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A DRAGON AGE TALE

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                           THE FORSAKEN DESTINY
                         By Anya Marie McDonald

Shaezara Baelashar thought she had eluded her pursuers four months ago in the city of Seleny when she escaped from the city jail. She also thought she gave them the slip just outside of Starkhaven three months ago and then near Perendale two months as well a month ago near the Nahashin Marshes, but it seems the Antivan Soldiers were not that easily to get rid of. Sure it was selfdefence, at least to her anyway, then again when you kill someone like Mirgot Frendor who has connection with the Crows you don't stick around to defend yourself in their fixed courts. Which leaves running as your only option to either being executed or sold into slavery, neither of these options appealed to Shae. Now all she had to do is reach Fereldan and then to the Brecilian Forest, where she would hope to find some sort of refuge, maybe meet a Clan of Dalish Elves and join them. But, for now she had to elude the Antivan Soldiers following her. As she was nearing a small clearing she stopped as she spotted a group of armed men sitting around a small fire.

"Great just what I need more idiots to deal with." She said to herself hiding behind a large Oak tree. As she listened and watched the men she slowly climbed the Oak, careful not to make a sound as she did. When she felt she was high and safe enough she seated herself so she could sleep without falling as well as keep listening to the men around the fire. Their coversation was not that interesting at first, but then one of them mentioned Darkspawn she perked right up. "Oh Great!" She said to herself. "I am running into a Blight, what timing you have Shae." Then as if a light went off in her head she smiled and rolled over and went to sleep. The rest of the night went by without incident and when she awoke at first light she looked over at the men who were breaking camp and saddling their horses.

She thought. "Hmmm..It would be so easy to surprise them, kill them and take their rides or at least one of them." Smiling at this brazen plan of hers she waited until just the right moment then sprang into action. She landed next to a fat burly man who tried to draw his sword, but she spun around and knocked him off his feet by taking his legs out from underneath him. She then leaped and spun so her right elbow landed firmly in the middle of his huge stomach. The man cried out in agony as she landed the blow, his companions turned away from packing their horses to see the huge man on the ground twisting in pain, then they saw Shaezara standing over him with his sword in her hand smiling at the men.

Shae had always loved a good fight especially growing up in Antiva City where the life expectancy of a Elf was slim to none unless you found away into the home of a Nobel as a slave, concubine or whore, then again if one was to be a slave the Crows they would place but one bid on you and all other bidders would back off. But then the life of a Crow was not that great either, well at least to Shaezara. She had a rebelious spirit that could not be broken and she would not let it be broken, if she could help it. So, when she turned tweleve she was sent off to her Uncle Jarens place just outside of Seleny where he had a farmhold.There she would work off that excess energy she had and stay out of trouble. Now she was facing six well armed and seasoned fighters who did not take too kindly to their friend being taken down by a female especially a female Elf.

"Alright boys, who wants to die next?" She said to the soldiers as she plunged her sword into the man on the ground. The men looked at her, then at each other and saw she felt no fear in killing or even dying for that matter.

"Umm.. Look knife ears." A tall slinder man said inching closer to her.

"Knife ears is it, Shem?" Shae said wiping the blade of the sword off on the man she just killed. "Now is that the way to talk to a.... Hold it right there Bean Pole." She said noticing the man moving closer to her, he stopped and started to get shaky looking at her smile. But, then he smiled and started to move closer to her, suddenly there was a crack behind her as if a twig had been stepped on. She spun around and caught another soldier trying to sneak up on her, but the sound of the twig breaking caught him by surprise and before he could react Shae swung her sword and took his head off, then spun back around just intime to parry the sword of Bean Pole.

The two went at it for about fifteen minutes before she noticed the other four men in the group just standing there watching her fight Bean Pole while they held on to a sack that she could swear was moving. But, she did not have time to worry about the contents of the bag she was fighting for her life. Then she saw an opening and parried one last time and plunged her blade into the mans middle, twisted the blade inside him and watched as he fell to the ground lifeless. Turning towards the last four men she began to stroll up to them.

"Well, that was fun." She said to the men. "Now unless you want to join them, I would suggest you drop the bag and leave." The men looked at each other then at Shaezara, then two of them lunged at her drawing their weapons. Shaezara chuckled as she sumersaulted over them and spining she knocked their legs out from them sending the two men sprawling to the ground.

"Bad move Shems, Bad move." She said smiling as she watched them struggle to get up, but she would not let them accomplish this task. She waited until the man closest to her was just about on his feet then jumped up and planted her feet squarely on his back which made a loud crack as she did. The man lay on the ground unable to move from the breaking of his back, all he could do was scream and scream he did. But, Shae looked at the other man who had attacked her who was now on his feet and looking pissed and angry. Shaezara winked at him as she slit the throat of the man on the ground crying out in pain. He fell silent has the blood spilled from the incision she places across his neck.

"Come get some Shem, come get some." Shae said glaring at the man standing before her. She could see that he was shaking a little, this made Shae smile a little and maybe she could get out of this without killing again. But, the man was not going to back down and she could see this in his manerisms, no she would have to kill him too. So, she waited until he came in for the attack and parried the first swing of his sword and kicked him in his manhood sending him doubling over in pain. She then sliced him across the face, cutting him across his eye and right cheek. He looked up at her and lunged again at her hoping to connect with his sword, but Shae was too fast for him, as she blocked his attack and plunged her dagger into his stomach and twisting it. The man fell to the ground silently.

Shae turned to the last two men who looked at her then at each other, dropped the sack and started towards their horses, they were stopped by Shaezara's voice. "Leave the rides and travel on foot." She said as she reached the sack. The two men took off in a dead run looking over their shoulders every so often. Shae looked at the sack and sure enough it was moving. Sitting there looking at the sack move about she poked it with her new found sword and was surprised by a muffled voice coming from inside it. Slowly she opened the sack and laughed out loud as she looked upon a Dwarf trussed up like a Feastday turkey.

"So, are you food or a prisoner?" She said dumping the Dwarf out of the sack and setting his hands free. Once his hands were free he undid his legs then his mouth.

"I'm niether you sodding Duster." The Dwarf said getting to his feet and looking around.

"They're gone, well two of them ran off and the other five are dead." Shae said to the bewildered Dwarf. "So, what be your name?" She asked of the man she just freed.

"Dagan, Lanus Dagan, but my friends call me Lanny and you?" Lanus said as he grabed up a sword and shield.

"Shaezara Baelashar." She said proudly to Lanus.

"Sha..what?" Lanus said as he stared at Shae. "My that is quite a mouth full, you Elfs need to pick names that are shoerter." Lanus said as he grabed up a quiver of bolts and a crossbow.

"Well it was the name given to me at birth, I had no choice in the matter." She said as she watched the Dwarf move about the camp picking up this and that.

"Well, I shall call you Shae, alright?" He said rummaging through the packs of the dead men.

"Yes, you can call me Shae, besides thats what my friends call me, what few friends I have anyway." She said walking over to the horses and checking to make sure the saddles were fastened on tight. Lanny looked at her and nodded his approval of this woman who rescued him. The two scavenged what they needed and left the area and headed east. As they rode on through the Heartlands of Orlais, Shae turned to Lanny and asked.

"So, why did those men have you tied up and in that sack?" She asked quizzically.

"Because there is a bounty on my head, sort of." Lanny said in a gruff tone trying to keep his balance on the horse.

"Really?" She replied.

"Yes and don't get any ideas, Duster." Lanus said glaring at Shae as they rode on.

"Well we have that in common." She said smiling at her new companion.

"What did you do break some poor Dusters heart?" Lanus said with a chuckle and a smile.

"No, I killed a man, a very smelly nasty man who tried to rape me." She said in a somber tone, Lanus looked at her then nodded his approval. The two rode on and for the next three day they shared each others company. Then on the fourth day as night fall came they neared the port town of Jader. Jader was not that big when it came to port towns, but it was big enough to where no one would blink an eye at the two of them riding into town. Still both Shae and Lanny were weary of the people and were on guard as they approached the Blind Dragon.

The Blind Dragon was the main Taveren & Inn on the docks, it was where you could go to hear all the gossip of Orlais, Fereldan and most of Thedas as well. As the two entered the establishment they stopped at the door and scanned the room. Few patrains looked up as they stood there looking about the room then went back to their drinking and whatnot. Then Lanus spotted who he was hoping to see in the far back corner of the establishment. A burly Dwarf with a Qunari and Elf , those three were the ones who turned on him and sold him to those Teventer idiots. He motioned for Shae to sit at a table near the door leading to the kitchen. They sat down and watched, waiting for them to leave.

"So, what's up with you and them?" Shae asked of Lanus who was drinking his fouth pint of mead. Lanus wiped his mouth with his sleeve, burped and frowned at her.

"They betrayed me." He said lifting the flaggon to his mouth.

"What happened?" Shae asked.

"We had found an Ancient Elven Ruin and while searching it we found a whole level full of treasure. So, we four loaded up what we could and set out back to here." The Dwarf said slamming the flaggon down on the table. "What I did not count on was when we got near the Frostback Mountains and just outside the doors to Orzammar, that those three would turn on me and then sell me to Teventer slavers." Lanus said angerly.

"So, that is why you were near Val Foret." Shae said taking a drink of her mead. "So, where were they taking you?"

"I heard one of the guards say something about Kirkwall in the Free Marches." Lanus said to Shae.

"Kirkwall! Damn that is one hell of a place to be a slave in." Shaezara said shaking her head. "Well what do you plan on doing?" She asked quizzically.

"Kill them of course." Lanny said smiling.

"Of course." Shae said smiling back at the Dwarf.

"That is after I get them to tell me where they hid the loot. Then I will kill them and send Brean’s head back to Endrin Aeducan, King of Orzamarra and then his Uncle will know his nephew is not coming back." The Dwarf said throwing back his flaggon and downing its contents.

"So, thats the King of Orzammars kin?" Shae asked.

"Yea." Was all the Dwarf said.

"Are you sure it was the King who ordered what they did to you?" Shae asked the Dwarf. Lanus looked at Shaezara then nodded his head.

"You might be on to something there." He said with a belch. "Then just before I kill them I will ask who they were working for." Shae smiled and nodded. After about three hours the three in the back corner got up and headed for the door. Lanus lowered his head so he would not be spotted. Shaezara smiled at the men leaving, winking at the Handsome Elven man as he passed by. Five seconds after they left The Blind Dragon, Lanus and Shaezara got up and exited the place too.

Prestor Cerbulcan slammed his fist down on the table sending his plate of food and goblet of wine in all directions as he stood and walked over to the two men who stood before him. Prestor did not like to hear bad news and these nine men had just given him a double shot of some very bad news. As he reached the men he could smell the fear they extruded, fear was a good smell to Prestor he reveled in the fear others had of him. Becasuse it meant that he could command others to do his bidding for fear of him exacting retrobution of his desire on them, yes fear was good.

"Now I want you nine to stand over there I shall deal with you in a moment." Prestor said motioning for the nine men to stand off to the left. He then looked at the other two men were visibly shaken as the man known as the Terror of the Crows looked them over. Knowing full well that this man took pride in killing. It is said he killed a Ban just for dropping his fork at a dinner party in honor of the Imperial Archon of the Teventer Imperium.

"So, let me get this straight you had the package and now you don't?" Prestor said picking up a goblet and pouring wine into it, then drinking from the goblet.

"Y..Y.Yes M'Lord." the shorter of the two said trembling. Prestor raised an eyebrow at the man and smiled.

"Well, then please tell me how seven men left the Frostback " He said taking another drink of wine.

"We were camped just outside of Val Foret near the Foret river on our way to Solas as per instructions." The taller of the two men said as clamly as he could while shaking.

"And, the next morn we were ambushed." The shorter of the two spoke up.

"Ambushed?" Prestor said pouring more wine into the goblet. "And, how many and who ambushed you?" The man drinking the wine said peering over his goblet.

"One, a female Elf" Said the taller of the two men in a soft voice.

"Excuse me could you please speak up, I could barely hear what you said." Prestor said placing the goblet on the table and walking over to the man. As Prestor reached the man, the man relieved himself in a loud way. Prestor looked down and looked at the puddle on the floor, then back up at the man. Trying to hold back both his smile and laughter, he composed himself and once more. "Who ambushed you and how many was it?"

"O..O.One" Said the shorter of the two as he two wet himself.

"Now we are getting somewhere." Prestor said turning to the shorter of the two men. "Now that we know how many ambushed you, could you please tell me who this Man is and do so without soiling yourselves." He said stepping around the second puddle on the floor.

"W..Wasn't a Man." Said the shorter of the two. Upon hearing this Prestor rolled his eyes as he walked back to the table picked up the bottle of wine and drank from it. Turning to the two very shaken men he made a dramatic gesture for them to continue as he again drank from the bottle of wine.

"An Elf." The taller of the two said quickly.

"A female Elf." the shorter of the two said softly. Prestor spat out the mouthfull of wine and turned to the two men. Quickly walking over to them and placing his face between the mens heads.

"Are you stading here making a MESS on my hardwood floors, telling me that a lone FEMALE ELF ambushed you and the other five men in your party?" Prestor said in disbelief. Walking back to the table he looked back at the two men standing in their own piss. Suddenly in one fluid motion the taller of the two men slumped to the ground and his head went flying as the blade of Prestors sword sliced through the mans neck. The shorter of the two men as well as the other nine standing off to the left looked on in horror. Prestor placed his blade at the shorter mans neck and said. "Discribe this woman to me?" The short man went about discribing Shaezara to a tee Prestors eyes widden as he looked over at the other nine men who were showing greater signs of fear.

When the man finished his discription of Shaezara, Prestor patted the man on the back then whispered in his ear."Fail me again and I will do worse than I did to your friend here." He said pointing to the headless man on the floor, the short man turned white as a sheet looking at the body on the floor. Prestor turned to the other nine and sighed. "Well we now know what happened to your Prisoner at least, so I wont have to listen to your lies." Prestor said as he walked back to his seat poured another goblet of wine and propping his feet up on the table and looking at the ten men in the room, he smiled. "You there." He said to the short man who looked puzzled at Prestor. "Yes you."

"Y..Yes M'Lord?" the man asked.

"What's your name." He asked.

"M.My name?" the man asked still shaking.

"Yes, yes your name. You do have one don't you?" Prestor asked smiling and laughing.

"I am called Balor, Balor Pienke M'lord" Balor said still trembling.

"Well Balor Pienke, you see these nine gentlemen standing over there?" He said pointing to the men over on the left of the room. Balor nods his head. "Well you are to lead these men and go after the girl and the Dwarf. '" he said taking a drink of wine. " h and 'YOU ARE NOT TO COME BACK UNLESS YOU HAVE THEM BOTH' do you understand?" Balor shook his head in agreement at the orders given him. "But, please clean yourself up first." Balor left along with the other nine as Prestor shouted "Will someone please come and clean this mess up off of my floor."

Shaezara and Lanus followed the Dwarf, the Qunari and the Elf while keeping to the shadows, they followed them to an abandoned home on the edge of town. Shae and Lanny slowly moved closer to the house, stopping only when a lamp was lit from within. As they got to where they could sit under a window they begain to listen as the three they were following and two other begain to talk.

"Where is it?" Asked one voice.

"It is safe." Said the Qunari to the voice.

"Safe where?" Said a different voice.

"Where's the coin you promised?" Asked Brean.

"Right here, Brean." The first voice said as the sound of a sack of coins hitting the floor could be heard. "Now keep your end of the deal." The voice said in a demanding tone.

"Eldion, give it to them." Brean said as the sound of a cask lid was heard being shattered. Then Shae and Lanny heard a groan and though someone was lifting something heavy, then a loud thud was heard hitting the floor. After a few moments of no one talking Shaezara and Lanus just looked at one another then slowly rose to peek into the window to see who the other two were, but just as they did the light was put out, so they lowered themselves back down and waited to see who left first.

After about three minutes two figures left and headed for two horses that were tied up in a grove of trees about twenty yards from the house. Then as the figures reached the horses the other three left the house and watched as the first two rode off. Then without warning Lanus sprang from his position and pounced on the Brean and Eldion sending them flying to the ground. The Qunari turned to help his companions, but was met with a fist to the groin from Shaezara which sent him doubling over.

Lanus quickly kicked Eldion in the face sending him to lala land just as Brean got to his feet. Seeing it was Lanus, Brean drew his twin battle axes and charged Lanus. Lanus quickly drew his Maul and War axe and the two engaged in combat with one another. Shae looked on as the two dwarves fought it out, so ingroosed by the fight she did not see the Qunari recover from her attack. Before she could react the Huge man grabed her, however this was also his undoing. Shae using her skills as a Thief quickly escaped her captor and drawing her daggers.

"Ok big boy let us dance shall we?" She said to the Qunari as he drew his Great Sword and swung it at Shae, but missed. He swung it again and again and again each time missing. Shae all the while was laughing at the Qunaris attempts to hit her, this only ired the Qunari even more. How dare this woman, who should not even be carrying a weapon laugh at him. Laugh at one who has fought many battles and came out on top everytime. Shae could see the Qunari getting madder and madder each time he swung, missed and she laughed. Then as she cought a glimps of the Elf regaining consciousness she made her move on the Qunari. She ducked under his next swing of the Great Sword and stabbed him in the stomach, then spun around so her next hit was in the back between his shoulder blades this sent the Qunari face down to the ground. She then walked over to the Elf and placed a dagger at his throat.

"I'm not going to have any trouble from you handsome, am I?" She said smiling at the Elven man who had still not gotten to his feet. The Elf looked at the dead Qunari and then at her, then over at Lanus and Brean who were still fighting.

"Did you kill Plaut?" The Elven man asked of Shaezara who just nodded her head. The man just swallowed hard and continued to watch the Dwarves fight it out.

"Slothful bunyon-brained tunnel worm! Come on and fight like a man." Lanus said to Brean as he connected with the Twin Battle Axes.

"Warty nose-picking mole of a Nugs ass. I should have killed you when I had the chance." Brean said swinging his Axes once again. As the two fought on they threw insult after insult at one another until they finally fell from exhaustion to the ground. Shae motioned for Eldion to go over and take the weapons from Brean and tie him up. Eldion did has he was instructed and then moved the two Dwarfs back into the house.

"Light the lamp handsome." Shae commanded of Eldion. The Elf lit the lamp and the light filled to first room of the house. Shae then had Eldion tie one hand securely and then place it behind his back, she then slammed him up against the wall and tied his other hand to the one he tied, she then swept his legs so he was now sitting on the floor. Once she was sure he could not get to her quickly she went and propped Lanus up against the opposite wall. She then went about looking for food, mainly because she was hungry after not eating for almost three weeks. As she was looking in the small kitchen she found a small sack of flour and a half-sack of beans. It wasn't much, but it was food, so she gathered what she could and went to the hearth, made a fire as she soaked the beans in water.

It took five hours for the beans to soften enough for her to cook them. After an hour of the beans cooking she made biscuits and placed them in the hearth in a pan she found, the meal would be ready in an hour or so. She had also found several bottles of wine, a cask of Mead and some mugs along with some bowls. It would not be a grand meal, but it would be a filling meal. As the food cooked, she walked back into the room where the others were, picking up a table and placing the remaining four chairs around it she begain to set the table. Eldion watched as she went about her task, he smiled watching this lovely young woman move about the room. Shaezara noticed Eldion smiling.

"What are you smiling at?" She said to her captive.

"I was just wondering how things would be if we had met under different circumstances, is all." He said trying to get to his feet.

"Just stay seated handsome." She said going back to the kitchen. As she was getting the biscuits from the fire and placing them on a small table in the kitchen Lanus walked into the room carrying nine rabbits.

"Can we have these as well?" He said as Shae turned around.

"When did you get them?" She asked of her new friend.

"Oh, I didn't kill these, Eldion told me they were in Plaut's backpack. He told me when I awoke, so I went outside and got them, especially after smelling the food cooking." Lanus said handing the rabbits over to Shaezara. She took the rabbits, skinned them and cleaned them. She then placed them on spits and hunged them over the fire. After fourty-five minutes the rabits were done as were the beans. Shae took the rabbits from the fire and carved them up. She carried the beans, rabbits and biscuits out to the table where Lanny had already was sitting along with the other two.

"Touch the food until I get back and you lose a hand or something more vital." She said as she placed the food on the table and walked back to get the wine. Lanny and Eldion looked at each other in silence. When she returned to the room, she placed the wine on the table and walked over to Brean and poured cold water over him, this woke him up quickly.

"What? Where? Oh my aching everything." He said as he tried to move his hands which were tied behind his back. "Hey!! What gives?" he said looking up at Shaezara.

"Now, if you promise be a good boy I will untie you so you can eat?" Shae said looking down at the Dwarf.

"Where's Plaut?" The Dwarf said looking around the room and then at Shae.

"She killed him Brean." Said Eldion pointing to Shae who was now holding a dagger in her hand. Brean looked at her and swallowed hard. He had seen the Qunari fight and knew he was a fierce Warrior and one who was hard to best, that is if he could have been bested. But, now Eldion had just informed him that this small frail female Elf had done just that, bested Plaut. Brean nodded his head indicating he would not cause trouble. Shae cut the ropes that binded his hands and helped him to his feet.

"Sit." She said pointing to the seat at to far end of the table. Brean walked over and took his seat. Shaezara walked to the seat next to Brean and across from Eldion. She looked at the three men and motioned for them to begin eating. The three looked at her then each other and dove into the food as though they had not eatten in six months. She smiled as she watched them eat. This reminded her of life with her Uncle Jaren back near Seleny and she smiled as she grabbed some meat, biscuits and beans. The rest of the night went well as the four of them ate and drank and laughed, well they drank, Shae did not, but she acted like she did, after all someone had to be sober.

Ten riders rode into Jader the town was near deserted as most of the business were closed at this late hour. The Blind Dragon and The Pious Beggar Inn. The men rode up to the The Pious Beggar and dismounted from their horses. A short man looked around and then motioned for the others to enter the Inn. The Pious Beggar was not a fancy establishment, but it was not a rundown hovel like some of the other dockside Inns in Jader. The room were well priced for most travelers five silver for a single room and fifteen silver for a double room. The men walked up to the man behind the desk.

"Welcome to the The Pious Beggar Inn my friend, my name is Cielas Gwelon how may I help you." Cielas asked of the group of men who just walked in.

"We need rooms for the night and some information." Balor asked of Cielas.

"I guess you will need single rooms, so that will be fifty silver. As for the information, that depends on the type of information you want." Cielas said to the short man standing before him. Balor pulled out his coin pouch which had the symbol of the Anvitain Crows on it. Cielas eyes widen and he cleared his throat as Balor removed a gold piece from it and tossed it to Cielas. Cielas Gwelon just stared at the gold piece and slowly placed it in his vest pocket. "W..What kind of information do you n..need." Cielas asked of Balor.

"I am looking for a Male Dwarf and a Female Elf who are traveling together, have you seen them?" Balor asked of Cielas. All Cielas Gwelon could do was shake his head that he had not. "If you do before morning I would very much like it of you would come and get me." Balor said as he motioned for his men to retire to their rooms. As they went up the stairs to the rooms Cielas motioned for a young man to come over then he whispered in his ear and the young man took off out the door running.

As the sun rose above the treelined clearing the house was sitting on, giving the sky a gray tinge as it lit up the horizon ever so slowly. Shae went about making breakfast for the four of them. She had barely slept as she was keeping an eye on Brean and Eldion to make sure they did not try something while Lanus was asleep. Shaezara made sure there was enough food for them to travel with until they could stop for the mid day meal. One by one the men awoke, first was Eldion who just sat and watched as Shae moved about the house as though gliding on a cushion of air. Every so often Shae would catch him staring at her and then quickly advert his eyes when she turned his way. Shaezara smiled at his boyish ways and charms, but knew she could not fully trust him, well at least not yet. The next to awake was Brean who walked to the door and looked up at the sky.

"Where is Plauts body?" He said looking out where they had fought last night.

"I moved him last night after the three of you fell asleep, I did not want anyone who might be riding by to see it and stop." Shae said as she set the table for the morning meal. "I also stripped him of all of his grear and placed it there." She said pointing to the Qunaris things piled in a corner next to the door. Brean looked at her and then the gear and started to move towards it."Don't get any closer, that belongs to me now." Shae said without looking back as she went into the kitchen to get the food and wine. Brean stopped and looked at Eldion who just shook his head at Brean as if to say don't do it. Brean walked over to the table and sat across from Eldion and waited for Shaezara to return with the food.

"Should we wake Lanus?" Brean yelled to Shaezara in the kitchen.

"Sure, if you want a repeat of last night." She said to Brean who had second thoughts about it. "Now I want you two to sit down I'll be out in a minute." Brean and Eldion sat at the table as instructed. "Now, I have some questions of you two." Sahezara said exiting the kitchen with her bow in hand knotching an arrow. Both Brean and Eldion jumped back with their eyes wide open as she pulled the bowstring back and pointed it at the two of them. "I want to know why you tried to sell Lanus as a slave?" The Dwarf and Elf just looked at each other and then at Shae who was just standing there not showing emotions of any kind.

"W.We were just following orders is all." Said Brean as his eyes started to water, but not from being scared it was a reaction he had always had since childhood, though to Shae it looked as though he was crying out of fear. She lowered the bow and placed it along with the arrow on the table across from Brean and Eldion. She studied the two men, then in one swift motion she slammed two daggers into the table in front of her as she sat down across from them.

"Whos orders?" She said leaning back in her chair daring them to go for the blades or flee, which would be a mistake if they chose either one. Brean and Eldion just sat there and stared at the Elven woman. Neither knew what to do, Eldion had seen her in action as she took down Pluat with no trouble. So, they knew she was a formatable opponet. Brean cleared his throat as he wiped his mouth with his hand.

"M..My Cousin, B..Bhelen Aeducan. " Brean said still looking at Shae with wide eyes looking like a child that had just been caught stealing a chicken from the hen house.

"And, just who is he?" Shae queried the Dwarf as she played with one of her daggers by spinning it by its tip on the tip of her finger. Brean swallowed hard watching this female Elf play with the blade leering at him.

"He is the youngest of King Endrin's children." Brean said wiping spittle from his mouth with the sleeve of his tunic.

"So, he is a Prince then?" Shae queried Brean once again.

"More like a back stabbing blood sucking cave tick if you ask me." Lanus said as he sat down next to Shae.

"You know him?" Shaezarra asked of Lanus as she continued to spin her dagger.

"Yea, I know him to my displeasure." Lanus said as he picked up one of the left over biscuits from last night and begins to eat it. "He's the reason I am no longer welcomed back in Orzammar." He said taking another bite of the biscuit.

"What happened?" Shae asked.

"He wanted me to help in setting up his Sister Juliet, so it looked like she killed their older brother and heir to the throne, Trian. I told him that I would not do his dirty work. He did nothing at first and told me it was alright and he could trust me not to say anything about it. He also told me he found a Topsider to do the deed, some Elven woman named Shazzi who was in Orzammar looking for adventure." Lanus took the last bite if his biscuit and grabbed another. "Heard later that he killed her too, but I am not so sure of that. All I know is he sent some Guards to arrest me and toss me out of Orzammar. That was three weeks ago." Lanus looked at Brean and Eldion then grabbed a bottle of wine and drank the liquid to wash down the biscuits he was eating. "I met these two five days later here in Jader, they told me they were heading to the Brecilian Forest to find some Anceint Elven Ruins where there was a vast treasure trove to be had." Shaezara switched her gaze from Lanus to the other two in the room. Both Brean and Eldion felt a chill as she glared at them. "Next thing I know I am tied up like some damn Nug headed for a roast." Lanus said tossing the empty wine bottle out the window.

Cielas Gwelon began his day as he had done for the last 35 years by getting everything ready in the Pious Beggar Inn for the days business. As he was sweeping the floor he noticed five men standing at the door watching him work. He stopped for a moment then motioned for the men to go up the stairs. The men walked slowly and quietly up to the second floor, a few moments later the crashing of doors and the sounds of a fight were heard. Cielas went on about his duties as the fight continued, then after twenty-five minutes silence filled Cielas' ears. He stopped filling out his ledger and turned an ear up the stairs, but nothing. Slowly he got up from his chair and started to walk to the bottom of the stairs, but stopped as he suddenly heard the shuffling of feet. Quickly he sat down at his desk behind the counter, opened his ledger and tried to look as though he was busy. Then a loud thud startled him, jumpin up and turning around he saw the body of Crelnor who had gone up to deal with the Crows, Balor rented rooms to last night. Then he saw Balor and seven other men coming down the stairs with blood on them.

"W.What happened?" Cielas asked as Balor reached the bottom of the stairs. Balor glared at Cielas as he walked over to the Inn Keeper and grabbed him by the shirt.

"Spose you tell me old man!" Balor said as he shoved Cielas against the counter so he was leaning bakwards over it.

"I..I..I know nothing." Cielas said to Balor who was still glaring at him.

"Now, why don't I believe you." Balor said as spittle started to drain from the left corner of his mouth and fall onto Cielas. "This man and his friends came directly to our rooms and no one elses. Now why is that?" Balor said as he spit in Cielas' face. Cielas looked terrified as he gazed into Balors eyes. He knew if he told he was a dead man, he also knew he would most likely end up dead if he did not. This cunundrum was not what he wanted, but he had to either keep up with his charade or spill the beans as it were. "Who sent these men to kill us?" Balor asked once again.

"It was an Elf name of Zevran." Cielas said to the man holding him down across the counter. Upon hearing Zevrans name Balor relaxed his grip on Cielas. "He was hear last night and saw you ride into town, said you were trying to take his assignment or some such thing. Paid me three Soverigns to either delay or kill you." Balor looked at Cielas and then at the man on the floor. Balor hated Zevran with a passion ever since Zevran stole the Erraden Contract six years ago, which allowed him to opperate in Fereldan for the Crows. Balor wanted to have the Fereldan position, so he could freely leave Antiva, but why was he in Jader and what mark was he talking about. Balor walked away from Cielas and motioned for his men to follow him out the door. Cielas looked on as the men left the Pious Beggar. Looking at the body on the floor and then up the stairs, he sighed and shook his head as he knew he had a very big mess to clean up.

Once out side the Pious Beggar Inn Balor and his men mounted their horses and headed south out of town towards the Frostback Mountain and Fereldan. Then a smile slowly came across his face as his thoughts now shifted to spoiling Zev's Contract. Yes, this would be payback for the Erraden Contract and make Zevran look like a fool. To Balor this was revenge, sweet revenge, but first he had to deal with capturing the Dwarf and the Elven woman and bringing them back to Prestor. Balor smiled as he and the other men with him rode out of Jader heading towards the Frostback Mountains, soon he would have his prey and see what information he could get from his contact there about Zevran and what he was doing in Fereldan. And, if he knew Faryn he would know all about it or know someone who does. This ran through Balor's head as he rode along the road leading to the Merchant Town outside the doors of Orzammar.

Prestor sat with his feet proped up on a cushioned stood sipping Brandy watching the fire roar in the fireplace. His thought were of Shaezara, the lovely little Elf who killed his best friend Mirgot Frendor and how he was going to exact revenge on her. Sure Mirgot was a sleeze and a worm, but he had proven useful to both Prestor and the Crows many times over the years. Now they would have to through the process of bribing another Official and getting them to the point where they needed the Crows as much as they needed him or her. This was way too much work even for someone like Prestor. Especially since he liked things done without too much trouble. Though he would not be the one to find said Official and get them to the point they needed to be, he would still have to deal with them, he just hoped that whoever it was would not be a problem.

He smiled as he thought of Shaezara and how her soft skin would feel next to his and he imagined the smell of her scent filling him with sweet passion as he took her over and over again. This would make it so she would be his to do with as he pleased and she would want only him and be willing to do as he commanded. Yes he would enjoy breaking this woman, this Elven woman who Mirgot Frendor described as beauty incarnate. But, first he had to have her here with him and though he knew that Balor and the others with him had a small chance of capturing her, he was not one to rely on slim chances. So, he sent another seven men to follow Balor and his men to make sure they did their job or kill them if they did not. Prestor was leaving nothing to chance this time, nothing at all.

"My now isn't this a cozy sight." A voice said behind Prestor who was still gazing at the blazing fire.

"Yes, yes it is Felrana." Prestor said as he took a sip from the glass of the Cherry Brandy he was holding. "And, to what do I hold the honor of your company, this fine evening?" He said not bothering to look at the Elven woman standing behind his chair.

"I understand you had Lanus Dagan in your possession and you let him get away." She said taking the glass of brandy and sipping from it. "Nice flavor and aroma." She said walking away from Prestor and sitting down in a chair next to a window facing south.

"Well it seems someone has been telling on me." Prestor said getting up and walking over to the table where he kept the brandy and pouring himself another glass. "You have no need to worry my Dear, he will be brought back soon." He said walking over to Felrana and standing behind her looking out the window. They both just gazed out at the leaves falling from the trees as the servants children played amongst the piles of leaves they made.

"How did he escape?" Felrana asked taking another sip of brandy.

"You know, it's kind of funny really." Prestor said walking back to his chair, turning around he leaned against the back of the chair and took another sip of brandy. "It seems he had help." Felrana looked puzzled at Prestor and stood up.

"What do you mean he had help?" She said placing the glass on the window seat. "Who was this man who rescued him?" She queried Prestor.

"Wasn't a man." Prestor said walking to the mantle above the fire place. "It was a woman, actually." He said placing the glass on the mantle.

"A woman?" She said in disbelief at what she just heard. "You're telling me that a woman rescued Lanus? Come on now Prestor you can do better than that." Felrana said folding her arms across her breasts. "How gullible do you think I am?" Prestor looked at her and smiled.

"Well it is the truth Fel, but the kicker is you know this woman." Prestor said as the irony of what he was about to tell her was too much for him to surpress the laughter that was swelling up inside him, but he had to contain it for now.

"I know this woman?" She said with a quizzical expression on her face. "Who is this woman that would dare take what is mine?" Felrana said as the anger shown in her face.

"Your Neice." Prestor said as he burst into laughter, almost falling to the floor. Felrana looked at the man who was usually calm and serean.

"Shae? But, I thought she was in the custody of Mirgot?" She said to the man who was still laughing.

"No, she killed him, ran and crossed paths with the men who were bringing Lanus to me to give to you." He said as he calmed himself down after his bout with laughter. "I was told she killed five of the seven men who were bringing him here." He said straighting out his clothes.

"What about the other two men?" Felrana asked.

"She let them go, took their horses and whatever gear they left behind." He told the woman who was still in disbelief at this news.

Shaezara, Lanus, Brean and Eldion headed towards Lake Calenhad near the Circle Tower. Lanus figured this would be the best route since going anywhere near Orzammar would not be in his best interests. Still he wondered if he could trust Brean and Eldion at all, especially after their betrayial. He also wonder if he could really trust this Elven woman, who just happened to rescue him. He figured he would have to keep an eye on all of them until he could see who was not going to slit his throat. After all it was he who lifted the map from the drunk at Tapsters just before his arrest and exile from Orzammar. And, it was he who was going to find the treasure trove and no one else. Everything seemed to be too damn convinant for him. The trip to the Brecilian Forest would take three weeks give or take and that would be enough time to figure out the others.

Shae kept looking at Lanus trying to read his thoughts as they traveled, but she would be damned if she could. There was something he was not telling her, she also wondered why Brean and Eldion did not try and make a break for it or even kill her and Lanus last night. Well she could under stand why Eldion didn't he was falling for her and hard. She smiled as she realized she could use this to her advantage when the time was right, but for now she would keep him at a safe distance until she figured him, Brean and Lanus out.

They reached the Lake Calenhad Docks an hour after the sun went down, so they stopped at the Spoiled Princess to get a bite to eat and see what was going on in Fereldan. As they crest the hill high above the Docks they saw a Templar ferry a group of what looked like a couple of warriors, a Mage and a Qunari across to the Circle Tower. They looked at each other and then headed towards the Spoiled Princess. As they entered the Inn the place looked nearly deserted except for a group of men in the back corner getting drunk. Shae walked up to the man behind the bar and asked for two rooms, one for her and one for the men. The man looked at her mummbled something under his breath and handed her two keys. She tossed Lanus a key and headed up the stairs.

Lanus, Brean and Eldion sat down at a table near the stairs that led up to the rooms and ordered drinks and food. The young Dwarven woman who waited on him looked familiar, but he could not place her, so he let it go figuring it was for the best. At the table next to them are two young women who look like travelers sit next to each other, holding hands with each other. They are ignoring the food in front of them, choosing to look lovingly at each other, and occasionally stopping their conversation to kiss each other sensually with open mouths. At the next table is a family is sharing a simple, but hot and nourishing, meal of chicken soup and fresh seed bread with butter and apple butter. The mother and father are young adults and both look athletic. The father has grey eyes and blond hair that is tousled. The mother has eyes of green and auburn hair in neat braids. The two children, boys between 8 and 10 years old, both have eyes of blue and red tousled hair. They are all dressed in plain clean clothes of brown and tan with tan traveler's cloaks and sturdy walking boots. Each has appropriately sized rucksacks and walking sticks beside them.

Lanus, Brean and Eldion stand up and start to head up the stairs. Lanus stops after taking three steps and tosses some coins on the table, then turns and heads up to the room. As the three enter the room which has only one bed they look at each other. Lanus walks over to the window turns and sits on the floor.

"You two can fight over the bed, I'll sleep right here." He said placing his weapons across his lap. Brean sat on the floor directly across from Lanus also placing his weapons across his lap. Which left the bed for Eldion who walked over to it, got undressed and placed his weapons next to the bed.

"Alright children play nice tonight." Eldion said getting into bed. Though he would sleep, it was a light sleep, because he did not want Lanus and Brean going at it, not that he would not mind them setteling their dispute once and for all, but because he feared that Shaezara would step in and he did not want her to get hurt. Not that she would, but there is always the possability it could happen. No he was in love with her and wanted her alive, she was all he had been thinking of since he met her.

As Balor and his men were approaching the intrance to Ozammar the paused between the first and second archway to watch a fight between a party of Mercinaries and a small group of Adventures. Balor thought he heard someone shout "Get the Gray Wardens." but he was not sure with the wind howling in his ear. He thought if they were Gray Wardens then he did not want to tangle with them, so he and his men waited for the fight to end before moving on. They watched as the four Adventures took down the Mercs with realitive ease and move on towards the Merchant Town outside the Gates of Orzammar.

After the four Adventures were out of sight Balor and party headed towards the Merchant Town also. He was hoping Faryn was here, that is if he kept to his schedule of coming to the Merchant Town twice a year. If he did then he would be here selling whatever merchandise he found, stoled or bought to the Dwarves, Adventures and visitors heading into Orzammar.

As the group of eight men approached the small bridge leading to the Merchant Town they paused as Balor saw the four Adventures fighting three men in the large stone circle in the center of the Merchant Town. When the fight was over He and his men slowly rode in to the Merchant Town as Balor kept an eye on the four Adventures which consisted of two Dwarfs, a redheaded woman and what looked like a Golem. After the fight the four Adventures headed over to what looked like a Mage and handed him a scroll. The man took what was offered him, which seemed to make him over joyious as he nearly leaped in the air with excitement. Then the Adventures headed towards the entrance to Orzammar.

Balor looked around at all the Merchants here and then spotted Faryn in a stall two down from the Gates of Orzammar. The comapny dismounted and walked their horses over to Faryn and hopefully the information Balor wanted.

"So, you horse thief, what you got to sell?" Balor said.

"Oh, crap, crap, crap." Was all Faryn said at first to Balors question. "What do you want Balor, I am busy here." Faryn said to the man he had hoped to never see again, especially after he nearly killed him in Wildervale five years ago. They had both sought the affection of Quntessia a local Merchant there who sold bake goods for her father. But, she disliked men fighting over her and left town while he was recovering from the knife wound Balor had given him during the fight. And, now he was standing here for Maker only knows what, maybe he wanted a rematch or maybe to gloat that he now has Quintessia as his wife. Either way Faryn did not want to talk to this man standing in front of him.

"Well certinly not what you are selling, my friend." Balor said picking up a well made Qunari sword then tossing it back onto the merchant table. "I need some information." Balor asked.

"What kind of information and how much are you willing to pay for it?" Faryn said in reply to the question.

"I need to know what is going on here in Fereldan, I have business here and I don't want to enter here blindly so to speak." Balor said as he played with a small ornate box on the table. Faryn looked at him with narrowed eyes. "And, I'll pay you 2 Soverigns for the info." Balor went on watching Faryn.

"Make it five and I will tell you." Faryn said smugly. Balor looked at the man behind the Merchants table for a few moments then tosses five soverigns on the table. "Well it seems that King Cailain was killed fighting Darkspawn near Ostager, so there might be a Blight going on near the Korcari Wilds. Which is causing some Nobles to choose sides in what might become a civil war. I also hear that the Circle Tower is being over ran with Abominations and Demons, but I am not sure on that one. I have heard Lohering was over ran with Darkspawn and destroyed. It seems the King of Orzammar is dead, some say it was poision and some say a broken heart for the loss of his eldest two children. And, I have also heard there is both a bounty and a contract on any and all Gray Wardens in Fereldan." Faryn told Balor who stood there wided eyed at the information just given him. So, this is what Zevran had going on. He was going to kill some Gray Wardens and get paid twice for the deed.

"So, there is both a contract and a bounty on Gray Wardens?" Balor asked.

"From what I have heard the bounty is on all Gray Wardens, but the contract is on two specific Gray Wardens." Faryn said pocketing the five coins. "Apperently one is the bastard son of the late King Maric and the other is the last Cousland alive after the Couslands were massacured." Balor nodded his head at this news and thought that if he could get the two Gray Wardens before Zev did then he could gain the favor of the Crows and make Zevran look the fool. Yes this could work he thought. Balor tossed two more soverigns on the table and walked away. Faryn watched as Balor and his men mounted their horses and rode away.

Felrana finished her twentith bottle of Cherry wine and motioned for Prestor to give her another. Prestor did as requested and called for another bottle. While the servant went to the wine cellar to fetch the bottle, Prestor got up from his chair and went over to the fire place mantle and opened a small wooden box. He pulled out a cigar and ran it under his nose taking in the aroma of the one other pleasure he indulged in. He turned and looked at Felrana and motioned if she would like one, but she shook her head no.

"Well suit yourself." Prestor said as he clipped the end off and lit the cigar. He drew deeply and held the smoke in for just a moment then let it out filling the air around him with the sweet aroma of this fine smoke. He smiled at seeing Felrana in such a vulnerable state, he could take advantage of this and get some pleasure from her. Though it was tempting he dicided not to, not because he was a gentilemen, but because he would be a marked man and that idea did not appeal to Prestor.

No the wife of Lord Francis Teanko would not be touched, not by him or anyone for that matter because Teanko was one of the richest men in all of Antiva and the head of the Crow at that. Prestors thoughts were interrupted by a voice from the door.

"What have you done Prestor, to my Wife?" Teanko said from the door way. Prestor turned to see Lord Teanko standing there with a stern look on his face. Lord Teanko with two of his men and Ignacio standing there.

"I have done nothing Lord Teanko, well except give her twenty bottles of wine." He said as the servant walked in and handed him a bottle of wine. "Eh, make that twenty-one bottles and at her request, she don't take bad news very well." Prestor said taking a drag from his cigar. He tried to hand her the bottle of wine, but she was passed out in the chair. Prestor handed the bottle back to the servant and motioned for her to leave the room. The woman turned and nearly ran from the room.

"And, what bad news did she recieve?" Ignacio asked walking over to the small wooden box on the mantle and taking out one of the cigars.

"Well it seems that the men I sent to get her Neice Shaezara did not catch her and she ran into the men bringing Lanus Dagan here for his execution as you requested. She killed all but two and sent them runing like scared children. They ran into the men sent to get your Neice and they all came back here to report their failure." Prestor said as he lit Ignacio's cigar. Teanko did not like hearing this, no he wanted the Dwarf and wanted him dead for reasons he was not willing to share. As for the news about his Neice he expected her to run and to leave a trail of bodies in her wake, but he did not think she would rescue and team up with Lanus Dagan. This was indeed bad news.

"Well what is being done to get them both back?" Ignacio asked as he drew on the cigar deeply then blowing smoke rings in the air.

"Well after making an example of one of the men who allowed the Dwarf get away, I sent the remaining one along with the ones who failed to capture Shaezara to bring them back." Prestor said to the men in the room. "But, I also sent five other teams as backup with orders to help if needed or to kill Balor and the others if they fail." He said taking another drag on the cigar.

"Well, I will keep an eye out for them when I get back to Denerim." Ignacio said taking a handfull of cigars from the wooden box. "I have some contracts that need filling and I want to check on Zevran to see if he has fullfilled the contract he was given." He said walking to the door. "By your leave M'Lord." Ignacio said bowing his head to Teanko, who noded his head in return. Ignacio left the room leaving Prestor and Teanko alone.

"Well you better hope they bring them back or you wont be around Prestor." Teanko said as he motioned for his men to retrive his wife. After one of the men picked up Felrana, they all left Prestor to ponder Lord Teankos words. Prestor did not like to be threaten by anyone even the leader of the Crows, so he would have to make plans to run if Balor and the others failed.

As the sun came up over the tree lined forest east of Lake Calenhad, the dawns light give the waves an erie golden glow. Several roosters could be heard from the various farm holds near the Docks. Lanus was sitting outside on a delapidate boat watching gulls dive into the Lagoon leading to the Circle Tower, trying to catch something to eat. He watched as one giull nosed dives and just before it was to hit the water something jumped out and ate the bird. Lanus was not sure what it was, but he thought how poetic it was that the hunter became the hunted. Several people milled around the small village that made up Lake Calenhad Docks and with the exception of the children who were sitting beside Lanus watching the gulls eat or be eaten, no one paid much attention to him.

Shaezara awoke as the sun beamed its light through her window. She looked around the room before getting out of bed. She had had a restful nights sleep last night, something she had not had since leaving Antiva and she wondered if she would get another one before she felt safe and out of reach of the Crows. But, right now she still had aways to go before that would be possible. She got dressed gathered her gear and headed out the door to the tavern below.

Eldion woke to the sounds of the roosters and got out of bed, looking over at Brean who was still sound asleep. Eldion got out of bed and then got dressed, then after collecting his gear he went over and nudged Brean with his foot.

"Wake up sleeping beauty, time to go." Eldion said with a chuckle in his voice. Brean moaned and groaned as he rolled over to see Eldion standing over him smiling.

"You mouldy axe-breaking pebble, go away!" Brean said and rolled back over and went back to sleep. Eldion walked over to the washtable and took the washbasin from it, walked to the door and opened it. He looked at Brean still sleeping smiled and tossed the dirty water on his traveling compainion. Quickly tossing the basin on the bed he ran down the hall, down the stairs and out the door laughing all the way.

Shaezara exited the Spoiled Princess and noticed Lanus walkin towards her with a horde of children following him. She moved closer to him smiling, this was a sight to see it was almost as if he had a small army. "Well it looks like you have gathered your troops, General?" Shae said almost laughing as she did.

"Huh?" Lanus said then looking around him he smiled. "So, it would seem." He turned to the children looking them up and down. "Colonel, take the men and go watch the beach for invaders." He said to a girl who looked like she was the eldest amongst the children. The girl saluted Lanus and motioned for the other children to follow her and they all headed back to the boat. Lanus and Shae headed to where their horses were tied up.

Eldion and Brean exited the Spoiled Princess and met them at the hitching post, then after checking the saddles to make sure they were on tight, the four of them mounted their horses and rode away from the docks. Eldion looked over at the Tower Circle and noticed there was a lot of activity on the small island the tower was sitting on, but he just passed it off as normal for Mages and rode off.

Balor and his men rode from the Merchant Village outside of Orzammar and headed south along the western shores of Lake Calenhad. There next stop was the village of Redcliffe at the southern end of the lake. There he figured they would get information and some supplies. The trip would take about a week and Balor hoped that it would be uneventful. As they rode towards Redcliffe they encountered several bands of people heading towards Orzammar. Balor stopped the fifth group he came across and asked what was going on.

"You there?" He asked a burley man about 5 foot 9 who was traveling with a woman and nine children.

"What do you want?" The man belted out in a deep baratone voice as he pushed the woman behind him gentily.

"Where are you goin?" Balor asked

"Out of Fereldan." The man replied as he studied Balor and his men, as though sizing the eight men up so if there was any trouble he would know what his chances were.

"Out of Fereldan?" Balor replied to the man who was looking a little nervious.

"Yes, there are Darkspawn going about killing everyone and sacking any and all towns and villages they come across." The man said keeping Balor and his family between himself and the men. "If I were you I would high-tail it out of here too." He said as he scooted passed Balor and his men. Balor watched as the man and his family went on down the road, then turned to see his men shaken by the news of Darkspawn this far north. Especially since Faryn said the Darkspawn were in the south. Balor just turned and kept heading towards Redcliffe, if they encountered any Darkspawn they would deal with it as best they could.

It was not too long after the man and his family were out of sight that Balor and his men encountered a group of Darkspawn coming down the road. Balor looked at the five Darkspawn standing there ahead of him and his men on Brontos and Balor thought "We can take care of these few.", but he was not sure they could. The men drew their swords and charged the Darkspawn. The Darkspawn rushed to attack the riders and when the two groups met in a clash of steel meeting steel. Balor took out his opponet and turned to help the man closest to him. But, he noticed coming from the right another group of Darkspawn charging them. He broke away and headed towards them, but as he got within twenty yards of them six of the fifteen Darkspawm were engulfed in an eerie redish glow and fell down dead. Balor looked around to see where the attack came from and there on a hill about one-hundred and fifty yard away was a lone figure dressed in Mages garb gliding towards him and the fight with the Darkspawn. Balor did not have time to head to the figure because three of the grotesque creatures were upon him. Balor sliced the head of the Hurlock off sending it flying into the lake. He then jumped off his horse and engaged the other two.

His men just finished off the group they were fighting and turned to help Balor with the two he was fighting when they noticed fifteen more Darkspawn rushing towards them. They were just about to rush them too when the group of creatures were caught in the grip of a sever thunderstorm. Several Darkspawn were fried by lightning and the rest were thrown to the ground by the winds the storm brewed up.

"Well, don't just stand there go finish them off." A voice said from behind them, the men turned to see a young Mage standing there with a smile on his face. "Shew whit you now before they can regroup." He said to them and with that they took to finish off the Darkspawn.

As Shaezara and the others rode on down the road Eldion was singing a song in Ancient Elven. To the others it was incohearent but they all hummed along just the same as the rode towards Lothering. Every so often they would come across a group of people fleeing from the south and the Darkspawn. Sometimes they would give food and water to those that asked for it or help fix a wagon or cart that had a broken wheel or axel. An hour before nightfall they came to the outskirts of Lothering, the village was silent, eerily silent, the bodies of both villagers and Darkspawn littered the ground all through Lothering. A large building that looked like a windmill on a hill was still intact and a few others were also still intact.

"Poor sodding bastards." Brean said as they passed by a couple of bodies in cage where they keep those found guilty of a crime.

"They must have thought they would be safe in there." Eldion said as he examined the cage and bodies.

"Either that or they were put there by those creatures." Shae said walking passed the cage. "Let's see if we can get some supplies and move on." As she headed onward to see if there was a place to get any supplies they would need.

"Die you sodding rusted nug asses, die.!!!" He shouted as he headed towards the cornfield. When he reached the field six Darkspawn emerged from their hiding places to attack Lanus, but he cut two in half and bashed another in the head sending him reeling backwards into a plantspike killing him, before they could make contact with him. Then as a Hurlock was about to plunge his sword into Lanus' back an arrow from Shaezara's bow peirced it's eye sending it reeling back in pain. Lanus turned to see the creature trying to remove the arrow, but fell dead from a blow from Eldion who had followed Lanus into battle.

Brean pulled his twin battle axes and leaped into the fray just as eleven more Darkspawn came over the hill over looking the corn field. Brean sliced a Genlock's head off sending it flying into the arms of a Emmisary who was about to cast a spell. With the spell interrupted Brean rushed the spellcaster and sliced his left arm off, then as he was reeling in pain Brean decapitated him. The Dwarf was about to turn and do battle with a Hurlock, but six arrows hit him square in the back sending Brean to his knees. Shae saw this and knotched two arrrows and let them fly to two of the Genlock archers that had just killed Brean. Lanus turned to see the archers fall and rushed the other four, he was half way to them when he was hit in the right shoulder and left leg with arrows which sent him to the ground in pain. Eldion rushed to Lanus' side just as three Darkspawn were bearing down on him.

Prestor rode into Jader along with Lord Teanko, Lady Felrana and eleven other Crows. The town was buzzing with the daily activity of a port town. They stopped at the The Blind Dragon Inn & Tavern to get something to eat and maybe some information. As they entered the establishment Prestor scaned the place to make sure it was safe. There was a man behind the front desk going over some reciepts while a couple of well armed guards watched over him. He could also see twenty-four tables in the dinning room, five of which are occupied.

Table No. 2 a poor looking elven female wearing plain garb, with dark brown hair and a wrinkled face. A fat Elven adventurer wearing dark green clothing, with ginger hair and a stubbly face, they are eating a meal of Pork and Lentils. Table No. 3 sits a rich looking Human female potter wearing dark clothing, with dirty hair and a worried face. A poor looking Human priest wearing bejewelled robes, his hair is dyed and has a tanned face. A very small Elven watchman wearing bloodstained clothing, he has matted hair and a bearded face. A thin Elven ranger wearing fur-trimmed robes, he has strawberry blond hair and a tattooed face. A large Elven drunkard wearing plain garb, he has greasy hair and a heavy set face. An injured Human trapper wearing dark green clothing, he has bedraggled hair and a hard face. A jolly Human thief wearing well-worn robes, with blond hair and an unmemorable face, they are arguing loudly. Table No. 4 Has a one-eyed Elven adventurer wearing winestained clothing, she has auburn hair and a haggard face. A large human soldier wearing fur-trimmed robes, he has long hair and a red face. A young Dwarven blacksmith wearing plain clothing, she has a dreadful haircut and an ugly face. A one-legged Elven warrior wearing torn robes, he has wavy hair and a dirt-smeared face. A very small Human woman wearing brightly colored robes, she has black hair and a cheerful face. A one-armed elven musician wearing billowing robes, he has silver hair and a frightened face. They are singing various ballads.

Table No. 10 sits a one-eyed Qunari hunter wearing dusty clothing, with auburn hair and a chiseled face. A Elven prostitute wearing fine but dirty robes, she has shaved hair and a scowling face. An old Human warrior wearing dark brown clothing, with wavy hair and a sneering face. Table No. 13 sits a very small Human ranger wearing plain garb, he has a pony-tail and a plain face. A rich looking Dwarven adventurer wearing light red clothing, he has carefully combed hair and a plain face. A prosperous looking Elven adventurer wearing leather and studded garb, she has strawberry blond hair and a deeply lined face. A muscular Human mage wearing wet clothing, with blond hair and a plain face. A large Human warrior wearing chainmail armor, with dark hair and a hairy face. An excited looking Human trapper wearing light red clothing, she has light brown hair and a scowling face. A very tall Elven prostitute wearing dusty clothing, wearing a small hat and a cheerful face.They are laughing loudly at the jokes told by the Qunari hunter.

Satistfied that everything is alright, Prestor motions for the others to enter. He walks to the back of the dinning room to Table No. 22, then they all sit down. Lord Teanko nods to one of the others with them, who in turns motions for the barmaid to come over.

Balor and his men stood over the dead bodies of the Darkspawn they had just killed, the odor from the dead bodies was so rancid and putrid that it made them gag. Balor, thought of looting the bodies, but that notion soon passed through his mind as one of the worse ideas he had ever had. So, he decided to just leave the dead alone. Balor turned to the Mage that had helped them defeat this group of Darkspawn. The Mage was a young human in his early twenties standing between 5 foot 9 to 6 foot in height and weighting around one hundred eighty-five to two hundred pounds.

"I thank you for your help Mage." Balor said to the man. "Might I ask you your name?" Balor asked of the Mage.

"Anders." The young man said. "I must be going now." He said to Balor and teleported some three hundred yards away from there location, then teleported away from that location. When Balor turned to his men he noticed some riders coming over a small hill to the west, as the riders came closer he noticed they were Templars. Balor and his men retrived their mounts just as the Templars arrived at their location.

"Ho, there friend." Said the leader of the group of Templars. Balor mounted his horse then turned to face the Templar. The man looked as though he had seen his fair share of battles with Mages and though he had survived them he showed his battle scars as though they were badges of honor. "We're looking for a young Mage who escaped from the Circle Tower." The man said. Balor thought for a moment of the help this Mage gave them, he could tell them about Anders. But, then he thought why should I help someone who did not help him, if nothing else by not saying anything he could give Anders a head start and some distance on his pursuers.

"Really, well I have not seen any escaped Mages today, I'm afraid." Balor said to the Templars, though it was not entirely a lie it was not the truth. "Now if you will excuse us, we have business of our own we need to tend to." Balor said as he and his men rode off away from the Templars, who just sat there on their horses as they watched Balor ride off.

"So, tell me again why Shaezarra is so damn important to the Crows. It is obvious that she wants nothing to do with us." Prestor said to Lord Teanko as their food was brought to them. Lord Teanko took his fork and knife as he looked at his plate of veal and noodles covered with a bright red tomatoe sauce and sprinkled with cheese. Cutting the meat he placed some noodles on the fork and ate the food.

"Because she is the one who is going to fullfill the prophecy of the Crows." He said to Prestor.

"Really? And, how do you know this?" Prestor asked of the leader of the Crows.

"Because she has the mark." Felrana said as she drank her wine. "And, in the right spot." She added.

"She has the mark of the twin dragons on her left inner thigh next to her..?" Prestor asked, but was interrupted.

"Yes next to her womanhood. That is why we must get her back and trained as a Crow, so she can fullfill her destriny." Teanko said taking another bite and drinking some wine. "She has to fight the one called Hawke when he appears and defeat him. Once she does that the Crows will rule not only Antiva but the Free Marches as well, then Teventer will fall before our might. Once that happens the rest of Thedas will follow." Prestor looked at Teanko then smiled as he understood now about his Neice.

"Well then we should get an early start tomarrow...." Prestor was interrupted by a messenger who whispered in his ear. Prestor did not like the news he got and shooed the man away. Looking at the others at the table he swallowed hard. "Well, it seems that Zevran as failed in his assignment and has also joined the Target." Prestor said as he motioned for one of their guards over. "And, what about the Dwarf, where does he fit in?" Prestor said turning back to Teanko.

"He is to be her first assignment as a Crow." Teanko said as he drank some more wine.

"What do you mean her first assignment?" Prestor said as he drank from his wine gobblet. "You know we do not give easy assignments to the Rookies, they have to earn their bones like everyone before them and not just hand them an easy target."

"True, but she was to betray him as well." Teanko said to Prestor who looked skeptical at his boss.

"So, she was to befriend him and then kill him?" Prestor said leaning back in his chair. "Why the elabrate set up? Why not just kill him like any other mark?"

"Because the Client wanted Lanus to know what it was like to be betrayed by a friend." Teanko said taking a sip of wine.

Eldion and Lanus stood over the body of Brean in silent somber. No one spoke as Shaezarra pulled the arrows out of the Dwarfs body. After about five minutes all the arrows were lying on the ground next to Breans body, then Eldion and Lanus picked up his lifeless body and carried it to Dane's Refuge. Once inside they placed the body on the floor next to the door on the right.

"Let's see if there are any supplies here we can grab." Shae said as she went into the kitchen. Lanus and Eldion barracaded the door and then searched the rest of the place for whatever they could find to take with them. After gathering what supplies they could find the trio set fire to the place and left. No one said a word as they made their way out of the ruins of Lothering. Bodies lay across the fields and in the stream that seperated the village proper and the area where the Chantry was, Shae had tears in her eyes as she saw the mutilated bodies of children among the dead. They did not deserve to die such a brutal death, but there they were lying next to their families, she swore vengence to the Darkspawn under her breath. She wiped her tears away as they made their way to the Imperial Highway and headed towards Ostagar, Korcari Wilds and the Brecilian Forest, where she hoped to find away to hide from her Mother and her friends.

She had heard tales of the Korcari Wilds as a young child, but now she was going to be there in the Wilds it's self she was both scared and excillarated at this thought would she be able to handle the dangers that lurked in this ancient land of Witches and Monsters? Or would she be yet another victim of the things that dwelled within its borders? Ready or not she was about to find out.

As they approached the ruins of Ostagar they noticed a band of Warriors fighting Darkspawn near a body that was put on for display. The man must have been someone of importance to the army that fought here and to the Elf and three Humans who were fighting to recover the body.

"That's the body of King Cailain." Lanus said as he stopped Shae from rushing to help the Warriors. "There is nothing we can do, child."

"But, we must help them." Shae said to the Dwarf. "They are out numbered."

"Look again M'Lady." Eldion said pointing to the two human women who were casting spells at the Darkspawn and doing a lot of damage to them. "They have the situation well in hand."

"I see, well then let us leave them to their vengence and be on our way." Shae said as they slipped by the battle going on between the Warriors and the Drakspawn. They could hear the sounds of battle as they entered the Korcari Wilds and made their way to the Brecilian Forest and the ruins Shae had heard about from Lanus. She figured they would push on through the night until they reached the edge of the Wilds and then rest up before heading into the Brecilian Forest. However that was not to be beause Eldion went on ahead to scout their way to the Brecilian Forest and found a large force of Darkspawn heading their way, so the group rushed to the only structure they could see. A large domed shaped building that was half submerged in one of the small lakes that dot the Korcari Wilds. The water was freezing cold, but it was far better to freeze a little than to face a hundred or so Darkspawn in a futile battle, so they would wait until morning and make their way to the Brecilian Forest and their final destination.

The inside of the structure was big enough for them to light a fire and dry their clothes and warm themselves for the night. Shae took the first watch after they ate a small dinner. Around midnight Eldion took over the watch, but instead of waking Lanus up to take the last watch he let the Dwarf sleep in. After sun rise the group left the structure carrying their clothes in some pottery they found and sealed so water would not get in and wet their clothes. Once out of the structure and on dry land they got dressed and made their way to the Brecilian Forest.

Balor and his men reached Lothering as the sun was breaking over the trees to the east of the town. Bodies were still littering the ground as they made their way from the Imperial Highway to the center of what was left of the town. The smell of death filled the air as wolves, wild dogs and other carnivorous creatures fed upon the carcasses of the dead. The stentch was especially nauseous near Darkspawn bodies. Balor and his men rode on until they reach a small bridge near Dane's Refuge, there they saw newly killed Darkspawn littering the bridge. Balor had three men remove the bodies off the bridge by dumping them into the small river below, he and the rest of the men went into Dane's Refuge to see about supplies.

After about three hours of looking for supplies in Dane's Refuge and other building throughout the town, Balor and his men moved on south to the Korcari Wilds in hopes of finding Shaezara and her merry band. As the group traveled further souh on the Imperial Highway Balor noticed the sky beginning to darken. "It's going to be one hell of a storm." He thought to himself as they traveled down on the Highway. Shelter would have to be found soon if they were going to keep warm, but none was insight and Lothering was now five miles back the way they came and they would not make it in time, so Balor kept his men going.

The rain started coming down as a drizzle about three and a half hours later and Balor and his men saw a hut off to the east of Imperial Highway about two hundred yards. The hut was an unassuming structure and looked abandoned, the roof looked like it would leak, the sides were ragged and torn and the windows were covered in tattered cloth that one would assume would not keep out the cold nor the heat inside. Balor and his men approached the hut to seek cover from the impending storm, but as they reached the hut and dismounted a frail old woman exited the hut and stood there looking at the group of men.

"Ah, visitors." the Old Woman said to the men as they stood infront of their horses. "But, I don't recall asking for visitors."

"Look hag all we want is to stay here until the storm is over, so step aside." Balor said moving towards the old woman.

"Oh, my how rude of you young man." The Old Woman said in defiance. A couple of the men drew their swords and stepped towards the Old Woman.

"We are going to stay here until the storm is over Old Woman and their is nothing you can do to stop us." Balor said to the Old Woman. "Cut her down." Balor said to his men, but no sooner did they make their move did they regreat their actions. The Old Woman transformed into a large Black Dragon and with one swift motion of it's tail sent the armed men flying into the air and landing some fifty yards away. Balor drew his sword and he and the rest of his men charged the Dragon. The beast took a man in each of its front claws and crushed them, then took another in its mouth and bit down hard causing blood to squirt in all directions. The Dragon repeated this attack until only Balor was left staring face to face with the Dragon.

As they made their way into the Brecilian Forest searching for the Elven Ruins, the treasure that lies within there and a way for Shaezara to escape this land she has grown to hate with her every breath. They could sense the evil and the death that permeated the forest. It seemed as if this vast woodland had known nothing but death and destruction since the begining of time. The three travelers could feel the eyes of the forest upon them as they made their way deep into the forest, but they knew they had to keep going to reach their goal. Coming upon a small island with three small wooden bridges they could see four other adventures facing a group of Werewolves, they were not fighting, but talking.

Shae, Lanus and Eldion could not make out what was being said, but they knew it was not a friendly conversation between the two groups. Then the Werewolves left the four adventures hastily to decide what their next move was, then after a few moments the four followed after the Werewolves to the south. Shae and company waited until they were sure no one was coming back and headed east, they made it to a river and followed it until they came to a tree that had fallen down across the river. They stopped to get their bearings and to rest a little. The sound of the flowing river was soothing to Shae and she felt at peace within herself. it was as if this place, this forest was home to her, she felt like one with the forest inspite of the dangers that lurked here.

The rain started out as a drizzle hitting gently upon the faces of all who were cought out in the unnatural storm that was beginning. Lanus stopped and started looking around as if he could sense something all around the group. Eldion too could almost feel the forest trying to tell him something, but what was just beyond his comprehenion to what the forest was saying. Shae too was having feelings of foreboding about the forest though she could not put her finger on it, she could feel that something was about to happen. The treesome continued on through the forest slowly cautiously as though they were walking on broken glass. For hours they walked taking each step as though it might be their last, stopping only when they felt they had too. After about three hours they came to a spot on the path where an offshoot led off to the right, they stopped and looked down the path to the right and saw a group of four adventurers fight some Ents, so they moved on not wanting to be seen especially since the adventurers do not seem to need their help and also seem to be winning the battle.

They made their way to what seems to be an old ritual ruin then stop as they see a group of black clad hooded figures standing around a circular alter chanting. As they watch the activities of the figures they notice four adventures approach the group from behind. Shae started to move to intercept the four figurees, but Lanus stopped her.

"Tis none or our concern, Lass." Lanus said to Shae who just glared at the Dwarf.

"But, they are going to kill those Preists, if we do not do something." Shae said in protest.

"I am sure they have their reasons M'Lady." Eldion said placing a hand on Shaes shoulder. Shae looked at Eldions eye and relunctantly did not move to defend the group of Preists. Shae watched as the four confronted the group of Black Clad figures and were attacked by the figures for simply asking questions. Lanus motioned for the other to follow him as they slipped away from the ensuiong fight.

Teanko and company stopped about twenty-five yards away from a Dragon about to eat a man who was standing in front of it. Teanko smiled as he recognized the dragon for who it was, then slowly walked towards the Dragon and it's prey. As he got about ten feet away from the scene he called out.

"Don't eat him, my dear Flemeth, I have need of him." Teanko said standing behind the Swamp Witch. Flemeth changed from Dragon to Human in an instant, then spun towards Teanko.

"You, well I guess this imbicile belongs to you then?" She said as she walked closer to Teanko.

"Unfortunatly yes, he does." Teanko said.

"Too bad you did not teach your pet manners." Flemeth said as she walked towards the door to her cabin. "Come in Teanko I've been expecting you." Teanko followed the Marsh Witch as Prestor and Felrana looked at each other and then followed Teanko into the hut. The hut was a contrast from the outside, the one room hovel was a lot cleaner than the outside. As they entered the room Flemeth motioned for them to find a seat. Teanko, Prestor and Felrana found places to sit as Flemeth sat on a finely crafted chair that was near the fireplace the doubled as a hearth. Looking at her guest studing them before she spoke.

"So, I guess you are here because your prophecy is not going as you had hoped?" Flemeth said with a slight smile as she arose from her chair and poured herself and the others a cup of tea and handed them their cups.

"You could say that." Teanko said taking the cup from Flemeth.

"I think I just did, my dear Teanko." Flemeth said with a chuckle. "Now what is it you want from me and why should I even help after what your imbicilic moron did?"She added sitting back down in her chair.

"We were hoping you could help us locate our wayword prophecy maker." Prestor said then took a sip of his tea.

"Young man, do I look like an information booth?" Flemeth said glaring at Prestor.

"Is that a multiple choice or true, false question?" Prestor sarcasticly said to Flemeth.

"Young man you are either very brave or very foolish." Flemeth said to Prestor as she gave him a look that would frighten most men. "Both of which could end the same way." she added.

"Well it is obvious you must know where our littler quarry is." Prestor said not flintching at the threat Flemeth made to him.

"I am sure she would tell us if she knew where Shaezara was she would tell us, Prestor." Felrana said to the man who was her husbands right hand in the matters of the rows.

"Do you know?" Teanko asked Flemeth.

"Yes I might know Assassin or I think I do. Humm, yes, yes I believe I do." Flemeth said walking over to an alcove which doubles as a pantry. Rifling through some barrels she pulls out a map. Heading back to her bed she lays the map out. "You will find your wayword child here." Flemeth said pointing to some ruins to an area in east of the Brecilian Forest.

"Why would she go there?" Felrana asked.

"These are old Elven ruins and within them is one of their Eluvian's, it is my guess she is going to use it to escape Thedas." Flemeth said to the group in her hut.

"Escape? Escape where?" Prestor asked.

"Yes where would this Eluvian take her?" Felrana said to Flemeth.

"I am not sure, if it will take her to another part of Thedas or to another continent or even another time in the past or present, know one knows or I think no one knows." Flemeth replied. Teanko nodded and then motioned for Prestor, Felrana and the others to head for the door as Flemeth sat down in her chair by the hearth and watched them leave. As the door closed behind her unwanted guest a smile slowly crossed her mouth, she knew that they would most likely catch up with the Elven Maiden they were seeking and they would pay a heavy price in doing do.

They sky was getting darker and darker as they made their way deep into the Brecilian Forest they were not really sure if they could continue to travel in the Forest after sun set, so shelter was a high priority for the tro. Shae saw a a ruin in the distance and motioned for the others to follow her. As they made their way to what appeared to be a cave, but not a cave they saw and heard strange noses coming from within. Lanus drew his twin battle axes, Eldion knotched an arrow while Shae drew her short swords all three ready for what lie ahead of them in the cave.

Entering the cave they were carefull to make as little noise as possible, the slope down into the ruins was uneventful, that is until they reached the first chamber. Then as they made their way to the center of the room they were set upon by seventeen giant spiders. Shae with swords in hand flung herself into the mists of the attacking creatures. Her first blow plunged deep into the first spider sending it reeling in pain then death. Her next blow split the creature in half as she spun to see two more spiders lunge at her. She waited until the last second before she jumped out of the way slicing the legs off the legs of both spiders. As she gained her bearings she noticed Eldion near the door. Eldion let fly one arrow after another to the spiders. He managed to let loose tweleve arrows felling five spiders before he was caught by their webs. She rushed to him and sliced away the wabbing freeing Eldion from certin death. The two stood ready as seven spiders came charging at them, but Lanus waded into the spiders with his battle axes flailing about sending them to the Maker. The rest of the spiders fled the room leaving the three companions alone, at least for now.

"I doubt we have seen the last of those monsters." Eldion said pulling the remnints of the web off of him.

"I agree." Lanus said as he bleched.

"Well, I am sure those spiders are the least of our worries." Shae said heading to a door on the east side of the room. "Lets go boys." She said as she walked through the door. Lanus and Eldion looked at each other then walked towards the door Shae just passed through. Neither said a word as the walked into the hallway and around the corner to the right. There they saw Shae peering into a massive room. She turned and motioned for them not so say a word. They both quietly but quickly rushed to see what Shae was looking at. As they also peered through the door into room they saw a group of Werewolves, an Elf with marking on his face and a group of four Adventures talking. Shae motioned for them to retreat back the way they came to avoid this situation. As they reached the room they encountered the spiders in they chose the door to the south. Going through the door and down the hall they came to a T-crossing. Since they knew what was behind them their only options were to go left or right.

"Well which way do we go?" Piped up Lanus as he looked both ways.

"I don't know, you pick." Shae said to Eldion.

"Hmmm. I'm not sure M'Lady." Eldion said as he took a small pouch from his belt. "But, we could flip to see which direction we go from here." He said tossing a Copper Piece in his hand as he reattached the pouch to his belt.

"Leaving it up to fate are we, Heads we go right, Tails we go left." Lanus said watching the Elf toss the coin. "Well then toss it Lad, lets see what the Fates have in store for us." Shae nodded her head at the words that came from the Dwarf and with that Eldion tossed the coin in the air. "Heads." Lanus shouted while the coin was in the air, they all watched as the coin turned over and over on the way up and then down to the ground. The coin hits the floor of the hall making a metal hitting stone pinging sound as it bounced five times before it stopped about seven feet away from them. Shae walked over to the coin and looked at it, after a few seconds she bent down picked up the coin and announced.

"Tails, its tails." Lanus looked disgruntled at the news he did not call the toss right.

"Well old friend, better luck next time." Eldion said patting the Dwarf on the back and walking over to Shae who was putting the coin in a pocket on her belt. "Hey." Eldoin said as he saw her pocket the coin.

"Gaming fee." She said smiling and winking at the Elf. Eldion lowered his head and just shook it in disbelief.

"Better luck next time old friend." Lanus said as he walked up and patted Eldion on the back. Eldion just smiled and chuckled at his friends comments. Shae headed off down the left passage of the hall, Eldion and Lanus followed her all making sure to look for what dangers might lurk in this place.

As they walked through the halls filled with cobwebs the odor of mold and mildew each had an unsettling feeling of forbodding that they could not put their finger on. Maybe it was the fact that danger could waited them just around the next corner of in the next room. But, they trudged on each with their own goal they had to reach. For hours it seemed they marched down one dusty moldy dank hall filled with skeletal remains and cobwebs to another, in one debris filled room after another searching for what they knew not, but hoping to find the immpossible dream they each had in mind. The worst part was the eerie silence that filled the air, Lanus could take just about anything thrown at him, but the silence was something he could not in tweleve life times get used to. Eldion felt as though something terrible was just around the next corner, down the next hall or in the next room they entered. Shaezara took everything in stride as she led the small band through this ancient place, she was looking to escape, not just what she was told her "Destiny"was but this world that had shown her nothing but hate and violance towards her and her kind. Oh how she longed for a place where she would be judged on her skills and not who or what she was. Maybe she would find that place somewhere in this vast underground ruin, but so far all she found was nothing.

Suddenly they came to a set of locked double doors about twenty feet high and very thick, Shae took out a set of lock picks she had in a pouch on her belt. She picked at the lock for a half-hour breaking several of her picks before she heard the familar click of the locks tumblers fall away. Smiling she quickly put away the tools back in their place and pushed open the doors. As the doors swung open and the group stepped through into the room, they saw and the enormace Eluvian standing in the middle of the one hundred and fifty foot diameter room. Slowly they moved closer to the fifty foot tall and twenty foot wide Eluvian as though it would attack them at any moment. Then just as they were about fifty-five feet away from the Eluvian they stopped as shouts came from behind them. Turning around Shae saw Lord Teanko, Prestor, Felrana, Balor and tweleve other men who she recognized as members of the Antivan Crows.

"Get away from me I will not be your pawn anymore." Shae said drawing her daggers.

"You have no choice child, it is in your blood." Teanko said almost laughing at her bravado.

"Where else can you go, my Neice." Said Felrana as she started to walk towards Shae.

"We'll see about that Mother." Shae said to the starttled looks of all but Teanko. "I see she did not tell you." Shae said "Yes she is my Mother and not a very good one I might add." Shaezara was now showing her fierce hatred for her Mother. "She has told everyone since I was a small child that I was her Niece since I was very young and only because she did not want anyone to know she had a child, no a child was not in her plans." Shae walked closer to her Mother and spat on her. "You even had Father killed and sent me off to live with Grandfather. I hate you more than you could ever know or even comprehind." Felrana stood there looking at her daughter with comtempt in her eyes, but said nothing. "And, now I am supposed to be some tool in some porphecy to make the Antivan Crows more powerful." Shae looked around the room at the expressions of everyone. "Well, I am here to tell you all you can kiss my Elven Ass if you think I am going to be used by the likes of you." She said turning and walking away from her Mother.

Teanko walked to the side of his wife Felrana and put his arms around her. "You are one selfish little bitch Shaezara, all you have ever done was think of yourself." Shae stopped and turned around and shot a look at Teanko who would have been cut in two if her gaze could produce blades. "We've watched out for you over the years and made sure you had the finest training their was in preperation for your part in the future of the Antivan Crows."

"I do not call killing everyone I have ever cared about, as being watched out for, though I am greatful for the training, because now I have the means of being my own person. And, as for thinking of my own needs and not that of others, well you are sadly mistaken asshole. It is you and her who never thought of me as a member of the family, but as a tool to further your own needs. You only care about what you want and to hell with everyone else, well you want Lanus dead, well here he is, come do it yourself." Lanus was surprised by this statement and Shae saw he was puzzled. "You see Lani I was supposed to kill you, but when I freed you from the bag when we first met, I knew you were an honorable man and I knew I could not kill you."

"Thanks Lass, but why do they want me dead?" Lanus asked.

"Because Prince Bhelen Aeducan hired the Crows to kill you, you dolt." Said Prestor. "You are just another contract and nothing more."

"I see, well have fun trying to fullfill that contract you Blood sucking Cave tick on a Nugs ares. Because I will not go down easy, so come get some Laddy." Lanus said to Prestor.

Suddenly arrows started flying towards the companions and the fight was on, Eldion started firing arrows in return hitting five of the twelve Crows who were trying to run for cover. Shae rushed three others, while was engaged in single combat with Prestor. Teanko got Felrana out of the way and watched the fighting, Prestor was not doing very well against Lanus who had scored three hits on Prestor. Eldion was hit in the lower abdomen by three arrows, but he refused to fall and kept on firing arrows. After twenty minutes the only ones left were Shaezara, Lanus, Teanko, Felrana and Belor. Eldion was barely alive as he pulled the arrows from himself. Shae rushed to his side.

"Eldion, please don't die." She said as tears swelled up in her eyes.

"I am not dead yet little one." He said looking at her with a smile. "I want you to get to the Eluvian and go through it, get away from here." He said wincing in pain.

"I cannot leave you like this." She said touching his wounds.

"Yes you can Lass." Lanus said gently placing a hand on her arm. "We can handle things from here." Shae looked at her friends and tried to protest, but Eldion smiled and kissed her on the cheek. She reached up and kissed him on the lips tenderly. The tender moment was interrupted by the screams of Lanus who was struck from behind by Belor. Lanus spun around in pain, but was able to bring his axe squarely into Belors ribs slicing him in half. The look in Belors eyes was that of surprise and shear terror as he saw Lanus smiling at him as he hit the floor. Lanus pushed Shae toward the Eluvian and shouted at her. "Go, go now we'll make sure you wont be followed." Shae was hesitant she did not want to leave her friends to die alone, but if she did not leave now, she might not be able to leave later, so relunctantly she ran to the Eluvian and cautiously stepped through it.

Shaezara did not know what happened after she walked into the Eluvian, all she knew that when she exited another Eluvian she was in a strange new land. She saw strange machines both flying and traveling on the ground. Then buildings, buildings of the like she had never seen before, buildings that stretched high into the sky. She was in awe and frozen in place at what she saw. Then she heard a voice off in the distance calling her, that kept getting closer and closer. When she finally snapped out of her trance and looked around for the voice, she saw a hooded figure standing in front of her talking to her.

"Excuse me young one?" The figure said.

"Yes." Was all Shaezara said looking at the figure.

"Are you new here?" The figure asked.

"Yes. Yes I am." She replied. "Where is here?" She asked of the figure.

"Nahtalra, young one." Said the figure.

"Nahtalra, thats a pretty name." Shae said and walked away from the figure. The figure just stood there and watched as Shaezara walked into the distance. After a few moments the first figure was joined by another hooded figure.

"Who was that?" The second figure asked of the first figure.

"That was the Rebirth Phrophecy coming true." Was all the first figure said and the two watched as Shaezara walked on until she was out of sight.


Copyright © 2011 Anya Marie McDonald

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