The noble family of Blaydon had a long, and notorious history. The first Blaydon had been a successful alchemist and necromancer, who had gained favor with the High Lords through his experiments. He and his fellow successors were flawed, however, and cruel beyond words. The Blaydon family had been obsessed with immortality; it was even said they had experimented on undying time magicians to the near point of extinction. Rumors were never proven true, and the tests were run with more secrecy. Now, in the deep, sewer dungeons of the Blaydon manor lay the result of centuries of trials and research: a large pink bunny by the name of Muka.

Muka had been born in the dark, damp sewers, and had lived her whole life as a guinea pig for the nobles. She had never seen any one other than the current young Blaydon lord, who is as sadistic as a man could get. The human enjoyed all forms of pain, mental or physical, and Muka had been forced to watch as the victims, human or creature, cry in anguish and pain before a death that seemed to come too late. Muka knew the pain; she had been the main entertainment for the noble, due to her unique birthright, an ever healing body. During her younger years, the pink bunny had watched as her sisters and brothers were brutally tortured with all sorts of weapons, listening to their cries, and pleading with herself that everything is fake, and that it's just a bad dream. The dream had hurt then, for after the bloody bodies of her siblings were thrown away, she herself became the center of attention. She remembered the slow but profound pain caused by that dagger sliding across her back, the bite of the cold metal across her soft fur and flesh. She had cried and struggled against the pain, against the chains that held her, but unable to stop the evil, malicious glint of the human lord or the descent of the blade for another cut. The pain stops only when the lord gets bored of the game, and throws her back into her cage. Other times, she is left to recover amidst her own blood pool on that stone table, chained and unable to move.

Muka hated the man, and the place she must call home…for now. Not only blessed with eternal life, Muka also has the gift of intelligence. If not so much, then at least enough for her to understand human speech, to know of the world that may be outside of her dark dungeon, and to know that somewhere out there, she'll find a family that will love and care for her. The knowledge had brought comfort, and Muka silently waited for the chance to leave her dungeon. It came rather unexpectedly after a session of torture, which consumed all of her strength, and nearly her soul.

She had waited, like always, for the pain to come as the blade descended. It was unpredicted, however, when the knife came down at her with such force and anger. Muka squealed in the brutal onslaught. The young Blaydon must have found something unpleasant then. Unlike the other times, this torture lasted longer than and with as much brutality as the other times combined. The knife made quick dancing movements in and out around the pink bunny, as cries of pain echoed on the thick walls of the sewer. When the anger of the human finally mollified eight hours later, Muka is completely worn out, and barely had the strength to cry anymore. She had almost given up then. There's no way out of this. This will be her life, in pain and solitude, uncared for and pointless. This is how she will be always. She was just mentally crying out her fate when the most unexpected thing happened, young lord Blaydon unchained her and … forgot to lock the cage door. 'He must have been really distracted,' Muka shivered as she eyed the retreating back of the man. This is her one chance to freedom. If she is to have hope, she must escape now. The pink bunny scampered out of her cage as fast as her four little legs could carry her, and jumped into the icy waters of the sewer. And escape she did.

Trekking at a leisure pace in the woods of a gray, withered forest, Sage of Time Rowena Hein looked cautiously about with an air of slight sadness. The forests are dying, not to mention that she is on enemy grounds. Blaydon nobles had a long resentment against her family, and the time sage herself holds no love for the cruel and arrogant family as well. If she were to be found here, doubtlessly a big issue would arise, and she would have to fight. Rowena did not and does not enjoy fighting for a pointless issue, especially one that would entail one party ending up dead. Not that she wouldn't enjoy ending the Blaydon line…but hate breeds hate, and as she is the last one left, there's no real point in revenge anymore. Rowena stopped near the remnant of a large oak tree. The tree must have once been magnificent, flowing with strength and dark green foliage. But now, it is no more than a dry, grey stump of a tree trunk. Purely on a whim, she brought her hand gently to the dead bark, and uttered softly a spell that is part of her birthright. Almost as though time rewinded itself, the tree stump grew taller and thicker as a pale golden light shined almost indivisibly around it. Broad branches once again spread themselves as thick green leaves sprouted once again from every space available for growth. Minutes later, a proud giant oak stood upon the graying grounds of a near dead land, the only sign of life for miles around. Rowena patted the tree, a small smile tugging at her usually serious lips. Her hand retracted and she turned around gracefully, planning to leave, when a sudden pink flurry caught her sight, and she was confronted with the sight of a distraught new life form standing stock still in front of her.

Muka's escape had not been a peaceful one. The bunny had nearly drowned herself, impossible yet uncomfortable experience for any immortal, and then spent the last of her energy running away from the grand manor as fast as her little weak legs could carry her. Apparently her escape had not gone as unnoticed as she wished, for the sounds of angry shouting could be heard in the distance, and growing stronger as she ran. Muka desperately scampered in the unknown terrace. Withered grey trees stood above her, as an even gloomier sky stared down at her from above. There's no place offering a safe hiding, and no direction in which she could follow. 'They would catch me, and then I shall never be free again!' Desperation once again seized the bunny as hope diminished slowly. Then…she sensed it. The fresh scent of spring and green things, and the aura of life and protection. Straining her bunny nose and senses, Muka sprinted quickly toward the scent, her fear hastening her step. It was only when she approached what is now clearly a giant oak tree in the middle of a dying forest, that she noticed another aura. One of calm gentleness and a sad lonely feeling that is not unlike her own. She sat still and watched, as a girl, who is clearly much more than what she seemed, gracefully turned around to face her, no evident shock or surprise on her serene, kind face.

Muka shivered slightly. Here is the second human she had ever seen, one who feels completely different from her previous lord. If only the human girl could protect her, and offer her the comfort denied to Muka since her birth. If only the human girl could help her, for she is the only hope Muka can depend on for freedom. Even as Muka sat there, cowering slightly from the holy presence of the mage, for she is sure that the great tree had been given life through the girl, the said person of interest had made the first move toward the frightened and tired bunny.

Rowena was quite surprised, and happy, to see the pink bunny before her. She had always loved animals and magical creatures, who always seemed so gentle and innocent. Nike had always pointed out that human are the most easily corrupt beings, and she had agreed whole heartedly on that matter. Walking softly and slowly toward the clearly frightened and confused creature, Rowena gently kneeled down and gathered the soft furred animal into her arms, gently cradling her to calm her mind.

"There, there, nothing to be afraid of little one. No danger here. Nothing to hurt you…" Rowena gently stroked the distraught bunny as the animal's tremors quieted down to a soft mewling sound so much like children's whimpers and desperate pleadings. With more time to think, the sage realized many things. First, the bunny is not an ordinary animal, her aura suggested of something not quite related to healing. Second, the poor thing had clearly been scared and frightened beyond belief and most likely running away from the cause of the fear. Third, the only people capable, and most likely, able to cause such pain around here is the torture loving Blaydon nobles. And fourth, someone, most likely more than one, is coming this way, making a ruckus and sending the pink bunny into a fit of trembling again. Rowena is very, very annoyed now. Hurting innocent creatures had been one of the top most must-not-do list in her book, and be those people coming nobles or no, Rowena is quite ready to teach them a lesson on creature abuse. Given that they may be Blaydon is only a bonus to her plan.

Muka clung tighter to the soft, warm fabric of the girl's robe. Moments ago, this human had made contact with Muka's long abused body, and had offered the bunny both physical and verbal comfort. Now somewhat comforted by both the girl's calming aura and the gentle strokes, Muka's hopes are once again kindled and a small sense of happiness seeped into her tired body. The sense of dread returned, however, when a group of men bearing Blaydon family crest stepped into view and confronted the pair. Muka trembled again. Did she bring misfortune to this gentle soul she had just found? Muka knew these men. They were trained hunters and soldiers almost as sadistic as the lord himself, and had sometimes observed her torture trials. Muka also remembered what some of these men had done to the poor prisoner girls in the dungeons. The pink bunny had a sudden fear for her new master, for she had chosen the human girl as her protector, and wished that they had met in a safer region of the world, rather than the depleted forest of her old tormentor. The rabbit's thoughts were scattered when the girl stood up, cradling Muka and spoke to the newcomers with a calm, grave voice. To the rabbit, the tranquil voice held no malicious intents, yet offered a warning at the same time.

"Greetings, strangers. I am a traveling scholar. Of whom and what occasion do I have the pleasure of such a meeting?"

The hunters looked at one another, murmured among themselves, occasionally pointing at the girl and snickering to themselves. One of them sneered and spoke out.

"Don't play dumb with us, filthy time mage, we know who you are. Lord Blaydon personally made a portrait of you, so if we see you, we can kill you. It's just so lucky for us to find two preys in one place. Our lord will be glad and reward us mightily. Maybe we'll get to have some fun with you, like we do with that long-life pest there."

Rowena sighed. People nowadays, no manners, no grace in expressions or speech. Not to mention cruelty in actions. Everything points to the Fall.

"I do not suppose I owe your lord a visit just yet. Know and heed this though. My name is Rowena Hein, and I shall be the one to teach all of you featherbrains a lesson on hurting the weak and innocent."

So speaking, a nearby branch flew into her hand. The hunters laughed crudely at the pathetic looking weapon. Sighing at their stupidity, the maiden muttered a few archaic words while brushing two glowing fingers across the length of the wood. Soon, the piece of stick transformed into a sturdy looking bow, polished dark hazel brown and glowing with a gentle light. That certainly stopped the men's laughing.

Rowena allowed herself a slight frown as she experimentally twirled the bow. She's not a direct attack kind of mage warrior, that job always belonged to Caedmon and Nike. Still, at this range to Blaydon manor, risking strong offensive magic will only cause more complications, and gauging the strength of the hunters, a simple physical beating will do along nicely. Holding the still trembling bunny close to her, Rowena flowed into action.

Muka peeked up at her owner in great fascination. A few moments ago, the bunny had thought everything is over for her and the girl. Then she realized from the dialogue that this young human is actually one of the fabled time mages, humans born naturally with the power to manipulate time and live eternally. Muka is even more shocked with surprise as Rowena attacked the dangerous, bad men through a series of elegant moves, almost like the dancing wings of a butterfly, nimble and quick. No attack was wasted, and before any of the hunters could react, each one laid on the ground, unconscious with at least three hits each on their immobile forms. Rowena had then left the branch against the oak, saying something along the lines of mission accomplished, then walked away from the distant Blaydon manor, murmuring to the more peaceful bunny that now is not the time for a confrontation with Lord Blaydon. Muka doesn't really care, so long as she can stay with the powerful, gentle being.

Rowena had left the previous dueling ground as quickly as possible. The task had been more than easy, her opponents did not register her moves at all before they all went down unconscious. She does not plan to stay for the evil noble though. With what she could salvage from the broken minds of the hunters, the sage found out that the pink bunny's name is Muka, and is a being not unlike herself in terms of long life. It would be better off and logical if the bunny stay with her then. She could use a company in the long travel ahead, and the furry thing had already fallen asleep in her arms, like she had always belonged there. Rowena gazed at the quiet creature kindly. 'Perhaps this journey shall not be as lonely as I thought.' The time sage quietly traced the map of the surrounding area through her mind bank. The nearest non-hostile city she would be safe at would be Illian, the place of scholars and peace. She and her pink companion would find safety there for a while, at least until both Muka and herself is fit to travel again into the unknown future. With a destination in mind, Rowena made her way steadily toward the northern city that she had studied in long ago. She is not aware, however, of the dark human tracing her steps or of the group of young man and teens searching desperately for her presence.