We rode out, through the woods feeling the wind blow with us. I laughed in spite of myself; I was free. Staring around I saw the world, the world I had never been allowed to see. The mountains on one side stretched to the sky, and a great river ran ahead of us. Valia, my horse, soared with me, and Armes grinned at my side. When we reached the river, we jumped off the horses, letting them drink. I trailed my fingers in the water and whispered to it.
"Two humans have passed here, one not long ago, and the other a few hours before. These are the two we search for." Armes nodded, and we led the horses on, running at their side now. I jumped over logs and raced Armes, laughing all the way. Then, over the top of a hill we saw the old man. He was heading back in to the forest.
"Ramin said he was searching for the elven elder. He must have come out of the forest to rest and water his horse, then returned. Look, this is where he camped."
I nodded, barely listening to Armes. "Let us follow." Swiftly, I ran forward Armes following behind. We slipped in to the trees after the man, silently so he would not hear us. The horses tread carefully, so they are almost as silent as us. The man stops and looks to the ground at the prints ramin has left. They are fresh, we will soon catch up to him. Swiftly for an old man, he begins to ride through the woods in Ramin's direction.
Watching silently, we see Ramin leap out, armed in front of the old man, and then embrace him as a friend. They sit and begin discussing. Valia steps on a twig, and the snap reverberates. Ramin leaps up, bow drawn, pointing at us although he cannot see us. Cursing inwardly, I step forward out of the trees. He looks surprised.
"Why do you follow me lady?"
"I wish you would not call me lady. Did I not beat you in a fight? Do I not have a name?"
He blushed. "I was at a disadvantage."
"Then I challenge you at archery." I was letting my pride rule again. Ramin looked aggitated.
The old man tapped Ramin on the shoulder. "Be careful of your temper Ramin, she is the princess." Ramin stared at me. I cursed inwardly. Being a princess changed everything.
"That may be, but my name is Naria, and I wish to be called as such."
"Very well Princess Naria." He bowed.
"No bowing, no princess. Just Naria." He nodded. "And this, is Armes." Armes walked forward with the horses. "We have come to join you."