Aidian placed his hands either side of the stone basin and stared into the shimmering water. His scars still pained him, though it had been a whole moon cycle, and were vast and white extensions to his skin. He hated that he had to have such a weakness on show for he had little money to his name and in order for him to marry someone such as Novia he had to protect the one thing he had in his favour; his reputation as a provider. That and that she loved him back. Rolling his shoulders to rid his joints of the searing pain, he splashed the water over his face and down his neck. Replacing his shirt, he belted on his knife, grasped his bow and headed out of the house.
As he was walking down the path, however, his father appeared running like Aidian had never seen him run before.
"Come quickly!" He bellowed, tearing past him and launching himself through the door, "Teria! Honora!" He shrieked, his voiced edged with utter terror.
His wife and daughter fled urgently into the kitchen, looking for the source of the chaos.
"The Ariding are here, no more than a few minutes away." He gasped between breaths.
"What?" Teria froze.
"Who?" Aidian deepened his voice to signify the importance of his interjection.
"Creatures that obey Anthirad, not human that's for sure. Few encounter them and live to accurately describe their terror. Now, Aidian, you and Honora must leave immediately. Go upstairs, take only what you need for you must travel lightly."
Trusting his father but not understanding the seriousness of the situation, the young man raced into his room and gathered what few possessions he had into his arms. He took a few spare sets of clothes, his bow and arrow, his knife and a blanket. Nothing he owned was of value to him, only Novia mattered. By the time he returned to the kitchen, Honora was there with her bundle of belongings and Teria was thrusting a parcel of food into his hands.
"Go!" She cried and pointed towards the door.
The children fled out of the house where Davit was holding the reins of their only horse. Depositing their burdens in the saddle bags, the two siblings swung up onto the saddle, Honora behind Aidian.
"Go and warn the next village. Keep running. Do you understand me? Do not stop. They will know of you, they always will. and they will not stop until they find you. Now find Honora and Ash and get out of the land!" Davit handed the reins to his son.
"Farewell, father. We will see you again."
"I believe so, son, aye." They exchanged a knowing look. They would not meet again. Aidian realised his father and mother intended to fight in a vain attempt to protect their village and give their offspring chance to be rid from the sight of the dreaded Ariding.
With Teria screaming her goodbye, Aidian turned the horse and cantered from his home.