A/N: Oh, hallo. It's my first time posting to this account... actually I haven't used in a looong time. Still trying to figure out all the different features. It used to be so simple! Sigh. Anyways, here's the first chapter of the story on which all my LHM fic is based. I put alot of work into this thing, and would absolutely love reviews! I hope everyone enjoys it. I'll be updating weekly, so check back on Sundays. Without further ado...

Chapter One

"By the gods, Wingsister Savil! What happened to this boy?" Starwind said, a look of shocked sympathy furrowing his brow. He put a hand to his mouth and stumbled back a step. "I hardly touch his mind, and the pain is almost too much to bear…"

She shook her head, still dusty from the road. "I don't really know. I found him outside a village, with all those knocks, not to mention those cuts on his wrists- and right there next to him, the remains of someone struck by mage lightning…"

Starwind interrupted her. "But this one doesn't appear as though any such magic has touched him."

"Shut your mouth a moment," Savil snapped. Though she was young- just over thirty- she got a bit tetchy after a long, hard ride. "And listen, would you?"

Starwind looked down his nose at her in tolerant reproach, but didn't say a word.

She snorted at him, still annoyed. "If you'd have bothered to take more than a quick dip in his mind, you'd see just what I did. He's got incredibly powerful magic. I'm no expert, but I'd say he might even be adept-level."

The Tayledras gasped softly. "You are quite sure, ke'chara?"

She snorted again. "No, I'm not quite sure. I'm not sure at all, and I'd just said so. I did tell you to listen, didn't I?"

Starwind gave her an even more reproachful look, before kneeling next to the natural bench -more an outcropping of stone than much else- that the unconcious boy was lying on. He placed a hand on the boy's sweaty, bruised forehead, and closed his eyes. Savil knew what he was doing, and knew not to interrupt.

A moment later, the Tayledras all but flinched away, a grimace marring his features. Savil, insensitive as always, grabbed his elbow and hauled him to his feet. "See?"

Starwind blinked several times, attempting to recover. "I most certainly do. He is all but crying out to me empathically, Savil. However, I also see what it was of which you spoke. He does seem to be, as you said, an adept. And a healer as well, unless I am much mistaken." He frowned. "He is in such pain… the cuts, those were his own doing. It will take a long while for him to recover, though I fear he may not…" He placed a hand to his temple, rubbing as though he had a headache.

Savil frowned as well, and turned her grip on her friend's elbow into a near-embrace on his arm. "Well, then… I suppose we should get started on all these bumps of his. A Healer-Adept, though? It's a damn good thing I brought him to you, ke'chara."

Starwind sighed. He was exhausted, having spent half the night healing the boy. He sagged down onto the floor, legs crossed. Somehow, he even made sagging look graceful. Savil wasn't any better off, and flopped down next to him. "… think he'll make it?" she said, in her typical blunt way.

Shaking his head, Starwind rubbed a hand through his silver hair. "Physically… yes, he will live. But mentally… well, that is another story, ke'chara. His mind is a mess, and he radiates sorrow and agony. Surely, you can feel it." He sighed again, wetting his lips.

Savil nodded tiredly, pushing herself to her feet with a grunt and moving to lean against the makeshift bed. "He's a pretty thing though, isn't he?" she said softly, putting her hand on the boy's forehead.

Starwind glanced over to the boy. He was naked, covered by a sheet, his body slender and slightly tanned. Now that he wasn't marred by bruises, it was easy to see that he was quite pretty. Long, light brown hair, fine features, a rather square face. He looked to Savil and nodded. "He is an attractive young man." He stood up just as gracefully as he'd sat down. "He may wake, soon."

"You stay with him in case he does, and I'll find us something to eat," Savil said, stopping at the door. "If he wakes, make sure you…"

"Aye, Savil." Starwind said, very nearly rolling his eyes. "I will find out what happened. I do possess a brain of my own, as you should well know."

She had already gone. Starwind perched on the side of the bed, pulling the sheet gently up over the boy's chest. Just then, the boy's eyelids fluttered, and he came slowly into conciousness. When his brown eyes focused on Starwind's face, they became filled with fear. He tried to scramble away, but the Tayledras's fingers fell lightly on his shoulder.

"Hush. I will not harm you." He smiled warmly, cupping the boy's cheek in his hand. "Will you tell me your name? I am Starwind."

"T-Tallo… I… what's…"

"Hush, Tallo. You are in a place called K'Treva, and you are in no danger here." Starwind said, his voice as soft and kind as it could be. "As for what happened, that is something you will need to tell me."

Tallo opened and closed his mouth, his eyes darting to either side. He tried to speak again, and a strangled sound came from him. A hand came slowly to his mouth, his pupils dilated. A wave of utter agony rolled off of him, strong enough to make Starwind wince away. Then, suddenly, Tallo was weeping.

Starwind gently pulled Tallo into his arms. At this moment, the boy- well, he was more of a young man- didn't care who the beautiful stranger was holding him. In fact, Starwind wasn't completely sure Tallo even registered his presence at the moment. Tallo's entire being was all given over to pain and grief.

Asheena flew in the window, settling his wings. :?:

:You were hunting quite a while. And I need not answer that, I am quite sure.: Starwind cradled Tallo's head against his shoulder, stroking his hair.

:pain: Asheena gave him an image of a gyrfalcon mantling protectively over its young. :?: The bondbird was asking him, more or less, what was wrong with the little one and what he was going to do about it.

Starwind sighed, letting it out in a hiss through his teeth. He closed his eyes. :I think, Asheena, there is only one way to do this.:

:pain:

Starwind took a deep breath. He opened his mind. Tallo was broadcasting waves of pain and grief, and the memories filled his mind. The last thing Starwind had time to think was that they'd have to teach this one to shield, and soon- then his mind was filled with the tragic images, images he could barely make sense of, at first. Then, he could. A shudder ran through him, and a tear ran down his cheek.

Tallo was with another young man, grinning, happy. They were in a barn, rolling in the hay, their clothing askew. Tallo was unlacing the young man's pants, blushing a little. He loved this young man, he could be himself around him, he felt free.

An older man burst in- Tallo's father. The two younger men dragged apart. Tallo standing before his mother and father, weeping. His mother weeping too. His father yelling, pointing to the door. His mother shaking her head, making some sort of plea…

Tallo in front of a council, a group of town elders. Trying to keep his chin up. The elders looking stern, one of them angry and shouting. Tallo hanging his head, looking frightened. The young man there as well, and more angry than anything. They were being sent away. Cast out of the village.

People throwing stones at them. Children throwing stones. Yelling names. Tallo was weeping again, terrified…

Tallo clinging to the young man's arm, weeping into his shoulder as they walked. The young man pushing him away angrily. An argument. The young man had never loved Tallo. He would not look after him. He would not comfort him. He felt nothing for him. He wanted him to leave…

Tallo crying, hysterical. No one wanted him- not even his own parents, and now his lover hated him too. The young man called him a child, pushed him to the ground, told him they were parting ways…

Anger rose in Tallo, rose and overflowed. He could hardly control his magic yet, but he lashed out. He wanted to frighten the young man. There was a crack, a painful surge of power. The air sizzled. Tallo was blinded. In agony. The smoke cleared. The air smelled of burnt flesh.

Tallo was frozen with shock and fear. He was beyond weeping, beyond terror. The young man dead beside him. Dead by his hands. There was nothing now. He was shaking. It was over. He did not deserve to live. There was nothing. Nothing…

He had his knife. He sobbed, but no tears came. He was retching, but beyond sickness. The knife to his wrist. Blood. Blood everywhere. Then the tears came.

Everything went black.