Drayton sat in his rented rooms at a back street inn in the heart of Forshyphon polishing his sword in deep thought. Drayton knew a little vine magic; healing power. He had used it to even the toll of lives that he had taken during battles. Tessa had amazing potential; she could be better than himself if she tried hard enough. Maybe that wasn't such a great thing though; people bristled at a nineteen year old man being their rescuer. How would they react to a seventeen-year-old female rescuer? To some people his age hadn't mattered as he had thought it would be with most people, but then he had helped older more experienced men and they had been … in denial, he supposed, in denial that a boy could do something that they could not. Drayton was actually more fond of Tessa than he let on, he could never train her to become a hero, just to have her dreams crushed and for people to hate her, to be ungrateful for her help. She was the only reason he had remained in Forshyphon for so long, she had grown on him like something addictive. Drayton loved her eagerness to learn new things and the way she would stubbornly keep trying at something if she wanted it bad enough, even if it was plain that she was worn out. He knew that she had become very ill at other times because f this determination. The past week though she had been very agitated and against her character, like she had something on her mind that she needed to tell someone. Drayton had always preferred tom-girls. Pretty maidens who were stupid and afraid of simple things, who only worried about their looks and clothes, he had no patience for those kinds of girls. This was probably just as well because they never took to him thinking him poor and dirty by the ay he dressed. She only thought of him as a close friend and teacher though, this was plain to him so kept his feelings to himself, not allowing himself to get carried away with 'maybe' thought.

"Dray?" A sudden voice pulled him back to the real world. He acted with a lightning quick response, his sword flashed through the air and stopped dead just in time. Tessa dropped to the floor and rolled to the side getting up cautiously out of reach of his sword, "It's just me!" She reassured him.

"You weren't quick enough," Drayton told her immediately, "You have to roll before the sword is in the air. A warrior foe could have easily killed you there." His eyes widened, "I could have easily killed you, if I hadn't seen you at the last moment…. What are you doing sneaking around anyway? Can't you use the door like a normal person?" He demanded gesturing toward the window; the way that she had come in.

She pursed her lips at the unwanted comment of her dodging, holding back the smart remark bubbling up inside of her. "I wanted to speak to you. To ask you something." Her anger quickly faded into a nervous rumbling through her body; she had no right to ask this. She hated asking favors and this would be a big one. He would have to put up with her for at least another two years if he agreed, and she didn't want him to feel obligated.

Drayton saw the expression on her face and softened. "Come in." He drew her out of the doorway and into the room. He resumed his place sat upon the bed and began to polish his sword again.

She ventured around the room uncomfortably, looking over his single ornament and many other weapons scattered around. At last she broke the silence, "When are you leaving Forshyphon?"

He grinned knowing that he had won the little battle of keeping the silence, "In two days. I've told all others that need to know… except you but that's taken care of now isn't it?"

"Where will you go?" She ventured further.

The nineteen old sighed, Drayton knew that Tess wanted to ask him something as she had said; it was probably the same reason for her recent failure during practice. He also knew that she hated to ask favors of anyone, preferring to achieve whatever she wanted by herself. This meant that she would circle around a subject for up to an hour before actually getting down to asking her favor. He gave a small shake of his head before answering, "I was planning on heading south, I've had letters from a friend down there saying they're having trouble with unicorns and they would like my help."

Unicorns, Tessa knew, despite their heavenly names were terrors and monsters. They were great white horses, larger than those rode by men. Although beautiful creatures they were anything but heavenly, with a massive span of feathery wings and a blue bone protruding from their foreheads, they lured many young women to be trampled. Tessa had never actually seen any of the immortal creatures that plagued most human communities, their small town had one draconight and a stringent of knights to protect them from any immortal threat, but most draconights and warriors were needed in the capital of Trondall, in Macintia. And any spare were down in Farxia in the south, where Drayton was heading. Tessa had heard that the only power that the unicorns seemed to posess was the power to freeze their surroundings and things around them, to crystallize everything. Before the sorcerer Athornon had attempted his great Magicks unicorns and all immortal beasts had been in harmony with men, but the magnitude of the earthquakes that Athornon had caused had killed many of their kinds. The immortal beasts had declared war on all mankind, to repay the favor and equal out the death count. Not all immortal beasts were allied against men though, dragons for one had abandoned their other immortal counterparts to help the humans. "What about the defenses? The dragons?" Tessa persisted, suddenly more interested.

"The immortals have attacked in full force, most of the dragons were injured so the fleight have pulled back to tend to their wounded. It's just the knights and the men of the city that are left and they're barely holding out. When the dragons have recovered they'll be back."

Tessa's heart gave a slight twist, what would she do if he said no? She would give anything to see an immortals battle. Farxia was such a small city that no immortals ever bothered to attack here.

"Look, will you just ask me what you don't want to ask me before I die of old age?"

Tessa looked at him. Her shoulders slumped and her lower jaw went forward with a grin. The she sighed, "Okay, I was going to ask…if I could come with you. I don't want you to feel obligated and I would help out and if I got really annoying at any time then you could just-"



"I said ok. Make sure you're ready by sun-up the day after tomorrow. And don't be late tomorrow morning, don't think you're getting out of training just because you've got some packing to do."