Well here we are. The last chapter. This was my first fan fiction, and I am having a great time writing it. I will write this last chapter, then move on to bigger and hopefully better things in the fan fic world. On to the end then...

Chapter eight. Arrival in the village.

Autumn was coming, and the sun had begun to set early. Blazewind pulled the hood of her yellow cloak over her head and rode on, behind Belfire. They reached the top of a winding road up a hill, and Belfire stopped his horse quickly, by pulling up on the rains. He sat at the top of the hill looking down from the road. Blazewind rode up beside him, and looked down at the small blazing fires below. She could see that the fires burned in a large clearing, in the midst of a wooded area off the road.

"We're home," Belfire said, excitedly. "We have just got to ride down the hill, and into the forest. We'll make it within a half hour. Come on Blazewind."

Blazewind steered her horse around a small bend in the road, and down the other side of the hill. The road was more steep than the way up the the top, and the rocks were loose in many places. The two travelers took the road slowly on the backs of their nervous horses.

"Who built this road," Blazewind muttered, more to herself than to Belfire. In her mind, she formed the idea about wring a song about a wagon wreak on a road like this one. She knew from experience that people got excited when bards told tales of adventure, even if those stories were made up.

"I would guess that it was built by my village many years ago," Belfire answered. "Although I don't remember it being this bad on my way up here."

"You think that there may have been a rock slide while you were away."

"Quite possible, I suppose. This place is known for heavy rains in the spring."

The two of them finally made it to the edge of the woods, and Belfire said that all they had now, was to ride straight through to the little village. They rode in slowly, worried about the coming darkness, and soon made it to the clearing. Belfire dismounted his house, and Blazewind fallowed his lead, wondering once again what she was doing in that place. Leaving the hoses to graze in the woods, Belfire led the way to a group of elves standing, and sitting around a bonfire. Several children ran about, shouting, and chasing one another, while the adults talked calmly to one another.

One little boy, who had been just a moment ago, involved in the chase across the clearing, now stopped staring at Blazewind,barely taken any notice of Belfire. He ran back the other way.

"Visitors," he yelled excitedly. "Visitors have come."

The rest of the children stopped their racing around, and began to creep slowly to the edge of the woods. The adults began to walk slowly over to greet their guests. Belfire had begun to lead Blazewind toward the group, and soon they were met by a middle aged looking woman with golden yellow hair hanging past her shoulders, and a surprised grin on her face.

"Belfire," she said happily. "My only son has returned to us."

"Just as I promised I would, Mother," Belfire said, looking at the gathering group.

"This is Blazewind," he said, gesturing excitedly toward his chosen mate.

"Welcome Blazewind," Belfire's mother said. "I am Aliora."

"Come on," Belfire said, pulling on Blazewind's arm. "Let's go find the rest of my family. They should be all over the place, among the rest of the villagers." Blazewind had no choice but to fallow the excited Belfire, as he ran toward the bonfire.

"Belfire's back, Belfire's back," the villagers began to shout in excited disbelief.

Belfire had to go around hugging everyone, and introducing Blazewind, who had started to wonder if all of them were insane. Blazewind though, actually found herself having a good time. The villagers begged to hear stories of her years on the road, and she had many to tell.

Belfire's mother soon walked over with a man, who promptly welcomed Belfire home.

"Who's the girl," he asked.

"This is Blazewind," Belfire told him. "We have to home to live, and to be married as soon as is possible."

"You wish to marry a human," the man, who Blazewind learned was Belfire's father, asked in disbelief, and possibly disagreement.

"Why not a human, Belfire protested. "Blazewind is the one who I was meant to spend my life with. You always told me that when I found the one for me, I would know it."

"I meant for you to find a woman of our kind," the man told him.

"I see nothing wrong with humans..."

"There is nothing wrong with humans. They are, in many cases, our allies, and trading partners."

"Then what's wrong with marrying a human."

"You two just have so many different customs," Belfire's father explained. "I have never understood have some people can be happy married to humans. They are so different from us."

He walked away, muttering to himself, and Belfire turned to Blazewind with a grin planted on his face.

"So, how do you like my father, Thogold Merryweather," he asked, laughing at her horrified expression.

"He's... charming," Blazewind said sarcastically rolling her eyes.

"He likes you," Belfire assured her, as she looked at the gathered group around the fire. "He just did not expect me to bring home the girl I plan to marry. I left for an adventure on the road, at a time when he was always bugging me to try finding the girl I loved. I think that he was getting worried that I would never find anyone. He is just a little shocked that if I could find someone in the area, I managed to find you on the road."

"It seems to me that he doesn't like the thought of you marrying a human," Blazewind said bluntly.

"He's just a little surprised is all," Belfire answered.

"Where are all of the houses," Blazewind asked, determined not to worry about her future father in law any more at the moment.

"Back in the woods behind us," Belfire answered. "You can't see them from this clearing. Would you like to see my house. The group is starting top break up and head for their homes now anyhow."

Blazewind fallowed Belfire into the woods, which was covered with tightly packed trees. She could not see how a horse could get though it, pulling a cart. She could not imagine this being a place to build a village. Blazewind looked at the thick, heavy trees, and took in the smell of pine, and spruce evergreens. The sun was fully set now, and the night creatures of the forest were coming out. She could here the nearby hoot of an owl, and thought she heard something, possibly a raccoon run past, near her feet. She was happy that Belfire lived in a place so close to nature. She always loved the outdoors.

"So," she said, confused. "Where's your house."

"Look up," Belfire answered with a laugh. Blazewind looked up over her head, and barely made out the little tree house in the darkness.

"You live in a tree house," she asked, her voice a mixture of shock and surprise.

"You don't like the idea of living..." Belfire began to say, before Blazewind interrupted him.

"Are you kidding," she said. "I love it. That is so different from anything I have ever seen before. Besides, we will be very safe being up so high."

"Can you make it up," Belfire asked, suddenly remembering that elves in general, were better climbers than humans.

"I can make it up," Blazewind answered. "I spent a good part of my childhood in trees." She was gone quickly, climbing up, finding the best path up the branches with an efficiency that would have put many elves to shame. Belfire began to climb up after her, wondering once again if she would ever run out of ways to amaze him.

"Well, he came home at last," said a voice as the two climbed into the tree house.

"I was hoping we would have the house to our selves for a while," Belfire whispered as Blazewind made the last step up, into what looked to be a small kitchen.

"Your parents beat us to it," she whispered back, as Belfire's father looked her over doubtfully.

"How did she even get up here," Thogold asked in disbelief.

"Humans can climb trees," said the girl who sat on the kitchen floor, with an old, well worn book.

"I don't doubt it," Thogold answered, as Belfire's other little sister, the younger of the two, came from a curtained off room beside the kitchen. She looked at Blazewind intently, before their mother sent them off, both back into the curtained room.

"I'm just saying," Thogold mumbled, "that humans are about as useful out in the forest as a case of the plague. I don't doubt that she can climb a tree, I just worry that she will break every bone in..."

"She made it up here alright," said Aliora. "That clearly means that she is a good climber."

"I just wonder if this community really needs another human," Thogold muttered from his wooden chair at the kitchen table.

"Oh, knock it off," said his wife, holding her hand beside his head, as though she were going to smack him. "Blazewind is going to soon be part of the family, and if you don't simply except her, you will just make us all miserable with your complaining."

"I just think that..." Thogold began to say.

"There is nothing wrong with Blazewind." Aliora said back. "You just don't think that any woman is good enough for Belfire. You are being nothing but a trouble maker."

"Come along with you, both of you," she said to the couple. I've got to figure out where to put everybody." She gave her husband a warning look,as she walked into another curtained room.

"He's my only son," Thogold muttered to himself. "How can I like any woman enough."

"Never mind him," Aliora said to Blazewind as she led the way into a room behind the curtain. "He's just a bit surprised that Belfire's getting married." She began to put bedding on a simple bed by a wall, in the tiny, yet cozy room. Blazewind saw that there were a couple other empty beds in the room, on the other side near the door.

"This room belonged to my three older daughters," she explained. "I believe you met them at the bonfire along with their husbands. You can stay in this room. The other two girls are in the room on the other end of the kitchen. Belfire, you can go back to sleeping in your old bed in the loft above the common room. This arrangement will work out nicely, I think. So..." she paused for a moment, "how did the two of you meet."

"Belfire saved my life twice," Blazewind answered, putting the pillows in cases.

"Oh," said Aliora, looking proudly at her son.

"Well," Belfire explained, "I really could do nothing else. It is my duty to help those in need."

"Very true," said Aliora, "but what crazy adventures you must have had, Blazewind to get into such trouble twice."

"An attack by ravenous wolves, and a meeting with a crazy mage she was chasing," Belfire told his mother.

"I understand having a run in with wolves, out in the wilds," Aliora said, "but why were you chasing a crazy mage."

"I was trying to avenge the death of my teacher, whom he admitted to killing," Blazewind answered.

"And did you get your vengeance."

"Well, he burned down his cave, trying to kill me, so I think you are about even," Blazewind answered with a laugh.

"Oh my goodness," Aliora said. "Did you make it out alright."

"Not exactly," Blazewind answered. "If Belfire had not been around, I surely would have died. That was the second time he saved me." Aliora, unsure what to say to that simply took her leave, and went on her way.

"Don't stay up too late," she said on her way out. "Tomorrow, we have a wedding to start planning. I'm on my way to bed. Good night you two, oh and Blazewind..."

"Yes."

"It is so nice to have you here. I am looking forward to having you as part of my family."

"Thank you. Good night." Blazewind, she could think of nothing else to say.

"I am truly surprised that your mother had so little trouble accommodating a human in this house. I am surprised to, that all of you have beds. I know that elves don't really sleep, like I do."

"We still need beds, you know," Belfire answered laughing. "Leaning against a tree, or laying on the ground is fine on the road, but it is nice to lay on a proper bed to rest."

"That's true I suppose," Blazewind replied yawning," I can't argue with that point."

"You should get some sleep," Belfire said, heading for the doorway of the room.

"Good night then," Blazewind said. She began to undo her long red braids.

"You look nice with your hair down," Belfire said "You should leave it down sometimes."

"You really think so," Blazewind replied. "I suppose I could."

"Good night then," Belfire said, leaving her alone in his sisters' bedroom. She changed into the nightgown that Aliora had found for her to wear. Climbing into bed that night, Blazewind knew that her life was changing for the better. For the first time since Jamis had died and the group of bards she had traveled with, had gone their separate ways, she had something that she had in the back of her mind, always wanted, even if she would have never admitted it to herself – A real family.

Blazewind climbed out of bed in th morning, after the best sleep she had had in ages, and got dressed quickly. She walked to the kitchen, then into the common room, which she had not yet been shown. Finding the house empty, she climbed down the tree, and to the leaf covered ground of the thick woods. She took note of how lovely the place looked in daylight. Soon, she saw Belfire, sitting with his family in a small space between the trees, eating rolls, and drinking tea. Wearing the dress that she had kept in the bottom of her traveling bag, her red hair flowing loose in the slight wind, she hurried over to join her lover, and her soon to be in laws.

The End.

Well, there you have it, readers. The end of 'A Bards Tale.' I hope that everyone likes happy endings. Please review if you would like, and if you have enjoyed reading this story, why not read my other ones, and review those. It is good to be done with this story, although I will miss it as well. Thank you to my loyal reviewers, who gave some good feed back and advice, which I tried to use, as much as I could.