Quiet town, really. No one special, no important residents. Just a boring place, where most people thought to raise their kids. Beyond the town, though, lay a forest, wild with lilacs, blushing with sweet fruit trees. And in the center bubbled a pond, man made, yet so untame it could pass for a real piece of nature in every aspect except for the stones. Lusterous in appearance, they lined the bottom of the small pool, winking up at the birds who perch on the fallen logs to sip at the crystal water. Their colors were infinate, every shade of blue and lavender and golden imaginable, yet of red there was only one variation. There sat a singular, blood red stone in the center of the pond, so rich and deep it seemed as though it would bore a hole in the hand which touched it. Never had this precious gem been moved, since the existance of the pond’s creator. The only logical explanation would have been that it had lain unseen for so many years the entire pool itself had been forgotten. But as the townspeople by the forest know, no one has dared set foot within a radius because of the stories held within the blood red stone...
It slipped slowly, as if moving in an old, slow motion picture. The same black-on-white effect, good verses evil, his tears against his willpower. Crying hurt, the salt water burned his cheek, tasted foul on his lips as he parted them to choke back a sob. Strong and calloused, a hand swept accross his eyes, smudging the perennial coal streaks accross his face. He raked his fingers through the tangled mane hanging just above his shoulders, finally letting his palms rest against is forehead, elbows on the table pushed to the side of his primitive lodgings. Breathing deep, he let his head fall to the hard oak before him, where he lay, growing calm. Minutes later, water splashed into a tin basin beneath the window, and he let it wash over his face gratefully, oblivious to the fact that from miles away, he was being watched by a mysterious, legendary stranger.
*later in the story*
Timid as a deer, Aribeth slipped behind the well. Raining from starstruck eyes, tears fell into the abyss, not of salt, but as sweet as the child’s innocent disposition. The fear which awakened when she felt Aiden’s posessive glare between her shoulders was infinitly less that what she felt towards this stranger with the silver sword. Aiden never showed her his weapons; she knew he had them, but was less afraid, as they were locked up. But this, this sword, it was in plain sight, intimidating Aribeth more with every step taken by the unfamilliar man. Helpless against any foreigners, she turned her back to the cool stone, hugged her knees to her chest, and tried in vain to supress the horror bestowed upon her. Eyes closed, she felt a hand on hers, and as she pulled away, she heard a soft voice say, “Evan, I think your scaring the poor darling. Aribeth, sweetheart, we’re not here to hurt you.”
The second outlander stood up, and Aribeth let herself open her eyes as the arm slipped from around her. It was a young woman, with her long midnight hair and black skirt flying behind her in the wind. Her lips were smiling, but there was a look of worry on her face. Aribeth stood up as well, making sure to keep the pretty woman between herself and the man with
“You can call me Ari,” she whispered. “My mother called me Ari her angel. But that was before she got sick. Master Aiden told me she wanted him to take care...” As she trailed off, she was interrupted by a
deep, oddly comforting voice.
“Aiden... he’s here? Amaranth, we’d better be careful if he’s around. Keep a lower profile? We can’t afford to be caught by that kind of power, we could end up like Bethy here.”
“Ari, darling. She asked to be called Ari.”
“Yes, yes, Ari. My appologies, child.” His voice was not condescending, as one would predict, he was sincere, and his blue-grey eyes showed a wise compassion mixed with a confused pity.