Arthur was delighted to finally have his sword in his hands again. "The smith gave it shine and splendor," said Celina cheerfully.

The two sat across from one another in the small living room on quaint leather couches. Arthur picked up his sheath and slid his repaired sword into it, eyeing the crossbow mounted above the fireplace. "That bow," said Arthur, "Is it thine own?"

Celina chuckled. "Heavens no," she smiled. "I've no desire for war," she said. "T'is my father's bow. Aye, he was a mighty warrior as a youth, as was his father before him. He did build this cabin, my forefather. He giveth this villiage the breath of life, and now my father lords over us."

Arthur paused. "Th' thane, is he?"

"Aye. And some day, I may be the next."

Arthur snorted.



Celina pouted and crossed her arms. "I didst not have to persuade thee to stay," she said. "If I had stayed silent, thou woulds't be ripe for Lamda's picking."

"Thy father hath already cast me out," said Arthur, "Why dost thou insist upon risking thyself so for me?"

"Thou art still a living soul, no matter thy appearance," she said. "To let thee leave so soon wouldst be sending thee to death."

Arthur muttered silently under his breath. "Thou art noble indeed."

Suddenly, Celina sniffed the air. "Hark! Arthur, a foul smell fills the air!"

Arthur stood, and took a deep breath through his nostrils. "Aye. It stings."

Celina bolted off of the couch. "Arthur! T'is smoke!"

A wave of heat immediately rushed through the cabin as thin streams of smoke began to billow into the room at alarming speed. The air thickened immediately, sending both Arthur and Celina to their knees in coughing fits. A fire erupted along the ceiling, and the wall to their right collapsed in a heap, blocking the exit. Unsheathing his sword, Arthur hacked down the flaming barrier with three powerful strikes, grabbing Celina's dainty hand in his rough leather paw and yanking them both out of the cabin. The sight that was waiting for them outside was nothing short of horrifying.

Flames engulfed the rows of wooden cabins in dazzling flashes of red. Screams echoed from down the main road, and a panicked haze filler their minds. "Arthur, stand back!" Celina commanded, rushing out into the street and facing her cabin. Outstretching both arms, Celina muttered a strange incantation under her breath. To Arthur's amazement, a thin trickle of water began to drip from the sky onto the flaming rooftop of Celina's cabin, but it was much too little to be effective. "Arthur! To the well! Give me water!"

"Th' well?" Arthur roared back, "Where ist the well?"

"Beyond the- th'- th'-!" Celina stammered, too frantic to think straight. "Fie! Arthur, aide the others!"

Before Arthur could move, Sirius had come dashing up beside Celina, held out his hand towards their burning cabin, and muttered something silently under his breath. A quick burst of rain showered a few of the cabins, extinquishing their house immediately. "Bloody beggar!" Sirius roared, shoving Arthur aside with his shoulder as he rushed to the neighboring cabin. "Take thy sword six states yonder! A lady ist trapped in the fire!"

Arthur snarled silently at Sirius before racing down the road. A pair of young elvish men were trying in vain to combat the alight cabin, with one hacking away at the fallen logs with an axe and the other chanting something inaudiable like Celina and Sirius had. "Move!" Arthur commanded, raising his sword high and slashing away at the blockaded doorway. "Summon thy water spells," Arthur barked at the elf, leaping through the flames and into the threshold. "Ho!" Arthur yelled amongst the roaring flames. The walls began to creak and bend, and the smoke filtering into the cabin began to clog Arthur's lungs. A muffled scream from behind a wall caught Arthur's attention, and with two wild slashes into the crumbling log walls, Arthur brought the wall down.

Huddled in a corner and covering her mouth was a young elvish maiden, her eyes immediately fixated on Arthur. "The human!" She screamed hoarsely. As Arthur rushed forward to pull her to her feet, the yound elf shrieked and swatted his hand away. "Not thee!" She screamed, curling up tightly in a terrified ball. "I shall take my chances in this fire, you-! You-! You demon!"

Arthur only roared and hooked the young maiden around the waist, dragging her out kicking and screaming into the street. No sooner had Arthur set her down, the cabin beside them creaked and collapsed, and an agonized scream echoed from inside. Sirius, Celina, and the rest of the elves were frantically trying to douse the raging flames as Arthur slashed his way into the collapsing cabins, with everyone he rescued more willing to burn alive than to risk being dragged out by the straggler who drew Lambda's ire. Hours flew by like the frantic flashes of flames engulfing the villiage. Smoke blanketed the bleak night sky, and they fought the flames all the way into the small hours of the morning.

The last fire had finally been put out at sunrise, and a dark, thick cloud of smoke loomed over the remnants of the villiage. Bandages were wrapped around burned limbs, and herbal pastes were being gently rubbed onto the tender, reddened spots of the elves' skin. Even though the wide bandage laced around Sirius' brow partially obscured his vision, he still managed to glare loathingly at Arthur. "Thou hast brought unto us nought but suffering," Sirius growled, rubbing the bandage on his arm. "Take thy sword and rid our village of thy carcass." Arthur looked around at the waste before him. Every set of elvish eyes lay stares upon him just as viciously as Sirius. With a scowl and a snort, Arthur slung his sword over his shoulder and into the sheath strapped onto his back, turned his back to Sirius and set off down the trail before vanishing into the forest.

A slender young elvish boy approached Sirius. "Sir, whither hast Celina vanished?"

"Celina?" Sirius asked, confused. "Why, Celina doth rest in her chamber."

"Nay, I knocked upon thy door to ask how she fares, yet Celina did not answer."

A bead of sweat rolled down Sirius' temple. "Fie!" he snorted. "Come lad, I'll show thee to her."

Sirius led the young elf back to his cabin and opened the wooden door. The creaking echoed throughout the barren living room. "Celina?" The elf called out.

There was no answer.

"Celina! Come hither!" Sirius called. Still no answer.

"Aye, she has left," said the boy. Sirius stepped into the open living room, and found a scrap of his finest vellum lying in an oddly unnatural position on the end table beside the couch. Snathing it up quickly, Sirius read aloud.

"Dear father, I have brought disaster to our villiage, and shame unto thy name and house. Do not worry for me, for I shall be well with thy crossbow at mine side. I have left to find Arthur, and together we shall slay Lambda."

The young elf had to move quickly to catch Sirius' collapsing frame.

Arthur slashed down a drooping tree branch in his way, feeling the breeze cool the cut on his forehead. "Ho! Arthur!" a voice yelled out from behind him.

Turning his head slightly, Arthur saw Celina following him from a distance, struggling to catch up with him. Arthur stood still with confusion as Celina stumbled across the bumpy dirt trail, obviously feeling awkward in the heavy leather boots she now wore. A crossbow was strapped over her shoulder, and she wore a white dress made for a much larger figure than her own. "Celina?" Arthur muttered.

"I've come to join thee," said Celina, ducking under the remnants of the low tree branch as she met up with Arthur.

Arthur snorted and turned away. "Why dost thou mock my shadow?" he asked. "I hath destroyed thy villiage. Thou despiseth me."

As Arthur took a step forward, Celina caught him by the arm and pulled herself in front of him. "And I did aide thee. My father was wise, but I played a fool. We hath destroyed mine home, and rest I cannot from this day forth. My people shall be aveng'd."

Arthur stared at Celina. Celina stared back at him with a firm glare. "Then follow if thy wisheth so," Arthur muttered, brushing past Celina curtly, "but I shall not wait upon thee. Thou art thy own burden."

Arthur trudged ahead with Celina skipping closely behind him.