Chapter 1

Chisara Okymo was a young woman about 5'8" tall. She had a small waist and long slender legs. She wore a mid-thigh-length brown leather skirt, a snug but not tight green tank top, a dark green long cloak with the hood up over her head and brown supple leather boots.

Always in a hurry and always full of energy Chisara ran into O'Bersap's Pub. Right inside a man was standing with his back to the door. Chisara had to stop suddenly in order not to collide with the stranger, causing her to lose her balance and fall flat on her back.

"Ow! That was real slick Chisara," she said out loud to herself.

The man she had almost ran into turned around and looked down at her. With a half smile he asked, "You or the floor?" He was handsome in a rough sort of way. His face was unshaven giving him an aura of mystery. He wore faded blue breeches, a white loose tunic, a broad brimmed hat and thick sturdy boots. He was, Alexis decided, the kind of man that would be the object of many women's' prurient fantasies.

Not her own though, she thought to herself; she didn't have time to be thinking about a man pruriently or otherwise. Aloud she said, "Me or the floor what?"

At this the man broke into a grin. "You said that was real slick. Were you talking about yourself or the floor?"

"Oh. Both I guess." Chisara was still lying on the floor with her head now pillowed on her hands. From the floor the man standing over her seemed very tall. "You can wipe that grin off your face. It's your fault I fell."

"Is it now? And how's that, may I ask?"

"If you hadn't been standing right in front of the door I wouldn't have had to stop suddenly. If I hadn't had to stop suddenly I wouldn't have lost my balance and I wouldn't have fallen. So it's all your fault."

"I admit defeat," he said chuckling. "The least I can do now is help you up and buy you a drink."

"I could live with that," Chisara said as he helped her to her feet. In the process her hood fell back revealing golden blonde curls falling a little past her shoulders and, more shockingly, orange cat ears atop her head.

Chisara noted the stranger's gaze at her head and her smile vanished. She quickly replaced her hood looking around to see if anyone else had noticed. No one seemed to have.

The stranger's gaze now flicked to Chisara's deep green eyes. "You should leave it down. It covers your beautiful hair."

"It's not my hair I'm trying to hide. It's my ears. Not everyone is friendly with cats. And not even all cats are friendly with quarter breeds."

"Hmm…well, I suppose you would know. Me though, I don't have anything agains other races. Except maybe vampires and succubi. Vamps suck all your blood and succubi, they live to seduce and control men." He stared intently at Alexis' face. It made her want to fidget but she forced herself to stand motionless. After a minute he smiled and held out his hand. "I'm Kam short for Kamjin."

Chisara smiled in return and took his hand. "It's nice to meet you…I think. I'm Chisara."

Kam laughed. "I think it's nice to meet you too, Chisara."

Chisara was suddenly pushed from behind causing her to fall into Kam. He was forced to grab her waist in order to keep them both from tipping over.

When they were steady once again Chisara looked up at Kam. Her hands were on his shoulders and his were around her waist. Their faces were only two inches apart. Kamjin slowly started to lean toward her, obviously planning to kiss Chisara.

She jerked away from him and turned to face the person who had pushed her, "Hey, stupid dilnik! What's your problem pu-" She broke off seeing who was standing grinning broadly at her. "Tozak!" Chisara gave the big man a warm hug.

Once they parted Kam asked, "Do you always hug people who push you, Chisara? Or is this a special case?"

She answered, "No, usually I don't let anyone push me. Tozak is definitely a special case. Oh yeah, this is Tozak O'Bersap, he owns this pub. Tozak this is Kam."

After greeting Kam, Tozak turned back to Chisara and raised his hands in exasperation. "It's been two and a half months since I opened and this is the first time you've visited and on top of that you stay back here with this cattle herder instead of saying hi to me. Is that anyway to treat an old friend?"

"Sorry. It took me longer to travel here from Aralie then I thought it would. Plus, I uh, got confused. I thought your pub was in Nudlib instead of her in Dalner so I ended up there and then I came here."

"Aralie?" Kam asked.

"Yeah," said Chisara turning to him. "That's where me and Tozak here grew up. Why?"
"No reason. Name just sounds familiar for some reason."

Chisara turned back to Tozak again. "See, it's not my fault I took so long."

"Hmm, maybe not," he conceded. "But that doesn't excuse the fact that instead of coming to see me you chatted with this stranger."

"It's his fault," she said with a pout while pointing at Kam. "He made me fall, then he was helping me up and offering me a drink."

"I suppose that's a valid excuse," Tozak said seriously his arms folded across his chest. After a few seconds he broke out into a broad grin and laughed. "I should know better by now, Chisara. Nothing is ever your fault. Come on; let's find you two a table."

As Chisara followed Kam and Tozak through the crowded bar she reached out to steal someone's purse. She did it, not because she needed money but, just from habit, the fact that she could, and because she was a thief.

Chisara was shocked when she realized that the person she was attempting to steal from was also attempting to steal from her. This all took only a few milliseconds to occur.

The moment Chisara felt the hand on her purse she simultaneously snatched the stranger's purse and placed her dagger at the thief's throat.

Now that Chisara had a good look she could see it was a young woman with straight brown hair pulled back in a braid. And to Chisara's further surprise she had done the exact same thing as Chisara had done and was now staring calmly at her through blue, yellow speckled.

"Hello thief," she said with a smile. "I'm Archer."