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Dispersion is the 8th chapter of Interloper War Season One.

Are We There Yet? Edit

Darrel Mytura - Outside Darrel's Cabin - Third Morning

Lantern-boy. On top of being a potential borderline psychotic, the violently disposed Sheikah also appeared to have maturity to match Raki. At least Raki had an excuse, being so young. She had none.

"And do not forget Clayface!" He opened his mouth to respond, but let it snap shut instead. There was no need for them to get into a senseless insult throwing contest, not now. Darrel had consented to put their issue before the Chief Military Adviser and the Sheikah had agreed. The rest of her posse seemed agreeable enough.

"High Command will leave him be, I think." Darrel said comfortingly to Raki, patting his shoulder. Darrel had noticed the rather sudden changes in Kae almost immediately, and he knew that she, like Habiki, was a very important person. Things moved in cycles, new players were introduced as every so often the players of older conflicts faded into history. That was part of the reason that Darrel had intended on guiding Habiki and Raki into the forests. He believed that Habiki's mission was important, and he had the means to help see it done. He didn't think that the two mismatched travelers would be able to protect themselves in the wood, where beasts and Interlopers treaded.

"Let's be off." he announced, not waiting for the rest before he started walking. Over his shoulder he called back to Lynn. "If we're to be companions on the road, even for a short time, I'd prefer it if you addressed everyone by their proper names, rather than the impolite monikers you've chosen." 

Kae Bryseis/Travel/Day 3/Daytime

Sometimes it took the opinions of those who don't use magic to inspire deeper thought. Her magic was not all about explosions and flashy doom, but most of the displays people see did consist of this. At least in the Lunar Paradigm. Then there were the divinations, the foresight, and the consequences of overuse or failed rotes. 

Raki and herself were not all that different, it seemed. Both had a keen interest in a specific field of study and a strong inspiration to back it. 

"It is a blessing to know life's passion as early as possible. And I hope you do become the doctor you want to be. Sticking with it is the best way to succeed. As for your clay friend...he's changed the way I've viewed constructs. If High Command believes us, which they have no reason not to, I think they'll be fine with your plan. Besides, you've got Sunrise. If what I've studied of him is true, we've got a perfect foundation to back it up."

Half of what you do is preserve Hyrule. If the youth wishes to know how, let him shine when the time arises.

Kae let the end of a bread crust dangle from her teeth for a moment while thinking of how to better explain some of the basics of her ability.

"Well, let's put it this way. Words carry authority. When one makes a pact in blood to preserve the order of the land, these words unlock the very essence of the Goddesses. It is then up to the caster to channel it properly, lest she suffer great pain. It can be put toward all sorts of ends."

She explained the rarity of mortals involved in its practice (with most simply limited to divination so as to avoid painful Pact-swearing). Lynn's latest nicknames for the other folks disrupted her thought patterns somewhat, but after a few moments of silent amusement, she went back to talking with Raki about medicine and magic.

Kae couldn't help but feel something was very wrong where they were headed. What she had spoken earlier that day rang out in her mind once more as a premonition.

The enemy will be drawn to you as a moth to a lantern.


 There wasn't enough to make an accurate assessment, but she looked troubled. 

Morning 3/Finally Castle-bound from Darrel's Hut/Lynn Annei

Lynn took a quick jog forward to assume point and found herself, unfortunately, walking beside Darrel. "What," she asked him, "you have no sense of humor? If all of life is dour and serious, the pains and troubles will eventually overcome you. It is no wonder that you live alone in your little hut, brooding over the past."

She peered off in the direction of Castle Town. In a sense, she was looking toward her home away from home. For although she had actually spent very little time there, it was the heart of all that she worked to protect. For the Sheikah, the Castle was as much a symbol as was the Triforce. At least for this Sheikah.

Perhaps she was being too caustic, though, with these people. They, too, were Hylians. Except that Habiki-thing. For now. They needed to work together in service to the Royal Family. To their kingdom.


 "I apologize... We do not have to like each other, but I would prefer if we got along together well enough. For the time being. As we work together. For Hyrule." 

Darrel Mytura - Castle Bound - Third Morning

"You have no idea. No idea what it's like to live as long as I have, to watch as the people you know and love die over and over again. No idea what it's like to fight war after war and know that the best you can hope for is to hold of the inevitable." Darrel told her as they walked. In truth he didn't mind her presence at his side, but images of her brutality still flashed through his thoughts.

No, he didn't like her. But he knew that he was going to have to trust her.

"Perhaps someday you'll live as long as I have, and you'll think back on your sage advice and know that it was only the innocence of youth. Perhaps you'll meet somebody, someday, that makes you feel alive as nobody has before, and you'll at last achieve some understanding of me when they're taken from you, either by time... or by Isaac Telmar." He knew he needed to shut up, that he needed to quell the bitterness for a time. Still, even after all this time it was still hard. "Now it's my turn to apologize, you were trying to make conversation and I keep letting my own personal demons color our budding relationship. I think we can trust each other, and work together for the betterment of Hyrule, as you said.


 "Yes... I think we can do that." 

Kae Bryseis/Travel/Morning/Day 3

Desecration of the Sanctuary...Irreverent individuals...citizens horrified...

The travelers were still a long way off from Castle Town, but with the sky being clear and weather fairly nice, why were there dark clouds in the distance? Why were these feelings invading her mind? Why couldn't she get there any faster?

A look of grave concern could be hidden no longer. Kae pointed at the anomalous weather in the distance.

"Do you all see that? Dark, heavy clouds in the distance...they're right on top of Castle Town if I'm guessing right. And they're isolated."

When she closed her eyes to attempt a divination, all she could hear was screaming. The citizens' fright blocked out anything else that could have been gained.

"They don't know what to do. Bunkered down. Praying for it to stop."

Her voice went wispy again at those words, and eyes flung wide open. When she tried to speak again, Kae's tongue wouldn't move. She felt the fear as the citizens did; ground shaking, sudden cold, loud crashing. But only sounds and feelings; no sights. 


 Kae then began to pick up the pace out of concern. If she could get closer, maybe a better idea could be had on what was going on.  

Darrel Mytura - Castle Bound - Third Morning

"Localized atmospheric phenomena..." Darrel muttered out loud as he looked south to the clouds that had amassed as if out of nowhere in the skies over Hyrule Castle Town.

Clouds that had amassed as if out of nowhere.

"We need to get moving. Quickly." Darrel said as he began to jog. None of the rest had any knowledge of what was happening. Even Polaris, he believed, had no direct experience. "Only a few people that I've ever encountered have been customarily accompanied by fluctuating weather patterns. They're all monsters like Telmar.

"Or worse."


 As Darrel loped down the path that ran from his cabin down to the kingdom's capital Darrel was keenly aware of himself. His spiritual energies fueled his physical being, he could have sprinted the distance to Castle Town had he chosen to do so. But there was a part of him, concealed beneath his brusque facade, that was nervous. 

Polaris/ Traveling /3rd Morning

The clay man, it seemed was one of few words, so few that he had wordlessy turned and walked alongside Polaris even after he was greeted and made no response aside of a simple head nod even when Lynn, in her own unique way beckoned them to leave.

Darrel and Lynn were deep in conversation when Polaris caught up to them, so he remained silent, a few paces behind.

Noticing the troubled look that passed over Kae's visage he started to speak, as he had many questions for her, some regarded what seemed to be troubling her, others about her unexpected, overnight transormation. All those thoughts and questions vanished as soon as he noticed what Kae was looking at.

As Darrel urged them forward, "I've seen atmospheric changes like that once before, and it was my own doing. When it happened to me, I wasn't aware that I was the source of the disturbance, my powers were out of control." unable to remove his gaze from their destination, Polaris quickened his pace so as to keep up. "If one possesses that much power, to be aware of what he's doing to the climate, he's sure one to be reckoned with."


 Doing his best to calm the nerves that threatened to burst forth, Polaris fought the urge to propel himself forward and away from his companions on a wave of ice. He would reach Castle Town soon enough, he only hoped it was, soon enough. 

Raki Cestus and Habiki Sol/Travel/Day 3

Raki turned his head to look at the disturbance Kae had alerted everyone to.

"Oh, crap!" he thought aloud, clearly unnerved by the storm clouds. He was frightened.

As he had much earlier, he felt the wind picking up around him. Was it coming from those ominous clouds? Had the storm been there since before the sun had parted with the ground? He was feeling disoriented, like the winds would carry him off into oblivion.

Everyone around him picked up the pace, so he decided to do the same to try and mitigate his discomfort.

Kae looked almost distraught at the sight of those clouds, so he tried to calm her nerves by continuing their earlier conversation...besides, he hadn't yet sated his curiousity for her abilities.

They were clipping along now, almost a jog, so it was hard to ask questions while maintaining his pace. Somehow he managed.

"I would love to know more. For instance, you talk of divine essence, and of Lunar paradigm. But is Celestial magic the only way the divine can be channeled? Or is it open to say, the primary elements of the sages? What of secondary elements, like Earth, or Wind, or Metal? Can divine essence be channeled through such paradigms? And how does one make such a 'blood-pact' as the one you described?"

He paused, catching his breath as everyone seemed to, again, speed up, now anxious to reach town as soon as possible.

"So maybe this is a bad time to ask, but could I maybe borrow one of your spell-books? I would love to study the properties or mechanics of the different eleme-" he stopped talking instantly when he heard a small snap from behind him.

It was Habiki, behind him, his leg having cracked under his weight as he had struggled to keep up with the others. It was still attached, but there was a fracture running up the length of it, and it didn't look like it would support him. He was on one knee, kneeling. His body was drying up, losing malleability as he walked, slowly working the water out of his system. He simply didn't seem built for long treks like this.

He looked up at Raki. "Habiki not feel right," he said.

Raki looked pleadingly at his comrades. He didn't want to hold them up, but Habiki couldn't continue on without some repair. He gritted his teeth.


 "You guys go on ahead, we'll catch up as quickly as we can." he said, reaching into his pack for some water. 

Kae Bryseis/Day 3/Travel/Morning-Mid-day/

Still no visions. She was hoping to get something as things got closer, and her worry increased. However, Raki's questions helped to take her mind off it for a short time.

Her voice still had that wispy reverberation to it; this happened to her any time her emotions started to escalate to an extreme.

"Actually, it can be done through other elements with slightly less effect. It is possible, though. Servants of the Sages do this, and so do the Deku in some aspects. In fact, with an element to focus through, there is less stress on the body. The energies are less potent early on, but are more flexible and have a fairly decent kick when one masters the Art in Element form. It also doesn't kill you like mine will from overuse. I'm not saying mine is better. The backlashes from my paradigm are awful, but the power is far more potent."

She thought about it a little more.

"It is usually better to start with an element to base things on. But Blood-pacts are incredibly rare. They greatly improve your ability at the cost of some of your free will and a good amount of pain. These tattoos, and my binding to serve. I cannot change sides. If I do, I will be killed. You also have to find deities that will accept them. Not all do. Some are even judged unworthy and killed on the spot by the more evil deities. But as for a book, I'll set you up with an introductory Metaphysical volume when things die down a bit."

When she heard the crack, Kae turned around and started jogging backwards, letting one of her shards float over to Raki.


 "Hopefully it won't take too long. This shard should lead you back to us. Just follow it when you're done." 

Path to Castle Town/Morning 3/Lynn Annei

Lynn spun when she heard the snapping sound, and had one of her swords unsheathed and ready to meet any threat. Her vigilance went unrewarded; it was merely some default in the construction of the clay man. The Zora child was already on his knees beside the construct, searching through his pack for... something.

"You guys go on ahead," he said, "we'll catch up as quickly as we can."

Kae responded first, sending a shard to the boy. "Hopefully it won't take too long. This shard should lead you back to us. Just follow it when you're done."

Lynn shook her head. Poor foolish Kae. Your predilection for trust will get you stabbed in the back one day. Well, not if I can help it. She walked back through the group, stopping beside Kae to utter a whispered command.

"You go on ahead, I will stay behind and keep an eye on these two to assure they do not attempt to flee or escape. Keep an eye on them, nonetheless, Kae. You trust too easily. And this way, you three magic-types will be able to deal with whatever is causing the 'localized atmospheric distortion' without the mundanes getting in your way." She probably sounded more sour to Kae's ears than she had intended, but what was said... was said. Then she raised her volume a bit, so the others could hear. "I am putting Kae in charge of making sure you two reach Castle Town safely." By way of explanation she pointed to Darrel and Polaris. "And I will ensure that you two do the same." Her finger now was aimed toward Raki and the golem. She gave the same reason to the entire group that she had given to Kae: "It is better this way, as well, as you three have magical abilities and will be better suited to deal with whatever caused that." For a final time she pointed, now at the billowing clouds in the distance.

Finally Lynn strode the rest of the way over to where Raki was unpacking a handful of water bottles from his pack and crossed her arms over her chest. "No need to make him perfect, as long as he can complete the journey we can move out."


 As an after-thought, when she got an unhappy look from the others, she added, "Complete the journey safely, of course." 

Lynn and Habiki Depart Edit

Raki Cestus and Habiki Sol/Hyrule Field/Day 3

Raki quickly covered Habiki’s eyes with a strip of cloth so he wouldn’t see, then removed his fins and began cutting into Habiki’s leg. Unlike the night before, the fins came out easily, cleanly, as if they’d undergone months of development overnight. Somehow, his wounded fins had completely healed over from last night’s fiasco with the Chu. 

Did the Chu jelly have something to do with it? He knew from his studies that Chu jelly was a key ingredient in some of the most potent healing potions. Might that have been a factor? 

My fins are noticeably sharper, more rigid, too. he remarked to himself. They were still by no means adequate weapons for any sort of battle, but they would do the job here. 

He pushed these thoughts aside as he finished severing his partner’s earthen leg. The limb was deadened enough from cracking that it had grown numb, so Habiki wasn’t experiencing any sort of pain. He probably didn’t even realize his leg was missing, thanks to the blindfold.

“What is Rocky do?” he asked the young Zora.

“Just some quick repairs on your leg, don’t worry about it,” he said matter-of-factly, then returned to his work.

He turned to Lynn.

“Hey, Lynn?” He said in an uncharacteristically timid way. “Can I say something one ‘mundane’ to another?” he paused, seeing her reaction. “Yeah, I overheard you whispering to Kae. I’m a Zora, Lynn. My ears are designed to hear things clearly evenunderwater. Anyways, like I was saying, one mundane to another…even though you don’t trust us, I think…I think I trust you.”

He smiled.

“I can tell you mean it when you say you love Hyrule, that fighting to protect it is what matters to you. And I’d take that person any day over the flashiest magic-show, just so long as she doesn’t stab Habiki again…see, both my parents are enlisted, and they haven’t got an ounce of magic. So don’t worry too much about being ‘mundane’…you…you sounded kind of upset when you said it.”

“Speaking of trust, I mean, I’m really not trying to hoist the blame on you again, I’m just saying, if it hadn’t been for what happened last night, Habiki might have been sound enough to make this trip. With a little trust, we might all be to Castle Town by now. And I hope that in time you can learn to trust us, like I’m beginning to trust you.”

He stopped talking then, concentrating on his work. He poured water onto both flats of the severed leg, working it until it was soft enough, then used his fins as a spackle knife, gathering extra clay and then forcing it into the cracks to fill them. Then he began to score the surface of the clay on both flats. The little gouges would help the surfaces to bond, for the clay to stick together and keep the leg attached until it was set. 


Finally he went to push the leg back into place. But he couldn’t lift it or put enough pressure on it to reattach it.

He looked over at Lynn entreatingly.

“Hey Lynn, while you’re here, you think you could help me put this back on?”

[b]Lynn Annei/Morning 3/Road to Castle Town[/b]

Lynn was taken aback at the Zora child.

[i]What a little[/i] brat[i]! Goddesses help me; I[/i] hate [i]children now...[/i]

"Mind your own business, boy." she told him as she stepped forward to assist with the severed leg.

Raki Cestus/Hyrule Field/Morning 3

Raki shook his head. This woman had a serious attitude problem.

Not only was he extending an olive branch to her, but also offering high praise, assuring her there was still merit in the "mundane" warrior, not least of which his own parents. And how did she react? Not with sympathy that he was at risk of being orphaned. Not with a simple "thank you" for his kind words...but by spitting in his face. He rolled his eyes. He might trust her enough to turn his back, but he definitely didn't like her. He'd never met someone so needlessly abrasive. He was not putting up with this, he was NOT putting up with this.

"Whatever, let's just go," he grunted as they finally reattached the leg. He removed Habiki's blindfold. "Hey buddy, it's time to go, we have to get moving if we're going to catch up with the others," he said. Habiki stood up and they both started walking without even a backwards glance at Lynn.

They walked a little ways, and then he stopped. He turned to face her, struggling to maintain his temper.

"And by the way, it's true. If you didn't shoot first and ask questions later, we'd be there already, we'd be there hours ago. And contrary to what you'd like to believe, that is my business for as long as we travel together, since it could get people killed. And don’t tell me to “mind my own business” when if you had done the same, there wouldn’t be blood and scorch marks all around Darrel’s Hut, and we wouldn’t need your escort to solve nonexistent problems."

He took a somewhat ragged breath, trying to calm his nerves.

"Look, maybe I haven't earned your respect, but Darrel sure has, and god forbid you show that to him. He's been fighting to protect Hyrule since before our grandparents were born, and yet you spat in HIS face just like you do with me. So don't even try to pretend you don't like me because I'm some whiny kid, because that's a lie. You don't like me because that's how you treat everybody you come across...well that's fine with me, you stay out of my way and I'll be GLAD to stay out of yours.

So quit whining, quit trying to find blame where there is none, quit calling me "boy," and for god's sake, quit acting like Nayru's gift to Hyrule. Because in this particular instance, maybe I'm not the one who's been acting like a spoiled child.”

He shook his head, the anger finally filtering out of his voice and being replaced with pity for this contemptible woman.

“You know, if you were half as smart as you think you are, you might realize that from what he said last night, Darrel's on preeetty good terms with the Chief Military Advisor...and you just attacked a potentially vital asset to the war effort. You do realize they're just as likely to arrest you as they are to arrest Habiki? Of course you didn't, you're too busy being a narcissist.

Come on, Habiki, let’s go!" he said, and he walked away without another word.

Lynn Annei/Hyrule Field/Morning 3

For only the briefest of moments Lynn contemplated just killing them both and blaming some random Twili encroachment, or act of the Goddesses, their own stupidity in trying to escape. But Kae's shard was there, keeping watch. And it wouldn't help Hyrule for her to give in to personal feelings. So instead, she swallowed her rage and set off for Castle Town with the pair.

Hyrule Field/Noon-ish/Habiki and Raki

For a while they traveled uneventfully, Raki and Lynn not speaking…which was good, because the woman’s mere presence was beginning to irritate him.

Suddenly she broke out into a run, leaving the two of them behind, clearly unnerved by what she saw of the city ahead.

“Lynn, wait, come back!” yelled Raki, but she was already gone. God damn it, Lynn! he thought to himself. That woman was good for nothing. He was practically breaking his back trying to keep the clay man from falling over, and she just ditches them when they clearly needed help.

He looked over at Habiki, who seemed to be doing very poorly.

“Good riddance to bad rubbish, am I right?” he attempted to laugh, but there was little levity in it. How could she ditch us when Habiki was the entire reason for this trip to the castle? Is she that impulsive? How could she not even think to stop and help when I’m clearly over-tasked here? 

Habiki’s eyes seemed to be losing focus, and he could barely stand. He took another step, and finally the leg collapsed as it had been threatening to do, and as Habiki reached out his arm to catch his fall, his arm too was crushed, crumbling into pieces. The leg had been recently lubricated, so rather than crumbling it merely collapsed, but the arm had been dry and brittle, so there was almost nothing left of it...no chance of repair whatsoever.

Habiki’s eyes no longer looked like eyes at all. They were blank spheres of tan marble, without even a distinguishable pupil. Habiki was unnaturally still, barely even heaving his chest to breath. He looked more like a mere statue than ever.

“Oh god, this is bad, this is bad!”

I don’t understand it, thought Raki. Shouldn’t he be stronger than he was two days ago? Darrel infused him with a fairly robust amount of light last night, and I gave him time to charge in the sun-rise this morning. Despite the energy he expended in the fight with Lynn last night, shouldn’t he be more capable of handling the journey, not less?

What was more, he had observed the orb after all those events, the relative amount of light it had given off before Darrel had healed him, after the fight with Lynn, and after he went out into the sun. And it simply. Did. Not. Add. Up. After this morning it seemed to be far stronger than it had when Raki first saw it, more steady, flickering less, yet mere hours later Habiki was closer to death than ever.

What was he missing? What was he not seeing? There had to be something he’d overlooked!

He was cursing at Lynn in his mind. God damn it Lynn, the others can handle the disturbance, you’re needed here! I can’t carry a 200 pound man all the way to Castle Town!

He looked up, and saw three hooded figures in the distance, all wearing black robes…invaders. He couldn’t take his eyes off of them as the gap slowly closed, these men looming ever closer, until they were mere yards away. Suddenly they stopped, looking across the distance at Raki and his fallen comrade. The ground beneath their feet seemed to be stirring, pulsing.

He could barely see their faces, obscured by their hoods, but one of them appeared to be smiling. The man spoke.

You’re pretty far from home boy…what’s that you’re kneeling next to?” he inquired sardonically.

Don’t call me boy! thought Raki, but he kept his mouth shut. He was starting to shake.


I’m talking to you, boy! It’s a simple question!” the mage spat.

He was paralyzed with fear. He wanted to run, but couldn’t.

The pulsing of the ground began to grow more pronounced, as if some beast were trying to pound its way out.

He started pleading to his fallen comrade. “Habiki, wake up! HABIKI!!!” His screams grew shrill, echoing his fear.

Too late, boy!

Raki’s eyes widened in horror as the ground beneath him cracked.

“NNAAAAAA!“ his screams were drowned out by a deafening thunder as three enormous gray golems emerged from the earth, each quickly taking a stance to match that of their respective master, the ground beneath them collapsing in on itself, covering the spot they had emerged from. 

The two on either side were around 8 feet tall, but the middle one, the one controlled by the apparent leader, was much taller, probably around 13 feet, if not more.

Kae’s shard instantly took action, darting towards the mages with deadly force. It was quickly batted away by the lead golem. The shard was intact, but a small crack ran down its length. The golem had little more than a scorch mark on its arm.

I’m afraid you picked the wrong day to play out in the field, boy!

Lynn is so dead if I get out of this, thought Raki.

Sidetracked Edit

Kae Bryseis/Travel/Mid-day/Day 3

Kae was slightly amused that Lynn didn't know exactly what she had planned. Trust too easily? It may appear as such. Trust, but verify. That shard worked both ways. She could see everything Raki was doing to fix Habiki up, and if they tried to run, it would attempt to keep them from doing so while alerting the caster to what is going on. This goodwill measure was masked enough to have a failsafe.

It may appear that way, Lynn. Trust me when I say this shard is more than just a tracker...I can see and hear everything they're doing. If they try to get away, it will stop them. Also, I would rather have you with us, but I understand if you want to watch them. Just get them to town, or what's left of it when we arrive. Stay strong! Magic isn't everything!

She focused and sent a telepathic word as she pressed onward. But she still wasn't close enough to get a good read on what was happening. 

It felt weird being apart from Lynn, and she hoped that she'd catch up to the rest of the group soon. This jealousy of magic ability was a source of good worry. Being well-aware of what some folks do in order to get an upper hand in the metaphysical department, Kae hoped Lynn wouldn't explore that path.

"I fear not only for the people of Castle Town but for its infrastructure as well. Surely they would have deployed guards by now..."


 Kae did her best to match the pace of Darrel and Polaris. The past few days had helped to build her stamina a little bit, but not enough to make a significant difference. Red potion would be her best bet to be functional by the time she made it to Castle Town at the pace she was going. 

Urukyl

A breeze rolled through the undergrowth that Urukyl slept under. On the current a bit of pollen made it's way into his nose, making him sneeze rather violently. Going without saying, he jolted upright, alert and awake. Without saying anything, or event thinking much of anything to himself, he crawled out of the tree patch and sheathed his long sword. His bright plate armor shone in the sunlight, casting a glare into his eyes. It wasn't obnoxious plate armor, rather slimming and tight fitted. It allowed fairly good dexterity, while protecting Urukyl from even the deadliest of blows. He rubbed his eyes a few times, and then blinked. He then realized that there were people nearby. At least 2, maybe 3. He crept up the small ridge below. Walking along the path were 3 people. A man, a woman, and a strange looking creature made of stone. Or was it clay? Urukyl couldn't tell. He threw caution to the wind, like always, and jumped down in front of them. With a large goofy look on his face, he waved at the 3 and said "Hi!" 

Darrel Mytura - Castle Bound - Third Morning

"Simple guards will be of no use, I promise you, their interference will only up the body count." Darrel told Kae as they traveled south at a brisk pace, all the while keeping an eye on the sinister cloud bank that still roiled violently above their destination."People like the ones I mentioned are the reason why people such as myself and Polaris even exist, the reason why we're needed at all."

Darrel wondered, not for the first time, if the light warriors of times past hadn't taken a hard enough line with the villainous dark votaries. They had always presumed some sort of moral high ground, used it to hide from the unpleasant business of eliminating once and for all the threats their enemies posed.

If Darrel had had the stones to kill Isaac Telmar the first several times they'd encountered one another, Helen might still be alive. Or perhaps, he thought to himself, another would have just come to take his place. Light and dark, order and chaos, the dichotomies had once seemed so clear. Now everything was muddled in gray.

He was brought out of his musings however, by the sudden appearance of an armed and armored man jumping down from a low hanging ledge and into their path. Morning's Edge was free from his scabbard immediately, and this time the gleam of the rising sun caught its length and set the blade afire with dazzling orange light. Now he was at the height of his power as the sunrise refreshed the spirits and energies of everything and everyone around him.

He held the blade forth, its point directed at the man's middle.


 "Apologies if I'm being paranoid, but I need you to identify yourself. I've had some issues lately with... ambushes.

Polaris/ Path to Castle Town/ 3rd Morning

"Darrel's right Kae. Lynns' tenacity on the battle field is hard to match. In a battle of blades alone she is a valuable asset. But whomever, whatever, is causing that," He motioned towards the tempest that raged over Castle Town."Whatever the source of that disturbance may be, is beyond her. One with her talents, would prove a liability."

Darrel stopped, his entire being seemed to pulsate under the rising sun, his blade shone with an aura befitting the name, "Sword of the Sunrise"...Polaris now realized why he was referred to as such. Whatever the armored mans intentions were, Polaris hoped for his sake that they were friendly.


 Removing the dagger from his boot and channeling arctic energies through it, Polaris took up a defensive position alongside Darrel as he addressed the stranger. 

Kae Bryseis/Travel/Day 3/Mid-day

Simple guards...Lynn was definitely more than that in her mind. Lynn could school Kae when it came to one on one. Even with the new gifts. But Kae was not Darrel, and she most certainly wasn't Polaris. Or whatever was making Castle Town shake to its foundation.

She listened to Darrel and Polaris, and their information made sense. There had to be some way to get her a fighting chance against this menace, but those thoughts would have to come later. Kae was a freshly-minted supernatural being now, and without the proper guidance her inexperience would get her killed. She was quite fortunate to be getting it from those who had lived to fight another day many times over. 

Nodding in approval, she thanked them for better explaining the situation at hand and why the personnel meant to handle it were here instead of tending to the construct's repairs. She was still sad that Lynn couldn't be here, but Kae bit her tongue before going that far.

When the mysterious fellow dropped from the treetops, she saw her companions take defensive stances. Conjuring her starblade, she joined the line, making sure to be in the back row. Even with the newly bestowed gift, she was unsure of her melee style.

"Are you for Hyrule or the Interlopers? Might be the most important choice you'll make." 

Urukyl

 Urukyl jumped back as the sword was pointed in his direction. He hadn't expected such hostility. 

"Watch it will you?" He put his hands up in a defensive position. "If you really must know, I'm nothing more than a traveling sword. I don't know anything 'bout these interlopers of yours. To be completely honest, I've been out of the scene for a few months. Mind explaining just what in the world you're talking 'bout?" He took a cautious step closer to the trio, unsure of what they'd do. 

Darrel Mytura - Castle Bound - Late Third Morning

Darrel let out a sigh and planted the point of his luminous blade into the dirt. As he calmed himself the orange energy that coursed over the length of the sword faded and dispersed, leaving it looking nothing more than ordinary.

"A traveling sword, we have something in common already." he muttered, sizing the man up. He was large, well armed, and seemingly well intentioned. They'd just met him however, so Darrel wasn't willing to bet on that last part just yet.

Polaris and Kae had stepped up to either side of him, each toting weapons of power. He trusted the Zora warrior's skills, but Kae's transformation was not something he was willing to trust, not when he knew so little about it.

"Hyrule is currently under assault by forces from the south, known as the Dark Interlopers. Their proper name, I've heard it told, is the Twili." he turned his head to Kae and raised an eyebrow. "Right?" 

Kae Bryseis/Travel/Day 3/Mid-day

Her sword faded as a candle's flame, shrinking into nothingness. So maybe this fellow wasn't exactly trouble. Maybe he was playing dumb. Either way, it didn't appear that anything was going to start. 

Kae responded by providing a bit of information.

"Ordon is a warzone now, with our troops facing off against the Twili there. We don't know if any have broken through to the Field or Castle Town, but it appears as though Castle Town is under attack. The Twili apparently think they can best the King's power with their dark abilities. They're totally out of line."

She wasn't sure what this fellow had, but a traveling sword...that struck her differently. If this fellow wanted to have a Hyrule left to hire his abilities out to, she hoped he'd cast his lot with them.

"We're headed to Castle Town now. Those disturbances must end." 

Polaris/ Enroute to Castle Town/ Late Morning, Day 3

Growing impatient, Polaris relinquished his hold on the magic that formed his blade, as he did so, the ice that transformed the simple silver dagger into a frigid weapon of destruction fell away and the dagger was returned to its sheath.

"If it is acceptable, I suggest we walk while Kae shares whatever additional intel she deems necessary or while we converse about what has already been shared. Much time has already been wasted and the storms still rage over Castle Town."

Sensing Darrel and Kaes' shared hesitancy to travel with the unknown gentleman Polaris added. "But know this stranger, if you make me regret asking my companions to give you the benefit of the doubt and go against common sense by traveling with you before knowing your intentions, if you try something funny or turn out to be against our cause, there'll be hell to pay."


 Laughing aloud as he realized what he'd just said and how he'd said it, Polaris turned to Kae and Darrel, "It would appear that I've spent too much time with Lynn these past few days...if either of you have any objections, please voice them and we can sort this out before proceeding." 

Urukyl

Urukyl lowered his hands to his side. At the very least, he didn't seem in danger of being skewered with a blade anytime today. He walked forward and extended his hand towards Darrel, whom he assumed was the leader of the trio.

"My name is Urukyl. You may have heard of me before." He said with a slight laugh. "So you say you head towards Castle Town, yes? Well, I suppose I can tag along til we get there. Hopefully I can find some work while we're there. Unless," his eyes glinted, "you're willing to pay for my services. A traveling sword has to make a living somehow, no? 


 Urukyl pulled out a small pouch that made a jingling noise. "As you can see, my funds are running just a little low. Any help would be appreciated." 

Kae Bryseis/Travel/Day 3/Mid-day

Every person has a few major motivations. Kae never really had to think about rupees because the Sheikah funded one another. No one ever had a need thanks to the relationship the tribe had with the Crown. All those expensive books Nora had in the library? Donations, gifts, requisitions. She did buy some from divination fees, but those were the incredibly rare volumes. The starmetal pigments mixed into Kae's arm and back tattoos? Requisitioned. She never had a want for money because if there ever was anything needed, it was available. But she was aware that many were motivated by the acquisition of wealth. This fellow happened to be one of those folks. At least he'd be doing some good for Hyrule cutting through Twili instead of taking dirty Interloper rupees.

I don't fully know what his skill is like, Nora. Should we try to make an arrangement?

We need all the help we can get. I'm sure he'll do good somewhere. There are many mercenary offers available in Castle Town. He probably didn't get the Writ.

She looked at the pouch and frowned, thumbing her chin.

"The King issued a writ 2 days ago concerning this war. I'm sure the profits to be had are quite satisfactory, especially considering His Majesty has endorsed mercenary employment. We're hunting a different quarry, however. One that is quite fiery. Tell me...are you primarily a swordsman? Perhaps you have magical abilities of a sort?"

There was no time to do a proper divination. Besides, her head was being disrupted by the continued thought-noise rising from Castle Town, and she was moving at a rather rapid pace.


 "If my companions don't have a problem with you coming along, I don't. As far as compensation, I'm sure my people can do something. Service to the Crown does not go unrewarded." 

Darrel Mytura - Castle Bound - Late Third Morning

"It may not go unpaid, but that doesn't mean it will be worth it..." Darrel muttered under his breath. There were times when he realized how much of a cynic he'd become and loathed himself for it. He didn't have time for that though. "I'm sorry, thinking out loud I suppose.

"I think you can travel with us... Urukyl you said it was?" Darrel finally noticed that the man was holding his hand out and shook it. He didn't think this man much of a threat to them, and he seemed honest enough. "Shall we get moving?"

As they resumed their trek, Darrel slid away from the newcomer and came to walk beside Kae. He hadn't had time to speak with her since they'd headed out.

"Kae, I was hoping that you could answer some questions for me about your transformation. Such as what, specifically, has happened to you, and why?" 

Kae Bryseis/Travel/Day 3/Mid-day

She had to come up with a repeatable account of her visions. As a Scion, there was no order forbidding tales of the Imbuing. Was it believable? Probably not. Unless the people listening had a decent background in religion and the arcane, it'd sound like she was speaking Gerudo.

Kae blushed a bit when Darrel asked her about what happened. She'd only told Lynn, and the jealous reactions almost broke Kae's heart. 

"I...um...it sounds like a tall tale, but it is the truth. Last night, my spirit was whisked away to a meeting in the Stars. Councilors of the Goddesses were there discussing Hyrule's predicament. Apparently there's been a divine mark placed on my bloodline, and it was fully awakened. Eight years of intense training to be a seer; fortune teller and diviner...and the Councilors want to imbue me...give me full mastery of my Arts so as to make sure there is a Hyrule left to defend. Of course, I swear a new blood-pact to vanquish all who oppose the Kingdom with more strings attached...I thought it'd just be my abilities, but they changed my body and clothing too. Then I get day-visions of Farore's Councilor telling me that Evil will be drawn to me as moths to a torch. It's just so hard to explain...but the title given to me was Kae Bryseis, Scion of Nayru. Everything I do now is going to directly be supervised by Her and the Councilors of Wisdom..."

She went on to elaborate a little more about the meeting, the Birthrights, and how her master thought it could be a bad idea for someone so young to get a taste of this kind of power. Kae then explained about the basic function of her Art and the initial Blood-pact. Overuse or misuse consumed her life force...and The Three would be much less merciful if she broke the "rules."

"Go overboard, I'm probably dead. Break the Code, I could die. If I die, all my devotion to the Three goes unrewarded because I botched it. I'm really nervous about this; I feel the energy coursing through me, but how far is too far? Every time I use a rote not granted as Birthright, I'm going to be second-guessing myself. And then there are the people who won't understand, call me a Witch, and persecute. I'll admit, I'm freaking out here. Lynn didn't understand. She's jealous now...I grew up introverted with my nose in books...so much I don't know!"

It seemed like more of a nervous venting than an explanation; she wasn't even sure what she was saying made any sense. Maybe someone like Darrel would understand. But if he didn't know about Scions (then again, who would...there had been only Four in Hyrule's history), he sure did now. Not even close to a Hero of Time, but a Favored Soul ordained to carry out a world-changing mission. In Kae's case, it was defeat the Twili, or die trying.

The nervousness showed in her countenance even more. It was almost like Darrel's question opened up a crate full of uncertainty that had been welling up in Kae's mind since she took the painful tattoos of Starmetal pigment, swore the pacts, and received her abilities. She kept walking, but shivering at the same time while trying to keep eye contact with Darrel. 

They are all going to think I am insane. That asylum in Castle Town? If it's still there, I wouldn't be surprised if someone tried to get me committed. Nora always jokingly threatened it if I failed my studies...I don't take jokes well...Nayru, give me discretion and clarity of mind. Farore, grant me the courage to stand up and be assertive. Din, don't let me get corrupted. 

Darrel Mytura - Castle Bound - Late Third Morning

She sounded like Moran. Well... almost.

"It sounds like they've put a great deal of unfair pressure on you. A problem I've always thought the Goddesses have had." Darrel replied as they walked at the fore of the group. He could see how nervous she was about what had been bestowed upon her, he felt no small amount of compassion for her. "You know for as powerful as the gifts of Gods can be, I've always believed more in the power of the human spirit.

"What can you do, what can you change or alter with the powers you've been granted? A great deal I'd wager, but the restrictions placed upon you are lethal. Now tell me, what can a man change, alter, or affect given passion and free will?

"The world. The power of the human spirit is all but unending in its capacity to touch lives and influence events. Great palaces and temples have been built because of the drive and desire of one man. Empires have been brought to their knees because of the greed and ambition of one man. That is the power of the spirit, the soul, and that is the power that I harness."

Darrel realized that he'd gone off on an anti-Goddess rant in front of the Scion of Nayru and shook his head, chuckling a bit under his breath.

"I apologize, I shouldn't be talking ill of your mistresses." he told her, mustering up all of the sincerity there was in him. It had been some time since he'd lost his faith in the three. Ever since their angel had been taken from him. "I believe I know somebody that you should meet. It may actually be that your path, chasing Telmar, may lead you there, if I know Kinslayer at all. He was chosen, not unlike you yourself, long ago as an anointed servant of the Divine Triune. That's what he calls them. His name is... Moran."


 Moran, the contrived name of a man that believed himself fallen from Grace. Descended to Gray, he called it. Still, Kae seemed singled out, alone and afraid. Perhaps if she were to meet one who had been a servant to her masters far longer than she, some of those fears might be assuaged. 

Kae Bryseis/Travel/Day 3/Mid-day

You are never truly alone.

Criticism was a tolerable thing. Even if it was of her masters in this case. Wisdom is wisdom, as Nora would put it. It was just a matter of understanding why. An inkling of contempt. Perhaps more. 

You sold your soul for power. Was that really the best decision? Become a supernova, spill it all on the ground for Nayru?

Whoever you are, I don't regret it. Hyrule needs me. If my life is one of sacrifice, the bards will sing of it long after you are silenced.

That inner fire will not blaze forever...

Something got through the thought noise. Her mind had gone compartmentalized again hoping to sort through it all, and it worked fairly well. But this dark, doubting voice...where was it coming from? Ordon...THEY knew a Scion was ordained...Farore's Councilor warned her. It wouldn't stop until their leader was dead. Hopefully by Kae's hand.

Thinking over Darrel's powerful explanation, it inspired Kae a bit. No checks placed to reign it in...dangerous, but the few who could harness this power were the bulwarks of history. The power of One. But she couldn't remember the names of all four Scions. Her distant ancestor and patriarch had some potent abilities similar to that of Jaden, but they were not Birthrights.


 "No offense taken. In this life there are many paths. But you know another like me? I wasn't sure any were still alive...only four on record excluding myself. It would be good to meet him, yes. However, you are right about the difference of one man in history. A strong will can overcome armies. If the Three bless me with as lifespan nearly as long as yours, I pray for an opportunity such as that; to do something of lasting impact...and maybe some of those attached strings can loosen." 

Darrel Mytura - Castle Bound - Late Third Morning

Darrel smiled, he was starting to admit to himself that perhaps this girl was changing his opinion of her. For one so young she seemed remarkably mature, even if she was a bit worried by the weight of Gods settling upon her slender shoulders.

"For your sake I hope that is so. But as I have come to believe through my friendship with Moran Taliesin, once the Triune has tethered you to their cause, they will be wroth to see their strings loosen. Moran tells it otherwise as I expect you will, but what I see when I look at you and he both... it's not strings.


 "I see chains." Again he went too far. He needed to ease off, lest he make Kae even more nervous than she already was. "Again I attack your mistresses, I'm sorry, it's unnecessary. You have enough to worry about, the Twili threat looms heavily on your horizon even as it does mine. So let us not concern ourselves with the intentions of the divine, but put our energies to what must be done." 

Kae Bryseis/Travel/Day 3/Mid-day

Life as a slave. Do you really think they'll be more generous to you than to whoever that Moran guy is?

I'm sure if they could do it themselves, they would. I took the chains to give myself a better chance at saving Hyrule!

In the end, you need to think about you. Will you really be happy after this is over?

Kae's compartmentalization wrapped when she shut the mysterious entity out of her mind again. She was almost close enough to get some visions of what was going on in Castle Town, but the feelings of the worried citizens still plucked heartstrings. Prayers were now heard...messages meant for the Three, not her. Why was she receiving them?

You can be their deliverance; they are all in great need. Some of the conflict is over. Others are still causing havoc. Find them and stop them.

The Councilors now? Kae resolved to find a way to better ward her mind against unwanted foreign intrusions. Councilors were to be expected, but not sinister beings. She was pretty sure the darker voice was a Twili trying to sow seeds of doubt, or to gauge her intentions. If it got through next time, disinformation games sounded like a good idea.

"You're right about that. If I keep worrying about that now, I'll be unprepared for what's ahead. As my brother often says, if we keep thinking about the how and why, too many problems will go unsolved. Chains or not, I've got a better chance of being helpful than I did two days ago. Can't squander that. Only way to learn my new limits is by doing, I guess."

Kae chuckled lightly, not looking as offended as some other folks like Nora might. One of the reasons Kae picked up her craft so quickly was that she would often go outside the scope of Nora's prescribed teachings so as to better understand the how and why while still making progress.

Castle Town would not get any closer on the horizon. It just seemed to be the same distance away...and snow was falling over it. Nowhere else. 


 "Any ideas on who or what you think might be causing the problems? Twili don't make it snow..." 

Darrel Mytura - Castle Bound - Third Noon

They were nearing the city now, and everything was beginning to come into sharper focus for them. They still couldn't see what was causing the storms, but they could see that the weather was fluctuating at a seemingly rapid pace. Pillars of smoke rose here and there into the darkened Hylian skies as rain poured.

"I have my suspicions based on past experiences, but that can only go so far. It seems like each time Hyrule has need of those like myself, new faces join the fray as well, not unlike yourself." Darrel replied, not looking at Kae but rather looking to the road ahead, and the lands beyond. Somewhere to the south Hylian soldiers were fighting for their lives and the continued sovereignty of their nation. "Taden Hothnight could make it snow, but he's believed dead. Then again he's been dead so many times by now it wouldn't surprise me if it was him. Davus Fulmen could at times create thunderstorms, but he hasn't been seen in a very long time as well. And then there's Telmar, he's been known to do some pretty interesting and unconventional things with hiselement as well. 

"But there are a plethora of others throughout history who could do such things, not to mention magical items that can manipulate the weather. The Song of Storms, an old melody, could summon a severe rainstorm given the right magical support for instance."

He wondered what was happening here. It looked like the work of some of the old elementals that he'd mentioned, but he wondered if any of them were actually involved. If they were, and it wasn't just Telmar that had jumped off the pages of history, then he feared that Hyrule would have no defense against them with all of their forces off south fighting invasion.


 "We're nearly there, if we pick up our pace we might be able to help."  

Related, But Really Not Actually Edit

Kerrek Daid/The Nydesti Home for the Mentally Infirm/Morning 3

Kerrek Daid sat miserably in his cell. The stone walls around him were padded, and he was girdled in an uncomfortable strait jacket. His arms were pinned behind his back. The windows were thick and opaque, letting little light into the room, though a lamp hung overhead from the ceiling, using firefly light to illuminate the cell. The door was thick steel, with a single port window latched shut with an iron plate. 

He was sitting by the wall, a bowl of cold porridge sitting untouched by his side, partly because of the indignity of having to eat by shoving his face into the bowl, since his arms were bound. His eyes seemed glazed over, as if he was staring into empty space.

Suddenly he was shaken out of his stupor when he heard footsteps. One of the guards pulled up on the latch to look in at him through the port, then slammed it down again as he continued on, performing his rounds.

He started screaming. “Let me out of here! I’m not insane! I’m not crazy! Let me out of here!”

His voice dropped almost to a whisper, as he banged his head against the padded walls in despair. “I didn’t kill those people…” he closed his eyes and winced. He was weak and malnourished from this place.

He began to hear strange whispers coming from the walls of the room, and suddenly he burst into tears. “Oh god, oh god, stop! You’re not real, you’re not!” 

I’m not crazy, I know I’m not, because I know you’re not real! he thought to himself. “A crazy man would believe in you. You’re not real, you’re not real, GO AWAY!”

But they only seemed to grow louder. He let his head fall back against the wall again. “I am so ****ed.”

Kerrek Daid/Nydesti’s Home for the Mentally Infirm/Morning 3

Kerrek was still sitting in his cell. The room was more or less the same as it had been before. The only discernable difference was that now, the bowl of porridge was empty, and the mucky nourishment was dribbling down Kerrek’s face…his hunger had finally overcome his sense of dignity, or flavor, for that matter, and, his arms still tied behind his back, he ate his meal as a dog would. It was bitter, cold, slimy, and clumpy, in no way satisfying…but it had sated some small aspect of his discomfort.

He struggled against his straight jacket, to no avail…he was powerfully built, strong, but not that strong.

“I don’t belong here,” he muttered. He began to scream it. “I DON’T BELONG HERE!” tears began to stream down his face again. He felt utterly pathetic, sinking into despair. And as he did, the voices seemed to grow louder.

“Please, stop.”

Merchant’s Ship/North Sea/6 months ago, around 10 PM

Candles were lit all about the deck. Everyone was laughing, drinking, making jokes, fantasizing about the riches they would find on their voyage.

A large group of people was crowded around a young man, little more than a boy, regaling them with stories of his “grand adventures,” his constant heroics in service of Hyrule. The boy was tall, but wiry, wearing brown slacks and overalls over a polo shirt, and it was fairly obvious to all around that his tales were just that, stories. If one were to just happen upon the scene, one would have chalked it up to him being drunk, but the boy had been telling these stories for weeks now, and had amassed quite a crowd of amused drunkards.

Over in the corner, in the shadows away from everyone else, stood a man of immense stature, wearing a strange mechanical looking gauntlet, chest bare save an old vest. He was built like a tank, and no one seemed to have any interest in asking him to join the group. He was leaning against a small tap-barrel of rum, holding a large mug (more of a bucket, really) of the stuff, setting it down on the barrel between swigs, every once in a while stooping down to refill his mug from the tap. He was looking at the boy with what appeared to be vague disinterest, listening to his heroic tales.

“And then, with all 5 of the rogue Moblins surrounding me, I drew my sword. Of course, before the first had even managed to raise their spears in defense, I had already leapt into the air, swinging my sword madly. Of course, by this point, several of them were trying to defend themselves, but it was already too late. I was upon them. I jabbed to the left, swung to my right, and then another left, and soon, all 10 of them were on their backs covered in their own blood-”

One of the men interrupted “Wait a minute, I thought you said there were only 5, now it’s ‘10’? What are you trying to pull?”

“Really, it felt like 5, since they were so easily defeated. But it was probably closer to 10…or maybe it was 20, really, perhaps in my memory I’m being too modest…yes, now that I think about it, there were 20 of them. Of course, the lord’s daughter thanked me for coming to her rescue, and the lord offered her hand to me, but I figured it would be rude to try and ask for a reward for simply doing the honorable thing, even if the reward was the heart of a beautiful woman.”

The man in the shadows shook his head as the boy spun his incoherent web of tales.

Suddenly, the man who had interrupted before abruptly kicked out his own chair, standing tall over the boy. “I call bull on that entire story. Don’t play me for a fool, kid.” His voice was slurred from whiskey and ale. His eyes seemed to be drifting in and out of focus.

The boy looked up at him, clearly startled. “I’m not trying to pull one over on you, I’m just-“

“Tell ya’ what kid, if you’re so tough, let’s see you handle this!” the drunkard said, flipping a small switchblade from his pocket and lunging at the young man.

The boy panicked, scrambling over the others, and suddenly everyone was laughing as the boy screamed in terror, humiliated. But soon they were struck silent, and it wasn’t so funny, when the drunk, not content to have made his point, continued after him with the knife. The boy was standing in a corner of the room with no place to run, and the drunken knife-wielder didn’t seem prepared to quit.

Someone shouted out from the crowd. “Hey, come on, man, he’s just a kid, don’t waste your time,” but he didn’t seem to hear them. He stabbed at the boy, now having no place to run.

Instantly, the man in the shadows leaped into action, whipping his arm around, the mechanism on his gauntlet causing a large Scissor to flip out from inside like a swiss army knife. Before the inebriated scoundrel could put his knife into the kid, the man with the Scissor grabbed him from behind and put his blade to the man’s neck.

“So,” said the giant, “Is this a hobby of yours, picking on people ‘cause you know they can’t do nuthin’ about it?” he didn’t sound pleased. “Give me one reason I shouldn’t cut your head off right now?”

“Oh god, no, please, I didn’t mean nothin’ by it, come on, please!” he started to scream.

“Okay then, say you’re sorry,” said the giant. 

“I’m sorry! Oh, Din!”

“To the boy,” he growled.

The man looked over at the young man, and started screaming it over and over until it was incomprehensible.

“Good,” said the giant, then threw the man back into the crowd, panting, babbling, apparently having wet himself. “Anyone else have a problem with the kid?” he asked menacingly, looking one at a time to everyone in the cabin. Nobody talked.

“I thought not.” He turned and put his other arm out and helped the boy to his feet.

“Thanks,” said the young man. “Mister-”

“Tiny,” he said. “It’s s'posed to be ‘ronic.”

“Ha, no, it’s cliché!” said the boy, then shut up, not wanting to insult the man who had helped him. Luckily, the man just nodded.

"Yeah, I s'pose yer right, um-"

“Kerrek,” the boy responded. “Kerrek Daid.”

The man smiled at him. “Tell ya’ what, then, Kerrek, you just stick with me, then, ‘kay, and aint nobody gonna bother ya’.”

The boy smiled back.

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