Chapter Eight

Derrek's eyes locked with Diana's at that very moment. He could see the tears swelling in her eyes even from the large serving table across the bonfire. Her eyes flickered with the flames and the colors seemed to submerge some emotion. He could see the pain and fear swimming through her swallow hazel pools. He wanted to rush to her and wrap his arms around her. He wanted to keep her smiling, her laughing, and her not hurting. With his strongest emotion he wanted to keep her safe, but he had to withdrawal those feeling to himself due to they did not seem to be on the best terms.

"Derrek?" Asleya broke the silence and the trance in which Derrek was in.

He saw this milky chocolate-haired maiden. Her eyes sparkled with the fire just as Diana's but with more blue in them. "Good evening, milady."

"Good evening Derrek." Asleya said. "It is nice to finally meet you."

"And you miss…." Derrek dragged out. He shouldn't have been surprised that someone knew who he was. Jason told the villagers that he was in his hunters the first night he was at the village. That was the night he danced with Diana. Her scent of lavender hugging his lungs causing his blood to race.

"Asleya." She said politely. "I saw you dancing the other night. You looked…"

"I am sorry milady, but I just don't think…" Derrek said subtlety, "I am not really thinking of courting anyone right now."

Courting? Asleya laughed under her breath. She tried not to let him notice, but she still had to finish her sentence. "Like you felt something for Diana." She stopped for a moment and added. "My husband, Joshua, was just commenting on it."

Joshua stepped behind Asleya. She had told his her plan for getting Diana and Derrek together. He was more than happy to help, especially if it meant making Asleya happy. "Nice to meet you, Derrek. Hun, I am going to find a place to sit."

"Yes, darling." Asleya said leaving Joshua with a kiss. She smiled at Derrek.

Derrek lowered his head. He knew he must have sounded like a jester with that last comment. "I am so sorry, milady. I did not know."

"Asleya. And it is okay. You are new to the village." Her smile lightened the mood. "I just felt the need to ask you a few questions."

Derrek felt a bottoming of his stomach. Questions? About what? "All right."

Asleya and Derrek sat across the fire from Diana and Jason. Asleya could see Diana and Jason conversing about some matter. She knew that Diana would not notice Asleya talking to Derrek.

They sat down and a moment of silence echoed. Asleya took a deep breath. "Why did you protect Diana from Mirus and Zaher?"

Derrek's eyes shot up to Asleya's. They were calm and serious. "How did you…?"

"Does it matter how I know? I just want to know why?" Asleya asked with her sweet melody voice.

Derrek could not even being to answer the question. Why did he protect her? "I am not sure why."

"You do know why. The way you look at her holds it. The way you two danced shown that feeling you have for her." Asleya said. "She is special…" She trailed off hoping to coarse something from him.

"Special, unique, and something about her that is just unexplainable." Derrek added without thinking. He caught his words and looked at Asleya again.

"Diana has been my friend for a long time." She said. "She has been through so much, but never really had anyone who cares or looks at her like you do." Asleya smiled. "She does not know how to express herself like a traditional maiden. She never really had the chance to be traditional."

"Who was Mirus to her?" Derrek asked looking down at the fire.

Asleya took a deep breath and faced the fire. "He was a man who came here a while ago. He tried to befriend Jason and failed, so he started to falsely court Diana. He gave her such delusions of emotions and simply put…He made Diana betray Jason and nearly cost her everything including her own life." Asleya looked at Diana. "She has never trusted people since. She still can not imagine having Jason's trust anymore. That is why she probably feels uncomfortable around situations with you."

Derrek saw Diana in a new light. Her guarded self was to keep her and these people safe. He could not imagine betraying Diana like that. His body rose as his anger bubbled within his body. Someone had hurt her and that is why Jason told him what he did. He felt something for Diana, he knew that. Whenever they were near, he felt incomplete and hollow. He wanted to feel, to touch her soul…to hold her in his arms, to taste her lips, and see something complete in her eyes. But why did he feel this way towards her. He never saw anything but the deepness of her eyes when they were around each other.

Asleya watched Derrek's eyes stare intensely at the fire. The flicker flames seem to add to his anger and yet…almost calm him at the same time.

"Why did he…?" Derrek began to ask turning to Asleya.

"Do that to her?" Asleya finished. "He knew what she meant to this fight and what she was." Her voice was sincere with concern for both Derek and Diana. She knew better than to tell Derrek what she promised Diana, but he needed to know in order to help. Diana was going to be so hurt if she knew that this was going to happen. Asleya looked at Diana who was still engaged in conversation with Jason. She shook her head and turned back to Derrek.

Derrek only had one idea what Asleya was getting at. "She's the first key?"

Asleya nodded. "She is one of three keys. Mirus will stop at nothing to get her. The keys can be used for good or evil. It is not what the keys themselves are, but the power they possess." Asleya tried to keep the guilt hidden beneath what she knew was right. Diana needed someone to be there for her and he seemed to be up to the job. "Derrek… you protected Diana when she needed it the most. She needs that now more than ever. Something is going to happen and I can promise you that she will need someone to help her. Promise me you will protect her." Asleya's voice was a silent pleading for help.

Derrek could tell that she was concerned for her friend. Everything bone in his body wanted to hurt Mirus and keep Diana safe. The answer was of course yes, but could he hold that unfilled emotion back in order to do his job. He needed to figure out how to stop the uncomfortable aura that the two of them had around each other. Diana was wounded internally and she needs time to heal.

Across the fire, Diana shook her head at Jason's comment. She knew he was right, but why was he always correct about these things. The creatures weren't going to stop. They were going to continue until their mission is complete. She knew the secrets that Jason was clouded from and she knew what it would cost to finish her fate. She couldn't help but hate the secrets she had to hold from the people in her life. But what could she do?

Jason felt his gut soften and roll. He wasn't sure why he felt uneasy about things. Something was wrong tonight and he couldn't place his fingers on it. So much was going on and so much was still to come.