for some time; with slight hesitation he searched the edge inside the Dark Forest around the orchard. Kain finding no results he slowly headed back to camp. Romien looked up at his approach with a questioning look seeing him alone. “Where is Kalith?” Kain shook his head and sat down next to him, “I do not know. I believe he has run off into the Dark Forest but I do not wish to pursue without the help of Faith. Where are they anyways?” Romien looked at him with an amused smile, “Tabris is no doubt making Faith feel better about her mistake, or if he has abandoned that, he is helping her feel better about something else.” Kain raised his eyebrows and grinning faintly he settled against a log and watched the hill.

* * * *

Lady opened her eyes, breathless from the kiss, and she looked into Tabris’ eyes, smiling shyly. Tabris smiled back and he wrapped h


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Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:43 pm
Myth says...



Haven't read this in ages.

This is pretty good but space out when characters are speaking, I get confused and don't know who says what.




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Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:54 pm
ladydark says...



Lady Dark opened her eyes slowly and yawns quietly, finding herself alone she curled up under the blanket. She tried to fall back asleep but the morning light peeped through the door. Lady rose off the couch and pulled on her dress slowly, sitting on the bench near the fire she ran a brush through her tangled hair. She hummed quietly to herself as a small white rabbit hopped into the den curiously, Lady turned to look at the rabbit. “Why, hello little one, what brings you here?” She murmured quietly to the creature, walking slowly over to the bunny. The bunny rose up on her hind legs and wiggled her nose, watching Lady cautiously. Lady smiled and knelt down to the ground, holding out her hand. The rabbit hopped closer and touched her hand with a paw, “Greetings Lady Dark. Some creatures and I have sensed a great disturbance in you. Those who are still loyal to you wish to help you on what task you are taking on. I promise you I am honest and highly loyal to you. Delucaz cannot hear this, nor will he find out about it. Please trust me in when I say, we want to help, and we will do what we can.”

Lady stared at the bunny, confused, but curious, “How did you know how to find me, and what is your name little one.” The bunny sniffed and watched her, “Little one indeed, my name is Clara. You were found by the birds, they saw you and reported to him as quickly as was possible.” Lady shook her head, “Him?” The rabbit nodded, “Him, he who is the most loyal of all. The mighty mouse, who can change to a dragon in the best of times. Satu is his name. Do you know of him?” Lady bowed her head and remained silent for a time, then stood up, looking at the rabbit, “Oh do I ever…”

Clara started to hop towards the entrance of the den, ‘’If you wish to meet with Satu, now is the time.” Lady shook her head, “What of Delucaz?” The bunny smiled, “It is safe. But if you wish to stay here and let him… continue what he is doing, then stay, or come with me and have a little break.” Lady smiled faintly and followed Clara cautiously, “Are you sure?” Clara nodded, “Very.” She hopped out of the den and westward, heading deeper into the forest with Lady Dark following close behind her. Her face showed worry, but still she followed close behind. The duo reached a meadow and Clara grinned, “We are here…” Lady stepped into the meadow cautiously, looking around. The grass rustled a bit, and she stepped back quickly. A faint chuckle came from the meadow weeds as a squeaky voice emitted from behind a rock, “How wonderful to see you again my most cherished friend.”
* * * *




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Mon Feb 13, 2006 8:13 pm
ladydark says...



if it is, I didn't copy off of you... I've been doing this for nearly 10 months....




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Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:54 pm
Alison Arguanova wrote a review...



it's a nice story, good job, but for some reason, it sonds a whole lot like the bigging of one of mine...
the black forest, and yours the forest of darkness..both having to do with a lady that protects the land...maybe its just coincidence, or maybe not...either way, ehh...




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Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:21 pm
Keowyn wrote a review...



I guess I'm a bit late, but in your first part this is what I saw:

. Towards the southern end of the forest was a massive lake, the East Side of the lake was guarded by sheer cliffs, a massive waterfall. . .


wouldn't it be better like this:

Towards the southern end of the forest was a massive lake, which was guarded by sheer cliffs, a COLOSSAl or ROARING or MAGNIFICENT waterfall. . .

(Two massives take away some of the beauty. Keep it up though!)




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Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:42 am
ladydark says...



Romien picked up the pack and looked at them, “Well, we might as well get started… we can handle a bit of heat can’t we?” He stepped into the desert and looked back at the other two. Kain shrugged and followed close, with Tabris at his heels. The trio ventured into the desert in silence, each so deep in their own thoughts they didn’t see the scout. They stopped at a patch of rocks and looked around. “Something doesn’t feel right…’’ Tabris muttered to them quietly.

Suddenly a large group of rogue serpents appeared, surrounding them. “Who daresss to tresspass here. Thisss is our desssert.” The largest one hissed, raising up to its full height. Tabris smiled, “Oh look, rabid snakes. Shall we?” Kain grinned and pulled out his swords quickly, standing at ready as he eyed the largest snake, “We shall…” The largest rogue hissed again and launched itself towards Kain. Kain swung his sword up and around in a crescent moon. The snake dodge the blade and slithered around behind Kain. Tabris watched amused as Kain turned around quickly and sliced off the head swiftly. “Dead thing don’t bite.” Tabris chuckled and glanced at the other snakes. But they scattered as something large rumbled towards them in the distance.
* * * *




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Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:52 pm
ladydark says...



thank you oh so kindly torpid... this story is loosely based on a RP game I used to do, the forest of darkness was simply the name, and besides it could mean many things, not just dark and evil stuff... and she is a part vampire... also the fact that I'm not ''sticking'' to the story, this is my outlet for when I have free time or I need time to chill, its just aload of ramblings I am doing and I am sorry if it does not agree with you, a few others seem enjoy it, you seem to not be one, so if it disagrees with you, so be it....




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Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:08 am
Torpid says...



ladydark wrote:Romien picked up the pack and looked at them, “Well, we might as well get started… we can handle a bit of heat can’t we?” He stepped into the desert and looked back at the other two. Kain shrugged and followed close, with Tabris at his heels. The trio ventured into the desert in silence, each so deep in their own thoughts they didn’t see the scout. Suddenly a large group of rogue serpents appeared, surrounding them. “Who daresss to tresspass here. Thisss is our desssert.” The largest one hissed, raising up to its full height. Tabris smiled, “Oh look, rabid snakes. Shall we?” Kain grinned and pulled out his swords quickly, standing at ready as he eyed the largest snack, “We shall…” The largest rogue hissed again and launched itself towards Kain. Kain swung his sword up and around in a crescent moon swing and slide off the head swiftly. “Dead thing don’t bite.” Tabris chuckled and glanced at the other snakes. They scattered as something large rumbled towards them in the distance.


What is that? You just did like a whole little encounter in a paragraph. It's not nearly descriptive or exciting enough.




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Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:06 am
Torpid wrote a review...



Honestly, i think it needs a lot of revision but i dont know anyone in their right minds who would revise that HUMONGO story so i guess thats up to you if you feel the need. Also, in the very beginning, isn't she a vampire? So therefore she is not human. And it's called the Forest of Darkness, yet it is not an overall evil place. You spoke of a variety of creatures who were not all bad, therefore i think that the forest would be 'neutral' with bad and good and the Forest of Darkness doesn't fit the wood as a proper title. Also, i'd like you to know i admire you for sticking with a stroy for so long and making it happen and writing so much of it. That's all i have to say about that.
~Torpid




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Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:32 am
ladydark says...



thanks?




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Sat Jan 28, 2006 3:02 pm
Dynasty cow says...



i was gona read it but its too long , nice name though




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Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:02 pm



cool stuff, the desert should be a nice place for your mind to wander.




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Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:58 pm
ladydark says...



The next day dawned clear and rather cool. The trio woke up slowly as the sun creeped over the mountains, they stood up and looked at the tree. Aralu smiled and dropped a pouch onto Tabris, “Here, water for your journey. It will never run out, drink often, the desert is a treacherous and barren place. Good luck to you.” Tabris handed the pack to Romien and bowed, “Thank you again, we shall try our hardest to stop Sanska.” He turned and headed east, Kain and Romien followed close behind him, occasionally glancing back at the mysterious elm until it disappeared from sight.

Gradually the forest thinned out, trees becoming more sparse and small as the trice went further east. Stopping at a broad, and slow running river they glanced at each other then shrugged. Tabris grinned and pushed Kain into the water, then leaped across the river. Romien followed behind Tabris as Kain swam across the river, glaring a bit at Tabris, “So funny.” Tabris grinned and shrugged, “I know.” He glanced around and frowned, “I think we found the desert.” He started to jog towards a more sparse area and stopped suddenly, staring, “Yep… we found the desert.” Romien helped Kain out of the water and they joined Tabris. Romien stared, his eyes going wide as he stared at the desert. Kain raised an eyebrow and smiled faintly, “And how again, are we supposed to find Sanska in here?”
* * * *

The desert was a sun beaten hell on earth. Only one water source, that was in the center of this place. The desert itself stretched nearly more then one could measure in each direction from the oasis in the center. It was pure hills and flat land, with hard packed dirt, and blinding white sand. The midday temperature could scorch any creature, not native to this hell, to a crisp within minutes. The creatures within the desert were a mystery to all, rumors of serpents and magical reptiles flew around about this desert. No vegetation dared to show its face in the desert, any that did would be blown away from the sudden and violent wind storms. Only time to travel was at night, and that was even more dangerous then in the day.
That is when all creatures who could not survive the heat came out, and they were the ones to fear.
The wasteland was nothing compared to the mysterious creatures of the night.
* * * *




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Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:37 am



writing frenzy, yay, i will faithfully keep reading and commenting on your beautiful works.




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Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:34 am
ladydark says...



okay, this is the last one for today, promise! I just wanted to conclude page 24, now at 25,725 words and going! Was in a serious writing moood today... finished an entire page and a half in about 6 hours... o.O




Delucaz gazed upon Lady’s face as she slept, peaceful in his arms. He ran his fingers through her thick hair, leaning in close and kissed her cheek. She smiled in her sleep and shifted over, moving in closer to him. Delucaz watched her, wary, but his love for her was slowly weakening him. His head slowly rested upon hers, and slept, content and safe, holding his love in his arms.
* * * *

Aralu stretched out her branches, “It is getting late young ones, sleep under my branches, I’ll keep you safe from night attacks. You must rest before you reach the desert.” Tabris bowed, “Thank you great lady.” He sat against the trunk carefully, looking at Kain and Romien. Reluctantly they sat under the elm as well, laying on the grass the fell asleep, leaving Tabris to gaze at the twilight, slowly falling asleep.




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Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:03 am



go tree lady!!!!!, and death to sanska!!!! bwahahahhaa, nice installment, and the pace is perfect.




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Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:52 pm
ladydark says...



I am... don't trust everything I say about my story...


Romien picked up the thread again and looked at the other two, then slowly started to follow it through the forest. The light faded in some places but they kept up with it, soon night fell and the path was a bit clearer to Romien. “It seems the night strengthens the magic, quickly now, we do not have much time.” With that word he broke into a slow run, keeping the thread in hand and eyes on the light. Kain and Tabris looked at each other and shrugged. “You heard the man..” Kain said, and trotted after Romien, Tabris following close behind.

The trio kept this up for a few hours, dodging between trees and over streams, keeping silent they traveled without disturbance. Soon the magic thread thickened and Romien slowed down, walking towards a large elm tree he looked at it curiously, “Sanska came out here, but where is here?” he murmured to himself. Kain shifted impatiently as Tabris looked around, “It looks familiar…” He wandered over to the elm then looked around, suddenly a long thin branch whipped out, grabbing him by the ankle it dragged him over to an ancient looking elm. Hanging him high in the air upside down, the tree spoke, “Why Tabris, what brings you back here so soon?” the tree cackled, and Tabris grinned faintly, “We seem to have a habit of that don’t we Aralu?”

Kain and Romien wandered over curiously to Tabris, Kain smirked, “Gee, and I thought only Faith could knock Tabris off his feet.” Tabris made a swing at Kain but missed, the tree formed a face in the trunk and dropped Tabris gently. “Why, Tabris, is this Kain? He seems so much smaller then I imagined.” Tabris chuckled faintly and grabbed Kain, pulling him onto the ground, “Yes Aralu, this is Kain. Not much to look at but highly amusing.” Kain squirmed and pushed Tabris off as Romien stepped back cautiously, “Tabris… who is this?” he inquired.
* * * *

Aralu reached out a branch and rested a limb on Romien’s chest, “Hmm… you seem familiar. Have we met?” Romien shook his head quickly, “No my lady.” Aralu shook out her branches and turned her gaze back to Tabris, “So, what brings you back here so soon?” Tabris looked up at her and bowed slightly, “We are searching for… an old friend, have you seen him? He goes by Sanska, he seems to have come by here recently.” Aralu stood still for a moment, then leaned closer to Tabris, “Sanska is a friend of yours is he? Well I’m sorry I am of no help to you, I will not help those who are on friendly terms with that wretch. He destroyed the balance of the forest, and any friends of his, are enemies of mine.” Tabris smiled faintly, “I’m so glad to hear that… we seek Sanska to stop him from destroying the forest. I wasn’t sure if you were friend or foe to him.” Aralu smiled, “I am glad to hear that. Sanska went east wards, towards the desert. That is where he stays.” Tabris bowed, “Thank you my lady. Balance will be restored soon, I give you my word.”
* * * *




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Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:42 pm



youmight want to stop talking about what your are about to write, make it a suprise!!!




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Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:35 pm
ladydark says...



not nesscarily... he was going to do the same to her... she's doing the same to him, only a bit different...




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Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:32 pm



good point, thats what i was thinking, when his defenses are down... kinda cheap shot though




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Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:21 pm
ladydark says...



well Mr. DQ sir, would you like to fight someone who wants to brutally murder you, tricked you into believing ye had a sibling and then turn on you again in a heartbeat, head on, or would you like to torment them a bit.. and weaken their defenses...




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Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:16 pm



oohhh, why is she acting in like she is in his control, thats just weird, or is she waiting until they are sleeping to gether to kill him. or something like that?




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Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:53 pm
ladydark says...



Lady Dark sat on the couch, looking into the fire, Delucaz smiled and sat next to her, sliding an arm around her waist he pulls her in close, “Mm.. how I’ve missed you my sweet…lets go pay a visit to your friend Tabris shall we?” He smiled and kissed her cheek, she resisted a shudder as she plastered a smile on her face, “Oh yes, lets pay a visit to Tabris.” Delucaz grinned and pulled her in closer, they vanished in a shimmer of light and appeared next to the trio, startling them, “good evening… may I present Lady Dark, my lover once more?” Lady wrapped an arm around Delucaz and leaned against him, staring at his face with a lovers smile. Tabris stared in shock, and soon his gaze turned fierce and violent, “What have you done to her?” Delucaz chuckled hoarsely, “Oh I have done nothing, she has done it upon herself. Thank you Tabris, for returning her to me.” Tabris growled and lunged at them, but the pair disappeared quickly. He fell to the ground and shuddered, as Kain and Romien peered on, stunned into silence.
* * * *

Kain moved over and placed a hand on Tabris’ back, “Tabris, you okay?” Tabris stood up slowly and walked over to a tree, shaking his head at the sudden encounter he slams a hand into a tree, “I do not believe that… she loves me to much, she’d never…” He walked off a bit and glared at Romien, “well, where did the magic go. The faster we find Sanska the sooner I can help Faith.” Romien came out of his daze slowly and nodded, “Yes…, I believe that the magic thread has led us to this tree because this is where he transported from. We could continue to track the thread, though it’d be very faint and barely visible. It’d be like tracking a crow in a flock of ravens.” Tabris stared out at nothing then back a Romien, “Let us track it then, it is the only way.”
* * * *
Delucaz and Lady re-appeared in his hide-out. He smiled and ran a finger along his face, “Now my pet, I must run out and do something, will you be a good girl and stay here while I’m gone?” Lady smiled and bowed her head, “Of course my love, what you wish is mine to give.” Delucaz stepped closer and pulled her into a tight embrace, hands wandering down her body as she smiled, “I hope Delucaz is satisfied with what I have give him…” He nodded and ran his fingers through her hair, “Stay, I shall return shortly.” He turned and walked out of the room, disappearing into the night.

Lady waited until he was far away, then shuddered. She walked slowly over to the entrance and slipped outside silently. Heading towards the nearest stream she slipped out of her clothes and set them aflame, diving into the water. The water was ice cold but she didn’t care as she washed herself off, thinking to herself, ‘my pet, my love, my lover. Who does he think he is, does he really believe I’d go for him again? Hopefully it won’t be to long before I can finish my task…” She slipped out of the water slowly and shook herself off, heading back towards his den she sighed, pondering her next move. Lady walked back into the den and pulled a light robe around herself, settling down on the couch she closed her eyes, waiting for Delucaz’s return.

Delucaz silently retraced his steps and peered into the den, making sure Lady Dark was still in there. Seeing she was not he raised an eyebrow, glowering slightly, “Where did she go? She made a promise… perhaps she’s not as in control as I thought…” He muttered to himself but soon spotted her at the stream. Slipping over he watched her wash, his gaze longing as she washed herself then headed back to his den. “Perhaps not… perhaps all she wanted to do was make herself more pleasant for me… but still, must be cautious.” He strolled back into his hide-out and smiled, “My love, you’re hair is wet, where have you been?” Lady stood up quickly and bowed low, “Forgive me, I wanted to clean up for your return. I thought you would enjoy it.” Delucaz moved over to her and slid off the robe, “Oh that I do…” and laid her back on the couch, the lights fading as night settled in.
* * * *




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Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:40 pm
Myth says...



ladydark wrote:uh... its not a reapeated word... its her Clearing, like a meadow or whatever, a c-l-e-a-r-i-n-g


Yes I know its her clearing, I was just say you don't really need to repeat it over and over again.

I was suggesting something like:

Mist lay thin across the clearing, giving the place a foreboding aura. Four strangers stood huddled together, staring at it in awe. Despite the gloom, this was what they had been hoping to see, the clearing of the Lady Dark. They stood there in shock for there was the Lady. Cautiously they walked further into the beautiful glade, silently walking up to her still form leaning against a giant willow tree.




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Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:49 am



that is really cool, good job, and the pace still continues very steady and at a nice pace, very good job, the description on this part is nice. keep writing; is there a reason why you have been writing less on this story?




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Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:45 pm
ladydark says...



last one for a little bit, exams and such...



Romien glanced at Tabris, “If I’m going to track the residue, you should leave… don’t want to get you caught in this.” Tabris backed away quickly, going to stand next to Kain. Romien closed his eyes, the air shifted slowly, a tunnel of deep blue and silver wind spiraled within the Dark Willow. The tunnel shifted around the Dark Willow slowly, sucking in all magic, slowly turning into a multitude of colours. Romien stepped closer to the tunnel as it moved towards him. He slowly became the center of the tunnel, shifting through all the magic he slowly made the tunnel disappear until only a small, weak strand of pale blue magic was left. Romien opened his eyes and whistled over Kain and Tabris, “I’ve got him, lets go…” He held onto the pale blue thread, walking slowly out of the cover of the willow. Kain and Tabris followed close, watching the strand. Romien stopped suddenly, and looked at them, and then at a tree, “Its odd… the magic stops here.”




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Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:40 am



yea, go kill sanska, your on the right track lady, keep it up, its kindof cool how they can track magic residue, sounds cool. i cant wait until they do some fighting; a little seggestion make sanska no so much of a wimp, make him last a while in the fighting, like a couple of pages or something, make it a cool magic, sword battle.




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Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:57 pm
ladydark says...



uh... its not a reapeated word... its her Clearing, like a meadow or whatever, a c-l-e-a-r-i-n-g

and meh, new stuff...




Kain looked around, “Which way do you think the little twerp might have gone?” Romien scratched his head and looked up at the woods, “If I was Sanska, where would I hide… oh, oh I know! In the forest!” He grinned at the other two, Tabris looked at him, and raised an eyebrow, “Oh really Romien? Wouldn’t have guessed that.” Kain chuckled faintly, “Though he has a point… perhaps he is in a hidden part of the forest, somewhere dark and hidden. “ Tabris walked over to the edge of the forest, looking into it a bit, “perhaps… wait, remember how he said he stayed with us till he got better, then created a copy of himself?” Kain looked at him quizzically, “yes, what about it?” Tabris grinned, “What if he didn’t do a good job of hiding magic residue and we could track him down through that?” Kain nodded, “Perhaps, no harm in trying.”

The trio glided through the woods silently, entering the clearing they stop. Tabris walked up to the Dark Willow and parted the branches, stepping in he looked around. Romien followed close and sighed, “She was here… a fair bit ago… perhaps a couple days…” Tabris nodded and looked around, sadness showing in his eyes, but it was gone before Romien could get a good look. Romien nudged Tabris, “’Tabris, you can’t spend your time thinking about the Lady. It’s getting late you should try to track the magic, and get this sprat, once and for all.”




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Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:26 pm
Myth says...



Mist lay thin across the clearing, giving the place a foreboding aura. Four strangers stood huddled together, staring in awe at the sight of the clearing. Despite the gloom, this is what they had been hoping to see, the clearing of the Lady Dark. They stood there in shock for there was the Lady. Cautiously they walked further into the clearing, silently walking up to her still form leaning against a giant willow tree.


So far it's good but try not to repeat the same word like you did in the quoted paragraph.




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Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:46 am



......im daft.... how so.... :-s :-k :-s




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Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:51 am
Torpid says...



You compiled it all...theres a lot there. Its like a book. I need a cyber bookmark.




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Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:29 am
ladydark says...



alrighty..




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Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:51 pm
Myth wrote a review...



Gosh, I don't think I'll read it in one day. I'll post my review each time I finish a part.

To start with I like the first part.

Dragon’s powerful and mighty
If you are talking about more than one dragon the apostrophe should be after the s. Dragons' powerful and mighty...

a massive waterfall cascading down the cliff
I think you should change massive into colossal to make it more greater.

Next review later.




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Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:42 pm
ladydark says...



Mr. DQ, your just daft.. and yes I did put it all in one, though I doubt many will read it, might help a bit...




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Wed Jan 18, 2006 5:33 am
Dargquon Ql'deleodna wrote a review...



yep you added some stuff, its good stuff too, im wondering how duleclaz overpowered lady's mind, and took control of her,now she is going to get raped as youcould say because she probably wouldnt sleep with duleclaz if she was under her own control, i like this. its very well written and the fact its all in one thread makes it so that anyone who hasnt read ti can just start from the beginning of this thread rather than searchtingthe forum for your beautiful works of art (cept its writing lol).




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Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:23 am
J. Haux says...



Hm...You added stuff.

I'll have to come back later.

~Jacquie~




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Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:20 am
ladydark says...



Even after all the time that had passed. The village still remained partially in ruins. Half the main street was still destroyed cleared away so the way was clear, but rubble was strewn along the edges. Where houses once stood, there was only destruction. The haunted look in the villager’s eyes when the four of them appeared would torture the visitors. Women took their children and locked themselves in their houses while the men approached the foursome. ‘’What do ye four want? We have nothing to give ye, even if we wanted to.’’ The largest of the group stepped forward, holding up his sword, pointing it towards Tabris. One of the shorter men eyed the group, noticing the Lady he tugged on the large man’s shirt, and whispered in his ear. The first man walked closer and looked at Lady’s face. ‘’Lady Dark? Is that truly you?’’ Lady bowed her head, ‘’It is…’’ To everyone’s shock, the man embraced her tightly, and began to weep.

Lady gently consoled the man and carefully pushed him away, taking his hands in her own she looks up at his face, ‘’I recognize you. What is your name?’’ The man replied somewhat shyly, ‘’Jack milady. My family’s lives, and mine as well, were at your fingertips, and we could have died. But you wouldn’t allow him to kill us. Even though we defied you many times.’’ Lady bowed her head, ‘’I do remember. It was not a problem Jack; everyone’s lives were at a chancy point. I did what I could.’’ Jack bowed his head and stood back with his fellow men. Lady looked at all of them, ‘’I have lost a fellow. His name is Kalith. He disappeared yesterday. Have any of you seen him?’’ A shady character, shorter then the rest, with dark features, approached her slowly, ‘’There was a fellow… He was a bit shorter then you… Did your missing guy have brown hair, fair skin? Carrying a bow and dressed in dark green clothing was he?’’ Kain anxiously stepped forward and nodded, ‘‘yes he was, can you tell where he went too?’’ The little man eyed him and replied slowly, ‘’I might… for a price of course’’

The four of them looked at each other, and then at the little man. Lady shifted slightly and she appeared next to the man, putting her arm in his, she led him away, towards an abandoned tavern. After a time, she came out by herself, smiling faintly, she beckoned to the people, and started walking northwards. They followed her quickly, watching her curiously, ‘’How do you know where to go?’’ Romien inquired. Lady smirked, ‘’I’m allowed to have my secrets… correct?’’ Romien looked at the others and then back at her, ‘‘you didn’t kill him did you?’’ Lady smiled at shook her head, ‘’It was simple really, don’t worry. He’s in perfect health.’’ She quickened her pace, and entered a long tunnel, lined by apple blossom trees. The three of them looked around curiously, then at the end of the tunnel, which was fast approaching. Lady and the trio stepped out of the tunnel to face a magnificent, but aged castle. The trine gaped at the sight, Lady stopped and stared up at it with wide eyes. Quietly, somewhat uncertainly, she said, ‘’From what I got… Kalith’s in here….’’ The four of them stared up at the castle, and slowly walked towards it….
* * * *




Tentatively, but gradually the group approached the castle. Lady looked around, somewhat doubtful, ‘’There should be more guards at the castle…’’ Tabris walked up and examined the gate. ‘’The question is, how do you get inside?’’ he pondered aloud. As if answering his question, the gate slowly rose, and a large muscular man in leather backed-chain mail appeared. Lady stepped up beside Tabris, she looked up at the tall man, ‘’We wish to talk to the wizard if you please.’’ The man eyed her, ‘‘the wizard isn’t seeing anyone, nor talking,’’ he grunted. The Lady purred quietly, ‘’please? It is urgent that we speak to him,’’ As if in a trance the man bowed, and beckoned with his hand. He started walking down a hall. The trio looked at each other then at Lady. She gave broad smile, and started to follow him. The three hurried behind her. The walked down a maze of hallways and corridors, till finally they stopped at a pair of large, elegantly carved double wood doors. A single statue of a maiden elf stood on the left side of the doors. The man opened both the doors and held them open for the group. Taking a small breath, Lady Dark stepped into the room, Tabris followed quickly. The doors slammed shut before Kain and Romien could enter. The lock clicked audibly and then there was silence.

Tabris took Lady’s hand in his own and held onto it as they slowly approached a table, set in the middle of the room. The room was shadowed except for the light shining upon the table. As they stepped into the light and in front of a table, a deep, gravely voice spoke, ‘’Who dares enter my domain? Who dares question the great wizard of the castle?’’ Lady and Tabris exchanged a look, ‘’I am Lady Dark, keeper of the forest. I come to question you, for I have a reason to believe you have one of my companions. I would like him back.’’ She said formally. The wizard gave a deep chuckle and he stepped out of the shadows, ‘’You want him back do ye? Well, you can take him. He is nothing to me anymore…’’ He pounded the base of his staff into the ground three times. A light appeared in the room, revealing a table with a sheet over it. Lady let go of Tabris’ hand and stepped over to the light. Slowly she reached over and pulled back the sheet, revealing the cold, dead face of Kalith. Lady stumbled back and trembled inhumanly. The wizard voiced wickedly, ‘’Oh, I didn’t realize he meant so much to you. Oh Lady Dark, keeper of the forest.’’
* * * *

Outside the room, Kain and Romien were having a difficult battle with the large man. He was more powerful then he appeared. The warrior shot a ball of fire red fire at Kain, immobilizing him. Romien raised his blade and swung it down hard, aiming at the man’s neck. Fast as lightning, the man swung his blade up, blocking the sword with such a force it sent a shock down Romien’s arm. Romien quickly pulled out one of his daggers, he swung his sword again, and as the man lifted to block again, Romien slipped his dagger through the chain and pierced the mans heart. The man let out a mournful cry and fell over. Romien stepped over and slit his throat. Kain stumbled at the spell locking him disappeared. Romien glanced over at Kain, and looked down at the man. A light appeared at the corner of his eye, quickly he glanced up and stared at the elf maiden’s statue. Kain followed his gaze and watched as the statue transformed into a living elf. Romien hurried forward and caught her as she stumbled. The elf looked up at Romien’s face and smiled. ‘’Hello, thank you for killing my him, I am in debt to you.’’

Inside the room, Tabris watched as the Lady Dark changed. She grew in height, and her eyes glowed with a deep fiery red, she pulled out her sword, and pointed it at the wizard, ‘’You shall pay for the death of my brother, Mage. I will have my revenge.’’ The wizard chuckled evilly, ‘’Oh, you will, will you? Then come little girl’’ he said, with a sneer of contempt ‘’lets see what you've got.’’ The wizard banged his staff against the floor once, and the room was plunged into darkness. Lady growled quietly, and transformed her vision, allowing her to see in the darkness, as the transformation completed, she started running towards the wizard. ‘’It will take more then this to stop me. Mage.’’ The mage chuckled and clapped his hands, making the room light up with a blinding bright light. The Lady cringed and covered her eyes, quickly changing back her vision. The mage leaped at her, pulling a sword out of his staff while in mid air, as he landed he quickly lashed out with it, piercing her side. She yelped at the pain and slashed at his chest with her own sword. He laughed and easily blocked her swing, then returned the blow, swinging at her sword arm, The Lady faulted, and she jumped back as the swing hit its target, leaving a long, deep wound. She quickly threw her sword to her other hand and swung again with all her might, this time aiming at the wizard’s head, as she swung, she purred quietly, ‘‘you are finished.’’ The mage stared up at her, dumbstruck as the blade slammed into his skull with a loud crack.
* * * *

The room stilled. The only movement was the mages body, as it fell to the ground, a crumpled form. Tabris stepped forward and pried the lady’s sword out of her clenched fingers. The Lady stared up at him, ‘’I killed him… but something still doesn’t feel right…’’ Tabris pushed the mage’s body over, and stepped back startled as it started to pulse a fierce white light. Lady flinched and covered her eyes with her hands, Tabris moved over to her and wrapped his arms around her. She hid her face against his chest. The mages body vanished with a loud rumble and a snap as blue and white mini lightning bolts zoomed across the room. The lightning flew to the front of the room and created a square, blue bolts making the border, the white filling it in. The Lady looked at the square with a curious eye, she moved out of Tabris’ hold and walked up to it. ‘’Don’t touch it,’’ Tabris warned her, she glanced back at him, and nodded curtly. She stopped in front of the lightning mirror. Suddenly the entire room fell into a choking darkness. The mirror sparked and a shadowed figure walked out. The shadow floated towards the Lady and spoke with a voice of a thousand lifetimes, ’’Greetings Lady Dark, Keeper of the Forest of Darkness. It nice to finally meet you.’’

Romien gaped at her, Kain walked over, and nudged him, ‘’Romien, why don’t you set her down now.’’ Romien’s face flushed a deep red and he set the elf on her feet. He bowed low, and murmured an apology. The elf straightened up and walked over to the body of the guard. She searched the dead man body and pulled out a silver blue star medallion, she put the chain over her neck, letting the star rest between her breasts. The elf looked at the two, ‘’My names Callisto, its very nice to meet you…’’ She paused and looked at them inquiry, Kain smiled faintly, ‘’I’m Kain, fair maiden, and this is my friend Romien.’’ Callisto curtsied, ‘’I am in your debt for rescuing me, my people will reward you handsomely, my thanks.’’ Unsuspecting any danger, the trio walked towards the large doors, suddenly there was a loud snap. Kain and Romien started, pulling their blades out, they exchanged a look. The duo reached for the door handles, ‘’Don’t touch the door!’’, the elf cried, but it was too late. Their hands touched the sparking metal and instantly they fell back, cast into a deep unknown.
Tabris moved swiftly over to the Lady and stood next to her, resting his hand on the hilt of his sword. Lady reached over and took his hand in her own, she sent a silent message through their touch, Don’t… he’s beyond you’re power… he maybe a friend… Tabris kept his eyes on the shadow, but moved his hand off his sword. The shadow laughed, and quickly the shadow figure transformed again, a more solid shape, the form of a knight.



‘’Welcome to my castle. I’m sorry for the rude interruption, that mage you killed trapped my soul within his body, and destroyed my own. Thank you for freeing me, even though…’’ He shook his head slowly and reached out, touching Tabris’ forehead, he shivered as a cold tingle ran down his body, and then he froze. The Lady looked at Tabris, ‘‘what did you do to him?’’ The knight smiled, ‘’He’ll be fine, I don’t want him to know about what I’m about to say.’’ Lady curtsied and stepped closer to the knight, ‘’Tell me what?’’ The shadow of the knight lifted her hand and kissed the fingertips lightly. ‘’My dear lady, my name Is Sir Dark, a knight of old. This castle and all the forest surrounding it belong to me. I have lived in these lands for a time unknown.’’ Lady stared at him, and trembled slightly, ‘‘your forest?’’ she whispered quietly. ‘’Do not fear my lady, I have allowed you to stay there. I knew you were there, and I was right about you. You kept my forest safe from harm. Thank you…’’ The shadow knight faded a bit, and he stared in horror at himself. ‘’Oh no… not yet… damn it… My lady, I have a huge favor to ask you, if you are willing that is…’’ The Lady stepped forward and stared up at the shadowy face, ‘’I will do what I can.’’ The Knight smiled and placed a hand on the side of her face, ‘’I need a place to reside within. My soul is fading back into the shadows, but if you are willing… I would like to share a body with you. You would gain my powers, my knowledge and all my lands… if you are willing.’’ The Lady bowed her head. ‘’I am willing…’’ The Knight bowed his own head and sighed, ‘’Then let it be done,’’
* * * *

Callisto kneeled down next to Romien; she placed a hand on his chest and murmured quietly in her language. Romien stirred and opened his eyes, he looked up at Callisto, and he sat up quickly and looked around. ‘’Shh, don’t move so much. You took quite a spill…’’ She laid him back on the floor, resting his head in her lap. He stared up at her, her beauty capturing his heart, Romien reached up and gently touched the side of her face, ‘’You are so enchanting…’’ Callisto smiled and gently brushed some hair off of his forehead, Romien reached up and pulled her closer, he leaned up and kissed her gently. She pulled back in surprise; she placed her fingers to her lips and stared at him in wonderment. He smiled and sat up slowly, she moved closer to him, looking at him with curiosity. He reached over and twirled a lock of her honey-coloured hair around his finger, tugging her closer. He kissed her again. ‘’Thank you for saving my life, sweet Callisto. I believe we are on equal ground now…’’ Callisto bowed her head and put her hands in her lap, Romien took her hands in his own and held them gently, ‘’Have I offended you in some way?’’ Callisto shook her head, she smiled shyly, ‘’No Romien, just surprised….’’
* * * *

Lady glanced at Tabris; she reached over and touched his face gently, staring at him. ‘’Yes… lets…’’ She turned and faced the knight, stepping up to him, she took a small breath. The Knight placed his hands on her shoulders, and incoherently said something and soon he vanished slowly, seeping into the Lady’s body. As the final bit of the Knight entered her, she let out a shrill scream and collapsed at Tabris’ feet. Slowly Tabris returned to normal, he stretched out, feeling as if he had been imprisoned for a thousand years. His gaze swept the room, looking for Lady, he kneeled down quickly when he saw her still form, curled up ice cold, on the frigid, marble floor.

Romien smiled and looked over at Kain, ‘’Could you wake him my dearest Callisto?’’ Callisto bowed her head, she sat Romien up gently and reached over, and touching Kain’s head, murmuring quietly, Kain started to wake up slowly. Romien stood up and offered Callisto a hand, she took it with a shy smile and stood up. Romien nudged Kain with his foot, ‘’Come on you old man, wake up.’’ Kain growled quietly and stood up slowly, swaying he shook his head and stood firm. ‘’What happened?’’ he inquired. Romien slipped his arm around Callisto’s waist and pulled her close, ‘‘we touched a door, got zapped with magic, and my sweet Callisto here, brought us back.’’ Callisto giggled quietly and lowered her gaze, ‘’It was nothing… just repaying my debt…’’ Romien kissed her cheek and smiled widely at Kain, ‘’Look Kain, I got myself a modest, beautiful young maiden. I hope your sweetheart hasn’t forgotten you.’’ Kain glared at him and looked at the door, ‘’think its safe now?’’ Callisto nodded quickly, ‘‘it is safe now, we can go in.’’

Tabris knelt down next to the Lady, he picked her up carefully in his arms as he walked over to the door. As soon as he arrived at the door, the doors swung open, revealing Kain, Romien and an elf maiden. Romien grinned, ‘’Ah, Tabris, how kind of you to join us. May I present Callisto, an elf trapped as a statue and now free.’’ Tabris bowed his head to Callisto, ‘’Pleased to meet you, I am Tabris, and this…’’ He sighed and looked at the Lady’s motionless face, ‘’This is Lady Dark.’’ Callisto curtsied and smiled, ‘’Greetings Tabris, what happened to her?’’ Tabris shrugged and cradled the Lady in his arms gently, holding her close, ‘’I do not know. One minute I was watching her walk towards a… portal of some sort, and a shadowed figure walked out, he went over to me and touched my face, and then I woke up, and found her like this.’’ Callisto moved Romien’s arm off of her waist and walked up to them, she ran a hand over the Lady’s face and gasped quietly, ‘’Oh my…’’ Tabris looked at her, ‘’what, what’s wrong with her?’’ Callisto shook her head, ‘’nothing is wrong. She’ll be fine in a few days, and by the way. This castle is now hers…’’
* * * *

Kain and Romien stared at her, ‘’what do you mean?’’ asked Kain. Callisto shook her head, ‘’She will explain when she awakes, for now… take her down to the other end of the hall, turn left and enter the main hall and you’ll see a pair of exquisite wooden doors. That is where you should let her rest.’’ Tabris nodded and walked off, his eyes still on Lady, as Romien, Kain and Callisto walked out into the courtyard. Callisto sat down on a bench and stared up at the fading sun. Romien walked over and sat next to her, sliding his arm around her waist again. ‘’Its beautiful today…’’ she murmured quietly to him. Romien turned her face to him and kissed her lips gently. ‘‘You’re beautiful Callisto.’’ Callisto blushed pink and smiled, ‘’Thank you…’’ Kain watched the two, and then walked off, in search of food.

Tabris carried Lady into the chamber and set her down slowly on the bed, he pulled a blanket over her, kissing her forehead softly. He stood up, watching her still form for a time, then he walked out of the room and ran into Kain. Kain stumbled back and looked at Tabris, ‘‘hey bro, how’s Faith?’’ Tabris stared down the hall at the door, ‘’She’s still unconscious… I don’t want to leave her in case she wakes up but we need to get food and find some place to sleep. I am going to sleep in her room but I must have food.’’ Kain gave him a grim smile, ‘’I can go get you food, watch over her. Callisto and Romien will be of no use to us yet… ‘’ Tabris looked at him a bit confused, ‘’Romien is over the moon about Callisto and is attempting to court the poor maiden,’’ Kain told him. Tabris shook his head grinning faintly, ‘’Poor girl…’’ Kain smirked and walked off, Tabris watched him, then went back to the Lady’s chambers. Sitting at the end of the bed, he dozed off. Kain wandered into the kitchen and looked around. A bright light flashed and a small shadow, undefined, appeared. ‘’Greetings my lord, is there anything I can help you with?’’

Kain stared at the thing, ‘‘yes… what are you, and where can I get some food.’’ The shadow creature bowed, ‘’I am a shadow servant, I work for the Lord… now Lady, of the castle. My fellow shadows and I shall do whatever my lady wishes. Also whatever her guests require.’’ The shadow servant made an odd noise and out of the shadows a small troop of shadow servants appeared and got to work making food. Kain watched in awe, ‘’shadow… servants? Who is your Lady little shadow servant.’’ The shadow bowed again, ‘’My Lady Dark of course sir.’’ Kain cocked his head and looked at him. ‘’Faith is the Lady of the Castle?’’ The shadow bowed again, ‘’yes my lord.’’ Kain shook his head slowly, and jumped back as the shadow servants pushed a basket into his hands and disappeared. ‘’If you ever need us my lord, just call, we will come,’’ at the last word the shadow servant disappeared, leaving Kain pondering about the castle and its secrets.
* * * *

Romien pulled Callisto closer. He looked into her deep blue eyes, smiling, he a runs his fingers through her hair. ‘’ Callisto, I'm sorry if I am being too outspoken to you, you're just to tempting to be ignored.’’ Callisto smiled gently, she leaned in and kissed his cheek softly, ‘’It’s all right Romien, I don’t mind. Its quite amusing, and I enjoy it…’’ Romien stared at her, ‘’you do? Then…’’ Callisto put a finger to his lips, she smiled, leaning closer she kissed him delicately, Romien kissed her back tenderly. She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him closer, Romien slid her onto his lap gently; she looked into his eyes and blushed. Romien smiled and kissed her again, slower, more affectionate as the night wore on.

Kain popped his head into the courtyard and quickly retreated at the sight of Callisto and Romien; he walked down the hall to the Lady’s chamber and pushed the door open. Tabris woke with a start and stood up, pulling out his sword. Kain chuckled faintly, ‘‘now now… don’t want to kill your own brother do you?’’ Tabris shrugged and put his sword back; he ambled over to Kain and took the basket out of his hands. ‘’What did you get?’’ he questioned. Kain shrugged in return, ‘’No idea, why don’t you open it and see.’’ Tabris set the basket down on the table under the window in the farthest corner, he opened the basket and the moonlight showed a few corked jars of some sort, fresh fruit, bread and some kind of meat. Tabris picked up a jar and wiggled the cork out; he took a small sip and grinned. ‘‘Wherever you got this basket, I love the people who put it together. Here, have some.'' He passed the jar over to Kain, Kain looked at curiously, taking a sip, and he grinned. ’’Blood, hmm, the shadow servants know what we are then. Nothing will get passed them...'' Tabris picked out a loaf of bread, some of the fruit, and a chunk of meat. Setting them on a plate he walked over and lay near the Lady. Kain took the basket and walked out, leaving Tabris lying near the Lady, watching her intently.

Callisto pulled back slowly from the kiss, breathless from the passion. Romien gave her a big smile. He wrapped an arm around her waist; he holds her close, burying his face in her soft hair. Callisto stared up at the starry sky, as a comet blazed across the midnight blue of the night. Romien looked up at the stars, nibbling on her ear. He whispered delightfully loving words into her ear, making her shiver with delight. The two of them were so caught up in themselves they didn’t see Kain slip into the courtyard. He creeped up on them and dumped a large bucket of ice water on the unsuspecting couple. Romien growled and took a swat at Kain. ‘’KAIN! What are you doing?!’’ Kain laughed and dropped the basket of food at Romien’s feet. ‘’Giving you food of course.’’ He slipped off into the shadows, still chuckling, the noise echoing in the courtyard.
* * * *

Callisto shivered from the cold, Romien looked at her, concern in his eyes. ‘’Oh dear… my poor Callisto. You should take off that garment, it’ll do you no good, you may have my cloak until we find you dry clothes.’’ Callisto nodded and she looked at him smiling, she slid off her gown slowly, peeling it off her skin. Romien stared at her beauty, and then looked away; slipping off his cloak he held it out to her. She slipped on the cloak and sat next to him. Romien shook his head, sliding her back onto his lap, he reached for the basket. Searching the contents he pulled out some grapes. Callisto smiled and plucked one of the grapes off the stem, pressing the fruit against Romien's lips. He obeyed silently, opening his mouth; she put the grape in his mouth slowly. He closed his lips over her finger and looked at her, his eyes sparkling with mischief. She laughed and slid her fingers out slowly, slowly feeding him the food within the basket, and he her.

The Lady stirred slightly, Tabris sat up quickly and looked her, ‘’Faith?’’ Lady sat up, swinging her legs out of bed, she stood up. Walking over to a stone in the wall she places her hand against it, Tabris followed her, watching her suspiciously. She walked down a long dark corridor and turned, walking down the spiral, stone staircase. Tabris kept close to her, wondering where she is going. Lady turned and entered a room, Tabris stepped cautiously in with her. She walked towards the Hot Springs, as Tabris looked around in wonder at the room. Without warning, she dived into the largest hot spring. Tabris stared at her in shock and started to go after her, but was stopped violently by an unknown force. He sat down and waited for her to return.

She swam further down, diving into a hole in the floor of the hot spring she swims along a dark tunnel. Lady climbed out in a large cavern, turning toward the dazzling light deeper in the cavern she walked slowly towards it. She entered a large room, the walls inlaid with crystals and silver imprints, the illumination were pulsing from a blazing dark sword. She reached out and clutched the hilt and let out a silent scream. Power blazed through her body, sending waves of intense electrical shocks. The sword stopped, but the Lady stood firm, the sword then sent icy cold currents throw her body, followed closely by intense head, hotter then hell. After the sword did that, it stopped. The Lady remained standing; her hand gripped the sword hilt tightly. The sword slowly lowered itself down, and relaxed in her hand. She gripped it tightly, and raised it high in the air, sending a beam of extreme light through the room, making the hot spring glow, and bubble slightly. Tabris sat up quickly and stared at the spring. Out of no where the lady appeared in front of him with a glowing sword. She stared at him with haunted eyes and whispered quietly, ‘’Tabris…’’ and collapsed.
* * * *

Romien sat back, and watched Callisto with a smile. She glanced at him and her cheeks flushed red, ‘’what’s on your mind Romien?’’ He leaned in and kissed her neck softly, nibbling on her soft skin gently. Callisto looked around, and grinned shyly, ‘’Come… if you need to… over here…’’ She took his hands in her own, leading him slowly into a dense patch of trees.

Kain explored the castle slowly. He found an exquisite bedchamber with his name on the door and let out a small yawn. He stared curiously at the door and walked inside. He leaned against the wall and the room glowed with light. Kain jumped and looked around. He touched the wall again and the lights dimmed. He laughed quietly, sliding off his shirt and pants, he fell into bed, curling up under the covers, he fell into a dreamless sleep.
* * * *

Tabris picked lady up in his arms, holding her close, he kissed her forehead, and prying the sword out of her hands he set it down. The Lady opened her eyes slowly, she stirred and looked up at him, smiling. ‘’Tabris…’’ Tabris smiled softly, he held her gently to him, kissing her lips softly. ‘’Oh Faith… you had me so worried…’’ Lady looked at him sadly, ‘’I’m sorry…’’ Tabris shook his head, and kissed her a few times, slowly, lovingly, leaving her breathless at the end of the kisses. Lady shivered slightly, and sat up, she looked at Tabris and blushed. Tabris pushed her hair gently out of her face, he kissed her face softly, holding her close. Lady kissed his cheek, ‘’Please let me go for a second Tabris…’’ Tabris nodded and let her go, she stood up and slid off her clothes. Tabris looked away bashfully, and the Lady blushed softly, she dove into the hot spring and splashed him, ‘’come on in Tabris, water’s great.’’ Tabris grinned and slid off his clothes and joined the Lady in the spring, splashing and playing around through the night, eventually heading back up to her chamber to sleep.
* * * *

The morning sun rose with a burst of magnificent colour, seeping across all the land, the light woke the sleepy village. The villagers heard an unusual, clamorous noise and raced out of their homes. The stared in shock as the entire village was restored, and the entire farm plots that had been empty and bare since the wizard, re-grew. They looked at one another and let out a deafening cheer. The wizard was dead! The head of the village stood on a stage set in the center of town, and quieted them down a bit ‘’People of the village, we are free of the wizard. We have a new lord, or maybe even a lady!’’ The village let out another cheer. The head of village smiled, ‘’Now, we should greet the new lord or lady. Properly of course.’’ A few people chuckled. The village dispersed, preparing to welcome the new ruler.
* * * *

Lady opened her eyes slowly as the morning light poured into her room through the open windows. She climbed out of the bed slowly and stood at the window, staring at the sunrise. Tabris rolled over and reached out for Lady, but not finding her, he sat up, and looked around. He slipped out of bed and stood next to her, and wrapped an arm around her. ‘’Its beautiful this morning,’’ she commented, leaning against him. Tabris kissed her head, and rested his head against hers, watching the sunrise with her.

Kain rolled over and fell out of bed. He stood up quickly, hearing noise outside; he pulled on some pants and looked out the window. He sharpened his vision and spied the villagers gathering. He raced out of his room and down to the Lady’s chamber, he shoved the doors opened quickly, startling the couple. Tabris grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around Lady and looked over at Kain, ‘’good knocking Kain.’’ Kain grinned faintly, ‘’sorry bro, something big is going on in the village and I wanted to tell you. It looked really big.’’

Tabris walked over and shoved Kain out the door, ‘‘okay, we’ll be right out,’’ he shut the door and looked at Lady, ‘’sorry about that.’’ Lady smiled at him, ‘’its okay,’’ and she walked over to the bathing compartment. Tabris watched her, then he walked over to the window, and searched the area for the village, spotting it, and he sharpened his senses and watched the village curiously. Lady came out after a time in a blood red, floor length gown, with black cloak around her shoulders, her hair still damp from the room, her sword strapped to her waist. Tabris looked at her and smiled, ‘’Beautiful…’’ Lady curtsied low and smiled, ‘’Thank you, you’d better hurry up. I want to get down there.’’ Tabris bowed and walked into the compartment, and he came out before not too long, dressed in close fitting black pants, a dark green shirt, a black cloak, with the hood drawn up to shadow his face, his sword lashed across his back. Lady smiled at him, Tabris walked over to her, and lifted her head up, and kissed her softly, ‘’Lets go…’’
* * * *

Kain watched the door for a second, and then he dashed out into the courtyard and searched for Romien and Callisto. He climbed up into some trees, and spotted them, he lightly jumped from tree to tree till he landed over them. He grinned and let out some whistles and cheers at the sight of them together. Romien awoke with a start, he spotted Kain and playfully threw an acorn up at his head, and then he covered Callisto with a blanket, keeping his eyes on Kain. Kain grinned widely, ‘‘My… you might want to get dressed. Something’s going on down in the village.’’ Romien shook his head slowly, ‘’We’ll stay here, you, Tabris, and Lady can go to the village. Tell us what happens.’’ Kain bowed his head; he faded back into the shadows as Romien lay near Callisto, falling back asleep.

Lady opened the doors silently and stepped out into the hallway, she strode down to the main hall, and Tabris followed her silently. They met up with Kain in the great hall, pushing the doors open, the trio started to walk down to the village. The apple trees blossom fell to the ground in the slight breeze, covering the trice in whiteness. Lady, Tabris and Kain stepped out of the tunnel and stared at the newly transformed town. The fields lush and fruitful, the buildings restored, as if by magic. Lady ventured forth and kneeled next to a plot of land, resting her hand on the dirt she closed her eyes, sensing the new growth within the dirt. Tabris moved towards the center of town, watching the bustle of the village, they seemed not to notice him as they set up booths and gathered new fruits, and fresh flowers.

Kain surveyed the area and raced over to help an old lady lift a barrel onto a cart. ‘’What is going on fair lady?’’ he inquired of the old woman. The woman grinned at him with gaped teeth, ‘‘the wizard is dead my boy, there is a new lord, or perhaps a lady, of that there castle.’’ Kain smiled faintly, ‘’Oh, I didn’t know. Is there… anything I can do to help you?’’ the woman grabbed his arm with gnarled hands and lead him over to a pile of stone, ‘’could you be a dear and put these in that cart? Hook up old Jinkins as well, the horse yonder. ’’ Kain bowed and set to work, keeping his eyes open and cautious.
* * * *
Tabris walked silently along the road, taking in all the sights and sounds of the busy village. He settled down on a low stone bench, leaning back against the wall he carefully sharpened his deadly, elvin knife. Suddenly a large group of men appeared in front of him, blocking any escape. “Who might ye be, carrying such a weapon on a day like this,” growled the largest of them. Tabris looked up lazily, he eyed the other men and looked back down, continuing to sharpen and polish the wicked blade. One of the men slapped Tabris across the head, “Answer when the head of this village asks you a question, traveler.” Tabris reached up swiftly and grabbed the man’s arm, pulling him close, he held on tight. “If I were you… I would not try that again…” he murmured into his captive’s ear, and pushed him away into the crowd. The man stumbled but quickly regained, he turned to face Tabris abruptly. “Don’t do it again you say, and why not. You are nothing but a pathetic traveler, disgracing this day.” Tabris stood up slowly and twirled the dagger in his hands, tucking it back into his belt. “What is this day then, that I have disgraced,” he inquired of the crowd. “Why it’s a grand day indeed, the wizard is dead. There is a new ruler in the castle, and we wish to greet them, who ever they may be,” answered the village mayor. “A new ruler? Hmm… that’s what she meant…” Tabris murmured to himself, he bowed to the crowd, “thank you kind gentlemen for informing of this. Good day.” He stepped back into the shadows and disappeared from sight.

Lady Dark stood up slowly, she walked along the land and examining it further with her magic. She started as Tabris appeared in front of her without warning. Tabris grabbed her by the arm roughly and dragged her off into the trees, out of sight of the village. He pushed her back against a tree and pinned her there, staring at her, his gaze fierce. “Would you care to explain what happened yesterday? Why you were asleep for so long, and where did the sword come from.” Lady squirmed a bit under his hold and looked at him, “You remember that shadow… that came out of the mirror?” Tabris raised an eyebrow and looked into her eyes, “What about it...” Lady lowered her gaze and bite her lip, “well… turns out that was the soul of the original Lord of the Castle. That wizard stole it out of him, and destroyed his body. Sir Dark, knight and lord of the Castle of Dark. Ruler over the Forest of Darkness… He allowed me to live in the forest without trouble, he knew I’d take care of it. He asked me a small favor, his body was destroyed and his soul was going to fade back into the shadows. Sir Dark asked me if he could reside within me, he’d give me his skills, and ruling over the entire forest and the castle. I agreed… I now am Lady of the Dark Castle, and Forest of Darkness. I bear his sword at my side, he has given me great powers, and with them… I could seek out Sanska and destroy him… once and for all…”

Kain led the horse over to the cart and hitched him up. He walked over to the old woman and bowed. “There you are my lady. Is there anything else I could do for you?” The old woman grinned at him, “Nothing else my boy. Run along… you might want to stop your brother from yelling at the lady.” Kain looked around and back to the old lady, but she had disappeared. He raced off to town and questioned all the villagers, but none had seen them. Kain reached into his pouch and pulled a peculiar gem out. He rubbed it with his thumb and looked at the image it formed inside. Kain shook his head slowly and dashed over to the trees, startling Lady Dark and Tabris. Tabris released lady from the tree and stepped back. Lady rubbed her arms and looked away. “Um, did I interrupt something?” Kain asked confused. Tabris shook his head and walked off into the forest. Lady Dark straightened her dress and looked at Kain, “It does not matter Kain, go find Tabris. I shall return to the castle.”
* * * *

Tabris walked deeper into the woods, muttering to himself. He jumped up into a tree and sat back against the trunk, staring at the clouds. “Whats the matter, deary?” an old voice creaked softly. Tabris jumped in surprise, whipping out his dagger. He looked around quickly, searching for the source of the voice. “That won’t work for me little one. A simple dagger like that will have no effect on an old lady like me,” the voice croaked again. Tabris growled in fury and jumped from the tree. Suddenly the tree shook out the branch where he sat. He turned in shock and stared up at the tree as a face formed in the bark. “Who are you?” Tabris asked the tree. The face broke into a smile, shaking out the rest of her branches. “Who I am does not matter, who are you to ask such a thing? Didn’t your mother ever teach you to respect your elders, human, magical or otherwise?” Tabris put away his dagger and stepped closer to the tree, “Sadly for you, I did not pay much attention to that lesson.”

Lady sighed deeply and started off towards the castle, leaving Kain confused near the tree. What did I do wrong? Why must he be so angry with me… she thought to herself, the thought repeating in her mind. Her mind was so occupied she didn’t notice where she was going, and suddenly a man jumped in front of her stopping her quickly. “Excuse me milady, I don’t think ye want to head down that way.” Lady whipped out a dagger from her belt and held it out at the man’s neck. The blade pressed into his skin, leaving a trickle of blood. “Who are you?” she asked, her emerald eyes cold and hard from the shock he gave her. “My friends just call me Artar milady, I didn’t mean no harm to ye. Would just hate to see the Lady of the Castle and Forest of Darkness fall into the Lake of Sacrifices,’’ the man hesitated and looked at her closely. “You are the Lady Dark, are you not?” Lady nodded curtly and moved her blade away from his neck, but kept it in her hand. “How do you know me Artar…” The man squeaked and ran off into the woods quickly. Lady threw out a rope of power and wrapped it around the man, and pulled on it. Shadow fell down and stared at her in shock, “please milady, no questions no questions! He will hear, so bad if he hears….”

Kain shook his head slowly and raced off, searching for Tabris down silently. He heard voices and stopped behind a tree, poking his head around the trunk. Kain gasped and pulled his head back around, pondering what he saw. He climbed up the tree and sits on a branch, watching the exchange curiously.
* * * *

Lady stepped next to the man and grasped his chin with her hand, holding tight, ‘’tell me whom, who will hear?” Artar trembled in fear as he shook his head, closing his eyes tightly. “Not here, he has spies everywhere, everywhere!” Lady raised an eyebrow and nodded curtly, closing her eyes she murmured quietly. The man looked at her and gasped loudly as they glimmered a deep red and disappeared from the forest. Lady opened her eyes and sat the man down against the trunk of her Dark Willow, “It is safe here, tell me who he is.” Artar looked around with wide eyes then up at her, “please milady. Do I have to tell? He might find out.” Lady glared at him, her eyes flashing gold, “you will tell, or he will find out, one way or another.” He squirmed under his gaze and looked at the ground, “yes milady… this man, the one whom spies. He wishes to kill you, but its not who you think it is. Sanska prowls the woods looking for you, but he is only one of the threats. The man who wants to kill you, he lives still. You believe him to be dead, but he lives, lives I say!” the mans eyes shifted as he looked around quickly, as quietly as possible he murmured “his name… his name was Kalith, now… Delucaz.”
* * * *

Kain struggled to remain silent, as his eyes grew harsh and hostile. “Is the scheme ready my follower?” the man called Kalith now Delucaz asked. The towering, cloaked figure bowed low, a hoarse voice whispered from within the hood, “Yes master, everything is set. Just like you planned…” The man looked at him, an icy smile played across his face, “good, very good… she is most predictable, don’t you agree?” The creature sniggered quietly, “Yes master, she is.” Delucaz nodded and stared up at the sky, “To think, I once loved her… but no more. She must die now.”

Tabris glowered at the tree “What do you want?” The face chuckled faintly, “Now Tabris, is that anyway to treat an old tree like me?” Tabris reached out grab out of her branches but swiftly the elm smacked the back of his legs, sending him sprawling onto the ground. Tabris growled and jumped up, “Why did you do that?” Again, the tree smacked him from behind, sending him onto the ground hard. “Come now, learn to listen to your elders. You’re not too badly hurt are you?” the tree replied. Tabris started to stand up again but the elm pushed him down, “Stay down boy! Can’t even tell when’s a good time to move and when’s a good time to listen.” Tabris glared up at the tree and remain seated, “What do you want to say to me, oh mighty elm,” he taunted faintly.

The elm wrapped a branch around him and lifted him up into the air, and brought him towards her trunk, “You may call me Aralu young one. You’re Tabris, son of Tilonas, of the Tetra clan, are you not?” Tabris stared at her, fear sparked in the back of his eyes, “How do you know that Aralu.” The elm smiled and set him down. “Let’s just say… I knew your father, once, long ago.” Tabris stared up at her, “How?” Aralu smiled, and stretched her branches out, “Let us just say, he was a lot like you, restless, arrogant and strong-willed. Mind you, that’s not bad, just not good to use against elders, or even the ones you love.” Tabris looked out at the forest, the direction where he last saw Lady Dark. The elm wrapped a branch around his shoulder gently, “She’ll forgive you, but you must learn, I will help you.” At her last word he sat down and stared up at the trunk, spending the rest of the night listening to her teachings.
* * * *

Lady shook her head and drew her sword out from its sheath. She pointed it at the mans heart, “Tell me everything. Who is he, what does he want with me.” The man’s face turned ghostly white as he stared at the blade, “Milady, please… I’ll tell you. Put your sword down, I will tell, please!” Lady Dark lowered her blade slowly, but kept it in her hand. “Speak the truth, for I will know if you don’t.” Artar nodded quickly and took a deep breath, “Milady, Delucaz… you know him very well, he’s… he’s the one who made you who you are. He is the Ever Changing Man as we call him. You have come back to him in his thoughts, you believe you purged his mind of you, but you didn’t. He wants revenge for all the times you didn’t love him, as he loved you. He has tricked you into believing you have a full-blooded brother, but you don’t. He lied, deceived you. Delucaz has a plan, he knows you, and he knows what you will do… please lady, protect me from him, and I will help you get rid of him, once and for all…”

Lady trembled slightly, the sword dropped out of her hand as she collapsed onto the cold ground. Kneeling on the grass she covered her face with her hands, mumbling to herself. Artar moved over to her but was struck back by an unknown magic. “Milady, please…” Lady shook her head violently and stumbled to her feet. She grabbed hold of a willow branch and hauled herself up, climbing to the top of her tree. Lady huddled at the top, trembling in the cold air, from the chill of the night and the fear of her changer. Inside the forest, Tabris sat up quickly, sensing Lady’s distress. He stared up at the tree, “Aralu, something is wrong, I must go to her. What should I do?” Aralu smiled and stood him up, “Go to her, see whats wrong, remember what I taught you.” Tabris nodded curtly and ran swiftly into the night, heading towards the clearing.

Artar shrieked in surprise as Tabris appeared within the willow. Tabris strode over to the little man and picked him up by the neck, “Where is she, what did you do to her.” Artar squirmed and tried to speak, but his breath was cut off but Tabris’ grasp. Tabris threw him to the ground and whipped out his sword, holding the razor sharp edge against Artar’s bare throat. “I did nothing milord! Nothing! Please, I really don’t like swords!” he squeaked out. Tabris growled deeply, and Artar closed his eyes tightly, “She’s at the top of the tree, I did nothing! Just warned her of something, that’s all!” Artar let out another squawk as Lady Dark came tumbling out of the tree, landing right next to his head in crouch, her hood drawn over her face.
* * * *


Delucaz chuckled and shook his head slowly, “Come, now is the time to test out… this plan.” The imposing minion bowed to him and ran swiftly out into the night, fading into the darkness. Kain shifted slightly, and Delucaz’s head shot up, he searched the trees quickly as Kain withdrew into the shadows. Delucaz stood watching for a time, then shook his head and muttered to himself, “stupid animals…” and walked off into the night.
* * * *

Lady stood up slowly, her voice was soft, and slow, “Greetings Tabris. What brings you back here so quickly, and so… violently.” Tabris looked at her, he reached up to push back her hood but she stepped aside quickly, “please do not attempt that, not yet.” Tabris bowed his head and listened to her wishes, lowering his hand, “whats wrong Faith, I sensed a great distress within you, I had to come to you.” Lady bowed, “Thank you for coming, but what is wrong is extremely personal, and I must attend to it on my own. I trust in you to take Kain and Romien, perhaps even Callisto, and search for Sanska. That task I cannot continue, at this moment. Please do not ask, just go and do as I wish of you.” Tabris looked at her; he sighed deeply and pulled his hood up, shadowing his face, “As you wish, my love. I hope to see you soon.” He reached out and touched her cheek gently and raced off into the forest, silent and swift.

Lady Dark looked down at Artar, who was still cowering from the exchange. “You. You will come help me find Delucaz, or he will find out all about what you have told me.” The little man nodded quickly, “Of course milady, of course!” Lady bent down and picked up her sword, sheathing it she turned to him. “Where is he now Artar. Where does he stay.” Artar squeaked and stood up, “He lives in the mountains milady, or the woods closest to the mountains. Very hidden place it is, but I know where to find it!” Lady stared down at him, her eyebrow raised as she waited for him to continue. “Milady would like to go now? But its so late out, I’m so tired, please milady, let us rest. I’ll take you in the morning!” She shook her head, “No, we travel now Artar. There is no time to waste.” Artar let out a loud whine and stared up at the full moon, “But there are creatures that are more powerful with the full moon! Why tonight?” Lady growled and smacked Artar across the back of the head, “I am more powerful at the full moon. We go tonight, or I will rip your memories apart till I find the information I need. You choose which one you would prefer…”

Tabris ran faster till he was near flying over the ground, he dashed through the silent village and towards the last place he saw Kain. He used his powers and tracked down his brother, finding him; Tabris raced over to him. Kain jumped out of the way as Tabris came running up, “Gah! Second time you’ve nearly squashed me flat, Tabris. Watch where you’re going!” Tabris smirked, and glanced at Kain, “Why don’t you watch where I’m going.” Kain shrugged and looked at him, “Where were you? I’ve been searching for you, Lady said…” Tabris interrupted, “I’ve already talked to Faith, whatever she told you is old news now. Right now wants us to find Sanska, for she has another task she would not tell me.” Kain looked up at the trees, thinking. “I believe Tabris, I know what she is doing, but I can’t tell you here, or probably not at all. It’s a dangerous mission she’s on, we’d better hope she gets out, alive.”
* * * *

Lady walked out from under the Willow and transformed into a fair sized, black dragon, with glowing red eyes. The Lady Dragon kneeled down and looked at Artar, Climb onto my back, we shall fly there she told him with her mind. Artar swayed, his face pale, “Must we fly milady? I don’t do well with heights,” he squeaked out. The Lady Dragon glared at him. Fly on my back, or fly in my claws, there is no time to waste. Artar squealed and ran over to her quickly, clambering onto her back. The Lady Dragon spread her vast wings, and leaped up into the air. She soared across the starry night sky, as Artar closed his eyes tightly, gripping around her neck hard, “Fly to the mountains, where the largest meets the smallest. Delucaz should be there, or close to it.” The Lady Dragon sped across the sky silently, heading towards the mountains with hate in her heart.

Tabris looked towards the castle; “We need to get Romien and Callisto, if they’ll come. We need to find Sanska and destroy him, he is nothing but a nuisance.” Kain nodded and grinned, “race ye,” and ran off into the night, speeding towards the castle. Tabris shook his head, and muttered to himself, racing after Kain. Together they sped up towards the castle gates. Kain raced ahead of Tabris, startling Romien and Callisto who were strolling through the hallway, heading for the gate. “We were just wondering where you went, what happened in the village?” Romien inquired of Kain. Kain shook his head, “they were preparing for a festival, but we didn’t go. Many things have come up, and not all of them good.”

The Lady Dragon landed lightly in a small clearing in the forest, close the large mountain. Off, she commanded her passenger. Artar slid off gratefully and stared up her, “Now what milady, surely you don’t mean to travel now.” The Lady Dragon shifted forms till she was a small black horse, barely bigger then a pony. Of course, up you get. We have a ways to travel yet. The man let out a grumble, “Oh please milady, can’t we wait till morning?” The Lady Horse shook her head, and snorted, Now! Artar squeaked and climbed onto her back, the Lady Horse took off into the forest, running alert and noiseless through the dense trees.
* * * *

Romien slipped his arm around Callisto’s waist and looked at Tabris and Kain, “Come this way, we can talk in the garden.” He led the way to the courtyard, heading towards some trees. Suddenly clouds rolled across the sky, as lighting flashed and the rain came down hard. Kain smirked, “oh yes, lets talk here.” The four ran inside quickly to escape from the sudden storm. Dripping wet, they trudged through the halls to a quiet library. There they settled down, Romien and Callisto on a couch, Tabris and Kain sitting in chairs closer to the fireplace. Romien glanced at Tabris and Kain, “What happened, where is Lady.” Kain took a deep breath, “I have something to say, and you guys won’t like it. Not at all.” Romien glanced at Tabris then at Callisto, he wrapped an arm around her shoulder and held her close. Tabris looked at Kain, “It has to do with the second person who seeks Lady’s death isn’t it.” Kain bowed his head, “That it is, and that person, its Kalith.”

The Lady Horse ran faster through the pouring rain, she leaped over a roaring river and slid to a stop. Where to next Artar, she demanded of the little man quivering on her back. Artar muttered something and leaned closer, “We need to head northwest, towards the smallest of the mountains, but be wary there are traps.” The Lady Horse snorted and ran off into the forest, flying over the ground as she approached the smallest mountain. Artar clung on, his eyes shut tight. The Lady Horse shook her head and ran faster, leaping over a small pond she stopped quickly, dumping Artar onto the ground.

Romien looked away, and into the fire, glaring fiercely at the flames. Callisto reached out to touch his face but Romien pulled back, standing up suddenly he walked out of the library. Callisto looked at the other two, her eyes hurt and confused, “Can you tell me what is wrong with him? Who is this Kalith that you speak of.” Tabris sighed deeply and sank back into the chair, closing his eyes he kept silent, allowing Kain to explain.

Kain stared at the fire for a time before glancing back at Callisto, “Kalith. He was, a fellow traveler. We found him, and he begged us to take him with us to the forest. Tabris and I didn’t want the little twerp coming with us, but Romien convinced us otherwise. Unfortunately, Tabris and I were right about Kalith, he did lie to us. He has turned out to be the one who wants Lady dead, the most of the two. He lied to her, and to us, to get closer. Sadly for him, his plans were almost exposed when Sanska came along, but he managed to work out some kind of agreement. At the end though, when Sanska turned out to be the first and weakest of the enemies, he warned us of Kalith. Kalith, being the better of them, pretended to be greatly upset and ran off, securing his role as a hopeful murderer.”
* * * *

Artar picked himself up out of the mud, grumbling. He shook some mud off him before looking at the Lady Horse, but she wasn’t there. Artar shivered, in fear and in cold, and looked around quickly, trying to find cover. Lady Dark appeared suddenly next to Artar, making him fall over in shock. “Milady! There you are, was worried about you milady. Thought you got stolen away by a creature. An evil creature indeed!” Lady raised an eyebrow and stared down at him, “Do you really believe any creature, good or evil, would be able to steal me away?” Artar shook his head quickly, ‘’of course not milady, I was just worried.”


Lady shook her head slowly and pulled the hood over her face, looking down at him, “Where to now.” Artar stood up and grumbled at the mud, and pointed northwest, towards an evil looking part of the forest, “There, milady. Over in that part of the forest.” Lady nodded and pushed him lightly, ‘‘don’t just stand there, lead on.’’ Artar jumped a bit at the push and looked at her, his eyes wide with fright, “but milady, its so late, can’t we rest?” Lady sighed deeply and stared up at the sky, “Fine, we will rest for a few hours, but then we must continue, unless you want him to find us before we find him.”
* * * *

Callisto stood up; “I must find him. He’s so upset, I can feel it.” Kain looked back into the fire, “No point Calli, he’s too upset to listen to anyone right now.” Callisto glared at him, “Well, I’m not anyone, I’m me, and I’m going to find him.” She turned and left the library quickly, searching for Romien. Kain looked over a Tabris, “What do you think?” Tabris shrugged, keeping his eyes closed. “We might have to count them out for hunting of Sanska.” Kain nodded slowly and looked into the fire again, “Perhaps…”

Callisto ran through the halls, searching for him distraught. She raced outside and collapsed onto the wet stone in the courtyard in the pouring rain. Callisto got onto her hands and knees slowly, trembling, her wet hair tumbling onto the stone, hiding her face. “Oh Romien, where are you…” she murmured to herself, and shivered. Romien appeared next to her without warning, as if he heard her calling. “My dear Calli, why are you out here in this horrid weather?” Callisto looked up slowly, her eyes sad, “I was looking for you, you ran off so suddenly.” Romien cupped his hand under her chin, lifting it up he leaned in close, kissing her softly, “I’m sorry my love, please. Let us go inside and get dried off, I’ll make it up to you somehow.” Callisto bowed her head and stood up slowly, Romien wrapped an arm around her waist and led her inside, and gradually down to their room.

Lady sat under a tree and built a small fire, warm but not bright. “Come sit. Warm up and get some rest.” Artar sat down next to the fire, laying down he fell asleep quickly. Lady raised an eyebrow and settled back against the tree, closing her eyes. Slowly the storm went away after few hours, Lady woke up slowly and rolled over, nudging Artar hard in the back, “Up you, we go now.” Artar jumped up, and stared up at the sky, then back at the Lady, “now?” Lady glared at him, “Yes now! Lets go!” Artar squeaked, “of course milady, lead on milady, just straight ahead towards the evilest looking part of the woods.” Lady inclined her head and walked off towards the woods, making sure he was following her as they got closer to it.
* * * *

Artar shivered in the shadows as the traveled closer to Delucaz’s hideout, Crazy plan, but lead her to him I must! Else he’ll kill me, like he did my family. Lady stopped suddenly, she dropped to a crouch and moved forward a bit, peering behind a tree. Artar hid behind her and whispered, “What are you doing milady?” Lady put a finger to his lips, glaring slightly, her eyes flashing a pale red. Turning away from him she looked again, slowly creeping towards a small cave set into a tree. Artar shivered and followed her close, watching warily as they crept closer, stopping outside. Lady slipped into the cave and looked around, chuckling faintly, “Just like him, to leave it so bare.” Glancing around the room, she saw only a vulgar, low uncovered bed, and a couch like structure in front of a low burning fire. “Just like her to walk into so simple a trap.” A voice whispered in the shadows, Delucaz appeared suddenly, an evil smile playing across his white, bony face. “Just like her, to think I would forget her, after so long a time.”

Tabris stood up slowly; stretching out he glanced at Kain. “We must search for Sanska, he’s been quite a little irritant.” Kain smirked and stood up, pulling the cloak around him tighter, he walked out of the library. “Think we should ask Romien and Callisto if they want to help?” he asked Tabris. Tabris shrugged in reply, “we can try.” The two of them headed down to Romien and Callisto’s room, Kain knocked lightly on the door. The door cracked open slightly and Romien’s face appeared “What do you two want.” Tabris smiled faintly, “We were going to ask if you want to help hunt Sanska,





But even the worst decisions we make don't necessarily remove us from the circle of humanity.
— Wes Moore, The Other Wes Moore