The small group consisting of Markus, Sed and Salla crouched on the outskirts of the village; hidden behind a wooden cart as they waited for Nanor. Sed had made a dash home to pack his own belongings and locate his weapons. Markus had his belongings in a sack which he carried on one shoulder. His bow and quiver were strapped alongside his spear on his back and his knife was sheathed at his hip. In his hand he carried the sword Daein had given to him.
“Markus; I had intended to give you this at your next birthday, but it seems fitting you should take it now. Its blade is made from one of the rarest and strongest metals in the land; it will not break and is both fire and water proof. The pommel is pure gold. I hope it brings you some luck”.
He ran a finger along the edge of the silver blade. It was incredibly sharp, piercing his flesh as it slid along. A few droplets of blood fell to the ground where he stood; coming to rest on a rock.
Salla crouched next to him; her arm resting on his shoulder. Sed crouched on his other side; his bow drawn with an arrow knocked. The tension was palpable; at any moment one of those things could come by, could rouse the attention of more. The sooner Nanor reached them and they were on their way the better.
He cast a glance at the wrappings on his wound; Salla had insisted on cleaning and bandaging it once she saw the gash. She had forced him down and would not let him be on his way until she had it wrapped up.
A rustling in the bushes brought the three of them spinning around. Sed raised his bow and Markus readied himself to swing his sword. Nanor stepped from the tree-line and came upon the three of them; his own blade held ready. He came to a halt.
“I did not mean for you to bring extra people with us Markus; but it seems fate has decided it shall be so. But know this, both of you, the path we take is a dark one; riddled with danger at every twist and turn. Once you set out with us; you cannot turn back”.
They nodded their agreement and Nanor stared hard at them for a moment longer then nodded too. They rose to their feet and moved off toward the archway on the path into and out of the village. Passing beneath it had a sense of finality; as if they were leaving with every chance they might never return.