Lilith's Journal: Chapter 1, Entry 11

Glitter City, The Gypsy Camp

We entered the Sister City of Newport by dusk the second night. The city was named Tentia, and it was aglow with gilding and gold. I had never even heard of Tentia before stepping onto the hardwood docks, and wondered if perhaps THIS was the city Tyler meant to tell stories about, but from the look of confusion about him, he never even knew of its existence.

Rothus seemed very uncomfortable with all the light reflecting off the smooth walls of a city made of glass, Tyler seemed dumbfounded by the stories he could tell, Evander seemed impressed, and Travis less-so. I think it was Aerynthia’s reactions though, that I remembered the most. She wasn’t just nervous, she was afraid. From the glassy look in her eyes that reflected the cities foundation, I saw bad memories well to the surface of her usually serene face. This was not far from where her parents burned to death in the fire, and the haunting memories seemed to really affect her in a bad way. Roran must have seen it too, because we hardly had a look at Tentia before it was at our horse’s flanks.

The rest of our travels were fairly quiet. At one point and time the conversation about what we were good at came out. I think it was a bad play on a joke Travis told Rothus about being useless. Rothus expounded on his skills in front of Mister Roran, and Roran made it a point to inform Travis that no one was useless. He complimented Rothus on his skills at bypassing barriers, and Evander’s abilities to wield as sword. He told Aeryn she had in her the workings of a devout priestess of the holy church. He told Tyler that he would one day be a great chronicler like his father, and that Travis knew nature and tracking like no other. When his eyes fell to me, I noticed the uncomfortable look he gave me.

“And you Lilith…” he paused. “You will be great too.”

“Great in what way?” I asked enthusiastically.

“Great… at the things you do Lilith. Magic I guess, witchy things.”

I sighed heavily. Magic he guesses? I grumbled to myself. Witchy things? All that came from my lips was a noncommittal “Okay…”

Not even noticing the pause in our conversation, Rothus asked Mister Roran what he was good at.

“I am a Magus, as was Mister Dalton,” he replied.

Rothus seemed confused, so Roran expounded.

“I am a warrior that can use magic through my sword,” he declared. “Part warrior, part magic user, we combine the best skills of both worlds.”

Most everyone raised their eyebrows. I just glared.

About 10 days we broke into a clearing in the woods. We heard the soft rhythm of music as we happened upon a gypsy camp. The camp was fresh, I guessed no more than two or three days old. The grass was still green underneath the wagons, and the wagon wheels not yet overgrown. Roran greeted someone by name and several nomads approached us.

“We are here,” Roran simply acknowledged as he stepped away from us. “Make yourselves comfortable.”

I admit the camps colorful rugs, and hearty fire, as well as the dancing minstrels and flashing of flesh was quite a contradictory backdrop to our bedraggled group of tattered shirts, and grimy faces. There was awe to the place--a feeling of mystery. I was taken aback. How did Roran know the camp would be here when I highly doubted that even the gypsy’s knew they would be here?

Eventually we learned that the gypsies were skilled teachers, and that it was with them that we were to learn the arts of our trade. We would be spending a lot of time with them for the next few years.

Lilith's Journal: Chapter 1, Entry 10

Safe Harbor, The River, Rude Birds

The next morning, I awoke with a start. Roran was breaking camp. It looked like we were ready to go back to the village. Perhaps the goblins and orcs and worgs were gone?

“It’s safe to go back to town now, right?” I asked. “Or even to my house, I mean it’s just a little ways over there,” I said pointing towards the game trail that lead to my home in the woods.

“I’m sorry but I don’t know when you will be able to go home,” said Roran apologetically.

“But why? Why us? Why our village? Why not some of the other kids?” I said trying to hold back tears. "We didn’t do anything wrong, it's not our fault!"

“I don’t have the answers now Lilith. But I do know that it is dangerous to go back to Tarenvale. Even that aside, do you really want to witness the devastation? To watch the injured dying suffer? They died so that you kids can live on. So you can realize your destinies,” Roran replied. "Dalton believed in you to the point of sacrificing himself for you, and I do too. There is something about you that those monsters were willing to destroy an entire village to stop, and I aim to make sure never do.”

Evander nodded in agreement. It was too dangerous to go back. A scout or spy could still be watching over Tarenvale. If they were still there, the kids might not be as lucky the second time around.

“I have nothing in Tarenvale waiting for me besides my mother anyway,” I sighed. “What must we do?”

“We must travel to Newport and cross the river,” he instructed. “On the other side of the river lies the answers you seek. We must find the oracle.”

The children nodded, and Roran handed us each a travel bag full of supplies. So started our journey to discover ourselves, and our destinies.

Our group traveled for about 2 weeks to reach Newport. We stuck to the woods and avoided any roads or settlements as we marched on with nothing but our own willpower and stamina.

During the few moments we rested, Roran taught Evander the basics of swordsmanship. I admit I found myself watching him from the campfire as his bulging muscles and sweaty form attacked and defended against foes that only he could see.

When I wasn’t watching him, I taught reading and writing to Tyler and Evander. Tyler picked up reading right away, but Evander didn’t have his patience for written text and Roran had to bribe Evander with sparring lessons to get him to study with me when we weren’t traveling. I suspect he was angry at me for going out with Tyler, but if he was, he always seemed so… clueless about it.

When we did finally arrive in Newport, I can honestly say I was disappointed. Tyler always talked up Newport as the place to go. He would talk about the people he saw, the foods he ate and the gleaming spires of the three churches. All I saw was a dirty, overcrowded port city with beggars and cutpurses abound. Tyler told me it was because we were in shanty town, not the upper class area. Mister Roran told us it was the best place for people to disappear. I hope he didn’t mean it literally, because with all the strumpets and drunks around, I wasn’t so sure that people really didn’t go missing. And with the tattered clothes we were in, it wasn’t like anyone would really notice us if we did disappear. I made sure to stick very closely to Evander, and Roran during our stay.

We maintained a low profile the entire two days we stayed in Newport. Roran wouldn’t let us wander far (especially me for some reason). He tied Ma`ud’s twin-tails together to disguise his true breed as a kitsune`. Ma`ud wasn’t happy about it either, or the leash and collar I was required to keep around his neck like a leather noose. Roran also made me always wear my hood up, my half-elven ears hidden behind my hair. When I asked him why he made me do that, he told me that though I shouldn’t be ashamed of my elven heritage, other people in town thought differently about elves. I reminded him I was only half-elf, but he shook his head and told me that humans generalized too much, or some such thing. Tyler told me that wealthy merchants would pay to have elven maidens captured and enslaved because of their exquisite beauty, and that as long as I always held his hand, he would never let them take me away, but I’m not sure if he was telling me another story like the mage with the REAL dragon or not.

We stayed two nights at the Torn Sails Inn. It was by far the biggest inn I had ever stayed at, but not nearly as nice as the one in Tarenvale. I found my memories shifted to all that we left behind. I missed my mother horribly. There was no one quite like her in Newport, and the small things that I remembered about her like the rustling of parchment, the smell of incense, that little song she always hummed absentmindedly to herself were things I missed most. By the time Roran finally secured horses and a ferry over the river, I was ready to move on.

The ferry over the river took two days. At first it was pretty exciting. The ship was SO BIG and the river so vast. But after two days of nothing but open sea and no animals to talk to but seagulls and Ma`ud, it became the longest two days of my life. It’s worth mentioning that sea gulls are the rudest birds I ever talked to, and so boring! All they ever wanted to talk about was how they found this scrap of bread, and that scrap of meat was theirs. I could live out the rest of my life happily, never engaging another one in conversation EVER.

Lilith's Journal: Chapter 1, Entry 9

Dalton's Last Stand, Safety and Revelations

With only precious moments to get ready, all of the children said farewell to their respective families, and I grabbed whatever Misses Smith could stuff in an empty burlap sack. Also swiping a cleaver from the counter I turned toward Dalton.

“Take care Lily,” he whispered as he once again opened up the inn door.

Hot tears streaming down my cheeks, I gave him a big hug as Roran guided us out of the inn. We went left, Dalton went right just as a horde of greenskins finished off a few more townsfolk with their dogslicers. As blood and sinew flew wide, the beasts turned toward us and Dalton gave out a thundering bellow of a war cry before plunging into the middle of them.

His hands glowing red, Dalton locked his gaze with the biggest one. As fire erupted from the middle of the bunch, it consumed them in a column of flame, spreading in all directions. It was so hot, I could feel it on my face. When the smoke cleared, Dalton was the only one left standing.

I think I remember Roran saluting to him as we ran by. Mister Dalton returned the salute before collapsing into the smoking crater. I don’t know if I screamed, but I know Aeryn did. I froze dead in my tracks.

“We have to help him!” I cried out.

“We have to keep moving!” Roran ordered.

I remember my legs felt like granite as Roran scooped up Aeryn, and Evander grabbed me. His vise-like grip was firm yet gentle, and when I got my senses back, I started running alongside him.

I don’t know how long we ran, but it couldn’t have been too far, because we could still see the smoke from Tarenvale as we got to an abandoned camp some miles away.

I don’t really remember much after that. I was in shock. At some point I curled up in a ball with Ma`ud, shivering from the cold. Roran left sometime in the night to get supplies for us. I think Evander was left in charge. We didn’t even get a fire. It was simply too dangerous to light one while the goblins and orcs were looking for us. Why us? I wondered. We didn’t even do anything. Why did they want us dead?
I drifted in and out of a restless sleep, the slightest snap of twigs, or gust of wind an orc or a goblin coming to eat us. Thankfully none came for us that night, but neither did any beneficial sleep.

Lilith's Journal: Chapter 1, Entry 8

Mad Flight, Ma`ud to the rescue

Utter chaos consumed the village as the goblins and orcs swarmed the camp. Arrows continued to rain down on innocent people, goblin worgs (wolves) charged from the treeline, and tore out throats, and I hid behind the stage. It probably wasn't the best place to be, but it was better than in the middle of the village square.

Just as I was getting my wits about me, a smaller worg found my hiding place, and all I could think of was that my beautiful dress was torn. As the creature closed to me, I readied my only offensive spell. It probably wouldn’t kill it, but it just might slow it down enough. To my relief, when it got in range of my glowing hand I saw it was Ma`ud, my kitsune’ animal familiar!

“Ma`ud, thank the spirits!” I exclaimed.

“Come with me Lilith, I will take you to safety!” He barked.

Staggering out from my hiding place, I scrabbled after him, arrows falling all around me. I yelped in pain as one grazed my neck, but it wasn’t bad. Hot on my heels was one of the worgs. He took some meat off my ankle. As he grabbed at the frills of my dress it shredded the hem. Large portions of the delicate fabric fell away as I sprinted in the direction Ma`ud was leading me.

“Run Lily! RUN!” he barked.

I ran as fast as my legs would carry me. Tossing my spark spell at the wiry worg, I heard him yelp as I rushed through an open threshold.
Ma`ud had lead me to the safety of the inn where one of the villagers yanked me inside. Three seconds later, Ma`ud took off again. He told me not to follow him and disappeared into the darkness as a villager banged shut the heavy wooden door. I heard another yelp from the worg and a solid thud as the mangy black beast slammed into the door, causing it to shake. Looking out the window I saw more villagers running for their life in all directions. As I sank against the doorframe it dawned on me that the little kitsune` probably just saved my life.

My mother was at the inn as well. She was healing some of the villagers’ wounds as I limped over to her. Embracing me in her arms, she healed my wounds as well.

“Be strong Lilith,” she whispered. “You need to be strong for what lies ahead.”

I cried into her shoulder for a while. Her warm embrace encouraged me and calmed me. Running her fingers through my hair, she lifted up my chin and kissed me on the forehead. She must have known my journey was going to take me away from her at that point, because she draped the amber torc her mother had given to her as a child over the nape of my neck. It with a brown and had an orange ribbon weaved through it.

“To remember those fallen,” she whispered as she glided quietly toward another injured villager with an almost unnatural grace about her.

One by one, Ma`ud rounded up the rest of my friends, and even a few villagers. Eventually Evander bursts through the inn door carrying a short sword and wooden shield. Dalton meets up at the inn as well. He is covered in goblin blood and his hair is tousled a mess. There was a darkness in his eyes as well, as if he didn’t expect to ever see us again.

Looking right at Roran, then to the children he hissed, “Get the children to safety. Their destined for far greater things than this. Protect them with your life Roran. Promise me! Take them to see the oracle! She will know what to do!”

The Adventures of Rothus, page 21 [D-89]

Camp of the Oracle, east of Tentia:

Evan, Travis, Aeryn, Tyler and even Lily all get assigned master level mentors. I don’t get any training at all, though. I spend my days wandering around the camp, investigating the wagons. I made friends with a guy named Florm. He chuckled when they first gave that name, I’m not sure if it is his real name.

He is cool because he tells me about all the things that I absolutely must see at the camp! He leads me to the best food, and the best clothes and the best books. The problem is that they are always hard to actually get my hands on. It’s really hard to sneak up to a wagon that is off on its own. There’s nothing to hide behind, yet I have to pretend that I am not sneaking. And there is always someone guarding the prize. I followed one guy, Fost, for a whole day, waiting for him to put down his copy of Captain Hale, but he never put it down, not once. I tried asking if I could borrow it, but he was the rudest man at the camp! Florm says the only way to get Fost to share is to force him to.

So, I’m not jealous that everyone else gets teachers. I am learning a whole lot on my own. I don’t need any teachers at all!

The Adventures of Rothus, page 20 [D-82]

Camp of the Oracle, east of Tentia:

I count out eight more days of walking through this thick forest. Roran kept saying, “We’re getting closer, just hang in there.” But with each day, I believed him less and less. I admit that yesterday I lost faith and assumed Roran was hopelessly lost. I might have been right, but if we were lost, then we were also lucky.

We broke through a final ring of trees into a huge clearing. It was full of wagons, tents, campfires and people! So many people! They are dancing, playing music, singing, carving, cooking, sewing and lots of other stuff. The sheer energy coming from the clearing is a shock after ten days trudging through the quiet forest. Everything looks like it can be loaded onto a wagon and moved easily. In fact, it looks like they only just arrived. How could they have known that we would arrive right now and not a week earlier? Maybe a blind oracle really can still see the future.

We stumble into camp, ready for a rest. I sit at the nearest campfire and ask for food. It is given to me quite quickly, maybe the recognize Roran, or maybe they are really generous people or maybe both. I don’t care, it tastes delicious.

The Adventures of Rothus, page 19 [D-74]

Forest, east of Tentia:

It’s been two days since we left Tentia and now we are pushing through a forest again. This is the thickest forest I’ve ever seen! The trees must grow closer together this side of the River.

Roran keeps saying that there are some people who will train us. He also says there is a blind oracle who can guide us better than he can. I don’t know if I can trust a seer who can’t even see what color my shirt is, but if Roran trusts them, I guess I’ll listen for a bit. He says there are no better teachers in the world than these folks. Evan will learn to fight. I will learn to hide and to bypass barriers. I tell him that I can already do that, but he promises I will be able to do it better yet! Tyler will learn to tell stories. Lily will learn to do more than she already can with magic! Aeryn will learn to channel Erastil’s will through her hands. Travis will learn to hunt any creature at all. There are teachers of every kind in the camp, even witches to teach Lily.

We ask Roran what training he received. He says that both he and Dalton are Magus. What does that mean? He is a mix of a wizard and a fighter. That explains why Dalton was able to kick so much butt and still create that fire out of nowhere when he almost died for us.

A part of me is excited for the training and another part of me is excited to just stop walking. Aeryn has been helpful in tending to our sore feet, but I think they will eventually just fall off, and that will be the end of it.

The Adventures of Rothus, page 18 [D-72]

The Shining City of Tentia:

It took Roran two days to secure the horses, and we got a boat as quickly as possible. The ship is huge! I bet it could fit all the people of Tarenvale on board. Wow. I want to go back home and see them, now. Father would be impressed by the ship.

It took us two days to cross the river. That's no stream! No one could swim across that, but our huge ship handled it, no problem.

Now we are in Tentia, which looks like my worst nightmare. It is a city built out of glitter! If I wanted to hide here, I would have to dump Lily’s whole bucket of the stuff on my head just to blend in! We haven’t found an Inn to stay in. I think Roran means to leave Tentia as quickly as we arrived. He keeps saying that we have to keep moving. I don’t know what’s on his mind, since the goblins must have stopped following us weeks ago. If they have followed us this far and can cross the river, we really are in trouble. I just wish Roran would relax a bit. There’s no reason to hurry anymore.

The Adventures of Rothus, page 17 [D-68]

Newport, the Torn Sails Inn:

I won’t say that the last two weeks were boring. We were on our toes the entire time. I could hardly sleep thinking about the goblins attacking in the night. Roran tried to keep watch the whole night through, but it was exhausting for him.

We didn’t use the road, not once. The paths we took were uneven and caused us to stumble all the time. The countryside was ever-changing. We cut through forest, farmland, prairies and streams. We don’t have tents, so when it rains, those are the hardest nights to sleep. Roran is really good about creating shelters out of the trees and such. I think he has spent a lot of time wandering like this. I wonder if this is how adventures start. I don’t ever remember any chapters of The Adventures of Orloros Peskelton involving sleeping in the rain, or marching for two weeks straight, eating dry, bland food. But, we are now in Newport, so maybe this is an adventure after all. It is exciting because of how grand the city is, but this is no reason to travel.

I’ve taken the arrowhead from the goblin arrow I picked up and make a pendant out of it to remember the night we left Tarenvale. I don’t want to ever forget why we left, and why we must return.

Roran buys journals and ink for all of us to record our journeys. He will also secure a horse for each of us and passage across the river. Hopefully that won’t take too long.

The Adventures of Rothus, page 16 [D-54]

Forest outside of Tarenvale, next morning:

Roran wakes me up and gives me some food from last night. Apparently, we had some packed from the Inn. Tyler gives us each some rock candy to lift our spirits. It doesn’t help much. We want to go back, but Roran thinks we must wait to return. He says that it’s still too dangerous, even if the attack has been countered. He knows we have many questions, but he lacks the answers. Travis wants all the answers before he cooperates. “What did we do to the orcs and goblins to deserve this?” he asks. “Well, I guess I know what we did to the goblins….”

Roran says that we must go first to Newport, staying off the trail, moving slowly. He knows some people farther east that will help us. They can even give us some insight into our destinies. We must cross the River. It will be the farthest I have ever travelled, by a long distance. Aeryn is the only one of us who has been across, since she was born there. She doesn’t remember it, though.

Before we can go, Roran tells us to stay put and places Evan in charge. He walks back toward Tarenvale. I guess it is safe for him to go alone, without us. Lily says we are northeast of Tarenvale, closer toward Newport.

Roran returns and says that Orvani and Brother Thomas saved many people. In fact, he says Dalton is still alive! I can hardly believe it!

He brought backpacks for all of us with bedrolls in them. Mr. Smith gave us some weapons to use. I take a dagger, the weapon that looks the easiest to use. Tyler still wants to go back home. Roran says that if we really want to, we can go back to Tarenvale and see the devastation, or we can move forward and start our journey. He says it with so much anger that none of us take even a single step toward home. It is clear the Roran needs us to go with him, just as we need to go with.

The Adventures of Rothus, page 15 [D-53]

Tarenvale, outside the Inn:

We go back to town to get supplies for our new club house and find that the Harvest dance has begun. Whoa, we almost missed it! We all join the dance to the tunes of Roran. That instrument of his really is wonderful. Aeryn and I try dancing together, but were not as good as when we danced alone.

Roran takes a break and lets Tyler take the stage. Tyler changed into his fancy clothes so he could tell a great tale about a band of gypsies who got caught in a forest fire because they angered some evil witches. Lily helps him out with special effects. It was a really great story, and a good lesson to not anger a witch.

Roran pick up his baliset again and begins to play. Aeryn dances with my brother Zeil. Ya know, they are the same age and Zeil is very responsible and a good dancer. I wonder if they’ll kiss.

Lily tries to get Dalton to dance with her, but he doesn’t know how. I go to help her out by pushing Dalton, but he still doesn't budge. Tyler says Dalton doesn't like girls, just like Evan.

As the sun sets, the bonfire is lit again and the dance stops again. Roran puts away the Baliset, done for the evening. We all gather around for the second (and last) part of Mr. Dragos' story! Tyler gives the intro to Mr. Dragos' tale. Aeryn, Evan and I sit in the front row again. At one point, Mr. Dragos throws up his hands and huge fireworks explode behind him! Awesome!!

Aeryn and Evan hear screams of pain! A woman has been shot by arrows!! More are getting hit! Dalton and Roran run off to battle… something. Aeryn ducks under her chair. I follow suit. Evan does nothing, so I pull him down under his chair. One arrow lands near us!!! AAAAAHHHHH!!!! More people are hit all around! I grab a random arrow off the ground, my only weapon. Aeryn and I run to the club house, Evan runs to the forge. We tell Travis to run to the club house, too.

Goblins, orcs and other monsters are swarming the town. Aeryn and I change plans since we can’t get to the club house. We run to the Inn instead. Ma`ud leads Tyler, Lily and Travis to the Inn. Much of the town is hiding in the Inn, since it is the largest and sturdiest building in town. Ma`ud runs out of the Inn. “Come back!” I call.

Through the window we hear Dalton calls to someone, “Get the kids! Get them out here! Their destinies are too great to end here!”

A moment later Roran comes into the Inn and collects us, ordering us to come with him. He says it with a weight to it that we can all feel the finality of it. If we follow, we won’t return for some time. We all look for our families. I find Mother and Father, Odette, Miriam, Cynthia, Ziel, Josette, Cade, Milo, Lorayne, and even little Traubon. I hug as many as I can. To Father I say, “I should have just listened to you and fed the pigs.”

“No matter, son. You would still be leaving now, even if you had listened better. Go with Roran and be safe so you can come back to us,” he said. “If you find Uncle Erik, tell him to come back home and visit. I miss him, just as we’ll miss you.”

We leave the Inn, following Roran. I grip the arrow, never having time to grab a better weapon. As we leave, we see Dalton getting swarmed by all the monsters. Roran and Dalton share a nod.

Dalton throws a fiery ball to the ground, causing an explosion! All the orcs are knocked back or killed. Some of the littlest goblins launch through the air, their burning clothes look like shooting stars against the night sky. Dalton was right in the center of it. There’s no way he could have made it.

As the smoke clears, we see Dalton standing for a moment.

Then he collapses.

Dalton is dead?

Why did he have to die?!

I stand in horror. He killed himself so that we children could escape? Poor Dalton, you are so stupid to think that we are worth that. Roran pulls us away from the scene. The buildings that pass by are a blur. I don't know where we are going. I don't care where we are going.

We arrive at a camp, somewhere in the woods. There is no tent, only a fire pit and some supplies. Who set up this place? Roran says we are to rest here. He says it will be quite a while until we return home. He says that something really dark is behind this attack. “If the old stories are true....” Roran starts to say. He doesn't finish his thought, like the words were too much to say.

Tyler wants to return. So do I. Roran says that if we succeed in our training, we will be able to return someday. We want to go back today, but Evan says that we’ll endanger the town if we return now. Then he gives us bedrolls so that we can sleep. I curl up in mine and embrace the nightmares that are to come.

The Adventures of Rothus, page 14 [D-53]

Tarenvale, the Inn, next morning:

Lily, Aeryn, Tyler and I wake up and see that Travis is missing. Lily says that Travis might be at the outhouse, then looks at me expectantly. “What are you looking at me for? Why is my hand all wet?” I say. Lily looks disappointed. Whatever.

Lily then looks at Evan, then kicks him once to try and wake him. When it doesn’t work, Aeryn says, “True love's kiss will wake the sleeping prince.” Lily tries to wake up Evan with a kiss! Evan doesn't stir, not even a little. It must not be true love. Lily then tosses cold water on him and runs out of the room. Tyler frantically chases after her out the door.

Aeryn, Evan and I go downstairs, looking for food. Mrs. Dragos offers us a huge breakfast buffet! We grab a bunch of food! Yummy eggs, bacon, toast, waffles….

Lily comes back in, runs up to Evan. She stops short and says, “Tyler and I are together now.” She then grabs Tyler's arm and walks away. We all look at each other for a few moments, shrug, then continue eating.

After we finish our meal, we realize that Travis is still missing. I go to the outhouse looking for him, but he isn't there. Where is he? Aeryn thinks he's at the pond. Evan says the pond is too far away, we should check the Tavern first. I’m surprised to find it is open this early. Mrs. Neos is there to greet us. We ask for Travis, but she says he’s not here. We insist that he has got to be somewhere, so she goes to check his room and says that he is not in there. Hmmm...

So, Lily wins out and we go to the pond looking for Travis. He's not there either! Maybe he’s injured and with Orvani. We go to the healer’s hut, but he’s not there either. As we leave Orvani’s, we see Lily and Tyler leading a man with a sword. The man walks like Dalton walks and in the hilt of his sword is a big blue gem just like Dalton’s red gem! I sneak up behind him. Aeryn and Evan make a bunch of noise and get noticed.

Lily and Tyler introduce him as Roran. Apparently he knows Mr. Dragos and Dalton from a long time ago. In fact, he is looking for Dalton right now. And he’s been to Hadthan Port! That’s so far away I don’t even know how many days it would take to get there! Aeryn reminds us that she was born in Hadthan Port. Oh, yeah.

Lily and Tyler are showing Roran to the Inn, so we tag along. Tyler’s the only one who can see me, and he decides to point me out to everyone else. What a jerk! When Roran reaches the Inn, he closes the door behind him, but Tyler opens it immediately and follows in. Mr. Dragos greets Roran like an old friend. Tyler rambles on trying to introduce them both, but it’s obvious they know each other.

Lily pulls us outside. She wants to go look for Billy, Jimmy &Timmy. We see Dalton and tell him that Rorin is here with Mr. Dragos. He rushes over to the Inn and dashes inside. We follow, of course. We spy on Dalton, Roran and Mr. Dragos. Roran and Dalton clasp hands like brothers in arms. We’ll, I guess that means there won’t be an epic battle between them.

Travis shows up finally! He goes to the Inn looking for food. “Where were you?” I ask, “We looked everywhere for you!”

“I was in my room.” he answers.

“No you weren’t, your mom checked your bed.” Evan says.

“I don't sleep in my bed.” clarified Travis. That's weird. We fill him in about Roran while we watch him eat in the Inn’s common room. Across the room, we hear some extraordinarily beautiful music. Lily would rather look for BJT, but Travis investigates the music. We find Roran playing a strange stringed instrument. We are too uncultured to care. I’d rather see explosions.

We go to investigate BJT's disappearance. We reach their house and I sneak up. It is eerily quiet. I open the front door. It is dusty. I say hello, but no one responds. The place has been ransacked. Barely anything is left. It is like they packed up and left two moons ago. “We have a club house!” I say. No one else is excited about the idea. Lily eventually comes around to the idea after thinking a while. Aeryn says it is creepy. She says Roran should live here instead. Lily wants to start a fire in the fireplace, but I don't want people to see the smoke and come check on the place. Then our secret club house wouldn’t be all that secret.

Tyler says, “BJT weren't always evil. Maybe the house made them evil.” I'm suddenly not as excited about staying here, but by now Lily has totally fallen in love with the idea. We decide to go back to town and gather up supplies we may need for our new place. I think it will be awesome to have a place where I can sleep and Mother and Father won’t come check on me. It will be like living on my own, finally!

Lilith's Journal: Chapter 1, Entry 7

BJT's house, The Attack

We make the Journey to Billy, Jimmy, and Timmy’s house in silence. It’s almost noon before we arrive at their house, but it looks quiet… too quiet.

I suggest that BJT might have left booby traps before they disappeared and that we should look for them cautiously. Rothus thinks that is a good idea, and sneaks around the entrance while Evander patrols the perimeter. When we get the all clear from Rothus (after many tense moments of waiting for him to scream in pain), we push open the door to the small hovel.

“BJT Lived HERE?” I asked.

The place was in shambles. Old broken furniture was scattered about, and a thin layer of dust coated everything. The place looked like it hadn’t been lived in since BJT disappeared many months ago.

Still, we overturned a few pieces of furniture and I suggested that we make it into a clubhouse!

Aerynthia and Evander weren’t too excited about the idea, but I could be quite the manipulator when I wanted to be.

“Oh come on! Finders Keepers! They are long gone you bunch of scaredy cats,” I chided. “We can get some stuff from town, fix this place up, and make it our hang out spot! It will be so cool!”

Heads bobbed in agreement. Rothus seemed most excited about it. I think it gave him a place to hide when he skipped out on chores, so he was definitely in.

We talked about what to bring tomorrow to fix the place up and started to head for town as darkness descended upon the village. When we got back to the center of town, the bonfire was being lit, and people were starting to celebrate the second night of harvest festival.

The night was beautiful. Good food, good music, and good company. I spent a large part of the evening dancing with Tyler (after he was done introducing his father), and didn’t even tackle him for being a changeling this time! At one point I tried to convince Dalton to dance with me, and he wouldn’t have anything to do with dancing.

“Surely a warrior of your skill isn’t afraid to dance with a young lady, are you?” I asked.

“I don’t do dancing,” Was his only reply.

I remember sneaking a few pints of ale when Mister Neos wasn’t looking and was thinking about how beautiful and clear the skies over Tarenvale were. Mayor Dragos was just finishing his story when the attack happened. There was great applause as his rousing tale of the Great War ended and the fireworks at the base of the stage streamed into the sky.

I stood up as well as many others for a standing ovation when Misses Nelson screamed. More people started to scream around me and fall dead. I stopped clapping and looked to the fallen villagers when an arrow lodged itself in the bench just behind me, catching the folds of my silken dress. Had I not stood to clap, I am sure the arrow would have pierced my heart. Looking to the sky, I assumed that someone like BJT had rigged the fireworks with arrows or bolts or something as a part of some sick, twisted joke, but BJT weren’t around anymore. That had been confirmed mere hours ago. What was going on? An attack? In Tarenvale? Why? My mind reeled from what was happening when I heard the first guttural growl from behind me.

Everything happened so fast after that. People ran, screaming from the center of town. I pulled the arrow out of my dress and ran toward the stage as green-skinned humanoids rushed the village square.

The Adventures of Rothus, page 13 [D-52]

I hear loud laughter coming from the Inn as Tyler walks out. He invites us all for a sleepover! Awesome! Lily and Travis don't want to be that close to Mr. Dragos and risk talking to him. They go to the Tavern to... wash dishes. Huh. That sounds much worse than Mr. Dragos! Evan goes to ask his parents for permission. Aeryn goes and asks too. A while later they both come back to the Inn, saying that they can stay all night.

We decide that Lily and Travis need to be here too and that one of us needs to get them. Tyler thinks I should do it, because I can be sneaky if I need to. Of course I should do it! I run over to the Tavern and find them in the kitchen. I take a recently cleaned plate and put some food on it from the festival buffet. I tell Lily and Travis that they don't have to talk to Mr. Dragos at all. They can sneak right past him. Lily asks if Evan will be there, and I tell her that he will be. That convinces her to come with. Travis is still unsure, so I tell him, “Evan will be there.” He's not as convinced. But he asks his parents anyway. Lily has to go find Mrs. Graves, though.

I head straight back to the Inn to tell everyone of my success. When I get back, they are playing dice games and card games. Evan won a game before I got there and I won a game, too! Tyler throws a huge pile of pillows and blankets right on top of the dice, saying that he’s got plenty for everyone.

Tyler gets called downstairs, and is gone a while. When he returns, he has platters of food from the Tavern! We have a buffet!! We will eat like kings! He also said that Lily and Travis were here.

Suddenly, Mr. Dragos busts out laughing and it echoes up the stairs. Tyler goes into the hall to investigate. He decides to go downstairs to investigate more, saying that he'll be back soon. He warns that we mustn’t let anyone in if they don’t know the secret knock, and then he disappears around the corner. We all look at each other. “What is our secret knock?” I ask. Evan and Aeryn shrug.

“How about this?” suggests Aeryn and then knocks once, twice, then a double knock. Evan and I are glad to have that issue settled.

A while later someone knocks on the door. “Let me in!” Someone's trying to get in! Oh, no! Evan quickly braces the door and I pick up a particularly ugly piece of food, ready to launch it at the intruder.

“No one's in here!” I say, “Go away!”

The strangers at the door try a variety of knocks, none of them being the secret knock Aeryn established, but they really do sound like Lily, Tyler and Travis. We decide that if they can correctly answer some secret questions, that will suffice.

“Lily, what animal can you not talk to very well?” Aeryn asks.

“I haven’t talked to bears, yet,” Lily answers. It’s too bad that the answer was fish. Maybe this isn’t Lily, after all.

“Tyler, where do you keep your candy stash?” Aeryn asks, hoping to sneak some candy while he is locked out.

Tyler gets really mad and leaves to get his pa for help. The real Tyler wouldn’t get his pa for help! He must be a changing after all!

“Travis, what happens when you eat licorice?” asks Aeryn.

“I get funny poops,” he answers. Aeryn says that is right. I think that’s disgusting.

We let Travis in. He says that Lily is as human as he is, so if we let him in we should let her in, too. So, we do. The only one who is not here is Tyler, since he ran off to get his pa. Aeryn thinks it will be funny if when Tyler’s pa comes up here, if the door is wide open so that Tyler looks foolish. When Mr. Dragos shows up, he walks right inside. We tell him that Tyler wanted there to be a secret knock, but that he didn’t know what the knock was. Mr. Dragos then goes downstairs. Tyler comes up the stairs and walks in the door. We don't do anything.

Aeryn wants to tell ghost stories! Tyler starts to tell a story, but we keep interrupting him, but no one tackles him this time. We ask him why he hasn't shown us his fancy clothes or his special voices. Lily tries on clothes and throws them around. Tyler says the outfit that I was given is for telling the War of the Chickens. What a dumb name. Chickens can’t fight wars. I should know since I have to feed them all the time!

Then Lily pulls out the glitter!! AAAHHHH!!!! I have horrific images of glitter everywhere in the room! I can't hide with this much glitter! Lily tosses the glitter and it hits the outfit that I am holding!! A bunch of it gets on me!! No one else got hit. Geez.

Then, Lily uses magic to clean up some of the clothes, so I make her clean mine, too! Who knew she had a magic spell to get rid of glitter? She failed to mention this, but I would have liked to know!

Lily does a bunch of other tricks! She makes Aeryn’s hair stand straight up! Lily is much more powerful than I could have guessed. Fire, making things float, erasing glitter. What can’t she do with magic?

Lily suddenly realizes she is alone, “Where is Ma`ud?”

I look out Tyler's window and see him looking back up at us! We think to toss the rope down to him, but we can’t find it. Evan says the rope is with the barrel of glitter, out in front of the Inn. I run downstairs and find it, but see that the rope is covered in glitter. ARGH!! It's everywhere! I can’t count on Lily using her magic to clean it, so I decide to leave it. I’m already outside, so I run around to the back of the Inn and see Ma`ud there. I try to pick him up, but he doesn’t want anything to do with me! I go back up to the room, without Ma`ud. He doesn’t even follow me. Whatever.

We feast and tell stories until I fall asleep.

Lilith's Journal: Chapter 1, Entry 6

The Harvest Festival, kissing Evander, End of Innocence

It has been too long since I wrote in my journal. Much has happened since the mad flight in the middle of the night, orcs, and goblins hot on or heels as the tree branches of the Dark Wood clawed and raked at us, threatening to pluck out our eyes, and leave us for dead.

Everything is kind of a blur when I think back on it. I should have seen it coming after we discovered changelings at the inn. I will never forget how angry Tyler was, how set he was on killing his own parents.

But I suppose we all have a breaking point. Tyler's was getting whooped for no other reason than twisted pleasure the changelings got from beating on a young boy.

When Mister and Misses Dragos were finally found, they were tied up in a closet up at the inn. I was relieved to hear that they were the real Dragos- seeing that Mister Dalton slayed the changelings. But I will never forget the anger in Tylers eyes. He seemed so feral. It was as if I was looking into Teek's eyes. Animalistic, unrestrained- if glares could kill, I do believe Tyler would be the ser of stares.

I remember getting angry myself, and throwing a small ball of fire at Tyler when he once again accused my father of being the devil after the changelings were rooted out. I remember running outside and crying when my mother came to get me. I remember how she held me, the love she had for me, and the gentle words she spoke to calm me in front of the inn. How I miss her.

But the part I remember most of all was the last Harvest Fest I was ever a part of. I was 13, and our world came crumbling down around us. It was the worst thing a child could ever experience. It was the death of a village called Tarenvale. The only place I have ever been able to call my home.

The night before the attack was one I remember well. We had spent the evening at Tylers place. We were having a sleepover the first night of Harvest Fest, and we were up in Tylers room after the amazing story his father (the real) Mister Dragos was spinning. We played with some of Tyler’s silly clothes. I remember teasing him about having more clothes then a girl, and getting glitter all over his nice dress. I knew a few tricks of magic and used a simple prestidigitation spell to clean the glitter off and put it back in my bag of glitter that I had purchased a day previous. I knew my mother would be furious about me spending all 18 of her silvers, but the temptation to buy a barrel of it was too great for a 13 year old. Shame on me for buying it, but shame on Mister Grady for talking me out of my last silver as well!

Evander was a nice lad and carried the barrel for me all over the place. Eventually it ended outside the inn, and I would periodically come back to fill the large handbag Misses Smith had provided me with. A handbag I still have today- though for the life of me I can never get the glitter to stop coming out even now as I write this.

The first night of the Harvest Festival started with the lighting of the bonfire in the center of town. There were many entertainers there and many more locals that had come from surrounding villages to watch the festivities.

Tyler opened up the show wearing one of his gaudy entertainer’s outfits. He changed his voice to sound like a real pro, and I was SURE he was a changeling. I tackled him with Travis’s help, and the two of us brought him down. Tyler protested as Mister Dalton pulled us off of him, and someplace in the audience, people started clapping and Mister Dragos came out to tell his tale. Eerie music played from seemingly thin air, and I was curious as to what magic he used to make it happen. I remember wandering around the stage not sure what to make of it. With the first part of his tale told, Mister Dragos left the stage, his exit punctuated by pyrotechnics. We heard rumors there would be fireworks, and indeed there was!

Tyler invited all of the kids over for a sleepover at his place. At first Travis and I were concerned to go anyplace near the inn as I knew that Mister Dragos didn’t much care for my kind hanging around with his boy, so we went to wash dishes at the tavern. We played games up in Tylers room, and eventually went to sleep. I was one of the last asleep, and the first to get up.

Evander slept in late that morning and Travis disappeared in the middle of the night. We later found out he simply went home. Breakfast was getting cold, and Evan kept on sleeping, so I went up to Tylers room and tried to rouse him. I tried shaking him, and calling out to him, but he slept on, I kicked his cot and even jumped on him, but he was out cold. Finally, some of my fairy-tales started swimming in my head, and I wondered if my sleeping prince could be roused from his rest with a kiss from his beautiful princess (me).
I kissed him full on the lips and he just laid there! I was angry, I remember, and I threw cold water on him before storming out of the room. I really like Evander and he was SO clueless to how much I did.

Evander eventually came downstairs and joined us for breakfast, and asked me why I was so mad. I just crossed my arms, got up and told him I was going outside. I was going to “go” with Tyler. I really did like Evander far better than Tyler, but Evan never seemed to notice and that frustrated me. I gussied myself up for him, wore my best dresses around him, tried to always talk to him, and even spared him a kiss. Sometimes Evander can be SO daft!

Tyler and I were outside the inn talking and hanging out alone when Mister Roran walked into town for the first time. He seemed a bit rough around the edges, but he was young and handsome. I remember blushing when his eyes fell upon me. What struck me right away was the sword across his back. I looked almost identical to the one Dalton wielded but it had an sapphire on the pommel instead of a ruby. I knew right away who he was here for.

I introduced myself and Tyler too him, and asked if he was looking for Mister Dalton. He seemed slightly taken back by this, but indicated that he was indeed here to see Dalton. We showed him to the inn, and then rounded up the rest of the gang. I was bound and determined to find out what happened to BJT, and nothing was going to dissuade me from my path this day.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Last

The small band traveled for about 2 weeks to reach Newport. They stayed off the roads and without horses they had to rely on there own stamina. During this time Roran taught the basics of sword play, and reading and writing to Tyler and Evander. With Lilith’s help Tyler picked up reading right away. Roran had to bribe Evander with sparring lessons to get him to study reading and writing.

During this time Roran also told them what he thought their training would be. “Evander, I see the making of a fighter in you. With the right training that fight you saw Dalton in will be as nothing to you. Rothus, you will be able to move unseen and undetected, no one will be able to keep you out of or in anything. Travis, I sense the makings of an expert tracker with in you, no one will be able to escape with you following them,” said Roran.

“And what about me, all I can do is tell stories,” said Tyler.

“Yeah, so you can record our story, you just have to survive,” said Rothus.

“He, Bards are more than storytellers boy, they can sway the hearts of men, and there is magic in stories and songs, don’t let anyone else tell you other wise. Lilith, I can see your mother in you, I’m sure you will be a powerful witch. And Aeryn, I sense the touch of Erastil on you, I’m sure you will be able to channel the power of the divine,” concluded Roran.

The band spent two days in Newport getting supplies and booking passage across the great river. It took two days to cross the mighty river to the Shining City of Tentia. Tentia was farther than any of the kids had even heard of; they had finally left everything behind. Two days they traveled from Tentia into the thickest forest any of them had ever seen. In the forest Roran lead them to a clearing. In that clearing there was a gypsy camp that looked as though it had arrived two to three days prior.

“Here are the friends I told you about. They will train you and keep you safe till you are ready. Their elder is a powerful oracle who knows more of you destinies than I, and when it is time she will reveal them to you,” said Roran. “For now go, eat, sleep get new clothes, I have other business to take care of,” said Roran walking into the camp. Rothus was the first of the kids to enter the camp, then Evander and Travis. Lilith and Tyler stayed at the edge of camp.

The following day Evander was introduced to two men, Judeau and Pippin. They would be his teachers, and for the next two years forge him into a fighter, a master of martial weapons, and a terror on the battlefield.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Fifthteenth

“Why us?” asked Lilith. “Why not some of the other kids. I didn’t even live in town,” she continued.

“I don’t have the answers, all I know is that Dalton said you have a destiny and I intend to see you to the beginning,” replied Dalton. “Now, here are some weapons that your father gave me, Evander,” said Dalton passing out weapons and bed rolls. “Now, get some rest we will leave early tomorrow,” he said.

Evander found a flat piece of ground to sleep on. Evander manages to fall asleep but has troubled dreams and when Roran wakes him up he feels more tired than when he went to bed.

“Its safe to go back to town now, right?” asked Lilith. “Or even to my house, I mean it’s just a little ways over there,” she said pointing towards it.

“I’m sorry but I don’t know when you will be able to go home,” said Roran.

“But why? Why us, why our village, why not some of the other kids?” said Lilith trying to hold back tears.

“I don’t have the answers, but I know some people who might,” said Roran.

“I have to go back, I have to see my father,” said Tyler.

“Look, will you stop complaining if I take you back to town?” asked Roran.

“Can we risk it?” asked Evander. “If the village was attacked because of us I don’t want to endanger it further,” he said.

“No, but it seems some of your friends won’t listen when I say we can’t go back. But if you really want to see the town after the attack, then by all means let's go,” said Roran exausted and not knowing how to handle children who have just lost everything. They were all quiet and didn’t meet Rorans gaze after his little outburst.

“Please, just tell me about my family,” said Tyler.

“Your father will live, however he was hit by an arrow and may not be able to do some of his old tricks ever again,” said Roran. “Now, lets get moving, we have a lot of ground to cover, and not a lot of time to cover it in,” he continued.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Fourteenth

 “Alright kids,” said Roran approaching us. “I promised Dalton I would get you out of here, we don’t have much time so take a few moments to say good bye but then we must leave,” he said.

The kids frantically looked for there families. Evander found his and went over. They tenderly embraced one another sensing this would be a long goodbye. “I’m going to borrow this sword and shield for a while dad. I’ll give it back when I see you again,” was all Evander could think to say before returning to Roran. His family said nothing; they just watched him go silently.

Roran quickly gathers up the children and they leave out the back. “I know a place where we will be safe for a while, just follow me and I will get you out of here in one piece,” said Roran. As the small band leaves they see Dalton in the center of town fighting a losing battle against orcs and goblins. Roran stops and salutes Dalton who, finding a pause in the battle, salutes back.

As Dalton lowers his hand it begins to glow red. He smashes it to the ground and a sphere of white hot fire erupts from it, destroying anything, and everything in its path. When it clears, the chared forms of orcs and goblins can be seen. Amazingly, Dalton is still standing. The orcs and goblins halt there charge after witnessing that tremendous power. However, Dalton collapses to the ground. An orc lets out a monstrous war cry rallying the others who once again continue the attack.

“We have to go back and help,” says Travis.

“How? Can you fight those things?” asks Evander angrily. Lilith freezes and Aeryn who was barely hanging on just collapses.

“If you want to die, then by all means go back and help. I promised Dalton I would see you to safety so at least I won’t let his sacrifice be in vain,” said Roran picking up Aeryn. “Evander, grab Lilith and lets keep going,” commands Roran. Evander complies, grabbing Lilith. Evander drags her for a few steps before she regains some composure and is able to walk on her own.

Roran forces the kids to move at a swift walk and after about an hour they reach the camp Roran had talked about. They were tired and take a few moments to catch there breath. Evander and Roran just stare in the direction of the village for a few moments. “Ok, you kids stay here, I’m going to get supplies and will be right back,” said Roran.

“Don’t worry guys, I’ll protect you,” said Tyler.

“Evander, watch them while I’m gone,” said Roran. Evander just nods in response. While Roran is away Evander keeps half his attention on his friends, and the other half on keeping a look out for trouble.
I only thought those were stories, thought Evander. Why did it have to be us, why our village? continued the dark thoughts. Roran eventually returned about an hour later with supplies.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Thirteenth

I do so like girls, I mean I’m friends with Aeryn, and Lily seems to have forgiven me right? thought Evander as he walked over to Tyler. “I do so like girls, I mean, I’m friends with Lily and Aeryn,” said Evander.

“Yeah, but you don’t ‘Like’ girls,” said Tyler.

“What do you mean like girls?” asked Evander.

“I’ll tell you when you’re older,” said Tyler. With that Evander left confused but once again joined the dance. Evander at least danced until the event was over. He was tired but happy by the end. After the dance it was time for Eldon to finish his story and everyone gathered around. Tyler once again introduced his father, the mayor, Eldon Dragos. Once he was finished he joined Travis in the back of the crowed while Evander, Rothus and Aeryn sat at the front. Lilith sat once again with Dalton. The performance was just as good as the other night and everyone was once again enthralled.

Everyone that is, except for Lilith. Who wandered around in search of the music which came from nowhere. As the story finished, and Eldon went to take a bow, Evander faintly heard screams. Just after that arrows began to fall like rain, and then the screams followed. Evander sat motionless in shock. How could this be happening? thought Evander.

Luckily his friends had reacted to the danger and pulled Evander down and pulled a chair over him. People died on either side of him and one arrow landed near his left foot. Not thinking clearly, Evander got up and ran to the forge. I have to find my dad, I won’t lose him again, thought Evander. Once in the forge he didn’t see his father, and for two impossibly long heart beats just stood there, wanting to curl up and just let whatever would happen, happen.

No, it cannot end like this, said a voice from somewhere inside Evander. The icy feeling which was become all too familiar was there, but Evander knew he could not give into the fear. Not knowing what else to do, Evander donned a sword and shield. Just as he did there was a scratching at the door. Evander opened the door and found Ma`ud growling and looking as fierce as his tiny frame would allow.

“Take me to Lily,” said Evander. Ma`ud took off towards the inn with Evander following right behind him. The inn was set up as a temporary shelter. Everyone was gathering there as the arrows continued to fall. Orvani and Brother Thomas were doing all they could to save as many souls as possible. Evander met up with his other friends, who were white with fear.

“There destinies are to important to end here,” said Dalton talking to Roran.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Twelfth

“Yeah, that would be cool,” said Travis.

“And if we tell people no one is home they won’t know we're here,” said Rothus.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea, this place gives me the creeps.” says Aeryn.

“I’m with Aeryn, I don’t want to have anything to do with BJT,” said Evander.

“Oh come on. There gone, finders keepers,” said Lilith. “If we get supplies from town we could make this place cool, like chairs, firewood, pots and pans,” said Lilith.

“Yeah, and Evander could make some stuff,” said Tyler.

“I’m a smith, not a carpenter,” said Evander.

“But, remember when you were carving that stick, you’re dad had you carve like a hundred sticks and they were really good. Maybe you could use some of them to make stuff,” said Tyler.

“Yes, I will do that,” said Evander sarcastically.

“Hey Travis, do you think you could get some chairs from the tavern?” asked Lilith.

“Yeah,” said Travis.

“I don’t think I can bring anything,” said Aeryn.

“Sure you can, just grab some pots and pans,” said Lilith. “Ok, let’s go back and get some supplies.” And with that the friends headed back to town. They got back to town in time for the town dance, thoughts of there new club house vanishing, being replaced by Harvest Festival. The friends joined the dance, at first Aeryn and Rothus danced together, Lilith and Tyler did as well. Evander danced with some other girl, though he didn’t recognize her so she must have been one of the many visitors. Eventually Evander got to dance with Aeryn as well.

Evander was dancing and having fun until he heard, “Evander doesn’t like girls,” come from Tyler. His head snapped in that direction and he saw Lilith, Tyler and Dalton all talking. Unfortunately this distraction caused him to miss step and almost fall. Evander barely recovered and apologized to his dance partner before excusing himself to go talk with Tyler.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Eleventh

 “I know, lets go find BJT,” said Lilith.

“No, every time we do that something bad happens. It’s like there cursed or something,” replied Aeryn.

“That’s because we start then stop, lets just go this time,” said Lilith.

“Yeah, maybe there dead,” said Rothus.

“And if there not, lets kill them till they die from it,” said Tyler. Just as he said that the group of friends noticed Travis exiting from the tavern.

“Travis, where have you been?” asked Rothus curiously.

“At home sleeping,” said Travis.

“Liar, we asked your mom and she said you weren’t in your bed,” said Aeryn.

“I don’t sleep in my bed, are you crazy?” said Travis.

“Not sleeping in a bed is crazy, is yours just for decoration?” asked Aeryn.

“Yup, I’m hungry,” said Travis going to the inn to get food. The others followed. It was getting towards noon and they hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast so they joined Travis and had an early lunch. As they were eating they told Travis of there plans to find out what happened to BJT by searching their house. As they were finishing their meals they heard beautiful, but strange music coming from an instrument that they had never heard before.

They decided to find the source of the music and they found Roran playing a Baliset. He was very good, however the children would not be deterred again from there mission. After satisfying their curiosity they left town and headed to BJT’s house. They found it. The house was more of a large single story shed then a house. “Careful, it might be booby trapped,” said Lilith.

“Don’t worry, I will check it out,” said Rothus slinking towards the house. After checking the door thoroughly, he went inside. Lilith and Aeryn head inside after a few minutes, and no screams, Evander and Travis follow. Inside there is dust everywhere. The house doesn’t look like it’s been lived in for months. There is one wooden chair that is starting to rot. Also in the house there is a bed frame with no mattress and a hearth. Everyone searches the inside of the house, except Evander who walks the perimeter, but find nothing.

“Hey, this place would make an awesome club house,” says Lilith.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Tenth

“Ok, well if you see him, telling him we’re looking for him,” said Evander.

“Alright,” said Mrs. Neos as the three friends left the tavern.

“Ok, now let’s go check the pond,” said Aeryn. The other two agreed and they walked to the pond.

“Travis are you here?” “Hey, Travis where are you?” and a few other generic calls. Since their search turned up negative they returned to town, which was now just beginning to stir with activity. As they search town they see Tyler and Lilith with a strange man. He is carrying a sword like Dalton's only he has a sapphire instead of a ruby.

“Hey Lily, hey Tyler, whose your new friend?” asks Aeryn.

“Hello Lily,” Evander says quietly not wanting to draw too much attention to himself. “Hey Tyler,” says Evander warmly.

“This is Roran, a friend of Dalton’s we're taking him to the inn,” says Lilith.

“Yeah, and he knows my dad, and he knows about the great wars, and he knows Lily’s mom and her dad,” Tyler once again rambled about random facts.

“Why do you want to find Dalton?” Evander asks.

“I’m trying to get something un-important from him,” Roran cryptically responds.

The now five friends follow Roran to the inn, Tyler at the fore front of question asking. Once at the inn Roran hurries inside closing the door behind him, and leaving the children outside.

“Hey, where's Rothus?” asks Lilith.

“He’s right behind… us…” says Evander turning around and not seeing Rothus. “Great, now Rothus is missing like Travis,” concludes Evander.

“No he’s not, he’s right there,” says Tyler pointing at shadows that Rothus is hiding in.

Not getting the message left by Roran, Tyler hurries inside to introduce Roran to his father. Evander, Aeryn, Rothus and Lilith see Dalton wandering around town. Lilith runs over and says something to him. It must have been important because Dalton hurries over to the inn.

“This is going to be good,” says Rothus running over to a window to watch. Unfortunately, Roran and Dalton greet each other like brothers in arms and begin talking. “Well this is boring,” said Rothus. Tyler, once he realizes he is being ignored goes outside to join his friends.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Nineth

 “Hey I’m hungry, let’s get some food,” suggested Aeryn.

“That sounds like a good idea,” said Rothus. The two of them headed towards the common room. Evander just sat motionless for a few seconds.

Lily kissed me?! I was kissed by a girl? Ewww? Maybe not… This is too complicated! Thought Evander before following his friends down to breakfast. Evander eats slowly trying to figure out what happened in the morning before he woke up. The sun was just beginning to rise outside indicating it was still really early in the morning. As they are eating, Lilith comes inside and walks over to the table where her friends are eating.

“Evander, I just want to tell you umm… I’m going… outside… go with Tyler,” she says the last part hurriedly before running back outside.

What was she talking about? Evander wondered.

“Hey, where is Travis?” asks Aeryn.

“I don’t know,” said Rothus.

“Maybe he is at the out house,” said Aeryn. After about an hour of eating and chatting there is still no sign of Travis.

“I’m going to go look for him,” said Rothus as he gets up and leaves. By the time he gets back Evander has finally finished eating. “We'll there is no sign of him,” said Rothus.

“Do you think he went to the pond?” asked Aeryn.

“Why would he go to the pond with out us?” asked Evander

“I don’t know, maybe to get away from here for a while,” said Aeryn.

“How about we check the tavern first, it’s closer,” suggested Evander.

“Ok,” said Rothus and Aeryn. So the three friends went across the road to the tavern.

“Hi Mrs. Neos, we were wondering if Travis was home,” said Aeryn.

“I thought he was with you?” said Mrs. Neos.

“We woke up and he wasn’t there, so we thought he would be here,” said Aeryn.

“Let me go check his room,” said Mrs. Neos heading to his room. “I’m sorry but he doesn’t seem to be home,” she said after checking his room.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Eighth

 “Hey where’s Ma`ud?” asks Lilith.
“Yip, Yip,” they hear from outside. They look out Tyler’s window and see Ma`ud sitting in the street.

“There you are. Hey how are we going to get him up here?” asks Lilith.

“Hey lets use the rope,” suggests Travis.

“The rope is with the barrel glitter,” says Evander.

“Oh yeah, where is it?” asks Lilith.

“…It’s by the window, downstairs,” says Evander.

“I’ll go get it,” said Rothus taking off. After a few moments he returns. “The rope is covered in glitter, not stealthy at all,” he said as he returned with out the rope, or Ma`ud.

“Ok, I will go get him,” said Lilith.

“I’ll go with you,” said Tyler following Lilith out of the room. The rest of the night is spent playing games and telling stories. Rothus is the first to drift off to sleep, followed by Aeryn, then Evander.

Evander didn’t have dreams that night seeing as how he had not slept the night before. Well, he almost didn’t dream. I can’t breath, it’s so cold. How did I get under water? I can’t swim! Some one save me! are Evander's thoughts as he quickly sat up, cold water drenching his upper body shocking him awake. As his vision cleared he saw Lilith giving him a stare that could melt iron.

“Witches are known to curse people,” she said in a cool collected voice.

Is there some thing I’m missing? What did I do? Evander asked himself as Lilith angrily ran out the door. “What did I do?” asked Evander.

“Lily kissed you, trying to wake you up, but you just continued sleeping,” said Rothus.

What!” exclaimed Evander.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Seventh

 “You have more clothes than a girl,” said Lilith. She proceeded to go over to his closet and begin looking through his clothes. “Hey, lets dress up like entertainers and tell stories,” suggests Lilith as she starts to give a set of clothes to everyone except Evander. “Sorry Evander, I don’t think these clothes would fit you,” she apologizes.

“Hey Lily, stop throwing my clothes everywhere, it’s not nice,” complains Tyler, but not before there is a set of clothes sitting in front of everyone except Evander.

“Hey you know what would make these clothes even better,” said Evander getting a wicked smile. “Glitter!” Well since I’m still covered in the stuff so should everyone else, thought Evander.

“Great idea,” said Lilith pulling out Alilove’s bag that still had glitter in it. She grabs a hand full and throws it. She hits Rothus and the outfit in front of him.

“Great, I will never be stealthy again!” complained Rothus.

“Lily why did you do that? You ruined my outfit. You meany!” said Tyler shocked and picking up the now glittering outfit.

“Fine, I’ll clean it, but don’t tell my mom!” said Lilith. Saying some strange words and with a flick of her hand the glitter that was once on the outfit was lifted off and put back into the bag. “Now I will clean Rothus,” she said repeating the same action.

“Here you go Rothus,” said Aeryn. She said some mystical words then moved her hands. Only this time water appeared out of nowhere and fell on Rothus. “What? I thought you wanted a bath,” said Aeryn giggling. Everyone except Rothus laughed at this.

“Ok guys I’m going to tell a story, now don’t freak out. I’m just getting into character like daddy taught me,” said Tyler. “Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages…” he said before Evander interrupted him.

“We're all kids here so you don’t have to say ladies and gentleman,” said Evander.

“Yeah but that’s how I always say it,” said Tyler breaking character.

“I heard Mr. Dragos say your supposed to change your story to your audience,” said Lilith.

“Ok, here I go again,” said Tyler getting into character. “Boys and girls, children of all ages…” Tyler then proceeded to tell a tale that lives up to his name. Tyler the Tale Teller.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Sixth

 “Gaaaah! Now they know where here,” complains Rothus.

“Umm, bears, I haven’t talked to bears yet,” says Lilith.

“No, its fish you have a hard time talking to,” says Evander.

“That’s it, I’m telling on you guys,” says Tyler storming off.

“See, that’s not Tyler, he would never ask his dad for help,” says Rothus.

“Great, now she knows the answer,” says Aeryn. “Ok, Travis, what happens when you eat licorice?” she asks.

“It makes you poop funny,” says Travis.

“Ok, you can come in,” says Aeryn. Evander lets Travis in.

“Don’t worry. That is Lily,” says Travis before Evander can close the door.

“Well, since you trust her, ok,” says Evander also letting in Lilith then closing the door.

“Hey, I have a great idea. Let’s leave the door open,” says Aeryn. Rothus and Evander look at her weird. “C’mon, it will be funny,” she says. Evander opens the door and the kids wait. After a while Mr. Dragos comes up the stairs and walks into Tyler’s room.

“Mind explaining why you wouldn’t let my son into his own room?” asks Eldon.

“Well, he said not to let anyone in who didn’t know the secret knock. But he didn’t teach us the secret knock before he left so we had to make up our own,” says Evander.

“Ok, I’ll go talk to him,” says Eldon heading back down stairs. Tyler comes upstairs and this time we let him in.

“Hey what was with that funny outfit you where wearing earlier?” asks Travis.

“It’s one of my performing outfits,” replies Tyler.

“I didn’t know that. You're supposed to be my bestest buddy and you didn’t tell me about it,” says Travis.

“Just how many outfits do you have?” asks Lilith.

“About seventeen. My parents got them for me from different towns,” replied Tyler.

“I only have one set of good clothes for Erastil day,” says Evander.

“I used to have a set for Erastil day, but then they became regular clothes,” said Rothus.

Evander Smith-Death of Innocence, Birth of a Warrior Part The Fifth

 “Tyler, get down here. your friends brought food for you guys,” said Eldon. Tyler leaves and comes back with a basket of food. “Hey guys, I’m going to check on Lily and Travis,” says Tyler after few moments.

As Tyler opens the door the kids hear “…Eat children.” Tyler slowly closes the door.

“Ok guys, I’m going to go downstairs. Now don’t open this door unless someone uses the secret knock,” said Tyler. He grabbed some food and then headed downstairs.

After Tyler was out of the room Evander asked, “Hey guys, what’s the secret knock?”

“I don’t know” said Rothus.

“I know. How about this?” said Aeryn. Tah-Tah-Teh-Tah. Aeryn knocks the pattern on a nearby wall.

“Ok,” agreed Evander and Rothus. After a while there were foot steps on the stairway, and then in the hall. They stopped out side Tyler’s door. Tah-Teh-Teh-Teh-Tah Tah-Tah came the knock from the other side. Evander quickly braces the door.

“Guys, it’s me. Open up,” calls Tyler on the other side of the door.

“No one's home,” says Rothus. Tyler tries the door but Evander keeps it shut.

“Guys, come on. I did the secret knock,” says Tyler.

“No you didn’t,” says Aeryn.

“Shhh, guys, they don’t know where here,” says Rothus in a hushed voice.

“Guys, let me in,” says Travis.

“Do you know the secret knock?” asks Evander.

“No,” says Travis.

“If you guys don’t open up in five seconds, I’m going to get my father,” whines Tyler.

“Ok, let’s ask them only questions the real ones would know,” suggest Aeryn. “Lily, what animal is it hard for you to talk to?” she asks.