Kailea lowered herself upon her small bed, her whole body exhausted. In the six day since Kaylarea’s awakening, she had been at her side. She and Arichi testing their skills to no end, each failure causing both to push stronger and stronger. The last attempt, combining Arichi’s and her own power in a focused attempt, had drained her completely. Kaylarea slept and would not know of the attempt that pushed her mind beyond its limits. Kailea silently thanked Ulkaur and Pankrat, both standing by in case they were needed and they were.As both Arichi and Kailea spent their considerable power, they collapsed. Pankrat and Ulkaur had acted and each had caught Kailea and Arichi as they crumbled towards the floor.
Kailea spent what little strength she had convincing Pankrat that she would be able to make it to her bed and that she also had promised to sleep. Pankrat had followed her into to her room and watched as she sat upon her bed, a stern look from Kailea as she sat upon the bed, her hands moving to the buttons on her dress. Kailea smiled as the tint of red could be seen on Pankrat’s cheeks, quickly he step out of the room and closed the door. Kailea’s smile faded as she realized she lacked the strength to even undo one button. Slowly she stretched out upon her small cot and closed her eyes, her mind racing over idea’s and possible new things to try on Kaylarea when morning came. Her mind slowed as sleep took her, her last thought not on Kaylarea but instead of Rorin. The young Paladin had run from the room. Many had seen him run down the halls towards his room. Lorin had knocked at his door over and over again; the only response was a yell to be left alone. In the morning, Mithrass and Dragons had entered Rorin’s room to find him gone, all his equipment and packs gone. Immediately Dragons had sent many out to find him or his tracks. Five days now he had been gone and only this morning had Gian returned with word of tracks that might belong to Rorin. Plans had begun already for a group to seek him out and bring him home.
As sleep took Kailea, she smiled a tiny smile. She knew he was alive, she knew his directions. With sureness she knew she could stand and point to his location. Since the day he had returned to the keep, having killed the evil Broxx, his broken body carried through the portal, Kailea had given her all to heal him. She knew when she had bent over his nearly lifeless form that she would have to give more of her self then ever she had before. She knew the risks of opening herself up to such a release of energy. Now she could feel him where ever he was. Distance could lessen the strength but no matter where he went Kailea knew she could point and walk to where he would be. The picture in her mind of Rorin smiling at her made her heart leap and her lips form a smile. Her smile grew and redness began to form on her cheeks, her dreams began to take the last mental picture of Rorin and change it to things other then a smile.
A gentle touch woke Kailea, Arichi stood over her. “Dragons has requested your presence,” Arichi said as he stepped back from the bed. Kailea nodded her head in agreement as she rose from her bed. Arichi smiled as he opened the door to Kailea’s room. “We are meeting in the main hall,” Arichi said as he stepped from the room and closed the door. Kailea felt the exhaustion in her body and her mind felt sluggish as she tried to recall the night before. Splashing water on her face, Kailea changed her robe and nibbled at the tray of sausages and warm buttered bread someone had left on her desk. The sluggishness her whole body felt, began to fade as she stepped into the hall way and closed her room door. As she opened the door to the main hall, her mind and body had begun again to race over facts and new idea’s to try on Kaylarea.
The main hall was a vast chamber. The long center table easily able to seat fifty members at once, the far end of the hall stood the raised platform where Dragons would await upon petitioners and guests alike. Smaller tables and chairs filled the said of the room. It was at one set of tables that many figures stood around. Dragons and Taeeren bent over maps and documents and many others around them listening as Taeeren spoke.
“Derugash will be here soon,” Taeeren said. “If what he has found is accurate then we have a long trip ahead of us.”
“Did he give you an idea of where this amulet may be found?” Dragons asked as he turned to Taeeren.
“He seemed confident that it is what we need to help Kaylarea and restore what was lost to her,” Taeeren said.
“What amulet?” Kailea said as she wiggled her way between others to reach Taeeren’s side.
Dragons and Taeeren turned at the sound of her voice, “Derugash sent word this morning that he has information from his order about an amulet that may help Kaylarea regain those things her mind has lost,” Dragons said.
“There wasn’t much else in his message other then he would be here this morning,” Taeeren said. “That and there was a means to restore Kaylarea. He mentioned an amulet and nothing much else.” Taeeren and Dragons both looked as they had not seen their beds in weeks. Kailea glanced between them, noting the look of frustration and exhaustion. Gently Kailea reached out and enclosed Taeeren’s and Dragons hand in hers. Her power answered her summons and a small pale blue light glowed around her hands. Both Taeeren and Dragons stiffen slightly as the exhaustion faded from their faces and bodies. Both smiled at her as she released their hands and made her way to a chair near the table. Dragons and Taeeren turned back to the table and began once again to pour over the maps and discuss plans.
Kailea sat facing the table as many argued over plans and needs. Keeping her ears on the voices at the table, Kailea’s mind turned to other things. There was a small soft glow in her mind; a small presence was the best way she could explain the feeling. When she reached out and touched the small presence she knew she touched Rorin. She knew that he was north of her, distant but alive. She thought she could feel something else about him. Not sure what this was and if any others had a presence within their minds, Kailea’s thoughts centered on the small glow of light in her mind. Concentrating harder, Kailea pushed at the small presence as softly as she could and felt heat respond to her mental touch. Unsure how she knew but the response of heat from the presence told her one thing, Pain! Rorin was in pain or he was angered beyond anything she had witnessed before.
Without thought, Kailea stood and words erupted from her lips, “GODS NO!” Kailea shouted. The voices around the table were silenced at Kailea’s outcry, Turylon and Aveen were first to reach Kailea. Slowly Kailea lowered her hands that had covered her face. The small presence had grown, grown in anger and pain. Kailea didn’t know what else to call what she felt from the small presence. The presence gave off a redness of anger and pain, filling her mind more and more.
Those around the table rushed to Kailea side, Turylon and Aveen held Kailea gently as sobs racked her body. Arichi quickly enfolded Kailea head into his hands and closed his eyes. Everyone watched as Kailea’s body relaxed and her sobs subsided. Arichi slowly released Kailea’s head and motioned to Cumari and the chair at his side. Turylon slowly lowered Kailea into the chair that Cumari had brought over at Arichi’s silent request.
“How long have you had this bond?” Arichi asked Kailea.
“What bond?” Dragons exclaimed.
Slowly Kailea raised her head and regarded Arichi with tear laden eyes.
“It would seem that lady Kailea here has unknowingly bonded her self to Rorin,” Arichi said. “When I touched her mind, I can feel him there, he is in terrible pain or he is incredibly angry. No matter which it is, Rorin is in trouble and Kailea can feel it and him.”
“The pain!” Kailea shouted and grabbed her head.
Again Arichi enfolded Kailea’s head in his hands and attempted to easy her pain. “You must learn to control this Kailea,” Arichi said as he pulled his hand free. “The pain will consume you should you let this continue untrained.”
“Is there anything you can do to help her Arichi?” Dragons asked. “Can you teach her to control this?”
“I can try,” Arichi replied. “Come Kailea, let us retire to my lab and I shall do my best to show you the means to control this new part of your life.”
Kailea nodded her head and with Aveen’s help, rose to her feet.
“A moment if you will Arichi,” Dragon said. Arichi nodded again to Aveen and watched as she led Kailea from the chamber.
“What has happened Arichi?” Dragons asked as the door closed behind Aveen and Kailea.
“Well I am not completely sure,” Arichi said. “In ages past it is said that the force of two hearts could form a bond of love. This bond is a link between two souls; I think that Kailea in her desperation to save Rorin last week pushed herself to much. She may have opened herself up to him to much and in his state Rorin may have grabbed onto her in ways he dose not understand.”
“What can she do with this bond?” Dragons asked. “I can already see that she can sense he is in pain. What more is there to this bond Arichi?”
“There is much she can do, some of which you have seen,” Arichi said. “Not only can they both feel what each other is feeling, they can locate each other over vast distances. Mind you this bonding has not been done in ages and there is much I do not know of its power and what they can do with it.”
“If she can tell us what direction Rorin has gone then that will help us greatly,” Dragons said. “Taeeren, quickly talk with her if you can and see if she can point us in the right direction.”
Taeeren nodded his head and started towards the door.
“One moment Dragons,” Arichi said. “There is one dangerous thing that I do know of this bonding. I know not the time limits but should the bond not be returned from both hearts then will each suffer incredible pain. A pain of the soul that cannot be quenched by other then unconditional love of one another. We know that Kailea has bonded Rorin to her. Whether it was by choice or not, it is done and cannot be undone. If she has bonded Rorin and he has not returned the bond then they are both in great danger.”
“What kind of danger?” Dragons said. “Will they suffer pain like we saw Kailea experience.”
“No my Lord,” Arichi said lowering his gaze from Dragons.
“Then what danger is it Arichi,” Dragons said as anger welled up inside of him. Slowly Arichi raised his head and his eyes met with Dragons. “My Lord, should this bond not be completed then they will both know a death that none here has ever seen. The failure of a bond is to rend the soul from those involved in the bond. In a sense their souls will be wrenched from their bodies, never to know piece or solace again, only great pain of a lost soul.”
Shock shown on Dragons face and those around him, fear filled his eye and many others near by. Shaking his head slightly, Dragons began to issue orders. The once quiet and worried group of people now moved with haste. As people scatted to perform different tasked assigned by Dragons, Arichi headed to his room. His trained mind rapidly searching for any memory of the bonding of Souls as he walked towards his room. A few doors from his lab, Arichi came to a sudden stop. The thought boomed in his mind. “Oh my God,” Arichi thought to himself. “Rorin is in love with Kaylarea, should he not complete the bond with Kailea then his soul will be lost for sure.” Arichi’s thoughts raced forward and for the first time in years, fear shown on Arichi’s face. “A lost soul with the power of a Paladin,” Arichi shuddered. A new painful thought entered Arichi’s mind, “Should he refuse the bond, we may have no choice but to destroy him ourselves.” Slightly shaking his head, Arichi again moved towards his lab door not conscience of wiping away the tear that slowly moved down his cheek.
Red, everywhere he look he saw red. The trees, the ground, even the sky, they all had the color of red in them. Not that it mattered to him at all, he only knew he must move, move north, always north. His feet constantly moved him forward and north, through forest and lakes he has pushed himself. His mind a constant stream of anger and pain. His thoughts almost constantly on north, heading north without knowing why. When he collapsed from sheer exhaustion and slept, his mind would ease of the northern pull and other thoughts would float to the surface. Who was he, why was everything red, why did he need to go north and most of all, what was this presence he felt at the back of his mind. This soft blue light that pulsed with a life of its own. As he slept he dreamed, dreams of carnage and destruction. Was it him that had waded through that small village, was it him that had laid about him with his sword at anything that entered his path. The picture of a young women lying on the ground, a blood spot spreading across her chest. His heart constricted as the picture pasted through his mind and nearly exploded at the next picture of a very young girl lying on the ground, her small tunic covered in blood and her hand reaching towards the small doll laying a few feet from her out stretched hand, her eyes empty of all life. More and more the images came into this mind, each worse then the next, and the pain and anger grew.
Throughout the night and in the next day, Rorin lay curled up into a ball. His body shuddering and tears flowing from his closed eyes. Close to noon, Rorin awoke and with out thought rose from the ground, grabbing his sword, he again began to head north. Unnoticed were the thorns that cut at him as he passed through bushes, unnoticed were the tree branches that he simply pushed through, unnoticed was the darkened dried blood that covered his sword from hilt to deadly tip.
“You should be able to catch up to Lorin,” Dragons said to Taeeren. “He is heading in the direction you will be going. I have sent word that he is going the wrong way and he is returning.” Taeeren acknowledged Dragons with a nod of his head. “Take him with you and Derugash in search of this amulet, you may need his skills where you are going. Borlin is loading the pack horses and supplies; he will also be going with you. I already sent Finnaula in the direction that Kailea said Rorin was heading. Razbaz, Pankrat, and Cumari have asked to join Kailea and Aveen in search of Rorin. They should catch up to Finn soon enough.”
“Arichi didn’t give me any time limit on Kaylarea’s cure,” Taeeren said. “He said that there was none written down in regards to how soon the cure must be accomplished.”
“I know,” Dragons said, “Never the less, hurry as best you can.”
“I shall,” Taeeren said. “I need only grab my packs and meet Borlin and Derugash in the stables.” Taeeren turned and headed for the door.
“You have your symbol Taeeren and I ask that you keep in touch,” Dragons said.
With a nod and look of determination on his face, Taeeren opened the door and left. Dragons watched him go, his thoughts jumping from one thing to the next. Kailea had learned some control over the bond with Rorin with Arichi’s help. Enough control to block the pain flowing from Rorin. Three days of working with Arichi and she was able to tell Rorin’s direction. Already she and Aveen were preparing to follow after Rorin. A small smile appeared on Dragons face, “Those dam Paladins.” Dragons thought. One at a time they had come to him. First Razbaz, then Cumari, and then Pankrat each demanding the right to search for Rorin. Razbaz had told Dragons of his conversation with Arichi and the danger that would come about if Rorin was not saved. Arichi told Razbaz that Rorin’s greatest chance was to be held by those of his order. Paladins to aid in holding his mind together. Razbaz had tried to explain to Dragons the parts of Paladin training the many did not know. The intensive training that every Paladin was required to go through, the training of the mind to ease the suffering of an injured Paladin. Dragons still didn’t quite understand this mind holding but he did trust Razbaz in his knowledge of the Paladin order, even Lorin made comments on Razbaz’s vast knowledge of the order. Soon after Razbaz had left, Cumari came and requested also to accompany the small team. Stating again to Dragons the skills of Paladins to ease the minds of other Paladins, and following Cumari’s visit, came Pankrat. Dragons forestalled Pankrat’s explanation of the Paladin skills and informed him that Razbaz and Cumari had already told him about the skill they possessed.
Taeeren would be heading to the deep north, looking for a fabled amulet that is said to restore ones mind and cure any illness of the mind. Kailea and crew would be following after Rorin. Their hope that they could catch him and with the Paladins skill ease his tortured mind and return him home. Dragons was reluctant to let Kailea go but Razbaz had made a good argument that she would be able to lead them right to him. Arichi had said it might help Rorin and if the bond could be accepted from his side then all danger would be gone. Still Dragons wondered, everyone knew Rorin was in love with Kaylarea and she with him, well she was before her terrible loss. Too many unanswered question roamed Dragons mind, shaking his head, Dragons returned to the business of running the Syndicate. As he sat at his desk and reviewed the many stacks of paper before him, his mind never once stopped thinking of the people in danger and those trying to help. To him there were his family, not just people but a part of him that was in pain. With sigh of helplessness, Dragons tried to burry his thoughts in the mounds of paper work before him.
Slowly Arichi closed the door to the main hall, having watched as Taeeren left and Dragons sat again at his desk. It was evident that Dragons mind was not on his paper work and that he was worried about his family. Slowly closing the door, Arichi motioned to Candu and Mithrass to follow him.
“No matter the cost to you or the guild,” Arichi said as he faced both Monks in his Room. “If Rorin cannot be saved then it falls to you two to stop him. If he is allowed to reject the bond then he will be a force that I fear even the combined Guild could not take apart.”
Candu and Mithrass looked at one another. Arichi had shown them the old documents describing the power that would infuse one that rejected a soul bond. The old writing had made it clear that a Paladin or Shadow Knight were the worse kind of people to let this happen too. Their power would be near invincible and they would be unstoppable in their rage to end their pain.
“You have one chance,” Arichi told them both. “He cannot reject the bond unless the bonding one is within his eye sight. You will know when if he rejects the bond, his body will turn the color of red, this is when you will have to strike and strike fast, for if you cannot take his life from him before he completes the change, then woe to us and this world. He will be a force that many will flee from.”
Candu and Mithrass looked to each other, seemly silent words passed between then and with a nod from both, they stepped around Arichi and headed down the hall, their pace quickening more as the rounded the last corner and left Arichi’s sight. Arichi again moved towards his room and lab, his thoughts reaching out for that one he knew would not hesitate, the one person that Rorin would not run from but instead embrace; the one person, for the better of the Guild, would do what had to be done should Candu and Mithrass fail.
“Yes Arichi,” Tarzool’s musical voice filled Arichi’s mind.
“Where are you my friend?” Arichi’s mind sent. “I, the guild, and Rorin have need of you.”
“I have heard the news of Rorin and I am close to the keep,” Tarzool said.
“Then let me fill you in as you arrive,” Arichi sent through the link. Arichi’s pace slowed as he mentally sent all the information he had on what had happened to Rorin. As he describe what could happen should Rorin refuse the bond Arichi could feel Tarzool’s mind harden it’s self to a task he would hate, a task that would hound his mind and nightmares for his entire life, still a task he would do to save the Syndicate any harm.
“I understand Arichi,” Tarzool’s mind sent. “I shall re-supply and find Rorin’s trail.”
“Thanks my friend and may the gods grant you speed,” Arichi said as he closed the link with Tarzool. Arichi closed his door behind him as he stepped into his lab room. His thoughts centered on the outcome when someone finally met up with Rorin.
Dragons stood upon the keep battlements and watched as the two groups left the keep, each group heading in their own direction. Taeeren and Borlin, one either side of Kaylarea’s horse and Derugash bringing up the rear, Kaylarea’s hope of sanity lying in their hands. Dragons was sure that they with Lorin’s help would be able to find this cure and help Kay remember her past.
Dragons turned to watch the last party leave the gates and head north. Pankrat, Razbaz, Cumari, Aveen and Kailea following the path that Finn had laid down only hours before. This party held the unknown; would they find Rorin in one piece and if so would they be able to help him; With Rorin in love with Kaylarea, what would the bond that Kailea form do to him, what would it do to Kailea. Dragons turned away from the battlement as both partied rode out of sight. As he walked the stairs to the main keep, his eyes fastened on Arichi as he moved from the main hall door to the small hall that the magic users used to practice their skill. Many thought that Dragons mind was centered on the business of running the guild and that he left other matters to his officers and aids, and they were wrong. The had been some rumors that Candu, Mithrass and even Tarzool had taken on some errand from Arichi. All three had left the keep early this morning without word of why and where they were going. Although it had bothered Dragons that Arichi had made other plans and not consulted him, Dragons ignored the desire to question Arichi and instead forced his mind to trust that the man knew what he was doing.
With his head filled with many questions and concerns, Dragons entered the keep and again turned to the task of running the Syndicate.
Slowly she moved up the path that now entered the small village. With one weapon in hand and moving in a slow and cautious way, Finn quietly entered the village. She had scanned this side of the village from the woods. Normally she would have just walked in, but the lack of sound and any movement had caused her to stop and watch for a time. This small village was only ten miles from the keep and the population enjoyed the protection of the Syndicate. Still Finn could feel the wrongness as she came upon the first building. Finn followed the main road through the village and as she rounded the first building, she stopped dead in her tracks. Bodies! Everywhere she looked bodies lay upon the ground. Some seemed asleep and other lay with the stain of blood on their bodies. Slowly Finn approached the closest body and bent to examine the unmoving form. The form of a young woman lay face down, gently Finn began to turn the body over, knowing that no life beat within as she touch the cold stiff form. Finn resisted the urge to empty her stomach as the woman’s body flopped on to its back, the large wound from her shoulder to her hip evidence of a sword slice, the white tunic she wore, covered in blood and no longer white but instead a reddish pink from the blood that had come from the large wound.
Slowly Finn stood from the dead woman and began to check the other forms that lay about, men, women, and children lay everywhere and none Finn found lived. Lifting her head to the sky, Finn let out a high pitched whistle. Shortly she heard his footsteps before he came around the corner and entered the small village.
As Finn did, Darvo stopped dead in his tracks, his eyes taking in all the bodies that lay on the ground. Finn watched Darvo swallow back the urge to empty his stomach and slowly move to her side.
“Have you found any alive?” Darvo said.
“I have not checked the houses yet and to be honest I really don’t want to,” Finn said. “I did find some tracks on the way out of the village.”
“Are they his?” Darvo asked.
“I am not sure,” Finn said. “There are more then just one set. I think one of the set of foot prints are his, but Darvo there are others and two sets I have not seen before.”
“I know what Dragons and Arichi said about Rorin, but Finn, I don’t think he could do this no matter what state he is in.” Darvo said as he pointed out some of the younger bodies. “He is just not this way.”
“I know hun,” Finn said as she pointed at a near by body, “still the wounds on most would be the kind made by his blade.”
“I won’t believe it till I see him myself!” Darvo said. Show me these tracks and let us find him before something else happens to him, he needs us now Finn.”
Finn nodded and Darvo followed her to the other side of the small village. After looking close that the many tracks that Finn had found, Darvo nodded his head as Finn lead him out of the village and following what she thought would be Rorin's trail.
As Finn followed the signs of Rorin, her thoughts roamed in her mind. Tracking was one of her many skill and by far the better of them, still she could not identify two sets of the tracks that now followed Rorin’s. These same tracks seemed to be tracking Rorin also. Slowly a small ball of fear began to form in her heart, her friend Rorin was in trouble that was true, but could she and Darvo help him with this trouble that she couldn’t identify……………………………………