The man called Nemesis didn't notice the busy city streets of Krynica. He had been born and

raised in a neighborhood very similar to the one he was in now. The buildings here were a bit more

pleasant looking then his old neighborhood, but Nemesis didn't mind. Out of the corner of his eye, he could

see his friend Thanatos discreetly looking around the neighborhood. Nemesis concealed a grin, he knew

his friend had been raised in Krynica as well. Nemesis knew it wasn't the neighborhood he was studying.

"Stop admiring your reflection in the windows. You still look remarkably plain." He pointed out.

Thanatos shot him a look, amazingly severe for one so young, "Fine, I'll stop when you do." He

said with a haughty tone. Thanatos watched out of the corner of his eye as his friend flushed slightly at

being caught.

Thanatos grinned at him, "Well, you have to admit…it looks so much better then the gray we've

endured until now!" Nemesis matched his grin, briefly. Up until a week ago, the pair had been in training

to serve as the King's Shadows. That meant that they had only been allowed to wear the dark gray uniform

that identified them as trainees. Nemesis looked down at the black uniform, still slightly uncomfortable in

its newness. Even more strange then that was the new name that marked his entry into the Shadows. He

had been Ryven for so long that it still took him several minutes to realize that the person calling 'Nemesis'

was actually speaking to him!

"Where did you say we were going?" Nemesis asked, changing the subject. Thanatos scanned the

signs that hung outside of several shops on this street. He grunted when he found what he was looking for

and started across the street. Nemesis trotted quickly to catch up with his friend.

"Here it is! I was told that this weapons shop is really good at repairing stuff. Maybe they can fix

my father's knife." Thanatos practically ran up the few steps in front of the shop. Nemesis followed, his

pace slightly more subdued.

Thanatos headed straight up to the counter in the back of the tiny shop. Lagging behind, Nemesis

shut his eyes and breathed in the air. The smell of dust, cleaner and metal blended together into a scent that

can only be found in a weapons shop. Nemesis had always loved that smell. He opened his eyes slowly to

look around the tiny shop. Rows of knives and swords hung on the wall to his right. The sun shone in a

small window to his left and illuminated the clean blades. He looked over to his left to see several display

sets of armor. With his eyes, he followed the displays to the back of the store where Thanatos and the

counter stood. Hoping to see more weapon-related things, he blinked in surprise to see the back of a young


He blinked at what he saw, and then took another look. She was dusting the shelves behind her.

She stretched to reach the top of the shelf above her. Nemesis looked at the view she presented. Her black

hair was caught with a brightly colored scarf, but then it was allowed to curl wildly down her back. It

looked so soft, and the black strands glowed with rich highlights in the setting sun. Thanatos went to the

counter, and coughed gently to get her attention. The girl gasped and dropped her cloth. She turned, and

Nemesis got a look at her face.

Her face was delicate, and distinctly heart shaped. Her large dark eyes were bright. Her cleaning

had caused a slight flush on her cheeks, and she opened her pretty lips slightly in surprise. Nemesis

guessed that she wasn't much younger then him.

"I'm sorry! I didn't hear you come in!" she told Thanatos. Raking his hand through his hair

nervously, he smiled at her, "It's okay. It gave us a chance to look around. Right, Nem?"

Her eyes turned to him. Nemesis found he couldn't speak. Thanatos looked at him, so he decided

to try to say something.

"Yes…look…that is, we were…uh…" Nemesis felt his face start flaming. Thanatos gave him a

look that made him feel very stupid. The girl smiled at him, looking at him from under her thick lashes.

Then she turned back to Thanatos.

"What can I help you with?" she asked. Thanatos pulled out his knife and explained what he

wanted done. The girl listened attentively, offering intelligent suggestions. Nemesis watched her, unable

to take his eyes off of her. He turned toward some nearby weapons, so he wasn't so obviously staring.

"Let me check with my father, if he can do that. He might want to talk to you himself. Do you

mind waiting for a minute?" she asked.

"No problem. We'll be right here." The girl picked up Thanatos knife and ducked out the door

beside her to track down her father. When the door shut firmly behind her, Thanatos turned to Nemesis.

"Are you okay?" he asked, "She's pretty, but you are acting like a fool!"

"I'm not good at talking to women." Nemesis muttered to the weapons on the wall.

"You talk to Aynnatri all the time." Thanatos pointed out.

"That's different. She's your friend. This girl is different." Nemesis's ears felt like they were

going to burn right off.

"So ask her to the Broken Sword for dinner, or something." Thanatos told him, rolling his eyes.

"I couldn't do that!"

"It's not that hard…" The sound of footsteps reached him, and he didn't get the chance to finish

what he was going to say. Thanatos turned back towards the counter as the girl entered. Only a step

behind her was a man that could only be her father. He wasn't much taller then his daughter. Like men in

similar trades, his arms and chest were heavily muscled.

"This is my father, Dargan." The dark haired girl told Thanatos. Dargan and Thanatos bent over

the knife. Nemesis couldn't hear what they were saying, so he turned back to the weapons. He realized he

was holding his breath and let it out.

"Can I show you something?" the musical voice of the girl came from beside her. Nemesis

jumped, and turned to find the girl looking at him with those large dark eyes. He swallowed nervously.

"Uh…well, I was just wondering…"Nemesis stuttered out. She smiled at him, and he forgot what

he was going to say.

"What's your name?" she asked, tilting her head to one side so she could study him better.

"I'm called Nemesis." He answered, proud of the fact that he didn't stutter.

"Well, Nemesis, I am called Hinthinia." She smiled again, still studying him. Nemesis knew

exactly what she was seeing. He was tall, and very thin. His training gave his thin frame wiry, tough

muscles. He had the typical Anganoc coloring, his dark hair and dark eyes very average. His face was

thin, with thin lips and his nose a little too big. She finished her scrutiny of him and stood straight in front

of him.

"I was wondering, Nemesis, if maybe, we could take a walk, sometime. Or go to Market?" she

looked at her feet. He blinked, having never met a woman as bold as this one. He managed stammer out,"


"How about tomorrow?" she jumped on that.

"Uh, all right."

"Meet me here, about noon?" she pressed. Nemesis nodded dumbly. She smiled at him, a flash of

her white teeth. Thanatos coughed politely behind them. Nemesis looked up at him and saw the smith,

Dargan, behind Thanatos. Dargan didn't look too happy. Thanatos grabbed his sleeve and pulled him out

of the shop.

"You can be so dense sometimes." Thanatos told him as soon as they had reached the street.

"What do you mean?" Nemesis blinked, pulling his mind back to the present.

"First, you won't talk to the girl. Then, you talk to her while her father is glaring at you, making a

date while he can hear you." Thanatos snorted, "Idiot."

"She asked me to Market." Nemesis told him.

"Good for her. You can both be idiots. Dargan doesn't seem too happy with his daughter right

now. Don't get too excited, I don't think she will be there tonight." Thanatos warned, shaking his head.