Disclaimer:  Aden is mine.  Jenny is mine.  Kiros is mine.  Big mine is mine.  Everyone isn't, k?

A/N:  No one reviewed the last chapter, but I decided to update anyway…

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Enter Kiros, Chief of the Lantos

The rain had finally stopped, but according to Veronica, it would soon begin again.  They took the opportunity to look for Jenny, but after almost two days with no sign of her, they all returned to the tree house to regroup.  Well, almost all of them.

"He needs to stop," Veronica said softly to Marguerite, as they stood together on the balcony.  Marguerite was staring out into the dark forest.  Where Roxton was, still searching.

The dark heiress nodded.  "I asked him, but…he won't."  She paused, biting her lip.  She had been paired with Roxton during their search, and she had hardly ever seen him worse.  John was driven, hardly sleeping, or speaking, a feeling of guilt weighing heavy on him.  "He thinks that this is all his fault; that he's failed somehow.  And she was so young…"  Marguerite turned her gaze from the jungle to Veronica.  "You don't think that she is alive do you?  I mean, she was probably carted off by a cannibal for goodness sakes."

Veronica shook her head.  "I don't know.  There isn't much chance of her being safe, is there?"  They both looked out into the darkness.  "But then….stranger things have happened on the plateau."

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A sharp slap startled her into consciousness.  Jenny groaned, but didn't open her eyes.  A second slap was administered to her other cheek, sending an explosion of pain through her already pounding head.  She whimpered slightly, peeling her eyes open to blearily view a big blob of a man leaning over her; he was the same one who had caught her in the bushes.

"Opsta!"  The man ordered upon seeing her awake.  His scowling face darkened when Jenny stared up at him, blinking as the rain splashed onto her face.  "Opsta,  Heks!" 

What?  Jenny shook her head, slowly; she had no idea what he was saying.  With a growl, the man straightened and called something over his shoulder before folding his arms and turning to glare down at her.  Studiously ignoring him, Jenny took a moment to check her self over and sighed; she wasn't in very good shape.  Beside an atrocious headache and stinging cheeks, the cut on her arm looked worse than ever.  The skin around the wound was mottled purple and red and various other colors that didn't look too healthy.  It's probably infected, Jenny thought briefly.  But at least it isn't bleeding.  Her clothing was in a horrible state as well, full of tears and mud and…

"Well!" 

Jenny's eyes widened and her head jerked up; someone was speaking English.  Peering around the Big Man, Jenny looked for the speaker.

"You're awake!" 

Nodding carefully, Jenny examined the new stranger as he strode towards her.  He was tall, and well muscled, with shoulder length brown hair and a beaked nose.  He leaned in and Jenny shivered as his eyes met hers; there was something about those amber orbs that set her on edge.  There was an air of power about him, and Jenny forced herself to stop from cringing as he crouched in front of her. 

"Do you speak?"  He didn't wait for answer.  "Of course you can!  I heard you."  Eyes glinting, he stared down at her.  "Say something," he growled. 

Finally, Jenny nodded.  "Yes, I speak."

"Kan u mij begrijpen?" he asked, his face intent. 

Jenny blinked.  "I don't…"  A wicked grin on his face, the man suddenly leapt to his feet, and Jenny shrieked as he swooped down and grabbed her bad arm.  Yanking her up, the man pulled her close.

"My name is Kiros," he whispered hoarsely, his breath rank, his eyes wild.  Jenny could feel her heart pounding heavily, and she bit her lip, forcing herself not to cry as his grip upon her arm tightened.  "And you have come to save me from my people."

* * * * *

"Where is she?!"  Aden yelled, his deep voice overpowering the every-day sounds of the tiny village.  He strode purposefully through the mud, ignoring the people who had to dive out of his path. 

His father turned, and snarled when he saw his son.  "Why must you make life so difficult!" he hissed.  The two men stood barely a foot apart, identical looks of anger on their similar faces. 

"Who is she?"  Aden hated how much he looked like his father. 

"And why do you care?"  His voice was suddenly petulant.

"What you are doing is wrong.  We must let her go!"  Why must he be like this!  Aden thought, half despairingly.  He is growing worse, crazier, everyday…

"You dare go against my word!" the man roared, taking a menacing step forward.  Aden stiffened, resisting the urge to step back, away from his father's wild eyes and rage-contorted face.

"This is wrong, Father!"  How often it came to this between them: a shouting match.  "Blaming our problems on someone else!"

His father snarled.  "Would you rather it be one of our own people?" he growled between clenched teeth.  "Their children are dying!  They are silly enough to believe that this is someone's fault!  And with the blame laid on someone else, they will no longer point to me, their leader!"

"Surely she has family!  Friends!"  There wasn't even a point in arguing that they needed to blame no one; the blood-thirsty town wanted a scapegoat.  His father was right: the people would willingly direct their anger to a complete stranger.  "Someone will come after her.  Father, if you don't let her go, I'll…"  Aden stopped, breathing heavily.  It was the wrong thing to say.  No one threatened Kiros, Chief of the Lantos.

His father swelled with anger.  "You'll what?"  His voice was low, and deadly.  "I've had enough of your insubordination, boy."  Kiros turned, and signaled someone.  Eye contact broken, Aden suddenly realized how quiet the tiny village had become.  The people appropriately hid during these father / son arguments; their Chief's anger was likely to be spilled out onto whoever was around.

And yet, not one of them would ever think of going against him, for  they are as cruel as he is, he thought bitterly.  

His thoughts were roughly broken by the presence of two burly guards.  He wouldn't…The men clamped onto his arms with bruising grips.  "Father," he said hoarsely.  Kiros stiffened, then turned.  Two steps, and he was across the square, his hand sweeping wide to slap his son full in the face as he stood before him. 

"You have no claim to me," Kiros snarled, moving in so they were almost nose to nose.  Aden could feel his hot breath on his face.    "A father deserves respect from his son;  obedience!  I've taught you everything, and how do you repay me?"  He was roaring by now, amber eyes flashing wildly.  "By taking every opportunity to go against my orders!  Trying to stir the people against me!  Spreading rumors that I'm…mad!"

His breathing was heavy, coming in quick gasps.  It was the only sound besides the soft patter of raindrops.

"Two dozen lashes," Kiros said abruptly, his eyes glinting as he spoke to the guards.  "Then lock him up."   With a rough jerk, Aden was pulled backwards through the mud to the tall pole mounted in the center of the village.  Through the rain, he watched dully as his father strode out of the clearing without a second glance back at his son.

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A/N: And that's it for this chapter!  If you read, please review!  Questions, comments, criticism…anything!