The next day the inn was just as crowded as she thought it would be. People from various cities traveled all the way to Caracan for the biannual auction. Saavedro was running around, carrying boxes and doing whatever else he could.

"Xavix," said her father, "I need you to go fetch the things on this list from the market," he handed her a short list, before taking off in the other direction to take the orders of customers.

Xavix began trekking through crowds of people. She kept her head down, but it did her little good. She was immediately seized by a large hand.

"Ya shouldn' be wandering around here like tha'," he said, with a foreign accent.

She struggled in his grip as he led her to the back of a recently set-up stage in the middle of the city. He placed a chain around her ankle and she glared at him in protest.

Perrin walked past the inn. At that moment, Saavedro opened the door and, upon sighting him, called out to him, "Perrin, sir, by any chance have you seen Xavix?"

Perrin shook his head, "No, I was just going to-"

"Check out the auction?" he grinned subtly.

"Uh, maybe, just to see it. Why?"

"Xavix's father sent her out to get something."

"What? Doesn't he know better? You don't think they found her, do you?"

"Unfortunately," he replied.

"Better go find her."

Perrin made his way through the crowds of villagers from both their country and Caulegra, the country across the Arimeth Sea.

A soldier appeared to be roughing up several other, older women he did not recognize. He continued on until he caught sight of her. She appeared to be shaking. Her hand strayed dangerously close to the place where she kept her sword concealed. She seemed to be deciding whether or not it would be a good idea to use it.

There were too many armed people around. Even if she could free herself, she would probably be killed just for having a weapon. He snaked up to the guard and said, "I'm so glad you're here," the guard, without turning, replied, "if you're here for the auction, you have to…" he trailed off as he saw who he was talking to.

"I'm sorry sir. What can I do for you?"

"I just lost my new serving girl and, wouldn't you know she would accidentally end up here."

The guard hurried over to unchain her with shaking hands. She almost ran over to him, but caught the guard's eye and continued walking over slowly, as if regretfully.

Erie struggled against her bonds. Her hair was pinned behind her head. They had stuck her in a dress in an ugly shade of green. She hoped that no one creepy decided she was pretty. Although, she thought to herself, there were a lot of creepy guys who came to the auction. There was one guy, she remembered her mother warning her about.

Whenever she wanted to go outside her mother would warn her to stay away from his house. He lived in the rougher part of Caracan. The streets there were dirt, unlike the stone up near the castle, and the worn gravel in the center. He came to nearly every auction to pick someone. The woman or girl he picked would disappear and never be seen or heard from again.

"Next we have, a 23 yr old woman. She is, apparently, clumsy, and an ex-thief."

To her relief, hardly anyone wanted to bet on her. She kept her face blank, she wasn't going too easily.

Finally, one hand shot in the air. She recognized him as the locksmith.

Perrin led Xavix away from the jeering crowd as another woman was being auctioned off.

Xavix was shaking, both in fear and in rage. Perrin led her back to the inn.

"Saavedro, maybe now would be a good time to teach her a few more skills."

"What about the inn?"

"She's too shaken up, and I can find some soldiers to do it, they wouldn't mind."

She was led back to his house and they entered the training room.

"Xavix, stay over by the wall. We're just going to give you a demonstration," Perrin said.

He grabbed a heavily curved blade. She could now see the symbol of a heron adorning the hilt. Saavedro drew his rapier. They each backed up a few paces before readying themselves.

Saavedro went first, stabbing at Perrin with his sword. Perrin blocked all of his attacks. They continued blocking and dodging each other's movements for a couple minutes before they did much else.

Saavedro jumped back to dodge Perrin's blade, sidestepped, and thrust his thin sword directly at his chest. Perrin tried to swipe the edge away with his own, however, his slipped and Saavedro's sword adorned his side with a good sized cut.

They backed away from each other. Saavedro's palm glowed slightly. The ground beneath him began to tremble noticeably. Xavix had to jump back as the ground began to meld around Saavedro. He back stepped and evaded the rising spikes that appeared two feet from his current position. He threw the concentrated ball of fire. It singed the wall behind Perrin, and then fire seemed to engulf his blade. He thrust his sword at Perrin, just managing to singe his sleeve.

Perrin returned his attack with an attack of the ground around him. A spire shot up from the ground just barely missing him as he jumped back. The room was scorched and the floor began to crumble. They stopped their attacks and managed to reach the doorway, grabbing Xavix just in time as the floor of the room collapsed into a basement.

Clouds of dust rose amid the debris. They looked below at the wrecked room.

"I guess we got a bit carried away," Perrin said.

Xavix coughed as dust filled her lungs. "No, really?"