In the kindest words Rowan could think of Northton was an absolute dump. She just didn't know another way to say it. But she had heard rumors growing up that Northton was falling apart and that raids and factions for race and other reasons were popping up all over the place. Upon entering an old man, hollered in Rowan's face, saying that all woman are evil, and they should be treated as such. It made her sick to her stomach, and she knew that Hyde, who was a beast-kin, wasn't to comfortable here either.

He was being recruited by countless other beastkin. Some include men with many a scales on their body, and women with wings on their backs, which she believed were called Nephilems. Their numbers were seriously dwindling. After the third recruiter approached Hyde and asked, why he was traveling with her, Hyde finally lost control and socked the liz-kin in his face, knocking him onto the ground. The recruiters all but stopped after that show of anger.

By the time they arrived, the sun was setting behind the horizon and the bar and inn were just opening for buisness, all though she wasn't to sure if she wanted to eve sleep in a place like this. Hyde rented out two rooms, before he said he was going to take a stroll through out town, to see what he could learn. Rowan decided that she would stay in the bar and listen to the conversations that men and women were having.

Taking a seat in the middle of the room, Rowan quickly ordered a beer before lacing her fingers togther and resting her chin on her fingers. She closed her eyes, and with a little magic, began to pick up several conversations.

"....those idiotic beast-kin. All their doing is causing trouble for us. You know the killings of Priest Duncan and his wife?"

"Yeah, what about them?" a older man asked.

"I heard a liz-kin saying that it was fun to see their blood run down his sword. But apparently, priest Duncan killed one of the liz-kin'z newborns,"

"I'm proud of the priest," the older man replied.

Rowan stopped listening to that conversation and began to listen to another. The topics ranged from politics to family, to sex. It was all a bit disturbing. Her beer arrived a minute later, and she took a swig out  of it, when she recongized the voice of the old man who had yelled at her earlier. He was just entering the bar, with a few of his protestors, and he was looking around shaming all the women.

"If I ever become mayor of this town, I'll teach these women a lesson. They are nothing compared to us men,"

"Yeah!" his followers hollered.

"Shut up and take a seat Boris," the bartendr hollered across the room.

Boris, snickered before taking a seat at a table in the far corner of the room, before resuming conversation with his followers.

He and Chief Dill would have been the best of friends, Rowan thougt to herself, taking another sip of her beer.

"And look, their she is now. How dare she show her face around here?"

"Boris, don't mess with her...there's someting about her-

"Shut up! I will do as I wish!" Boris hollered, before getting to his feet, and making his way over.

Rowan knew exactly where he was going and just as he stood across from her, she opened one eye and examined him. He snickered once again. Boris was a fraile old man, who was completly bald  on the top of his head. Little wisp of hair hung down his shoulders and his eyes had several bags under them. Rowan took a deep breath before asking, "May I help you?"

"How about you get the hell out this bar, and scamper on home. Women like you aren't suppose to leave the house. And just look at the way you dress you filthy wench!" Boris hollered slurring his words a bit.

Rowan opened her other eye, before calmly looking at Boris. She did feel a bit naked without her cloak on,but she woul just have to make do. She bit her lip for a moment, thinking over her next course of action, "I suggest you stop talking to me that way. You don't have any idea of what I'm capable of,"

"I'm not afraid of a wench like you! Just what are you planning to do?" Boris asked, raising an eyebrow.

Rising to her feet, she pointed a single finger towards his ace and watched as he stopped staring, closed his eyes and fell forward onto the ground.

"What did she do?" a woman asked, racing over.

"I put him to sleep. He'll wake up in a few hours," Rowan said, befor sitting back down and continued to sift through conversations. Suddenly something caught her interest.

"So, is the boss back from Westcliff, I can't wait much longer," agruff man asked.

"I'm not sure. I was going to check tonight actually. The sooner we have everything, the sooner we can set out. But you know V, he has to make sure everything is just right,"

A cold chill raced up Rowan's body before she closed her eyes and shook her head. That had been to easy. If V was Ventus, then all she had to was follow them. Suddenly hearing a chair being pulled out, she opened her eyes to find an infuriated Hyde, sitting across from her.

"What's wrong?" Rowan asked.

"This whole city is wrong. Do you know I was all most attack, because some weird man saw me entering the town with you? He thought I had kidnapped you or something. I had to knock him around just to get the story straight,"

"Join the party. You see the man behind you?" Rowan asked.

"You mean the one I had to kick did that?"

"Yeah, a sleep spell. I didn't want to cause to much trouble ya know," Rowan said.

"Are you positive that your not a sune-kin?" Hyde asked.

"I'm positive, but why do you ask?"

"We sune-kin use that spell to capture our pray. Then again, I do keep forgetting your a sorceress. Anyway, did you find out anything? I had little luck on my end,"

Without saying a word, Rowan turned towards the two men who were sitting farthest away from them in a corner. Hyde looked at them, before turning back to Rowan.

"They mentioned someone by the name of V and that they were going to go see if V had returned,"

"V for Ventus?" Hyde asked.

"Perhaps, but, nevertheless. We'll have to follow them. Man I reallywish my cloak wasn't ripped," Rowan said.

"We can do it without the cloak. As long as they don't catch a whiff of us, everything will be all right. I assure you of that," Hyde said.

"All right, I'll follow yourblead. Oh yeah, you can go ahead and cancel the rooms you boughtus. I am not sleeping in this place,"

"I all ready did. I don't want stay here any longer than we have to. Now while we're here and waiting for these two, is their anything that we need to stock up on?"

"Other than food and probably clothing, nothing of great importance," Rowan said with a sigh.

"Well I know the food stands and clothing store is closed. We could all ways buy some beer for the road," Hyde said rubbing his chin, before calling over a young woman and asking for two more beers.

The woman was flustered as she looked at Hyde, before she cast a jealous glance at Rowan, which hit her hard. She swallowed hard. Why should she care how other woman look at her...or Hyde for that matter. They weren't anything after all. Just a couple of friends traveling together with their horses, and a bird that hated one them with an undying passion. Nevertheless it pained her when that woman looked at her, when at first she could careless about them at all.

Noticing her face, Hyde quickly asked, what was wrong. She shook her head and said nohing before looking towards the men who were still deep in conversation. She told Hydevthat if he wanted to talk to her, all he had to do was tap her. Her magic was used for long range, and that anything within close range would become blurred and hard to hear. Hyde just decided that he would keep watch.

It was several hours before the men decided that it was time for them to leave. Hyde waited until they were out of the bar and down the street, before leaving the bar themselves. Hyde said that he told the horses, to make their way to the plains right before Westcliff and that they would meet them their in  couple of days. Suddenly Shade swopped down and rested on Rowan's shoulders. Immediately an idea leaped into her head.

"Tell Shade that I want him to follow those to frokm above,"

Hyde relaid the message and with a happy chirp Shade sprung into the air and siappeared from sight. Rowan grinned before she and Hyde began their pursuit. They decided to keep a good distance behind, walking as quietly as they could. Every couple of blocks they would dip down a side street and continue to follow the two men along the side streets, all though Rowan guessed that they were to enthralled in there current conversaion to even tell that they were being followed.

They soon arrived at the village exit where they stole two horses and galloped out to the forest a few miles north of Northton. Hyde decided that they would hitch a ride in a traveling salesman cart.  Opening the flap to back of the cart they found themselves situated in a small space filled with boxes and rotting food. Rowan had to keep herself from gagging right then and there. Hyde did what he could to stop the smell, and decided that he would push the rotting food towards the driver, and hope he didn't notice. He didn't.

To say the least the ride was bumpy, but after reaching the forest, the driver made a swift left and rode alongside it. Hyde nodded once before the two rose to their feet and leapt from tghe cart onto the ground. The men were just disappearinging into the forest as they entered it behind them. Hyde whispered that he would follow them from above in the trees, and that she should keep a distance between them and follow as best she could. She nodded, and continued to follow after the men raising an eyebrow.

The forest was thick and the branches soon covered her with small cuts. But it wasn't long until they reached a clearing and she saw a large group of men standing around a fire. In several cages were men and women who looked close to death and large wild horses were tied to a number of trees. A lone man walked the cages acessing the bodies of the people they captured, before turning to his men.

"This is a glorious day! Tonight we shall be closer to our goal than we ever were. We just have to wait for their arrival, and then everything will be ready. The King will fall, and nothing will stop us,"

Rowan frowned. She had heard stories of the King of Delanin. He was a kind, but naive men who barely knew how to run the country. nevertheless that was exactly what was keeping it somewhat in peace. But this blind eye was also the cause of segregation throughout all the cities, and the corrupt hearts of politicians and such. Ventus on the other hand was a tyrant who would strangle the life out of everyone in Delanin. He was a cruel man, and Rowan would hate it if he would ever gain power over Delanin.

Looking up she saw Hyde in a branch right above her, crouched on his hands and knees. He truly did look like a fox, the only thing he was missing was that long bushy tail. Looking down at her, he summoned a small flame, before his eyes shifted towards the scene in front of them. He turned back and mouthed, "On my signal,"

Rowan nodded, before she let the magic course through her body. She would have to be ready, cause once the signal was given, their ould be no time for her to summon a spell without being harmed. She swallowed hard, before affixing her eyes on the tall, dark, and rather buff Ventus.

The End

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