My eyes searched my friends' faces in turn: Lace--ever brave and reckless no matter what circumstances he found himself in. Alexican--always equipped with an inner strenght and energy I wish I had . Rerin--so loyal and caring you couldn't help but love the guy. Arien--graceful, wise Arien. Before he noticed, I quickly glanced at Valour--a true hero if I ever saw one.

And I owed my life to all of them. And yet...

A violent rush of guilt overcame me and I dropped Valour, tears springing to my eyes.

"I-I can't do this," I muttered weakly, hiding my face behind my hood. Without thinking, I tore of into the woods, fighting to gain the control of myself that I had lost the night before.

Darkness overcame my mind and every good thought I tried to fend it off with was quickly consumed. So, in a sad attempt to escape it, I ran.

Finally realizing it wasn't helping any, stopped and helplessly fell to my knees, crunching the dried leaves and needles that blanketed the forest floor.

Jevin, get-a-grip!

Of what?  I argued back at my own thoughts.

Well, your emotions for starters.

I rubbed my eyes and swallowed the sobs.

Everything slowly cleared for a moment and I realized how silly I probably looked. Pushing it away, I took advantage of this  moment of clear-thinking and concluded that I couldn't abandon my friends. I would return.

They're pleading faces returned and my jaw tightened; I may be leading them to a trap, but I would make sure I  was the first one to step in it and set it off before any of them reached it.  With that conclusion, my plan slightly changed: 

I would return only long enough to let them know I was alright and give them the directions to Ukaor's tower. After that, I had to go on ahead. I had to set things right; I couldn't live with myself if any of them were hurt.

The End

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