Disclaimer: Beastmaster doesn't belong to me. It belongs to Tribune. Kyn'raem is mine. Want to use her? Ask!

Authors note: This story takes place after the episode 'The Rescue' in season 1. This story takes the place of the episode 'Revelations' which had me in tears on several points. So I decided to give it my own and a slightly happier twist. I advise you read "When a star reached too high' before you read this. Otherwise it will have you confused on some points. Italics mean that Dar and the animals are conversing telepathically.

There is a light that never goes out

Yesmyria looked in her white marble scrying bowl, observing the Sorceress sleeping peacefully. Many things had changed since she had interfered in Malvina's plans. Most things positive for her.

Her heart had ached when The Sorceress had wept for her love of Sharak. She had wanted to help her Little One. But the time wasn't right yet...

Yesmyria waved her hand over her bowl, changing the scene to a view of the Sanctuary. The reunion of the two lovers had gone as she had hoped, but watching them sleeping peacefully she knew that Damion probably wasn't finished with them yet.


"Curupira. What brings you here?"

Her daughter peered in the scrying bowl. "Watching my Beastmaster, his lover ánd the scholar?"

"More like checking if Damion isn't busy again." Yesmyria was silent for a few moments. "Did you know that Amora managed to break Damions curse?"

"You mean the curse on Sharak. I didn't. You think it's time?"

"I am sure. Can you keep an eye on the Sanctuary?"

Curupira nodded and her mother disappeared in a flash of light.


She reappeared in the Soreceress' Aerie. In the bedroom to be more exact.

She gazed down at the sleeping blonde woman for a few moments, checking if Damion wasn't close by.

Satisfied he wasn't, Yesmyria placed her hand on the woman's forehead and gently reached out with tendrils of her power. The tendrils searched their trough the Sorceresses mind, finding the structures of the spells the Ancient One had placed upon her.

Yesmyria wrapped her power around the structures and then pulled her power back. As she pulled on her power, the structures of the spells became unstable and began to collapse.

The memory charm was the first to go. Then the spell which had bound her mage abilities followed. But at the same time the spells the Ancient One had built were broken, Yesmyria wove her own spells. Spells which would protect her memory from now on, but also a spell to protect her mage abilities and the magic the Ancient had taught her. Both women were surrounded in an emerald green haze of light.

Suddenly the Sorceress woke up in a cry of pain, with tears flowing down over her face.

"Easy, Little One. It's okay. Just relax." Yesmyria calmly stroked her hair. She continued to soothe her until the pain eased and the blonde woman relaxed under her hands.

Finally two cerulean blue eyes looked in her own emerald green ones. "Mother? What happened?"

"I freed you of the memory spell and the other spells that were placed upon you, Little One." Yesmyria told her. "It was time you knew the full truth."

"I remember everything. Even my real name." Amora yawned and fought against her dropping eyelids.

Yesmyria smiled softly. "Go to sleep, Little One. Your mind will absorb everything much easier if you sleep. We will talk in tomorrow. Don't tell any of this to Damion. If you don't tell a thing, he won't sense a thing. I made sure of that."


Amora woke up at first light. "Was it all a dream?" she asked to the empty chamber.

"It wasn't. Everything is and was real." a voice to the side said.

"Eleit. Mother? What did you do to me?"

Yesmyria approached the bed her Little One was lying in. "When Damion took me from you, he recognized an extra talent inside you. The talent to not only manipulate the energy inside you, but to also manipulate the energies outside you."

"My mage abilities and my sorcery."

"Exactly. He placed a memory spell on you, he buried your mage abilities and worse. he buried parts of your personality."

"Why didn't you break the spells before?"

"I couldn't. It wasn't time. You had things to learn." Yesmyria explained softly.

"Things to learn? I don't understand."

"You are now both a mage and sorceress, Amora, although more sorceress then mage. You have learned a lot about Damion, but you also know the other side. You have learned about love, the pains and the joys. And now you have to make a choice."

"Which choice?"

"You can continue the path Damion placed you on. Or you can choose to help to keep the balance, like the task of a Little One always was. Or any choice between. Just think about it."


"Just think about." With those words she faded away, leaving a very confused Amora behind.


It was a beautiful and peaceful morning in the Sanctuary. "I think Ruh really likes me." Kyra said to Dar as she stroked a loudly purring Ruh.

"Ruh likes anyone who pets him." Dar replied with a grin on his face

"Are you saying I am not special?" Kyra turned towards the Beastmaster with a glare in her eyes, but underneath that they were twinkling.

"I think you're very special." Dar proved his point with a soft kiss.

"You be careful with him. A tigers mind is fickle like the weather." Tao suddenly injected from the side, also a smile of his face.

"He says nicer things about you." Dar replied as he and Kyra stood up.

"He does? Well, from of tomorrow he won't have me to scare anymore. I am going home... Ever since I met the young woman in the Burning Forest I have been thinking about it."


"Yeah. She made me think it might be time to go home. Besides, the Sanctuary was always your home and Kyra is here now too. I was just a visitor here." Tao turned away to gather his blanket.

Dar was silent for a few moments, shock visible on his face. "Tao, you don't have to go. You can stay if you like."

Tao smiled warmly. "Thank you. But as one end closes, another one opens."

Dar turned away for a few moments and Tao turned to Kyra. "Mind if I make a few suggestions before I leave?"


"Make this place a little bit more like a home. A bit more civilized. Maybe a fruit- or vegetable garden or some tools for cooking. O and get him some cloths. Running around the jungle naked isn't good for ones health, you know."

Kyra looked over at her betrothed and smiled miviously. "No, but. it does have it's benefits."

Tao took a few seconds to interpret this. "Oh you."

Dar also smiled and stood again at Kyra's side, placing an arm around her shoulders. Tao quickly turned around, digging in the bushes besides him. He reached out to grab the object in the bushes.

"Kyra!" Dar suddenly spoke loudly behind him. "Kyra!"

Tao turned around like lightning. "What's wrong?"

Dar was supporting Kyra against him. The young woman was unconscious.

"What happened?" Tao asked as he spread out his blanket over a grassy piece of ground.

"I don't know. She suddenly collapsed against me. She didn't react when I spoke to her..." Dar lifted her in his arms, then carefully placed her on the blanket.

Tao began to check her out carefully. Suddenly Kyra's eyes rolled back and she started to shake and twitch. Tao immediately reacted and turned Kyra on her side and removed the necklace around her neck to make sure her airways were free.

Dar looked at him with panic in his eyes. "What."

"She is having a seizure, Dar. It looks nasty, but it will stop in a few moments... I only don't have any idea how it happens." Tao tried to appear relaxed for his friend, but he was deeply worried.

"Perhaps I can enlighten you, Beastmaster." A voice said besides them.

Both men jumped up at the sound. On a boulder sat a man in multihued robes, long grey hair and crystals in his head.

"The Ancient One?"

"I might have let the girl go from my mind, but that doesn't mean she is free of me. Her youth and vitality are still mine." he explained.

"How can we help her?" Tao asked, carefully keeping his voice levelled.

"That's for me to know and for you not to find out." With a flash he disappeared.

Tao and Dar looked at each other. Kyra had stopped twitching and lied still on the blanket, bathing in sweat. Tao squeezed his friends shoulder and fetched a bowl of cool water and cloth to bathe Kyra's forehead, while he set about brewing some herbal potion.


The Sorceress waved her hand over her scrying bowl and summoned an image of the Beastmaster, Tao and Kyra talking, but she hardly paid it any attention.

Memories flashed trough her head. Working with her friends in the temple. Teaching the little girls about her trades. That was what she had been. a skilled hand worker in several disciplines, although not such a strong mage. Hearing she was chosen as Little One and the cup of poison. Waking up and getting to know her new mother. And how the Ancient One had pulled her away from her mothers side and the pain of the spells he had placed upon her.

"A choice?" she said softly to herself. "That isn't that hard."

Suddenly her attention was drawn to the commotion in the bowl. She watched with how Kyra collapsed and got her seizure. She saw Dar's and Tao's desperation. And she heard what The Ancient One told them. The sight awoke a feeling inside her that had been buried a long time.

Compassion, sorrow. many more things.

Her heart ached for the two lovers. "What he did to me, he won't do to them. He won't separate them.not by death, not by any other way." she said, the words resonating in the cave. Then she remembered something she had learned in the temple. Love is one of the key's to balance. helping others with their love and nurturing your own love is part of your task Lady Yesmyria bestowed upon you all.

The choice was made. she was a sorceress; hopefully soon an independent one, but from now on she would also be a priestess again.

With a wave of her hand she disappeared from the Aerie.


"Dar?" a soft voice whispered.

"Kyra?" Dar reacted immediately.

"What happened?" Kyra struggled to get up.

Dar gently helped her up, letting her lean against his chest. He remained silent, running his hand trough Kyra's hair.

"Dar?" Kyra repeated. "What happened?"

"The Ancient One came here." He said tonelessly. "He says he stills drains you."

"What?! That's impossible!" Kyra exclaimed.

"I am afraid he was speaking the truth." Amora appeared in a flash of light. She was dressed in a crème gown with a flowering back cover and silver embroidery.

Dar glared at her. "Sorceress. What are you doing here?"

"I came here to help." she said softly, kneeling by his side.

Tao approached with a cup of herbal tea and handed it to Kyra. When he saw her hands shaking, he gently helped her, realizing that Dar was too focused on the blonde woman.

"And why should we trust you?"

"Many things have changed in the last few days. I understand you don't trust me. I haven't done anything in the past to earn that trust. But listen. Many centuries ago I was Yesmyria's Little One. The Dark One took me, but because he recognized the talent to use sorcery magic in me, he didn't return me to Earth, but he placed a memory spell on me and trained me as a sorceress. Last night Yesmyria returned my memories and. other things to me." she gently explained.

Dar and Tao glanced at each other over Kyra's head, doubt visible on their faces.

Kyra however looked at the Sorceress, scrutinizing her carefully. "Give me your hand." she inquired softly after a few minutes.

The Sorceress looked at the young woman and held out her hand. Kyra took it and closed her eyes. She held on to it for a few moments.

"We can trust her, Dar. She is speaking the truth." Kyra said.

"How do you." Dar started to ask, but he fell silent when he saw the Sorceress' face.

It was white. "You're mage. And quite a skilled one too. Where did you learn this? There were no mages in the Sula tribe." she whispered.

Dar and Tao looked at Kyra. The young woman nodded. "She's right, I am a mage." Seeing the inquiring looks, she continued: "I will explain it later." Then she turned to Amora. "What can we do?"

"The only way I know of, is to break the bond. How you can't do that for the best, I don't know. The bonds that Damion creates are very, very powerful. But I am convinced that Kyn'raem and the people at the Yesmyria temple in Tenora can help you." She stood up and with a wave of her hand she opened a rift. Two horses emerged from the rift. "They will help you to get to Tenora. I don't think Zad will mind me borrowing them from him." She chuckled wryly.

Tao already started to gather his things and Dar cradled Kyra in his arms.

Suddenly Amora thought of something. "Wait for a moment. Kyra, do you know how energy exchange works?"

"I have done it once."

Amora nodded and reached out with her hands. "Give me your hands. I am a mage again, albeit I am not a very strong mage. I am willing to help you."

Kyra regarded her again for a few moments, then gave Amora her hands and both closed their eyes. Dar felt a faint tingle where his skin touched Kyra's, but further there wasn't anything visible. Soon they opened their eyes again.

"You will be somewhat stronger now. The Ancient One will be draining the energy I gave you."

"Aren't you exhausted now?"

"No. My other abilities replenish it."

"Thank you. Don't you have a name?" Kyra asked.

The blond woman smiled. "Call me Amora. I have to go now, before the Ancient One misses me. I will have to keep my façade up for a little longer." She disappeared in a shimmer of light.

Dar sat Kyra on the horse, wrapped the blanket around her and jumped up behind her, taking her securely in his arms. Tao climbed on the other horse and both nudged their horses with their heels.


"It looks like she made her choice." Curupira peered in her mother's scrying bowl. "But she has never been like that. So direct. Even when she lived with you."

"I broke the spells Damion placed upon her. But the years she spent as Damions pupil still influence her. Those years give her the strength she needs and will need."

"But what if Damion dearest finds out? He won't find out fast, but he will."

"I don't know. That's the part that worries me."


"Are you feeling well?" Dar asked softly.

"I am fine. Just a bit tired. Dar, who is Kyn'raem?"

"Jealous?" A teasing grin appeared on his face.

"No!" Kyra reached out with her hand and whacked him on the shoulder. "That the little piece of slime called the Ancient One is draining me, doesn't mean you can tease me."

"Kyn'raem is the current Mother Priestess of the Yesmyria temple in Tenora. A few months ago a group of Tenoran warriors shot me with arrows with something that caused a high fever when I was travelling alone for a few days. Kyn lived in exile back then. She saved me and nursed me back to health."

"How did she become the Mother Priestess?"

"The Mother Priestess back then got her captured and wanted to kill her. Yesmyria and Curupira saved her and named her Mother Priestess."

"Interesting story."

"How about we take a short break? I am getting sore. We have been riding for several hours." Tao said besides them. "I see a small pound ahead."

Dar nodded. "A short break." Then he looked at the sun. "If everything goes well, we should arrive in Tanora by nightfall."

They stopped by the pound. Tao climbed of his horse and gathered some fresh water from the pound, while Dar lifted Kyra from the horse and settled her against a tree.

"Kyra, where did you learn to use mage abilities?" Tao asked curiously.

"There was a Tenoran priestess in the Terron camp. Her name was Olande. She had been there for long time. She took care of the slaves in a way. Teaching them rules of how to survive, telling us which warrior was the most dangerous. But she also searched out slaves, young women, who had the abilities to become a mage and she taught us how to use it. We. the ones who had developed mage abilities did what they could to divert the attentions of the warriors from everyone, soothing away nightmares so friends could regain their strength. And at the same time we used them to protect ourselves from the same warriors." Kyra explained. She chuckled. "They did me a lot of good in warding of the Sorceress back then. But it worked this morning. She didn't have very strong shields up. So I could sense if we could trust her."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Dar asked.

"Didn't really have the time for that yet. And I know how you think about. magic..." Kyra looked slightly anxious.

"I have met a few mages in the last few months, Kyra. And one of them told me that magic itself was just part of the world, that it wasn't evil or good. That it depends on the user. It took me a while, but I have come to realize that's true."

Kyra got a small smile on her face. "Like Amora showed this morning."

"Indeed. And you could have told me. You can tell me everything." he pulled her into his arms.

"I should have known."

They shared a kiss and Tao looked away. 'I wish I knew love like that.'



Sella jumped when someone said her name. She was selecting pieces of bone to carve from the heap before her.

"Are you okay? You have been jumpy all day?"

Sella looked up at the red-haired girl on her side. "I don't know. I just feel like. a storm is brewing."

"You're not the only one who senses it. Ayla was snarling at Kita and several other people for nothing this morning and Kyn'raem has been absent- minded all day. And my hackles have been up all day." Myrine told her. "It's like the balance is.off. or. shifting."

"We will see what happens."

"Something else. how do you like it here, Sella?"

"I still miss Argon terribly, Myrine, and nothing will be able to replace it, but I like it here. In any case far better then the Terron camp." At the last she smiled at bit wryly.

"I think everything is better then the Terron camp." She looked up at the sun. "It's almost sunset. We should get back inside."

Sella stood up and looked over the hill. She squinted her eyes against the sun. "What is that?"

"What?" Myrine looked also over the hill, a hand placed above her eyes. She looked again and turned to Sella. "I think that is our brewing storm."


Kyn'raem was in deep meditation when she heard the four sharp whistles. She quickly grounded herself and hurried outside.

Looking around she saw Myrine and Sella waving to her. Standing with them were two horses and a couple of other people.

"What's wrong?" Ayla approached her from the side.

"I don't know. Sella and Myrine called us. They're over there." Both women hurried towards the small group.

"Sella, Myrine. what.?" Ayla started to say.

"Dar, Tao!" Kyn'raem had already recognized her friends. Then she saw the woman in Dar's arms. "Who's this?"

"It's good to see you again, Kyn. This is Kyra, my betrothed. Kyra, these are Kyn'raem, Ayla, Myrine and Sella."

Kyra smiled tiredly and nodded. "In Yesmyria's name I greet you. But I met you once in the Terron camp, Sella."

Kyn surveyed the group. "Let's go inside. You look very tired, Kyra and I think you all have some things to talk about." Then she turned to the two priestesses and the Argon woman. "Ayla, Myrine, let someone take care of the horses. Sella, have someone bring some tea to my quarters. Then join us."


"Even though the Ancient One released me, I am still bonded to him. He's still draining me." Kyra concluded her story.

When she was finished Ayla and Myrine had very confused looks on their face, but Sella and Kyn'raem had thoughtful looks on their face.

"The Sorceress was a Little One of Yesmyria." Myrine muttered.

"But she spoke the truth. The only way to help is to break the bond, but I am not sure how. Like she also said, Damion's bonds are very powerful."

"My father once broke a bond between a human and a sorcerer with a blood bond with another human." Sella said.

"That could work, but I don't think just a blood bond will be enough." Ayla mused.

The four priestesses agreed on that. It was silent for a while.

"No, but there was one thing they always taught us. Love is the strongest kind of magic. Look at what broke the spell on Amora. The love of her mother." Myrine interjected.

"A blood bond with someone she truly loves and who truly loves her. Stupid. it's so simple." Kyn'raem muttered. She looked up at Dar and Kyra. "I have seen and sensed how much you love each other. And Dar told me you were betrothed. If you want, we could a wedding ceremony and form a blood band during that ceremony. That will create a double bonding."

Dar and Kyra looked at each other.

Dar was the first to speak up. "I still want to do our pledging."

"It was one of the things that kept me going in the Terron camp. And we can't do it on our way anymore. How does this blood bond work?"

"During a point at the ceremony we make a small cut in one finger. You place them against each other so that the blood mixes and the priestess doing the ceremony announces the blond bonding." Ayla explained.

"Kyra, you said you couldn't do it in your way anymore. Did you mean you couldn't do it the Sula way anymore?"

Kyra nodded.

"How did a Sula ceremony go?" Sella asked.

"The couple made vows to each other in presence of the whole tribe. The chieftain pronoun-ced them a couple. The woman wore a white cloak, the man a red one. After that was there a feast and the couple moved in their new home." Kyra explained.

"Small Tenoran ceremonies are very close to that, but to make the bond stronger we should do a full ceremony." Ayla said.

"And what does that entail?" Dar asked.

"In the morning the man and the woman bathe separately. Each with a sister, brother or close friend, who are also witnesses during the ceremony. Then both come to the temple when the sun is on the highest point. The priestess asks if they come voluntarily and asks them to promise a few things. We could replace that with your vows. Then we make the blood bond and bind your wrists with a leather cord. The witnesses acknowledge the bond and you're declared a couple. Then there is feast and the couple goes to a special place. They stay there for a couple days, living just together, to strengthen the bond." Ayla explained.

Kyn saw the looks Dar and Kyra were giving each other. "Just think about it. It won't be so much work to plan everything. We do it regularly."



"What's wrong, Damion?"

"The Ancient One swept around to see Yesmyria standing there. "Nothing."

"Or is it the fact that the humans you can puny are stepping on your toes again." Yesmyria looked at his surprised look. "I know you're still draining Kyra. But you will be stopped. One way or another."

"You're not allowed to do anything. Neither can your demon daughter Curupira."

"I know. But I have my ways. They are working on it already."

"They might be working on it already, but we will see if they will in time." He turned back to his own onyx scrying bowl and closed his eyes.


Sella, Myrine and Ayla had left Kyn's quarters. Dar and Kyra were talking softly in a corner, while Tao and Kyn were discussing something.

"Would you mind if we do it the Tenoran way?" Dar asked.

"Does it matter which way we do it? We pledge our love to each other and that is something I have wanted for a very long time. It doesn't matter to me if we do it the Sula way, the Tenoran way or even the Eiron or Argon way."

"Then I say we do it." Dar leaned forward to kiss her, but suddenly she fell back and started to twitch and shake. "Kyra!"

Tao and Kyn'raem looked up and immediately reacted. Tao quickly turned Kyra on her side again and made again sure that her airways were free. Kyn reached out with her hands, making contact Kyra's aura. Focusing carefully she started to work on stabilizing Kyra and then blocking the energy drain somewhat.


Amora, once the Sorceress, stared in her amethyst scrying bowl. 'It wasn't enough what I did. They need more time to act. But what can I do?'

"What are you watching, my dear?"

The Ancient Ones voice startled her from her thoughts. She quickly recovered and turned to face her 'mentor'. "The Beastmaster. why are you torturing him so much? You always told me it wasn't good to want revenge."

"It isn't revenge. She is fulfilling her destiny. And this way it goes faster. Even though it hurts some people around her."

"If you say so." Amora turned away to observe the situation in her bowl. 'Don't you know any compassion?'

"Do you doubt me?" the suddenly sharp voice said.

"Why should I? I still have much to learn." She said, turning back to him. 'I am going to do something. It doesn't matter to me if he finds out or not.'


"So, you're pissed, little sister. Maybe it's good..." Curupira murmured softly as she watched in a magical pool in her forest. "My Beastmaster can use a bit of help. I can't give it."

"Looks like the whole world of the gods and magic is watching the Beastmaster and his friends." A soft female voice said besides her.

"Debra. what are you doing here?" Curupira looked up her elder sister.

"Why are you watching your Beastmaster? Are you worried about him?" Debra was a tall woman with long blond hair, pulled in a high ponytail and a simple but elegant pink and silver dress. She had her mothers emerald green eyes.

"Why should I be worried about him? He is just as worthless as all other humans."

"Again, why are you watching him? You never watched your other Beastmasters much. You simply went to them if there was something and gave them their assignments. You almost never cared about their problems, even if it almost killed them." Debra said, crunching down besides her.

"What do you mean with that? Shouldn't you be taking care of this?" Curupira turned towards her sister with an angry glare in her eyes.

"You don't have to hide behind your anger for me. And you know I can't do anything in this. This is between a human and a god, not between a human and a sorcerer." She observed her sister carefully for a few moments. "You feel fondness for him, don't you? You don't want him to get hurt?"

Curupira simply glared at her. "Stop this."

"For now then. But I am a mage, as well as a sorceress and many other things, Curupira, and you have never been able to stop me from sensing you. But let's see what our little sister is up to?"


"It is stopping already, Dar. She will be okay in a few moments." Tao said, outwardly calm.

"That's only because I stopped it, Tao." In a glimmer of light Amora appeared in the chamber.


"I told you, it's Amora. Damion knows of your plans. And he is speeding up the energy drain, as much as he can." the woman said softly. Amora turned around when she felt a glare in her back. "Máthair." She curtsied. "I owe you an apology. For the betrayal of a few months ago. I have done many things I am not proud of."

Kyn regarded her for a few moments. "It's okay for now. We will discuss it later. Do you want to do something to help us?"

The blonde woman nodded. "That's why I have come here. I have done an energy exchange this morning, but that's not enough right now. I want to try and block the drain. It won't hold long, but it may be enough if you make the bonds tomorrow."

"Do we have a choice?" Dar said bitterly.

"I know that still not trust me, Dar, but if you want Kyra to live then I will have to do it." Amora kneeled down besides the bed Kyra was laying on, placing a hand on the Beastmaster's shoulder. "I wish I could erase many of my deeds in the past. But I can't do that. I can only try to atone for them."

"Let her help me, Dar." A weak voice said from the bed.

"Kyra!" Dar turned to the bed.

Kyra smiled weakly. "Somehow I trust her, Dar. Let her help me. I want to do our pledging."

Dar looked into her eyes for a moment, then nodded and moved aside.

"What must I do?" Kyra asked.

"Just relax and don't try to fight me." Amora placed on hand on Kyra's temple, the other one on her heart. Then she closed her eyes and focused. Carefully she sent tendrils of her power trough Kyra's body.

First she grounded all of Kyra's energy, weaving a web of her own and Kyra's energy. The web helped to keep Kyra's energy there, but it also masked her own energies. Then she reached out to the energy drain and started to build a shield. For her feeling it took forever, but outside very little time went by.

Kyra felt their breathing synchronize, their hearts beating as one. Deep within her, she felt the remnants of her energy grow warm, radiating strongly as never before. She felt a healing energy soothing her sore muscles. Then as the energy reached toward the energy drain, it felt as though her soul were a battleground.

As soon as Amora opened her eyes again, Kyra opened hers. They looked in each others eyes and both smiled a bit. Amora started to get up, but she found she couldn't.

Tao quickly walked over and helped her till she was sitting securely against the wall. "Are you alright?"

"Building the shield took a lot from me."

"Why are you helping so much? Is it just because you want to atone for what you have done in the past?"

"No, Tao. It isn't just that. Yesmyria is the goddess of Balance. And she has three daughters, three keepers of Balance. The task of the eldest one was to keep the balance between humans and magic. You know her as the Eternally Unknown. The second one, Curupira had to keep balance between humans and nature. And finally the task of the Little One was the balance between humans and the gods. That's my task now." Amora explained.

"She is right. Come my child. You're going to sleep." Yesmyria appeared briefly, but then disappeared again. This time with Amora.

Kyn stood silent for a few moments, then nodded. "Kyra, Dar if you want to do the ceremony, we are going to do it tomorrow."

"We will do the ceremony." Dar said, after exchanging looks with Kyra.

"Then I will start my preparations. Dar, who will stand by your side as a witness?"

Dar smiled and looked over at Tao. "Tao, would you stand by my side?"

"I would be honoured, Dar." Tao replied immediately.

"I don't have anyone." Kyra said softly. "Maybe one of the priestesses?"

"That isn't allowed." Kyn said softly.

"Maybe I can help. You helped me back in the camp once, Kyra. If you want, I will stand by your side."

"Thank you, Sella. I would accept you gladly as my witness." Kyra replied.

"That's settled. I have to go, to make preparations. Get some rest. I will find another place to sleep tonight." Kyn said and left the quarters.


Next morning Dar and Kyra woke up at sunrise. Tao was still sleeping peacefully in a far corner.

"How are you?" Dar inquired softly.

"A bit nervous and exited, but further I am fine." Kyra looked up at the hazel eyes of the man she loved. She reached up with her head, but they were suddenly disturbed by a soft knocking on wall besides the door curtain.

Kyra smiled. "I think we have to save this for later." She turned towards the door and called: "Come in."

The door curtains parted to reveal a frail older woman with greying dark brown hair and Sella. Both were carrying a package wrapped in some brown cloth.

"Good morning." Sella said and looked around. "Tao still asleep?"

Dar glanced over at his sleeping friend. "Seems like it."

Kyra wasn't listening. She was staring at the older woman. "Olande?"

"I hadden't expected to see you here, my girl." Olande said gently. "Until Sella told me you had come here yesterday."

Dar and Kyra climbed out of bed. Kyra quickly adjusted the clothing she had worn yesterday and the whole night. "Dar, I would like you to meet Olande, Tenoran priestess and the woman who taught me to use my mage abilities. Olande, this is Dar, Beastmaster of the forest spirit Curupira and my betrothed."

Dar raised his hands. "In Yesmyria's name I greet you."

Olande quickly put the package down and raised her own. Quickly she grabbed Dar's hands. "In Yesmyria's name I greet you and I welcome you in her temple. But that wasn't why I was here. Kyra, it's time for you to separate. You will see each other at the ceremony again."

Sella in the meantime had woken up Tao and came to stand with them again. "I thought we could go to a small pound nearby. It's a place where brides bath often. For that's it's called Maiden's Pool."

"I brought a package which I thought you could use, Dar. What's inside is yours to keep. I brought something similar for Kyra also."

Dar and Kyra accepted the wrapped packages and Kyra left with Sella and Olande. Dar looked after her longingly.

"It won't be long, Dar. Come, we should go to the river." Tao said at his right side. When his friend didn't respond, he lightly placed his hand on Dar's shoulder and stirred him out the door."


"Everything is ready for the ceremony. Is everyone else ready?" Kyn asked Ayla.

"All the Children, Maidens and Priestesses are ready. Even the youngest ones know the words." Ayla replied.

"I wish it wasn't necessary to use the children when he comes."

"We have to. Because if we don't manage to complete the ceremony the Gallatin will never reunite."


Sella led Kyra to a small, damping pound. It lay in a small clearing in the forest and it was surrounded with trees, dusty with age. There was a small staple of white rocks.

"Aren't you nervous? I remember me when my niece married. my aunt, my mother and I almost had to drag her to the ceremony." Sella said, as Kyra sat the package down.

"Just a bit. How did you end up here? Dar told me last night how you escaped and of the Phoenix, but." Kyra answered.

"Olande managed to escape somehow. I met her in a village and she invited me to come back with to temple. I have been here for slightly more then three moons. I help where necessary and the temple and I am writing the story of my people. That must be saved." Sella sounded very sadly at the last words.

"I understand how you feel." Kyra sounded sympatric.

Sella smiled a bit. "But not today. Today is a happy occasion. Come, open your package. We can use the things inside. They are yours now, you know."

Kyra opened the package to find two soft white towels, a beautifully carved bone comb, several bone pins, leather strips and a net for her hair, three small pots with red, white and black face paint and small bag with wide leather bands and small cushions of compressed wool.

"I thought those might come in handy. I didn't know if you had your period or that you had something with you for it." Sella explained hastily.

"They come in very handy. Not at the moment, but I didn't have anything for it." Kyra placed the towels on rocks close by the water and started to undress herself.


"Hello little sis. Feeling better?" A gentle voice said besides the bed of the Sorceress.

Amora looked up from the text she was reading. "Hello Debra. you shouldn't be here. Damion."

"Mother and auntie Lumia are keeping him busy now." The goddess dressed in pink and silver said. "Are still so tired?"

"Not really. But I think I have to interfere again this afternoon. Even though I have blocked the energy drain for now, he will try stop the ceremony. And my block won't hold for ever."

"About this afternoon."

"We have decided that you won't stand alone." Another voice fell in. This voice was much harsher.

"I thought you didn't care for those 'annoying humans', Curi."

"Not much. But. the Gallatin must reunite. And in order make sure that this happens, we have to make that the ceremony takes place."


Dar and Tao had made their way to a calm place by the river. On the way there Dar was silent, not even replying to Tao's chatter.

Suddenly Tao stopped. "Dar, where are you with you thoughts?"

Dar startled. "What?"

"I asked where you were with your thoughts."

"Thinking later this day."


"Not really. I can hardly believe it's so far..." Dar drifted of.


It stayed silent for a few more moments. "Why did you decide to go home so suddenly?"

"I miss my family. I would like to see Caro again."


Tao swallowed. "Uh. I.I don't want to intrude between you and Kyra." He softly said.

Dar stopped walking and turned to his friend. "Tao, you would never intrude. You're my best friend and Kyra likes you too. Like I said, you can stay if you want. And I would like you to stay. And Kyra would agree. Just think about it again."

"I will, Dar. But not today. today should be a day of celebration." Tao said, then grinned.

Dar also grinned and both started walking again.


The sun was quickly reaching the point that they would have to go back to the temple. Kyra had bathed and washed out her clothes. In the warm sun they had dried quickly, while Sella had helped her with her hair.

Now it was wrapped around her head elegantly in several little braids, fastened with bone pins and Sella was busy applying a bit of the white face paint in a few Sula symbols Kyra showed her. Black lines around her eyes brought them out and her lips were already colored slightly darker with the tiniest bit of red.

"You look great, Kyra." A voice startled them and Sella shot out.

"I didn't mean to startle you. I brought you something you might like to wear." Myrine, already in her ceremonial wear, smiled and showed her folded white cloak.

"Just a moment, Myrine. I want to finish the last symbol." Sella whipped out where she had gone wrong and finished the symbol.

Quickly Kyra pulled her now dry clothes on and turned to Myrine, who handed her the cloak. Kyra draped it around her shoulder and closed it.

"I also brought something else. It's more of a Tenoran tradition to wear it." Myrine unfolded a soft white cloth to show a beautiful silver headband. It was about and inch wide and engraved with small half moons.

"It's beautiful. Thank you." Kyra carefully took the band and placed it on her head.

"I think you are ready for the ceremony. Still feeling well?" Sella asked.

Kyra nodded. "Let's go to the temple."


Kyra and Dar met each other in front of the main building of the temple. Before them was an honour guard of all the Priestesses, Maidens and Children. The children were dressed in white, silver embroidered tunics, the maidens were dressed in the same tunics, but with a silver band engraved with small stars upon their brow and as last the priestesses wore white tops and knee long skirts with silver embroidery and a silver band engraved with small stars upon their brow. Their faces were painted with black circles around the eyes, lips painted red and white stripes over their faces. Myrine smiled and nodded to them and took her place in the beginning of the line.

Dar gave Kyra a hand and smiled. "You look beautiful.Are you still feeling well?"

"I am perfectly fine. and by the way. you don't look bad either." Dar was simply wearing his loincloth and boots, but a deep red cloak was draped over his shoulders. On his head he also wore an inch wide band, but his was made of an ivory colored material, carved with small golden suns.

"Shall we?" Dar asked.

Both turned and hands joined they walked though the two lines of priestesses. Sella and Tao followed and few yards behind them the priestesses formed two lines. As Dar and Kyra entered the temple with their witnesses, only Myrine and Ayla followed. The other priestesses formed a triangular shape at the entrance.


Inside the temple was lighted with hundreds of little candles. Kyn'raem was standing before a statue of the goddess Yesmyria in her ceremonial dress, the ankle long white skirt and short sleeved white skirt, both embroidered with silver moons, suns and stars. A silver circlet with a star, a sun and a moon on the front was around her head with numerous strings of silver beads falling over her hair. Her eyes were circled with black, her lips covered with red and silver and white stripes covered her face. Her arms were also covered with silver and white stripes.

Ayla and Myrine walked past the couple and their witnesses and went to beside the Mother Priestess.

Kyn'raem smiled upon seeing the couple and started to speak when they stood before her, with Tao and Sella to their sides. "Upon this day we again ask the goddess Yesmyria to watch over this union." Kyn turned to Kyra first. "Kyra, mage and memory keeper of the tribe of the Sula, did you come here voluntarily to acknowledge and solidify your band with the man standing besides you?"

"I do."

Kyn turned towards Dar. "Dar of the tribe of the Sula, chosen Beastmaster of Curupira, did you come here voluntarily to acknowledge and solidify your band with the woman standing besides you?"

"I do."

"You told me you wanted to make your own vows. Give each other your hands. Dar."

Dar and Kyra joined hands and Dar started to speak. "Kyra, I love you more than life itself. You are not only the woman I love, but you're also one of my best friends and my soul mate. I will always stand by your side, whatever may come on our path."

Kyn gestured. "Kyra."

Kyra closed her eyes for a moment, opened them again and started to speak. "Dar, you are what kept me going in the Terron camp and when Damion kept me. I love you so much, not only with my heart, but completely. Body. mind. heart. soul. and spirit. An even though this isn't how we had planned it, I am glad we finally do this."


"NOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Damion screamed over his onyx bowl. He disappeared in a bright glimmer of light.

He appeared before the temple and he started to stalk towards the entrance. But he was stopped by the group of white-clad girls and women.

"Go back Damion. You have no right to interfere here." It was Olande who stepped forward, dressed in her ceremonial cloths.

"Step aside, woman." Damion started to make a movement with his hands, but three dozen of children's voices started to speak. "Arrinniy glarm caroon, Yesmyria. Arrinniy glarm caroon, Yesmyria. Arrinniy glarm caroon, Yesmyria. Arrinniy glarm caroon, Yesmyria. Arrinniy glarm caroon, Yesmyria."

More voices joined in, this time the maidens. And there words were more complex. "Zalustanxosingrest marig bolunus fegmal lustoomon wefwarno. Zalustanxosingrest marig bolunus fegmal lustoomon wefwarno. Zalustanxosingrest marig bolunus fegmal lustoomon wefwarno."

Finally the priestesses joined, weaving an indescribable web of words and sounds. And the words froze Damion in place.


Curupira and Debra were standing by Amora's amethyst scrying bowl. Debra looked at her youngest sister. "It's time to go."

Amora applied the latest of her face paint. She was wearing one of her slightly more modest gown, a white one, embroidered with suns, moons and stars. Upon her brow she had a silver priestess head band engraved with small stars. Her face was covered with the priestess face paint. "He's going to be surprised. Let's go, ladies."

All three started glowing and disappeared.


"You have made your vows to each other." Kyn took a leather cord from Myrine and bound it around their left wrists. "Hereby I bind you to these promises."

Then she took a small dagger from Ayla. "You have chosen to tie your bond not only by vows, but also by blood. If you still chose to do, hold out your thumbs."

Both Kyra and Dar hold out their thumbs and the mother priestess made a small cut on both thumbs. "Press your thumbs together so that the blood may mix and that you be bonded by blood."

Kyra and Dar pressed their thumbs together and Myrine handed Kyn another leather cord and tied also their right wrists together. "You are now joined by vow and blood. Dar, who did you bring as your witness?"

"I brought Tao, scholar of the tribe of Eiron."

"Tao, scholar of the tribe of Eiron. Do you see and acknowledge the bond between Dar and Kyra?"

"I see and acknowledge the bond and wish them a lot of luck in on their journey." Tao answered.

"Kyra, who did you bring as your witness?"

"I brought Sella, priestess of the tribe of Argon."

"Sella, priestess of the tribe of Argon. Do you see and acknowledge the bond between Dar and Kyra?"

"I see and acknowledge the bond and wish them a lot of luck in on their journey." Sella answered.

"Then we will go outside and declare your bond to the world."

Kyn went as first, then Kyra and Dar with wrists still bound. Tao and Sella followed and Myrine and Ayla closed the line.


"So, you pitiful humans think you can stop me. Your words of power might keep away for a while, but it won't stop me forever." Damion said.

"We won't have to hold you forever." Olande replied.

"And they won't have to do it alone." Three voices said at once.

Damion ignored the voices, but fought against the words of power and slowly he came forwards.

"Damion." The three voices sounded again.

"Stop." From a pink glimmer of light a woman appeared. She was dressed in a pink sleeveless dress falling to mid-calf, hemmed with silver threads. A silver chain belt hung loosely at her hips and silver-laced pink leather boots adorned her lower legs. Silver armbands adorned her forearms as well, and most of her visible skin had some kind of silver glitter on it. Her blond hair was worked in a pile of elegant ringlets held firmly in place by sweet-smelling roses of various shades of pink and a silver tiara.

"Right." From a green glimmer of light another woman appeared. She wore a skin-tight dark green outfit with leaves on it. Her blonde hair was styled in several small knots on her head with the rest in a tail flowing down her back. Her blue eyes were hard.

"Now!!!" Amora was the last to appear out of a glimmer crème light. She looked totally different from her normal outfit. Her slightly more modest gown wasn't very different, but the silver priestess head band engraved with small stars and the priestess face paint took care of that.

They took their place in front of the triangle of white-clad woman who were still chanting.

"They might not be able to hold me of forever and neither can't we. But we can prolong it." Debra spoke loudly.

"And how will the Keeper of balance between magic and humans or the Keeper of balance between with nature and humans help. You are both out of line here." Damion said, still coming closer.

"But we are allowed to help the Keeper of balance between gods and humans." Curupira replied, her voice as hard as her eyes.

"There hasn't been a Little One in a year."

"We just freed one." Curupira said and she saw how Damion's eyes shot to the third woman. "Why, didn't you even recognize your former student?"

"I am free of you, now. Free to take the place I need to take. But now. Arrinniy glarm caroon zalustanxosingrest marig bolunus fegmal lustoomon wefwarno." Amora replied and fell in tone with the temple women.

"Arrinniy glarm caroon zalustanxosingrest marig bolunus fegmal lustoomon wefwarno." Debra and Curupira joined in and Damion found that again he couldn't move.

The chanting continued for some more time until a loud voice stopped it. "Stop, I have an announcement to make."

The chanting fell silent, but the magic summoned by it was still in place. The triangle opened and the small group from inside the temple walked in. Dar and Kyra stood before Kyn'raem, hands still joined.

"By this I announce the joining of Kyra, mage and memory keeper of the tribe of the Sula and Dar of the tribe of the Sula, chosen Beastmaster of Curupira. They have been joined by vow, by blood and above all by love. Let all the previous unwanted and unwished bands be broken." Kyn'raem threw her hands up and let out the screech of an eagle. Sharak dove down, circling over their heads and replied to the screeches.

Immediately a red glow surrounded Kyra and Damion, connected by a small red line. Kyn'raem screeched again and this time the other priestesses also screeched. The red glow intensified until it just shattered.

Kyra swayed and struggled to keep her balance with her wrists bound to those of Dar's, but Tao was immediately behind her to support her. Damion's head crystals glowed with a red light and suddenly the light surrounded him and swept him away.

Kyn'raem quickly turned towards Kyra. "Are you okay?"

"I am okay. Just got a bit dizzy. Thank you, Tao." Kyra replied.

Kyn'raem quickly cut the cords binding their wrists to each other. "Congratulations. And now it's time for a feast."

"I suppose I should offer you my congratulations, Beastmaster." Curupira came towards them with Amora and Debra.

"Thank you, Curupira. For both the congratulations and the help by stopping Damion." Dar replied. Kyra smiled by this side and nodded her consent.

"I was merrily helping my sister."

"Won't you be in any danger now that you have revealed yourself, Amora?" Kyra asked.

"Not more then I was when I was his student. Besides I have my sisters to help me." Amora replied.

Kyn'raem regarded the third woman in pink. "I am afraid I don't recognize you, milady."

Debra smiled. "I am known to you as the Eternally Unknown. Nonsense actually. Debra, Keeper of Balance between humans and magic, at your service."

"I am afraid we won't be able to stay any longer. Mother needs us for some other things." Curupira said.

Debra and Amora stood besides Curupira. "Have a good feast." Amora replied and disappea-red in a white glimmer. Debra followed soon in her pink glimmer and Curupira in a green one.


Kyra woke up from someone besides her moving out of the sleeping bed. She lazily opened her eyes and followed the blond figure moving trough the small hut. "Good morning."

Dar turned around. "I didn't mean to wake you." He leaned down and started putting on his loincloth and boots. "I am going to get some breakfast." He kissed her on the forehead and went outside.

Kyra put her hands behind her head and reflected on the day before. After the ceremony they had had a feast meal from spicy tomato soup, vegetable stew, fresh bread, a dish from beans and mushrooms, fresh fruit, cheese and some wine. It was delicious and they had chatted with several people.

After the feast meal Myrine had shown them to the small hut where they were now, Tao helping in the temple. It was some distance away from the temple and she had said they could stay there for a couple of days.

The only thing what had seriously disturbed her was when Myrine had pulled her aside and she had warned her about opening herself up too much when she was in physical contact with Dar. She decided to leave her thoughts for a moment and climbed out of bed. She quickly dressed herself and started to make a small fire, heating water for some tea.

She looked up when Dar entered again, carrying a basket with fruit and nuts. She turned back to the tea and poured it in two mugs. "Here."


Kyra sat down besides him with her own mug. "Tao had a few good ideas, you know."

"About what?"

"About having some tools for cooking or a vegetable garden at the Sanctuary."

"No vegetable gardens. I told Tao that a long time ago. But if you want tools for cooking, we're going to get some tools for cooking." Dar laughed.

"How about we're going to make a long walk in the forest today? I haven't done that for a long time. And I need to get familiar with the forests again if I am going to live there again."


"A mother. And two of her young. They are making their way to the creek for water, I think." Kyra looked down trail and walked over to a broken branch. "They passed shortly ago."

"You haven't forgotten it." Dar said.

"Well, we certainly practiced enough." Kyra's mind flashed back to the training all the Sula children, boys and girls, got. Tracking, edible plants, where to find water, recognizing animals and knowing their habits, building shelters, predicting the weather, orientation and everything else that was needed to survive in the forest.

Girls also learned about the work on the gardens they had, caring for the livestock and the basic skills for making the nessecary things of a household. They also learned about running their own household and about child rearing. Boys learned about how the defend the tribe, also the work in the gardens and livestock, some building, also basic skills for making the necessary things of a household and even more detailed things about the forest.

In Kyra's and Dar's case and in the case of a few select other they were trained as a Keeper of Memories, a Healer or as a Beastmaster.

Dar and Kyra continued their track for while, both lost in their thoughts.

"Do you often think about home, Dar?"

"Not much."

Kyra saw the smile on Dar's face disappear and his expression closed off. "Why not, Dar?"

"I don't really want to talk about it." Dar said and accelerated his pace.

Kyra looked after him for a second then also accelerated her pace. "You will have to talk about it one day.."


"Of course, Tao. You can use our library." Tao had approached Myrine if he could explore the library.

Now he was walking trough a large space with thousands of scrolls. Myrine was walking besides him, pointing out where the different areas were. Finally they arrived at a large table, with a closet close by, filled with empty rolls of parchment, quills and ink.

"I think you can find everything now. Just ask if you seek something specific." With those words Myrine left him alone.

Tao wandered over to section about history of the temple. He pulled out a couple of scrolls and walked over to the table. The first scroll he took described the origin of the temple, more then five hindered years ago. He looked trough some more rolls, slowly approaching the present.

Suddenly he stumbled over something very interesting.

The legend of the Gallatin .

Once a time will approach
A time in which the balance is in danger.
But in this time the Gallatin will arise

One is the Beastmaster
Between human and animal
Last of his tribe

Two is the Scholar
Clothed in the mysteries of scrolls
Travelling far away from home

Three is the Soul Mage
Healer of spirit and soul
Trained in the camp of pain

Four is the Medicine Woman
Ready to help everyone
Former captive of Darkness

Five is the Sorcerer
Warrior, sorcerer, with the sight of an eagle
Cursed for his love

Six is the Wanderess
Well known in many lands
A slayer among she trusts

Each a test
Each an artefact
To restore the balance

Each knows pain
Each knows loneliness
Each knows loss

But they won't be alone
But there will be some aidants around
But together they will be strong

Tao took a scroll, ink and a quill and set about to copy the text. He had heard Kyn and her assistants talking about that the balance was off. And many descriptions ran a bell.


At their private cabin Dar and Kyra laid in each others arms on a blanket outside watching the stars.

But Kyra's thoughts weren't at the constellations at the heaven. She knew Dar and she knew that he didn't show what was in his heart easily. He buried that deep in his mind, behind wall upon wall, until they burst. Lying in his arms, she closed her eyes and cautiously opened herself to her mage senses.

All soon images behind her eyes formed. What she saw was a greyish, high dam with a pulsing red mass behind it. The dam was shot trough with colored strands of light. The first one she touched was shimmering dark green on. She saw an image of Tao before her eyes. Next she touched a pink one. She saw an image of herself. She touched different colored lines and each represented a person or a cause that meant much to him.

Then she focused her attention on the greyish wall. She reached, searching a way in, trough the wall, slowly and carefully. As soon as she touched the red mass, her eyes flew open and she gasped.

"What's wrong?" Dar's worried voice sounded besides her. "Is it Damion?"

Kyra didn't reply directly, but took the time to take a few deeps breaths and to raise her shields. Finally she said: "It isn't Damion. I opened myself to my mage senses. I sensed you."

"I see." It was silent for a while. "Why?"

"What do you mean?"

"Why did you open yourself to me?" Dar clarified.

"Because of this afternoon. Because of the little traces of your emotions I picked up when I asked you about if you ever thought about home. I was wondering if you had ever talked trough it. Or that you closed yourself of from what you are feeling? You did that already when we were children."

Dar stayed silent, so Kyra continued. "I sensed that you did what you always did as child. You closed yourself of. I saw an image of a dam, Dar, and that dam was being kept together by people and causes that mean a lot to you. You divert your attention to those things."

"What do you want to say with that?"

"I am trying to suggest that you need to work trough it. I did the same as you. Closing myself of. But when I learned to control my mage abilities, Olande broke trough my own dam one night. What followed were a lot of heavy days, but in the end I was happy with it. I want to help you. Not only for you, but also for myself. I want to be able to open to you, to sense you without danger to myself."

It was silent for a very long time. Still in each others arms, Dar finally spoke. "But how?"

"Just start talking. It often goes from there. It doesn't have to be now. I am not going to break to the dam."


She ran. She had been running all night. She didn't know who it was. It could be Terrons. The forest was dark and she couldn't see all that well. Suddenly she felt no ground under feet. And everything exploded into little stars, then everything became black.

The men following her were able to stop in time. One of them looked down the gorge. "She is dead. Let's go."


Dar and Kyra woke up that morning on the blanket before the cabin. Still in each other's arms and one of them had pulled some blankets over each other.

Kyra was the first to untangle herself. She walked in the cabin, gathering a towel and a comb. She smiled softly when her eyes felt on the blowing pipe she had completed the evening before.

The blowing pipe had been the traditional weapon for Sula woman for ages. When the Phoenix prince Garuda had come and had given the Golden Urn to the men to guard, he gave the women the gift of how to make a good blowing pipe and the powerful sleeping potion that knocked the most creatures out. The recipe had been kept among the women for a very long time.

Kyra had known that each of the women in the Tenoran temple had their own weapon. Olandes was a blowing pipe. So before they left for the cabin she had approached Olande and had asked for the supplies of making her blowing pipe. During her trip in the woods yesterday she had gathered the plants she needed for the poison. And after working hard for a couple of hours, she had a complete blowing pipe again, with a bag of darts with the poison on it.

She looked over her shoulder and saw Dar also entering the cabin, carrying the blankets. "How about we go for a swim?" She suggested.

Dar quickly agreed and she gathered an extra towel. And as an after thought she also grabbed her weapon after seeing that Dar had his staff with him.

Kyra looked around her as they walked to the small lake nearby. "Where are Kodo, Podo, Ruh and Sharak?"

Dar grinned. "Kodo and Podo wanted to stay with the little girls, saying there was much more foord there. Sharak had something to take care of. Ruh wanted to visit his mate and cubs."


Amora looked for the last time around her Aerie. After she had defied Damien, she had decided it was time to move to another place. Debra had known a place where she could be safe.

Everything she had owned was already transported to her new home, except for her amethyst scrying bowl. She moved her hand over it and it disappeared.

For the last time she walked out on the balcony and looked out over the view. She wasn't surprised to find an eagle sitting on a nearby ledge.

"Why am I not surprised to see you here, Sharak?" She walked over to the bird and stroked his feathers. "At least we can communicate a bit without have your friend to translate now that I have my mage abilities back."

Sharak screeched and she felt happiness from him.

"I am going to work on a way to turn you back permanently, but we still can't be together after that." She sighed. "We can't be together until after the Gallatin have succeeded."

Sharak didn't feel happy, but she also felt he was at peace with it.

"I have to go, Sharak. You will be able to find me. Else ask Debra or Curupira." She stroked his feathers. "If I may give some advice, I would tell Dar about our past. With the times to come, I don't think you both should be burdened with sorting this matter out. Goodbye my love." With a white glimmer she disappeared from the now completely empty Aerie.


The six men traipsed trough the forest. All three were in tattered brown clothes, with filthy faces and matted hair.

They stopped when they arrived at a gorge, looked around and down to see if they could pass. However all three were shocked when they saw the body on the bottom of the gorge. One quickly grabbed a vine and one by one they lowered themselves.

The first one to arrive however startled when the woman moaned. He inspected her clothes and the bag lying besides her. The others joined him quickly and he said: "How about we just take what we can use. No one will find her here."

The second interrupted. "She doesn't seem to badly hurt. We could also have some. fun."

"Why not? Nobody will her find here... but first business before pleasure." The others agreed with the second.

But these figures obviously hadn't count on an eagle flying trough the air. And they certainly hadn't counted on this eagle being the friend of the Beastmaster."


Dar looked up when he heard Sharak screech and he reached out with his mind. The images of the men with the woman flashed for his eyes. A few seconds later he broke the contact and he strolled out of the water.

Kyra quickly went after him and also pulled her clothes on. "What.?"

"Sharak saw a group of men attacking a hurt woman."

"Let's go then."

Dar grabbed his staff, while Kyra slung the bag with darts and pipe over her shoulder. Both took of as fast as they could. A short while later they arrived in the vicinity in the gorge and calmed their pace. With Sharak's directions they were quickly hidden in the forest where the vine hung.

"This was all that she had. That was the business. Now the fun can start. Thor goes first. He is staying down." They heard one of the man say.

Kyra and Dar looked at each, both their faces hard. They understood what 'fun' meant.

"I will keep them busy. You take out the man in the gorge." Dar whispered. Kyra nodded and waited.

Dar charged the five chatting men and when all were busy Kyra jumped out and avoided the mob to lean over the gorge. She put on of the darts in the pipe and aimed. With a soft tok the dart had left and the man slumped.

Quick foot steps behind her made her turn and just dove in time to avoid the fist. Rolling forward she managed to get away for the edge of the gorge, but now she had to avoid blows from two men. And they were too close to use her weapon.

Dar in the meantime had one man out cold. With the sharp end of his staff he fended of the weapons of the man, the blunt end was useful in getting them flat.

Kyra gripped a dart from her bag and waited for a man to attack her again. When it came she rolled away and pushed the dart in one man's leg. That left one to deal with. As soon as she was on her feet she reached out with her hand and stared in his eyes. She opened herself to her mage senses and reached out with a wave of feelings. The man quickly sunk to the ground.

Dar in the meantime also had knocked out the other two and both Kyra and Dar hurried to vine.


"Kyn, can I talk to you for moment?" Tao asked.

Kyn looked up from the parchment she was writing on. "Of course. Take a seat."

Tao sat down and handed her a scroll. "I wanted to ask if you knew more about this."

Kyn opened the scroll and read it. She paled. "Where did you find this?"

"In the history section of the library."

"Logical. Almost no one comes there." She muttered. "But what do you want to know?"

"Tell me everything you can." He simply requested.

"I know you well enough that if I don't tell you anything you will keep asking. Okay, but on one condition. You mustn't tell anyone about what I tell you."

"That's okay."

"The legend of the Gallatin is very old. But most believe it's a legend. Only a few know this is actually a prophecy. It's about a group of people who will restore the balance. And who will try to maintain it. And that time has come."

"I recognized many descriptions."

"Tao, I know what you want to ask. We have very strong suspicions. But that's all."


Dar kneeled besides the woman with Kyra on the other side. They couldn't see her face because of the cloth of her cloak covering her it. He gently pulled it away and gasped when he recognized the woman. "Caro?!"

Kyra looked up at her mate's face. "Tao's friend?" Then she heard the woman whimper and she directed her attention to the woman. "It's okay. You are safe now." She said softly. "Dar, we are going to need help to get her from the gorge."

Dar nodded and reached out to Sharak. Go to the temple. Get help. In any case Tao and Kyn.

Sharak screeched in reply and took of.

Dar turned back to Kyra. She was checking Caro for wounds. "How is she?"

"She has a large wound at her head, a broken leg and several broken ribs. Not to count probably a heavy concussion and a lot of cuts and bruises." She shifted to her mage senses. "Plus in a lot of pain, terrified and terribly confused."

"I remember that Kyn used her abilities to calm me when I was ill. Can you help her? I will see if there is something in her pack to make Caro more comfortable."

"Of course." Kyra gentle placed her left hand on Caro's temple and her right on her heart. Then she closed her eyes and opened herself.

Dar climbed up the vine, then he looked trough the things the thugs had dropped.


Kyn and Tao were still talking when Sharak flew in and landed before them on the table.

"Trouble, Sharak?" Tao asked.

Sharak seemed to nod. Kyn touched Sharak quickly and opened her mind and mages senses. She couldn't communicate like Dar, but she could make enough contact to find out what she needed. A few moments later she opened her eyes again.

"Aniti, arrange that Dalisha is saddled and a horse for Tao." She called out to an aidant. She grabbed her medicine bundle and gestured Tao to follow. "Let's go. I will explain on the way. Sharak, we need you to show the way."


On her way out Kyn told Tao what she had seen. Arrived at the horses, they were met by Ayla. All three jumped on the horses and galloped away. Arrived at the gorge Kyn, Ayla and Tao jumped of the horses.

"What happened, Dar?" Kyn asked.

"I will tell you later. Right now there is a woman down there who needs help."

Kyn nodded and went in the directions of the vines. "Ayla, I need your help."

Tao wanted to follow, but Dar stopped him. "Tao, there is something you must know. It's Caro..."

Tao stopped. "What?"

Dar put a hand on his shoulder. "It's Caro. But I believe she will be all right. Let's go down." Both made their way to the vines.


Kyra stayed with Caro, holding her hand and talking softly to her. She managed to keep the pain somewhat at bay with the help of her mage abilities.

Suddenly she heard the soft, quick footsteps. She looked up when Kyn'raem and Ayla kneeled next to her.

"What did you find?" Kyn asked softly, in the meantime already checking Caro out carefully.

"Do you mean physically or mentally?"


"Physically, a head wound, a broken leg, several broken ribs. She is conscious, but she hasn't spoken. I have been keeping the pain at bay, but she is still terrified."

Tao and Dar come up from behind. Tao kneeled down besides Caro and took her hand.

Kyn turned towards Dar and Kyra. "I need you to make something to carry her on. Tao, can you help me here? Ayla, I need you to find a splint for her leg."

Dar, Kyra and Ayla climbed up the vine to start their work. Tao and Kyn set about binding the head wound and wrapping her ribs tightly with the linen she had brought. As they worked, Tao spoke softly to her. Kyn smiled softly at his words.

"What?" Tao asked as he noticed this.

"You told me you have only met her once? Then it must have made quite an impression. She calms down when you talk to her."

Ayla soon arrived with the splint and she helped Tao and Kyn to set Caro's leg and to splint it carefully. Dar and Kyra also arrived with an improvised, but strong stretcher.

Kyn gently levitated Caro on the stretcher and with the help of some other vines they got it up safely.


Kyn had Caro brought to healing chambers in the temple. She asked Tao, Dar and Kyra to leave and got to work. She only accepted the assistance of Myrine, also a healer.

The young woman poked up the fire and filled the kettle with water to make hot water. She selected some herbs that worked disinfecting and started to prepare a solution from it. Also she gathered the herbs she needed to make a compress.

Kyn'raem stirred it for a moment, then placed it on a small table by her bedside. From a shelf she took some absorbing cloth, a few rolls of bandage linen, needle and tread and calendula salve. Also placing this on the small table, she could finally get to work.

Together the women removed her bloody clothing. Kyn started with the make shift bandage on Caro's head. Removing it, she wet some absorbing cloth with the antiseptic solution. She cleaned out the wound, placed the nessecary stitches and applied the compress.

Myrine in the meantime started to clean all the smaller cuts, placing bandages on the few that really need it and then moved on to take care of the injured ribs. She removed the first wrappings, then started applying the calendula salve for the bruises. Then she took fresh wrappings, carefully placing around them her torso.

Kyn removed the improvised splint around her leg, replacing it with a regular one. Myrine was still busy with binding the ribs, but that was a one men job. "I am going to make something for the pain."

Myrine nodded, but her attention was on the woman before her, who had whispered: "Who.? Where.?"

"You are in a safe place. I am Myrine. We are in the Yesmyria temple in Tenora." Myrine explained.


"He is here. We wanted to take care of you first. Do you want to see him?"

"Yes. need. to. talk."

"That can come later. You need to rest first. But he can sit with you. But let me clean you up bit more." All Caro's wounds were treated, but she had still smudges of dirt everywhere. Myrine took a bowl of clean warm water and a clean cloth. Dabbing carefully she managed to remove the dirt. After that she placed a soft blanket over her patient.

"I am going to warn Tao." Myrine stopped for a second by Kyn to tell where she was going and quickly went for Tao.

Kyn was finished with her tea and filled a small cup with it. She kneeled down besides Caro. "My name is Kyn'raem. I made something for the pain." Helping Caro up a bit she made sure that she drunk the whole cup.

She just stood up as Tao hurried in. Kyn stopped him. "Can you stay with her now? I have some things to take care of, but you can call me when necessary."

Tao just nodded and sat down. Kyn smiled a bit and left the chamber.


Kyra and Dar were back at their cabin. They had wanted to stay at the temple, but Kyn had insisted that they needed the time together. Finally they had agreed, after Kyn had suggested that she would send Sharak with regularly updates. Sharak hadn't found this a problem.

"Are you sure that Tao and Caro only have met one time before?"

"They have. But they were captured together in the Burning Forest for a while. Why do you ask?"

"He cares about her. He cares about her very much. When I was using my abilities I sensed it. It was bit difficult to believe, after having her met only once. But on the other side, he was like that in the Terron camp."

"You knew Tao in the Terron camp?"

"Not well. But we worked together on occasion."

"What do you mean?"

"I was about a year and a half in the camp when Tao arrived. In that time I had learned to use my mage senses and I had adapted, for so far that went. I was part of a group of slaves who tried to help everyone they could. You could say that Olande was the leader. She even got a bit of respect of some soldiers. About five of us were mages, others were healers or they knew something that could help people. When Tao arrived and Olande found out that Tao knew about healing, we also included him in our group."

"He didn't seem to recognize Olande."

"He never met her personally. The Terrons took her with them just after we had asked him. He only heard about her."

They sat together for a while in an easy silence. Kyra was the first to speak. "Dar, what happened that day? After I was taken?"

Dar stared in front of him. "You want to know what happened."

Kyra nodded. "I need to know."

"After they took you away the fighting continued. But one by one the warriors were killed. Most of the women and children were already dead by then. I was hit on the head on a certain moment, stumbled into the forest, and I blacked out. I learned later that Curupira had protected me. When I awoke again, the huts and everything was on fire. Death was everywhere."

Dar felt the old grieve and anger crawl up, still as fresh as day one. He tried to push it down but Kyra placed a hand on his. "Don't. What did you do?"

"They had taken everything they could use. I walked around. I needed to know if someone else was also alive. But there was only death. I knew I had to leave. So I took my staff and I left." Dar felt the tears welling up in his eyes and he tried to hold them back. He felt Kyra crouching behind him, her arms slung around him from his back. "Let them go, Dar. The gods gave tears to us for a reason."

Dar did what she said and let the tears spill over. The tears turned all soon into sobs. "Why?" he whispered, "Why did I have to life?"

Kyra didn't reply. She just held him, while he let out some of the grief and anger that had been inside him for so long.


It was already close to sundown. Sella peeked around the door to the healing room. Tao hadn't left Caro's side since he had sat down there this afternoon.

"Tao?" she asked as she entered the quickly darkening room, a small basket in arms.

"What is it?" he asked.

"I have her saved things here. And I washed and fixed her clothes for howfar that was possible." She sat the basket down. "How is she doing?"

"Sleeping peacefully for now." Tao replied. "Was there something else you wanted?"

"You need to get out of here for a little while. You need to eat something and then I need your help. I understand you want to stay with her, but you need to do something else as well. Myrine said she was coming in a few moments to stay with her. She also had in mind to call you immediately if something changed."

Tao hesitated.

"Come on. You can stay with her again later this evening." Sella said.

"Okay then." Tao stood up with sigh. He knew when a battle was lost.

Myrine entered and put a hand on his shoulder. "I will call you." She promised.

Tao nodded and left with Sella. "What did you need my help with?"

"Well, since you know Dar and Kyra the best, I need you." Myrine smiled as sat down next to Caro and made a quick check. Sella knew what she had to do to divert Tao a bit.


Yesmyria surveyed the scenes before her in the white marble scrying bowl. Another piece had come to the puzzle.

"Everything coming together, sis?"

Yesmyria swirled around to see a woman looking exactly like her coming towards her. The only difference was the lack of face paint and that her hair wasn't black, but a very light blond. "What are you doing here, Lumia?"

"Seeing how everything is coming together."

"You know you aren't allowed to interfere." Yesmyria said.

"Who said I was here to interfere." She looked over the white marble scrying bowl, surveying the scene of Myrine sitting with a wounded Caro. "Who is one of the Gallatin ?"

Yesmyria hesitated, but then answered. "The wounded one."

Lumia studied her closer. "I know her. She is under the protection of Nadara."

"That's possible. The other woman who just became clear is also under her protection. And other members could be under the protection of your son."

"All the Gallatin will be under Darius protection."

"Don't forget, Lumia, that they are warriors of the Balance, not warriors of Good."

"With this time it's the same. Damion and his minions are disturbing the Balance. They will be fighting him, meaning they fight Evil. And that places them under Darius' protection. They can use all the help they can get. We have worked together in this way before. And those two ladies will stay under Nadara's protection, with them being healers."

"You are probably right." Yesmyria hesitated. "Lumia, I need you to ask your daughter to keep an eye over her two charges. I have a feeling things will be going very fast, very soon. One is wounded; the other has barely recovered from Damion."

"I will." With those words Lumia faded away.


Lumia appeared in a beautifully adorned bedroom. On the floor was a soft blue woollen cloth. The walls were in a soft green and all the furniture was also done in soft colours. In a corner was a basin made from a pearly stone.

She went over there and moved her hand over it. Inside appeared a girl with the same emerald green eyes as her. Her blonde hair was in a short ponytail held by a silver clasp, and she wore a soft blue leotard with a knee long flowing skirt and silver boots, silver arm bands, and a silver belt. She also had a small tiara resting upon her brow.

Lumia moved her hand over the bowl and within a few seconds the girl appeared in the bed chamber.

"Something wrong, mother?" she asking.

"Your aunt has asked you to keep a specific eye on two of your charges." Lumia moved her hand over the bowl again.

Nadara looked in the bowl. "What happened to Caro? And Kyra is free?"

"For more info you should be with your aunt." Lumia made the image of the women disappear. "But I do know that won't be only under your charge for long."

"Under whose charge will they be then?"

"I would suggest you talk with your brother."

Nadara shook her head and disappeared in a light blue shimmer.


Kyra sat down besides Dar. After their talk and following events this afternoon Dar had been very silent.

She gently laid an arm around his shoulders. "You okay?"

"I am fine." He didn't even look at her.

"You don't really sound fine." Kyra leaned against him. "Talking this afternoon also helped, didn't it?"

"It's just this afternoon. That weren't exactly my most happy memories."

"I can imagine. Neither were mine."

"I wanted to thank you. For what you did." Dar pulled her close and let his chin rest upon her head.

"It was nothing." They sat together, simply enjoying each others company.

Kyra raised her head and looked in Dar's eyes. "I love you, you know."

Dar smiled. "I do. And you know I love you."

Dar nodded and their lips met. Slowly their kiss deepened. Without even letting go Dar lifted Kyra in his arms and carried her inside. When he laid her down, they finally let go. Kyra smiled. Dar's expression wasn't too different.


Nadara quickly disappeared. Here she didn't have to do much. yet. Next person to check upon.

With a light blue shimmer she appeared in the healing room. To turn invisible with breakneck speed.

Three people were discussing, but softly so they didn't disturb the fourth person.

"I am not leaving."

"Tao, I got you to know well enough when Dar was hurt. So with that idea in my head I borrowed one of Kyra's darts." Kyn threatened.

"Fine. Then I sleep here."

Myrine laughed softly. "That might be the easiest. I will find some help to get a bed in here." She quickly left.

Kyn shook her. "I don't know who is more stubborn. You or Dar."

Myrine entered carrying a light bed together with one of her friends. "Dar stubborn? I can imagine. But dear sweet Tao? Stubborn?" She set the bed down and started to make the bed.

Nadara waited until the women had gone and Tao had fallen asleep. Which took quite some time.

She moved over to bed and placed one hand on Caro's temple, the other over her heart. As the patroness of healers, she could sense damage, but also heal damage in seconds. But she couldn't do that now. 'Stupid rules.' She thought.

So she just sensed what was wrong. Doubting for a moment she healed only the concussion and gave her the woman natural healing ability a slight push.


Caro woke up slowly. The pounding in her head from yesterday had luckily disappeared, but the rest of her body was incredibly sore. She tried to push herself up, but she didn't find the strength.

"You need to take it easy." A soft female voice nearby said. "Let me help you."

Caro felt hands gliding under her shoulders and push her up. A thick pillow was pushed behind her. She looked in the smiling face of a woman about her age with long, dark hair. Then she looked around in the rest of the chamber.

On the wall were several shelves, filled with pots and little baskets. A table and a small fire pit were by another wall. Then her eyes fell on the other bed to see a familiar figure sleeping on it.

"Do you remember your name?" the woman asked.

"Caro. Your voice sounds familiar."

"I was here yesterday, to take of your injuries. I am Kyn'raem, but call me Kyn." Caro was looking at Tao again and Kyn followed her glance. "Let's wake him up." She walked over and shook his shoulder. "Tao, wake up. There is someone who wants to see you."

Tao shot up. "What?"

Kyn laughed. "Look over there."

Tao looked over at the bed and a big smile appeared up his face. "Caro!" He quickly stood up and went to hug her carefully, remembering her broken ribs.

Caro hugged back. "It so good to see you again." She looked around. "I thought I heard Dar's voice as well yesterday."

Tao sat back. "He was here. You managed to disturb his honeymoon."

Caro frowned. "His honeymoon?"

"Do you remember what I told you about Kyra on our way back? We freed her and Kyra and Dar made their vows to each other a couple of days ago." Tao clarified.

"That's good to hear."

Kyn smiled and interrupted. "Caro, I need to check you out. Tao, perhaps you could fetch some breakfast for you and Caro?"

Tao nodded. "See you in a moment?"

Caro nodded back and watched how he left. "How am I doing?"

"You will be okay." Kyn frowned.

"Is their something wrong?"

"No. Caro, do you always heal fast?"

"Not really."

"Strange. Because now you do." Kyn held her hand in mid-air. "Reveal!" Her hand lighted up in a light-blue flash. "Nadara? What has she got to do with this?" she murmured softly.

"Nadara? I am under her protection."

Tao entered again with tray filled with food. "You are under protection of Nadara? The only Eirons I know of under her protection are medicine men and women."

Caro nodded. "I am a medicine woman. Never really thought about telling that."

"You are a healer, Tao and she is a medicine woman. So, what is exactly the difference?" Kyn asked, in the meantime moving to check on Caro's other injuries.

"I am scholar. Knowledge of herbs and everything needed to heal is part of my knowledge, but it's not the only thing I study. Caro has studied almost only healing and has also a far more extensive knowledge."

Caro nodded. "That's part of it. Another difference is my duty. Medicine women travel around, much like scholars do. We do that to learn and teach. But we also have the duty to help everyone we can help. It doesn't matter if they are friend or enemy. If our lives are in danger or not."

Kyn nodded. "I see. But what I know about the location of your homeland, aren't you a bit far away. Why are you here?"

Caro paled and bit her lip. "I rather tell that only once. This isn't the time for that."

Tao and Kyn looked at each other, but respected her wish. While Caro and Tao started breakfast, Kyn finished checking Caro out.

Caro looked pensive. "Tao, we need to talk this afternoon. But if I were you, you will need a friend. It's no fun news."

Tao's eyes darkened. He didn't know what the news was, but he had no doubt it was not good news. After breakfast he went to Sharak, both asking to tell about Caro's condition, but also to ask Dar and Kyra to come here this afternoon.


Quord smiled. He had finally found the Beastmaster, his Eiron slave and the Sula slave girl. He needed to have them. Alive, when possible.

And with them in the city of Tenora, a city which even Zad didn't dare to disturb, this almost became impossible.

But he was patient. He could wait.


Zad strolled in to the Aerie. He was however surprised when he found the main chamber empty. "Sorceress? Sorceress! SORCERESS!!!"

"She won't come. She has left." Damion appeared from thin air.

"But. She." Zad sputtered.

"I can see that her leave leaves you in a difficult predicament." On the inside Damion laughed at the man's actions. But perhaps he could be of use.

"But perhaps I might be able to help."

"And how could an old windbag like you help me?" Zad laughed.

"Beware King, I don't take kindly to insult. But perhaps we could be of use to each other. You need certain magical things; I need certain people I can't touch. You can deliver them to me; I deliver you what you need."

"And which people do you want?"

"The Beastmaster. Tao, the Eiron. Your little slave girl Kyra. We can start with those."

"It's a deal." Zad turned around to leave.

"And King, I want them alive, but they don't have to be in perfect condition."

Zad didn't turn around, but a mean smile appeared on his face.


After breakfast Caro decided to get bit more sleep. Sella claimed Tao for a task once more, but gave a little wink to Caro.

She didn't know the red-haired girl, but she understood immediately what her intention was.

A few hours later she woke up again from soft muttering in the chamber and quick footsteps. When she opened her eyed, she saw a girl about ten years old walking around, following two little grey-black-white figures.

"Come here, you two." She hissed.

Caro had to stifle a laugh. The girl looked over at her and her eyes widened. "O, I am going to be in so much trouble now. I am sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."

"It's okay. What are you doing here? And who are you?"

"Kodo and Podo escaped. I am Kita, one of the Maidens here." Kita again tried to grab the fuzzy rodents. "Come here!"

Footsteps sounded outside. Kita quickly glanced at the door opening. "Kodo, Podo come here." Suddenly the two rodents shut out the door. Kita wanted to follow, but when she went to the door opening she bumped against someone and almost lost her balance.

Dar had already seen Kodo and Podo shooting by, but he was surprised when someone ran into him. He quickly grabbed the shoulders of the girl to steady her. "Be careful."

Kita glanced up in the face of the Beastmaster and moaned. "O no, I am busted."

Caro was laughing. "I think it's alright, Kita. Sit down for a moment."

Kita stepped aside, so Dar could enter. Kyra followed with Tao. Kita quickly glanced outside. "No thank you. I am out of here. I still need to find Kodo and Podo." Kita quickly slipped outside.

Caro was still laughing.

"What was that all about?" Dar looked after the girl.

"Kodo and Podo had sneaked inside. She was trying to get them. And they just got away again." The three other adults also smiled and Dar quickly communicated to Kodo and Podo.

Kyra in the meantime had walked over to the bed. "You are looking much better."

"You must be Kyra. I am Caro. It's nice to meet you."

"The same... You had something to tell?"

Caro's face immediately paled and looked grimly. "Yes. Sit down."

Tao and Dar sat down besides Kyra. Kyra had picked up Caro's shift of emotions and bit her lip. This couldn't be good.

"There is no easy way to say this." Caro said, looking down. "Tao, most of Eiron tribe doesn't exist anymore."

Tao turned dead pale. "What?" Dar quickly put a hand on his shoulder.

"They were massacred by a group. They call themselves the Blood Priests. There are still some people alive and they live in the mountains now." Caro already had tears flowing down her cheeks. Kyra reached out with one hand and gave Caro's hand a squeeze.

Tao turned even paler. "Do.do you know something about my family?"

"I do. Tao, your parents and your little sister Tara were killed. As well as most of your friends. But Kim, Kili and Kendra are still alive. And they worry about you."

At that news Tao started shaking. "How did they die?"

Caro bit her lip. "You don't want to know."


"Your parents' troths were slashed. As a blood sacrifice. About Tara. they instated the a'nan'teki and they made sure that every young girl was judged in such a way."

At those words Tao stood up. "I need to be alone for a while." His voice was hard, but his eyes were glinstering with tears. Then he marched out of the chamber.

Kyra and Dar had confused looks on their face. Caro had still tears flowing over her cheeks.

"Caro, what is a'nan'teki?" Dar asked.

"A'nan'teki is a very old Eiron practice. Banned hundred of years ago. Before a girl was adult she wasn't allowed to have sexual relationships without her parent's permission. If she did, the girl was burned alive to cleanse the evil out of her.The Blood Priests killed all the parents, raped the non-adult girls and condemned them to a'nan'teki."

Both Dar and Kyra turned very pale at those words.

Dar stood up. "I am going to check on Tao."

Kyra nodded. "Dar, wait a second. I am not going back to the cabin. I will talk with Kyn."

"Okay." With that word Dar left.

Kyra turned to Caro. "And your family?"

"My brothers and sisters were killed. Some luck my sisters were already over the age for a'nan'teki."

"And your parents?"

"My father dissappeared many years ago. My mother survived and is in the mountains."


Dar couldn't find his friend at first, but when he called Kodo and Podo to help Tao was quickly found. Dar wasn't surprised to find his friend collapsed on the ground, hands before his face. He kneeled down besides him. "Tao?"

"Leave me alone."

"I won't leave you alone. You are my friend, Tao. You are not going trough this alone."

"Why, Dar, why does this happen? Why do people such things?"

"That's a question I have asked myself thousands of times after the attack.. I wish I knew the answer. All I know is the fact I won't let go through this alone. Kyra thinks exactly the same. Just like Caro."

"Do you know what a'nan'teki is?"

"Caro explained it us."

"Tara was only twelf. She was only twelf when she was burned alive. And why? Because someone didn't like the fact that she is an Eiron."

"I know. I know."


Kyn understood directly why Dar and Kyra didn't go back anymore. She arranged the quarters next to Tao's to be prepared.

The next week it was silent at the temple. Tao and Caro spent a lot of time together, something which Kyra and Dar watched with secret smiles on their face. Caro was recuperating quite fast, thanks to Nadara's interference.

But they also spent a whole lot of time talking. Tao wasn't such a secret hoarder as Dar and he talked more easily about what he felt. But Tao sharing what he was feeling, also prompted Dar to tell about his own experciences and feelings. Kyra and Caro didn't stay behind. It was hard, with tears, angry words and an occasional flying object trough the room. But they were working trough their pain.

Kyn watched the last with a good feeling. They would need each other with the task to come. But there were also good moments. Kyn still smiled when she remembered the faces of Dar and Kyra, when they found their presents in their quarters the day before.

Sella finally had everything together. Dar and Kyra had been with Caro and Tao, so Sella had placed everything in their chamber quickly. Caro was so far she could walk with the help of crutches, so the quartet spent a lot of time outside.


Kyra and Dar wanted to enter first, Caro and Tao behind them. However, Dar stopped in the doorway and Kyra's hand flew to her mouth.

"What?" Caro asked. She peered between the duo. "Do you know anything about this, Tao?"

Tao also peered between them and smiled. "Some, but mostly its Sella's work."

Dar and Kyra went inside. Tao followed, still a big smile on his face and Caro quickly sat down, her arms feeling very tired.

Kyra kneeled down before a wide selection of kitchen tools before a large basket. "Well, I can use those well." She saw Dar watching. "He, you said I could have kitchen tools."

Dar smiled and gestured to the table. "Look over here." On the table were two piles of clothing. Obviously one was for Kyra and one for Dar.

Kyra found on her pile a dark green top with wide shoulder straps and a wrap skirt, a dark blue short sleeved blouse, with a knot in front and a pair of wide pants. Finally there was also a dark red halter top with a diveded skirt. Everything was made from a fine cotton. There were also a dark purple cloak, two sets of underwear c.q. swimwear existing from a bra top with thin straps and a very short, tight shorts in a soft yellow and a soft pink and a pair of soft leather sandals.

Caro stood up again and looked over at the cloths. "I think they selected everything that you can combine everything. What's in the wooden box?"

Kyra opened the small wooden chest to find a small selection of jewelry. She looked through it for a few moments, but then turned to Dar. "What did you get?"

Dar turned to his own, slightly smaller pile. He found a set of a pair of pants and a long-sleeved shirt in brown, made from soft leather. Their was also a sleeveless leather vest and wrist protectors. Finally he also had a pair of leather sandals and a warm cloak, but then in black.

Tao had also been watching, but he looked around the quarters. "I think you both forgot a basket." Tao pointed at a basket in the cornor.

Dar grabbed it and started to unpack it. Inside were a number of soft woolen blankets in bright colors, a bundle with sewing gear and a spindle with carding combs. Before the basket were a strong axe and a length of thin, but very strong rope.

Tao and Caro laughed about the again astounded faces. Two female voices joined them. Everyone looked at the door opening. Kyn and Sella were standing there. Both were carrying a basket.

"I hope you liked your gifts. It took Sella long enough to put everything together. You don't have to worry about getting it to the Sanctuary. But I do have some other things here. It are traveler's supplies. We always give them when they are nessecary. Tao and Dar have the most of things nessecary. But Kyra doesn't have that much and most of what Caro had was too damaged."

Kyn and Sella each handed the women a basket. Both baskets contained almost the same. Strong leather boots, a backpack, water skin, a knife in a sheat and more practical leather outfits. Kyra had a golden brown belted skirt about four inches above her knees with side splits and a shortsleeved top, while Caro had a belted dress with the same length and side splits with wide shoulder straps in a warm dark brown.

"Thanks. I could really use this. Luckily my medical suplies survived." Caro said.

"Why did you give this us?" Dar asked.

"Your people never gave wedding gifts? The cloths are personal gifts, the kitchen tools and other supplies from the temple in general."

Everyone started to spread out again. Kyn had to return to her duties, Caro went to get some rest, while Tao and Dar had some things to take outside to take care of something and Kyra and Sella set about packing up the kitchen supplies.


"Do you have any idea what Tao and Caro are going to do now?" Kyra asked. They were outside, watching the maidens practice with their weapons.

"I haven't heard them talking about it. Tao was planning to go home and Caro was traveling around. what they are going to do now I don't know."

"What did you think when Tao announced he would go home?"

Dar smiled. "At first I thought: it would be nice and calm here. But then I realized that I would miss him."

"That's my point. I also don't want Tao to leave and I like Caro very much. She can do her work with the Sanctuary as a home basis."

"So you suggest we ask them to stay."

"Exactly. What do you think?"

"It's a good idea."

"What is a good idea?" Tao sat down besides them.

"Is Caro around here somewhere? Then we can talk about it at the same time." Kyra said.

Dar was already looking around and spotted her. He quickly waved her over.

"What is so urgent?" Caro said, struggeling to sit down. Tao quickly got up and assisted her.

Kyra looked at Dar. He shrugged and simply said: "Kyra and I would like it a lot if you wanted to stay at the Sanctuary with us. Now with what has happened in Xinca."

Caro and Tao looked at each other. "Caro didn't tell you about the second part of the message. The remaining elders want to the Eirons who are traveling to stay away. To preserve to knowledge we had. What we had planned on doing, going back wasn't a part of it." Tao looked to both Kyra and Dar. "I want to stay if that isn't a problem."

Kyra looked to Caro and saw her hesitating. "You can do your work from there. There are more then enough people nearby who could need help. Zad killed the most healers. You won't be impossing to us in any kind." She leaned over in Caro's ear. "Besides, Tao would really like it. You can help to keep his blankets warm."

Caro blushed slightly. She thought about it a bit longer. "If you are sure it isn't a problem, I would like to stay."

"It isn't." Dar assured her.

"Besides, I think Kyra could use someone to have. how did Kili call that. girl talk with."

"Tao!'" Kyra whacked him on the head. Then she became serious. "There was something I wanted to ask you, Tao. Do you want to teach me how to read and write?"

Tao had a big smile on his face, but Dar looked very surprised. "Of course. But may I ask why?" Tao asked.

"The Sula are dead. But I am still the Memory Keeper of the tribe of Sula. And when I write the memories down, they will kept longer. Sella is doing exactly the same with the knowledge of her people."

"I will gladly teach you. Dar never had much interest in it." Tao said with a side glance to the Beastmaster.

"I am the Beastmaster. I don't need reading nor writing to do what I need to do. But I can guess it could be handy to you." Dar said with a smile on her face and he pulled her close.

All four laughed and started to make some arrangements.


"I really don't want to break this up." Debra complained.

"Then why did you offer to do it?" Nadara stood besides.

"You know how Curi is capable of blowing up. They don't need that. By the way, why did you come?"

"I wanted to see if my charges are okay. And I thought I could reassurre Caro a bit. She is doubting if what she is going to do now will fit her duties."

"Let's go." With those words Debra let her herself become visible and walked over to the small group. Nadara followed her example.


Kyra looked up when she saw the two blond ladies in blue and pink approaching. "Look over there."

The others looked up and stood up when they saw the two goddesses approch.

"Lady Debra." Kyra said.

"Mistress Nadara." Caro said a very surprised look on her face. "How can I serve you?"

"Nothing Caro. I just came along with my cousin to see how you were doing. And to tell you that have taken the right desicion. You can carry out your duty perfectly around here."

Debra was looking at Maidens who had fallen in curtsey's. "It's not nessecary, girls. Just continue practicing." When the girls continued, she turned towards Dar. "Came to deliver a message from my dear grouchy sister. Her words were something alike the lines of: tell that worthless Beastmaster of me that he has spent enough dilly-dalling with his new mate, that crazy love-sick friend of his and the object of that friends affection."

All four had weird looks on their faces.

Debra held up her hands. "Don't look at me. I just came here so she wouldn't treathen you with her kiss of death. But I think you got the message." She looked at Nadara. "We have to go." Both dissappeared.

Dar looked at his friends. "Time to make preperations." He looked worriedly at Caro. "Are you already capable of traveling long distances?"

Caro nodded. "As long as we take it calmly."


Caro calmly packed her belongings in the basket she had been given. They still had the two horses Dar, Tao and Kyra had arrived on. One would be used as a pack horse, the other would have a couple of light packs and a saddle so that one of them could ride when nessecary.

"Are you going away?"

Caro looked up to see a little girl about seven years old peeking around the curtain of her chamber. "Yes. I am going with Dar, Tao and Kyra to their home."


"They asked me to stay and I said yes."

The girl wandered inside and looked at the off-white shirt and brown skirt that Caro had been wearing and at the brown leather travel outfit she laid out. "Are those the only clothes you have?"

Caro looked down at herself and at the leather outfit. "They are. But I will get new ones soon."

"But you are pretty. And pretty girls always have lots of cloths. You also need lot of clothes."

"I will be travelling a lot. I couldn't take them with me."

The girl ran out of the chamber and Caro shook her head, laughing and started to change into her brown leather dress.

Just when she was finished, the girl entered again, pulling Sella after her, who had a leather bag in her hand. "You see, Sella. She is pretty. Why doesn't she have many clothes?"

Sella bent down and picked the girl up. "Its okay, Aniti." She turned to Caro. "Good that Aniti reminded me of this. I saw most of your clothes were destroyed. I took you seize from them and the freedom of choosing a few pieces for you." She laid the bag on the table and put the girl down again. She pulled out a simple blue halter dress, an ochre short sleeved blouse with wide pants, a dark blue cloak and a pair of soft sandals.

Caro smiled. "They are fine. Thank you."

"It's nothing. I will leave you to finish your preparations. Come on, Aniti." They left and Caro quickly packed up the clothes. Finally she put her medicine bundle on top.

"You finished?" Tao peeked around the corner.

"I am."

Tao quickly picked up the basket and together they went outside.


Kyn hugged Tao and then moved on to Dar. "It has been good to see you again. And even more to perform the ceremony."

Ayla, Myrine, Sella and Olande also said goodbye. Then the four travellers moved over to the horses. Tao assisted Caro on one horse, then moved to check the bindings of packages of both horses. Dar pulled his harness on and checked on Kodo and Podo in their pouch, while Kyra slung the bag in which she kept her pipe over her shoulder.

A last wave and the group left, an eagle flying above them. As soon as they entered the forest they were joined by Ruh.


Damion looked in his scrying bowl. He saw the group moving and growled. They would never win.


Yesmyria was also watching in her scrying bowl. She bowed her head. It would begin soon.

"Be careful, my warriors. Your destiny lies ahead of you and you seek it.

The end?