A boy of twelve years was chased through the streets of a market place. He ran into a small girl, an orphan of seven. He grabbed her as he took off, so that she would not be hurt by the guards. . . .
Now a youth in his twenties, Landon of Alvilaid is consumed by his work for the Protection Council, and Alina, now eighteen, is starting to believe in their dream. But Landon starts to find himself between a rock and a hard place. Will he chose to be a hero of war, or will he chose Alina?
As a boy of twelve ran from the local guards [who enforced the rule of James Trey Virden the First, King of Dehlyn, and the Surrounding Isles], he wondered if he would get caught by the guards. He had no means of work, and he refused to beg. His only means of survival was to take bread and water, and hope no one would notice.
He sighed, trying to remember what his Master, the Master of the Elves, had told him. He knew every verse of his lessons by heart, and he had been in the city for almost a year.
He missed the Master, and his childhood friends, Avira and Fortsight.But, it had been time for him to go, and he knew that.
As he ducked and weaved through the crowd, he did not notice the little girl buying bread, and ran straight into her.
Alina was knocked head over heels, barely managing to save the bread and coins she had been carrying. "Hey! What gives!" she exclaimed loudly. Angry shouts could be heard by this time.
"Shh! Not now, later. Come on!" The strange boy said with an even stranger accent. He picked up both their small packs, grabbed her hand, and began to run.
"Who are those men?" she asked. "The King's officers. They enforce the law 'round 'ere. Apparantly I stole some bread, but I took none. 'tis rather botharsome, see."
"You stole bread?" Alina exclaimed. The boy pulled her around a corner, hid pressed against a closed door, and covered her mouthwith his hand.
"Tis my only means of survival, though a chil' such as yerself would no' understand. Do not speak until they pass us." he slowly let her go.
Not wanting to be seen, Alina slipped around him, away from the corner, and pressed close to him for fear of the men chasing them. Landon quietly put his arm around the small girl, and waited. After a few moments, the guards passed, and he led her down an alley with several twists and turns.
After what seemed like years, they came across a small, abandoned hut.
"Do you live here?" Alina asked him in amazement.
"Aye, that I do."
Alina was fascinated. "What is your name?" she asked him, hands on her hips.
"Landon." he said simply as he opened the door. "Come in. Miss. . "
Alina walked cautiously up to the door, but entered confidently. "Alina." she turned and smiled at him.
"Where is your family?" they both said.
Landon blinked. Alina looked confused. they both shook their heads. "I have none.' Alina said, speaking for both of them.
"I did once, but I went away from them." Landon finally responded.
"Why?" she asked him.
The child seemed so innocent. She knew naught of elves and war, or the Masters, or what is was like to leave everything behind.
Landon felt first a flicker of pity, then a wave of it washing over him. He sighed. "Are you an. . .an. . .ahh, what's the word! Do ye have no place to live?" Landon asked her, feeling a little ridiculous.
"No." she said bluntly, glancing at him. "Could I stay here? You can protect me, and I can help you fix your home. Please?" Landon was a little shocked. How had she known what he was thinking?
Now Landon was raised by Elves, who had taught him to always help someone in need, especially the small or defenseless. He also had the pride of the elves in his heart, which would not allow him to do otherwise as well.
That aside, he had been in an orphan home in Kiros, and he had not liked it at all. He found it dull, unsanitary, and unsafe, so he had fled. He did not want to go back, and he definetely did not want this child there.
She would have to stay.
"You may. But you must behave, and you cannot tell any person about this."
"Why?" Alina asked him. "Because if they find us here together, then they would take you from here, and they would put both of us in orphan homes. We would not see each other fer a long, long time. Do ye want such t'happen?"
"No! I'll keep quiet about it, I swear, I swear!" Landon laughed and put his arm around her. "Let us figure out how we will live."
He was twelve then, and she was seven.