That last volley nearly killed her.  She felt the heat of the fireball roaring past her head just as she swooped in to take the final hit on the Fallen Shaman.  This horde of them had been the biggest yet and contained several shamans, even one that resurrected the other shamans as they died.  And every time she killed a Fallen, he'd just pop right back up to life again.  She couldn't kill them all fast enough to keep them from regenerating.

As usual the Paladin, Martenus, had done his damage by killing the unique shaman and kept on running to find the next big monster to challenge his skills, leaving the others to clean up the stragglers.

Then there was her other partner, the Necromancer, Thane, and he just left his undead minions to help kill off the remaining Fallen.  He himself was off to collect the loot they were hording and to raise more minions from their broken bodies.  Moron didn't care that his minions would be killing them forever with a shaman still alive to endlessly resurrect them.

Well, the drones could finish them off finally now.  She needed to rest.  She dropped down onto a nearby rock and took a healing potion out of her sash and chugged it back, grimacing.  Rancid stuff.  She didn't have a mana potion left, and her powers were almost completely drained.  Better to let the others do the fighting for a while as her powers naturally restored themselves.

Again she kicked herself for being a fool.  What had she been thinking, joining these two on their quest to stop The Three Brothers.  She should have just ignored the calling from her dreams and stayed safe at home with her coven.  Her Sisters warned her that she wasn't ready, she still had too much to learn, but that didn't stop the dreams from driving her out of her bed one night and into the wilderness to find these two warriors exactly where she had been shown.  Experience would now be her teacher.  If she lived that long.

She could hear the sounds of a distant battle and knew it would be Martenus.  The man was driven by his quest to save the world.  In his mind he was a hero's hero.  But he was raw and his skills needed much honing before he could ever be a knight.  He was also headstrong and stupid, rushing from battle to battle in order to prove his worth.  He clearly had never worked in a team before or he never would rush on ahead and leave the weaker members to fend for themselves.

Weaker.  Yah, I guess that's what I am.  I'm just a little girl playing with the men, and I can't keep up.

Thane finished his pillaging of the horde's camp and started racing off on his own in a different direction from Martenus, not even a backwards glance to see if she or his minions were coming.

She probably had a better chance of getting out of this field alive if she stuck with Martenus.  He was at least gallant whenever she was around and would keep any monsters from getting close, but she'd blink and he'd be distracted trying to kill a bigger one, leaving her to fight for herself again.  She almost died the last time he did that, having been overrun by dark lancers while he went off chasing a pack of brutes.  Fortunately for her the Necromancer had shown up just at that moment with his crew.

She didn't want to linger here long by herself.  Trouble had a way of finding her.  Sure enough, just as she stood up, another dark lancer came charging at her.  One alone was easy enough to dispatch.  A Fire Bolt for the initial damage, followed by a couple of solid hits with her poison imbued club.

I've really got to find a better way to do this than keep hitting them with a stick.  Damn Martenus and Thane keep grabbing up all the good weapons and armour before I can even get there.

Speaking of whom, she couldn't hear or see signs of either of them.

Great.  They really have forgotten about me.

She started running in the direction she had last heard Martenus, hoping to be able to follow a trail of corpses up to him.  She ran for several minutes, and sure enough, there was his trail of destruction.  She could just see him ahead as he beheaded a dark archer, and then he was running off on her again.  But her stamina was drained, and she had no potion to cure that either.

She sat down on the cold grass and waited for her strength to return.  She was so tired and she had only one minor health potion left.  She was going to have to be very careful.  Her mana, at least, was almost fully regained, and she could feel it welling up inside her, waiting to be unleashed.  She was so close to figuring out a spell for a cold shield, and then she'd have a little extra protection aside from her ability to run.

Stupid Thane just running away on her.  The man had a way of getting under her skin.

She always knew where she stood with Martenus.  He was straightforward and honest, and he would always be a gentleman to a lady.  The fact that he was handsome and carried himself with dignity added to his charms, which were immediately negated when he became battle blind.

But Thane, there was always a hidden agenda with him.  Everything he said or did had a reason and a motive.  She hated being alone with him when they weren't fighting something.  Every look and every phrase had a thousand meanings, and she had no idea what even one of them could be.  Well, that is when he even acknowledged her presence at all.

She had no idea why he was on this quest.  He didn't say and she didn't dare ask.  He and Martenus seemed to get along all right, but then Martenus tried his best to get along with everyone they ran across.  But both of them put a wall up when it came to her, and each day became lonelier even though she was often not alone.

And the dreams, her nights were haunted by the monsters and carnage she faced every day.  Every morning she awoke more tired than the last, and it was taking its toll on her.  She wasn't going to be able to go on like this, not without help, and help wasn't forthcoming.

She was brought out of her reverie by the shuffling of many inhuman feet.  She jumped up, club at the ready, to find that it was only Thane' minions passing nearby.  He surprised her by sneaking up to her side.

"Meize, it's not safe here by yourself."

"I had no choice."  She was in no mood to point out that it was he that left her alone.  He just wouldn't get it anyway.

"You are tired.  I will take you back to camp."

"Are we finished here?"

"There may only be one or two Fallen still cowering.  Martenus will dispose of them."  Thane opened a portal to the Rogue Encampment and waited for her to enter before following himself.

Meize went straight away to see Akara, who always blessed those who saw her with renewed health and strength.  She had hoped Akara would have a new staff she could buy that would make her battles easier, but they were all so expensive, and her stash was nearly empty.  It would be a long time before she collected enough gold and treasure to be able to buy one.

Depressed, Meize retired to their tent and unrolled her blankets.  She pulled out the little bit of bread she had saved from breakfast, too weary of mind and body to be able to eat anything more.  Thane and Martenus soon retired to the fire outside carrying steaming bowls of stew they had gotten from the Rogue's kitchen tent.  The smell of the food turned her stomach, and she couldn't even finish the stale bread in her hand.  She knew she should be at the fire with them, going over the day's events and planning for tomorrow, but she no longer cared about anything and simply crawled into her blankets to sleep.