Disclaimer: Characters you recognize arenot mine; plot, new characters, places etc. AREmine!

In the Clearing of the Forest
by Darkhonda aka Tal


Chapter one

It was not the wedding she wanted, nor the husband she wanted. All she knew was that she came of age and that her family betrothed her a long time ago to one of the most noble families in KO-35. A family who holds the Power.

An ancient prophecy said that two would possess the greatest power of all, together they would bring peace and quiet to KO-35. Through time it was believed that those who possess the power are the decedents of the karovan tribes. Yet through ages, an inter tribes path which was known as the Path of Three, has made it hard to find these two. The tribes evolved into one nation, the karovan nation, and as any nation there were inter-tribe marriage. Yet only one family kept marring within her tribe's people, which made the common karovans believe that the chosen ones would come from it. It was known as the Kadan family, the family whose father was Kadan the Great.

The Kadan family ruled on most karovan lands, protecting the lands and employing many families. The head of the family was Tiaren and the rumors about him where many, why once it was told he killed a lion with his bare hands! He was the most courageous human KO-35 has ever known and was one of the proudest, too. He was also given the most sacred sign of nobility: dual hair color.
Most of the Kadan males had dual colored hair, it was a trait well preserved by inner tribe marriage. The Kadans were proud of the purity of their marriages; the dual hair color was slowly building a reputation of nobility and honor. The commons learnt to respect the dual haired and Tiaren as their leader. She knew he had two children, a boy and a girl, they were twins; the daughter was recently betrothed to a young noble, owner of many lands and a well known heart breaker. Yet it wasn't the young maid that interested her but the young warrior, the heir to the Kadans' status and lands, the one she would belong to in a few months' time.

It wasn't clear for her how she was betrothed to such a family, so wealthy and well known. Her family wasn't one of the nobles; all they had was a small fortune which bought them their little piece of land in the countryside. The heir to her father's status was her older brother, Jeffrey, who was recently married, and has given their father great satisfaction with the birth of his two sons.
She was grateful to the stars for Jeffrey; with his marriage he created a diversion strong enough to keep their father from nagging her about the Kadans. He wanted her to visit the Kadans' castle, to meet her soon to be husband and to make a good first impression, she refused. She didn't like the idea of her father marrying her off to some idiotic self proclaimed prince that all he does everyday is thinking about himself and how much money he makes.

She liked being free as the wind, doing whatever she wanted how she wanted. She couldn't imagine her whole life obeying orders from some arrogant prince; she had to do something about it. And besides, she was way too young to get married, seventeen and a half, she hasn't even had her first kiss and her father was talking about marriage?

"If only I could run away…" she suggested herself desperately, sitting on a large branch in her favorite spot in the clearing of the forest. From that spot she could observe the by passers, those who were only a temporarily disturbance in her solitude in the forest. She enjoyed the peace and quiet the clearing of the forest had to offer, the gentle sounds of nature; a little stream flowing near by, birds nesting at the treetops of old oaks and pines, the little animals that were sometimes visible in their lazy life, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, deer and sometimes even a small fox.

She sighed, 'I could never do that, I will never disgrace father,' she decided, even the forest couldn't distract her from her unfortunate luck.
Her father was important to her, he loved her dearly and she knew he wouldn't do anything to harm her. 'And besides, he truly believes that marrying me off to some jerk of a prince would make my future better,' she reminded herself. She was grateful for her father's concern, for his unconditional love and endless patience for her, yet knew that her being married to a stranger would cause nothing but unnecessary pain. Did her father really think that she'd fall in love in the second her eyes would lay on that prince? Did he really think she's some kind of a princess from an ancient karovan bedtime story?
She didn't want a prince! She wanted a real warrior to love her, she wanted to have the right to love any warrior her heart desires. Why couldn't her father understand it? Why couldn't he let her live life they way she wanted to live them?

The sound of hooves trampling the forest's ground cut her deep thoughts and she jumped off the tree, deciding to take a look at the passer. Not many dared to go into the forest at all and she didn't want any crowd to dare too, she liked the solitude of it. She mounted her beloved horse, Sienna, mustard colored horse, and rode to the far end of the forest, where she thought she heard the hooves.
In her way her to the edge of the forest she saw a large grey horse right in front of her, but Sienna didn't and bewildered, she jumped on her two back legs neighing her fear.

"Woooow, easy girl, easy Sienna," she said softly to the horse, clinging to the reins while trying to ease the horse. Slowly, her beloved horse relaxed and Ashley was free to examine the stranger; he wore a white tunic, covered by grey doublet and a pair of black breeches with big black leather boots. There was a big sword in its scabbard hanging from his belt on his waste and he smiled cheekily.

She looked at him suspiciously, "Who are you and what are you doing here?" she asked, frowning at his bright smile.

"I am Zhane of Sar," he paused and took a slight bow, still on his horse, his blue eyes twinkling with amusement, "I came to announce the forthcoming of Andros of Kadan." He said kindly and she nearly fell off her horse.

"What!" she nearly shouted, furious, obviously.

Zhane chuckled, amused, as the girl on the horse's face were a mixture of shock, awe and fury. As she turned her horse and started her leaving for her home, he could hear her muttering, "I'm going to kill Dad..." he laughed as he eased his horse and rode after her.

'Well, Andros, I think you have met your match in temper,' he thought brightly, 'they are perfect for each other!' he determined and was laughing the rest of the way to Hammond Hall.

A/N: So, did you like it? I think it's a fairly nice start. Look, there's this button on your left side it says "go", so press on it and submit a review! Believe me, you'll feel a whole lot better afterwards! Stay tuned!