Sorrow tares one's heart in twine,

Aching clasping hoping,

End shall not be nigh,

Desire not tae die,

Hold on tae the dreams once held dear...

Imagine wha' I always could be,

Ye've e'er haunted my worst dreams.

Ne'er shall e'er be good enough?

Ne'er shall I meet yer standard?

Idalee ran through the corridors of her fort searching for something yet saying nothing that made any sense. Going through papers, scattering objects, mumbling incoherently she made her way through areas Carodoc did not even know existed.

"Idalee. Idalee!" Carodoc grabbed her arm turning her around with a jolt. "What are you looking for?" Tears began to fall from her eyes and her lips trembled. "No, don't do that please lass…" He shook his head maintaining eye contact. "Please, let me help. What is it that are you looking for?"

"He gave it to me. Told me never to use it." She turned and ran down a dark corridor leading into the depths of the fort.

"Idalee where are you going?"

"I have to find it! I know its here, I remember."

"Idalee!" He followed her down the dark passage. "How could any one find their way through this?"

Something bumped into him and grabbed his arm before he could jump back leading him back up the passage to an area he knew. "I found it. Kept it hidden for so long. Kept my promise. Kept it safe"

"What did you find?" He noticed an object in her hand covered in a soiled cloth. She set it on the table and pulled out maps and alliance contracts signed and dated many years ago. So aged they were that he feared that they would crumble in her hands.

"We can't fight Dyadric alone and our other allies are not bound to us as strongly as they are to him." Her face turned grim. "They all will turn on us."

"All of them?" He paused for a moment in shock. "Will not one of them take pity upon us for he attacked us unmolested?"

She looked up at him her face showing a combination of anger and sorrow. "He could slaughter our women and children and they…" She breathed in deeply blinking away tears. "They would still ally with him." She shook her head in disbelief and continued. "If it where Lexi or Aden even, then, perhaps, we would then have someone upon our side one maybe even two and if we didn't I wouldn't be so concerned. But they can not afford to turn on Dyadric. He is far too powerful. They all fear him and I should have known this was coming…" Her voice trailed off as she stared into nothing.

"What do you mean you should have known this was going to happen? He has no reason to attack other than more land but we've been allied with him, his father, his grandfather, and many generations before that!" He paused as shame seemed to cross her face. "What have you done? What aren't you telling me? Idalee?"

Idalee threw herself into his vacant arms sobbing. He slowly brought his arms up and around her encasing her head. "Idalee" he whispered, "Please don't keep secrets from me."

"I should have told you!" She sobbed. "Your always telling me to make my own decisions and so I did." She sniffed and held up her head gazing into his eyes. "If I knew this was going to happen then, then, then… I would have, I would have."

"What happened?"

Shaking off her incoherence she began, "Two months ago, after my father died, a messenger came to me baring a contract. Dyadric wanted me to marry him to strengthen our alliance." She inhaled deeply as if willing strength into her body. "I said no."

"Then why would he attack? I don't understand."

"You don't know? You don't know why he's attacking us now?" She reached up placing her hand onto his face. "He will obtain me one way or another. Since I have chosen to not marry him willingly..." She paused and willed herself to continue. "He is going to destroy everything, take it for his own, and then when I am captured he shall get what he wants anyway."

"Why did you say 'no'?" Hopeful yet painful thoughts worked their way into his mind "Perhaps 'tis because she longs for me. Perhaps she loves me. Oh please, may it be so."

"I do not love him."

A swelling of relief surged though Carodoc but he would not allow it to take root. He often feared her rejection and longed only for her approval. "But I may still have a chance with her. Maybe, because she is rather shy she'll not come straight out with it."

She quickly added, disturbing his thoughts. "And I'll not marry a man with a higher rank then I. Then he shall obtain my land and I'll have not a say in anything."

Carodoc laughed brushing tears from her face. "My dear sweet lass," he shook his head grinning as he did, "you have not a say now! You're always asking for someone else's opinion."

Her face turned grim, "You don't understand… My mother was slave to my father because she married higher. She, like I, cherished all things with life; father, on the other hand, cared not and let so many things die…"

"Then what, pray tell, does that," he pointed to the object on the table, "have anything to do with our, your, situation."

"Everything." Her voice was quiet as if what she was about to say was forbidden.

"How so?"

"Many, many years ago as my grandfather told me there were Necromancers. They were searching for components to make an artifact they already possessed even more powerful. They found everything they needed and the artifact they had changed and enabled its owner to do very powerful and deadly things. A certain Necromancer, by the name of Joelend, took this artifact and destroyed almost all of the other Necromancers. With this artifact he created an undead army that slaughtered its way through the country side. He destroyed countless cities, societies, cultures, and ways of life.

"My grandfather's grandmother, Ava, had lost her entire family due to Joelend so she raised an army to counter this Necromancer… She barely made it out alive but, she took with her the artifact that gave him his power. Without the artifact he wasn't able to build his army up again anywhere near as quickly as Ava did. She came back and destroyed him and his army.

"Ever since then it has been my family's duty to keep it secret; to keep it safe. The legend of Joelend became nothing more than a myth use to scare little children into behaving. And even then people did what they could to keep all of this a secret so that no one would know where the artifact is. Some say it was just a plague that swept though the land and there were other things that were said but all had decided that the future generations must not know of its existence.

"Grandfather gave this to me because he didn't trust father with it. He knew that he would try to use it and end up destroying everything. But he said that he trusted me and he knew that one day I would need it and when the time came I would know that I would have to use it and everything will be alright."

"So why would we need this. You're not a Necromancer."

"No, I am not. But there is a lord who lives not far from here that is."


"We can go to him and offer this artifact to him in return for an alliance."


"He can help us. He would surely know how to use this."

"Idalee!" Carodoc was becoming impatient and concerned; he never liked not being in control of a situation. "How can I shield you from the danger when you are jumping face first into it? You're not ready for the world. You're not ready for this."

"He can help us until we can get an army large enough to deal with Dyadric. Please, I know that you tend to doubt everything and that you are uncertain about this but I know this was what my grandfather was talking about. This can save us."

"And what if he were to turn on us?"

"But," she paused for a moment as if confronted with something she did not do, "he wouldn't…"

"How do you know that?"

"I don't… but if we do nothing then Dyadric wins." She grabbed his arm and tugged gently. "Please, I'll take my own life before I would go to his bed."

"Don't say that."

"I would be so lonesome. And I would hate life. He would also take your life. My dear friend, I could never live on without you in my life. I need you here with me… You are such a kind friend."

A sharp pain shot into Carodoc's chest. "Why does she do this to me? My hopes, my dreams are to be with her. How many times have I thought of her in my arms? And yet, now she is so close and so far. Could she ever love me more than just as a brother? Does she love me more than just a brother?"

"My dear sweet lass," Carodoc began slowly, "if this is what you want to do…" he stopped feeling the pain of possibly loosing her; "my sweet little flower," the memory of that pet name caused him to ache terribly, "then I shall follow your every step. I love you too much to let you do this alone." "If only you knew how much that is true."

"Me dear sweet friend," Idalee wrapped her arms tightly around Carodoc's waist. "Thank you so much for trusting me." Idalee turned and ran out of the room preparing to go.

"My lovely lass," Carodoc began to think, "you shall always be mine. Neither man nor being shall tare you from my arms."