A Journey's Beginning

  "Thank you...," I began towards the stranger who had lead me here.

  "Rerin," he bowed his head slightly.

  I returned the respectful gesture, "Arien."

  He smiled slightly and then continued, "I must be on my way. It was fine meeting you."  He turned on his heel, but paused, facing me once more. "Excuse my curiousity...but what is it that you need at the Palace? Is there anything further I can assist you with?"

   I grinned slightly-his curiousity had gotten much of him, and was finding a way to figure how who I was. It was a strange sight to see an armed woman alone on the streets of the capital. "I believe I have business with the Princess." I replied.

  Rerin raised his eyebrows incredulously, but held himself from saying anything other than, "Oh?"

   "Indeed-she has sent a royal decree for a hunting party of sorts to search for an outlawed warlock."  I continued, not necessarily giving him my own information.

  "Oh?" he replied, even in a more curious way, amusement playing in his eyes. Obvious my position as a woman attempting to join such a group was entertaining to him. "And you are to join this?"

   "I-," I began, as I noticed two others walking over. One was a cloaked man, a hood cast over his face, with strange grey hands and goblin like yellow eyes peering out from his shadowed features. The other was a woman, long, straight blonde hair tied back and piercing blue eyes.

   "Hello?" said the man as he stopped beside Rerin and I. "And you are?"

   "Arien," I answered first. "And you?"

    The man didn't say, glancing at my weaponry. "Are you here according to the decree?"

   "Indeed," Rerin replied before I could open my mouth. I looked over to him, tilting my head. He held out his hand, "Rerin."

  "Jevin,"  the man said shortly, though he kept his hand at his side. "And this is Alexican. We both are also to be employed by the Princess on this mission."

   Afterwards, there was a simple conversation, where no one really gave away anything of themselves. We were still unsure of one another, and trust does not come easily in such a time. Another two people walked over, a man and a woman. The woman, I could tell, was royalty, the way she held her head, the way she walked, and then, the way she spoke, "Did you get everything?"

   "Yes we did," Jevin said and continued to introduce us, "By the way, this is Rerin and Arien."

    She turned to us, beaming smiles on her regal face. Rerin continued, "We would like to join you on your quest to hunt Ukaor."  I nodded in agreement, still wondering at Rerin.

    "Wonderful," she said, guiding us towards the gates. "Let's go inside and discuss when we will leave."

    I dropped to the back of the group, following the small party through the large, iron gates and up the path to the Palace. It was so exquisite, with towering piller, flags flourishing the grand peaks. Just as we were to enter through the grand, oak doors, the goblin-like man, Jevin, grabbed my wrist roughly, flipping me around to face him and holding up my hand. The silver ring on my finger sparkled in the sunlight.

   "What is this?" he cocked his head, hissing so softly I could barely hear.

    I bit my lip, unsure of what to answer. "Come now!" I heard the Princess calling ahead, in between talking to the rest of the group. "You're falling behind!"

    His freakish yellow eyes still filled with suspcion, he let go of my wrist and brushed by me.  In only a few quick steps, I had caught up with everyone else as she began leading us up the stairs to her personal study.

   We began speaking of plans, and I saw Jevin's eyes steady on me most of the time. I hid my hand behind me, and refused to look at him straight back, keeping my eyes on the Princess.  After a while, she excused herself to welcome another newcomer.

The End

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