Rembrandt and the Professor picked their way through a thin trail in the woodlands. The former gathered his clothes at the front, muttering and complaining of the cold as they made slow pace to wherever it was they were heading.

"Good God, man!" Arturo boomed, "If I am to be stuck with you would you at least cease your infernal moaning!" He stopped and yanked angrily at a branch that had become snagged on his coat.

Rembrandt stopped and waggled his head. "Well we've been trudging down this path for fifteen minutes and I swear it's dropped below freezing." His voice was echoed by the swirling condensation of his breath. "It's almost completely dark and something tells me we're not going to find a seven-eleven around the corner!" The professor's response was to snort and plow forward with the teeth-chattering singer trailing behind in protest.

A strong wind cut across their way, causing the pair to pause a moment to regain their momentum. Rembrandt managed to catch up as his companion pulled the collar of his coat up around his ears. "Looks like the trees are thinning up ahead." Maximillion declared in the most positive manner since the Slide. Bustling forward he left Rembrandt at the rear once again.

The forest gave way to a set of bleak hills, rolling downward towards a cove that opened out on a vast body of water. The Bay was stirring wildly in the distance, crests and waves tossed about and then sank into a low mist that hung heavy across the horizon. There was little sign of civilisation save for the continuation of the path that pottered on and disappeared behind the rough vegetation and exposed rocks.

"I can hardly believe this is San Fransisco." Muttered Brown as he reached Arturo's side, a sentiment he had felt so many times since meeting his Sliding companions.

"Oh come now, it's not completely unheard of for temperature to drop this low, and we've been on colder worlds. At least it is not raining." The professor mused, bringing one thick hand up to his chin. "I doesn't seem like there is much this way... wait..."

As the sound of his voice was taken by the wind the wide white cloud that had obscured their view began to recede, revealing a rocky island in the waters. The dark shadow of a tall structure loomed into view as the vapours parted, painting a thick stone walled structure atop some savage looking cliffs; dim orange squares of light vainly permeated the fog.

"Uurrrrr..." Brown groaned between the clacking of his jaw, "I don't like the look of that. Is.. is that a castle?" His eyes followed the edge of a large square turret up to a set of thin pennants flailing rapidly in the blustery air.

"It certainly seems so. Looks like Alcatraz Island's strategic location has been utilised once again." The physicist's pensive tone replied.

"Well I'll be happy when we're a world away from that thing. Gives me the creeps." Rembrandt shuddered. "How long do we have till the next Slide?"

The Professors head snapped to glare at his friend with wide eyes. They both stood staring at each other for a moment, suspended in shared disbelief. Before separating from Quinn and Wade neither of them had thought to check the Timer. Without a word the pair turned on their heels and began to run back into the thick of the trees.

When consciousness returned to the concussed Sian the familiar scent of her home reassured her muddled mind. As her muscles relaxed her body worked on mending the damage. Slowly her senses began to return to her, a long with a thick ache in the back of her head. That's right, the thoughts formed thinly, like a veil of smoke, I hit my head when...

A loud twang echoed through her ears and jolted her into an alerted state. Through groggy lenses and the half dark of dusk her eyes picked out the form of a figure, broad in shoulders and taller than most. It twisted with anger and cursed in a strange tongue, silhouetted against the burning red hearth.

"No!" She cried, "No!, Spare me!" Trembling she fell to the floor. Knowing now, that after all this time her defenses had failed, she had nothing left to fall back on. Years of fleeing, hiding, rebuilding and running had left her without means or mettle. "Spare me, please..." Sian's mind swam with anticipation of death as she quivered on the loosely lain floor of her home. She expected a great acclamation of victory, a roar of savage joy or the instant burning of power tearing through her body... but none came.

Only the soft creek of wood underfoot interrupted her pathetic sobs. She flinched as a pair of hands curled gently around her waist and began to pull her upwards. Daring not to look up, her wet and blurry eyes remained locked at the feet of her assailant, who was stepping backwards away from her. The figures aura was a cacophony; resonating so differently from anything she had felt before. So long had it been since she had studied the energies of another person that she barely trusted her own Sense... "Night Wraith"... she whispered softly, the words dry on her tongue.

Quinn looked up, his eyes narrow. "Did she just say my name?" He couldn't determine the words through the harsh whisper and her accent. Wade was desperately trying to comfort the woman who appeared to become strangely docile. Unsure of what to do with himself Quinn eased away hoping not to cause her any more distress.

"Hey, hey..." Said Wade soothingly. "We're not here to hurt you... " She had pulled the woman back on the small bed and she seemed to sit upright with little encouragement. Playing nurse the Slider inspected her patients head and checked her temperature.

"I don't think she understands us," contributed Wade, "And she's had quite a shock. Hopefully she'll be okay once she calms down, just don't make any loud or violent moves!"

"Don't worry!" He whispered, "but how do we explain that I'm not the bogeyman? I mean, I know I landed on her but how can we let her know it was an accident? Perhaps we should just leave..." As concerned as he was for her he could not help thinking that his presence was the last thing she needed.

"Well we need to wait for the others to get back - Hey!" Wade shouted suddenly, causing the woman to flinch again. Leaving her patient she crossed the room to Quinn and with forceful panic asked, "Have you checked the Timer?"

"Oh, crap." Quinn frantically clawed around inside his jacket and pulled out the handheld device. The red LED display was still counting down. "8 days, 5 hours, 15 minutes... we're okay." The pair both visibly sagged with relief. Quinn caught a look in Wade's eyes. It was somewhere between annoyance and a cheeky all-knowingness. Whatever she was thinking he simply couldn't fathom.

Turning away from each other and the now less important Timer, Quinn and Wade were presented with the pointed end of a sword which extended from the thin trembling arm of the now aggressively attentive young lady. Dark wavy hair hung limp around her face and smears of dirt, partially washed by Wade, still stained her cheeks and forehead. Her rough and dull coloured clothes added to her washed-out victimised guise and she stood defiant. Only her blue eyes, reflecting the fire, danced with internal resistance.

"Do you toy with me?" Sian forced the words from somewhere deep, beyond the pit of fear that was making her body quake. Her voice was not as strong as she liked, but as she looked upon her uninvited guests with steadily clearing vision her natural analytical skills where kicking into gear. They were clearly foreign to her land, perhaps her world - their energies buzzed with an weirdness that disturbed her, but they had natural form and had brought her back into her home... An age of being hounded left her suspicious to say the least and the memory of the dark figure in front of the fire still danced at the back of her thoughts, sending shivers of uneasiness through her body.

"How did you pass my wards? Are you not the Night Wraith?" The tip of the iron weapon punctured the air in demand of an answer. Irritation flooded her veins as they turned to talk to one another in their foreign tongue.

"There it is again!" Quinn exclaimed to his friend almost forgetting that they were being threatened. "She said Quinn I am sure of it!"

"It's not like it changes things a great deal. She still has the impaling device and all we have are excuses in the wrong language!" Wade raised her hands in slow surrender, wary of encouraging use of the medieval weapon.

"No'kwin Maellorm! Referom!"

"See!" Quinn responded, "she said 'No Quinn'. I have no idea what May-lorm or the rest of it means but she definitely said my name." He smiled expectantly at the women as though his proclamation would solve everything.

"And it comforts you to ordered like a dog by someone holding a sword?" Wade half queried, half sneered.

Ignoring his companion Quinn attempted to converse with the woman. He gently explained who they were, what their names were and where they had come from, gesturing as well as he could manage. The woman looked on in confusion, but her sword arm was growing weary and the blade began to dip.

Sian was exhausted. Her head ached and she felt nausea creeping up her torso but willed it away. Her mind was desperately trying to make sense of the bizarre situation, however under the bombardment of the alien ambiance and the constant throbbing pain, progress was slow. Clearly language was an issue here. In her tongue 'No'Kwin' meant night, but could literally be translated as anti-light. What the strangers kept reiterating was 'Kwin', the man even pointed to himself and declared him thus. Light? She thought, Is this a trick? Something in her gut hinted that it wasn't but perhaps she was too wrung through to care. Whoever this 'Kwin' was he did not seem to be hostile.

"Kwin." She nervously acknowledged, with a nod toward the man. And to the woman. "Wayde" A nervous smile flickered over her face as she confirmed her name. Letting her short sword down to her side Sian gave way to the conclusion that this was not her Hunter. What now? They had arrived at a stalemate that was cemented by their language barrier. What did they want? Where did they come from? And more importantly, when were they going to leave?

Sian was a woman of meager Ability. She had a keen Sense that had aided her flight from the true Night Wraith and her knowledge of herb-lore was vast but neither could help with her current predicament. The one trick she could use involved contact with the individual... but she was reluctant to try. Since being in hiding her involvement with other peopl had been sparing at best. With little training and next to no practice it would be a risk, not only for her subject but also to herself. Still, she could see no other venture, save for continuing to flap their arms at one another.

Calming herself, Sian lay the sword down on the floor. Slowly (and a unsteady as her head was still a little giddy) she moved forward and placed her palm on her chest. "Sian" She spoke her name simply so as to be clear. The pair of intruders smiled in understanding and were clearly happy that the weapon was away. Continuing forward Sian was almost amused to see their relief melt into anxiety as she encroached on the mans personal space. He began to inch away, awkwardly muttering something, however she soon had him backing up against a wall of her home.

Even though she was a head smaller than him her eyes stayed with his. She let herself take in some of his detail; the strange weave of his clothing, the scent of his skin, scarring on his upper lip and the strange adolescent manner of his hair. Then, with a gentle swiftness, she placed both her hands on his temples. For the first time in over 5 years Sian let her mind slip into anothers.