Farid walked through the woods, silent and graceful. He'd learned quite a lot with Dustfinger, how to move around silently being one of them. Of course everything he learned about being a FireDancer was the most important. He missed Dustfinger the most these last few months. But Dustfinger was happy. He had his wife Roxane, and his daughter Brianna. Everyone: Silvertongue and Resa, Meggie and Doria, Dustfinger and Roxane, even Elinor all ended up happy. All except him.

He had left about six months after Meggie broke his heart. He went from village to village, performing. He was surprised to find that people around town were actually saying that he was better than Dustfinger! Farid never believed them. No one was a better Fire Dancer than Dustfinger. The people probably just settled for Farid because Dustfinger was no longer performing. Although he had become quite wealthy over the past couple of months. He was wearing much nicer Fire Dancer clothes and could have bought a house if he wanted, but he preferred wandering and sleeping in the forest, under the stars.

Now it has been two years since he'd seen any of them. He'd avoided going to the villages they were at or if he heard they were going to be somewhere, he'd make sure he was somewhere else. He just felt out of place with them. And now it would just be way to awkward to go back, even if he missed them all more than ever.

A scream cut the peaceful silence of the woods in the night. Farid's head snapped up to the direction it came from. It was a woman's scream and it was coming from somewhere far in from of him. He started running to find the source of the commotion. He ran silently, not making a sound, until he reached a clearing where he immediately knew what was happening.

A young woman, maybe a year younger than him, probably around eighteen, was standing, surrounded by three men. Farid hid behind a large tree, hiding him from view.

"Please, Please! I don't have anything else! I already gave you all my money! Please, just don't hurt me!" the woman was almost in tears. She was average height, slender, with long brown hair that was in a beautiful braid that fell half way down her back. She had green eyes that were wide with fright.

"Come on, honey. Now why would we want to hurt a pretty little thing like you? We'll treat you well, now won't we, Grisom?" the man smiled a mischievous smile that sent a shiver down Farid's spine. The man, Grisom, chuckled darkly

"I reckon not. As long as she does what she's told!" All three men laughed.

The man in the middle started walking toward her with a sickening smile on his lips. The girl backed up as far as she could until she was cornered up against a large tree. There was no way for her to escape out of his grasp now, she was trapped.

Farid acted on instinct, without even thinking. He slowly crepted his way and positioned himself so that he was right behind the two men standing together. Grabbing his pack off his back, he yanked out a rope and put it on his arm. So quick they didn't notice what was happening, he jumped out, grabbed a stick and hit the two men over the head in one swing. Then taking advantage of their shock and confusion, he quickly ran the rope all the way around them, and tied them to the nearest tree behind them. They struggled against the rope, trying to break the knot but of course, to no avail. They cursed loudly. By this time, the other man was running over. The man, Grisom, pulled out a knife and attempted to swing at Farid, but Farid was too fast. He grabbed Grisom's wrist and twisted it, causing Grisom to yell in pain and frustration. Grisom broke loose of his grasp and swung again, this time cutting Farid's shoulder. Farid cursed, and punched Grisom in the nose, causing blood to gush and him to stagger back. Taking that advantage, Farid grabbed another rope from his pack and quickly wrapped it around him and a tree.

The girl came rushing up to him, panic and worry now on her face.

"Oh my goodness! Are you okay?!"

Breathing deeply, Farid inspected his injured arm. On his upper left arm was a deep cut, bleeding badly.

"Yeah, I'll be fine. I need to stop the bleeding." He walked over to where his pack lay in the dirt and rumaged through it until he found an old shirt. He wrapped it around his arm and tied it very tight to put pressure on it.

"T-thank you...You saved my life." She looked up at him with gratitude and trust in her eyes.

He stared back into her eyes and smiled, "It wasn't really a big deal...I just couldn't let someone hurt you...Men like them deserve to be tied to trees," he grinned.

She laughed and looked down to his arm. "That looks really bad! We really need to get you to a healer. It could get infected or..or something. The nearest town is this way."

Farid walked next to her and suddenly realized that this way looked familiar. After a while, he realized why: They were headed to Dustfinger and Roxane's house.