Levi had to the be the strongest steer that she had ever seen. He didn't get tired as they rode the several hours to Lardon, his brown mane blowing in her face. The hours itself flew by and she soon found herself at the entrance to Lardon, and to her surprise she found the gates that lead into the city closed. She tied her horse to the pole, standing him infront of trench filled with water. She patted his neck before making her way towards the gate.
Two guards stood on either side of it, long pointed lances in their hands. They were dressed in shimmering white and gold armor, and helmets hid their faces from her. Just when she was close enough to touch the gate, they lowered their lances and told her to back away.
"State your buisness here girl,"
"I am Rowan Saga. I lived here 13 years ago. I wish to enter and-"
"Look here missy, no one can enter unless they are a guards,"
"Why is that?" Rowan asked raising an eyebrow.
"We've been having trouble with bandits lately. They have attacked a number of merchants and travelers, and they have even destroyed the town, but for some reason we can never catch them,"
"Hmm....interesting," Rowan said scratching her chin.
Looks like the only way I am getting into Lardon is if someone takes cares of those bandits. And that someone...is me.
"What if I told you I can take care of your bandit problem?" She asked.
"Then, we'd have to let you into the town, but what can a wee little girl like you do?" the other asked.
Rowan let out a sigh and then opened the palm of her hands. She raised them slowly feeling the magic flowing through her veins, ready to do her bidding. Then with a blink of her eyes, the lances were pulled free of the guards hand and floated into her own hands. Grinning she allowed the magic to flow into her muscles and she began tightening her grip, listening as the metal moaned bending over.
"A sorceress...." the one on the left trailed off.
"Yes," Rowan said dropping their lances to the ground, "So are you going to let me in,"
They both nodded in unison, shaking their heads vigorously. Rowan grinned before she turned towards the man on the left and asked, "If I want to take care of the bandits who do I talk to?"
"The branch chief. His name is Dugard. He'll fill you in on the situation,"
"I see, and this Dugard, is apart of the Royal Regiment, correct?"
"Yes," the one on the right replied.
"Execellent," she said.
With a loud creak the doors swung inward, revealing the city of Lardon to her. She gaped as she walked through the gates. It was if Lardon had been rebuilt from the ground up. The cobblestone street was gone, replaced by solid concrete in a decorative pattern. The buildings were new, and several stories high. The bar had expanded into an inn, and the town square was filled to the brink with several merchants. She slowly walked towards the fountain in the middle of twon square when she suddenly bumped into someone.
She stepped back and quickly apologized when they heard the other person gasp. Looking up Rowan nearly fainted. Their standing before her was twenty year old Cole. She smiled, before throwing her arms around him. She was so elated to see him. He had grown into a rather handsome young man.
"Rowan...your back...are the others with you?" he asked, all most breathless.
"Gone...just like before. And I guess Lily is as well?" he asked, escaping from her embrace, and looking her up and down.
"Lily disappeared that night as well," Rowan explained.
"Dude, what happened to you? After that Lily incident my parents wouldn't let me out the house? Then when I got out, none of you were here. I was freaking out,"
"I'm so sorry Cole,"
"Yeah, you should be," Cole said shaking his head, "So are you going to tell me the story?"
"Only if you take me to the Royal Regiment," Rowan said with a grin.
"Fine, whatever," he said turning on his heels and leading her towards one of the many streets.
Once they were far enough away for anyone to hear them he asked her what happened, and Rowan told him the shortened version of what happened to her, and what she had become. The story left her long time friend in shock, and nearly on the brink of tears. She stopped and looked back at him.
"All these years...I thought....I thought you were dead!" he said sternly, "Why didn't you write? Or ask to visit?"
"Cole, it hurt to much, and the sorceress who taught me knew that. We tried to avoid Lardon the whole time,"
"Rowan, do you know how many people looked and worried about you?"
"Alot, I know,"
"Know, you don't know. Every night I was out looking for you and Lily and X. I even looked for Moran and Miranda. Never found a trace you guys, and then you appear....why?"
"I have my own reasons," Rowan said looking away.
"Your trying to find them aren't you?" Cole asked.
"Yes, yes I am. I thought that since this is where it all started, it would be a good place to learn a few things. But it looks like I'll have to take care of a few things first before I can even get the answers that I need,"
"I guess you heard about our little bandit problem huh?" Cole asked, catching up to her.
"Yeah I head about your problems. It sounds to me like the bandits have either a demon working for them or their a band of young weak wizards..."
"Wow, you really did become a sorceress. You sound just like those know it all witches,"
"You do know their is a difference right?"
"A difference between what?"
"Witches and Sorceress. Witches are weaker sorceress and usually half human. Sorceress are stronger witches with pure blood,"
"Well excuse me, I'm not an expert at things like this,"
"I can see that," Rowan said with a chuckle.
She was about to ask, what he had been up to, but he suddenly came to a stop in front of a large white building with the flag of the royal empire soaring above the door.
"We're here. Look lets catch up later. How about I buy you some beers?"
"You can't refuse..."
"Fine, later tonight I'll come and drink with you,"
"Cool, see ya later then," he said, before he took off down the road.
Rowan let out a small laugh before she made her way up the stairs and knocked on the door leading into the Royal Regiment. Inside men and woman alike were filing papers and dealing with several letters. In fact all looked too busy to even help her. It wasn't until a young man with spiky brown eyed her from the corner did she finally get some help.
"May I help you?" he asked.
"I need to speak with Branch Chief Dugard, is he in?"
"Yes, but why do you need to see him?" the man asked.
Every one fell silent, suddenly aware that they had a guest. Rowan cleared her throat before crossing her arms. "I've come to fix your bandit problem,"
Their were several laughs from the men in the corner drinking beer and few women whispered, wondering who she was.
"And how do you plan on doing that, little miss?"
"Look, I have name. It's Rowan....Rowan Saga,"
"Me too. The names Brandon. But you still didn't answer the question, little miss?"
"I'm a sorceress, and if you call me little miss one more time, I will hurt you,"
"A sorceress huh? Prove it!" Brandon said with a grin, standing up proudly.
Rowan opend the palm of her hands and then held it front of Brandon. She kept her eyes locked on him before lightning formed in her hand, dancing around wildly. That lightning soon turned into a purple orb that floated above her. Brandon gawked at the orb,and many raised their weapons ready to fight her off. Rowan absorbed the energy before placing her hands on her hips.
"Believe me know?"
"Yes, follow me," Brandon said sounding defeated. He lead her towards the stairway, and down a long hall way, knocking on the door at the very end. Their was a booming "Enter!" from the other side, before Brandon opened the door, and she found herself looking a middle aged man behind a desk. his black hair was slicked back, and an eye patch covered his right eye.
"Brandon, who is this?"
"Branch chief, this is Sorceress Rowan Saga. She has come here to take care of our bandit problem,"
"Really now? This is new, were you sent by the academy?"Chief Dugard asked.
"Then who taught you?"
"Sasha," Rowan said, wishing she knew her last name.
"I see, I see. Then I believe you can take care of our problem. Hyde, front and center," Chief Dugard said.
Without saying a word, one of the guards standing beside the desk, made their way towards Rowan, removing their helmet as they walked. He tucked it under his arm and preceeded to shake out his hair when she suddenly saw fox like ears sprout from the side of his head.
"Hyde Leighton at your service," he said politely bowing before her, his red hair falling over his shoulders.
It wasn't until he stood back up did she see his face. A large lock of red hair hid his right eye, but his left eye was the color of gold. His skin was the color of pale apricots and his mouth was set in a stern frown. Narrow fox like eyes looked her up and down, as if he were hunting for prey. She crossed her arms.
A sune-kin huh? Don't see these guys to often...
"Nice to meet you Hyde," Rowan said extending a hand to him. Hyde took it before standing beside her and looking at Chief Dugard.
"Hyde, you are to fill her in on the situation and join her on the mission. Assist her in anyway possible. You are now dismissed," the chief said with a wave of his hand.
With a slight bow, Hyde motioned for her to follow, leaving the room behind. Just as Rowan was walking past Brandon, he shot her a glare, probably because she had shown him up. Closing the door behind her, she raced down the hall to catch up to Hyde, who was opening the door, and waiting for her to enter.
She nodded and entered the room, discovering that it was a small office. She sat in the chair across from the desk and Hyde took the one behind the desk. He set his helemt on the desk, before lacing his fingers together and resting his chin on his fingers, his eyes still examining her.
"Have we really sunk so low we have to resort to outside help?"
"I'm not exactly outside help," Rowan, began crossing her arms, "I lived here...a very long time ago,"
"It doesn't make a difference. But if the chief thinks you can handle it then I'll help you as best I can, all though I'm sure a sorceress could take care of this problem by herself," Hyde said as he dug around the desk and then grabbed a folder. He slid it across to Rowan motioning her to open it.
Inside she found a detailed summary of the events and the time that they happened. The attacks were spread out across a span of two weeks, and with each attack, things they took continued to add up. She looked at the times and the directions that they came from before she closed the folder and looked at Hyde.
"Our best chance to grab them is tonight at around midnight. Everyone will be asleep, and if I'm following the pattern quickly, they'll probably head towards the back gates," Rowan explained.
"Hmmm...I hope your right. It would suck if they were to come to the front gate.." Hyde said, running a few fingers through his hair, "Now, since we have the entire day to waste, do you have any lodgings?"
"No, no I don't..." Rowan said.
"Then I'll buy you a room at the inn,"
"You don't have to, I could just stay with a-"
"I'm just being polite, I am your escort after all. And you can't really refuse," Hyde said.
"That's the second time someone has said that to me today," Rowans said with a small grin.
"Who was the first one?" Hyde asked.
"A friend of mine invited me to the bar later tonight,"
"Well you may have to cancel. Drinking on the job-"
"I won't be on the job! And I'll make sure to be sober, before the bandits get here,"
"Are you even old enough to drink?" Hyde questioned.
"Yes, jeez. You sound like an old man asking me all these questions,"
"I'm just going by the book,"
"Yeah, yeah. I can see that. Hey, can you help me with something? Before we go to the inn?"
"Your not going to send me to do your shopping are you?"
"No, I just wanted to know if they kept any files about the fire that happened 13 years ago,"
Their was an awkward silence as Hyde returned the folder into thed desk and then let out a lomng deep sigh, closing his eyes.
"Why do you want to know about that? No one in Lardon wants to remember that day..."
"I have my own reasons for coming to Lardon. This whole thing is just a techinality so I can stay here and gather the information that I need,"
"Look, if it happened 13 years ago, we probably don't have the files on it. Your best chance is to visit the graves at the cemetary and see what they tell you,"
"You've got to be joking!"
"I'm not. I'm telling you everyone here would rather forget about that day and if you go around asking, they'll think you had something to do with it,"
That's because I did.... Rowan though to herself, I guess it's time to pay my parents a visit, if they even have a grave....
Pushing the chair back, Rowan rose to her feet and turned towards the door, Hyde following after her. Just as she was opening the door, he grabbed her amr turned her around.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to the graveyard, like you said,"
"Why are you so stubborn? Let it go!"
"Sorry, sorceress are just naturally stubborn. But you don't have to come. You can just stay here and do some paperwork, considering that is all you Royal Regiment guys are good for!"
"Look, we've done great for the last couple of years, so you can just shut your mouth missy!" Hyde said.
"My name is Rowan, and if this is how you took care of Lardon for the last couple of years, I'm surprised that it hasn't burned to the ground a second time," Rowan hollered, snatching her arm away.
Fuming she left the room, leaving Hyde standing in the door way. He slammed the door shut, behind her, before throwing his hands into the air.
"Good riddance!" he hollered to the heavens, before kicking the chair across the room.
I can't stand stubborn women...why the hell do they have to be so stubborn?