Author note: I vowed to update all my stories to have a day of complete "awesomeness"-see Alice I found a way to use it. xD This chapter is a bit short, but I've vowed not to rush the plotline too much. I'll update after 6 reviews. And they don't have to be reviews of "great job" or the like. I would prefer a review saying, "you should include this or fix this...etc." =)

*I noticed in the appendices that Cadvan and Ceredin were instated as minor bards together. Since I can't change that, just pretend they weren't. Also, I am aware they learned in Norloch as well as Lirigon. Just give me time and I'll get there. =p

Ceredin turned toward the staircase and closed the wooden door to her small bedchamber. She would certainly miss the pleasant view of the mountains and their familiarity in her time away, though she knew Lirigon was much closer to their steep slopes. "This is not goodbye," she reminded herself, vowing to return once she finished schooling. She desperately loved her home and her mother, maybe too much. After the death of her father, she couldn't bear the thought of losing the only thing she had left. "I am doing this for her," she told herself. "If she wants this, so do I." A momentary farewell was mumbled before she gathered her skirts and began the slow, steady climb down the narrow steps.

It was one thing she'd change if she had the skill and time: the main stairwell. It was treacherously steep and many times she had almost broken her neck climbing on its polished surface. When her father, Dhallam, had built their family home, he'd neglected to use the vast space of the front hall to create something more impressive, not to mention safer.

But that change, just like the others she'd always dreamed of, would have to wait, though hopefully not for long. She paused halfway down and moved her pack to her other hand, her fingers stinging from its weight. The door to the kitchen was ajar and two soft voices trickled into the hallway.

"You're daughter possesses much ability," Cadvan spoke.

"That she does; if it hadn't been for her father's untimely death, she would already be schooled."

Silence reigned as if the two were considering something; Ceredin continued to climb awkwardly downwards.

"There is much unrest in the seven kingdoms, but there is little to worry about. Lirigon is well protected and she will be safe in my care."

Ceredin, her foot over the bottom step, almost stumbled. She had been under the impression that she would live in her own dorm and learn from Nelac; her mother seemed intrigued by his response. "That is kind of you, young bard."

Ceredin hurried down the hall to the first doorway, careful to interrupt their conversation. "I'm ready," she announced. She didn't need them talking about her any longer.

"So is dinner!" her mother exclaimed and fixed her a warm dish.

They ate the food in peace, discussing her future. "So you are teaching me then?" Ceredin asked.

"Nay!" Cadvan replied. "I am naught but a minor bard, as you will become. You will have many teachers, Nelac included."

Ceredin blushed slightly at her ignorance. "Were you born in Lirigon?" she questioned, trying to take attention away from herself; it seemed to work.

Cadvan swallowed a piece of bread before answering, "Tuillien was my home before I left for Lirigon."

"I knew it!" Ceredin's mother exclaimed. "You're the cobbler's Nartan's boy then?"

Cadvan nodded.

"My how you've grown since I last saw your mother! How is she these days?"

"I'm afraid my mother died when I was six, Nayla," he noted somberly.

Ceredin didn't know how to respond and was left without words at his revelation. He had experienced the same loss she had, and in some strange way, it comforted her. Perhaps she and Cadvan would become good friends in her time away and she could finally talk about her own losses to someone other than her mother.

"My heart goes out to your family, Cadvan," Nayla condoled. "We lost Dhallam a few years ago....." she trailed off.

Cadvan sat resolute and looked at Ceredin, his eyes of the deepest blue penetrating her. He said nothing as he took a sip of wine and stood. "I suppose we should be leaving."

"Have you packed everything, Cer?" her mother asked through mind-speech.

"Mother," she rolled her eyes and hugged her tightly. "I do not know where my path leads me, but I promise I'll return one day."

"Of course you will!" her mother chided. "I will write often, daughter."

"I am doing this for you."

"Ceredin," her mother pulled away. "This is your destiny. When you walk out that door, the world is yours to discover, not mine."

Ceredin stubbornly withheld her tears and joined Cadvan by the door.

Cadvan turned. "Light go with you, Nayla."

"And with you Cadvan."

Her heart jumped she heard the door close behind her. There was no turning back.

To be continued....

:gasp!: Can you believe I didn't really leave you guys with a terrible cliffhanger this time? Even more shocking is the fact I wrote this in the afternoon! =o I'm losing my touch! =p

I got the names of Ceredin's parents from Laramie, and all names pertaining to Cadvan's family are taken from the appendices. I might fix this up later, but I'm kinda busy fulfilling other duties, so if there's some bumps, just point it out.

-Queen of stupid cliffhangers in other stories and short chapters in this one,