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The hooded figure made its way down the muddy road, the rain pouring off of it as it huddled

under the heavy cloak, on top of the large armored horse. There were two paths to take, one to the left, one to the right, and the rain didn't seem to want to let up enough for the figure to make out the signs. There was a left, following a well worn path. stamping of hooves as the horse and rider made their way to the "Hooahn, we need to get out of this rain. I should have put

up that pavillian five miles ago." Came the feminine voice, speaking to the horse.

Hooahn snorted and tossed his head, as if in agreement. She sighed. Suddenly, the horse stopped, pawing the ground, then turned to the left once again. There was a large open area that she could tell was a wide vale uncovered y rush or trees, and had more than enough room. "!ood idea, Hooahn." The woman patted his neck and

dismounted, digging around in one of the large pouches at her side. She produced a small patch of cloth, intricate in detail, that resem led a grand tent, with many colored dags and anners. She tossed it to the ground, in the middle of the pouring rain. landed, and the woman "uickly led Hooahn inside.

Instantly, a huge pavillian appeared on the spot where the patch They oth entered through a flap that led to a make#shift

sta le. It was dimly lit y small glo es of light in the upper

reaches of the canvas, and it revealed a large ed of straw, arrel of water and wooden chest that was so e$eweled that it looked

tacky, fake. There were small ta les and racks ehind where the ed of straw lay, and there was where she placed his armored arding, after unsaddling and ridling him. He nosed at the $eweled o%, and she opened it, revealing a

large "uantity of richly green hay. He uried his nose into it, and soft cloths and oils, then egan to clean her horse. He was &' egan to eat. She produced curry com s and rushes, as well as

hands at the shoulder, with a dapple grey that almost lended in with the color of the pavillian's canvas. His neck arched as he lifted his head to move to the arrel of water, and when he lifted his mu((le again, he shook, letting his white mane ripple in the dim light. ")hh, you o%*" she said $okingly as she patted him on the

rump. +hen she finished with his cleaning, she removed her support poles, and kicking off her oots to dry eside it.

outer clothing, hanging the soaked cloak on a peg on one of the She was tired, ut it was a good kind of tired where she

knew that she had accomplished much in the past town, the last few weeks "uickly whisked away y her knowing that the road was now open to her and her horse. The payments were well worth her time, and her privacy. Her private cham er was cold and dark, so she lit the small

stove, set up small glo es of light for illumination, and undressed. She laid out all of her wet clothing on a rack in a corner, allowing for it to all dry. ,n pegs she hung her elt, and the precious pouches that she carried her life within. She draped her

kid#skin gauntleted gloves over the rack as well. Such power in such simple items made her look at them in the same awe she had when she first received them. She made her way along the inside of the large tent,

chanting strings of words that sounded like the a

le of a rook

in the summer sun. Soon the roaring of the rain on the roof

su sided to a dull patter pat, and she smiled. -inally, a reason to use that spell. The reali(ation that it had een pent up inside her made her laugh. She'd memori(ed the spell months ago, when she thought she was going to a place she knew would rain. middle of a drought. She went ack to her room, which was connected to Hooahn's sta le y the same thin canvas walls, and caught sight of herself in the full length mirror on her wardro e door. She looked away "uickly, for she had never gotten used to the immage the reflection had given her since that fateful day in ./&., the day she had changed. )ll angles and pale skin, white at one time, ut she didn't care. It wasn't she who stared ack een in the past. hair and large eyes. She could have passed for some supermodel with the frustrated scowl, ut some mockery of what she had She touched her face as her ack was turned to the mirror, However, when she got there, it turned out that it was in the

and ran fingernails down the cheeks to her chin. She wished she could tear this ody away and return to herself, )she the short, )she the tu y, )she the every#day girl... ut she couldn't. This

was who she was now. She was an 0lf, a Sidhe as some would have titled her. She didn't care for titles, even though over the hundreds of years in this ody she had gained "uite a few. She was tired, tired of the rain, tired of the travel, tired of

the way she looked and sounded. )fter all this time, she would find days like this, and $ust rest. So she did.

She turned and layed down in the ed. She closed her eyes, )t least for

and sighed in relief. The end of the road was here.

now, until the rain let up. Soon she found herself in a deep sleep, forgetting her malcontent, and replaced it with memories of good days, which seemed to outweigh the ad. nomping at her nose. She woke to a horse's mu((le pushing at her face, lips ",h, sorry, sweetie* I guess I was more tired than I thought.

I'll get another ale for you." she got up out of ed, stretched, long arms nearly glowing in the dim firelight she forgot that she had started $ust efore she passed out. "It's pro a ly later than I thought, as well." She announced to the room in general.

She went to her racks, lifted one of the many ags from it,

and dug inside for a green patch of cloth. It looked as if the finest em roidery had detailed alfalfa hay in perfect symmetry. She led Hooahn ack to his sta le, and tossed the little s"uare into the ornate chest, which then urst out the top with sweet#smelling hay. Hooahn lew through his nose, and nickered, urying his face in it once again.

"I think we'll wait out the rain, pal." she said as she leaned on his road side, feeling him reathing deeply as he ate. "I don't feel like traveling too much right now, either." He curled his head shoulder with a gentle fist. around, pushing her over a step. "1not#head*" she thumped his She went ack to her ed, flicking her fingers over it, small

sounds coming from her throat. The ed egan to make itself, covers lifting and shaking, sending its of sand and drips of corner of the room. The pillows fluffed themselves, and the simple pleasures such cantrips made her life.

water to the floor, where a small wind seemed to push it all to the lankets tucked in and around the pillows. She smiled at the ) small ta le sat y the stove, and the small glo es of light

once more illuminated her cooking area. She pulled small its of chicken and vegeta les from her satchels, as well as her s and of the fi%ings for a rich chicken stew. spices. The pot she had simmering on the stove was filled with all )fter her meal, she sat and produced a very large ook from

another of the precious pouches. It was ound in dark leather, the spine illuminated with gold leaf inlays that wound and knotted from top to ottom. She smiled, took another drink of water, and went to memori(ing new spells to make up for the ones she had used. The lights urned for hours, the rain kept coming, pit#

patting and dully roaring over the magical u

le she had placed

over her snug pavillian. )cross the land, the rain came down, and clouds covered the night sky. She went ack to her ed near dawn, and lay on top of her

2emories flashed through her head of her past. There was a tall, dark haired man, a sunny river, shacks, pavillians, anners and pennants. ) large red dragon and a smaller purple one sat in conference with a woman with long, rown hair.

lankets. She took three even, deep reaths, and closed her eyes.

3leasant, restful memories all sank her into a deep reverie.

The days, weeks, months and years flew through her mind, sweet smells and dark shadows crept in on her senses. There were parties of whirling dancers, whirling swords and the clash of

steel against steel. 2asked alls, lavish feasts, and a long road with companions ahead of her and ehind. She was filled with the sense of contentment. +hen her eyes fluttered open, the rain was still falling, ut it

was lighter outside. She rose, checking her clothing, and

e"uipment, making sure all dampness was out of them. She

looked to the side wardro e she had, in which were cleaner traveling clothes. She pulled out soft denim $eans and a dark red silk louse. She found clean socks, underwear and dressed in silence. The sound of feet shuffling in a ed of straw ne%t door

reminded her of the wonderful colt she traveled with. She went

over to the flap, and ducked under, smiling as he swung his head over to meet her with a soft whicker. She stepped up to his face,

and let him press it to her chest. Her hands stroked along the velvety soft mu((le, fingers ru had een a oon, a series of unfortunate events had rought him to her, and she would never let him go. She went to the side flap, opening it out to the dri((ling ing at little itchy spots. Hooahn

downpour, noting the path the water cut around the ottom of the structure, "+ell, Hooahn, we'll at least e dry for the duration.. however long that will e." She sighed, and watched as the rain fu((ed the landscape, making it hard to tell what was out there. She knew there were woods and a road, and the large clearing where she had camped, ut she had no idea what else may e watching the rain come down, wondering if there was any other eing watching ack. The day progressed only in degree of rightness, there was

no reak in the rain to show the sun. She went to the main

cham er of her pavillian, and tidied it up. There were two large over#stuffed chairs made with soft lack suede, and a curving little spills or stains that had accumulated over time on them, sofa made with the same upholstery. She let her magic clean any ringing them to a nearly new state. She lit the fires in the two

pot# ellied stoves which she used for not only heat, ut dou led as wonderful cooking spots. There was a large oval ta le ehind aking. The floor was covered in various skins of short#haired the stoves that could seat twelve, and ehind that was an oven for animals, patterns having een stitched and woven into it y the deft fingers of people that she had helped in the past. The walls

were covered in various anners of cotes of arms of people she called ally, and some she even called family. The ta le held askets of fruit, candela ras, and different

games. She smiled at how co(y this room was. It was her home was perfect for entertaining any guests she may have over the

away from home, offering her solace in times of frustration, and course of her travels. To the right of the main room was another cham er, in which the canvas walls could e pulled ack to offer wider space for more guests, or sealed if privacy was needed. In this cham er she stored many of the spoils of her adventures. There were anners, cases with different items, and her armor. There also stood pells for her to practice on, to keep her martial a ilities in tune. Cornered from the main cham er and the armory, was a

slightly smaller cham er which held a large lion#clawed tu , a wardro e, a sink, and small ta les that held various toiletries. This floor was covered in thick sheep#pelt, the wool com ed and curried to a fluffy softness that would ease the footsteps of any who walked into it. There was also a porcelain toilet tucked in a corner of this cham er, a curtain was around it, for slightly more privacy if needed. To the left of the main cham er was of course, the sta le that housed the giant of a horse, and had room for at least three others, and her private cham er ehind that. Her private cham er held her large, four poster ed, and a

large wardro e that held many different clothes ranging from

lue $eans and tee shirts, to ornate court gowns. There were her

personal drying racks, desks and chairs, and various other small ta les around the room that held all manner of conveniences. The floor here was also covered in the plush sheepskin rugs. The walls here were hung with different paintings and poster#prints of different tastes. 0ven a portrait of herself sitting in a group of four others, all in ornate thrones wearing different crowns. She smiled at this portrait, done y the hand of one of the most prominent artists of !etha.

This was her home. This was what she had desired her

whole life, a place where she could e, and not have the trou les singular cham er that held supplies, food, water, medicines, all in crates and urlap ags. It not only was a useful storage, ut also was useful as insulation. )s she finished her cleaning and arranging of the room, she

of the world on her shoulders. Circling all of the cham ers was a

heard a loud whinny from outside that did not elong to Hooahn. However, his answering ugle from the sta le cham er came almost instantly. She could tell he was agitated y the presence of another horse that he didn't know. The rain hadn't let up, in fact, it seemed as if it were coming down harder, ut apparently, someone else had decided to travel in it. "Halloo*" came a call from outside.

She went to the front, and peered out. ) group of riders came up to the pavillan led y one of the most edraggled people she'd ever seen. "Hallo* )nyone there4" came the call again, in a rolling

accent that seemed unlikely to have come from a ody as soaked and muddy as the one it came from, ut it did. She opened the flap the rest of the way and stepped out

under the canopy. "5es, who is it that wants to know4" she asked, peering up at the herald. "His royal highness, 6homan the Third of Suna. He asks if it

please the owner of this fine 3avillan that he rest here while his own is set up in this gods forsaken rain." "Certainly* 3lease, tie the horses to the posts there, and e

welcome inside*" she stepped ack into the large cham er. +ell, a nice reak from this rain.

I'll have to clean again, I suppose, she thought to herself, ut it is The men dismounted, and she noticed a small caravan of

wagons. They pulled into the muddy meadow, and egan to

unpack. The three lead riders tied their horses to the hitching posts under the canopy, and made their way to the entrance of the pavillian. ,ne was taller than the others, cloaked in a rain# soaked cape and hood. He stood at the entrance of the tent, and looked around inside. He made way for his companions as he was ushered in. "Thank you, 2y 7ady. 5our generosity will not go

unnoticed." He said in a pleasant aratone. He egan to shed his outter coverings, handing them over to one of his companions. stoves for him to egin hanging the wet vestments. She motioned to the large drying racks ne%t to one of the smaller She noticed that he was only a few inches shorter than

herself, ut had a fighter's uild. Thick arms and chest, and hands that looked as if they had seen many years of hard la our. her eyes. His skin was pale, and framed y lack hair, neatly trimmed. He had a few days worth of lack stu She looked him over, and smiled. He was definately handsome, in le on his face,

another indication that they didn't stop for long, if they had, on the road. His eyes were a deep rown, almost lack, and also rimmed with $et eyelashes and eye rows. He had a strong $aw, his good features. In fact, she thought they enhanced his attractiveness. His two companions also stripped off their sodden clothing,

with a few scars that slipped from cheek to chin, ut did not mar

hanging them on the ample racks, then turned to the man

standing there, waiting. She motioned to the sofa and two seats, "3lease, 2'lords. 2ake yourselves at home. +ould you care for some hot drinks4 3erhaps a small meal4" she made her way toward the oven in the ack, and the shelving eside it. They looked at each other, then around the room once more, "Indeed, 2'lady. It would e a pleasure to spend a few restful

finally dawning on them how large the space actually was.

hours here while my own accomodations are set up." said the

taller man. "I am 6homan, 1ing of Suna. These two gentlemen are +ill and Shamus." he motioned to each, and they owed their heads in polite nods as he spoke their names. "It is a pleasure to meet you, your Highness. 2y name is

7ady )she, and may I ask, " she stated, ringing a simmering

teapot to the ta le, and setting up fine mugs for the drink, "+hat four cups of the hot li"uid. rings you out in this kind of weather4" She smiled as she poured "2y retinue and I are on our way to the river valley for

peace talks with the council there." He spoke as they all three sat, 6homan in one of the single chairs, and the others on the sofa. small triangular finger sandwiches. They all took their shares She rought over a tray with the cups of tea, as well as many

with a greatful smile and nod. She sat down in the other single chair, and rested the tray on the small ta le in the middle, within easy reach if they needed. They ate in silence for a few moments, then 6homan looked at her,

sipped the tea, and watched her with shrewd eyes.

"+hy are you out this far from civili(ation, if I may ask4" he "I am a traveler of sorts, m'lord. I've semi#retired from my

previous line of work, and now I $ust $ourney from land to land, tea.

en$oying my retirement." She answered in turn, sipping her own "+hat was your line of work4" 6homan tilted his head. ") soldier, m'lord" she smiled a wry grin She poured herself another cup of tea as they all stared at her, then proceded to stand, and refresh other empty cups. She seemingly em arrassed. king's man, +ill, asked. looked at them with a it of confusion, and they all looked away, "8egging my lady's pardon, ut did you say soldier4" the

"5es, m'lord." She returned to her seat, and picked up her tea cup once more. "I do hope you forgive me if I say I do not elieve you."

6homan stated, setting his tea down on the ta le in front of continued outside. again smiling.

himself. The other men followed suit as the sound of construction "I'll forgive you." She simply stated, and tilted her head, once 6homan looked at her once again. Her ody was

scandilously apparent as she wore men's leggings. ) shirt cut to a feminine uild clung to her not unshapely form and she wore fine oots, strangely made with lacings on the front, and dagger delicate looking fingers, and long arms. The muscles were also

sheathes on the sides. She had milk#white skin, hands with long, well defined in her thin clothing, letting the king reali(e she was not a soft no lewoman. 8ut how4 He looked at her face, which seemed to radiate kindness as she looked ack at him. Her cheek ones were high, accentuating full, lightly rouged lips. Her eyes were large, almond#shaped, and the color of the winter sky, pale lue, with lack rims. Her hair was long, thick, and strait as a oard. It was loose around her face, and draped over her shoulder in nearly paper#white waves.

To say she had an etherial eauty was an understatement,

for that kindness that radiated from her had an underlying

darkness to it, as if she had secrets that would topple his world if he ever were to know. However, if she were to wear descent

clothing, perhaps she would e more accepta le to his court. His eyes went to her long, thin neck, which hung a thin silvery chain that attatched to a pagan sym ol of a sort, which also shone in the light of the open fires in the stoves.

+hen he looked ack up, she was staring at him, her kind

smile hiding the look in her eyes of challenge. He raised an once again.

eye row, and "uirked a smile in return, then sipped at the tea She had een studying him as well, noting that although his

title was that of 1ing, he was poorly dressed for his station. His station, or $ewelry ut three rings on his left hand. She only she caught his own look.

clothing was clean, ut worn and patched. He wore no chain of linked once when she reali(ed he was grinning ack at her as He held up the teacup, "+hat manner of tea is this4 It is the She raised her own mug, "It is a engal spice, named for a "Have you traveled the seas often4" he asked, while his two "I have traveled seas, deserts, mountains and prairies, sir." ")re your people amung the ar arians to the north4 I must

richest, most flavourful tea I have ever had." land far across the sea."

men continued to watch. she smiled at him again.

admit, I have never seen a lady such as yourself. However, I am looked around the pavillian once again.

curious as to how one of the 8ar arians lives in such lu%ury." he

She chuckled, "I am definately not a ' ar arian'." she followed his ga(e, "2y people are fairly reclusive." She looked ack at him, and sipped her tea. "5our hangings are "uite interesting. I have never seen their

likes. )re these from lands you have visited efore mine4" His dragons holding what looked like white rocks aimed at each other.

eyes landed on one particular cote of arms of two intertwined

")hh, yes. 2any lands, over the seas and mountains, sir. I

like to have a memento of my encounters. It helps the memory."

She grinned when she noticed him eyeing the tapestry of Co alt and !limmerwing when they had encountered snow for the first time. The two little -aery 9ragons she had as constant companions, however, on this trip, she was without the little

imps. They had asked to stay at the :orthagetha 1eep to learn more from their cousins, the -ae 9ragons of )(ul. However, she didn't mention this to 6homan. soldier." he egain. "I did." The king turned to her once more, "5ou said you were a

"I only say that I do not elieve you ecause, one, you are a woman, and a very young one at that. )nd two, I see no armor, in his pavillian." He watched for her reaction. no weapons, in view where a soldier would display them proudly ")h, well, 2y pavillian is much larger than you would

suspect, 2'lord 6homan, and thank you for saying that you think

I am a younger woman. It does my ego a oost." she grinned wryly. He nodded, ")hh." was all he said $ust as a knock came to the

door post. )she went to the flap, lifting it to reveal a muddy, soked and tired looking young man. "His highness's pavillan is raised, m'lady. +e are finishing

with the others, ut could you let him know4" He stated, ru his hands together. up." She replied.

ing

",f course. I'm sure he'll e happy to hear his own place is He turned and returned to the pouring rain, where there

were more sounds of construction. 9ark figures made their ways ack and forth etween wagons and slowely raising tents. "2y men aren't too fond of traveling in the rain, 2'lady. It

was hard to get this far without camping earlier." He said as he stood. "I can understand why, sir." she stated, turning around. "If

you would like, to keep passing the time, I could engage you in a game of chess4" she motioned to the ta le. The men all looked at each other and nodded. ")h, e%cellant* It has een a while since I have played." he

said with a gleam in his eye. She could tell he was downplaying his capa ilities. up the oard. "Then I may e a le to win once, myself*" she stated, and set )ll three men came to the ta le. +ill and Shamus sat one on

each side, watching, and 6homan took the white side. )she o liged. The game lasted nearly an hour, with surprise moves y oth sides, making +ill and Shamus laugh at each turn. 6homan picked up each piece from the side, turning them

over in his hands. "These are made y e%pert hands. )re they more like silver, polished to a high shine. The eyes were

made of metal4" he e%amining each individually. The white were gemstones of ony%. The king's faces were lank, ut for the eyes, were ;ackal's heads, and the knights... oth knights of each side ore a striking resem leance to the 7ady who sat across from him. She was seated on a large horse in full rear, weilding two dwarves. The lack pieces were also metalic, lighter than the silvery ones, and the eyes were gem ru ies. "Indeed, m'lord 6homan. " she said, moving another dwarf.

as were the "ueen's. The rooks were heads of ravens, the ishops

long swords. The white pawns were caste as elves, and the lack,

"It was a gift from the com ined efforts of two peoples I had

helped in their own peace talks. +hen the talks were done, and ammendments made, I was given this set as payment, as well as in thanks." she looked up at him as he studied each piece. "I have never seen anything like it." he sighed and set each

piece ack down. He turned his attention ack to the game. "2y lady, you will have me in check soon, won't you4" he chuckled. Shamus looked down, a it em arrassed. She grinned, "Indeed, sir." she merely stated. +ill and "7et us play it out, and see what comes of it, then." he said,

and moved another piece, taking her rook. him, ut he had her in mate. She smiled rightly, "+ell played*" she e%claimed, e%tending her hand to him in congratulations. He took her hand, and kissed the ack of her knuckles, "It In si% moves, the game was over. She may have checked

was indeed well played, my lady. :ow, I must retire to my own little piece of home in the rain. " he stood, releasing her hand. kiss. They all stood as well. She was smiling softly after the knuckle "I hope we can play again soon, sir." she owed her head to

him as she egan to remove the now completely dry clothing from the racks, handing it over to +ill and Shamus.

They thanked her and dressed their 1ing for his short $aunt

to his tent. She untied the flaps to the door once again, and held it for them. They had een the ideal company, and now, ideal neigh ors4 -or how long4 Her smile was soft, happy, ut guarded.

+hen the three men made their way into the colder pavillian of the 1ing's, they went a out furnishing it with folded wooden chairs and thick lankets rought in large chests. The stove in the center of the room, holding out his hands. king layed his damp cloak over a chair, and went to the warming +ill finally spoke, "I don't know a out the woman, 2y 1ing.

She is far too odd. To e out here in this weather and with a story like hers, perhaps she is sent to spy on my 7ord and his

enterage4" He opened and re#folded a thick "uilt, draping it over one of the chairs for the 1ing to sit in. "I felt no threat from her, 2y 7ord." said Shamus as he made

the king's ed off to the side. "5ou know my a ilities to sense

these things. She was pleasant, she spoke nothing of the 3eace talks. However, like you, learning of her martial a ility was "uite a surprise." his words sunk into oth +ill and 6homan. Shamus was a reader, a le to tell the true intentions of any he was in viscinity of. This made him invalua le for the talks with the 6iverfolk.

They sat there in silence for a few moments, and noticed that

for some reason, the sound of the rain was more pronounced in this pavillian compared to that of the 7ady )she's. 6homan looked at them, "She seems to have the capa ility to fend for

herself, if not make a name for herself if applied at the right stages. I will offer her a place in our retinue for the peace talks. If the people she had helped were willing to give to her such a gift as that chess set, she must have een a oon to their own talks." "Indeed, Sire." said +ill. He had other ideas a out her, however, and some of them were more suspicious than his 1ing had. "She may e rich, ut she ore no mark of no ility of our land, or that of the 6iverland. She did admit she was a common her4" he asked, trying to see other sides to the scenario.

soldier, and possi ly a defector. +hat do you really know a out "+ill is right, 2'lord." Shamus said, sitting on one of the

chairs, without cushion, "5our will is our command, however do

not let riches or eauty, no matter how e%otic, influence you to a rash decision." he ru 6homan stood, and egan to prepare for the night, removing ed the ack of his neck in thought.

outter clothing to e replaced with sleeping dress. "There are this night, Shamus, +ill. 5ou two need to sleep as well, we'll

guards upon my step, and it is late. 9o not worry a out my safety reak camp in the morning. I will sleep on this delimma. !ood

night, friends." He patted them oth on the shoulders, eliciting

smiles from oth. He had that way a out him to make things feel alright, if only for a while. He was the poorest king Shamus had known and een in service to, ut he was definately the most desirea le. He was too kind.

They went to separate tents, calling their good nights to the

servants and guards alike. There were almost twenty people in

retinue, and they all held their 1ing in the highest reguard. They all kept an eye on their 7ord's pavillian, watching to e sure that e there to help. he was not harmed, or if he needed of anything, someone would 6homan sat on his ed, ru ing his temples. He laid ack on

the single cover, and spoke softly to himself, ")h, 7ady )she.

+here did you come from4 +hy have you crossed our path at this time4 +hy is it I feel that you are more than you seem4" he closed his eyes with visions of her ice lue eyes following him into sleep.

He woke to the roar of heavier rain, and crashes of thunder.

Horses were whinnying, snorting, and he could hear servants

trying to calm them. !ods last it* +ill this weather never end*4 He rose from his dreamless slum er, and sighed. There was a fresh suit of clothing on the chair, Shamus had een in already, as well as a tray containing meats, fruits and hot cider for him to en$oy. ")h, Shamus, I don't deserve such a man as you." he said softly, and egan to pick up the tray.

"If I were not your servant, 7ord, I would offer my services,

anyway. 5ou do deserve what you recieve from your hum le people*" Shamus said as he entered the tent. "The talks are only a week away. +e may not make it if this

rain continues any more*" 6homan e%claimed as he lifted the cider to drink.

"I have een thinking a out what you said, 2y 7ord. 3erhaps

to offer the 7ady )she a place in the talks will e "uite eneficial. I think she will e a le to ring closure without loodshed." Shamus said softly.

6homan nodded. 0very time there had een offers of peace

to the 6iverland people, emmisaries were sent ack either

maimed or eaten half to death. The only reason 6homan did not go to war with them, was for the fact his own troops were too and were first and formost protection for his lands if the thin to advance upon the 6iverland. They were e%cellant soldiers, 6iverland's host decided to advance first. He had e%cellant defense, ut little to no offense. This othered him considera ly. "I will ask her this morning. +ill you go to her and ask for her ear and talk to me a out my delimma4" he looked at Shamus,

who owed deeply. "I will, 2y 7ord*" he said with a deep smile. Shamus left the 1ing in his pavillian to eat and drink in peace, and dashed through the rain, holding his cloak over him as a soggy um rella, to the 7ady's door. He knocked on the doorframe, and heard movement within.

The door flap looped up, and she stood there, in a different,

part he could tell were cut to reeche's fit. He owed to her, "2y 7ady )she, 2y 7ord 6homan asks that you speak to him on matters of an offical manner. +ould you grace his hum le pavillian with your presence4" he asked, head owed. hum4" she asked.

ut no less eautiful, outfit. It was more dress#like, ut the dress

)she tilted her head, cocking an eye row, ",ffical manner, "5es, 2'lady. +ill you e willing to hear him out4" ",f course, Shamus. I will e over soon. I am going to finish

my morning chores, then I will e over. It won't e too long." she nodded to him, then watched as he turned and hustled ack to the king's tent. "!ood lord. +hat have I gotten into now4" she asked herself

as she returned to the comfort of her sofa, opening a large,

leather ound ook, and egan to memori(e the words within. his cider once again, the platter empty. He smiled as his 1ing looked at him in e%pectation.

Shamus found 6homan sitting on the padded chair, sipping

"She will e here soon, 2y 7ord. She is willing to talk." his

smile was infectious, and 6homan smiled ack. the chests that held his clothing, opening the lids. "+hat should I wear for a simple talk4" he asked noone in particular. Shamus stepped up ehind him, and rested a hand on his el ow. "+hat you wear now, Sire, is accepta le. She will e here to "That is hopeful news indeed*" he said, standing. He went to

talk of politics, not to discuss the way your shoes match your sash." he snickered. 6homan laughed aloud, "5ou are right, once more*" he

turned and egan to pace. The thoughts of what he would tell

her, ask her. The people of the 6iverland had een a su $ect of much grief amung his own. They had severed trading ties, and even attacked people on the roads if they were traveling from Suna to the 6iverland, in hopes to send terror through the kingdom. It had to stop. The 6iverland's own 1ing, his Cousin 2arlon, held 6homan in complete contempt, and he didn't even know why. 6homan's father, and his father efore him were strong

willed leaders, commanders of great armies that none dared face in the region. 8ut the illness and death of each caused the ranks of the army to dwindle to the few elite that swore fealty to the 1ing and his predacessors. 6homan felt weary to the ones, trying to keep his head held high, and his people happy. However, his hold on his land was slipping slowely, ut surely, the overthrowing y his dear cousin.

and with no <ueen to ear him an heir, Suna was nearly ripe for

He took a deep reath, and closed his eyes. Shamus's hand laid to rest on his shoulder, "-ear not, Sire. If this 7ady )she has ")gain, you are right, Shamus. I need to rela% and any honor in her ody, she will see the necisity of her assistance." concentrate on the oon that has landed in my lap." 6homan nodded and went to the chair y the ta le. "-etch me the documents that I plan on offering my cousin. I will have her look them over. It doesn't hurt to have another go over them who is not iased." Shamus snapped a ow, and dug through the chests that

held the important documentations. Including every instance of harassment that the 6iverland committed. It would all e rought efore 2arlon and his advisors. It was documented ack two whole years, and had to e ended now.

)nother knock came to )she's doorpost, as she had finished

her last it of memori(ing. It was +ill, looking past her into the pavillian, a stoic look on his face. pleasantly. "5es4 How may I help you, +ill4" she asked, smiling "I wished to speak to you on what you will e discussing "I am on my way over to 6homan's pavillian right now. 9id ":o, m'lady. I wanted to give you word that he is all Suna

with the 1ing." he looked at her with a serious tone.

he send you to escort me4" she asked, suspecting not.

has, and these peace talks must go smoothly. +e cannot afford to lose him, or any of the people that travel with him."

"I have no deigns on him or any of you, +ill. :ow, if you do not mind, we can make our way through the rain, and speak to his Highness." she pulled an um rella from a round stand ne%t to the doorway, and stepped lightly past +ill. He looked at her in a confused way, then $erked in surprise when she snapped open the canopy. "+e can share the um rella to his Highness's underneath.

3avillian. " she held the um rella out, and +ill tentitively stepped He was pleasantly surprised when the rain didn't hit him,

the impliment she carried was an ingenius device, and he was

smiling when they entered the 1ing's tent. 6homan set down a sitting ne%t to him, holding a ceramic mug of something een. ook that he had een reading, and smiled in return. Shamus was

steaming. He stood, and motioned for )she to sit where he had She snapped shut the um rella, and leaned it against the

door post. She made her way to the chair, and sat gracefully. speak to me of the 6iverland 3eace Talks4"

"Thank you for the invitation. I am to understand that you wish to 6homan nodded and smiled, and motioned to the small ta le

that held a teapot and ceramic mug, "5es, 2'lady. I need to know if you would e willing to mediate etween my cousin and myself. +e were close friends at one time, ut something mine." happened that I am unaware of to cause him to turn on me and )she nodded, tapping her chin with one finger, "I see. 2y

services in the past have come at steep prices, at times. If it were to come to a steep price, what would you e willing to sacrifice4" her tone was low and "uite serious. "I would sacrifice much. )s long as my people are not

harmed, or my kingdom lost, I will give you anything you desire." His words rang in her mind. This man was worth the risk4 To her, it was. The room was "uiet, contemplative as the roar of rain

attered the pavillian. Thoughts ran through 6homan's mind to the pulse of the sheeting rain. His kingdom was poor. 0ven the richest no les, save for himself, had few to no servants. :o true income was made y Suna, they lived hand to mouth. His soldiers were well trained as well as the few elite guards that traveled He had come to the end of his rope, and he had ecome with him, and the 6iverland was giving him grief at every corner. desparate. His father, and his father efore him were great

leaders, ut when they were oth killed y 6iverland raiders, the task of 1ing fell upon 6homan. He had no si lings nor heir, and this worried his people, as well as himself. There were very few choices he could have made to help them, and when he chose to send word of peace talks to his cousin, he knew there was going to e trou le when the reply was "uick and affirmative.

Then SH0 crossed his path. This strange woman who seemed

to come from nowhere, and had no enterage of her own. She was a mystery, and 6homan was eager to give anything a chance at this moment, even if it came from outside of their lands. This

woman, this )she, seemed like the reak he needed, and here she was, agreea le to his re"uest. 0specially when she nodded. "I will help you, 1ing 6homan the Third of Suna. 8ut my

price will e spoken after the dealings. I will ask only what is fair for the outcome of the talks. Is this accepta le4" She crossed her hands in her lap and looked at him. The men in the tent with them were watching her like

hawks. She had an inkling that Shamus perhaps had some kind of psychic a ility, for whenever she spoke, he would nod, $ust arely, as a signal to +ill, who in turn would either raise a finger

to his lord, or shake his head at Shamus. They were a good team. If they were in the presence of people who were unaccustomed to catching small details like that, they would seem innocuous. 6homan and his country, as well as what the 6iverlanders had peace had to e rought etween them. )fter hours of They spoke at length as to what had een going on with

een doing to harass him. )she agreed that this had to stop, and a

deli eration, and planning, the rain still fell, easing up somewhat over the course of time, ut still coming down too hard to travel in.

)she finally stood, and id them all to return to her pavillian

for a much needed hot meal. She was happy to hear them agree

full heartedly, and offered to serve the enterage as well. )ll they needed to do was to come to the pavillian in a out an hour's time to fetch the food for the men. 6homan was more than happy to re"uest her wish.

+hen she returned to the pavillian, she set to work immediately. She pulled package after package of food from her precious little ags, setting meats, fruits, vegeta les, reads and cheeses on the large ta le. :e%t came pitchers of hot and cold wine and cider as well as large trays with covers to set it all within. +hen she had the ma$ority of the food prepared and stacked on the trays, a knock, once again, came to her door. stove. "Come in*" she called from the ack of the room near the +ill entered and looked around in great surprise, "2y 7ord

has sent me to assist you in your preparation of our meals... at her in wide#eyed wonder.

however, it seems you have nearly finished this task*" he looked "5es, yes. " she stated and waved a hand at the ta le, "Those

trays are for your men. 3lease have some of them come in and

help take them to their tents4 I will not have "uite enough room to host all of your troupe." she smiled and pulled a pan from the stove top. +ill owed and left the tent, hurrying to get help with the

trays. Soon, si% men, as well as +ill, appeared at the tent flap, and nearly tripped over themselves when they entered. +ill hurried them along, having each of them take a large tray to

different tents to feed the rest of them. They all whispered and looked around the place efore e%iting, much to the amusement of )she. "The 1ing's meal will e set up shortly. I'll call you when the

ta le is set." She smiled at +ill, and he did a dou le take. He felt speak to 6homan. lood rush to his face as he then owed, and left in a hurry to 6homan stood in his tent, in front of the tiny stove that

Shamus stoked with another scoop of coal and wood chips. He had een usy finding a suita le outfit in his travel chest for the meal. He found one that was simple, ut finely made. There were no tatters or stains on it, as well as no patches or look of wear. It was one of the two rand new suits he had made $ust for the was a dark lue rocaide, trimmed in silver and gold chording. It peace talks, and well, this was the perfect occasion for this one. impress nearly anyone with his earing. If it hadn't een for the 6iverland's 1ing and their attacks on Suna, perhaps he wouldn't have seen his lord in such finery. -inery that was most deserved Shamus was leary, +ill rarely ever smiled as he did when he entered. "+hat rings such a look to your face, +ill4" he asked, arms 6homan turned and looked at him, then raised an eye row. "5ou will not elieve what the 7ady )she had $ust sent with y 6homan. He turned as +ill made his way inside, smiling. Shamus looked at his lord and smiled. He would certainly

crossing.

our men. There are smells so rich and mouth#watering in that pavillian, I fear you wouldn't want to leave*" he e%claimed, shaking his head.

They all laughed at this, light hearted and rela%ed. This was

something they hadn't felt in many a night. 3erhaps things will look up, 6homan thought... 3erhaps. There was a gentle rap upon 6homan's doorpost, and when

+ill went to see who was there, the spot was empty. He looked

around and saw )she waving at them to attend to the meal. He didn't really think a out how the knock came to the door, he was $ust happy that his 1ing was going to e fed a decent meal with to tell. lovely company. Such very lovely company with such an odd tale They all made their way to the pavillian and once more

removed soaked cloaks, for the rain was once more coming down in sheets. )she smiled up at them, and motioned to the ta le people. Shamus' mouth set to watering, as well as +ill's and 6homan's. "3lease, my lords, e seated and en$oy the ounty of my They all sat and egan to pass around roasts, fowl, read and which was loaded with enough food for them, and another ten

ta le." she said formally.

vegeta les. She went to each plate and poured go lets of wine

and mugs of hot cider, then sat at her own place. They noticed reminiscent of Suna's past age, the age of 6homan the -irst.

that she had also dressed for the occasion in a fine gown that was However, it was styled after that age, the materials were new, crisp and clean, and $ewels adorned the high collar that rested on her milky neck. 6homan looked up from his plate, and stared. +hen she

stood to raise a toast to the talks, he saw that the odd clothing she e%changed out for a formal dress made her even more desirea le in his eyes. )ll eyes were on her as they stood, and she smiled pleasantly, raising her go let of wine.

"To new found friends in the weather that would have een

anything ut pleasant upon this road. To peace etween Suna and 6iverland. To 1ing 6homan and his e%cellant men." she raised her glass, as did all of the others. "To peace." Said 6homan. "To the 1ing." Said Shamus.

"To 7ady )she, our fine hostess." said +ill, letting his eyes lock with hers, which was met with a nod and smile. simultaneously. "5es, to our 7ady )she." Said 6homan and Shamus )she smiled and owed her head, then all drank deeply, and

sat. The food they ate was rich and moist, dry and filling, with

spices they had no idea what flavoured it. Compliments came from all of the men, as well as re"uests for seconds and thirds. )s they slowed in their feast, a chorus of singing came from outside. The men in their tents had taken up the songs of Suna. Some were loud and awdy, others patriotic, and others sad and longing. )she sat in silence and listened, mug of cider in her

hands as she heard their words, their hopes, fears and prideful dared to hope. oasts. +hat would she get from those of the 6iverland4 She +hen the meal finished, the men stood and owed,

thanking her for her hospitality. She owed in return, then gave each a chaste em race. They were startled at first, then took it in stride. )s they left, they were happy to hear $oy in the voices of the other men. This was one of the most fortunate misfortunes they had ever had. 6homan, Shamus and +ill retired to the 1ing's 3avillian

with a ottle of fine spirits she had given them, as well as three fine glasses to pour it within. The little stove had stayed lit the pouring the spirits into each glass, and sighed in relief. entire time, and Shamus stocked it once again. They all sat, +ill )she had turned from the door, and raised her hands,

speaking a phrase of power. Soon a shimmering force stood

efore her, "I wish for you to clean, servant. 3ick up the food

uneaten and undamaged, storing it in the containers on the side

ta les. +ash the ta le and chairs, then clean the floor, and wash dishes. 3lease then return all things to their proper places. Come task. " she spoke to the wavering form, which owed to her, and set to work. She went to her room and pressed a utton on a small o%, to me when this is done. I will either release you or find one more

which then egan to play soft music as she re#dressed in her went to Hooah's sta le, and rushed him down, giving him a

pants and shirt, inding her hair into a long raid as well. She large apple and sugar cu e in a small feed trough. He had messed in his straw, so she cleaned that out as well. The evening had een wonderful, and ended on an upnote. There was ut one last

thing to do. If they were to make it to the riverland in any time for these peace talks, the rain H)9 to end. She gathered materials from her room and went to the

armory cham er. There she laid out a large mat traced and

painted in runes and archaec sym ols. She placed candles at the four corners, and other necesities within. She sat in lotus position, and egan to chant over and over, faster and faster. In a few moments, a misty form wavered in front of her, as well as a swirly ree(e. She looked up and smiled. owed her head to the forms. in unison in etherial voices. "8lessings and greetings to you, element of mist and air." she "+hy have you summoned us, 8ringer of 9eath4" they asked "I am on a mission of peace, ,h powerful 0lements. I am

willing to give you much in e%change for the end of the rain held in supplication to the two forms.

until we reach the 6iverland." She owed her head again, hands "+e have your re"uest, and what would you give us in

return for the end of the rain for this ammount of time4" whispered the swirling mist.

"I have three elementals of each ound to me at this time. I

will give two of them their freedom efore their contracted time, as well reath from my lungs and water of my ody." she looked up at them.

They were silent for a few moments. This was concerning to

her, for normally this re"uest was snapped up "uickly y the

flighty elementals. However, these two seemed to deli erate. She kept her pose as still as possi le, until they turned to her, swirling and sighing. "This is accepta le, 8ringer of 9eath. +e re"uire the air and

water now. +hen you return to the 6iverland, then release your more days, until the earth is full and the rivers are wild once more." they whirled around her as she nodded. oundlings. Then our duty as the monsoon will continue twelve

She took a deep reath, and cupped her hands in front of

her mouth. She reathed long and slowely into her hands, then motioned forward, still reathing out, a nearly impossi ly long reath. The swirling vorte% danced in front of her, picking up

small its of de ris and sand, then deposited it all in a small pile on the edge of the mat. +hen that finished, she inhaled again, reathing steadily once more. She took a long, mithril dagger from in front of her, and cut

thinly at her inner arm, drawing a long, thick line of lood which she caught in a shallow saucer. In which she also spit a mouthful of saliva. She thought of sadness, and agony, and allowed tears to well in her eyes. These dripped into the saucer, which then she stirred with the tip of the dagger. She layed down the dagger and held up the saucer to the air,

where the misty form curled around it, drawing the li"uid into itself, turning the mi%ture into a pink mist. "+e are pleased, 8ringer of 9eath. 5our sacrifice is

accepted. The rain will end at the pinnacle of the moon's rise. It

will egin again as soon as the two oundlings are released within the orders of the 6iverland." the two forms whirled and disappeared. )she took another deep reath, and slouched her shoulders.

Summoning elementals was hard to do, and making them happy, even harder. 8ut now the roads would e clear of rain. She set to work once more, raising her hands and chanting again. It took slightly longer this time until a muddy form schlorped under her pavillian's edge, and formed a short, s"uat figure at the edge of her mat.

"+hy have you summoned me, 8ringer of 9eath4" it said in "2ighty 0lement of 0arth, I call upon you to make the road

a deep, gravely voice.

we take to the 6iverland dry and easy on the feet of our steeds. I for your assistance." She lowers her head, once more hands out, asking the elemental his permission. The creature shifted ack and forth upon its stumpy legs,

wish to ring peace to the 6iverland and those of Suna, and I ask

looking at her for a few moments, as if contemplating. She was once more surprised that the elements here took longer to answer her re"uest. 3erhaps they were not used to eing summoned4 She kept her pose in front of it. re"uest4" it asked in that same deep voice.

"+hat will you give to the earth in e%change for this "I offer gems and dirt of my home worlds. :ot of this world.

They will speak tales of lands other than this one to you. The

gems are rare in the land from which they come, and the dirt is of a land long lost to the ocean. +ill you accept my offering, mighty 0lement of 0arth4" It seemed to deli erate again, then owed to her, "I will

accept these gifts. I will make the roads dry and hard to the 6iverland from Suna when the sun strikes the top of your dwelling." it stated. )she pulled a small ag from her hip, and dumped a

handful of sand into a differant saucer, then placed on top of it two gems nearly the si(e of the Hope 9iamond. They la(ed red up the saucer to the elemental, which took it, and the things and lue, as if knowing that an 0lemental were near y. She held within. She gladly gave up the ceramic saucer as a onus to the elemental. It opened its mouth, and swallowed the whole thing in one lump. "+e are pleased with your gift, 8ringer of 9eath. +hen you

meet opposition, return their odies to me as well." it said, then schlorped ack out into the night. )she nearly passed out right there, the power used to

summon these creatures drained her much more than she had not used to eing summoned.

thought it would. This was indeed a place where elementals were She picked up all that she had laid down, and waiting for "Clean the floor in this room, pushing all dust and dirt to the

her was the unseen servant y the flap of the main room.

outside edges. Then you are released after this last task." she said

in a tired voice. The servant owed to her once again, and egan to clean. She retreated ack to her room, and put away all of her

components. She pulled off her clothes once more, and wrapped in a fluffy ro e, then took the small o% to the athroom. She flicked her fingers over the tu , removing dust from inside, and

uncorked a pitcher that was hinged to one side. She put a plug in the drain, and tipped the pitcher into it. ,ut poured scalding hot It fell past the middle of her ack, and glistened in the dim light the little or s of light produced in the corners of the room. She the tu . She tipped that into the scalding water, countering it cold pitcher, and tested the water. She let the hot pour a it rushed it out, and opened another pitcher at the opposite end of water. She smiled as the tu filled, and egan to unwind her hair.

with cold. +hen the tu was almost half full, she stopped up the longer, then tipped it ack, corking it. Steam rose from the tu , She took three long, deep reaths, and let herself soak,

and she stepped into it, sighing as the heat soaked into her ones. rela%ing into the tu , falling into a light reverie. +hen she

awoke, there was a feel to the room as if someone had distur ed it. She looked around, and noted that nothing in the room was distur ed, ut there was that feeling. Shamus knew that she would know he had entered. He

didn't take anything, ut had a small ornately carved o% that

held two small yellow gems. These were the earrings of his 7ord's mother. She handed them down when she passed away, as did

her mother efore her and her mother efore that. He would wait there for her to come from her ack room where she was athing. This was his duty, to offer the <ueen's $ewelry to the woman who had given so much to them.

He heard soft music coming from the ack room, and was

curious. Had she ards that had kept hidden4 He followed the sound to the athing room, where he "uietly lifted the flap, looking inside. He saw no other people ut for the lady in the

athtu that was full of steaming water. He could see her fully,

and lushed deep crimson. He had no idea what to think when

he saw her fully. She was milky white down to her toes, and her hair floated around her as if it were seawead made of silver. Her hands rested on her reast and stomach, drawing his eyes not her ody. They looked very old and some, very deep.. ut her scars did not mar her eauty. 9own her torso ran scars that done such a thing4 He thought to himself. only to her nakedness, ut to the multitude of scars that attered

criss#crossed down past her hips to her upper legs. +hat had He could not ring himself to looking further at her, and

turned. He lowered the flap carefully, retreating ack to the sofa she had offered to him efore. He sat in it, and waited, holding the carved o%. )fter nearly an hour, he heard movement in the the room, and looked at him, slightly angry.

ack room, and saw the flap move slightly. Her face peered out of "-orgive me, my lady, ut my lord wished for me to stay here

and wait for you." he said, standing slowely.

She closed the flap and spoke, "I understand your duty, Shamus, ut ne%t time, knock first. If I had een put to duress, up in a large towel, and the thick ro e she wore open much away. you would have een killed. " She opened the flap again, her hair further than anticipated. Shamus cleared his throat and looked She walked up to him, her normally soft smile was now a "+hat did you come here for, Shamus4" she asked him "This is a gift from his Highness, it is not much for one such

serious frown.

directly. He handed her the small o%, and looked up at her.

as yourself, ut these are the earrings of his Highness' mother,

<ueen -redrika, +ife of 6homan the Second, who had inherited them from her mother, <ueen )lspeth, wife of 6homan the -irst. 2y lord wishes you to wear these, and remem er Suna." He owed deeply.

)she was surprised. He came into her home and waited for

her to get done with a ath $ust to give her a pair of earrings4

=alua le oth monitarily and nostalgically, they were eautiful to her. She nodded and proceded to put them to her ears right there pierced her ears with the earrings themselves. Then Shamus reali(ed the si(e of her ears. ,h lords a ove... He was staring at her ears. !ood lord. She thought to herself. and then. Small drops of lood appeared on her earlo es. She had

She merely shook her head. "I shed lood for Suna, and wish to

have you say this to 6homan, 'I am as much now part of Suna, as

Suna is now part of me. )nd I thank you for your gift.' " She for some privacy, so I may dress and prepare for ed. I will e Shamus linked and swallowed heavily, ut nodded, and owed ack to Shamus and motioned to the door, ":ow, I wish

ready in the morning to go, I suggest you get up early as well." turned away. He e%ited the tent as "uickly as he could without

seeming rude. +hen he made it ack to 6homan's pavillian, he repeated the message that )she had given him, making his 1ing smile. Then he told her a out the ears. 6homan looked at him oddly, then nodded.

"Thank you Shamus. This is pro a ly why we ran into her in

this weather. !o to ed now, we reak camp in the morning." he patted Shamus on his shouler, and motioned for +ill, "5ou, too, +ill, go get some sleep."

They all parted ways, and 6homan sat upon his ed, closing

his eyes. He $ust may have the upper hand. +ith a person like

this 7ady )she to help him turn the tides, Suna may once more see a glorious future. He put out each candle and clim ed under the covers. In the morning, there was a rapping at his post, he had slept

like the dead. He sat up, and went to the flap. There was +ill,

pointing to )she's 3avillian. The sky was clear, the rain was gone, and the ground around the tents to the road was dry and packed as if rain hadn't fallen at all. "The lady )she asks us for one more meal efore we leave.

Shall we go, my lord4" he asked with twinkling eyes. The other

men had already egun to tear down pavillians and tents, which all seemed to have dried as if in the sun for hours. They were all cheery as they roke camp, and 6homan looked ack at )she's home.

"Indeed* I would love to see what she has for morning meal." They made their way to the pavillian, and Shamus was

he said with a huge smile.

already there, setting a ou"uet of flowers in the center of the

ta le. There was lovely music piping throughout the large room, strings and flutes, a whole orchestra that 6homan couldn't see. )t this $uncture in the peace talks, he didn't care if it were eing his meals* performed y trained mice, this was how a 1ing SH,>79 have )she came out of her private cham er, suited in the most

lavish armor 6homan had ever seen. She was draped in the

shiniest silver chain mail, and partial plate covered arms, kidneys and ri s. 8lack metal ands protected her shins and thighs, and a pair of ornate swords hung at her sides. Her hair was held down y a spider we of silvery chain as well, studded in different gems which shone and glittered in the light from the little glo es that hung in the air a ove the ta le. She was smiling as she motioned to the ta le, "3lease, sit, eat. The men outside have had will pack my pavillian as soon as you are done here.

their meals, and we are last to pack. Hooahn is ready to go, and I 6homan and the others sat, and tucked in. The food was

"uickly consumed, and they all washed their hands and faces in

her washroom. +hen they were finished, the food had een put away, the ta le cleared, and all things s"uared away. +hen they left the pavillian, she was standing there with her horse, which was suited in armored arding as gleaming as her own. "I say, 7ady )she, you travel in style* )nd the weather is

perfect for travel* If we leave soon, we can make it to the smiled in return.

6iverland $ust in time." he stated with that rilliant smile. )she "I will have my pavillian packed soon. 6ide ahead, and I will

catch up." she waved them off as she let Hooahn gra(e at the lush grass around the campsite. 6homan didn't seem to think twice a out it, ut +ill and

Shamus looked at each other, ut shrugged when 6homan wagons set out to the road.

motioned for them to head out, calling to the troupe as the )she watched as they rode off, and turned ack to her

pavillian. She smiled as she raised her hands, chanting the words of power. The pavillian disappeared in a whoosh of air, leaving center. ehind a flattened area on the ground and a patch of cloth in the )she picked it up, tucked it into one of her precious little

to a fast $og to catch up with the wagon train, on their way to the 6iverland.

ags, and mounted Hooahn. She patted his neck, and kneed him