The sound of crickets woke Rowan from a rather comfortable sleep. Blinking several times she found herself leaned up against a tree, Shade staring at her with wide hazel brown eyes. Levi stood beside her nawing at some grass. Stretching she lifted the tan jacket Hyde had laid on her last night and drapped it around her shoulders, leaning back against the tree. That morning it was slightly cooler than usual and without the fire burning, she had become quite cold. Reaching out she placed her arm out to Shade, who leapt onto her arm, chirping loudly.

"So, where is Hyde?" she asked.

A flare of hatred erupted from the small birds eye before it looked away. Rowan chuckled, stroking his head, before yawning a bit. The next time she fell asleep it would be on a nice cozy bed, in an inn. Still stroking Shade's head, she decided that breakfast would do her good until Hyde returned.

She reached into her pack, grabbing the loaf of bread from in and a few slices of dreied meat and vegetables. She popped a piece of cucumber into her mouth before feading both Shade and Levi a piece of bread. She ripped peaces off of the meat until she was slightly full and then  threw everything within her pack, and tieing to Levi's saddle. She stretched, getting to her feet, Shade going from her arm to her shoulder.

"You really need to check in more often my little friend," Rowan said, not entirely sure that the bird could understand.

He made a disgruntle sound, before leaping into the air and disappearing into the forest. Rowan was about to follow, when all of a sudden the sound of hooves made her look around. Out of the forest came Hyde riding on Shadow, who was chewing on something. He leapt down from the saddle, making his way over to Rowan.

"Sorry about not being here when you woke up, it's just Shadow was in desperate need ot a water, and I had to clean myself up," Hyde explained.

"It's fine," Rowan said, taking a look at Hyde. He had indeed cleaned himself up. His hair shimmered in the sunlight and his face looked clean. He looked like a new man. She looked at his ears, that were twitching every now and again, and she had to restrain herself from reaching up and scratching behind the, like she would do to a dog.

"Earth to Rowan!" Hyde said, waving a hand in front of her face.

"Sorry, I got distracted,"

"Want me to show you the river?" she asked.

"Yes, I feel a bit dirty myself..." Rowan said, running a few fingers through her hair.

"Well then this way," Hyde said bowing and letting her pass. Then escorted her towards the river, before racing back to the camp. Rowan waited several minutes scooping out the area around her before she began to wash up in the river. The water was clean, and cool, which sent shivers down her spine. She managed to get her hair clean, which was quite the task considering how long it was.

Her clothes sat in front of a tree, and she threw them back on quickly, before sliding into her boots. She quickly returned to the camp to find Hyde leaning against a tree, looking at his other long sword that he had gotten the night before.

"So, what do you plan on doing with that?" Rowan asked, entering the clearing.

"I'll probably end up selling it or trading. I really don't need two blades, unless you want it,"

"No, I all ready have a gun, so I'm good. Hey did you go look at Englante this morning?" Rowan asked.

"Yeah, it's gone, just a bunch of ashes, I guess I but a little to much magic into that flame," Hyde said, "So, what do we do now?" he asked.

"We've got to figure out who that figure is, and figure out what they have planned. If their creating Sins, that's a problem. And Two, I'm going to find Randolf," Rowan said.

"Why Randolf?"

"I have a few questions for him. Since he keeps finding, all these artifacts from Salaka, I want to know where he's getting them from and how much he knows about them," Rowan said.

"I guess that's a good place to start. Heck he may know the answer to what happened to your friends,"

"Exactly," Rowan said, "So what is the closes town to where we are?"

"It's a small farming town called  Caligra. To the west of that is Flowervale, and to the east is... Briton,"

"I only asked for one town Hyde, not three," Rowan said leaping to Levi's saddle.

"Sorry, it's just thought you should no the area. We may have to split up,"

"Let's hope not," Rowan said as she whipped Levi's reins and took off through the forest.

Meanwhile Chief Dugard and his men arrived at the remains of Englante. The wind blew the ashes into the air, creating something close to a black cloud. Chief Dugard, lead his men through the destruction before stopping and turning towards his second and command. "How could have this happened?" the chief asked.

"I wish I knew sir, but by the looks of the damage, this couldn't been a normal fire. I mean we could see it from Lardon and you even said yourself it was blue-green,"

"Wait, aren't sune-kin and green?"

"Yes, yes they are, but Hyde couldn't have done this, could he? Perhaps..."

"Right now he and Rowan Saga our are prime suspects. And didn't they come here?" The Chief asked.

"Yes, yes they did," his second in command said.

"Then they are our prime suspects. Their is no mistaking that Hyde did this, and that means he killed a number of people, and that sorceress, we cannot exclude her from this, she could have helped them-"

"Your jumping to conclusions. I know Rowan, she wouldn't do something like this and-" cole hollered, flipping up the visor on his helemt.

"You do remember that that Sorceress caused the fire 13 years ago correct? I didn't take her in because she was young and she was redeeming herself by killing those bandits. But this...this is crazy," he said.

"Cole, you are a new recruit, but the facts are right in front of your face. Those two are murderers and must be stopped. Fishard, take Cole and few other men and hunt thetraitors down. Find them and bring them back to Lardon, dead or alive," the chief said.

"All right, Cole, you take point and be ready for anything. Scott , Donner, come with us. Move out men," Fishard hollered.

Cole took point but he still couldn't belive what was happening. Rowan had just returned to him. Rowan was back, and now this happened. He frowned. No, no it wasn't her fault.

That sune-kin...he did this and he's going to drag Rowan right down with him. That bastard, I knew I couldn't trust him!

Cole's mind flashed back to the night he found Hyde and Rowan yelling at each other in the bar. Some how he had resisted punching Hyde in the face. Instead he was going to comfort Rowan, but she had disappeared as well. The next morning both of them were gone. He frowned. He was going to find Rowan and bring her back. He was going to save her.

"Cole! Pick up the pace, private!" Fishard hollered.

"Yes, sir," Cole said sternly, through gritted teeth, before he pushed his horse forward, sending him into a run. The others followed behind him, their horses hooves hitting the dirt in a rythmic tone. With each hoof beat the anger within Cole returned and he was close to screaming out. But he didn't he couldn. Instead he lowered his visor and continued onward.

I won't lose her again. I won't lose her again...

He repeated that to himself over and over again. Leaving the city of ashes behind, they continued on towards Rodinen Forest. Looking down at his feet, he saw several hoof tracks. Coming to a stop, he turned towards Commander Fishard, and pointed to them.

"Good find son. We're heading in the right direction. Now keep our eye out, they say theirs a fairly large hole in this forest," Fishard said, continuing onward.

And hopefully Hyde fell into it....


Finally free from the forest, Rowan and Hyde found themselves in dense farming country. For miles upon miles, vegatable and fruite seemed to be groing.  It was quite the sight. Hyde grinned, before pointing towards a road. Rowan guessed that this would lead them right into the town, and the sooner they got to the town the sooner they could start gathering information.

They trotted at a rather comfortable pace, and Rowan ended up looking right into the sky, watching as the sun reached it's peak. It must have taken them several hours to traverse the thick forest, she was so happy to be free of it, and back in the wide open spaces of the plains, even if they were surrouned by thousands upon thousands of plants.

Rowan wondered just how they managed to keep all of these plants watered. Sasha once told her about a place that had a very powerful bard, living amongst them. Rumor had it that the bard, could summon the rain and water all of the plants, and fertilize the ground. But that itself was just a rumor, considering bards couldn't control mother nature straight forward like that. She made a mental note of the bard, and made that her priority to speak with him.

As they walked down the road, men and women alike turned to wave at them bidding them good afternoon and that they hoped to see them in town. Even children ran up to them and asked where they had come from. Hyde simply told them Lardon before moving on. To say the least the kids were not happy, with his answer, and simply stuck out their tongues at him. This infuriated Hyde, but resulted in making Rowan laugh hysterically.

"So, I guess you don't like children much, do you?" she asked.

"It's just they ask so many questions," he said frowning.

"I feel so sorry for your kids," Rowan said with a grin.

"Who said I was having kids?!" he hollered.

"What do you plan to just follow me wherever I go, and not settel down with a nice sune-kin lady, that is kind of stalkerish Hyde. Or perhaps you like the noble type or maybe a bartender or-"

"Rowan shut up!" Hyde said.

"I've got it, you'll love that woman who loves to study odd things like insects, or...cows," Rowan said jokingly.

"I'm going to hurt you Rowan, i really am!" Hyde said, a playful grin on his face.

"You said that to me last time and you didn't do anything. A plus it is bad manners to hit a woman," Rowan said, throwing her head back and laughing.

She is starting to rub off on me. Usuallly around this time, I'd be thinking of what do next, yet here I am going back and forth with this loon about my love life- or lack of one. I can all ready sense the bad habits forming... Hyde thought to himself, as they neared the town.

"Fine, but you don't have a love life either. Their aren't alot of sorcerors around you know,"

"Who said I wanted to marry a sorceror? A wizard would do fine, maybe even a Royal Regiment solidier,"

"You'll get married to the guy who was to breed cows for a living. Which would mean you'd be living right here,"

"I love, milk, but I'd rather not touch the utters," Rowan said frowning.

Hyde laughed to himself, before they entered the village and  tied their horses to a pole, where a trench filled with water stood before them. Together the two made their way into the small town, heading for the small bar. Rowan said she would meet up with him later and that she would go see the bard. After meandering about the village for a little while, she finally arrived at his small hut. Knocking on the door their was a gruff "Enter" from the other side.

"Sorry to disturb you Bard, but I have a question for you," Rowan said.

The bard sat at his table drinking a large amount of beer. His bear was long and white, and he was going bald atop his head. His face was covered in wrinkles, but his eyes still looked young and alert.

"A sorceress, well isn't this new. Please come in, come in!" he said, motioning for her to sit down, "Now how can I help you?"

"I wanted to know, if a man named Randolf has passed through your town lately,"

"Randolf, do you mean that trickster?"

"Yes, I mean him,"

"Why do you want to find him?" the bard questioned.

"I need to ask him some questions,"

"Well, he hasn't been through here in quiet some time. Rumor has it he got into some trouble, and his hiding somewhere in the north for a moment. Then again, they also say that he is on another wild adventure. The last I heard he was last seen in Genosha," the bard said.

"Genosha...that's a long wyas away isn't it?"

"Yes, it takes five days to get to Genosha. Now you had another question correct?"

"Yes, has a person, wearing all black come through here? I believe they may be a necromancer..."

"Necromancers! Bleh. That is bad company to keep dear!" he said, shaking his head.

"Their not my friend. But I fear they may have something horrible planned,"

"Now that you mention it, I have heard rumors about a Necromancer popping up here and there. Wherever they appear death and sorrow follows. A few weeks ago, he popped up in Briton and the chief died. We were spared from the Necromancer. Some believe that the Necromancer is working for the enemy of the king,"

"Ventus?" Rowan asked.

"Yes, exactly. And I believe the Necromancers name is Night. Which isn't a bad name considering that they were all black and appear in the dead of night,"

So we met Night last night...what an annoying name... Rowan thought to herself.

"Yes, yes that's his name. But that's about all I know. My best guess for finding more information on this Night, is to find a couple of bandits, or a few of Ventus's people, they should give you some answers," the bard said.

"And where can I find Ventus's people?"

"They lie in the forest between Northton and Westcliff, which isn't all that far from here, maybe a day, two day trip at most,"

"Oh, thank you sir," Rowan said.

"No problem dear. Oh and watch your back. I feel negative energy is coming, and it seems to be following you. Be ready," the bard said a sudden seriousness in his voice.

Rowan nodded before exiting the hut, making her way back towards the main road.

That is the last thing that I need.


The End

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