Disclaimer: I do not own Stardust, or anything created by the author. All the original characters however, belong to me.

Chapter 4-A Strange Visitor

It was upon her, its silver blade unsheathed, ready to inflict the final blow. Stumbling, she tried to roll out of the way, trying anything to escape, but the way was shut. The Maethor was almost on top of her, reaching out a hand, it grabbed her by the neck and pulled her up towards it, raising its sword to deal the final blow. Opening her mouth she let out a blood curdling scream.

She woke with a start, panting slightly. The sheets were tangled about her, a tell tale sign that she had been rolling about, and probably kicking as well. Her nightgown was soaked in cold sweat and her heart was racing. Suddenly the door burst open as Madame Brillare raced into her daughter's room, still fully dressed, with concern written across her face.

"Honey, what is it? We heard you scream, and we" The woman sat down on the bed next to her daughter, a worried expression on her face.

"I, I actually screamed?" Asked Kara, in confusion "It was nothing" she said finally, after receiving a nod from her mother, "It was just a bad dream is all, I'm fine, honestly."

Madame Brillare nodded, but she was still clearly worried. "Kara, was it about what happened today?"

Kara looked down at the quilt, avoiding her mother's gaze.

"Was it?" she prompted again.

Finally, the young blonde looked up at her mother and managed a small nod.

"Oh honey," said her mother sympathetically, before gathering Kara into her arms, just like she used to do when Kara was just a little girl, crying after waking up from a nightmare. Kara leaned against her 

mother, thankful that she was there, to offer her support and comfort. Finally, Mistress Brillare broke the hug, looking down at her eldest daughter with a sympathetic, almost pitying gaze. "I'm so very sorry, I never imagined that any of this would happen, we've done the very best that we could to hide you, and keep you safe, but now, it's not only the Maethor who know. Thankfully," she said with a sigh "He's not going to hurt you, just explain a few things better than your father or I ever could, in fact, I am sure that he would be happy to see you now."

"Who?" Asked Kara, her curiosity getting the better of her for the umpteenth time.

"Around here he's known as Thoradan, but I highly doubt that it is his real name, he has gone by many. So come now, get dressed, make yourself presentable, and then we shall see if he cannot explain some things to you and answer some of your questions."

All Kara could to was nod as her mother left the room, shutting the door behind her. Stumbling in the dark, she made her way to her trunk and lifted the lid, digging through the various articles of clothing. Grabbing things at random she laid them all out on her bed and squinted in the dim light to decipher what was appropriate and what was not. Finally, she had changed into a pair of neat petticoats and a pale blue gown. Quickly, she grabbed her brush off of her small dressing table and ran it through her hair, snagging a ribbon and tying it back. Her heart had now slowed to its normal pace, and the initial shock of the nightmare had faded from memory, but that didn't keep her from gingerly peeking out the window to make sure an ominously hooded figure wasn't standing there, waiting, watching. And what for? For her.

Turning, she stepped out the door to the main chamber of the cottage. A large fire was blazing in the hearth and her father was talking with a very old and bearded man. He was dressed in white robes and held a staff of wood in his hand, despite the fact that he was seated in a chair. His beard, despite its length and thickness was neat and not the tangled mess that one would expect. His blue eyes glimmered with a unique energy, and Kara was shocked to see, that hiding beneath his outer robe was the hilt of a sword.

When he saw her enter the room, he stopped talking and looked up at her, a solemn expression on his wizened face. Quickly he stood up and gave her a nod of greeting. "Ah, Miss Brillare," he said cordially, "Do sit down." Obediently Kara took a seat, not without thinking that it was fairly odd that in her own home she was being invited to sit down by a perfect stranger. "Ah, but I am not a perfect stranger" he said, "I knew you when you were young, very, very young."

Could he read minds? Thought Kara in shock, Oh no, what if he can and he just read that?

"No Miss Brillare, I do not read minds, I just have a good sense of what a person may be thinking. I've been around quite a long time and have had many long years to observe the human race." If she this person had been say, her father, she would have said that in fact, she wasn't a human, but she was a star. But as this man was, despite his claims, was a perfect stranger, she decided that the last comment wouldn't be entirely smart. Then again, he probably knew that she had thought it anyway. The strange man now turned to her father, "Master Brillare, you wouldn't mind leaving us alone so I may discuss things with your daughter would you?"

Kara turned to her father, a pleading expression on her face, begging him not to leave her alone with this strange man. Master Brillare looked first from his daughter, to the tall bearded man now sitting in the chair again, and back at Kara. "I would be happy to, let me know if you need anything." With that, he strode across the room and disappeared into the bedroom, leaving Kara alone with her strange visitor.

To be continued

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