Hi to anyone crazy enough to read this, this is my first ever fan fic. I don't know how long this will be, but MUCH longer than it is now. This first bit is a bit dull, but it is the prologue after all. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: I, unfortunately, do not own in any way shape of form any of the below characters or the area in witch the story takes place. Sob sob

PROLOGUE

The full moon rose over the Drell valley, at the center of witch lay Corus, capital city of Tortall.

On a ridge overlooking the great city a black and white spotted gelding and a gray mountain pony came to a stop, their respective riders clinging to the saddle in weariness. One, a fair skinned girl in her mid-teens, cradled a miniature dragon in her lap, while the other clung awkwardly to the saddle, the swarthy skin of his face turned gray from fatigue. Two weeks! The girl thought two weeks we've been gone, and only were there for two days before King Jon sent us to deal with the killer centaur mage problem.

The lanky man began to slip from his saddle, and the dragonet uttered an alarmed chirp. Startled from her own fatigued stupor, the sixteen-year-old's head snapped up, immediately alert

"Numair?" she cried in alarm, as the pony, cloud, trotted swiftly along side the spotted gelding. She flung herself sideways, lying partly on the gelding's saddle, just barely managing to catch the end of the black horsetail worn by her teacher who was currently slipping off the other side of his saddle.

She hauled him unceremoniously upright as he spluttered in to wakefulness. "Who, what wha…! Oh, Daine." He finished somewhat sheepishly, his brown eyes meeting her blue gray ones.

Realizing nothing was wrong, he slumped once again in the saddle; his lanky frame, hanging limp from exhaustion, and almost immediately began to slide again.

" That's it!" Daine exclaimed, "here you great lummox, lean on Me." she pulled him bodily over, so his head leaned awkwardly on her shoulder, him being more than a foot taller than her.

"Ouch, This is rather un-comfortable!" Spots, the gelding exclaimed in Daine's head.

"Well what do you expect? Cloud said tersely, it's the stork-man, and he can hardly ride!"

"Come on you two," Daine cajoled, "he's exhausted, he completely drained himself fighting those centaurs."

"Like you didn't" cloud pointed out.

"Be that as I may, I'm ok for now, and he's fair drained himself."

"Lets just go" Spots urged, " the sooner we reach the city the sooner I get out of this position!"

"You should tie the stork-man to his saddle, before he squishes you completely" cloud remarked as the two horses started off slowly, neck and neck, towards the capital.

With false dawn painting the eastern sky white, Daine and Numair rode through the great gate of the city. During the long ride from the ridge Numair's breath had become shallow and irregular, as though his fatigued sleep was fraught with nightmares. Daine was worried for his safety.

"Shhhhh" she said soothingly as he began to mumble un-intelligibly. She caught the occasional words like "Orzorne…. Black robe…Tristian" mixed in with quiet moans and cries. "Hush Numair, we're almost home," she told the unconscious form sprawling on her as they rode up the street in the temple district. She shifted slightly and put her arm around his shoulders, at the same time she lifted her face and pressed her lips to his. His moaning and whispering ceased instantly. With a soft murmur of "Daine" he slipped back into unconsciousness.

The guard on the palace wall hailed them, as soon as her recognized Daine's voice he sent a runner off toward the palace proper as he himself came down and opened the gate.

"Good mornin' to ye' Wildmage," he said as they rode up to him, "is somthin' the matter with master Salmalin?" he said seeing Numair's limp form.

"Nothing serious, I think," Daine answered, "Leastways, he can wait till he's had some rest"

"Shall I send for 'is majesty?" the guard asked.

"Don't bother, nothing major to report," Daine answered, nudging cloud into a walk. "I'll take Numair to his chambers, and thank you."

Just outside the palace Daine sat Numair upright and dismounted. Quickly she ran to spots' side to catch him as he started sliding again. She grunted as he took his full weight, and supported him as cloud griped his booted feet in her mouth and disentangled them from his stirrups. "Spots, Cloud, go find Onua?" she asked the horses.

I'll go get her, you just stay here, the stork-man is to heavy for you to move by your self" with that Cloud and spots galloped off in the direction of the rider barracks.

Five minutes later Onua puffed up, bleary eyed with her shirt on backwards and only one boot tied up, she gave Daine an enthusiastic bear hug all the same.

"Daine! Your back! We've all missed you both so much!" "Where is Numair?" Daine pointed wordlessly to the ground.

"Will you help me take him inside? He ran dry when we were fighting the centaurs, I think he might have drawn on his life force a bit." Daine explained worriedly.

"Ok, grab his feet." Daine complied and they wrestled him through the halls to his room. Onua opened the door and they sat Numair's limp form on the bed, where he lay boneless.

"I'll get him settled here" Daine offered " then I'll come to the riders barracks and sleep."

"Ok," Onua said, stifling a yawn "I'm going back to bed till dawn, no sense loosing another hour's sleep. G'night Daine" with that Onua left, closing the door behind her.

Daine yawned her self; she was almost as exhausted as Numair. She clumsily removed his boots and tugged one of his arms out from under him, sat down on the foot of the bed next to him. He had begun to moan again as he was carried\dragged through the halls. Softly Daine leaned over to kiss his cheek. I'm so tired she thought, laying her head on the pillow, just for a moment, to gather the energy to walk to the barracks…. She did not even remember closing her eyes.

So? What did ya think, please review. I'll write more if you like it. Cya