I dropped down from my tree and I slowly approached the path and their group but quickly realised that if I just appeared they might attack me. I intentionally knocked some branches on my way out towards the path to let them know where I was coming from. They all turned to my direction so I halted in the shadows. After a momentary pause I continued out into the open. I could see the male’s arm muscles bunch up in preparation of a strike. I slowly raised my hands indicating I meant no harm.
“Who are you?” I asked coldly. “Why do you enter the Forest of Illumini and disturb the peace?”.
At this second question a hint of anger slipped into my voice as I tried to control my rage at their boldness, but thankfully they didn’t seem to register this.
“I am Prince Destran from Hava Castle, we mean you or your people no harm”
I subconsciously reached for my bow at the mention of Castle Hava. That was the home of the king whom had started the Great War. That war had cost the Falath’Nakan dearly. It wasn’t until he gestured to his two companions that I realised what I was doing.
“These are my two companions, Yara and Lyra. We do not threaten your people, we only want to pass through this forest to reach the mountains”.
He said all this with a particular certainty, which suggested he had been expecting a confrontation of this sort. This made me questions its truth. But I thought it better to lie to him to stay close and observe him further.
“I believe you” I lied. “However you do know that you are going the long route through the Forest towards the mountains… I can show you the quickest route if you would like?” I made my offer with a small step forward, still wary of his hovering blade, ready to strike down upon me.
Next the first of the two beauties spoke up boldly. “Why would you help us?” she asked with a certain venom in her harmonious voice, and her blade still raised in a threatening fashion.
“My name is Zahkon. I was exiled from the rest of the Falath’Nakan race for being different. I was supposed to be killed but my father couldn’t do it and he told me to run” I told them. The ease at which I told these complete strangers of my father’s failure was startling to me but I don’t think they understood as this was met with silence. When no one seemed about to speak I continued.
“I have no home. I am on a search to find myself, to find my purpose, to find why I am different, and I think a good way to start my search would be to help you!” I told them bluntly.
This statement was met with mixed reactions. As I had mentioned my past I had noticed a flicker of recognition pass over the eyes of the one named Yara, yet she did not speak up. That one would require close attention. The male, Destran, extended his hand towards me. I looked at it for a few moments, unwilling to believe that he actually wished me to touch him, but when he didn’t retract it I had no choice but to shake his hand. This insignificant action seemed to ease their group so I too was eased, yet I did not understand what a simple handshake could signify that would make them feel any better. These people were very strange indeed. He suggested they make camp there and questioned me as to whether this was ok but I had no objections. The two females removed their cloaks and I got a first real look at the one named Lyra. She was truly stunning in a slim white dress that accentuated her body perfectly, as if it was a part of her very being. As I stared at this raw beauty Yara saw me staring and cast me a warning look and I quickly dropped my eyes to the dirt.
Once they were unpacked they started talking about a “fire”. I was unsure of this concept and was more interested in trying to look at Lyra without being noticed, but by all accounts from Destran it sounded dangerous to the Forest. He then inquired as to how to stay warm. This seemed a stupid question as I provided my own heat but then I realised these creatures were not built like the Falath’Nakan they depended on other things to help them. Humans were truly helpless beings. I suggested they wear their cloaks to try to retain some heat.
“Thank you” he said, truly thankful. “We should take turns to keep guard. Shall we share it between us two?”. He asked this question earnestly yet it was so insulting and made worse by the fact that he didn’t know he was insulting me. I folded my arms and stared at him blankly trying not to do something I might regret. Before I could speak out I was cut off by Yara. She was certainly not shy in the matters of men. She too seemed insulted at his idiotic question about keeping guard yet not for the same reasons. She believed that herself and Lyra were also capable of keeping a watch. Destran made the decision to pair himself and Yara for the first watch, which left me and Lyra for the second. We agreed to this quickly.
Lyra settled down to sleep and quickly drifted off. After a few moments of staring at her beautifully crafted face I drifted off also.
I woke up later that night and went to change the watch. Maybe I could speak with Lyra during our watch, but she didn’t seem much interested in me.