The rains pounded heavily on the broken cobblestones. Night had fallen, and the moon had darted behind the dark rain clouds. No one ventured out into the pouring rain, content to remain warm and dry in their homes, with a fire blazing in the fire place.

Except for one.

A lone shadow skimmed across the torches that hung outside the buildings. The rain obscured vision, causing everything to be nothing more than a blur. A cloaked figure stumbled through the darkness.

Through the rain, the sign for the inn swung, the hinges squealing slightly and the rain pounding on the wooden face. Here the cloaked figure dragged, a tiny bundle protected in her arms.

Inside Maria the barmaid bustled around, serving the last customer of the day. Before long that last customer had staged off upstairs, and Maria was left alone in the darkened room, with the rain pounding outside. Her green eyes were half closed when a sudden, urgent knocking came upon the door.

Elanta, the owner's wife rushed out of the kitchen, her face showing the same fear that Maria's did. Slowly Elanta came forward, her wrinkles growing deeper in fear, the shadows obscuring her year worn face.

Slowly the door creaked open, and a young woman fell onto the floor, a child in her arms.

"Please," she begged. "Take my child. I have no where to go. I am being hunted." The woman's voice rose, and the child began to cry. Maria rushed to pick up the infant boy, whose cries now echoed in the empty bar. The woman gave a last sob and fainted, her head banging against the wooden floor.

Elanta reached for the woman, and propped her up against her knee. Turning to Maria she ordered "Get my husband, now!" Maria nodded, and the baby still in her arms, she rushed up the stairs to where Edwind dozed.

Awakened, Edwind hurried downstairs and saw his wife with the young woman in her arms. He bent down, his old back protesting and lifted the woman up. Slowly he carried her into an empty guest room, where he lay her down on the bed.

Maria took the child with her to bed, and the infant lay quiet, snuggled against Maria's warmth. Troubled, the elderly couple who owned the inn retreated to their room, to wait for the next morning.


The infant's cry rang through the inn, and Maria woke quickly and attempted to soothe the child. Edwind woke first and took the child from Maria, to give back to its mother. When he opened the door where the had left the young woman, the bed was empty, and there was nothing but a soaked cloak left to dry in the morning sun.