It was a rainy Saturday morning as I walked around outside. So far this weekend had been the worst, first of all my knapsack got stolen by some asshole and to top it off, my grandma was taking a turn for the worst with her ovarian cancer. I seriously needed to calm down and meditate before I decided to go to the magick shop, otherwise I would be in the mood for dark curse type stuff. Albeit I was a beginner but magick was magick, at least that's what I believed. I sat down around my circle sitting between the points of the pentacle so that the bad chi flowed out to become good chi. I focused my mind and began my meditations in the pouring rain. (I was one of the few pagan people who practiced their beliefs outside at all times) After an hour of meditation and calming rituals; I caught the bus and went into the mall. The mall was crowded but was there ever a day that it wasn't?, besides blizzard weather, hurricanes and earthquakes etc.? To my knowledge everyone's here everyday all the time, but today felt more crowded than usual maybe it was just me, paranoid me, no way! I made my way through the mall to the more secluded shops and entered into the Magick shop. (I know very original) Besides the name nothing about the store was normal. I waved hello to the shopkeeper, who smiled and waved back as I went down some isles until I found one entitled "Travel/Return/Receive" and underneath it said " Magick places with magick powers, to heal one's aura, for finding items, getting items, giving items, magick items of protection" etc. I thought about it for awhile and came up with an idea, If I didn't want to do anything bad then why not try to get my stuff back magickally. I walked over to the computer and typed for awhile trying to find lost items so I typed " locating and receiving lost items" to find a spell book. After about 20 minutes of searching I found one entitled "Seek and Ye Shall Find" teleportation, travel, search, healing, Herb's... the list kept going on about what was included in the book. I decided why not? And went to find it. Maybe today was my lucky day after all I found the book and found out that it was a very ancient book from like the 1700's or something and it was 60 dollars plus. I had earned enough points on my membership card though that I could get it half off. I decided to use my card and left the building with my book paid for at 30 dollars including the tax and headed home. It was still raining outside and it took another hour to get home via the bus but I didn't mind I was feeling better about everything for some strange reason. I decided to go inside to my inner shrine so that my new book wouldn't be wrecked by the rain which I did rarely. I opened up the black leather bound book and had a strong feeling of power and peace emanating from the pages. I suddenly felt light headed and had to put the book down.

"Wow, what a rush!" I said and traced my fingers on the skin of the book. It was pulsing and warm, or was that my imagination? It had to be my imagination I was just very excited, anxious even. I took a deep breath and re-opened the book, the pages felt alive and tingled at my touch. I began to look through the pages and found a spell. It talked about the travel of an object from one place to another through interdimensionsal travel. This sounded exactly like what I needed and it was on page 3. Strangely enough though it was written in a language that I could translate the general idea from the words but was unable to figure out what language and people that it came from, which I was usually really good at deciphering.

"What a coincidence" I said aloud and read over the materials needed. I needed one of each coloured candles, a pentacle in white chalk, rosemary, jasmine and cinnamon scents as well as 5 blue strings to represent the ties to the object, ties to loved one's, ties to a friend, ties to a lover and ties to the world. Amazingly I had all the materials but since I didn't have a lover I didn't add the last string. I quickly set up my area as the diagram described with the correct dimensions and sat down in the circle to begin the chants. The first step in any spell is to set up your circle of protection. I prayed to the 5 elements and asked for their protection. After I felt the power surround me and create a prefect sphere, I began the spell in the book but as I looked at the words I realized finally that it wasn't any language on earth and the actual words in the spell I couldn't even decipher. I would have to be careful with how I said the words as well since I didn't recognize any particular accent either. Oh well, it didn't matter that much and besides I was too anxious to just wait around and think about the language which I couldn't understand and was beginning to give me a headache anyway. So I decided to start the spell.

Amin athya ile ai'rac Aiya soro ao noldo Ai'nor Gah'ril ile coia fui andor ie luume' ao templa On ai'ti amin, Amin cormio irma Gah'ril ile aiya coiasiran'ner Ai'nor ie ki'it ao nath'anua Utu tanya riasiet Amin yrii wanwa Coia fui Arvandorea ao fain fui tangwa Eikah n'jenji fui tangwa ao utu amin merna Oli fui kinta nardoo tanya kwar amin nao On fui nat' ie amin irma ai'ti amin Oli fui liikumar tanya ile ka'liir kwar Lav amin tanya laita ao ai'rac Vee' fui liikuma naar ikotane aei amin Vee fui naur rusv'ndu fui liiko Amin aei azu ie ile Ai'rac amin Ai'nor-ra Utu amin nat'r tanya tuulo' amin cael haktla san- Nan- Amin utune ie illie dur e' amin Ao lav amin ke'ari merna Mi'y fui fir-nelde ie laita Amin aei laita ile

Om go doe rei, Om go doe rei Shi va vor te ma, ka cor toe va vorpa Mie vey orsa wa vum, tepe or de ka vey

Lav amin gah'ril ir tel- Lav amin merna Tuulo' fui aina' vesta, Amin yrii vest Lav fui me'a cor amin ke'ari Ao lav fui onsint-ir valk Hakum!

Map amin, Map amin, Amin Ai'nor Tuulo' lempe amin estella ai'ti hei'ai nooti kinta Karn amin er tuulo' na-vee amin naa, rusva On ai'ti amin mani amin irma Map amin ai'ti manki amin naa ont Hakum!
Suddenly a voice resonated in the air and the words "Vee' amin yrii haktla agar ikotane gah'ril ta ir tel Hikaru!" could be heard. Then the floor opened up beneath of me and it began to form a cyclone like pattern that swirled beneath the pentacle until it was moving so fast that nothing else could be distinguished. I began to get dizzy but on the bright side I no longer had a headache. Unfortunately though, it became so dizzy that I was beginning to pass out when the floor went out from beneath me and I fell down the cyclone, closing my eye's tightly. When I reopened my eye's I saw blue sky all around me and had a moment to realize I was falling before I flipped out and began screaming at the top of my lungs all the while spiraling down towards the ground.

"Sina lir ikotaneeeeeee il happening.....!!!!!!!!!!" I screamed at the top of my lungs all the while still falling.
Meanwhile down below the falling girl was a tall, blond headed man with a mark on his arm that signified amazing power sleeping underneath a tree. A long ways away from the blond man was an even taller man with dark grayish skin, bulging muscles and two twin round axes who was running towards the sleeping man yelling.

"Ethan!!!!!!! Wake up we have company coming down right now" the tall man said running with his arms open ready to catch the falling form so that it wouldn't kill Ethan on impact. Following him was a red headed girl wearing black leather who looked stressed out about the situation and following her was a shorter man with green skin looking just as scared. Ethan the blond headed man was only beginning to wake up and the tall man knew that if he couldn't reach him in time Ethan could seriously be hurt, so he put on a burst of speed in the hopes that he would catch the falling form and save Ethan from either death or severe pain.

"Exeter! You have to save him" yelled the red haired girl from way behind the gray giant.

"He'll try the best he can Ashleigh, that is all anyone can do" said the green skinned man who was trying hard to keep up with her. He silently prayed that his friend would survive at the very least and at the best he hoped he wouldn't even be scratched by this ordeal.

"I know Skink but I'm just really worried about him, I should never have let him out of my sight" she said still running as fast as she could towards him.

"We all are, ever since we saw that opening in the sky and the shape falling towards the ground, but none of us could have predicted this or have prevented this. I just can't believe that, that person is going to fall right on top of him." Skink exclaimed trying to keep up with Ashleigh without falling down in sheer exhaustion or tripping.

"We're not going to make it but maybe Exeter will?" Ashleigh said hoping with all her might as she watched the large form running flat out while discarding some of the heavier equipment to become lighter in order to gain some much needed speed.
However high above the ground I was freaking out, I couldn't even speak one language although I wasn't aware that I was doing it anyway, but still you can tell that I was totally scared. I happen to have a fear of free falling so this was like a nightmare come to life.

"Aiya! Seldarine-ra ai'rac amin sii'........................!" I screamed all the way down to the ground whence before I hit was caught by a burly guy who went face first towards the ground only to roll before his face hit and did a somersault on the ground. He stopped on his butt but dug his feet into the ground for about a foot because of the sheer power of his flat out run combined with the power of my decent towards the ground. Suddenly I could hear voices speaking behind me.

"Exeter! What in the world is going on?" asked Ethan who had finally awoken only because Exeter had accidentally kicked Ethan when he tucked into a somersault and was rubbing his side where Exeter's boot had clipped him.

"Sorry Ethan.... huff...but this young lady-" he said pointing to the girl in his arms(me) "- fell from the sky...huff... and you appeared to be...huff... what was going to break her fall!"

"What?" Ethan said trying to grasp what had nearly occurred. "Why didn't you wake me up then?"

"I tried,...huff... I've been yelling at you to wake up for the last 5 minutes at a dead run" said Exeter who was gulping down air trying to breathe normally again to speak properly. I decided to remain silent since I couldn't understand or hear anything that was being said and was in shock at what could have been a near death experience.

"Exeter! Is Ethan okay?" yelled Ashleigh who was just beginning to arrive on the scene.

"I think he can...answer that...huff...himself" said Exeter who suddenly decided that it would probably be a good idea if he found out if the girl was okay. He had only noticed it was a girl when he had rolled and certain body parts touched his bare arm. He looked at her and nearly fell over, her eye's were nearly popping out of her face and she was gasping for breath almost choking. He smacked her on the back to help her breath and the sound resounded around so that everyone finally paid attention to the new comer. The back patting had only done one thing and that was to snap her out of her shock and made her freak out. She screamed once and jumped out of his arms and ran a short distance away. Unfortunately her legs were not working to well so she only got a sort of lopping gate which was why she didn't run to far away from the group. Exeter picked himself off of the ground and dusted himself off. Everyone was in shocked silence. The girl had golden blond hair and vibrant blue eye's although shaky it was clear that she didn't know what had happened and what they were saying.

"Do you understand us?" Exeter asked trying to see if she knew the language or if she had just not understood it while in shock.

"Amin n'rangwa ile" I said totally not understanding what was being said around me.

"Do you understand me now" Exeter said trying the other languages that he knew but none of them worked either so he returned to English. "I've run out of other languages to try, do any of you know any other languages to see if she knows on of them since I don't think any of us recognize the one she's using"

"No I don't know any more either" said Ethan and the rest of the group but finally the girl understood some of what was said but only caught the rear end of the sentence.

"Mani n' ile know?" I asked trying to decipher what had been said.

"Pardon?" said Ethan.

"Do you understand" Exeter asked.

"Uh.....Amin think ikotane.... I mean I think I understand what is being said I'm just confused about what I'm saying" I said trying to figure out why I was speaking a whole different language and why I wasn't speaking ordinary English which was the only language I knew how to speak. I may have been able to translate other languages and read and say them, but it didn't mean I knew how to actually well you know speak them.

"That's good to hear, now do you know why you were uh...falling down to the ground and coming down fast enough that had you landed on me you could have killed me" said Ethan.

"Well I was uh... trying to find...get my ...stolen knapsack back so I decided to try uh... to try a new ..idea but it backfired I guess and I was sucked here" I said "I never even knew you people existed and I definitely wouldn't have tried to kill you"

"She's telling the truth Ethan" Exeter said looking at me, ((at least about the stolen knapsack, nearly landing on Ethan and about not knowing us; but she is hiding something about how she got here, but she has no reason to trust us... yet... so I'll let it slide for now...))

"I know Exeter, I can tell if she's lying too you know" Ethan said still somewhat groggy from his sleep and because of it, didn't catch the small white lie that she had said...

"Uh...thanks I think" I said no longer needing to even think about the other language because like it had come it was gone.

"I'm Exeter" said the tall, burly, gray being.

"Ethan" said the blond haired man who was very cute.

"Ashleigh" said the red haired girl who was slightly glaring at me for some reason or another.

"And I'm Skink" said the short green skinned man.

"Kaori" I said and raised my hand to tilt it to one side to say in a kind of hello greeting.

"It's nice to meet you" said Ethan who smiled and moved his hand forward to invite a handshake.

"It's nice to meet you too" I said warily and moved my hand forward slowly while skimming the trees with my eye's. I took his hand and shook it quickly but he squeezed my hand quickly before allowing me to have my hand back. I quickly repeated the gesture to the others, Ashleigh squeezed my hand hard, Exeter gently and so did Skink. I just looked strangely at Ashleigh because I didn't understand the hostility, meh, I shrugged.

"Do you have a place to stay?" Ethan asked still smiling.

" I don't even know where I am!" I stated.

"Oh... well we're on an island called Sanctuary isle. It's for the lesser races, so that they have a place to stay and can choose if they want to work as a slave or be free people" said Ethan gladly sharing info that he believed that I already had.

"Lesser races?" I asked looking at him with my eyebrow raised "What's a lesser race? Do you mean black people? I've never heard that term used for it before and besides slavery went out like 80 years ago". They all stared at me like I had gone mad or something.

"What?" I asked looking very puzzled by their actions.

"Where do you come from?,....that you don't know about the lesser beings" asked Ethan and gestured over to Exeter and Skink.

"Uh...well I come from Earth and I've never seen anyone like Exeter or Skink before" I answered.

"Earth?, where's that?" Ethan asked.

"If you don't know, then I can't explain" I said and shrugged.

"I can't believe that you don't know anything about it, but you did know about slavery, but you said it ended...80 years ago" Ethan said rubbing his eye's "How was that accomplished?"

"Well...uh..." I said and explained how slavery was gone in the world but there was still some prejudice against them in the form of racism.

"Oh... so there was a movement that accomplished it...but..." Ethan said and hung his head down.

"But, we are genetically engineered beings formed in test tubes and created for the soul purpose of working as a slave for humans" Exeter finished for him.

"Oh" I said "Well we do have something similar in the form of cloning and test tube babies but nothing quite like that...what do you do...I mean what kind of work are you forced to do?"

"Generally, we 'lesser beings' do any physical labor that our 'masters' forces upon us but in some places the slavery isn't as bad, such as the Heron kingdom, but it's far worse in the Raven kingdom" explained Skink.

"Awe... that's so bad, I can't believe that something so similar to where I come from is here as well" I said and suddenly walked over to Skink and gave him a hug. He hugged me back.

"It's all right...I was one of the lucky one's . I grew up in the Heron kingdom and befriended young Ethan who always treated me as a friend and equal rather than a slave" he said while hugging me still.

"Well it's just that its wrong to force someone to do something that they do not want to do..." I said trailing off as I let go of Skink to walk towards Exeter.

"You don't have to feel sorry for me... I was a bounty hunter , I killed or brought in rogue slaves for profit" Exeter said feeling guilty.

"Why?" I asked standing in front of him and looking up. He stared down at me for a few minutes before he answered as if trying to read me expression for any fake emotions.

"I'm an outcast among the outcasts... I was created to be a bigger, stronger and faster slave and was always treated differently by both humans and lesser beings alike..." he said also trailing off leaving much unsaid.

"See I knew you weren't a bad guy well at least not in the true sense of the word." I gave him a hug but he refused to hug me back. Besides my hug was more or less my arms wrapped around his waist, cause his upper torso was just to big and I think he was afraid to hurt me because of my size. Either way he refused to hug me back probably because of his fear of squishing me and looked away until I let go. He cleared his throat and said-
"Uh... I have to go collect my equipment and weapons that I had dropped while trying to catch you...bye" he said and wondered off.

"Bye" I said and waved as he left.

"Do you want a tour of the grounds?" asked Ethan who was smiling even more brightly than I thought was possible and offered me his arm.

"Sure that would be nice" I said as I took his arm he was certainly a happy fellow. Ashleigh once again glared at me but left...well it was more like she stormed off but either way she was gone, yeah for me...I think. It took about two hours for him to show me the whole island. Skink had decided to come with us and helped point out some interesting facts. Ethan preferred to talk about the sea and told me about a people known as the swimmers. A people who were highly advanced and who had helped Ethan out quite a few times. They also talked about some of the events in his life and talked about Ashleigh...Ashleigh and more Ashleigh. I finally began to understand that Ashleigh and Ethan were an item, which finally let me figure out what the hell her glaring had been about. I was surprised though that she hadn't realized that Ethan was just trying to be my friend. It was getting late and finally we began to talk about where I was going to sleep. There was one main problem and mainly had to do with the fact that Sanctuary isle wasn't meant for full time use and it looked like that was what it was being used for now. All of the homes were occupied with freed people and there wasn't much room left anywhere that could be spared.

"Well I don't mind sharing with someone" I said " As long as they behave themselves."

"Uh... I'm sure they would but why don't you share with Ashleigh" asked Ethan looking puzzled.

"Well..." I said trying to come up with a way to say: she's jealous of me for no reason and we wouldn't get along.

"Ethan.. I think it would be best if you shared with Ashleigh and allow Kaori to have a bed to herself" said Skink wisely.

"Okay I'll go tell Ashleigh-" he said but was cut off by me.

"NO! I'll do it, I need to talk to her anyway" I said and ran off to the castle for some reason knowing exactly where she would be. It took me 20 minutes to find her exact location and work up the courage to talk with her. I found her in the sitting room and knocked, she opened the door a few moments later with a fresh glare on her face.

"Uh...Ashleigh can I talk with you?" I asked after I had overcome my initial response to hit her in the face because of her rudeness.

"Fine" she snapped which made me even angrier.

"I don't like Ethan in that way so I thought you'd want to share his bed but if you are going to be such a bitch then I will and you can think what you want" I said and started to leave.

"Wait" she said" I'm sorry, I just assumed that..."

"I liked him because he obviously liked me... well it should also be obvious that he doesn't like me in that way." I said and started to head down the hall once more.

"Okay I'm sorry I was just... jealous" she said "Can we still be friends?"

"I always wanted to be, I don't like him in that way and I couldn't anyway because I just met the guy. I'm not the type who falls instantly in love with anyone and besides he's not my type. I like the tall dark and handsome type. Not tall blond and gorgeous."

"Okay" she said and laughed about my 'type' of guy. " I guess I'll show you to my... your room" and hugged me before we could leave.

"Thanks" I said and hugged her back. She escorted me to the room and took the few personnel belongings she had and left to go to Ethan's room but only after she had said good-bye and had given me a set of p.j.'s. I decided that since I was so tired that I would take a nap, so I got changed and fell asleep in the room that I guess from now on would be mine. When I woke up it was still nighttime but I was cold and tried to find a fireplace or heater to get warm. Neither of which I could find. One there was no technology here and I was beginning to think that the island was only used in the summer when a fireplace wasn't necessary. I got up and wrapped myself in a blanket and headed downstairs towards the kitchens where I knew there was a fireplace in the sitting room. When I got there, the fire was already burning but nobody was there so I curled up near it and fell asleep again once more. However, once again I was awoken but this time by somebody picking me up and carrying me back upstairs towards my room. I looked up and saw Exeter carrying me in his arms and like I had guessed was heading in the general direction of my bedroom. I guess the entire population of Sanctuary isle knew where I slept...comforting thought.

"What are you doing?" I asked

"Taking you to your room, I nearly tripped over you. You shouldn't sleep so close to the fire it's very dangerous. You could have stretched your arm while you slept and burned yourself or even worse you could have rolled entirely inside the fire and died!" He said angrily "You need to be more careful!"

"But I was cold and there's no heat in her... my room" I complained.

"I'll get you another blanket then if it'll keep you from sleeping so close to the fire again" answered Exeter.

"Yeah but it's warm and now I'm...well I'm warm still but I'll be cold when I get back to my bed, especially if you can't find another blanket" I said grumpily. I usually complain when I get woken up and have had few or no hours of sleep to go on.

"Do you usually complain this much" asked Exeter

"No, only when I keep getting my sleep disturbed" I answered" and going on 2 to 3 hours of sleep counts"

"I suppose that's an allowable excuse" he countered as he finally reached my room and carried me over to the bed, gently putting me down. He took of his poncho and laid it over top the sheets and blankets once I was underneath of them.

"I'll come back once I find another blanket" he said as he got ready to leave.

"Thank you!" I said.

"For what?" he asked.

"For carrying me up here, for lending me your poncho and for trying to find me another blanket" I answered.

"Your welcome" he said and turned to leave, but not before I kissed him on the cheek and curled up on the bed and fell asleep instantly. If I had stayed up any longer I would have seen him turn around and look wide eyed at me before he carefully made sure that I was completely covered with the poncho, blanket and sheets form head to toe and tucked into bed snugly. I also would have seen him kneel down look at me for a few moments and brush aside some hair that had fallen in front of my face before he kissed me softly on the forehead and whisper "Goodnight little one" before leaving to go get his blanket.
The next morning I woke up to the gentle play of light through the curtains of my window on my face. At least I was warm although a little tired and stiff from my two to three hours sleeping on the floor. I sat up and noticed that Exeter had found a blanket for me but had left his poncho on top of me. I got up and dressed into new clothes that had been left for me on a comfy looking chair. I had a black shirt with sleeves that flowed out longer as they went like magician style sleeves, old magician style. I also had a pair of tight fitting pants that had a single silver stripe going down the sides of the pants. I also had a pair of socks and boots, the boots were thigh high black leather comfy but difficult to walk in because of the size of heel they had. Although they did fit my legs perfectly and showed off there shape. I picked up the poncho and put it on. It was huge and came down to my knee's and on the sides even longer. It was a dark navy blue color, though tattered and worn it served it's purpose and kept the wearer warm. It was super large on me, but if fit Exeter perfectly. I decided to find him so I could thank him once more for the blanket and give back the poncho. I was heading downstairs when I was caught trying to sneak out without breakfast.

"Hey!, Kaori aren't you going to eat?" yelled Ethan who was just heading towards the kitchen.

"Nnnn...yeah.... I was just going to get something to eat" I said trying to save myself from the slip up...sort of.

"O-Kay?" he said somewhat puzzled and hurt.

"Oh all right, I was going to give Exeter his poncho back" I said pointing to the duh...poncho.

"Oh, well he hasn't eaten yet either, you can check his bedroom but I doubt he's there... he isn't usually" Ethan said trying to think of where he might be.

"Okay" I said " I'll go try to find him then" and then left, skipping breakfast. It took an hour to find him and he was sleeping in the sitting room on a way to small sofa he had pulled near the fire. He was sleeping on his back with his legs hooked over one end of the sofa. I didn't want to wake him because he looked so adorable but then again so was everyone here. Even Skink looked cute, mostly because e of his height and small build though. Exeter was well, man-like, he was tall and had a muscular build like a pro-wrestler on steroids. His muscles everywhere were like twice the size of my head at least. He had tattoos on his head, well actually the tattoos encircled his head in a circle pattern except for the outer ring which sloped to a point in the middle of his forehead. He only had two rings on his head in total. He also had two small spikes sticking out of his left eyebrow which I thought was weird but oh well. His ears and his nose were the only things to small for his body...that I could see anyway. His ears were pointed and his nose curved. He was approximately 6"8' if not taller and weighed like 350 pounds at the least. I couldn't help but admire the fact that he well built everywhere even places where most people don't build themselves up when they were his size for example his thighs. He was wearing his tight pants that showed off his physique but didn't wear any shoes or armor during the night. He did have a shirt on that was like a T- shirt without sleeves. Both his pants and shirt were black and looked very dark against the gray of his skin. He had a wide mouth, big white teeth that were perfectly straight and big blue eye's that were staring at me...

"Hi" I said and smiled at him "Good morning"

"What were you looking at?" he asked.

"Nothing...I just didn't want to wake you" I answered looking at the toe of my boot suddenly finding something very interesting at the end of it.

"Look at me when you speak" he said" and lets' try that again."

I looked up at him and smiled "" I answered.

"I meant what" he said.

"Fine...I was just admiring your build" I said blushing.

"Oh!" he said and looked away "Did you sleep well?"

"Yes as a matter of fact I did, I was also warm which was why I wanted to thank you again for the blanket and since you left your poncho with me I wanted to return it to you also" I finished handing the poncho over...well okay so I threw it at him can you blame me. I stormed out of there with all the fury and grace embarrassment had to offer.

"Oh and by the way Ethan wanted you to get some breakfast" I yelled as I got out of there as fast as my high heel, thigh high boot would allow.

"Wait...I'm sorry" he yelled stomping about well more or less hopping about trying to get his shoes back on while trying to keep up with me which wasn't to hard to accomplish. "I apologize, please forgive me, it was wrong of me to say that or ask that of you. I was just curious, no one has ever been interested in me and I have always desired a family of my own!"

"Then why haven't you found one" I countered.

"No one will have me! I already told you that I'm an outcast. Who do you think could care about someone like me who's larger, stronger than anyone else who has been created. Humans treat me as a slave and other slaves who are suppose to be my people, my race fear me and run from me. You tell me who would look at me and consider me a possible mate!" he yelled getting angry and defensive. "Until now no one has even dared to look upon me in admiration of my... body or for any other reason"

"I'm sorry about that" I said calming down. Exeter who suddenly realized what he had just said stopped and sat down rubbing his head and closed his eye's.

"Are you all right?" I asked.

"No I'm not all right" he said softly though still with a bit of anger in his voice.

"What can I do?" I asked deciding to rub his back. "Have you..." I began to ask then decided to not ask the question.

"You can't do anything... what were you going to ask?" he said suddenly after starting to relax to the gentle persuasion of my hands..

"Oh it's nothing" I said

"No please ask... I've told you a lot about me but you have told me nothing of you self the least you can do is to ask the question" he said and turned to look at me.

" I'll only tell you if you promise not to get mad at me" I said.

"I promise" he said.

"Okay... I was going to ask if you had ever tried to have a family or had ever found someone whom you had loved?"

"No... I never fell in love with anyone but I did try to find a family... no one would have me when I tried to settle down, they were still afraid of me!" he said remembering his past.

"What do you mean still afraid?" I asked while massaging his shoulders which was a huge task considering the size of his shoulders. He took a few moments before he answered.

"Ethan... Ethan showed me mercy when I deserved none, he changed me for all time after that but left. I thought I would be able to live among... my kind and find myself a family but they shunned me for the things that I did although it didn't matter much for soon after I had met them they were killed by the Ravens. Ethan found me after that and blamed me for it at first until he saw one of the many bodies I had managed to kill wearing the symbol of the Ravens. After that he took me in and I helped him in his journey to protect and free slaves by way of this island." said Exeter explaining a lot about his past and even more about his personnel feelings. I laughed at that not because it was funny it was just that he had just proved he was my type of guy. The tall tormented, brooding type.

"What are you laughing at.. its not funny" said Exeter angrily.

"I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing at myself..." I said.

"What about?" he asked.

"Uh..." I said trying to think of a way to say that I liked him without embarrassing myself any further.

"Please...Have I not revealed enough information about myself or embarrassing facts that you cannot confide in me what you were laughing about?" he asked solemnly.

"I was just laughing because you happen to be my type of guy and I like you" I said and stopped massaging his shoulders.

"I'm glad that someone likes me" he said getting up and handing me back the poncho. "Here, keep it!"

"No and its not because of what your thinking... its just to big for me. K" I said. He sighed and nodded his head as he pulled the poncho over his head. Until this moment I hadn't noticed that he had only 3 fingers on each hand and one thumb so I watched them as he was pulling the poncho over his head, I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have only 3 fingers but I bet he didn't know what it would like to have 4. I mentally shrugged myself awake as Exeter waved his hand in front of my face trying to gain my attention.

"Are you all right?" he asked frowning.

"Sorry, I do that sometimes... spacing out I mean. Care to join me for brunch?" I asked and smiled offering my hand to him. He continued to frown but took my hand and placed it on his arm as he led us down to the kitchen. The place was deserted except for the cook and food that he was placing out for the both of us.

"Hello! I was just wondering if you two were going to come and eat anything" the chef asked he was another of the 'lesser beings'. I hated calling them that but it's better then blue or green haired this or that type thing. Some of the people resembled animals and some resembled human beings. Exeter and Skink represented human beings but there were a lot of people who resembled cats, gorillas and who knows what else. Ashleigh, Ethan and I were the only true human beings here everyone else was a refugee I suppose, but I was beginning to see what many call the 'lesser beings' as a part of the human being race or humanoid group, just a little different than most. If you think about what human being is defined as you might notice that most of it just states a bipedal or upright walking being with the capabilities of speech, skin color as far as I know has nothing to do with it or physical 'malformation' but then who am I to change what everyone else believes. Anyway Exeter led me to the table and even pushed my chair in when I was seated, he was being very nice and I was getting worried that he was reading more into what I had said then I had meant to imply.

"Thank you" I said trying to be courteous to the chef while also being suspicious of Exeter's motives. Exeter also thanked the chef who looked strangely at him after it as if it had been the first time he had said it and I knew I was in real trouble.

"Exeter..." I said but paused because this time I really needed to make sure that he knew what I was talking about and not fantasizing about something that wasn't there.

"Yes..." he said and looked at me with his blue eye's.

"Uh... you do know that I like you but that's it...there isn't anything more to it...right" I said carefully trying very hard not to hurt his feelings or make his hopes and dreams crash down to the ground in a smoldering heap of rubble...okay okay so I was exaggerating but this was a delicate situation and I really didn't want to hurt his feelings or make him think that he would never find anyone to be his 'mate'. He looked at me for a few moments strangely before he answered.

"Yes" he said and began to eat.

"Okay I just had to be sure" I said " I don't want to hurt your feelings or get you angry at me. I want to be your friend if you'll let me."

"You are my friend" he said the last word like he hadn't said it before.

"I'll be there for you when you need me but I won't be there for you romantically..." I said trying to see if he was lying or if he hadn't understood my words.

"Yes I understand, I got that the first time" he said as he tried to finish his food.

"Your angry at me" I stated.

"No I'm not I'm just trying to eat" he snapped.

"Your angry" I said.

"No I'm not I'm just trying to eat" he said.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Yes I'm sure" he said between mouthfuls. "Are you going to eat?"

"Are you positive?" I said avoiding his question.

"You answer my question since I've already answered yours" he said and looked at me like he was trying to understand what was going on. What was I a textbook?

"Uh... where are your weapons I haven't seen them, are they hand crafted?, How do you take care of them? Where did you learn to use them?" I asked trying to throw anything at him to make him change the subject.

"Answer me Kaori, Are you going to eat?" he said beginning to get worried and angry at the same time "If I have to I will shovel the food down your throat since I know you haven't had anything to eat all day and it's already after noon sometime."

"Yes" I said and looked at my plate.

"Look at me" he said and lifted my chin in his hand holding it up trying to get me to look him in the eye "Are you going to eat or do I have to force feed you?".

"Yes" I said looking at the palm of his hand.

"Yes to what. Am I force feeding you or will you eat it yourself?" he said holding my chin and finally maneuvering himself so that I had to look at him. Meanwhile the chef was watching the whole seen curiously.

"Well" the chef asked "Are you?"

"You stay out of this" said Exeter glaring at the man before he returned his gaze on me "Now answer me"

"Yes" I said giving up.

"Why wouldn't you eat?" asked Exeter still holding my face and my attention.

"Must you press everything?" I asked.

"Yes because your well being is my main priority now" he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because you are the only one I have called friend since I met Ethan and I take care of my fiends" he answered. "Now, why wouldn't you eat" he repeated.

"Well I have two reasons: number one I hate breakfast and number two...I don't eat in the morning usually ever because I'm not hungry. I eat very little every day and if I can I will skip meals" I said giving up the info since what he had said was very touching and I was feeling sorry for him since he didn't have many friends.

"That's not healthy, you have to be hungry and you have to eat" he said and picked up a piece of bread with butter. "Eat!"

"Fine" I said and chomped on the piece of bread and after about an hour finished eating some of the food on my plate.

"Al right, I'll allow you to stop for now, but eventually you'll get used to eating an entire plate of food" he said as he got up, picked me up and carried me outside towards the exit.

"Uh... where are we going now?" I asked.

"Out to the water, where you can bathe and relax. I desire to return the favour of massaging your back!" he answered as he walked through the doors and halls until we had finally left the castle. To tell you the truth it wasn't really a castle, but it was big enough to count as one.

"I will be bathing myself...right?" I asked.

"Yes...I'm not your... husband so I will not touch your private places... they are only for intimates" he answered.

"Do you want to explain intimates to me?" I asked.

"I mean either a husband or a loved one. Since you have no one at the moment... only you will wash yourself" he answered.

"Oh" I said as he walked through the forest area, entered a cave and walked inside to see a sparkling pool of fresh water. "Wow" I said and he smiled.

"I thought you would like it" he answered and set me down right beside it. "I'll leave you now, but I'll be outside if you need anything... just yell"

"Okay" I said and looked around, the pool wasn't very deep which I could tell because I could see down to the bottom where there were patches not already lathered with bubbles. It reminded me of a bathtub except it was three times the size of the one's where I come from. I guess they had to accommodate for some people I'm not going to mention...cough...Exeter. The strange thing about the place was the fact that it was glowing, it wasn't lighted by torchlight, electricity or anything, it was just glowing. I assumed they had something like fireflies or glow worms. Oh well, as long as they stayed away from me, I didn't care. I undressed and slid into the tub, once inside I scrubbed my skin with a cloth lathered with soap that was beside the tub in one of the grooves rubbed into the rock. The rock was very smooth and there were no bumps or sharp edges anywhere near the tub, although it was fairly rocky near the walls of the entrance and near the tub. After about an hour of soaking, Exeter finally spoke up.

"Are you done? You've been quite for an hour" he asked from somewhere outside the cave entrance.

"Almost... this is very relaxing, you should try it" I said.

"I don't bathe often, unless I can find someone to help scrub my back, and other places I can't reach" he said and I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was blushing.

"So! I can't reach everywhere either" I said resting my head on a groove in the rock.

"Do you want me to ... help?" he asked quietly. Before I answered, I looked around myself to make sure the bubbles covered everything, they did. I swear they were like immortal bubbles, they didn't pop easily, I had been trying for a while and when I did manage to pop one of the damn things two more took its place! Anyway, they covered everything and then some, I couldn't see the bottom anymore anywhere. I was covered in a blanket of bubbles with no holes.

"Yep" I said as I heard him get up and slowly come into the cave as if he were uncertain as to whether he should come in or not. "I said you can come in" I stated as I turned around so that my back was facing Exeter when he came in. I leaned forward so that I could cover myself in case the bubbles suddenly disappeared or something.

"Uh..-" he gulped "-uh... could you pass the cloth and the soap please" he said kneeling down behind me. I passed him the soap and cloth, and then relaxed as he slowly and gently rubbed my back with the lathered cloth, now full of suds. Occasionally he would skim his fingers along my back accidentally and he would let out a little sound, like a quickly inhaled breath. Then he would put his hand back into the cloth so that his hand could only be felt through the cloth, it was a very difficult time for me to try to keep silent. For one I was trying heard not to laugh because, for all the rugged maleness he had going for him, he was acting like... well a virgin.

"Are you a virgin?" I asked, which nearly made him fall into the water, but he caught himself with his bare hands on my shoulders and quickly removed them once he had regained his balance. I really wanted to turn around; so I did, after all I was covered, although only by a sheet of bubbles, but I was covered. He was blushing brightly but was looking me straight in the eye's.

" Yes... but you already know that... don't you?" he asked looking confused.

"No I didn't... mean can still find other ways to have sex with someone, such as a prostitute, a bar wench or a drunken women etc. ... " I answered.

" I already told you... no one will have me and besides it's not just sex I want. I want a family, the entire package, the whole damned thing, not just my own pleasure to someone I don't know!" he said no longer blushing but was getting red in the face with anger.

"How old are you?" I asked suddenly, out of pure curiosity.

"What?... 21" he said " I was born as you see me and I've seen 21 winters since then... why?"

"I'm 17 and I asked because It occurred to me that I didn't know you age!" I said " Is there a towel that I can use to dry off?" I added.

"Yes, but let me wash off the soap from your back" he asked as I turned around. This time he used his bare hands on my skin with some water, to take off the soap. He did it slowly and rubbed my back, he was blushing but he was also upset, so it didn't show as much. He stopped washing a few moments later because it was all off and grabbed towel left it where he had been and left the cave. I got out of the water, dried off and got dressed. He had left a new set of clothes for me where my old one's had been. My new set was also black, I was beginning to see a theme, but this time my shirt was tank top that had virtually no back, but it really did it wa just a bunch of strings that were mostly really low. It tied around my neck, the middle of my back and closer to my butt, in total there were only three sets of strings attached to the shirt. It was tight fitting too, like spandex. However, this time my pants were completely black and little less tight that came with knee high boots with a 5 cm heel, yeah!. As long as I didn't get spike heels I would be happy. I quickly smoothed out any wrinkles and went to get Exeter, who was staring at his hands, still a little upset. I took his arm in mine and tried to move him but like most men, he refused to move.

"What's the matter?" I asked, holding his arm.

"I'm sorry that I got angry" he answered.

"So... the problem is that your mad at me... you do know that you can be mad at me right?" I asked.

"Yes...but I don't want to be" he said " May I massage your back now?" he said trying to change the subject.

"If you want to... " I answered dropping the previous subject.

"I would like to very much" he said.

"I know..." I said and sat down. He sat down behind me and moved my hair so that he exposed the whole length of my back to both his eye's and his hands. Instead of beginning his massage however, he untied the two lower strings and pushed it in front of me almost exposing my breasts to the world... almost.

"Hey watch it!, I really don't want to flash the whole world you know" I said.

"I'm sorry I just want to massage your entire back without any restrictions or boundaries" he said and began his gentle ministrations. I closed my eye's and relaxed against his touch, after an hour of his rough hands kneading my back, I leaned backwards and he leaned against the rocks surface. As I lay against his now bare chest with my still bare back, he wrapped his arms around my front. One arm went underneath my shirt and wrapped around my middle. The other arm rested on my lap. I lay between his legs with my arms over his and my head rolled to the left to listen to his heart. He lay his head on top of mine and closed his eye's, knowing with his whole being that I was safe as long as I slept in the circle of his arms, as well as warm. I could feel the warmth emanating from his body, that flowed into mine through our bare skin that touched together. It was a very intimate feeling to be safe and warm while lying against a man with so much bare skin touching. I opened my eye's and noticed for the first time, just how much bigger he was compared to me. His legs were at least a foot longer than mine and his head was still higher than mine. For once however I decided to keep my mouth shut and savour this moment. I wanted this moment to last, so I fell asleep safe and secure in his arms. I awoke to Exeter gently caressing my scalp and brushing through my hair with the hand that had rested in my lap earlier. He kissed the top of my head and inhaled my scent. I kept my breathing slow to fake sleep, ((it had been a long time since anyone had ever given a damn about me, and to think that someone could finally by my type of guy and like me was almost too much to bear... like Exeter, I had a bad past but in some ways worse...))

"I know your awake..." he said, still stroking my hair.

"I know you know" I said still sleepy and close to tears.

"What's wrong?" he asked softly.

"Nothing" I said even more softly and left his rams, redid the strings of my shirt and ran off into the forest crying, soundlessly.

"Wait" he yelled and ran after me, easily catching up. He pulled me into his arms and knelt down, cradling me, rocking me gently in his arms as I cried "Kaori... please tell me what's wrong?" he pleaded.

"I...(sob)...can't" I said finally bawling and letting out my frustration to the world aloud. I cried in his arms again but this time feeling very vulnerable.

"Shh..." he whispered, still rocking me but not understanding why I was crying. Out of all the people in the whole world, universe, dimension whatever... he was the closest person I think, that would understand why. I laughed silently but eventually sounded like a mad women. I don't know how long I stayed like that but it was for a long time because when Exeter got up he was very stiff, by the time we got up and headed back towards the castle , it was late, very late.

"I'm sorry... for leading you on" I said softly as we walked towards the end of the forest.

"I don't care... I'm grateful for any time that I can spend with you" he said as he continued to walk behind me in my footsteps.