Dry Wells

I don’t feel like a writer lately.

I don’t even feel like a “Christian” lately.

My motivation feels as though it fell into the black hole in the sea.

great-blue-hole-at-belize

Right there.  Swallowing all of me whole.

Life with littles has taken me over, and I attend the needs of children all day long.  Losing focus on the things I love, and the things I very much need to do.

I’m not crazy brilliant, with unending knowledge to tell you how to write. I don’t have tips and tricks, I simply write when the story is alive in my brain-watching it play like a movie. And when the scene closes, I stop writing.

The desire to write is a roller coaster affair. The swells and urges come and go, and you ride them one hill at a time. Each crescendo feels more exciting than the last– until you hit the low points. And my god, are they low.

Doubt, self-loathing, “why would anyone want to read me anyway? I’m a fraud.”
Driving us to drink, because we aren’t committed to the pen as William Shakespear might have been. Brilliance one poetic play at a time! Surely that man had it together.

It’s really pretty black and white.
You write? You’re a writer.
You’re published? You’re an author.

You. Are. Real. No matter if you’re in a mountain of a block, or an ant hill. The words will always be locked in your heart, you were destined to think them. The urge will always be in your mind. You were destined to hear them.
If the words can’t hit the paper, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.
It means you need a break. And not from writing-you’re already on a break from writing. ((Blocked, break, same thing….))
Life is just as much a roller coaster of swells and crescendos.
If your writing causes you to miss out on the precious, fleeting moments Life offers-you’re writing for the wrong reason.
Step out into Awareness. Feel life. Enjoy it. Watch your kids grow. Watch your nephews and nieces grow. Love your family. Live in Today.
Tomorrow has enough worries of it’s own.

Jesus Christ said “Do not worry about tomorrow. For tomorrow will worry about itself.”
Hinduism, Buddism, Christianity and Judaism, all of us can agree to be Ever Present in Today.

Take little steps at a time, and before you know it, you’ll end up at the otherside of the room.

……I don’t even remember how this blog started or where I was going with it.
In the end, I’m glad it presented a simple message. Today is worth living for.

Earlier I said to my husband, “No time like the past to regret the present.”
It was a tongue in cheek joke at the time, but now I see how profound it was.

Good talk. Perhaps one of these days I’ll have more insight.

I’m sure most of you have forgotten I exist, and thanks to my second child and lapse in The Ranger of Severum, I’m pretty sure you guys aren’t even interested in the next episode either.
It’s going to be good…. when it gets off it’s feet.
Meanwhile in Eldegras, I am muddling through the first draft at a very slow pace. Paul gave me deadlines to help work towards publishing. I’m aiming for them but life has been RIDICULOUS. I hope April is slower. I’m tired of turning around to find the month is over and I have nothing to show for it.

How about you? How are you doing?
Are you reading my blog?
Is there anything I should do different?
Leave me a comment. Chat with me. I’d like to get to know my readers 🙂

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The Ranger Of Severum: Episode 9

While Trillian was on his way through the city, Yulissa found him first, “Trillian!” he heard her call. Looking around for her, he tried to swallow the lump of nervousness building in his throat. His eyes lighted on her coming across the square.  She was dressed in riding clothes which accentuated her willowy figure. He couldn’t help but admire the way she looked in them as her cloak swirled with her quick steps.  Her boots rode up to her knees, hiding whatever was left of her burgundy leggings which dove into them.  Her traveling tunic was grey, she wore a dark leather vest, and matching belts about her waist.  Her cloak swagged over to one shoulder, clasping in a large golden brooch, and her hair was braided hanging over one shoulder.  Trillian wished he could stop looking, but with women off limits, he’d never had the chance to really admire them before.

Her brow drew together in confusion as she approached, “Aren’t your wings healed?”

Watching her eyes flick back and forth caused his heart to skip a beat, “Um, yes.” He stuttered, “I haven’t tried to hide them away yet.”

“Could you try?” She prodded with a hint of alarm.

He smiled playfully, “Do they bother you?”

Her expression did not relax as she laughed, “No, not at all. It is rather important, though, that you do.”

“Why?” Trillian asked with a laugh, though the way she asked cause an alarm to sound in his head.

Yulissa’s actions gave him the impression she was in a hurry. Visibly she tried to relax and smile, “I haven’t had the opportunity to see you without them.”

Raising his brow, he tried to figure her out. He didn’t care for the way she nervously looked about, or how she seemed to fidget impatiently. After all, in his mind, she could have left the city at any point if it bothered her so much. And why was she so interested in him all of a sudden?

Trillian had to admit after six weeks of this cumbersome wear of his wings, he was ready to hide them away again. Standing his full height – which was difficult enough with the kink in his spine – Trillian dropped his head back, bracing in case of lingering pain, and folded his wings. He didn’t know what it looked like to hide them away, only what it felt like, but considering the woman’s reaction, Trillian could only guess it was certainly an unusual sight.

Yulissa’s eyes had widened, whether it was out of fear of disbelief Trillian did not have time to ask. As soon as his wings disappeared, she took hold of his arm, “Alright. Come with me. We haven’t any time to lose. Quick, this way.”

Bewildered with confusion, Trillian found himself following. “Where are we going?”

“No time to talk.” Yulissa stated, dashing to the northern side of the village.

Darting between row houses and narrow alleys, Trillian tried to make sense of the situation. Considering it had been his home for the last twelve years, it felt strange to be sneaking through the town. A few villagers watched curiously as they fled through the back streets. Trillian did his best to not make eye contact, feeling his cheeks redden with embarrassment.

When Yulissa finally did stop they were in the forest, safely out of sight from Severum.

“Would you mind telling me what this is about?” Trillian panted. Having physically exerted himself for the first time in six weeks he felt as though he might fall to his knees. Not to mention his aching back from sagging to one side for so long.

Taking three exaggerated steps toward a large oak tree, then five more to the right towards a pile of bramble, Yulissa crouched and began digging with her hands, “There isn’t much time to explain, my ship leaves tomorrow morning, and we need time to travel.”

Trillian reeled back, “What do you mean time to travel? I can’t leave Severum, you’re out of your mind. We don’t even know you.”

“The name is Yulissa, I’m a Realm Jumper, your life is in great danger.” Brushing off a small pouch, she opened it checking it’s contents. Seeming satisfied, she closed it up again, sticking it under her belt, then took six exaggerated steps to a grouping of bushes.

“My life? How would you know?”

Bending down into the bushes, she pulled out two large packs, “Listen Trillian, I’ll have plenty of time to tell you later, but right now you need to move.”

Irritation growing, Trillian put his hands to his hips, “If you don’t start talking right now I am going to—”

“Here.” She tossed him one of the packs carelessly, clearly not paying any attention. “And here is a cannister of water. You might want to drink some now before we get going, you sound rather thirsty.” She was referring to his pant.

He looked down at the cannister, then back at her. Yulissa pulled the strap of her bag over her shoulder, tapping her foot as though impatiently waiting for him to drink.

Trillian again found himself complying to the request. After a long drink of water, he did feel a bit refreshed. He capped the cannister off, putting the strap around his neck.

They stood staring at each other, both expecting the other to do something.

“You good?” She threw her hands out, “We need to go.”

“First, I need to know where you’re taking me.”

Yulissa shook her head, “Even if I told you, you’d never believe me.”

Trillian grit his teeth. His curiosity had kicked in, which created a great deal of conflict in his head. His duty to Severum and the likelihood of being murdered by Sideon for running off being the highest of confliction.  “I’m not going to go with you unless you give me some kind of reasonable response. My life could very well be in danger if I left the Severum.”

“You mean Sideon?” She laughed, “Your step-father is a coward. Especially since he thinks primitive distractions like women need sent off and away from his boys so they can fight mindlessly for him.”

“This coward you reference took the city over and killed my father.” Trillian defended angrily, “Who do you think you are anyway?”

Yulissa huffed, “Trillian, I guarantee I am your friend. Mark my words, Sideon is a coward. Everyone in all the Realms knows it, except for you blind fools in Langoria. Why nobody has tried to overturn your ridiculous leader is beyond me. Clearly your realm fantasizes your dark ages too strongly to have any form of common sense!”

“You’re unbelievable.” He exclaimed, “Are you listening to a wor—”

“No, you listen to me,” she started with vehemence, “you are wasting valuable time. Either you come with me willingly, or I will tie you up and drag you along behind me, do you understand?”

Taken aback, the ranger was at a loss for a reply. His mouth dropped open, but nothing came out as they met eyes.

“Good.” She whirled around, “now follow me. We haven’t much time.”

The ranger found himself complying yet again, put his pack over his good shoulder, and followed silently behind her into the forest.

The Ranger Of Severum: Episode 7

“These are rare artifacts.” The man squinted deeper, scrunching his nose as he pinched the manacle between his brow and cheek, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shinier gem.” He spun a large, blue gemstone slowly in the light of a candle.

“How much would you say it’s worth?” Yulissa asked with a smooth, nonchalant tone, sweeping her hand through her hair. She already knew how much it was worth. She casually leaned one hip against the counter, supporting her weight on her elbow.

Frowning deeply the shop keeper took the manacle from his eye, “Much more than I can afford to give you, but, we might settle on a fair price?” His comical appearance was enhanced as he twitched his white mustache under his large pointed nose, blinking once at her. He had a tuft of white hair brushed to one side crowning the top of his head, while the rest encircled the middle from ear to ear.

She heard him tapping his foot, and wondered briefly if it was a habit, or to hurry her decision along. Cupping her chin, she tapped at her jawline with her forefinger, “That sounds nice, but I’m almost certain I can get a better price at the docks.” She ran her fingers lightly over a golden pocket watch, beside of which was a pendant made from a dragon’s scale, a black pearl necklace, an elegant tea cup made from what appeared to be silver. Other things that had dropped out of her bag were shining golden pyramid-like dice, red, green and lavender gemstones, and finally a kerchief made of the finest silk.

His eyes went wide, under large white eyebrows, “The docks!” He exclaimed, “Now see here, little lady, I’m just as good as any merchant, and I can guarantee a good price.” He put a finger up, “I just can’t buy all of it right now, see?”

Nodding thoughtfully, Yulissa scanned over the items on the counter. Money wasn’t an issue, this last job she completed lined her pockets enough for the next five years. And if she was able to convince Trillian, a unique specimen indeed, to accompany her across the Realms, there would be enough money to live comfortably for the rest of her life. The task was simple really, all her clients wanted was the half-breed, alive and unscathed. This did come with a few complications since, after all, Trillian had been injured. She had it on good report, though, that Trillian was healing quickly.

Taking another sweeping gaze at the items sprawled on the counter, she finally spoke, “When would a buyer come though town to relieve you of these trinkets?”

“Let’s see, we’re half-way into the month,” he began calculating with his fingers, “In.. three weeks?” He looked quizzically at her, and then softened his expression, “If you would consider, I could give you half of the payment now, and the other half when they’re bought.”

That was too much time to linger in the Severum. She picked a few things bag up, securing them into her leather bag, “How about the cup, the watch, the silk piece, and the black pearls?”

The man calculated again with his fingers, and then scribbled a few things down on a piece of paper. After scratching at the top of his head, and then his chin a few times, he finally looked back at her, “Yes. That is acceptable.”

Yulissa could tell that he was some what distraught. Slowly, he counted the money out on the counter to her, first in notes, and then in coins.

Soon, the transaction was complete and Yulissa was finally free of the little shop, and the funny little man.

Clutching her leather pack tighter, the woman started back across the town to the inn she was staying at.

The village was gray and dismal. All of the buildings were made of gray stone, their roofs were shingled in dark slate, and the streets were nothing but black and gray mud.

In the past three weeks, Yulissa had learned more about Severum than she had ever wished. Sideon was an evil tyrant who had the nerve to call himself “Master Of The Severum”. He had rounded up the women and locked them up to serve as chambermaids. Next, he banished the children to the monasteries of Fargorath.

Things had not always been this way. Once, children roamed the streets, women were free to come and go at will, couples lived happily. The Severum was known for Peace and Protection, and it’s Rangers aided the people, always lending assistance as it was needed.

Quickening her step, Yulissa noticed the men eying her suspiciously, she hurried back to the safe quarters of her room.

There wasn’t a great deal of time left, she needed to talk to Trillian and convince him to leave with her as quickly as possible. The Realm Gate would be closing soon, and if she didn’t make it, she’d be trapped in Langoria for a year. Of all the realms, this was most certainly the last she’d consider for touring.

After making sure her treasures were safely secured, she decided it was time to go to the Severum and find Trillian.

The Ranger Of Severum: Episode 6

The day had started like any other. Boring, drab, with the threat of rain. But it was a special day. The Rangers were returning from Pelivain. It meant his father would be home again.

Trillian watched out the window at the gates, his young heart beating with anticipation and longing.

“Trillian.” The beautiful voice of his mother sung out to him.

The boy reluctantly pushed off of the window and hurried out of his room to find her.

Her voice continued to stretch through the halls calling out, “Trillian? Trillian where are you?”

“I’m coming, mother, I’m coming.” He tried to follow the sounds of the echoes. Each of the rooms that she usually kept to were empty, and the sound of her voice was getting further and further away, “Mother?” He shouted desperately. The beat of his heart quickened as Trillian left the east wing of the Severum, “Mother?” He continued to call nervously, now aware that he was quickly going to be someplace he wasn’t allowed to go.

Sideon, the Master of the Rangers of Severum, walked out of the library looking for Trillian.

“There you are boy.” His tone was gentle, as though beckoning Trillian to him, “Your mother is here, child.”

The little boy was frightened of Sideon, the Master behaved like a good man, but Trillian knew better. His mother had been called away to see Sideon, coming back crying one too many times. Trillian was right to fear him, and deep in his heart he hated the man for making his mother cry.

In slow, heavy steps, as though his feet were weighted with lead, Trillian moved toward Sideon, not at all trusting the man. The only sound he could hear was his racing heart, as his stomach churned violently.

Sideon held his arm outstretched towards the library door.  The boy continued in his fearful steps, reluctant to see what was behind the door.

Indeed, his mother stood there. Her arms crossed and her eyes seeming sad. She appeared to be unharmed, but the little boy could tell something was wrong.

“Trillian.” She exclaimed, opening her arms to him.

The boy ran eagerly into his mothers embrace, “What? What is it mother?” He asked, trying to swallow the lump gathering in his throat from fear.

She released him, kneeling down to look into his eyes, “Trillian, you father—” She hesitated. Her bright blue eyes looking past Trillian’s to Sideon. “Your father,” she started again, “is—”

Trillian’s eyes stretched open wide fearing what her hesitation meant, “He’s what?” He begged, “He’s what, mother?”

“Now Trillian, you must be brave.” He heard Sideon say, “Your mother is going to need you to be brave for her, because she can’t do it alone.”

“What is it mother?” Little Trillian shouted.

She smiled softly, “He’s not coming home.” The smile fell and her eyes blinked out tears.

“You’re lying.” Trillian started shaking, “You’re lying!” He shouted. “He promised he would be back, and he never breaks his promises.”

“No, Trillian. He doesn’t. Your father never breaks his promises.” His mother’s tears were now streaming down her cheeks, and her lip trembled, “But sometimes, things can happen. And these things cause people to break promises without meaning to.”

“What she means child, is that your father is dead.”

As though a spike were shoved through Trillian’s chest, the boy turned and violently shouted at Sideon, “You killed him. You did this!” Heaving several times, with tears spilling down his cheeks, Trillian ran from the room.

While the boy ran, the floor seemed to swell and blur from under his feet, the stone halls of the Severum shifting into a dark forest.

Just ahead of him, a group of rangers were huddled around something lying on the ground.

Approaching softly, the little boy heard one of them say the man was gone, it was no use. He was dead.

The figures wavered for a moment before disappearing altogether, but the body was still there, lying on the ground.

The boy trembled uncontrollably, weeping as he approached, knowing who it was before he even got there.

“Father?” Trillian walked in hesitant steps toward the body. He had never seen a corpse before, and the graying skin frightened him. He continued to weep, his mind desperately tried to divert his eyes.

 

Trillian awoke with a start, sitting up quickly. His breath hissed through his teeth as he choked back the lump growing in his throat. Running his hands through his long dark hair, hanging loose about his shoulders, he shook his head several times, as though trying to clear out the darkness and clinging emotions lingering from the nightmare.

He always woke at the same moment. Always just before he had the opportunity to see his father’s cold, dark eyes, staring at the sky. Always before he had the chance to know what his father looked like at the moment of his passing. Always just short of coming to peace with the fact that his father was gone.

It had been said that his father died in the skirmishes they encountered with the druids. Trillian, however, suspected that he was murdered.

Sideon was deeply attracted to Trillian’s mother, and whenever his father left, the Master would lure her away for hours at a time. It did not take long after his fathers death for Sideon to offer marriage to his mother. Before he knew it, they wed, moved into Sideon’s wing of the Severum, and Trillian was immediately forsaken by all of his peers.

The awareness of his healing wings came to mind, as a cramp that had built from the way he had to sleep started to spread through his side. They had moved his bed from the wall in order to situate a sort of hammock next to the bed, so Trillian could rest his wings onto it while he slept. This took the strain off of his back, giving him room to relax. In the beginning it took help to figure out, but now he was able to manage himself, and hopefully he wouldn’t have to worry about it very much longer.

It had been three weeks since the injury. A smile tugged on his lips, three weeks since he had met Yulissa. Although there hadn’t been opportunity to see her since their meeting, he couldn’t help remembering the way her hands felt on his back. When the surgeon had finished putting him back together, Trillian had decided he much preferred Yulissa’s gentle, delicate way of attention. She did not cause more pain in the process. Though, he was quite glad they would be healing properly.

Trillian was plagued by the nightmare and wasn’t sure if he could go back to sleep. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he reached out and touched the lamp wick catching it aflame.

Massaging his side, attempting to bend the other direction to stretch it out. With his wings, this proved difficult, but with enough adjusting and shifting, he was able to find a comfortable position to relax in.

He sat back again, rubbing his brow. Morning wasn’t for a few more hours. Maybe after breakfast he would check in on the woman. He found himself strangely curious to know how she was doing. At least she took his mind off of the nightmare. For now.

The Ranger Of Severum: Episode 5

Trillian held his breath as the musty scent of the damp palace filled his nostrils. The women of Severum were allowed to clean, but Sideon preferred the depressing, gloomy air that hung even in the open areas of the Palace. It fed his evil soul the tiniest bit of comfort. Trillian did not find the air unbearable. The Master Trainers and Rangers were allowed brighten the fragrance of their rooms with the spicy aroma of pine. Though dreading the scent, Trillian also found it welcoming because it meant he was home.

The Ranger walked swiftly into his Master’s study, fearing the punishment in store for him. When angry, Trillian was the one Sideon took it out on.

Trillian was different from the others, his tolerance to withstand punishment was higher than most anyone else’s in Severum. He could bear it without discouragement, whereas many of the other men found themselves degraded and self-conscious.

Sideon wanted a chance to break that in him and to cause Trillian to crumble as the others, but his attempts were frustratingly futile.

Trillian stood at the door in procrastination. He finally raised his fist to knock just as the door swung open.

There, face to face, Trillian met Sideon.

“So, you finally come to me?” The Lord of the Rangers started.

His dark hair was pulled back and held in place at the nape of his neck. Streaks of gray ran above his ears and one shock trailed from the center of his brow down the back of his head.

The Old Master was in his five hundredth year and his life was coming to a close, though at least another hundred lay before him, belying the signs of age.

His angular face smoothed with relief, “Trillian, you are well aware that keeping me waiting is not a good idea. You know what happens to those who try my patience.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Wake up in a nightmare, you will, if I catch you coming to me late again.” As Sideon closed the door behind Trillian, the Master’s attention was drawn immediately to the severed wing which hung helplessly down the left side of Trillian’s back.

“What have you allowed to happen to yourself?” he shouted angrily. Sideon could seem merciful and gracious the one minute, but the next his anger would surpass constraint as he let loose in violent fury.

Trillian held his breath, ready to give his well thought explanation, but before he could begin, Sideon started right into his questions.

“So, did you complete your second mission?” Sideon asked impatiently.

“Yes Master, not one troll was left.”

“You had no encounter with any enemies?” Sideon clearly wanted the account concerning Trillian’s wing.

“This did not happen in Taar.” Trillian began.

“And has it something to do with the woman everyone watched you walk in with? Is she the one who gave improper care to your wing? I know you did not do that.”

The accusing tone in Sideons voice gave Trillian nervous pause.

“Tell me, what was she doing as she bandaged your wing?”

“I made no form of contact with this woman. I merely saved her from a small band of the Druids of Câr. She asked me to escort her to Severum this morning after she had given care to my wounds.”

“I do not believe you,” Sideon said with raised eyebrow. “I will have some of the satraps inquire of her, and if I find any reason for you to not be in earnest, I will send you and her away in disgrace.”

“If you will but give me a chance to explain—” Trillian suddenly collapsed to his knees as pain shot through every nerve in his body.

Sideon contemplated the idea of hearing his explanation, “Very well, I give you five minutes.”

Trillian related every detail that had happened from Taar, to fighting off of the last Druid.

“You used your power against them? You are not one who can work against the powers of the druids. What were you thinking?” Sideon asked angrily.

Trillian nodded, “I know that I should not have been so hasty in the matter, but I found this challenge welcome amid the frame of mind that had settled upon me.”

Sideon remained silent, so Trillian continued.

When the Trillian finished, Sideon sat back reflectively, “Your story does seem to carry some truth in it. You completed the task I sent you forth to do, you earned your punishment for combating alone, and so I suppose there is nothing left for me to do. Well done, Trillian.” He mused, tracing a finger beneath his chin. “What does this woman want?”

“I am not sure,” replied Trillian.

“Then I am giving her situation to you. You are free to go.”

Trillian knit his brow and stood, “Thank you, Master.” he replied slowly.

“Hurry and go to the healer. That wing must be tended immediately.”

“Yes, Master.” Trillian bowed at the waist, then turned to leave. He was confused, but was not going to hesitate for a moment. The mercy he had just acquired was a precious gift indeed. His hand caught the knob, and Trillian was gone without taking a look back.

Sideon almost laughed in glee, as Trillian closed the door behind him. He clapped his hands together in delight, lacing together the pieces of a grand new idea.

“Rûthlion!” Sideon called out.

“Yes sire?” the general entered from a side door.

“I want you to keep an eye on Trillian. This is the second occurrence of such events. You remember what kind of revolt he ensued last time, we do not want that happening again.”

“Yes sire. And the woman?”

“She can remain. Yulissa is promising, maybe she will be the one to beguile him.” Sideon mused.

The Ranger Of Severum: Episode 4

In the remaining moments before dawn Trillian had finally been able to sleep a bit. The storm did not last long, but the rain continued on and off.

Yulissa had stayed beside him all night, after the rain started, but fell asleep as dawn neared.

Trillian had watched the woman sleep. She was a beautiful creature, of that there was no doubt. Her hands had been gentle, her voice soothing, her long, dark hair and eyes… Trillian shook his head, warding off the sudden sensual awareness in his body.

As the sky casting a foreboding red hue upon the fleeing darkness, he moved slowly, so as not to waken Yullissa. Picking up his cloak, which she had used to cover him in an attempt to keep the bindings dry, he clasped it at his neck and put on his belt and quiver. Not wanting to wake her, he tried to leave the campsite quickly with as little noise as possible.

Unfortunately, his attempts were feebly shattered when his maimed wing sent the pots clamoring over one another to the ground.

Yulissa awoke with a start, turning to the warm patch of bramble the ranger had been sleeping on. Her eyes wander nervously until they lighted on Trillian.

He tried desperately -to no avail- to hide his clumsiness, whilst clambering over the pots which now lay scattered in his path.

The lady smiled in amusement.

Trillian glared at the woman, not the least amused.

“Where are you off to in such haste?” she queried.

“I need to return to Severum before my injury gets worse. So I must leave you now.” If he would let himself be truly honest, he did not want to leave the woman behind, but his mind had started clouding with images of her. She was nothing but distracting.

“If you are going to Severum, would you mind taking me as well? It will take only a moment to break camp.”

Trillian heard himself give in to her request. Whether from the need for someone to see him safely home, or the growing awareness in his flesh, he was unsure.

She packed things up and dowsed the fire in moments, and they set off as the gray clouds rumbled again, overhead.

I am never, ever, ever, doing this again. Trillian grumbled.

The woman had been silent most of the journey, and even in the rain she uttered not a word. He knew she must be dreading the weather, but braved it rather well.

When Severum came into view, the rain had not let up, nor had Trillian’s mood.

As they approached the gates to the city, Trillian whistled.

Immediately three rangers appeared at the top of the gate, and began opening it.

One of them, a good friend of Trillian, eyed the Master Trainer warily as they let the woman pass.

He caught the older rangers arm. “Trillian, you know she cannot be seen with you, what will Sideon think?”

“I will explain everything later, Eregoth.” He replied quietly.

“Don’t gamble your hope, Sideon is certainly not in the mood to listen to explanations, especially from you.” Eregoth replied, letting the ranger go. “What did you do to your wing?”

“I ran into a little trouble.” Trillian replied as nonchalantly as was possible.

“A little trouble?” Asked Eregoth, not amused by the way Trillian brushed off the question.

Yulissa watched the men going about their early morning work. Some gathered wood for fires, some carried tools, and some food.

“Where are all of the women of Severum?” she asked.

“They are chambermaids,” replied Trillian, “chambermaids and servants of Sideon.”

“Chambermaids,” Yulissa grew pale. “You mean concubines?”

“In a way I suppose they are. They serve the men whom Sideon wants to ‘breed’. Many of the children you will see in the palace are born here to the women. Many young girls are sent away to the Apologists to be educated by the most highly of praised teachers, some are traded to the druids for creatures of races like mine for the men to breed with.”

“That is terrible!” Yulissa held her breath. “What race are you?”

Trillian looked about nervously, avoiding the question a second time, hoping that no one saw him with the woman.

To his dismay, everyone seemed to watch him walk towards the Palace of Severum. Sideon would know before Trillian even arrived, that a woman was with him. The ranger was in enough trouble as it was.

Finally, they reached the steps of the palace, and a servant came running to Trillian.

“You are back!” he said, “Good. Sideon is not in a very good mood and he requires you immediately.”

“Do you know what the urgency regards?” he queried.

“It has something to do with bringing her with you.” The servant whispered. “Sideon is not in the mood for explanations, and if you try and cover this one he might…” The servant saw Trillian’s wing for the first time. “Trillian, what happened? Oh, never mind for the moment, it might aid your testimony.”

Yulissa looked upset, “I have gotten you in trouble, I am so sorry. If I had known…”

“No, it is alright.” Trillian brushed her aside gently, “I will see what Sideon wants. Reinstör, you stay out here with her, if any of the men attempt to take her away, you know what to do.”

“Yes sir, Master Trillian.” Reinstör saluted, letting Trillian into the halls of Severum.

The Ranger Of Severum: Episode 3

Mulling over his explanation, Trillian watched the woman busy herself around their makeshift campground. Having disappeared into the forest a few times, the woman returned with a traveling pack, an arm load of wood, and a change of clothing.

As she stood over the pile of kindling, Trillian watched her breathe gently into her hands. They burned orange for a moment, then a tongue of fire danced out onto the top layer of dead leaves, catching the wood with a pop. His eyes caught the fading orange glow of an object slide into her pocket as she stood. With an alluring grace, enhanced by the firelight, she bent to pull a few things from her pack, and then sat next to the fire.

The smooth luster of a bowl glinted in the firelight when she set it down on a wire rack over the flames.

Trillian’s curiosity was heightened. “What is your name?” he asked.

The maiden’s lips formed into a gentle smile. Dipping pieces of cloth into the bowl, she glanced at him briefly “Yulissa. I was on my way to the Severum when the druids attacked.”

The Ranger inhaled sharply, wincing against the pain in his body. The weight of the splintered wing began causing his shoulders and back to drag toward the ground. Adjusting to accommodate proved more challenging than he’d thought.

In a steady rhythm of haste, she picked up the bowl and came to his side.

“What are you doing?” he grimaced, startled by the scent of the herbs in the pan she laid beside him.

“I am going to bandage your wounds and help with your wing.” She replied with a smirk, “What do you think I was doing with that bowl?”

Trillian pulled back, raising his hands in defense, “Thank you, but no, I will be fine, you mustn’t worry about me.”

Yulissa quietly but firmly insisted, “You need help, please allow me to repay you for rescuing me.”

Trillian attempted to remain calm and hold still as the woman set to work on his wounds. Her touch was gentle and compassionate. Under any other circumstance, he might admit that he rather liked the feeling of her hands on him.

“What were you possibly thinking, traveling alone at night?” the question burning in his mind, finally tumbled out of his mouth.

Her movement against his back slowed, “I was on my way to the Severum.”

Alone, and in the dark?” it wasn’t condescending, but the edge clearly conveyed his disbelief.

Silence. Her hands quickened again, and he felt a bit of a tug as she began pulling the bandages tighter. Obviously, he had struck a chord with her.

Really though, he thought to himself, what woman in her right mind travels alone at night? Surely she knew the druids would be out.

“You are a half-breed?” The question referred to his wings.

It was his turn to avoid answering. Instead he cried out -though she had done nothing that hurt him. At least her attention was diverted for the moment.

Her hands were much lighter than before as she apologized, “I am sorry.”

“Just be careful.” Adding extra breath to his sentence wasn’t very difficult, it felt as though his wing were ripping from his body. It took everything in him to stay alert while he was tended. Talking seemed to help, he decided, “I suppose you aren’t afraid of me, after you watched what I am capable of?”

A burst of laughter answered for Yulissa, “If you could see your wing.”

Unamused, Trillian waited until the cynical reminder that he was defenseless stilled.

Once she was able to contain her laughter, Yulissa continued, “By your appearance, you are obviously of the Severum, and you did rescue me from the druids.” She was finished now, the bowl clinked behind him, and he heard her getting up, “since you are friend, and injured on my account, it would be cruel of me to leave you behind.”

She set herself up across the fire from him. Her outward appearance reflected no fear — his wing must really look bad. It felt bad, that much was certain. Hopefully, the night wouldn’t tarry, and he could get it properly bandaged when he made it back to the Severum.

Dread suddenly washed over Trillian as he thought about having to explain the situation to Sideon. The Master was not going to be happy about this.

Thunder rumbled off in the distance.

Perfect. That’s all I need. The ranger shifted a bit, sighing with disgust.

He could see Yulissa’s eyes glinting, as they moved back and forth. She was staring at the sky, probably monitoring the clouds above them.

“Do you want me to set you up a tent?” She asked.

Trillian shook his head, “Just one more thing to worry about in the morning. I’ve weathered worse, we will be fine.” He met her gaze, “Thank you.”

With a gentle smile, Yulissa laid her head down on her arms, “Of course.”

Maybe it was the fire light, but Trillian thought for a moment that she appeared a bit sullen. Her eyes watched the tongues of flame dance in the wind, which was becoming increasingly stronger.

The sky rumbled again, this time a bit closer.

Trillian grimaced, dipping his head and crossing his arms as best he could against the strain in his shoulder. As the first drops of rain started to sputter in the fire, the ranger wondered why he had ever agreed to go out on the skirmish in the first place.