Cole and his group stopped as the sun began to set. Cole cursed to himself, hating that the days were shorter as fall and winter grew closer and closer. They tied their horses to trees before they set up camp in a small clearing, which Cole guessed was used by Hyde and Rowan. They were hot on their trails now, perhaps just a few hours behind them at the most. Cole had actually requested that they keep moving but Fishard said their horses needed rest, or they would topple right over. Cole was defeated...for the time being.
As the rest of this group sat around the fire talking about their lives, he leaned against a tree, absorbed in his own thoughts. The sickening feeling washed over him. The same feeling he felt when he found out that Rowan had disappeared so many yars ago. He had loved her ever since they were children and nothing could change that, not even a sune-kin who only wanted to bring her to harm.
The day Rowan returned to Lardon, was the day that he believed that the God's listened to his prayers. It took a little longer than usual, but they had listened after all. And she had become even more beautiful. She had grown from being an adorable seven year old to becoming a beautiful young woman.
But when she returned, she had grown in both beauty and strength, and he was just a trainee, in the last days before he became an offical guard for the Royal Regiment. If she hadn't cancelled on him for drinking beers, he would have invited her to his graduation ceremony and then asked her out on a date. He would of asked her to stay in Lardon, and to never leave again. But Hyde...Hyde all ways came in the way of things.
He's all ways shown me up...all ways proved to everyone else that he was better than I was. He was stronger, faster, gentle and cat like. I could never be anything close to him never could.
"Hey Private is everything all right?" Fishard asked, making his way over and handing Cole a bowl of soup.
"I'm fine," Cole said, forcing a smile onto his face.
"Good, I thought we were losing you their for a moment," his Commander said, sitting beside him, "So, I guess you know Rowan and Hyde huh?"
"Yeah, I've known Rowan since we we're little kids,"
"What about Hyde? Were you guys friends?"
"Not in the least. To tell you the truth, I hated his guts and I still do," Cole said sipping some of his soup.
"I was jealous. He was good at everything. He would show me up and then tell me how I should have done it. He drove me nuts,"
"Yet, you decided to the same Royal Regiment as him?"
"I had nothing else to do. I don't want to rot behind the desk like my father, and my fingers are to clumsy to sow like my mother. So this was kind of my only thing. But I decided if I joined I would show Hyde up,"
"Well, that's going to be hard," Fishard said, "Chief Dugard says, that Hyde is the best solider their has ever been in the Regiment. He was thinking about sending him to Empilon. You know, I don't think Hyde did that...I mean if he did, he had a reason, he wouldn't just break the Regiment Oath to kill people,"
"Yes, he would. He was a sneak one. A trickster. Just like a fox,"
"Hey don't start going stereotypes on me Cole. Just because they look like foxes and-"
"Fishard, you haven't known Hyde for as long as I have. He'll do whatever it takes to get what he wants. I wouldn't be surprised if he did this just to show how strong he was,"
"That doesn't sound like the Hyde I know," Fishard concluded.
"Then you don't know Hyde," Cole said, turning away after finishing his soup.
He listened as Fishard left before drifting into a comfortable sleep.
Cole opened his eyes, and looked around. It was still night time, probably around Midnight. His Commander and other soliders were still sleeping soundly. Grinning he rose to his feet before grabbing his pack and swinging it over his back. He untied his horse from the tree, before hopping into the saddle and walking away. Once he was a far enough distance away from his group, he whipped the reins and ran in a full out sprint towards the next town. In just under a hour he and his sword, broke through the brush, and was now racing down the road towards the small farming town of Caligra.
Arriving at the entrance, he was greeted by two men who were standing guard in front of the twon. Cole and his horse slid to a stop, and gritting his teeth together he stopped himself from cursing at the men.
"Why such the hurry sonny? It's the middle of the night," a older man asked.
"I'm looking for someone. Did a sune-kin and a woman pass through here recently?" Cole asked quickly.
"Did the woman have long brown hair?"
"And gray eyes, all most the color of pale lavenders?" the younger man interjected.
"Yes, yes she does, where are they heading?"
"I think their heading towards Northton or Westcliff. Heck all I know is that they were heading North...or maybe West..."
"No, their heading North, they said something about gathering information or something,"
"Thanks, how long is it to Northon?"
"A day, two tops maybe. But they wouldn't travel through the night so you could probably-"
But the man never got to finish. Cole was all ready speading through the town, heading North towards Northon. His horse was growing tired, but once he found Rowan, he would let the horse rest. Until then he wouldn't stop. Rowan and Hyde were just a few hours ahead of him, and if he continued to go at this speed, he'd reach them by dawn.
I'm coming Rowan!
"A negative force?" Hyde asked, biting into a piece of bread as Rowan explained what the bard had told her. They decided to bypass the towns of Briton and Genosha. Night was a bigger problem, and by any chance, they may just run into Randolf.
"Yeah, that's what I said. That is the last thing that we need right now. I mean we just fought two sins not to mention we had to burn a whole city down," Rowan said, looking at the fire that Hyde had created.
Levi and Shadow were walking the plains eating grass. Shade was flying above their heads, keeping a look out. Rowan found that she didn't really need Hyde to translate any more for her. Whenever Shade chirped it meant that he was happy or a yes. When he made a gutteral sound, it meant no or I'm sick of you. She had also learned never to mention Hyde's name to the little bird, for whenever she did, fire burned within his eyes.
"Well, at least we have Shade looking out for us," Hyde said.
"Oh, yeah you may want to keep your distance from Shade, he does not like you," Rowan explained.
"Most flying-kin hate us. We're like the foxes, and like foxes we hunt birds. He can hate me all he wants, cause I don't like him either. If it wasn't for you, I would have all ready kill, gutted and ate the little pest," Hyde said with a chuckle.
"And that's why he hates you," Rowan said, finally understanding where Shade was coming from.
Hyde just laughed before asking for the canteen. Rowan passed it to him, popping a piece of meat and bread into her mouth. Hyde took a swig of the sweet liquid before cringing and passing it back. She chuckled before taking a sip from it as well. The sugar made her wide awake, and unlike Hyde she smiled, before placing the cap back on the canteen.
"I'm sorry by the way," Hyde said as he stretched out and looked at the stars. He sat across from her on the other side of the fire, so the only way she could see him, is if she tilted her head up some over the flames.
"For what?" she asked.
"I know you were expecting to be sleeping in a nice warm bed tonight. But here we are in the middle of a field, with the tempature dropping as we speak,"
"It's not all bad. At least we can star gaze," Rowan said looking at the positive side of things, all though she was looking to the bed and nice warm inn.
"You all ways think of the positives during these situations. You're a rare one,"
"You all ready called me that. Jeez, I must be a one in a million kind of person,"
"I guess you are. Hey Rowan?" Hyde suddenly asked.
"Can you summon flames?" Hyde questioned, sitting up some.
"I can...it's just I can't control them," Rowan said, "Every other element comes naturally to me, but fire...I don't like it," she said.
"I can understand why. Well would you like to learn how to control it? I mean I'm nothing compared to that sorceress Sasha, but we sune-kin are one with the flames," Hyde said.
"You would teach me?"
"Yeah, I mean we have all this spare time, so why not?" Hyde said sitting up and crossing his legs.
"All right we're do we start?" Rowan asked.
"First look at my flame," Hyde said pointing to the one he had created, "Do you see how it burns only on the kindle that I created and not the rest of the grass around it? Think of your self as the kindling. You are both the fuel and the controller. But add to much control, and the flames will devour you and the ground around you. Flames don't really liked to be controlled, it's more of guiding the flames," Hyde said, "Do you get what I'm saying?"
"Yeah, I get it, I think,"
"Good, now, stretch out your hand, and summon your flame. Don't let it escape your hands, keep it their simmering in your hand ok. Think of yourself as kindling and once you think your ready, send the flames to join mine," he said, getting to his feet and then sitting beside her.
Rowan nodded before opening the palm of her hand. Taking a few deep breaths she summoned fire into the palm of her hands, but it exploded from her hand and shot into the air. Immediately Hyde took hold of her, his arm wrapping around her waist and his other hand quickly closing the palm of her hand.
"Too much kindling. Your still to focused on controlling it. Let it come from you freely. I know you can do it," he said.
Rowan took a deep breath, her eyes floating down to her waist where Hyde's hand rested. She swallowed before looking at the palm of her hand, which was enclosed in Hyde's.
"Now just let it flow from you," he whispered, sending chills down her spine.
"Ok," Rowan said, she closed her eyes and took in a deep breath.
She felt the heat race up her arm, and suddenly felt heat in her hand. Opening her eyes she found the flame dancing in the palm of her hand. She smiled, watching it's graceful dance. She looked at Hyde when all of a sudden, the flame soared into the sky again. Hyde closed her fist once again.
"Oxygen is the fire's fuel, along with the kindling, but add too much and it explodes. Don't get so excited, you have to keep a cool medium. Here watch me," he said.
Rowan watched as he removed his hand from her own and then opened the palm of his hand. He stared right at, before blue-green flames erupted into thepalm of his hand. It danced lightly in the palm of his hand, before it leapt into the larger flame.
"Yes, I'll try again," Rowan said determined.
She took a deep breath, and let the heat race up her hand and become a flame in the palm of her hand. She kept it their, keeping her excitement and fear at bay, before she guided it into Hyde's blue-green flames. The flames increased in size for a moment, making her jump. But Hyde kept her stationed there, his arm wrapping around her tightly. Rowan hadn't even noticed that she had slammed her eyes closed.
"Rowan look," Hyde whispered.
Rowan slowly opened her eyes and found herself looking a bright purple flame. It flickered between purple and gray, reminding her of her own eyes. She swallowed hard, before smiling, looking at Hyde who was still watching the flame.
"I did it...I was never able to control it when Sasha tried to teach me,"
"It's different for everyone," Hyde said, loosening his grip around her before letting go, and leaning back some, propped up on his shoulders.
Rowan looked at him, watching as the flames illuminated his face. She had never seen a more beautiful being than Hyde. She was sure of that. She smiled, before looking away, slightly regretting that Hyde had stopped embracing her. She brought her knees close and wrapped her arms around them, resting her chin on her knee and warming her hands on the fire.
"It's not scary once you learn how to control it, is it?"
"It's not even the least bit scary," Rowan said with a grin,"Then again, I had a great teacher," she said.
"I've never seen a flame like this before," Hyde said.
"Neither have I, all though I don't think they come in this color," Rowan said with a chuckle, before yawning.
"You should get some sleep, it's late,"
"Your right, but you should sleep too. Even workaholics like yourself need sleep," Rowan said as she stretched backwards and reached for her pack. She fluffed it like a pillow before laying down and looking at Hyde, "Promise me you'll sleep?"
"You say it like I don't sleep. Rowan I love to sleep," Hyde said getting to his feet. I'm just going to bring the horses in, and watch the flames until I get tuired. But I promise you I'll sleep," he said, as he pushed himself to his feet.
Rowan nodded before she rolled onto her side and closed her eye, warmed by the flames. She knew when she awoke in the morning, Hyde's jacket would be draped over her and she'd still be warm, even after the flames are extinguished.