Ok well in this chapter I have started to go a little off trail... the song in the chapter is called 'Drummer Girl' I found while googling traditional bardic song, it has a really funky little tune I would post url but cant remember it. I also just discovered Fairy Dragons are multicolour and eat buys and berrier... oh well Tiryns always said he was different. I also realize that I may be making my characters very one dimentional but hoping it to change as for Kat she is still a child by elven standards they arent physically mature until 25 years or emotionally mature until 125 (according to wikipedia) so I still want her to be a child for the first while and slowly mature. Any constructive advice would be more than welcome :) as with the last chapter I am kind of trying to hurry things someone along as I'm bored which ironically is why I am writing in the first place.

Chapter Six

Despite the hour long lecture that the girls were forced to sit through, the irremovable belt and the fact the a two day trip to Beregost had taken four days due to the girl's many sidetrack adventures. By the time they had arrived at Beregost Jaheira released a mighty sigh of relief as her feet the cobblestone ground.

The girls on the other hand gasped with excitement. There were buildings everywhere, people wondering down the street some pushing wagons filled with variety of items. Fish, Fruit, jewels even life animals. Kat refused to over think that purpose these animals would be bought for.

Imoen gasped at the a little white bunny rabbit, glancing at Kat expectantly that just shook her head.

"Aww, but his so cute. I could hide him in my backpack and let him out at rest times." Imoen whined. Kat continued to shake her head walking away from the wagon.

"You have a pet!" She sulked.

Tiryns stalked his head out hissing venomously towards Imoen.

Who is that pink piƱata calling a PET

The smells of fresh bread assaulted her nose, causing a great grumble in her stomach. Montaron had already disappeared within the crowd no doubt planning to pickpocket another poor soul.

"We will be at the temple... removing this curse!" Jaheira growled through clenched teeth her arms folded against her chest. Kat looked down, her face becoming red. In her defence how was she meant to know that the belt was cursed and irremovable? Khalid moved past the group silently catching up with Jaheira and believed earshot.

"Jaheira would it be unmanly to admit, I'm going to miss wearing a gown... its free and refreshing I don't know why you don't wear them"

"Ok I acquired our gold let's go shipping, I need a new pink cloak, a new..." Imoen counted her list on her fingers.

"Acquired?" Kat asked smirking.

"Yes 'Acquired' for Jaheira... anyway I need new shoes, a fluffy bunny and..."

"So you stole it"

"Yes mum did you want to go shopping or not?" Imoen raised an eyebrow.

"I suppose, I would like to get a new dagger, the ogre bent mine."

"Then shut up and let's go shopping, oh I need a new pot, you can pay cause it was your fault that I put a hole into it anyway.

Kat rolled her eyes at this point knowing her friend well enough to know there was no way that Kat could win this argument. Taking Tiryns from her cloak and allowing him to float around beside her, licking his purple lips at the sight of a group of yellow chicks in the market place.

It had taken Imoen less than an hour to spend a good portion of the parties gold... only with Katriel's intervention did some of the money actually go towards the parties best interest and asking Tiryns steal the last of the money before Imoen found a pink bow with matching pink arrows.

Imoen's arms were full as she weaved through the crowd of people; she had tried to con Katriel into carrying her gear but to no avail so had resigned herself to sulking. Up ahead a beautiful note rang out. Kat's ears twitched as she looked up towards the sound, a wide grin spread across her face lighting up her lavender eyes. Without a single warning towards Imoen, Kat bounded off twirling between villages as only someone from elven heritage could.

Twirling faster and faster as she removed herself from the crowd, a female bard and company were in the town centre, set up was a women singing, a young man on the drums and another on a set of flutes.

"With me fine cap and feathers, likewise me rattling drum
They learn-ed me to play upon the ra-ba-da-ba-dum
With me gentle waist so slender, me fingers long and small
I could play upon the ra-ba-dum the best of them all

And so many were the ranks that I saw among the French
And so boldly did I fight me boys although I'm but a wench
And I buttoned then up me trousers so up to them I smiled
To think I'd live with a thousand men and a maiden all the while

With me fine cap and feathers, likewise me rattling drum
They learn-ed me to play upon the ra-ba-da-ba-dum
With me gentle waist so slender, me fingers long and small
I could play upon the ra-ba-dum the best of them all

And they never found my secret out until this very hour
When they sent me out to London to be sentry at the Tower
When a young girl fell in love with me and she found that I's a maid
She went out to me officer me secret she betrayed

With me fine cap and feathers, likewise me rattling drum
They learn-ed me to play upon the ra-ba-da-ba-dum
With me gentle waist so slender, me fingers long and small
I could play upon the ra-ba-dum the best of them all

He unbuttoned then my red uniform and he found that it was true
"It's a shame", he says "to lose a pretty drummer boy like you"
So now I must return to me mum and dad at home
And along with me old comrades no longer can I roam "

Katriel moved with the music, her body flowing with the rhythm as she danced. It had been what felt like an eternity since she had felt a connection to her goddess Liira... she was the human goddess of joy and the only one that Kat ever imagined deserved her worship. She could hear the clapping of the crowd in time with the music as people circled around her.

The music stopped, dissolving the world Kat had created for herself, panting slightly she grinned towards Imoen and Tiryns.

Show off

One of the bards walked up towards Kat smiling and handing her a card that said Dale Wind Troubadours.

"My associate would like a word, she has a proposition for you" He smiled the sort of smile that lit up his blue eyes, he passed his hand through his silky brown hair and with a wink he moved back to his companions. Kat watched curious as another young man removed himself from the crowd and started chatting to the group handing them something.

"Wow who was that? He was cute" Imoen grinned walking across to Kat and grabbing the card out of her hand, and turning it over.

"What do you think they want? To offer a job?" Imoen asked.

"Only one way to find out." Kat shrugged moving towards the musical party and the young man who had offered the card, he smiled as she approached, he indicated to the others to leave him.

"Who is this associate?"

The young man winked and motioned for the two girls to follow him down into an alleyway where a woman was standing, her face completely obscured by her pale blue cloak and hood.

"So Garrick you believe this waif can truly help me? I asked for adventures not a dancer" The woman sneered.

"Both her and her companions are well armed... and willing to aid us given the limited timeframe" Garrick glanced across at Kat and Imoen. It was obvious from his gaze that they weren't the first group that he had tried to rope into this task.

"How very valiant they are." Silke grinned now brightly removing her hood. Kat rolled her eyes why were bards always so dramatic, this was part she asked them to kill some rats... because Kat swore she would never be roped into that again.

"You must be wondering what I require from you. It is but a small task some roughens have been threatening my life and I only require adequate protection while meeting with their leader."

Kat motioned Imoen to the side.

"Imoen, I don't think we are ready for this... we should wait for the others,"

"Oh did I mention I will pay each of you 50 gold for the completion of this task." Silke interrupted, Imoen grabbed Kat's arm with excitement.

"You do keep saying that we need to find a way to earn gold now we're on our own." Imoen smiled no doubt her mind drifting to the many different items that she could be with her half. Katriel looking up to Tiryns expectantly.

What about my share? I would like nice leg of cow... well done preferably.

"Fine... we're in. So you just want us to stand over here looking menacing?" Kat asked throwing her dark brown hood over her head and scowling. She experimented with a couple of poses choosing to stand there head down and hands and fingers moving as if ready for spell craft.

"Ooo good one Kat." Imoen grinned, forcing her facial features into a sneer, her upper lip perched high. She held out two swords that had been perched at her side.

"Since when have you been able to duel-wield?" Kat asked curious watching Imoen slash the swords around.

"What?"

"Use two swords at once?" Kat rolled her eyes.

"ohh, I just thought it looked cool... I just got them at the marketplace."

We are going to die.

"Shush you, and try and look as scary as a purple fairy dragon can look."

The small dragon puffed out his chest, whipping his long tail around.

I have you know I come from a very distinguished and intimidating family

"I know I call them real dragons." Kat teased as a group of men started to walk down the alleyway making a beeline towards Silke. Tiryns blew a small puff of steam through his nostrils still glaring at Kat.

The men were dressed unexpectedly average... they had no armour on or weaponry. They appeared laughing and joking with one another even so far as greeting Silke with a smile. In fact their body language itself was at ease, much in contrast to Kat and Imoen's strained positions. One of the men looked towards Katriel confused, before tipping his hat towards her and whispering towards his mate.

"Check it out the elf, a pretty little thing,"

Katriel felt her cheeks redden as Imoen bit her lip to stop from laughing... this whole intimidation was harder than she thought.

"Hey Silk, we have brought the..."

"Quick mercenaries attack!" Silke yelled.

Imoen looked towards Katriel waiting for her to make a move... any move yet Kat just stood staring at the three men, weighing up the situation.

I believe you actually chose a clever fight, instead of a hungry ogre you choose scared merchants. Tiryns mentioned moving towards the hat wearing merchant circling him before creating a loud hiss. The merchant jumped while Tiryns started to snigger as flying back towards Kat whose arms were firmly folded.

"I will not attack these men... they are clearly not roughens here to threaten you. Who are they Silke?" Kat demanded taking a step towards her employer. Even Garrick took a step back with the look in Katriel's eyes in the meantime Silke yawned.

"Do I have to do everything myself!" She exclaimed pulling a staff from god knows where.

Kat could feel the magical energy encircling the woman; it made the hairs on her skin tingle.

"Run." Katriel demanded of the three men allowing them to pass her as she also started to manipulate the magical energy surrounding them. Imoen took a lunge towards the woman who had created a force field around herself. Clearly ignoring Imoen's attacks the woman moved closer towards Katriel.

Her heart was beating... her instinct screaming to do something, the familiar bubble in her stomach growing, like what had happened with the ogre. No! She would not become a killer, not again, she would be the better person. The woman didn't need any spells, using her staff, she slammed in into Kat's stomach as she continued to refuse to attack before slamming it once again into Katriel's head as she dropped to the ground head bleeding.

Tiryns flew down to Katriel casting shield around his master trying to prevent the staff attack. A cruel grin crept onto the woman's face as she dropped her staff and continued to draw in power in preparation of a spell.

With a laugh a she cast lightning bolt from her hands turning last minute from Katriel towards a lunging Imoen.

Imoen gave out a small cry of shock before crumpling to the ground, her face pale and eye unseeing. The electric bolt continued down the alley and out into the street, there was a loud scream as the bolt claimed a second causality.

Katriel cried out trying to force her body to stand. The slight of Imoen laying on the ground was too much she casted missile bolt, the purple glowing of her hands abruptly stopped as her spell fizzled out.

"I would almost feel sorry for amateur such as your-self. Almost" Silke laughed once again begining to draw in power. Katriel braced herself again the wall for the attack which never came... instead Silke mouth formed a sudden surprised O before she dropped towards the ground a familier dagger sticking in her back and a grubby gnome behind her brushing off his hands.

"Send the rot towards all measly mages... forget spells, I never meet mage that wouldn't drop dead like the rest of us with a blade through his back.

Katriel ignored the thief as he wiped off the blood from his dagger onto his clothing. Katriel dropped at Imoen's side desperately looking for a pulse or any sign of life.

"Foolish child." A female voice snapped. Jaheira stared at Katriel accusingly, the once again male Khalid gently moved Kat out of the way as he examined Imoen.

"Is she?" Katriel meekly muttered her head down as tears flowed down her cheeks.

"Yes." Jaheira stated firmly.

Dropping her head into her hands Katriel wept, Tiryns curled himself around her shoulders.

"Excuse me..." A meek voice called out coming out from behind a couple of tin bins. It was the young man that had hired them Katriel anger flared at the sight of him throwing herself at him. She didn't need magic right now, slamming into his body into the dirt. Garrick was too surprised to stop her only just able to loft his hands to cover his face from the surprisingly strong elven girl.

"K-Katriel" Khalid exclaimed pulling Kat off the young man, who hesitantly got up and brushing the dirt off himself.

"You have precisely a minute before I tell my husband to release his charge... What do you want?"

The young man gazed towards Katriel worried as she glared back wrestling within Khalid's arms.

"I only wish... I never meant this to happen... Silke... I didn't know she would go this far"

"Is that all you can say!" Kat accused. If she didn't need calm mind and her hands she would have blasted him to another plane by now. Garrick gazed across at Kat smiling gently.

"I would like to help... I have the money Silke promised you and the... the money that er... from the show earlier"

Kat paused. "The show earlier you guys weren't collecting money... oh... you were stealing it weren't you! While the music was playing that man in black he was pick-pocketing the crowd"

Garrick at least had the decency to appear sheepish.

"Yes well... the point is I would like you to use it... it should be enough to hire the clerics of Lathandrer, if you are quick." Garrick started handing the money across to Jaheira who turned towards Khalid nodding towards him; he automatically released Kat and went over to pick Imoen's body from the ground.

"Khalid, Here is the money; take her to the temple. Ask them to do all they can, I shall converse with Gorion's ward." Jaheira glared once again at Kat who shuffled refusing to meet Jaheira's eyes.

"Excuse me... can I come? I would like to make sure she is ok" Garrick asked passively. Jaheira waved her hand dismissively as Khalid and Garrick left with Imoen.

"Come!" Jaheira instructed and starting to lead Katriel out of the alleyway pausing to look behind her at the following Montaron.

"What are you doing?"

"I wanted to see you spank her"

"What"

"I thought it was the most appropriate way in which one woman punish another... or maybe with knifes, a small cut here, another there" Montaron's face light up with maniacal enthusiasm. Kat just gapped at him... she really was having second thoughts about her companions.

Jaheira frowned before turning away and walking off with Kat at her heel and leave Montaron unwisely to his own devices.

Jahiera led Katriel out of the city into a nearby wood. The wood was uncomfortably quiet, despite being an elf and apparently close to nature Kat never really felt the thrall of the forest sure some places were pretty such as waterfalls and the like... or a flower with dew resting on it. But as a whole the forest was quiet, disconcerting as most trees all looked the same and a person could get turned around so easy in fact Imoen and Katriel had spent majority of their first day walking around in circles.

Kat sent a worried glance towards Jaheira; this wasn't going to be one of survival hikes where she is abandoned in the wild and expected to survive on her own... she knew she should have paid more attention in herb's and plants properties. Karin had tried to convince her that one day she might need to recognize the difference between eatable red berries and poisonous one. Kat glanced towards a bush with red berries and wondered idly whether they would be poisonous.

Jaheira stopped suddenly turning back towards K at.

"This is much better... now what do you have to say for yourself?"

Katriel didn't really know why this was a better place than a city to be given a lecture unless of cause Jaheira was planning to kill her and hid the body... in that case the forest was perfect.

"I... um..."

"You led Imoen into danger! You were both lucky to survive the ogre but then we find you fighting a higher level mage you have companions for a reason Katriel" She growled.

"But it was Imoen idea..."

"I don't care whose idea it was, it was your responsibility to take control of the situation. Do you think you are on a vacation? Do you even understand your responsibilities... first Gorion died because or you! The assassins are after you! And they will not stop and yet you needless act like a child and lead companions into danger. If you don't grow up more of us will die like Imoen and our blood will be on your hands." Jaheira yelled starting to walk off without the very much dejected Katriel.

Before leaving Jaheira turns back to face Kat her brown eyes soften.

"Katriel, I will not fail Gorion. You will be prepared." And with that the half elven druid left Katriel to her misery.

Katriel sat still upon a rock just staring blankly at the world around her... was she really at fault? Was it truly her fault that Gorion and Imoen died...she wasn't a leader why would it be her fault when a companion died? A deep knot of guilt now built up in her, if it wasn't for her Gorion would be alive, Imoen would still be driving Winthrope crazy. Khalid and Jaheira wouldn't have babysitting duties and Xzar and Montaron well they might have still been waiting on the road... not necessarily a bad thing.

By the time night fell Katriel had realized the truth in Jaheira's word... it was her responsibility to find Gorion's murderer regardless of how much she feared the armored figure. She also wouldn't succeed in achieving this without becoming stronger... Gorion was a strong mage and it didn't help him, she needed to prepare. Lying down on the soft grass she gazed up at the stars, finding the differing constellations, she had little interest in returning to town just yet.