A/N – hey, y'all, it's Casus Fere, bringing you another piece of insanity… Sequal to "From Beyond the Stars" If you haven't read that, you'll be insanely confused. Just warning you. Fic went on an account migration.


Rasien watch the metal contraption vanish into the sky, leaving behind scorched grass, pile boxes, and three corpses. Does it count as four when one is in two pieces? Almost sheepishly, he cleaned the greatsword and sheathed it. "Well, that was… interesting."

"Interesting! I'm sure it was interesting for you, Sir Righteous Ass! You're not the one they shot with that… device!" Mandier was in a bad mood. He seemed to really hate getting shot, stabbed, burned, ...dumped in acid…or in any way injured. He had a tendency to become irrational when hurt, and take it out on the nearest unfortunate. By the looks of the remains, today's victim had been very dead long before the last of Mandier's spells hit. Nevermind Jen had already put an arrow in the throat of the one who actually shot him.

And as for Mandier himself… "Ah, the nine bloody hells! That bastard shot me! If he weren't already dead…" Rasien slid down from his warhorse, and started for the mage. "In fact, I think I'm going to find a priest, bring the bastard back and…Damn it to the Abyss, that hurts!

"Ow, damnit! Sadistic bas…Arg!" Mandier cut off as a blue glow surrounded Rasien's hands, and the mage jerked in shock as his wounds healed. Rasien kept a hold on the mage's arm until he steadied himself, still cursing under his breath. The big man kept a hold on the mage's arm until he steadied himself, still cursing under his breath

Glancing back over his shoulder, Rasien gave the rogue a sardonic look. "The God of Fashion, now? Has anyone told the Prince of Lies about his new portfolio?"

Smirking, Edbrien replied, "Did you see the look on their faces? Oh, stop frowning at me like that! It worked, didn't it?"

"Worked implies that it accomplished something. We already knew they were lying, my friend."

"I'm not your damn friend, Sir I-wear-a-tin-can."

"Ladies, whenever you're finished yapping, maybe you could decide what to do with that?" Jen's low voice cut into the bickering. The three companions turned to look at him, as he motioned towards the pile of strange crates.

"What about it?" snapped the mage. "It isn't like it's going anywhere."

"Not them," Jen said patiently, "Him." He pointed behind the pile. One of the shadows jerked, and vanished behind the pile again.

"Oh, one of them is still alive? This could be fun!" Mandier was still feeling vindictive, apparently.

The big paladin started toward the pile. The shadow darted out from behind, and dashed for the woods, only to be cut off by a rearing Hietech. A lanky boy with stubble for hair tried to dodge around the flailing hooves, but the warhorse danced sideways to stay in his way.

"Just a boy, Mandier. Let him be." Rasien moved to flank the boy, speaking soothingly. "Easy lad, settle down." Not more than 15, I'd say. Still, can't have the lad getting away.

"A boy maybe, but he was still one of them." Definitely still vindictive. "After all, since when did wickedness have age limits, sir paladin?"

Frowning, Rasien sent a silent prayer to his god. He asked Torm to grant him the vision to see the presence of evil. Focusing on the boy in front of him, he saw no such presence. Off to the side, however… "Mandier, I thought I told you to get rid of that cursed thing."

"What, just throw it away? It's fascinating, Rasien!" Seeing the paladin's very unamused look, Mandier wheedled, "Besides, I don't know how to destroy it! What if it fell into the wrong hands? Think of the harm it could cause!"

Rasien glared. "We'll discuss this later. At length." He turned away from the sulking mage.

The boy was staring at them. His eyes cut across to the ranger. "Do they ever stop?"

The ranger's response was placid. "Nope. You get used to it." Jen paused. "You going to tell us who you are?"

"And if I don't want to?"

"Well, I could put an arrow in your throat before yon paladin could do more than protest. Then we'd just leave you in a ditch somewhere. Excellent crow food." All delivered in that same calm tone.

"The name's Jack."

"I knew you'd see reason."


A/N – And there it is. Ver, you owe me something yummy and chocolaty… turtle brownies come to mind! Must have fuel for next chapter! Well, that or another bout of extreme boredom. Whatever works.

Oh, yes, and remember: I'm a praise-driven demon when it comes to writing… More you say you like it, the more likely I'll update soon. Otherwise, I might actually go do my homework. God forbid. shudders