Rorin stared in wonder at the large statue as the boat began to dock in Fironia Vie. Four days at sea had turned Rorin’s legs into noodles, lacking strength and substance, he was anxious to set foot upon dry land again but the beautiful statue drew his eyes towards it.

Kaylarea leaned down and softly blew into Rorin’s ear, her face lit up with a smile as he turned to face her. “You going to just stand there short stuff,” Kaylarea giggled at Rorin. “We need to resupply and find directions to the lake.” Shaking his head, Rorin picked up Kay’s pack and without a word to her, followed her down the boarding plank, muttering under his breath about her calling him short stuff yet again.

“Do all women persist in pestering men,” Rorin thought to himself. The four-day trip on the sea had been uneventful. Rorin and Kay had taken the time to plan their way to the lake. The Captain had some extra maps and for a small fee parted with them. Rorin poured over them and with Kay’s help they decided on their path.

Entering the city, they stopped a city guard and received directions to the nearest tavern. The city was busy but not crowded. Many people walked the streets. Stopping at the street vendors or entering the local merchant shops. Rorin and Kay had grown accustom to large cities and soon they found a tavern that could restock their supplies. After a brief meal, they both headed to the large bridge that lead out of town.

“I still don’t see why we couldn’t buy a mule or horse to carry all of these supplies?” Rorin asked. “If we get in a bad situation, it will cost us time to get these packs off”

Kaylarea turned to Rorin and smiled, “So you think you are over burdened then?” Kaylarea dropped her pack and swung her staff at Rorin’s head. With one fluid movement Rorin dropped his packs and had his sword up to block the staff. “I do believe you whine way to much short stuff,” Kaylarea said. With a small grin and shake of her head, Kay started off again down the path. Grumbling to himself, Rorin picked up his pack and started after her.

A few minute from the city, they found the path they needed. A small stream lay to the left of the path and seemed to follow the same direction as the path. After a few hours walking the on the small path, Rorin stopped and turned to Kay.

“It will be dark soon,” Rorin said. “Lets find a place to camp.” Kay nodded her head and followed Rorin from the path into a small clearing. Kaylarea set out some food while Rorin started a fire. After setting up their bedrolls and cleaning up after their dinner, they both lay down in their bedrolls.

“How are we going to find Roland?” Kaylarea asked. “We know he was in this city and then headed towards his family home some where in the Frontier Mountains. Still he could have taken any path to get there. The map shows more then one path in the general direction”

“Well I am thinking that the path that follows the edge of the mountains should be our route,” Rorin said as his finger pointed out the path leading near the mountain range on his map. “It doesn’t seem to be near any of the ruins or populated areas. Stealth should be something we need to keep up, I am not sure what there is out her to worry about but if Roland was set upon then we need to show caution.”

“Ok that sounds like a good idea,” Kaylarea said. “I will take first watch, you try and get some rest.” Rorin opened his mouth to argue that he should take first watch, but looking up at Kay he thought better of it. Grumbling to himself, Rorin laid down on his bedroll and pulled his blanket up and closed his eyes, sleep was slow in coming.

Kaylarea dawned her cloak and leaned against a tree away from the fire. Making sure she was not seen from the camp, she let her eyes scan the area. She had spent most of her life in the woods and it was the one place she always felt at home. Closing her eyes for a moment, Kay sent out her forest sense, letting it sweep across the surrounding area. A small tree mouse was hurrying to his burrow with a small nut to feed his young; two deer were drinking from a small stream, the buck watching over the doe as she drank; a badger lay snoring in his home, warm and content. Slowly a smile spread across Kay’s face. All of mother’s creatures seemed content; this told Kay that there was very little danger close by.

Glancing back at the camp, Kay closed her eyes again and began to mummer a spell. With a small gesture, she completed her spell. Her sense now attuned to the surrounding forest, Kay relaxed and allowed her mind to drop into a semblance of sleep. Although she appeared to be asleep, her senses would alert her to any approaching person or animal. This allowed her to rest and still be alert.

Kay’s mind lapsed into memories. Thoughts of her mother and father at home, thoughts of her home, thoughts of surprise at being away from her home and not homesick to return. Her thoughts roamed from one thing to another, finally coming to rest on thoughts of Rorin. The little dwarf was a pain sometimes for sure, but still she couldn’t help but smile when she thought of him. He always seemed to make her smile when things were bleak. Although he tried to show a serious manner to everyone, Kay knew he was a caring and a funny man to be around. “I am a Paladin now,” Rorin would say to her. “I must be serious and maintain proper composure at all times.” Each time he would say this, Kay would giggle, she knew how he really was and his attempts to look serious would only result in his looking silly. Her giggling would always make his temper rise and he would end up stomping away, Kay giggling even more as he walked away from her. Still she couldn’t understand why she would just sit and stare at him, or without thought, follow him wherever he would go. Kay knew she cared for him deeply but still her thoughts plagued her with doubt; do I love him? She would think to herself. “Dose he feel the same for me? Sure we spend great amounts of time together and we are both very good friends, giving of ourselves without question, but still how far dose that go? Is this love?” Kay thought to herself. Kay smiled and her thoughts turned to other memories of times spent together with Rorin. Many times Kay’s face would deepen with red as her thoughts roamed over many funny and interesting memories

The heart-piercing scream brought Kay to her feet immediately. Quickly she scanned the area, searching back and forth for the source of that scream. A light touch at her shoulder caused Kay to turn and swing her staff. Rorin’s hand caught the staff as it came towards his head. “It’s me,” Rorin said as he held onto her staff. Slowly Kay lowered her staff and stepped closer to him. “I am sorry,” Kay, said, “I didn’t hear you approach.” Rorin released her staff and turned to look at the woods, Kay noticed he had his sword in his hand, his every movement told of readiness. A sense of security settled over Kay and she moved to stand at his side, also scanning the forest for the direction of the scream.

“Can you feel anything on track?” Rorin asked.

“Nothing is in my range,” Kay answered. “Still I think it came from straight ahead, what ever it was, it must be just out of my range.”

“Sit tight and I will have a look-see,” Rorin said as he softly stepped in the direction Kay had pointed.

“You are not leaving me here alone,” Kay said as she stepped with him.

Rorin grumbled under his breath as he nodded his head and slowly continued forward, Kay instep behind him.

Rorin eyes adjusted to the deeper dark as they moved away from the campfire. His senses alert and sword held firmly in his hand. Although he knew Kay was right behind him, he couldn’t hear her; her skill in the woods was very impressive. Increasing his pace, Rorin let his awareness open to the forest, his ever nerve alert and ready. After a few minutes of walking, Rorin came to a stop.

“Anything?” Rorin asked.

“Yes, ahead of us, there are several large forms, I am not sure what they are,” Kay answered.

“What ever they are, be ready. This is not good at all,” Rorin said.

“How can you tell?” Kay Asked. “They may be travelers like us”

“I am not sure if they are or not, but tell me, what else can you hear,” Rorin asked as he continued forward.

Kay looked around them, and slowly she realized that there were no other sounds in the forest. Deathly silence surrounded the both of them, a sure sign that something was wrong.

Rorin stopped in his tracks at the sudden sounds of metal meeting metal. Muffled voices sounded out ahead of them and again the ringing sound or metal meeting metal. Rorin recognized that sound, someone or something was fighting with a sword. With a burst of speed, Rorin shot forward, all thoughts of stealth forgotten as he surged into a run. Kay sped behind him, her hands moving in magical gestures. Dodging back in and around the tress, Rorin felt the tingling of one of Kay’s spells settle over him. He smiled without losing stride. He knew she had cast some protection on him as he sped forward. Never did he have any doubts when Kay was with him. They always seemed to know what was need of each other in times of desperation or battle.

Rorin came to a sudden halt as he burst from large bushes and into a clearing. He stopped in what looked like a small camp, across the campfire the elf swung his sword back and forth, attempting to fend of the attacks of three large skeletons. Behind the Elf, a woman lay on the ground. She was trying to gain her feet but she was slow in rising. One moment Rorin appraised the situation and in the next he was in a full run again. Rorin leaped over the fire and came down on the three skeletons, knocking them down like bowling pins. Coming to his feet, Rorin spun and brought his sword before him. The skeletons had also regained their feet and now turned in his direction, only a few feet separate Rorin and the skeletons. Stepping forward, Rorin brought his blade around in a wide arc, aimed at the first skeletons bony midsection. A satisfying crunch reached Rorin’s ears as his sword passed through the first skeleton, reducing it to a pile of bones. Sidestepping a skeletons downward chop, Rorin twisted and swung, again the sound of crunching bones was the answer to his swing. Pulling his sword back, Rorin turned to meet the next skeleton, but instead of only one, there now stood four skeletons. Not one to fool himself into thinking he was invincible and that the skeletons poised no threat, Rorin braced himself for what he knew would be a hard fight. The skeletons started forward as one, weapons raised.

Surprise caught the skeletons off guard as from behind the elf swung into them. Confused and unsure where or who to attack first, the skeletons hesitated. This hesitation was all Rorin needed, with a yell he launched himself into the skeletons. Bringing his sword from over his head, he chopped at the first skeleton. The ring of metal on metal in his ears had little effect. Again he swung his sword at the skeleton, aiming at his chest. This time his blade tasted bone as his sword sliced though four ribs, and destroying three more as his sword pulled free.

Rorin stepped back, ready for the next skeleton he knew would be coming. To his surprise, no skeleton attempted to attack him. A short distance away, the elf battled two skeletons, at his feet the bones of at least 4 crushed skeletons. Further on, Kay pressed her attack against five more skeletons. At Kay’s side stood the fallen lady, swinging her sword back and forth along side Kay. As Rorin took a step to aid Kay, five more skeletons burst into the small clearing, only a few steps from the elf. Instantly Rorin called on his inner power. Uttering the need words, Rorin held up his hand in the direction of the newly arrived skeletons. A burst of white raw power erupted from Rorin’s hand, streaking towards the five skeletons that even now raised their swords to strike the elf. The first three skeletons burst into dust, the last two crumbled to the ground in a piles of bones, motionless. The spell didn’t stop there, the remaining skeleton attacking the elf crumbled to the ground. Two of the five skeletons attacking Kay also crumbled to the ground. Rorin rushed to Kay’s side, his sword moving in a wide arc, slicing through the side of one skeleton and into the next. Rorin drew his sword back to strike the remaining skeleton, but it crumbled under the massive blow of the elf as he struck it from behind.

Rorin spun about, looking for more to arrive; slowly he scanned the area, his eyes intent on everything that moved. Satisfied that they were safe for the moment, Rorin turned back to the others.

Kay was at his side, the other woman had fallen again to the ground and Rorin could see blood dripping from many wounds. Brushing past the elf, Rorin and Kay reached the women side, after a quick check of the woman injuries, both nodded to each other in silent agreement. Rorin pulled his gloves from his hands and laid his hands against the woman’s chest. Concentrating his will, for the second time that day, summoned his inner power. As before, white power flowed from Rorin’s hands and into the ladies body. Kay watched in wonderment as each wound stopped bleeding and closed, leaving only a small pink scar. Slowly at first but with increasing speed, each wound closed and color returned to the woman’s skin. Slowly the power faded from Rorin’s hands and he sat back, exhaustions clearly written on his face. Gently Kay held onto him and lowered him to the ground, talking to him in whispers as she laid her cloak over his body, watching as his eye lids slid shut.

Sure the Rorin was well and resting, Kay turned to the woman and checked her condition. All her wounds seemed to be closed and she had regained her color. Her breathing was strong and Kay felt a strong heartbeat. Looking around, Kay took a cloak from what she assumed were the ladies supplies and covered the woman, placing another soft blanket under her head.

The sound of movement behind her caused Kay to jump to her feet and to spin around, fear that more skeletons were approaching. Behind her the elf sank to one knee, then to the other. His face was pale white and his arms shook as his swords fell from his grasp. Kay rushed to his side as he collapsed in a heap. Catching his head before it hit the ground, Kay saw the many wounds the elf had sustained. Quickly Kay removed her own cloak and placed it under his head. Moving her hands in arcane gestures, Kay began to cast a spell. A white-blue nimbus formed around her hands, satisfied with the completeness of her spell, Kay placed her hands on the elf’s chest. As with the woman, the elf’s cuts stopped bleeding and closed, leaving a small scar. Kay sat back on her heels, exhaustions attempting to take her. Shaking her head in attempt to clear it, Kay rose to her feet and found another blanket, this she placed over the slumbering elf. With fatigue settling into every part of her body, Kay checked on Rorin and the other lady, satisfied with their condition, she built of the fire and rummaged through the packs near by. Finding some water and food, Kay sat and ate to restore her strength. Leaning against a tree, Kay’s eyelids slowly slid shut and what food she had in her hands slid from her fingers to the ground.

A smile spread across Rorin’s face as he watched Kay fall into a deep sleep. Pushing back his blanket, Rorin rose to his feet and stretched his limbs. Still tired, he had gained enough strength to remain awake while the others recovered. For the remainder of the night, Rorin built of the fire and brought more wood in. he stood watch while the others slept. Before the morning light began to show in the sky, Rorin checked on those sleeping and made sure all was well. His strength had returned and he felt read to continue on.

Just two hours after sunrise, Kay awoke with a start; she looked around and smiled when she saw Rorin standing watch. Rising to her feet, Kay walked to Rorin and gave him a hug. “Thanks short stuff, for letting regain my strength,” Kaylarea said as she hugged Rorin tighter.

Rorin smiled at Kay and returned the hug. “What do we do about these two?” Rorin asked looking at the two slumbering forms.

“Well we cant leave them like this, we should at least wait until they are able to move on their own and are healthy enough to take care of them selves,” Kay said.

Nodding his head, Rorin walked over to check on the couple again. Kay sat and ate some of the food that Rorin had made. Still warm, Kay dove into the food with a vengeance. .

Kay and Rorin sat and kept the camp going for most of the day. Not wanting to leave the couple alone in their condition, and yet eager to continue their journey. They decided to wait until the couple was well on their own.

Early in the evening, both the elves began to awake. Rorin and Kay each helped the couple to sit up and also to get some food in them.

“I want to thank you for help,” the elf said to Rorin. “I am Darvo and she is Finnaula, Finn for short.” Finn smiled up at Kay as Rorin gazed in her direction.

“We have no way to repay you for your efforts but offer what little we have in payment,” Darvo said to Rorin.

“Payment is not necessary at all, we were glad to help and we are glad we were in time to help,” Rorin said. “What brings you two out here alone? Any idea why those skeletons attack you both?”

Darvo sat up straighter and looked Rorin in the eyes. “We are adventures, seeking out our fortune and fame. There place is covered with foul beast and there is much bounty for some of the skins and items that these beast carry. Times are slow back in Faydark and so we came here to increase our fortune,” Darvo said glancing back and forth between Finn and Rorin. “We have been this area for about week now and so far this is the first time the skeletons have come at us in force. Most times they are single targets and seldom with others. I guess we must have angered them and they sought to take us both out in one attack. I guess they will have to rethink themselves now, they were not expecting you and your friend to help out.”

“Forgive us Darvo,” Kaylarea said giving Rorin a reproachful look. “I am called Kaylarea and my companion is Rorin. Forgive my short friend for not introducing us, he is dense sometimes and his manners need work. We are seeking a friend that was last seen in this area.” Finn giggled and Darvo smiled as Rorin grumbled. Kay’s face was split into a wide grin, unable to contain herself any longer, Kay laid back and roared with laughter as Rorin stood up and pretended to tend the fire. The laughter died down and Rorin announced that dinner was ready. Darvo and Finn rose and gingerly came to sit at the fire. Rorin and Kay filled a plate for each and then joined them in silence as everyone ate.

“Who is your lost friend?” Darvo asked. “Finn and I have been in these woods and the surrounding area for about a month now, perhaps we may have seen him.” Rorin turned to Darvo and told him of Roland and what he looked like. As Rorin gave Roland’s description, Darvo glanced at Finn and both their faces showed knowledge and concern.

“We have seen your friend Rorin, about two weeks ago. He was traveling alone and shared our fire for one night. He was a nice fellow and in the morning he left to continue his journey home. Later that same day, Finn and I came across a place with three dead lizards. We checked the place out and thought it strange that someone would kill these foul things and not take the money or armor that was still on them. These things sell for good money in town. Well while we checked over the bodies, Finn found a cloak that was not made for a lizard. She is sure that it looked the same as the Cloak that Roland was warring.”

“Can you show me where this happened?” Rorin asked.

“Sure can, it is not to far from here, about a 2 hour walk,” Darvo said.

We can go look in the morning, it is going to be dark soon and I would prefer to travel in the day light when we can,” Rorin said

“Fine with me,” Darvo said. “Umm Rorin there is one other thing. The cloak was covered in blood when we found it. Roland looked like a good fighter but we found tracks that indicate at least ten of the lizard beast. I don’t know if he was that good.”

Rorin’s face darkened at the words from Darvo, “You may be right, but I must see for myself. Who knows it may not have been him at all. Still if you would give me direction in the morning I shall find out.”

“I’ll do better then that, Finn and I will show you where it happened,” Darvo said.

“Thank you but I cannot accept that,” Rorin said. “We would not endanger you both in this.”

“Please allow us to return the favor you have given us today Rorin. Let us show you we are much better then we looked earlier today, that I can promise you,” Finn said.

“Danger! Heck I love danger,” Darvo said as his face split into a wide grin. “No one lives for ever and I plan on living each moment to it’s fullest. Besides, you have saved both of us and cannot let you go off alone. There are advantages in numbers and we both owe you for saving our lives.”

Rorin shook his head as Darvo spoke. He opened his mouth to decline Darvo’s offer of help, when Kay said, “Thank you Darvo, we will be glad to have your company tomorrow. Now then lay back and rest. Both of you need to rest and regain your strength.” Kay winked at Rorin as she began to clean up after the evening meal. Rorin shrugged his shoulders and shook hands with Darvo, “We will be glad to have you along Darvo, thanks again.”

Darvo’s eyes lit up as he let go of Rorin’s hand.

As the dinner mess was clean up and the fire stoked, Finn and Darvo told of their adventures in the surrounding area. Late into the night both couples talked. Telling of their homes and adventures.

Kaylarea sat back and watched as Rorin and Darvo talked about killing things and different kinds of armor and weapons. Slowly a smile spread across her face. “Yes my love, it is good for you to finally find a friend. I am happy for you, but do not think this will get rid of me at all,” Kaylarea thought to her self. “Wait! Did I just say I loved him?” Kay thought to her self in shock. “Then it must be true, for I cannot deny my feelings for him, least ways not to my self,” Kay’s thought to her self again.

Kay smiled even bigger as her thought ran threw her head. Other thoughts started to roam in her mind, thoughts that made her face change color, when Finn approached here and sat down on the log next to her.

“Men, is that all they can think or talk about,” Finn said to Kay “You would think that the world was all about who had the best weapon or the biggest scar.”

“Men are men,” Kay said. “That is what we are here for, to let them know there is more to life then weapons and monsters to kill. Fear not Finn, they will realize this sooner or later, and I am hoping for sooner, but not to worry. We can help to make it sooner,” Kaylarea Giggled.

Kay and Finn continued to talk together as Rorin and Darvo talked of their monsters and great epic battles they have been in and they had single handedly won. Ever once and a while, Rorin and Kay ‘s eyes would me. Each would smile and then turn back to their conversations.
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